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Mods to the HEQ5 Pro Mount



Puck replacement

First of all I replaced the frankly rubbish Star Watcher puck that comes with the HEQ5Pro mount. The screws on this mar dovetails no end.



for the far superior Primaluce Labs Big Dovetail clamp. This has both Vixen and Losmandy capabilites. It is a proper clamp with large clamping knobs and plenty of fastener holes.




It also gave me the opportunity to mount a lightweight frame seen in Ferrari red below which I designed and built that carries the dewheater 4 port box. I used 4 of the holes in the Primaluce puck to mount the frame.




Above is the design I did on Sketchup. It is made from 40 x 20 aluminium box section and a 3 mm aluminium plate.

and below is the finished article.






The cable clips mount the cables in place.

This powers up to 4 dewheaters, a DSLR camera (if you use such a thing) and has two independant 12 volt power supplies that can be used to power astro cooled cameras.


Repositioning the dewheater power box

The HEQ5Pro is not that difficult to mount ancillary items to as 3M heavy duty velco strip can be applied to most surfaces on the mount. However I found that where I originally had the dewheater power box on the RA head I then had 4 dew heater cables running into the DEC axis along with USB cables and power cables. These were encased in spiral wrap and in cold weather tended to go quite stiff.

Moving the power box onto the DEC essentially removed those 4 cables from the harness and made flexibility so much easier.


When balancing the scopes I found I had to offset the guide scope atop of the WOZS103 tube clamps slightly to the right when viewed from the scope rear. That balanced out the mass of the dewheater box and mounting frame perfectly. The same was done on the WOZS73 where the again guide scope was shifted to the right.


The only cables running from RA to DEC now are a silcone main 12v cable, a silcone cable to the mount, a multicore focus cable from the Lakeside control box and a USB3 cable from the powered hub seen velcroed to the mount here. I enclosed those in ultraflexible cable trunking (the woven tube in the picture above). The cable in spiral wrap just runs to the camera on the scope and contains a USB3 cable and silicone power cable.


The velcro on the red plate is used to secure the dew heater excess cable when mounted. I have shortened the dew heater cables but there is still a little slack to compensate for the differences between scopes. 


Pier extension

The Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro pier extension really was a no brainer. No more worry about the back of the telescope banging the legs of the tripod. It also lifts the telescope to a more user friendly height. The only thing I had to do was put spring washers under the cap screw heads to prevent them loosening. It creates a stable enough platform for the fairly light weight scopes I use.



Here you can see magnets holding the spanner used to adjust the altitude screws (M10 x 70 long hex head stainless steel bolts). The spirit level also has integral rare earth magnets in it. I have found that adjusting the legs to get level can be easily measured purely by using the spirit level in this orientation. Just move the spirit level above each of the three legs in turn and make mini adjustments to the length of the legs. Final polar alignment is done with my Polemaster.


Cable Management

I know this can be a subjective issue with many astro imagers and I have already touched on the cables to the DEC part. The other cables which comprise silicone 12v feed cable, powered USB3 cable and mount USB cable run from the RA head down the pier and down one of the legs of the mount. All encased in ultraflexible cable trunking at the moving part and then into enclosed protective trunking which does not need to be as flexible down the pier.

I attach everything with reusable cable ties so that I can easily remove for maintenance. 




Self adhesive cable ties are a wonderful invention and stick to the mount head easily. In the time I have been using them (about 2 years) I have never had the adhesive fail on me.

In the above picture you can also see the aforementioned M10 x 70 hex head screws used for altitude adjustment. No more cable snagging nor bending of the useless Skywatcher originals.

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Another mod to the HEQ5 Pro is around the tripod legs. I have found that the clamping handscrews clamping the telescopic legs is somewhat problematic. Sometimes the inner tubes can move going back into the outer tube comprimising the all important polar alignment.


The diameter of the inner tubes is 32mm so I had a look around on the internet for a supplier of some 32mm double split shaft collars. I found one supplier in Huddersfield, BearingsRUS, that could supply 3 of them for the reasonable cost including postage of £32.39

The collars are steel EN8 zinc plated anti corrosion finish. So should be ok for outside usage but I have changed the M6 x 20 set screws to stainless steel.




To use level the tripod by extending the legs as normal and tighten the SW wing nuts. Then simply clamp a split collar around the tube butting it against the underside of the upper leg tube and it will stop any wayward movement. Repeat on the other legs if necessary.



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