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DarkFrame rebuilt & tuned Celestron CGEM-DX  Video:©2017 Ian Bird

Book your mount in NOW for our Hypertune or StellarDrive™
StellarDrive™ RX/FX Axis bearings included in all Sky-Watcher/Celestron rebuilds as standard! (also EQ6 Rail Kit included with EQ6 StellarDrive™ builds)

Now in our 4th year of EQ mount re-engineering! 

Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm BST

Phone for more details - +44 (0)23 9257 0283 / dave@darkframe.co.uk

Current turnaround for most mount tuning builds is now typically circa 2-3 weeks for Sky-Watcher and Celestron, 5 days for all Tracker mounts. 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, older mounts and undeclared repairs may take longer). 

Easy 2 Way Courier (UK) - £20 we collect your mount and ship back

Easy 3 Way Courier (UK)  - £29 we supply you a box and all packaging, collect your mount and ship back - choose either option at the end of checkout procedure
Please enquire about our in-house Weekend UK collection/delivery service for Paramount and all heavy/premium payload mounts Service/Repair/Custom work - Fully Insured
Popular Quick Links:

NEW! Service 60 - Revive your EQ mount for up to the next 5 years!

NEW! TuneUp 60 - Maintain your StellarDrive™ performance for up to 5 years!
EQ5 Hypertune from £179

QHY Polemaster from £278

HEQ5 Hypertune from £259
NEW! StellarDrive-5 £ 1299 Upgrade £549

NEW! EQ6 Hypertune £329 (Gen0B Rowan Belt Kit modded! 1 Year Warranty!)

EQ6 Hypertune £499 (Select Gen2 for full Hypertune)

New StellarDrive 6  (NEQ6-AZEQ6GT-EQ6R) from £1899 or Upgrade from £699

StellarDrive 8 0.2 ArcSec RMS Full 50Kg Imaging payload £3700 or upgrade £999
LATEST NEWS! 05/07/18 - Our new UK Premium Collection Service is for any heavy EQ Mount to large to ship, or suseptible to damage via standard courier. Ideal for EQ8-Paramount-Losmandy type mounts that require safe transit. We have zoned the UK to match our production/delivery cycle. This in-house service is fully insured. Please enquire for more details and pricing.
LATEST NEWS! 12/06/18 - Our V1.2 EQ6 Rail kit by BoDai Global has been fitted to our StellarDrive 6's since March '17 and is now available as a self-install kit for £129. Smooth latitude adjustment without bending bolts has never been this simple (takes 15mins), or this cheap! Comes with engraved alloy caps too! (HEQ5 version also in the works). 
LATEST NEWS! 07/06/18 Summer upgrades are now in full swing with a full and busy workshop. Please book your mount in advance as we are working close to capacity, and want you to spend as little time away from your mount as possible. Please don't send your mount in unannounced as this can extend lead times for everyone.
Customer Tested Mounts. Their Data. Not Ours.
We are the UK based specialists in the worldwide servicing, repair and hypertuning EQ mounts for Sky-watcher/Orion USA, Celestron, Losmandy, iOptron, Vixen and Paramount worldwide. We take your equatorial mount and make it perform like a high-end sub-arcsecond imaging mount. That means superior guided and unguided performance, meaning longer exposure Astro-photography with reliability. Now you can image fainter objects in the Cosmos never available to you before, and in poorer seeing conditions.

Only more expensive mounts can match ours in terms of tracking performance, and you can even save time and money by not spending it on expensive guide scopes on cameras too. With experience with nearly 600 modified mounts to our name across the UK, Europe and Worldwide, no-one else has as much independent data as we do on modifying imaging mounts, or proof that tuning works. No other rebuilt mount comes close!
Each tuned mount comes with a Two years FULL worldwide warranty ans support on NEW StellarDrive™ mounts, TWO years worldwide RTB limited warranty and support 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.

Every mount tune includes a unique serial number, and Certificate of Authenticity/Warranty. To help you get the best out of your tuned mount, we also provide PHD2 support and guide data specific to your telescope payload. No-one-else does this.
No other mount manufacturer utilises the advanced engineering principles we have developed, purely because they very expensive to replicate any other way. Our unique reprocessing techniques add precision to your mount enough for it to track a star, light years away, for up to 1/10000th of a degree accuracy for hours at a time! 
Why tune my EQ Mount?
Customer Data proves it works and saves money upgrading to get better images!
Before, if you wanted more than your mount could offer in terms of usable payload and tracking, then you would have to upgrade to a heavier, more expensive mount. Now, you can get more from your existing mount not just in terms of a usable maximum payload for imaging, but also better tracking, pointing, guiding and more reliable imaging.

