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Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-5pm BST
Now in our third year of EQ Mount Tuning and Servicing with hundreds of satisfied customers worldwide!


Phone for more details - 023 9257 0283 / dave@darkframe.co.uk


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Have your Celestron or Sky-Watcher EQ Mount Hypertuned from only £119.00. Current turnaround for most mount tuning is now typically within 3 weeks (Celestron can be a little longer until we ramp up throughput) from receipt of your mount at our workshop, including EU and worldwide orders. (excluding repairs and custom projects). This is dependant on mount condition and specification (i.e. non standard spec and undeclared repairs will take longer). 
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Celestron EQ Mount Tuning now fully released! 
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All EQ models from CG5-GT to CGem-DX and including the AVX are now available after substantial testing. Our rebuild methods are precision engineering led, not DIY level kits or home brewed. We can extend the exposure times and reliability of your Celestron imaging mount, adding more lifespan and usability. 
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Popular Quick Links:
EQ5 Hypertune from £179
QHY Polemaster from £278
HEQ5 Hypertune from £259 
StellarDrive 5 £ 1299 Upgrade £549
EQ6 Hypertune £289 (Select Gen1 for Pre-installed Belt Kits)
EQ6 Hypertune £499 (Select Gen2 for full Hyper-tune)
New StellarDrive 6  £1899  or Upgrade from £699
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Did you know that we provide PHD Guide Support with all of our mounts? We can help you get the best out of your hypertuned mount to match your payload as we have data across hundreds of customers. Also, we use the data to monitor its performance to provide advice and any warranty issues.
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We make no claims of our performance.
Our customers do...
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We provide new and used Astronomy Equipment with warranty, as well as servicing and hypertuning your existing mount to reduce the cost of upgrading to a more expensive mount. From portable systems to Observatory solutions we can cater for your every need. We also offer Optical Tube Assemblies and custom builds, under our Octagon brand of lightweight, Carbon-fibre based Truss Newtonian Telescopes, Piers, adapter and mounting systems.
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We are the UK based specialists in servicing, repair and hypertuning EQ mounts including the best belt-drive upgrades for Sky-watcher HEQ5, EQ6, EQ6-R and AZ EQ6 GT, with hundreds of modified mounts to our name across the UK, Europe and Worldwide. They come with a Two year FULL worldwide warranty on NEW StellarDrive™ mounts, TWO years worldwide RTB limited warranty on all other tuning on owner used mounts. This protects the value of your mount, and is further reassurance of the quality of work we do. No other mount re-builder offers such support or has better independent performance data. We have also ramped up our services for Celestron and other equatorial mounts, as we have increased production and test capacity without dropping quality.
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Why tune my EQ Mount? Customer Data proves it works and saves money upgrading!
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With experience spanning across several hundred mounts since 2014, we have customer data to support the fact that tuning an equatorial mount works. Fact. Far more than just a re-grease and new bearings, our evolved build methodology means we can improve nearly any mount. Nearly 40% of the work we do is fixing customer installed Rowan belt kits on HEQ5/EQ6's alone.
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Our builds have been proven to be at least twice as accurate than a self-installed Rowan belt kit based on customer data! You cannot track a star to less than 0.3 arc-second using bicycle or car grease! Our OEM greases work out at £2.50 a gram. After 3-5 years depending on use, your mount may likely not be performing as it did when new, so any new grease may work for a while until your PHD graphs start spiking...
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It performs far better than factory spec, so that when guided, you can achieve pin sharp 15-30min exposures all the time. Also, with no dropped frames and tight round stars or up to 5-10 minutes unguided (1000-500mm focal length, up to 10x better than a stock mount!). Check out what our customers have achieved!
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Some of our latest innovations include our own treated hybrid-ceramic bearing sets, StellarDrive-SPX™ worm-gears for most brands of mount, case re-profiling, and an enhanced lubrication platform (cailbrated to each specific mount model and payload level), that provides stiction-free, smoother running and a more fluid mount than stock. Pair your mount with a QHY Polemaster and a StarGPS to help you get the most from your setup.
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It's your mount. But Better.
 
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Our latest DarkFrame Bonneville Tuned Sky-Watcher EQ6/NEQ6-AZ EQ6 GT mounts typically run at a Peak-to-Peak Period Error of circa ±8 ArcSec unguided, which is 3-4x better from factory spec (circa ±28+). Guided, all our mounts are now sub-arcsecond capable under PHD2, capable of circa 0.3-0.7 arc-seconds RMS guided, with a guided PE of ±1.5 arc-seconds or 3.25-5.0 arcsec RMS, depending on seeing payload, balance and polar alignment. This is proven independent Customer supplied data across tens of dozens of mounts with a variety of payloads, not a factory test. These are far better results than with just the Rowan Belt Kit fitted. Accept no shortcuts! 

