DARKFRAME StellarDrive™ EQ 8 Series Mounts Available Now!
It's your Mount. But Better.
StellarDrive™ is the ultimate iteration of a tuned EQ8 Class mount. It has all the technology of our celebrated StellarDrive 6, plus the inclusion of an aerospace grade precision RA worm-gear as well as other re-processed components. The result is a further reduction the EQ8 series mounts periodic error to circa ±5 arcsec, and 0.2 ArcCec Guided, a 40% improvement over a stock mount. If you are an EQ8 owner with a long focal length telescope, this is the path to much longer exposures, essential for deep sky! The smoothed PE curve the new StellarDrive-SPX™ gear train making guided tracking of any mount more precise. No need to upgrade to a higher payload or more expensive mount.
The ultimate version of an EQ8 is the StellarDrive 8C (due Q1-2018), you can now upgrade your mount and access the performance you crave, yet save money. The good news that you can use your mount at up to 50 kilo payload, and still attain sub-arcsecond guided imaging. This is perfect for longer focal telescopes or for narrowband imaging require exposures over 15 minutes.
Check out how our StellarDrive™ 8 mounts compares in our performance charts.
Our tuning methodology provides a more detailed approach, using higher performance lubricants that help the mount perform better, which have been tested extensively over several years.
We also clean up the castings and can upgrade the worm-gear bearings for a better drive response.
If required, we can also upgrade the main DEC and RA axis bearings as an option, but this is rarely needed if the mount is new, as they only rotate 180º. We also load test the mount and take sound profiles, as well as stripdown/rebuild photos and video as part of the tune-up record.
We can prove the difference tuning makes.
Servicing, repairs, customisation and Tuning is available for Sky-Watcher EQ GOTO mounts using OEM parts, as an authorised dealer. Unlike most manufacturers, we publish our customers data!
StellarDrive™ EQ8 Series Notes:
The EQ8 mount typically runs at 20-30 arcsecs from new unguided in independent tests. Once tuned and rebuilt our mounts run circa ±7.5 arcsecs, and less than circa 0.5 arcsecs guided is often reported by our customers. Also the mount will run smoother and much quieter especially once belt driven. This mount responds well to a belt drive installation and wipes 10-15 decibels off the slewing noise. In PHD2, your Gen2 hypertuned mount is up to twice as responsive to guide commands. Backlash is virtually eliminated, which also improves pointing accuracy.
The RA/DEC StellarDrive SPX worm-gears just spin freely when upgraded with our new treated and tested Hybrid Ceramic bearings. These reduce the end-float, and provide a very solid feel to the mount, which in turn virtually eliminates the well known rocking motion in both RA/DEC. We calibrate the end-float to an accuracy of 0.01mm, to ensure a consistent dial-out of backlash and minimised play in the gear-train. Other bearing surfaces are polished to improve conformity and to reduce friction. As with our tuned EQ6's, periodic error has been reduced to ±5 arcsecs, and the StellarDrive 8 promises an even lower PE with a smoother sine-wave path that can be easily guided. The will result in a super low guiding error of just circa 0.13-0.2 arc-seconds RMS under PHD2 (weather permitting).
A StellarDrive™ Mount also sports your choice of either Hydrogen Red or Space Grey Clamp Bolts, Clutch Levers and Azimuth bolts. It also comes with product badges and a Upgrade Certificate and unique serial number.
Hypertuned Gen 2 NEQ6 baseline Performance:
Upgrading the worm gear bearings to Hybrid-ceramic items and belt-driving the motors substantially reduces backlash and improves periodic error. Tuned mounts run typically at circa 3 arcseconds RMS, and can be autoguided to consistently perform sub-arcsecond tracking, especially when allied to a QHY Polemaster, and well driven via PHD2. We will advise you of the new settings as a basis to get the most out of your rebuilt mount.
We have HEQ5, NEQ6, AZEQ6GT and now EQ8 Reference mounts that are utilised to constantly improve our Zero Drop Frame tuning methodology, and demonstrate the benefits of enhancing the mount. That's the point, you can do more imaging with our mounts. The same applies to your EQ8
Here is a customer supplied PHD graph of one of our EQ6 Mounts to Gen 2 (Build Type: Bonneville 6.3.x) which is the basis for our StellarDrive™ EQ6 mounts. The aim was to improve both unguided and guided performance and the new worm-gear does this. As part of our R&D we discovered other things we could do to improve the mount.
Image: 2016 (2nd generation) hypertuned NEQ6 running 5.86arcsecs RMS unguided with standard SKF bearings and Belt-drive Kit. Our DarkFrame Generation 2 (Build Type v6.3.x) NEQ6's run typically between 3.25-4.0 arcsecs with Hybrid-Ceramic bearings, yet no polished/precision worm-gear. All customer supplied data. StellarDrive™ improves on this.
Other customer supplied examples are available upon request.
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.