How To Install SynScan GoTo Upgrade Kit for HEQ5

Last Updated May 29, 2023 by . First Published in 2013.

How To Install SynScan GoTo Upgrade Kit for HEQ5

A detailed SynScan GoTo upgrade guide with pictures on how to upgrade HEQ5 quartz driven mounts to use SynScan GoTo Upgrade Kit.

The HEQ5 is a good sturdy mount from SkyWatcher which uses quartz crystal drive motors. These are OK for basic tracking, but the GoTo Upgrade Kit installs more precise stepper motors and adds the GoTo hand controller for better alignment, tracking and location of objects.

The SynScan GoTo Upgrade Kit contains a new control circuit board, hand controller, two stepper motors, new gears, a polar scope illuminator, a control panel, cables, grease and tools.

The first step is to remove the old components. This is done by removing the main side panel by unscrewing the 6 Phillips screws as shown in the first picture. This reveals the original brass gears and motors, and two more Phillips screws at the top. Turn the mount over and there are another two screws to undo. This allows the top cover to be removed which gives access to the control board and wires.

You can now unplug the cables from the control board and remove the original motors and gears using the supplied Allen keys.

Two screws are holding in the control board, which once undone will allow the circuit board to slide out once everything has been disconnected. There are two small screws on the underside which hold on a plastic cover at the base. These should be removed and the plastic cover is replaced with the new control panel from the kit. You can feed the wire up through into the main area and replace the screws.

You can now insert the new circuit board into the case in the same place as the old board with the edge containing the white connectors facing up. It will screw back in place the same as the old board. You should also install the circular polar scope illuminator.

You can now insert the RA and DEC motors into their respective housing, remembering to feed the wires through and up to the control board. The gears can also be installed on the worm drive. The gears are identical, but remember to align them on the shaft so that the tightening screw is located on the flat part of the shaft.

You can start screwing down the motors, taking care to ensure that the gears mesh together fully, but are not too tight that they will cause wear. The holes in the mounting brackets allow you to move the gear in and out. There should be a little gap between the gears but not too much. You can turn the gears manually to ensure that they move freely, then tighten everything down and recheck. You should now grease the gears using the supplied tube of goo, ensuring that you do not use too much. By spinning the gears you can ensure that each gear has a little grease. This will prevent the gears from sticking during operation and ensure smooth movement.

You can now connect all the wires to the control board as shown in the picture below.

Wiring new connectors to circuit board, this is where each cable plugs in (click for larger view)
Wiring new connectors to circuit board, this is where each cable plugs in (click for larger view)

All that is left to do now is attach the covers, plug it in and try it. I would suggest a trial run indoors before setting it up outside at night. It would be a good idea to get familiar with the controls in daylight.

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  1. MI

    On Sunday 11th of December 2022, Mike said

    This is an excellent post. The instructions and supporting photos were *very* helpful. I was up and running in less than an hour. Thank you!!
  2. AS

    On Thursday 18th of June 2020, Ash said

    Liked your heq5 upgrade post. I'm looking at doing similar to mine but the kit cost ouch!. So I'm looking at sourcing bits in stagers, Some people claim the new kit motors are Nema 17 . But looking at the specs Nema 17 are 42mm square and 54mm on the diagonal, but these look to big to fit. Nema 16 are 38mm square and 48mm diag. Could you confirm kit motor size? Thanks ash
  3. AS

    On Thursday 18th of June 2020, Ash said

    Hi Tim, cannot find the cash for a full heq5 upgrade kit so thought I would put together my own version. First is to get the steppers, some say the kit has Nema 17 but I think they are to big for the heq5 non goto. I think the Nema 16 may fit? Can you please confirm the frame size of the kit motors and diagonal size? Thanks, ash
  4. RH

    On Wednesday 11th of November 2015, Rbert Hartness said

    I have just bought a third hand Newtonian telescope on a HEQ5 mount. The last owner had an AMD interface plate fitted. The scope is in very good condition, but I'm puzzled by the setup. It may be an earlier upgrade than the one you have described. The hand contol is exactly the same, but there is another item which is very similar to the firring you show being attached to the moun. I has exactly the same connection sockets, however there are NOT on the mount itself, they areclipped to a tripod leg just like the hand controller. I have been busy balancing the scope for astrophotography with a Nikon DSLR to date. I've read the m anual a few times, but have not powered the system up yet to findout which firmware is installed. I have however witnessed the scope under power and being slewed just for demo purposes. The telescope seems ready to use. My question is are familiar with this variant of the HEQ5? Do I need to seek any form of further upgrade or am I good to go right mow? Thanks for. your article