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iEQ45 - Hand controller differences 8406 & 8407

Since it's release by iOptron the iEQ45 has gone through a couple of notable revisions.  The first was a modification of the DEC clutch from four bolts to a lever.  This involved a redesign of the surface where the clutch grips the axis to lock.  This was done because under the old design when the bolts were released the weight of the OTA would cause the surfaces to bind and thus making it difficult to balance the OTA in the DEC axis.

The next major upgrade was changing the hand controller (HC) from #8406 to #8407.  Most notable was this also changed the motor controll boards and allows for upgraded the R.A. and DEC control boards individually.  This opens up the possibility of customizing the firmware for each axis, however at this point I haven't seen any evidence of this customization being implemented.

 

There routinely seem to be questions on what are the differences are between the two controllers.  Also people often wonder if it is worth upgrading from 8406 to 8407.  Not a straight forward answer as one might hope.  Upgrading the controller would require upgrading the control boards as well so there is the extra cost of that.  Plus, as of writing this, you loose some things that may be important for your situation.  For example there are reports that when auto-guiding the PEC function is disabled.  If someone takes the time to properly acquire a good PEC curve using something like PEMPro then this might enable better tracking AND more optimal guiding for the none periodic conditions.  Even if you don't agree it would still be nice to have the option. The other is a wider selection of Park options.  If trying to fit in a small observatory or shed some of the options might be important to you.

 

I have the 8406 version and also wondered about upgrading.  So I compared the two manuals, looked over the firmware revisions and looked at what others had written and put together a table of the differences.  In the table I highlighted in green those features I felt were an advantage of one controller over the other.  However their relative importance is, of course, up to you.

 

 

Features

Hand Controller version

  8406 8407
Display firmware versions HC only All
Separate R.A & DEC motor controller firmware No Yes
Multistar alignment 1, 2 star only Yes
PEC disabled when guiding through ST4 port No Yes
Display PEC status on HC No Yes
Display tracking speed on HC No Yes
Active firmware development Doesn't appear so, last update was 10/2011 Yes
After slewing pressing the "?" button and the hand controller will list other nearby objects. No Yes
STOP/0 Key: Stop the mount during GOTO No, only stops tracking Yes
Test backlash function No Yes
System self-test (will check the PEC encoder condition) No Yes
Set user defined objects No 60
Comet sub-menu for user objects NA Yes
Park Scope positions 6 2