Well, I’m a little bit silly.
Having recently purchased the Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro Synscan, I immediately ran into trouble when trying to set my latitude on the mount. This is a one-time thing (assuming you don’t travel a long way with the mount) so I was a bit stumped as to why I couldn’t set the latitude to more than ~49 degrees. I’m located at just over 52 degrees so I needed 3 more degrees to set the appropriate latitude.
When you build the mount there are 2 steel rods that come with the mount and you just fire them in the two holes helpfully placed in the base of the mount. I did this with glee and excitement in the rush of adrenaline that comes from buying a shiny new toy and having predicted cloud cover for the next week.
As I said I struggled with this for a few half clear nights (practise runs with the mount in the dark) and eventually gave up on balancing the mount and just adjusted the leg marked with the north sticker a couple of inches to get it polar aligned. Whilst it turns out you don’t need the tripod balanced, it was irking me that such a simple thing wasn’t working correctly. I figured I would have a look again in the daylight.
On a sunny Saturday, I got the mount back outside, levelled the tripod and.. the same problem reared its ugly head, (they say doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results is madness, but it was worth a shot!). I decided to completely unscrew and remove the two metal adjusters and have a proper look.
Well, there it was, they are different lengths! They are unmarked so once in the mount, you can’t tell the difference in the lengths. I assume this is because depending on your latitude you will need more or less adjustment so they provide two lengths to cater for everybody.
So, to recap. The shorter adjuster goes into the front of the mount (as we don’t need as much adjustment to bring the mount down) and the longer adjuster goes into the back of the mount (below the polorscope eyepiece) so that we can push further against the mount, pushing it further into the sky.
When I had it in the other arrangement, the adjuster closest to the counterweight was also worryingly close when the counterweight was in the home position. Now that its been rearranged, that problem is gone and I have plenty of clearance.
I’ve read quite a bit about people having trouble adjusting the latitude up to 60 degrees, thankfully that’s not a problem for me but the solution seems to be to buy either aftermarket latitude bolts off of eBay, or to buy longer bolts. You can also make your own if you are into DIY astronomy – the type of bolt is is an M10 x 78 (short) or M10 x 100 (Long).
For the aftermarket bolts just search for “Skywatcher EQ6 HEQ5 NEQ6 mount Upgraded Latitude Altitude Adjustment Bolts” in google and I’m sure you’ll come across the listings.
Anyway, that’s it for today. Hopefully, this is helpful to others, or maybe I’m the only one to ever have made this oversight!