Prices from £289.00
Current turnaround for DarkFrame Stellartuned EQ6 Mounts is now typically 2 - 3 weeks from receipt of mount, subject to mount condition and specification (non-standard spec. mounts may take longer).
No longer have the original box? Then use our Easy 3 Way Courier service. For just £29.00 we ship you a box and packaging, we arrange courier collection and return it to you when Hypertuned - (please choose this option at end of checkout).
There are three options for tuning Sky-watcher EQ6 mounts:
Gen 0 StellarTune™ - £289.00 No Belt Drive Upgrade. All components checked then ultrasonically cleaned and both axis re-lubricated to eliminate stiction. Replace worm gear bearings with SKF or better. Adjusted then load tested to customer specified payload and to reduce drive-train backlash.
Gen 1 StellarTune™ - £439.00 Please choose this option if you already have the Rowan Belt Kit fitted - to bring it up to our Gen 2 Hypertune.
Gen 2 StellarTune™ - £499.00 New Rowan Belt Kit fitted, plus Hybrid-Ceramic bearings, other components optimised/re-lubricated to reduce internal friction even further. Case reprofiled where required to provide better clearance for belt drive pulleys.
Equatorial mounts by nature are precision made products. However, due to mass production and to keep the prices lower, they are often not fettled to the best of their ability due to the variances in each mount. Various improvements can be made to transform the performance of your mount from what is a median production build this will save you the need to upgrade to a more expensive mount, providing you are happy with the payload 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, using a better type of grease more suited to our climate can help reduce friction. This means the motors can drive the mount a lot more accurately both unguided and guided compared to a stock mount.
Also, with much more care in adjusting the worm-gears and motor drive train, they can often be made to run smoother and quieter, 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!
What's the difference between a Service and a Tune and a Repair?
Our Mount Servicing is effectively to bring 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 Hypertuned mounts are better than new, with more response and less friction than a factory mount. This equates to better guided and tracking performance, as proven by our customers PHD2 guide data and their amazing images! Not only are nearly all mounts independently tested by our customers, they paid to find out how good they are. The guide logs we get back from them have helped us produce what is the most cost-effective and reliably performing mount that gives an EQ8 a run for its money!
Check out how your mount 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.
What difference does your Tuning make?
Our latest DarkFrame Stellartuned 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 independent data across several mounts, not a factory test.
Our tuned EQ mounts become nearly twice a 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) ±8 arc-seconds PE. That's without a precision worm-gear! A StellarDrive-SPX™ worm-gear provides a lower periodic error and a smoother curve, that has better unguided and guided performance to match higher end mounts, at a fraction of the cost.
What's the lifespan of your tuning/servicing?
EQ mounts need checking seasonally depending on use, but most mounts we service are usually 3 years old or more. By 5+ years every mount we have come across has amassed considerable backlash and other issues associated with age, such as greases drying out or becoming contaminated, so losing their lubrication and dampening qualities. With the work we do, your mount should be fine for three years or more, and we warranty them for two. New tuned mounts should be fine for 5 years. The condition of our 2 year old Reference Mounts support this timescale after a recent Build Type upgrade to v6.3.x (Bonneville).
You could, of course, just fit a belt kit yourself but over 60% of the work we do on HEQ5/NEQ6's is reinstalling a belt kit, along with rebuilding the mount properly which doubles the performance. It's very easy to get it wrong, and there no substitute for time in getting it right. Using bicycle or 'performance' grease won't improve your mount for very long either. Because of this attention to detail, our mounts outperform home builds.
The EQ6 mount typically runs at 20-30 arcsecs from new unguided in independent tests. Once tuned our mounts run circa 4-6 arcsecs, and less than 0.5-1.0 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 hypertuned mount is up to twice as responsive to guide commands. Backlash is virtually eliminated, which also improves point accuracy. EQ6/NEQ6 have a specific customised build called v6.3.2 which generates the NEQ6 as a benchmark for all our mounts, a providing consistent level of engineering across the range in this Build Type.
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 and without a precision worm-gear. 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.
The worm-gear shaft just spins with upgraded low-friction SKF bearings compared to the standard bearings, and even better still with our new 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.
Cleanup and de-burring of the castings is often needed as they are quite rough in places, and the mating surfaces contribute to better engagement of the worm-gear. We don't often change the main axis bearings, but we test them and replace if not smooth. These only move 180º over the course of an evening, so replacing them with ones tested to 20,000rpm is largely academic! :)
Once tuned, 15-30min subs are more than possible with this mount with very few if any lost frames. 30 minute exposures is near the mechanical limit but is achievable with lighter OTA setups with this mount without substantial re-engineering of the mount or the worm gears. This is currently under research and development.
The AZ EQ6 GT is better engineered, and tests have shown this to run 30-60 mins but is largely unwarranted the UK, unless you're narrowband imaging, or running long focal lengths. Check out our testimonials page, for examples of our work.
Add an optional Geo-Position Pack or Geo-Guide Pack, which includes as standard StarGPS and QHY Polemaster to the EQ6/NEQ6 and your imaging is taken to a whole new level, especially when quided.
Upgrading the worm gear bearings to Hybrid-ceramic items and belt-driving the motors substantially reduces backlash and improves periodic error. It is transformational. Tuned mounts run typically at circa 3 arcseconds RMS guided, and once autoguided in PHD2 will consistently perform sub-arcsecond tracking down to 0.5 arc-seconds, especially when allied to a QHY Polemaster. We will advise you of the new settings as a basis to get the most out of your newly 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 and we save you money by bridging the gap in moving to a much more expensive equatorial mount.
Here is a customer supplied PHD graph of one of our EQ6 Mounts. Other customer supplied examples are available upon request.
Each EQ Mount is examined externally for any damage and owners are notified for any extra-parts (replacement Sky-Watcher EQ bolts, for example) if needed. We photograph dis-assembly and reassembly of key components, and video before and after with a sound check that creates a unique sound signature for each mount. A unique report on your mount with images is available for an extra charge.
The Mount is stripped back in both axis to component level, inspected for damage or wear, and degreased. Owners are notified if any extra-parts are required or upgraded by request.
Cone Axis bearings are degreased, checked for wear/damage and ultrasonically cleaned and re-lubricated, as are the bearing cone surfaces checked and cleaned in the mount casting.
All external threaded bolts on mount and tripod (if supplied) are degreased, ultrasonically cleaned and re-lubricated.
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 dial out backlash and to ensure operation of mount.
GoTo Handset and Mount is checked for Firmware updates and updated with latest code as required and tested for operation. For V3 handsets we use v3.36 only as it error free.
Free 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. Worm backlash is then dialled 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. Our three-way UK Courier Service is just £29 fully insured, using a tracked service, if you don't have original box & packaging.
The mount is videoed/photographed during evaluation, disassembly and rebuild, with a soundwave check to confirm drivetrain signature. A Mount Report is available for and extra charge. All work carried out is now covered by our 24 month limited warranty.