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DarkFrame rebuilt & tuned Celestron CGEM-DX  Video:©2017 Ian Bird
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We are proud to offer 10% off all StellarTune™ and StellarDrive™
tuning products. Thank you to everyone that has helped make our
mount tuning the best ever!
Offer ends 30/11/2018. Use Code: 600TUNE
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We stock the Rowan Astronomy Belt Kits and spares (of course!) 

Book your mount in NOW for our StellarTune™ or StellarDrive™
StellarDrive™ RX/FX Axis bearings included in ALL rebuilds as standard!
(also EQ6 Rail Kit included with (N)EQ6 based StellarDrive™ builds)
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Now in our 4th year of EQ mount re-engineering
and shipping to over 30 Countries! 
(Please use Currency Tab for local pricing ex UK tax)
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Please Note! Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm BST

Weekends or evenings by appointment only - please call or e-mail

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

J,,,,,,
PL*
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) - from £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
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Easy 2 Way Courier (USA/Canada) - from $250 we collect your mount and ship back
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Please enquire about our in-house Weekend UK wide collection/delivery service for Paramount/Losmanndy/Meade and all other heavy/premium payload mounts Service/Repair/Custom work - Fully Insured Transportation
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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 StellarTune™ from £179

QHY Polemaster from £278

StellarTune™ HEQ5 from £259 
 
NEW! StellarDrive-5 £ 1299 Upgrade from £449 - Full Sub-arcsec 18Kg imaging payload

NEW! EQ6 StellarTune™ £329 (Gen0B Rowan Belt Kit included! 1 Year Warranty!)

EQ6 StellarTune™ £499 (Select Gen2 for full tune)

AZEQ6GT StellarTune™ £529 - 25Kg imaging payload
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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
 
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PRODUCT NEWS! 25/10/18 - To celebrate our 600th mount and 99% reliability rate over the past with mounts over the past three years, we are proud to offer a 10% off all StellarTune™ and StellarDrive™ tuning products. Thank you to everyone that has helped make our mount tuning the best ever! Offer ends 30/11/2018. Use Code: 600TUNE
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PRODUCT NEWS! 30/09/18 - Our StellarDrive™ 5 and 6 mounts can now colour co-ordingate with your William Optics telescope, in Hydrogen Red, Helium Blue, and Solar Gold. We are also introducing a Space Grey for the newer green Sky-Watcher livery, by customer request.

LATEST NEWS! 11/09/18
 - Our AZEQ6GT rebuilds are now rated at full 25Kg sub-arcsecond imaging payload, some 7Kg more than a factory mount! This now takes your mount to the next class up in terms of payload. For many astro-imagers this maybe the only EQ mount you'll need.
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Customer Tested Mounts. Their Data. Not Ours.
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We are the UK based micro-engineering specialists in the worldwide servicing, repair and tuning EQ mounts for Sky-watcher/Orion USA, Celestron, Losmandy, iOptron, Vixen and Paramount. We take your equatorial mount and make it perform like a high-end sub-arcsecond imaging mount using patentable production and finishing processes. That means superior guided and unguided performance, meaning longer exposure Astro-photography with reliability unlike any other tuning available. Now you can reliably image fainter objects in the Cosmos never available to you before, and in poorer seeing conditions too.

Only more expensive telescope EQ 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. Our mount build methodology is peerless! We do not sub-contract our mount building or repair.
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Each tuned mount comes with a Two years FULL worldwide warranty and support on NEW StellarDrive™ mounts, TWO years worldwide RTB limited warranty and support on all other tuning on owner used mounts. No-one else we know in the industry has the confidence to do this with new or used mounts. This protects the value of your mount investment, and is further reassurance of the quality of work we do.

Every tuned mount 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.
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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! 
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Why tune my EQ Mount?
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Customer Data proves tuning works, and saves money to get better images!
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stock-vs-stellardrive-range
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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, and 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 at lower cost.
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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 unparalelled experience, and take no shortcuts in providing the best mounts we can.
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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 setup.
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It's your mount transformed.
To the Nth degree..
 
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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 amplitude of ±0.25 arc-seconds and 3.0-5.0 ArcSec RMS in PecPrep, depending on seeing payload, balance and polar alignment. This is proven independent customer supplied data across hundreds of mounts with a variety of payloads, not a factory test.