With our unique engineering experience spanning across more nearly 600 hundred mounts since 2014, we have honed our tuned mounts to near perfection. We have unequalled independent customer supplied data that tuning an equatorial mount works, and can match the performance of more expensive offerings. No other mount tuner worldwide can match what we do, or has independent data to prove it.
Lifespan is extended and retains greater value, and with recommended service intervals of 3-5 years your mount could last for up to 20 years or more.  We know this because we have successfully restored mounts dating back to 1998 with better performance than stock!

Without servicing we are seeing EQ6's suffering from 10+ years of neglect, and some are honestly a gamble to tune or repair. Bearings need re-greasing 4-7 years or they wear out faster. There are NO sealed for life components in these mounts. They do degrade over time. We know these mounts better than anyone else because of our experience, and take no shortcuts in providing the best mounts we can.
PLEASE NOTE: All customer data quoted is averaged across several mounts (of each stated model) with various payloads. Therefore performance is subject to age, condition of mount, payload, location conditions and user skill in setup. A run-in period of 15-50+ hours is needed to the mount to attain full performance, due to tighter tolerances from rebuild. Please contact us for specific performance data related to your equipment.
It's your mount. But better.
As proven by Customer PHD Data.
If it was as easy as just better grease and bearings, then don't you think manufacturers would be doing that already? Our latest DarkFrame 'Bonneville' Tuned Sky-Watcher EQ6/NEQ6-AZ EQ6 GT mounts typically run at a Peak-to-Peak Period Error of circa ±7.5 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 at least twice as good as results with just the Rowan Belt Kit fitted or home build, due to our meticulous build philosophy.
The latest innovation of performance with precision RA/DEC worm-gears is called StellarDrive™. This level of enhancement is the ultimate iteration of an HEQ5/EQ6 class mount.  These mounts run even better for the very best in guided and unguided performance, with super-flat PHD graphs and more consistent guiding, which a must for bigger telescopes or longer exposures...

For the Sky-Watcher EQ6/NEQ6-AZ EQ6 GT mounts typically run at a Peak-to-Peak Period Error of under ±5 ArcSec unguided, which is nearly 6x better from factory spec (circa ±28+). Guided, a StellarDrive EQ6 is capable of circa 0.2-0.5 arc-seconds RMS guided, with a guided PE of ±0.5 arc-seconds or 0.66arcsec/min RA unguided (@5000mm focal length), depending on seeing, payload, balance and polar alignment and run-in time. These figures are averaged across several tested mounts.
Simply put, a StellarDrive EQ Mount has proven to be 30-40% more accurate than our standard Hypertune in real terms, providing easier guiding, to consistent sub-arcsecond performance even in poorer seeing conditions. This has been further independently confirmed with upgrades on the same mounts...
The difference between our early belt-kit mounts and newer Bonneville 6.3x Build Type halves Periodic Error.
Celestron Mount data is also starting to come in with sub-arcsecond tracking, an reports of up to 20-30 minute guided images with the AVX-CGEM/CGE-PRO-II range of mounts, with better GOTO alignment, and smoother operation.  With an 11" Dall-Kirkham OTA on a CGEM-DX, 4 mins unguided are achieved, which floods the CCD! Periodic Error and gearbox harmonics are reduced. Unguided and visual work is also much improved. We can remove the stiction in these mounts in such a way that it transforms their performance. No other rebuilt mount comes close.
Heavily Modified. Precisely Refined.
Mounts wear out. It's that simple. If you think you can get away without servicing your car for ten years then good luck! Servicing them makes them last longer, and tuning them makes them perform better. Same with mounts. Our indexed lubricants make for a faster reacting and smoother running mount. Reworked worm-gears lower periodic error, and new bearings revitalise the mount. 'Polished' components remove tolerance, instead we use processes based on Tribology. Engineering Science.
Engineered to Micron level tolerances in our fully equipped workshops, we improve your mount in number of ways to make them more reliable and accurate. Our StellarDrive-SPX gears can make an HEQ5/NEQ6/AZEQ6GT guide down to 0.3-0.42 Arcsec RMS (average, after mount run-in period), using a patentable process. Our StellarDrive 8/8C offer the ultimate high-end solution at an amazing price point... All our StellarDrive EQ mounts can do this AND offer assured full payload sub-arcsecond guided performance! Not something advised or possible with a stock mount. Again, this is customer supplied data.

