Current turnaround for all DarkFrame StellarTuned Sky-Watcher EQ Mounts is now typically 2 - 3 weeks from receipt of mount, subject to mount condition and specification (non standard spec. mounts may take longer).
For more info please call Dave - firstname.lastname@example.org / 023 9257 0283
TO USE OUR £29 EASY 3 WAY COURIER - PLEASE CHOOSE THIS OPTION AT END OF CHECKOUT.
(we ship you a box + all packaging, arrange collection and return when completed)
Why StellarTune™ your AZEQ6GT Mount?
Equatorial mounts by nature are precision made products. However, due to mass production and to keep the prices lower, they are often not adjusted to the optimum ability due to the variances of manufacture and a median line build. But various improvements can be made to transform the performance of your mount.
There is much controversy over mount tuning as most astronomers start off with an entry level mount, often working their way up though several mounts before they find a more suitable platform for their imaging.
Check out how your mount compares in our performance charts.
But as our customers and their measurement findings testify, tuning a mount really does reduce the need to look for a higher performing mount to get more out of your astro-imaging - which saves you money. Most of the mounts we tune, are either secondhand or older mounts that imagers have had for awhile and are thinking of upgrading to a more expensive mount.
However, if you are happy with the payload of your existing mount then we can help you get more out of what you have.
EQ mounts are subject to being outside and often in the damp, so renewing the grease is often a first port of call with a better type more suited to our climate. Also, with more care in adjusting the worm-gears and motors, they can often made to run smoother and up to 10dB quieter with a belt drive kit, which also benefits better tracking and periodic error reduction.
Mounts need servicing and can also be tuned like any mechanical device. No-one as yet has designed a maintenance free mount!
If your mount is over three years old, a tune-up may be just the thing to rejuvenate it.
What's the difference between a Service and a Tune and a Repair?
Our Mount Tuning/Servicing is effectively bringing your tired mount back to a factory fresh setup, with backlash adjustment and using standard greases and oils. However, if there is any damage or wear, then new components may be required at extra time and cost to put right. Like a car, you cannot tune a sick motor, so we evaluate every mount before we attempt to tune it.
Our tuning methodology provides a more detailed approach, using higher performance lubricants which have tested extensively over several years that help the mount perform better. 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 often this isn't needed if the mount is new.
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 and Tuning is available for all major brands of EQ GOTO mounts including Sky-Watcher, Celestron, Bresser/Meade and Vixen. Call 023 9257 0283 or email email@example.com for details and for mounts not listed.
What difference does your Tuning make?
Our latest DarkFrame Generation Tuned EQ6/NEQ6-AZ EQ6 GT mounts typically run at a Peak-to-Peak Period Error of circa ±8 ArcSec), which is 3-4x better from factory spec. Guided, all our mounts are now sub-arcsecond capable under PHD2, running typically 0.5 arc-seconds RMS, with a guided PE of ±1.5 arc-seconds, depending on seeing. This is proven Customer supplied data across several mounts, not a factory test.
Our tuned EQ mounts become nearly twice a responsive 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 next closest mount performance wise is over £2000. The NEQ6 Hypertune is £499, and the AZEQ6GT is £529. Book your mount in advance or during bad weather, as we get busy out of season.
We have independent customer/owner supplied PHD data and images that demonstrate these facts across a broad spectrum of EQ mounts on a variety of payloads and real world data. So, if you're happy with the payload you currently have, we can improve the mount you already have 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.
PEC Data of NEQ6 to Build Type 6.3.2 (Bonneville).
AZ EQ6 GT Notes:
The AZ EQ6 GT mount typically runs at circa 28 arcsecs PE from new unguided in independent tests. Once tuned our mounts run circa less than ±10 arcsecs PE unguided, and circa 0.5-0.6 arcsecs RMS guided in PHD2 is often reported by our customers. Also the mount will run smoother and much quieter with less internal friction, making it a lot more responsive. The AZ EQ6 GT is rebuilt to Build Type v6.3.3, which is tuned to higher payloads requiring more dampening properties.
