iOptron ZEQ25GT

Previously I’ve been using my friend’s Astrotrac TT320AX for doing solar imaging. But since getting the Daystar Quark which has a built-in 4.3x Barlow, it has become clear that it is too challenging for me to manually adjust the Astrotrac to align the solar features I’m interested in on the Liveview screen of my camera. Sadly where my telescope pier and Celestron CGEM are mounted, it is not possible to image the sun due to the surrounding houses and trees, so that it cannot be used. Hence I decided that it was necessary to get a portable Goto mount to fill this role. After researching for some time, I decided to buy the iOptron ZEQ25GT, particularly as one came up on eBay for much less than the RRP of £650.

Here are some pics of the mount. I had my Ye!! energy block in a plastic bag so it could hang on the side of the mount – this has since been replaced with a Sony flash case which I have lying around at home. From the few times I’ve used it, the mount definitely feels nicely constructed and capable of holding my solar scope with ease – especially as it is supposed to have a 12.3kg load capacity ( and my setup weighs less than half of that).

iOptron ZEQ25GT - DEC and RA motors
iOptron ZEQ25GT – DEC and RA motors and control box
Side view with the spirit level and the latitude adjustment
Side view with the spirit level and the latitude adjustment
The center hole is where the polar scope resides
The center hole is where the polar scope resides – the arm holding the counterweight bar came skewed slightly counterclockwise
With my solar imaging setup
With my solar imaging setup

The tripod leg spreader comes in very handy for holding my eyepieces – it has space for three 1.25″ and one 2″ eyepiece.

The tripod spreader with its tray for eyepieces
The tripod spreader with its tray for eyepieces

The hand controller has 4 lines to display information. It is nicely laid out, and the interface is easy to learn and use; even for someone who is so used to the Celestron interface.

The hand controller with 4 lines of information
The hand controller with 4 lines of information
With the Daystar Quark mounted on my Skywatcher ED80
With the Daystar Quark mounted on my Skywatcher ED80
The Ye!! energy block used to power both the Quark and the iOptron mount
The Ye!! energy block used to power both the Quark and the iOptron mount, prior to using it

It was sunny on Saturday so I took the mount out with my solar scope to do some solar viewing – this time I placed it on the lawn. Just to say that the sound of the slewing at maximum speed is definitely much quieter than the Celestron CGEM (which I’ve had to reduce the slew speed to make it quieter), and unlikely to be too intrusive for night-time use.

Solar setup on iOptron ZEQ25GT
Solar setup on iOptron ZEQ25GT
Solar scope setup with iOptron ZEQ25GT
Solar scope setup with iOptron ZEQ25GT
Solar scope setup
Solar scope setup

With the legs fully extended, it brings the scope up to the right level for me to sit on one of my deck chairs for solar viewing.

Setup with chair to allow solar visual observation
Setup with chair to allow solar visual observation

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