We have nearly two dozen EQ Reference Mounts throughout the UK and Europe and USA, whereby owners send data in nearly every imaging session. We can monitor the performance of our mounts in different conditions, across a spectrum of payloads, to continuously improve the build quality and measure individual component improvements. That's proper mount tuning!
You can't do this sort of rebuild at home on a kitchen table, and is so much more than slapping in a belt kit and some bicycle or lithium grease like some critics claim, and some other 'tuners' have done in the past (and still do).

Take our StellarDrive 6 for example, the only things we don't touch are the motors themselves and the electronics/handset. Our tuning, even on the EQ6-R is up to 2x better because we re-engineer components to higher tolerances. However, just like a car, mounts need to be used, and not parked up for long periods of time. They also need to be run in to attain maximum accuracy.
How Good are they?
All our tuned mounts are distinguished by these unsurpassed and proven features:
Better balance and stiction free! Our mounts offer the best fluid motion possible due to our indexed lubricant packages specific to each mount and payload requirement. It transforms the mounts agility, making them up to 40% more responsive than before. Forget a trick two-part grease package. Ours is a spectrum of researched and tested greases, each with unique properties to make your mount run more accurately. It's what our Bonneville 6.3.x Build Type is based and it works!
Improved Imaging Payload: Customer data collected across our StellarDrive 6 class EQ Mounts can now confirm they can run sub-arcsecond imaging up to full 25Kg Payload when precisely balanced. Previously, it was always advised by many dealers that 25Kg was visual and 18Kg was for imaging for an AZEQ6GT. Not anymore! Proof (if anymore were needed...) that our rebuilds really can save you money from moving to a bigger, more expensive equatorial mount!
Fewer Dropped Frames: More data can be gathered over an evenings session, because it tracks reliably, balances better, and therefore means your mount is now a stable imaging platform. Once, run in, our mounts have provided consistent performance without adjustment for 3 years more, ideal for remote observatory use.
Better star shapes: Yes, no trailing just tight, round stars. If you pixel-peep your astro-images that's where you find the effects of precise tracking. That difference shows up in more detailed images, due to the mounts agility and the 0.8-1.5 ArcSec difference it produces over a stock mount.
Longer, reliable exposures: All our mounts EQ5 and above can produce 20+ minute subs. Ideal for Narrowband, and the EQ6-EQ8 are capable of 40+ minutes, once setup on a pier, 30+mins on a tripod.
The best in guided and unguided tracking: It's not just a case of better greases and some bearings. If it was that easy it would already have been done. Our mounts have improved imaging in poorer seeing conditions, because they respond better to guide input. By adding more headroom to seeing conditions, you can image more tightly in PHD2, without chasing the seeing. Our Bonneville v6.3.x means flatter graphs, and reduced amplitude in guide corrections.
Better than rebuilding it yourself: a typical EQ6 rebuild could cost nearly £400 in just parts alone to refurbish the mount (just ask for a list of parts and we'll send you one), and we charge just £499, plus we have all the right tools and a wealth of experience, across hundreds of mounts. All backed up by a 2 year warranty and support.

Our mounts are calibrated using our custom SIDAC-36M test rigs. You can only tune a mount when you can measure what it does. No-one can match our data, because our mounts are engineered to be better. 
All the figures quoted are dependent on the condition of the base mount for rebuild. Older mounts that have not been regularly serviced or cared for, may not achieve these average figures. Based on the data across several hundred mounts, we strongly recommend a 1st service within 3 years of the purchase of a new mount, with main axis bearings changed every 7-10 years at most. This is dependent on use, and storage of your mount. You should exercise your mount every three months regardless of use, to work the bearing greases.
Our work is customer measurable and meticulous, so every mount we create has to be right and we never rush them out. Please enquire about what we can to do your EQ mount, be it Sky-Watcher/Orion USA, Celestron, iOptron, Losmandy and Paramount, just read what our customers say...
For more details on specific servicing/tuning work please e-mail:dave@darkframe.co.uk
E&OE - Mount Build Specification and components used subject to change without notice. Example EQ mount tracking performance is not guaranteed, and is subject to the age and condition of the Donor Mount.

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  • Contact Us
    11 Drift Road, Clanfield, Waterlooville, Hampshire, PO80JJ, United Kingdom
    +44 23 9257 0283
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