You can have this spec in a new mount too! They are the HEQ5 & NEQ6-Bonneville. Please enquire.
The latest innovation of performance with precision worm-gears is called StellarDrive™. This level of enhancement is the ultimate iteration of an EQ6 class mount. For £799 for any of the three versions, you can have a mount that outperforms anything in its class and matches some observatory class mounts.
StellarDrive™ logo
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Our tuned EQ mounts become nearly twice as responsive to guiding due to a lack of stiction in the mount, requiring less quide command input. Our unparalleled experience in EQ mount tuning comes from a scientific approach to development over the past thee years. it's not black magic or just a bit of grease! It is engineered to be better, with data to prove the difference. The popular Gen 2 NEQ6 Hypertune is just £499, and the AZEQ6GT is £529.
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The highest level of tuning is StellarDrive™ this adds high precision RA worm-gear and DEC worm-gears along with other enhancements for just £799 for any of the EQ6 class mounts (£699 with pre-installed belt-kit). This is perfect if you want performance both guided and unguided to be the very best there is. All other mount rebuilds now benefit from the precision of our patentable processes, that add more accuracy to your mount from the Star Adventurer upwards! Even our standard tuned EQ5 is 1.05 arcsec RMS guided... Book your mount in advance or during bad weather, as we get very busy out of season, especially late summer.
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Our Brand New StellarDrive™ EQ6 Class Mounts are a re-manufactured Sky-watcher NEQ6/EQ6-R or AZ EQ6 GT mount, with dual high precision micro-finished SPX worm-gears. We perform Case and Surface re-profiling, for re-engineered lower friction internal components. Every one is hand-built and perfectly optimised to research grade level performance. Each version has its own handling strengths based on what sort of telescope you own, and how you image. Each one is serial-numbered and with a Certificate of Authenticity. These mounts carry a full two year warranty. Prices are from £1899.
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How Good are they?
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It is often stated that you have to subtract a third to half your payload capability for imaging work. All tuned HEQ5/EQ6 payloads have been customer tested and verified at 20.3kg total and still provides sub-arcsecond guided tracking up to 10" SCT's! 
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Unguided Performance is improved too! up to 6x over a stock mount! 5-10mins with an ED80, or 2-3mins with longer SCT's or refractors. A QHY Polemaster helps here to achieve reliable unguided imaging times, and is highly recommended for this purpose. Balance is critical too and practice brings rewards, for the simplest of imaging setups. With lighter setups, no guiding is needed. Longer images mean better signal-to-noise ratio.
Simply put there's up to 2.6x less noise than there is in one 10 minute image than taking 10x 1 minute images. Plus, you get to reveal more detail in every shot.
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The StellarDrive™ upgrade adds both RA and DEC precision worm-gears and other enhancements to an EQ6 class mount which reduce the Periodic Error out further, providing even more reliable guided and unguided performance down to circa ±5 arc-seconds, 0.15-0.3 arc-seconds RMS guided. Unguided, just 0.66 arcsec/min sideral at 5000mm focal length. This matches the standard of many of the observatory-class mounts from the next class up and is essential for longer and heavier focal length telescopes, like RC's and SCT's. We are now applying this know-how to Celestron and iOptron mounts, after test builds and development over many months to validate performance.
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Please note: You can achieve the same with our mounts, but it is still dependent on polar alignment, balance and seeing conditions. We can advise you get the best out of our mounts.
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These are independent customer/owner supplied PHD data and images that demonstrate these facts across a broad spectrum of EQ6 based mounts on a variety of payloads. It's real world data. They paid to find out how good these mounts are. If they weren't... So, if you're happy with the telescopes you currently have or want to use full payload for a larger OTA, we can improve your mount and save you hundreds, if not thousands of pounds in buying a new more expensive mount upgrade. More importantly, you save more images and time! Please check out how your mount currently compares in our performance charts, especially if you're thinking of a more expensive move upwards.
Hypertuned EQ6 PE Data
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Customer supplied PEC Data of NEQ6 to Build Type 6.3.2 (Bonneville) It's already similar to a Takahashi EM200 when guided. StellarDrive™ improves on reducing smoothing out this native periodic error for superior unguided performance, and for longer focal length telescopes.
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What's the lifespan of your tuning/servicing?
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EQ mounts need checking seasonally depending on use, but most mounts we service or tune are usually 3 years old or more. By 5+ years nearly every mount we have come across has amassed considerable backlash and other issues associated with age, such as greases drying out or becoming contaminated/oxidised, so losing their lubrication and dampening qualities. With the work we do, your mount should be fine for three years to five years, and we warranty them for two. New tuned mounts should be fine for 3-5 years but we see 7-10 year old mounts with tired lubrication. This is too long We are introducing a 3rd year servicing package rolling out over Summer 2017 that will improve performance from earlier builds to the latest build type. This means that you will always get consistent high performance, and prolongs the life of your mount.
Is this Snake Oil? Answer: No.
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You could, of course, just fit a EQ6 belt kit yourself but over 40% of the work we do on HEQ5/NEQ6's is reinstalling a customer/tuner fitted belt kit. We rebuild the mount properly which more than trebles performance if you attempted yourself. Also the retail greases used degrade far quicker, meaning performance drops off usually in less than 18 months. We get mounts in from some 'expert tuners' who's mounts have damaged RA shafts, because of the 'tuning work' done to them. That's a false economy. Because of this attention to detail there is lower periodic error in our builds, and unguided performance has been proved to be far superior to any other installation of HEQ5/EQ6 Rowan Belt Kits. To do it properly is a four hour build. We then run them for six or more... No shortcuts.
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When can I have my mount back?
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Turnaround for our services is currently within 10-21 working days from receipt of the mount for Sky-Watcher,  15-25 days for Celestron. Repairs/Special Mounts/Restoration is by arrangement when booked in advance, and are subject to condition. Our build process is meticulous and we refuse to rush them. They take an average of 3-4 hours for a typical rebuild, with another 4-6+ hours of run-time to bed in the mount, test and adjust to dial out the backlash. This time will extend if we are not made aware of previous damage to the mount requiring a repair. Older mounts may also need axis bearing sets at an extra £60 for six or £95 for the full set. After a few evenings the mount will improve further achieving sub-arcsecond tracking. We offer PHD support with your mount to help you drive it better and monitor performance. If it doesn't pass our test routines, it's doesn't ship until it does. We tend to get busy from the Spring onwards, and we limit our production to keep build quality high, so booking in advance is advised. You cannot rush making a hyper-precision mount.
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Customer feedback has led us to improve our communications too, with "Quintet" a 5 stage e-mail tracking progress of your mount, integrated into our production schedule.
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  • We inform you that you mount has arrived safely and has been checked in
  • The mount is tested, then stripped, cleaned and inspected (any issues at this stage you will be informed of and agreed upon such as new parts, etc.)
  • The mount is then rebuilt to our exacting standards with a estimated lead time
  • The mount is under test and run (any extra time needed to settle the mount will be informed)
  • The mount is completed and an agreed date arranged for shipping