The worm gears spin better with upgraded SKF bearings compared to the standard bearings and better still with our new treated Hybrid Ceramic bearings. Cleanup and de-burring of the castings are often needed as they can be quite rough in places. We don't often change the main axis bearings, but we test them and replace if not running smooth or corroded. These only move 180º over the course of an evening, so replacing them with ones tested to 20,000rpm is largely academic! :)
The AZ EQ6 GT is better engineered than the EQ6, and tests have shown this to run 30-40 mins but is largely unwarranted the UK, unless you're narrowband imaging, or running longer focal lengths. Our Reference AZ EQ6 GT currently runs with a 10" Meade LX200 which produces 15-30 min images with ease. We recommend the Gen2 Hybrid Ceramic upgrade, as we also pay particular attention to DEC backlash and adjustment, which is an issue on heavier telescopes on the AZEQ6GT. The RA is completely reworked to eliminate any stiction issues, and bedding for 4-6 hours after rebuild and a final adjustment for backlash is performed.
Add an optional Geo-Position Pack or Geo-Guide Pack, which includes as standard StarGPS and QHY Polemaster and your imaging is taken to a whole new level, especially when quided.
AZ EQ6 GT Performance:
Upgrading the worm gear bearings to Hybrid-ceramic items and rebuilding the mount substantially reduces backlash and improves periodic error. Tuned AZ EQ6 GT mounts run typically at circa 0.4-0.6 arc-seconds RMS, with a PE of circa ±1.5 Arc-seconds under load and subject to seeing conditions. Unguided, less than ±10 arcsecs without a StellarDrive-SPX™ worm-gear. This performance make long focal length, long exposure imaging a reliable reality! We have HEQ5, NEQ6, AZEQ6GT and EQ8 Reference mounts that are utilised to constantly improve our tuning methodology and demonstrate the benefits of enhancing the mount. AZ EQ6 GT have a specific customised build called v6.3.3 which matches the envelop of the NEQ6 as a benchmark, a providing consistent level of engineering.
Here is a customer supplied PHD graph of one of our EQ6 Mounts. Other customer supplied examples for your relevant mount are available upon request.
Here is an image taken with an AZEQ6GT with LX200 31x15 minutes, guided:
Each EQ Mount is examined externally for any damage and owner are notified for any extra-parts if needed. We photograph disassembly and reassembly of key components, and video before and after, with a sound check that creates a unique sound signature for each mount. A Report is generated for each mount and is available for extra cost.
The Mount is stripped back in both axis to component level, inspected for damage or wear, and degreased. Owner notified for any extra-parts if required, or upgraded by request.
Cone Axis bearings are degreased checked for wear, and ultrasonically cleaned, and re-lubricated, as are the bearing cone surfaces checked and cleaned in the mount.
For the AZ EQ6 GT we clean the internal castings, de-burr and reprofiled where required.
The AZ EQ6 GT becomes a much more responsive mount to guide commands, when low-energy or higher performing hybrid-ceramic worm gears are specified. This is particularly noticeable on longer focal length heavier tracking payloads, such as Celestron EDGE HD or Meade LX200 OTA's. (Please see our testimonial page for Mark Webster's review).
All external threaded bolts on mount and tripod (if supplied) are degreased, ultrasonically cleaned and re-lubricated.
Motors tested and gearboxes checked* (*where applicable).
Mount is reassembled using upgraded greases and oils which operate in all temperatures from -25ºC to +50ºC (we use them in our Export Service and our own products so have been tested at these temperatures!).
The Mount is then bench tested and adjusted to remove backlash and to ensure optimal operation of mount. It is then load tested with a fully balanced 8" Newtonian OTA and worm-gears re-adjusted for any backlash to be dialled out.
GoTo Handset and Mount is checked for Firmware updates and updated with latest code as required and tested for operation.
Fitting of QHY Polemaster adapter if purchased, and camera test to ensure correct focus and operation.
In the case of axis repairs and tuning we carry out a load test on every mount with either an 8 inch reflector or 100mm f9 refractor - or 70mm refractor for smaller mounts, and adjust worm back lash to dial out as much movement a possible so to ensure the mount is performing as it should under real-world conditions.
Mount is then readied for shipping/collection.
All work carried out is now covered by our 24 month limited warranty.