Belt modification preparation

25 December 2019

Merry Christmas to all our customers and readers!

To everyone who's having a break over Christmas, I hope you all have a relaxing and safe time. To the rest of us, try to keep cool - it's been a hot start to the summer so far.

This isn't great for astronomy, for a couple of reasons.

First, hot weather makes for poor "seeing", with the atmosphere boiling away, causing light to be dispersed one way then the other, and ruining your view. It's like looking through heat haze, and you can see it in a little sequence I put onto our YouTube channel.

The second reason why the hot start to summer isn't good for astronomy is the smoke. It's been a bad bushfire season so far, and looking through smoke haze doesn't make for good views.

Incidentally, the heat isn't good for birds either. City birds will do all right, not being far from sprinklers and other water sources. But in the bush, the dryness and heat will really thin their numbers out. More heat in the future is only going to make things worse.

Onto a happier subject... my Christmas gift to myself - lithium grease and bearings? My guiding has been getting sloppier and sloppier over the past year or so, and it's time to work on my mount.

There are a number of actions I can choose from. I can adjust the backlash using the set screws on bot

h axes. This moves the worm closer to the worm gear. The idea is to get as close as you can without the gears starting to bind. Yes, I'll do this.

The second is a regrease of the mount. Yes, this is what the lithium grease is for. As you can see, I'm going to replace the worm bearings at the same time - I'll have them out anyway.

But I'm also going to belt-modify the mount as well. My NEQ6 is a gear-driven mount, so backlash in the gear train is always going to be there. I've ordered an aftermarket belt mod kit, which doesn't replace the worm drives, but should sort out a lot of the rest of the problem.

This is a big job. Wish me luck!