EQ6 Counterweight Shaft Upgrade from Orion
This is not much of DIY, but still, I wanted to share my experience with it on my web site.
I never liked the original EQ6 counterweight clutch lock. And it became more problematic when I started to load 3 counterweights on it. The shaft were wobbling when DEC axis were rotating. But I really didn't do something about it until one day I saw someone mentioned it, that Orion had released they Counterweight Shaft Upgrade kit for EQ6 mounts.
So here it is, for 69.99$ it's arrived at my door step.
The packaging is simple but nice. Orion have added the manual with installation instructions and small magazine advertising their products.
This is how it looked unpacked. The collar, the shaft and the toe-saver knob. I personally think, that chrome finish is not such a good idea. Yes, it does shining and looks attractive, but it also get scratched very easily and I can tell from experience, that after couple of nights the shaft have streaks all over.
Anyway, as we all do it in the dark, the performance of this upgrade was more important than how it looks.
Here is the both shafts with their collars side by side. The upgrade shaft is longer by full 2" and more massive, its 25mm in diameter and as you have noticed, there is no locking clutch mechanism, and that's why I liked it very much. The threaded shaft into the collar fully eliminates the possible flex.
If you have previously stripped down your mount, the collar installation won't be too much of a problem for you. But if it's your first time, I would suggest to unlock the DEC axis clutch and turn around the axis couple of times, to feel the tension and try to remember it.
The whole installation takes just couple of minutes and it looks really good and sturdy when assembled.
The only problem I have left now, its the counterweights. Since the shaft is 25mm in diameter, my counterweights wasn't fit anymore.
Instead of buying new counterweights, I decided to bore my old ones and make them fit. Local owner of lathe shop were kind to help me out with this.
After boring the counterweights I polished them with sand paper from inside and they nicely fit to a new shaft.
And here is the view of a complete setup. Very sturdy, with no flex whatsoever and chrome polish does give it a nice, shining look.
I was more than happy, when this new shaft nicely fitted my mount's Pelican case. And modded counterweights went back to their case too.
Yes, you may think that padded, waterproof pelican case for counterweights maybe too much, but it made my life much easier to move them and in case of hard braking they are not going to scatter in the trunk of a car.