Sky-Watcher AZ-GTi AZ GoTo Mount Information

Look | Look with Tripod and Telescope Tubes | First Experiences | More Experiences | First Photo Attempts | Preliminary Conclusions | Links || Appendix: Data

On this page, I present some information about my Sky-Watcher AZ-GTi mount head (ordered on January 27, 2021, arrived on January 29). The tripod of the Sky-Watcher AZ Pronto mount makes it an azimuthal GoTo mount, controlled via a smartphone using the Sky-Watcher SynScan app or the SynScan handbox (V4 and V5). I plan to use the Celestron C5 and Omegon PS 72/432 tubes on this mount.

Update: In February 2021, I purchased a Sky-Watcher wedge for my Sky-Watcher AZ-GTi mount head, in order to operate is also in EQ mode. Together with the tripod of the Sky-Watcher AZ Pronto mount (or any other tripod, such as the Sky-Watcher stainless steel tripod) both form a parallactic (or EQ) GoTo mount, controlled via a smartphone using the Sky-Watcher SynScan app or using the SynScan handbox (V4 and V5).

Update: In May 2021, I purchased a stainless steel tripod for the AZ-GTi mount head, to provide more stability. This solution is only for home use, not for travelling. More on the steel tripod on page Sky-Watcher Stainless Steel Tripod (AZ5) - Information!

See the appendix for the data.

See also:

 

Look

Unpacking

Outer package

Ditto

Ditto, opened

Inner box taken out

Inner box

Inner box opened

Top foam removed

Closer look

Even closer look

Mount taken out of the box (with camera cable)

AZ-GTi mount

Back with dovetail

Ditto

Ditto

Oblique view

Altitude clutch wheel and control panel

Ditto

Ditto

Bottom view

Oblique view

Ditto

Top view with bubble level

Ditto, more oblique view

Ditto

 

Look with Tripod and Telescope Tubes

AZ-GTi Mount Head with AZ Pronto Tripod

AZ-GTi mount head on AZ Pronto tripod without extension tube

 

AZ-GTi mount head on AZ Pronto tripod with extension tube

AZ-GTi Mount with C5

C5 on AZ-GTi mount with extender

Ditto

Zenith position without any problems...
Without extender
Without the extender, the C5 does not touch the tripod legs in the zenith position

AZ-GTi Mount with PS 72/432-Refractor

AZ-GTi mount with extension on the AZ Pronto tripod, PS 72/432 refractor

Ditto

Right: AZ-GTi mount without extension on the AZ Pronto tripod, PS 72/432 refractor

Without extension, the refractor hits the tripod legs when pointing to objects close to the zenith - or is at least close to hitting the tripod...

AZ-GTi mount without extension on the AZ Pronto tripod, PS 72/432 refractor

 

First Experiences

On the very first day (January 29, 2021), I was, due to the weather, only able to do "dry runs", both with the SynScan hand control and with the SynScan app. I tried moving the mount with the cursor keys as well as do "pseudo alignments" and "pseudo GoTos" . Everything worked well, although the mount "lagged" a bit at high speeds. Especially with the hand control, it took a short moment until the mount started moving. Therefore, when I did my very first tests, I thought that moving the mount with the cursor keys would not work. But that was not the case; you just have to wait a little moment for the mount to move, though....

On February 12, 2021, I used the AZ-GTi mount for the first time at night, however not with a telescope, but with my Sony RX10 M4 camera, which I had fastened to the mount using an angle bracket. I worked with exposure times between 1 and 30 seconds. All in all, it worked well, although an exposure time of 30 seconds is actually too long for an AZ mount...

The next day, February 13, 2021, I operated a telescope on the AZ-GTi for the first time, namely my C5 with f/6.3 reducer/corrector, 1.25" visual back and attached Atik Infinity camera. The alignment was always a bit off, the sky object too far to the left, but just visible in the eyepiece.... After a tracking test of a quarter of an hour, the Orion Nebula M 42/43 was lost in the eyepiece, but found be caught again by a GoTo command (it was thereafter centered fairly well); apparently, I had wrong or no tracking. I had similar problems later in EQ mode as well...