Our fully rebuilt mounts are at least twice accurate (and more reliable!) than just the Rowan Belt Kit fitted by home build or other 'tuners', due to our meticulous evolved-build philosophy. We have over 20 Reference Mounts in the UK alone with others in France, Germany and the USA, that provide us unparalleled feedback on developing better mount performance. That's why we can uniquely offer a two-year warranty, even on older mounts! 
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One example of innovation from our unique Reference Mount Program, is the development of precision RA/DEC worm-gears called StellarDrive™. This level of enhancement is perhaps the ultimate iteration of an HEQ5/EQ6 class mount so far.  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.
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Simply put, a StellarDrive™ EQ Mount has proven to be 30-40% more accurate than our standard StellarTune™ 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...
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The difference between early belt-kit mounts and newer Bonneville 6.3x Build Type typically halves Periodic Error.
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Celestron EQ 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. Celsetron AVX's can track sub-arcsond guided with an 80mm Refractor, or 200mm SCT. We can remove the stiction in these mounts in such a way that it transforms their performance. No other rebuilt Celestron EQ mount comes close.
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Heavily Modified. Precisely Refined.
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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 even 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.
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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 several patentable processes. 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 over two dozen EQ Reference Mounts throughout the UK and Europe and USA, whereby owners send data in nearly every imaging session. We 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 evaluation and tuning! No-one in the industry does this to the extent we do, or offers a two-year warranty on used mounts.
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You can't match our work at home on a kitchen table, and it 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!). We spend many hours undoing others lack of expertise and can add to the cost. Mounts need to track time and movement just like a mechanical watch only far more accurately.

Take our StellarDrive 6 for example, the only things we don't touch are the motors themselves and the electronics/handset other than firmware updates. Our tuning, even on the EQ6-R is up to 2x better than a stock mount, because we re-engineer components to much 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.
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How Good are they?
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All our StellarTune™ EQ Mounts are distinguished by these unsurpassed and proven features:
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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 proven Bonneville 6.3.x Build Type is based and it works!
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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!
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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.
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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 tracking agility and the 0.8-1.5 ArcSec tracking headroom it produces over a stock mount.
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Longer, reliable exposures: All our mounts EQ5 and above can produce 20+ minute subs. Ideal for Narrowband, and the HEQ5-EQ8 are capable of 40+ minutes, once setup on a pier and drift aligned, 30+mins on a tripod. The humble Star Adventurer? Read up to 15mins guided with a 72mm APO!
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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 are highly reactive 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 very flat graphs, and reduced amplitude (typically less than ±0.25 ArcSec) in guide corrections, that is unmatched in a stock mount.
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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 worldwide support. No-one else does this.
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Our rebuilt mounts are validated 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. 
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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 (even stock) every three months regardless of use, to work the bearing greases.
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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, Meade and Paramount, just read what our customers say...
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For more details on specific servicing/tuning work please e-mail:dave@darkframe.co.uk
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E&OE - Mount Build Specification and components used subject to change without notice. Example EQ mount tracking performance is not guaranteed and is dependent on users ability, and is subject to the age and condition of the Donor Mount.

Featured Products

QHY5-III 224 C
£320.00
EQ6 Rail Kit
£129.00
New StellarDrive™ Mounts
£1,899.00
StellarTune™ HEQ5 Mount
£259.00
QHY5L-II Colour Camera /Guide Camera
£139.00
Hypertune EQ5 Mount
£179.00
CloverFour EQ Silver
£40.00
QHY5P-II Colour Camera
£159.00
QHY5P-II-M Mono Camera
£199.00
SPL Planetary Eyepieces 1.25"
£89.00
QHY5L-II Mono Camera /Guide Camera
£175.00
QHY MiniGuideScope
£119.00
EQ6/NEQ6/AZEQ6/Atlas EQ-G/Atlas Pro/LXD55/LXD75
£32.00
StellarDrive AVX-R
£499.00
CloverThree Adventurer Red
£37.99
Astronomik CLS EOS / EOS XL Clip Filter
£104.00
STAR ADVENTURER ASTRO-PHOTO BUNDLE
£329.00
EQ6, NEQ6, NEQ6Pro Belt Modification Kit
£120.00
StellarDrive™ EQ6 Class
£799.00
Polarite with Right angle finder
£72.00
StellarDrive™ EQ8
£999.00
darkframe tuning
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  • Contact Us
    11 Drift Road, Clanfield, Waterlooville, Hampshire, PO80JJ, United Kingdom
    +44 23 9257 0283
    dave@darkframe.co.uk
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