Re: Balance helper by amp draw? #Mach2GTO

Woody Schlom



First off I have a Mach1, not the new Mach2.  But all my comments should apply to the Mach2 also.


  1. Balance technique #1.  Balancing the DEC access of the original Mach1 is a bit tricky as it has no gear/friction release for balancing.  So there was quite a bit of friction even with the clutch released.  But Roland suggested how he did it – using a low-tech fish scale.  And by golly, it works.  I have a new-fangled digital fish scale which works even better.  Basically you release the DEC clutch fully, lay out the CW shaft horizontal, and then attach the hook of the fish scale to the end of the CW shaft and gently tug straight up and read the weight on the scale.  Then reverse direction and gently tug the end of the CW shaft down and note the weight on the scale.  The goal is to get both readings to be the same.  So adjust the weights accordingly.
  2. Balance technique #2.  This uses the electronic technique you described – compare the amp draw in both directions, and adjust the CW until amp draw is the same in both directions.  And for this the handiest solution is to buy one of Powerwerk’s inline volt/amp meters.  It comes with PP connectors on both ends.  So you just plug it in between the mount’s power supply and mount – and with the CQ shaft horizontal, do the same as with the fish scale – except using the mount move controls to move the mount – and adjust the CW until the amp draw is the same in both directions.
  3. I use two methods for PA.  #1  The fast method (which I use 99% of the time) is using the RAPAS and a Polar Alignment APP on my Android phone.  The APP takes the phone’s current time, date, and location and displays an identical RAPAS reticle image on the phone – with a white dot where you’re supposed to put Polaris.  And then you just adjust the Az and DEC mount adjustments until the real Polaris in the RAPAS is in exactly the same place where it is on the phone’s APP.  Done.  With just a little practice you can do it in about a minute.  And it’s plenty accurate enough.
  4. #2 PA method I use.  PemPRO.  This basically is a camera assisted speeded up drift alignment.  It works well, but takes me a whole lot longer than the RAPAS method.  And to be honest, about the only time I use PemPRO for PA is to calibrate and align my RAPAS.




From: <> On Behalf Of Micheal Fields Jr via
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2020 2:52 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Balance helper by amp draw? #Mach2GTO


Hi there!

First day owning a AP mount which happens to be the Mach2GTO :)
Up until today my imaging mount was solely a 10Micron.  I bought the Mach2 to put in an observatory because having one premium mount I have been taking it down and transporting it 2 hours every time I want to do some back yard imaging or go out to the clubs star parties.

Now I have two good mounts so I don't have to do that!

Ok so I am used to doing things a different way and I think some things are pretty good ideas.  Two that come to mind first are Balancing and Polar Alignment.

As to Balancing, I am surprised that I don't find some sort of balancing tool in APCC.  Seems simple enough to sample the amp draw in both axis to see which side is heavier and then instruct the user with "scope is camera heavy" or "Scope is counterweight heavy" with some sort of % measurement.   I would have to imagine that the access to that data is there it just would need to be added.  But maybe it simply doesn't matter and balance by hand is more than fine?   You tell me.

The second thing is polar alignment.  I went into the Pointing Model tab in APCC Pro and clicked on the button (blueish color) that says APPM and it did NOT launch point mapper. I had to launch it from the desktop.  Once in there I looked around and it seems to have a lot of great information. But again, nothing that seems to indicate that it can command the mount to do something akin to The Sky X's Precise Polar Alignment where it uses the sky model to determine polar alignment error and asks you to center a star using the physical knobs. Once the star is centered, you are polar aligned.  This has been the way I did polar alignments for the last five years on a few different mounts.    Did I overlook this tool somewhere or is this simply something that nobody wants?  

How are you doing polar alignment ?  Are you all using the RAPAS?   Since I am going to be permanent on a pier I only have to do this once.   Just use Sharpcap and move on? 

I believe both of these features would be pretty nice to have and wouldn't require further software purchases.  


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