Here's an update on my experience so far with my Az Mount Pro:
I am having a terrible time with this mount. I find it very easy to set up and mount my scopes. I find the instructions for alignment and the use of the hand controller very intuitive and friendly. The mount operates well with one exception - it has only operated for a few hours before experiencing trouble, and when I got the mount back from iOptron Service, it again only operated for a couple of hours before completely failing a second time.
I have not read about any experience like this online anywhere. Except for some early software problems with tracking, all reviews and comments I have seen have been very positive. I assume that if anyone had the problems I am having, they would be posting online, just like I am now.
Let's go back to the beginning. After I received the mount, I was able to use it for a few Solar observing sessions (nice smooth featureless orange ball) in order to get used to setting up and aligning. The only issue I had was, after the automatic calibration, when I ask to point at the Sun, the mount seems to go to the position the Sun was in an hour ago. Oh, Daylight Savings Time, you say? Nope. Daylight Savings Time is properly set in the settings.
No matter, with my Tele Due Solar Finder, it's easy to get on the Sun and then perform a synch to target.
Once I had those few (approximately 1 hour +/-) sessions under my belt it was time to try some planetary viewing with my scopes. Both my TV-85 and also my C6 OTA mount simply and easily to the saddle. I managed a few sessions taking a look at Jupiter and Saturn for about an hour each time (the mosquitoes were certainly winning the nights). On the first session, I started to pick up a clicking sound from the drive after slewing to a target. That first time, I didn't know for sure, because it was soft and disappeared very quickly. The second session, I noticed it again. After slewing to a target, I got this rhythmic clicking sound, starting pretty loud and fading away quickly. I thought that perhaps the TV-85 with eyepiece might be a bit too heavy without the counterweight, but that turned out to not be the case. The third session was with my C6 and the same thing happened. That time, I noticed an up & down bounce of the target I was pointing at. I determined that I had an issue, so I broke it all down.
Looking online, I saw some indication that there may be a do-it-yourself adjustment, so I contacted iOptron Support for any pointers or instructions. They promptly asked me some questions and also provided me with instructions on the possible drive adjustments. I went out for another daytime session where I could potentially make adjustment and see what the elevation drive was doing. I ended up making no adjustments at all because the elevation started behaving somewhat erratically with lots of clicking, even though I could not see anything going on with the elevation drive that might be the cause of the clicking. Contacting iOptron Service again, I immediately got an RMA number.
Very lucky for me, iOptron is only a 40 mile drive away, so I could "save" the shipping and insurance cost, at the cost of gasoline and time.
I returned the mount to the good folks at iOptron, and a couple of days later, they informed me that they had, "...replaced the AZI motor. We also adjusted ALT belt. The mount has been tested and there is no more strange sound. We also modified the control board to improve the tracking." I retrieved the mount that afternoon.
I was able to get out yesterday (Friday, 2 August) only one day later. The mount was completely silent and set up just as it always had for me. In the daytime, it pointed to where the Sun was an hour before (my estimate). DST setting was fine. Synched to the Sun in its actual position, and tracked perfectly for about an hour. I tried a few goto. Because it was daylight, I could not verify them, but retuning back to the Sun after was dead on. I shut down and covered up for the afternoon.
I went back out at about 8:30 - 8:45 PM. Jupiter and Saturn were up, low to the SE. The mount automatically calibrated and went to the east of Jupiter, just like it did for the Sun. I used my red reticle finder on my TV-85 to get on Jupiter and synch to it. Nice view through so-so seeing low on the horizon. To be expected. Did a goto to Saturn but the foliage was still bothering the view. All this was using my Celestron 40mm Plossl for the widest FOV I can get. once on target, I tried a 15mm Plossl, and also my TV 6-3mm zoom, but it worked well only at 6 or 5mm. I decided to go for it and try some double stars from the HC menu. Back to the 40mm. Mizar & Alcor. Goto was great. I selected another from possibilities above the horizon, and each time an obvious target was in my FOV. I was getting excited now. On the third or fourth goto, I started to hear grumbling in azimuth. With each goto, the grumbling/humming in azimuth got louder. Then some humming in elevation as well. By the 6th or 7th attempt to goto, the azimuth drive froze entirely and the elevation drive was complaining loudly.
I broke everything down and put the scope, eyepieces, and finder away. I brought the mount & tripod into the garage and tried a couple more times for an unloaded calibration. The first time I got a mainboard error message, and the second time it tried, but azimuth was frozen both tries and the elevation continued to complain loudly.
This, for me, is terrible. After only a few one hour sessions, the mount started with the clicking. iOptron Support was good and promptly fixed the mount. Then, again after only a couple of hours of operation, the mount is completely failed.
I put in my message to iOptron Support, but, of course, this was 9:45 PM on Friday, and I'm now waiting for Monday before they will even read it. I expect prompt and courteous support as before, but this is very disappointing for me. For the price of this mount, I had no expectation whatsoever of performance like this. I sincerely hope that iOptron can fix this, and I can get on with observing. My wife & I are looking forward to visiting with our niece again this year in September, and I was planning to bring my scope, as they are in a dark sky location there in south-western Tennessee.
I'm depressed. Thanks for listening.
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Telescopes: Celestron C6; Tele Vue TV-85; Questar 3.5 Standard SN 18-11421
Solar: Thousand Oaks white light filter; Daystar Quark (chromosphere) Hα filter
Mounts: iOptron Az Mount Pro; Explore Scientific Twilight I tripod w/ Celestron NexStar GT mount; Majestic heavy duty tripod
Local Club: New Hampshire Astronomical Society