We offer an easy three way collection and delivery service for just £39 anywhere in the UK. We send you a reinforced box, collect your packed mount and deliver back to you your smoother, better performing EQ mount. We can offer this in Europe too. If a repair is needed before tuning, then lead times will be lengthier. From April 2017, we have a dedicated repair bench, and extra workstations to reduce delivery times and add capacity.
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Here is a typical PHD graph of one of our Hypertuned NEQ6 mounts sub-arcsecond autoguiding under a typically clear UK Sky. Yes, It is Sub-Arcsecond guided and sub-arcscond/pixel unguided for Hours...
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Hyper tuned NEQ6 0.42 Arcsec guided
Customer Supplied Data: DarkFrame Hypertuned Gen2 NEQ6 (older Build Type 6.5.5 - Flat Earth) 0.42 Arc-seconds RMS

 
 
EQ6 Bonneville
Customer Supplied Data: DarkFrame Hypertuned Gen2 NEQ6 (latest Build Type 6.3.5p - Bonneville 50+hrs run in) 0.16 Arc-seconds RMS over 3hrs session. The graph may look jagged, but that's ±0.25 Arc-Second movement is caused mostly by atmospherics, and by any remaining PE harmonics/oscillations in the mount. Research Grade performance from an EQ6? Here's the proof. Several other customers are now sending in similar data.
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Image: Cropped Single Frame 72mm WO Megrez 72+0.8xFRIII (537mm focal length) modded EOS450D ISO100 3600secs on DarkFrame Hypertuned HEQ5 guided with QHY5L-II mono with 50mm WO Guide scope. On Dual bar with WO ZS71/EOS40D Guided Payload 9KG  ©2016 David Woods/DarkFrame Ltd
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Our other customer owned mounts also offer similar consistent performance. Our work is measurable and meticulous, so every mount we recreate has to be right. Please enquire about what we can to do your EQ mount, be it Sky-Watcher, Celestron, iOptron, Losmandy, Takahashi or Paramount. Just read what our customers say...

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For more details on specific servicing/tuning work please e-mail:dave@darkframe.co.uk

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StarGPS Skywatcher SynScan NEQ3/EQ5/HEQ5/EQ6/NEQ6
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darkframe tuning
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    11 Drift Road, Clanfield, Waterlooville, Hampshire, PO80JJ, United Kingdom
    +44 23 9257 0283
    dave@darkframe.co.uk
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