Re: Quick Release Gearbox Modification for Older AP1600

Woody Schlom

Actually it’s not the clutch surfaces that need lubrication, but the clutch bearings – which are not ball or roller bearings – at least on the original Mach1.


And in just looking this up in my Mach1 manual, I see that not all AP mounts use the same systems.  My Mach1 manual states that its clutch system is different than the AP-900 and AP-1200 and has more friction than either of them.  So the AP-1600 could be completely different.


And no, it’s been so long since I re-greased my Mach1’s clutch bearings, I don’t remember how I did it.  But it did NOT involve getting into the drive gears at all.


I’m not usually one to just tear down a fine mount without guidance, so I must have found some guidance somewhere – most likely from this group.


I’ll look into my long-ago notes and see if I can find something.  But hopefully somebody else with more knowledge and experience will step in here.




From: <> On Behalf Of W Hilmo
Sent: Tuesday, March 9, 2021 2:13 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Quick Release Gearbox Modification for Older AP1600


I’ve not heard of a procedure for lubricating the clutches on these mounts.


Do you have a pointer to instructions?  My AP1600 declination clutch is pretty stiff, and has been since day one, but it’s nothing that’s a problem to work with.  I’m mainly just curious.


From: <> On Behalf Of Woody Schlom
Sent: Tuesday, March 9, 2021 12:49 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Quick Release Gearbox Modification for Older AP1600




That does seem like a lot of friction.  I’m not sure about the AP1600’s clutch mechanism, but I suspect my old Mach1 is similar.  And in that case, the clutch system can be lubricated independently of the drive gear system.  And it’s a lot easier too.


Another suggestion.  You mention the electronic fish scale balancing system (which is my preference) for balancing.  But have you tried the motor current load method to see how well that might work for you?  I’m pretty sure you already have a PowerWerx voltage/current meter.  So you can try that method and see if it works any better for you.  When slewing (I used slow slew speeds) the motor current load should be the same in both directions.


But I’d start with re-greasing the clutch system first.  And so far as I understand it, that doesn’t require the fancy greases that come in the AP grease kit.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the clutch parts do better with a different kind of grease.  I believe I used a SuperLube synthetic grease for my clutch bearings.


I know that when I re-greased the clutch bearing system in my Mach1, it made a lot of difference.




From: <> On Behalf Of Jack Huerkamp
Sent: Tuesday, March 9, 2021 7:45 AM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Quick Release Gearbox Modification for Older AP1600


JimP, granted the AP1600 offers resistance to movement even when the clutch knobs are fully loosened.  In my case it takes between 10# and 15# of pull measured with an electronic fish scale to break the friction and get the mount to move in either RA or Dec.  I try to balance the mount by checking the pull needed in both directions and getting them as close to equal as possible.  But getting a precise balance is impossible.  That is why I asked if AP was going to offer an upgraded quick release worm mechanism like they have on the current AP1600 mounts.  Quickly releasing the worm from the worm gear allows for easy and precise balancing.

Jack Huerkamp

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