On March 19 and 25, 2021, I operated the Omegon PS 72/432 refractor on the AZ-GTi, which I controlled with the SynScan app. I only did a 1-star alignment. I exposed everything with 15 seconds on the second session (longer exposure times produce elongated stars). On the whole, I got along with the mount, but because of my sloppy alignment, the GoTo was not very accurate.

My initial experiences demonstrated to me that I can work well with the AZ-GTi mount in combination with my smaller telescope tubes, and even with the Atik Infinity camera attached (that is, I can do "EAA"!). But I would have to do a more precise alignment to achieve a better GoTo and tracking.

 

More Experiences

In June 2021 I was contacted by a star friend who had purchased the SynScan WLAN module for his Sky-Watcher EQ mount, which he had operated with the handbox until then. While the alignment with the handbox worked correctly, it went completely out of control with the WLAN module, and so he asked me for advice. I had only few experiences with EQ mounts, only ones with AZ mounts, and I also thought that the results from AZ mounts might be transferable to EQ mounts. But they were not, as I found out...

The whole affair had four "dimensions" for me:

That would create 16 cases if you wanted to examine everything systematically... Here, I will only deal with the AZ mode (8 cases); I will describe the EQ mode on the corresponding pages!

Direction of the Tube, Position of the Dovetail Locking Knob

During my first attempts with the AZ-GTi, I did not pay attention to the tube direction, at most I noticed that the alignment sometimes worked correctly and sometimes was completely off. In a video about the AZ-GTi mount, it was also claimed that the software can handle both tube orientations, but I found no way to set them in the app. In retrospect, this claim seems to be valid only for the EQ case...

To cut a long story short, my tests with the mount in spring 2021 clearly showed that the alignment works correctly one with one tube orientation. However, this is not described in the AZ-GTi manual! I am left-handed and have a certain "orientation weakness", I therefore marked the preferred direction on the mount. Thus, this question could be clarified. In June 2021, I checked this on the occasion of the mentioned question again and was able to confirm it for both the handbox and the SynScan app - and both need the same tube direction.

However, I had overlooked the fact that the position of the dovetail locking knob might also play a role. My EQ tests showed that it did not matter, whether the knob was on the left or right side in the homeposition. In AZ mode, the holder for the prism rail is vertical, so the issue here is whether the knob should be at the top or bottom in the home position. Another test (8 cases) showed that the position of the knob is irrelevant (as it is in EQ mode).

Photos: Correct tubus direction marked on the mount and shown (June 2021)

As the only point of confusion remains for me that Sky-Watcher shows the tubes mounted exactly the other way round in the AZ-GTi manual, without any comments, of course...

Handbox versus SynScan App

Note: The AZ-GTi mount is delivered as a "wireless" mount (WLAN). However, it can also be controlled using a handbox, if you own one or want to buy one. I own the handbox V4, which allows to operate the mount (after a firmware update) in AZ as well as in EQ mode. According to a star friend this is also possible with the newer handbox V5!

The handbox has two alignment methods in AZ mode: 2-star alignment and "Brightest Star Alignment"; the latter is a 2-star alignment for dummies. This was also the case with the SynScan app at the beginning, but at some point in time, the 2-star alignment was replaced with a 1-star alignment. This makes comparisons more difficult, because you work with different alignment methods: The 1-star alignment starts from the home position (tube horizontal and pointing north), the 2-star alignment from the first alignment star. Thus, any deviations at the end of the alignment are usually quite different, but can be explained by the different starting points. Nevertheless, I was not able to find any differences concerning the tube direction. Both control methods behave the same in this respect!

