DARKFRAME StellarDrive™ EQ 8 Series Mounts Available Now!
It's your Mount. But Better.
Our StellarDrive™ EQ8 is perhaps 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 down to 0.2 ArcSec Guided when conditions allow, a consistent 40-80% 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.
Check out how our StellarDrive™ 8 mounts compares in our performance charts.
Image: StellarDrive EQ8 with 45kg telescope array. Total payload running circa 0.55 ArcSec RMS, with up to 30min images.
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 and guiding ability...
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 ±5 arcsecs, and less than circa 0.3 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 rebuild and wipes 7-10 decibels off the slewing noise. In PHD2, your StellarDrive mount is up to twice as responsive to guide commands. The micro-changes have to be super-reactive in order to achieve a stable and reliable mount. Backlash is virtually eliminated, which also improves pointing accuracy.
The main difference between the StellarDrive 8 and our Standard StellarTune is our proven StellarDrive-SPX worm-gear technology which is more precise than a cut gear, meaning a smoother and potentially lower periodic error. Both RA and DEC axis worm-gears are upgraded.
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 too, and provide a very solid feel to the mount, which in turn aids tracking control. 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 re-worked to improve conformity and to reduce friction and improve smoothness. As with our tuned EQ6's, periodic error has been reduced , 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™ EQ8 Mount also sports custom product badges and a Upgrade Certificate and unique serial number, as a well as a 2 year RTB warranty.
StellarDrive EQ8 Performance:
Upgrading the worm gear bearings to Hybrid-ceramic items and reduces backlash and improves periodic error. Tuned mounts run typically at circa 0.3 arcseconds RMS, and can be autoguided to consistently perform sub-arcsecond tracking under most conditions, 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 several HEQ5, NEQ6, AZEQ6GT and 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 EQ8 Mounts to (Build Type: Bonneville 22.214.171.124) which is the basis for our StellarDrive™ EQ8 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: April 2018 - StellarDrive EQ8 running 0.33 arcsecs RMS guided (0.22 in RA, 0.25 Dec in London!) Our DarkFrame (Build Type v126.96.36.199 and v188.8.131.52) offer reduced tracking amplitude and flatter graph, to about ±0.25 ArcSec under good seeing. Previously this EQ8 ran typically between 0.7-1.2 ArcSec RMS with greater amplitude. Payload was Orion Optics UK CT12. The mount is still running in.
StellarDrive™ improves your EQ8 and offers full payload tracking, without the need of an expensive upgrade and learning a new mount platform.
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.