You can also operate the mount with the handbox and the SynScan app at the same time. But since both have and apply their own "alignment model", and also do not communicate with each other, the simultaneous operation of both controls does not make any sense to me.

Summary

In the AZ mode, both the handbox and the SynScan app, have a preferred direction for the tube; fortunately it is the same (the position of the dovetail locking knob is irrelevant). I marked it on the mount so that I do not forget it and thus, lose time during alignment due to unnecessary failed alignment attempts.

 

First Photo Attempts

Photos actually tell fairly little about a mount, at best about the telescope tubes and the camera used. Nevertheless, I present here some processed photos of M 42/43 that were taken with the Atik Infinity camera at the C5 (with reducer/corrector) and at the PS 72/432. Without the reducer/corrector, the C5 would magnify the Orion Nebula even more. So this equipment would be better suited to photographing small targets, such as globular clusters, planetary nebulae, and small galaxies.

      

C5: M 42/43, f/6.3 reducer/corrector

 

PS 72: M 42/43

 

PS 72: M 42/43

      

C5: M 42/43, f/6.3 reducer/corrector

 

PS 72: M 42/43

 

PS 72: M 42/43

 

Preliminary Conclusions

The AZ-GTi mount is compact and relatively light. It can therefore be used with my small tubes, the C5 and the PS 72/432 refractor, on the AZ Pronto tripod. This is how it is sold as "AZ-GTi mount", whereas I already owned the AZ Pronto mount when I bought the head. However, the German astronomy dealer Teleskop-Spezialisten also offers a steel tripod for this head, which is at least similar to the one of the AZ4 mount (unfortunately, the head does not fit on my AZ4 tripod because of a pin...). Of course, such a steel tripod is much more bulky and cannot be used when traveling. But I can understand this step, because the AZ-Pronto tripod is quite wobbly with the AZ-GTi mount head (and also with its own manual mount head). Read more on this below!

Since I already knew the operation from my Star Discovery mount, the mount did not confront me with any great puzzles. Actually, it is only intended to be controlled via WLAN (via SynScan app on the smartphone or Windows computer), but it can also be operated with the handbox that I got together with my Star Discovery mount (in the meantime, this mount is now also sold with the SynScan WLAN module only). This saves a device that needs to be powered, which can be crucial especially in winter, when my smartphone and laptop broke down in short time because the batteries were exhausted...

It is a special feature of the AZ-GTi mount that it can also be operated as an EQ mount when you put it on a wedge. Sky-Watcher unfortunately supports this mode only unofficially, so there is no documentation for it and you have to "muddle through" on your own. I describe my first experiences in this matter on page Wedge for Sky-Watcher AZ-GTi AZ GoTo Mount - First Experiences.

All in all I, do not regret to have purchased the AZ-GTi mount head and hope that the mount will also open the door to "do-it-yourself EAA" for me!

Update: A Steel Tripd for the AZ GTi Mount

After gaining some experience with the AZ-GTi mount in spring 2021, because I tried my Atik Infinity camera and a new astro camera (ZWO ASI224) on this mount, I came to the conclusion that the AZ Pronto tripod is too unstable, especially in EQ mode, and can be easily displaced when touched (which is a desaster after having performed a polar align...). Since the AZ4 tripod cannot be used because of the aforementioned pin (unless you saw off the pin...*), I decided to purchase the steel tripod offered by Teleskop-Spezialisten, which by the way says "AZ5". So now I have an AZ-GTi-Light (AZ Pronto tripod) and an AZ-GTi-Heavy Duty (AZ5 tripod) mount as choices! More on the steel tripod on page Sky-Watcher Stainless Steel Tripod (AZ5) - Information!

*) I did not do this, because I wanted to sell the AZ4 mount "complete", which I did in the meantime..

 

Links

 

Appendix: Data for Sky-Watcher AZ-GTi Mount

Package Content

Data

 

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made by walodesign on a mac!
22.08.2021