Though larger it shares the same high level of Italian engineering, craftmanship, build quality and features of all 10 Micron HPS mounts.
This large mount weighs 65kg / 143lbs (mount head only) so is intended for use in a permanent observatory. It can carry a total equipment payload of up to 100kg /220lbs making it an choice for use with large instruments
such as, for example, 200mm aperture refractors, 300mm diameter Newtonians and 450mm Cassegrain-type reflectors (e.g. CDK14/CDK17) along with their accessories (i.e. imaging cameras, filter wheels etc).
All 10Micron GM mounts feature High Precision and Speed 'HPS'.
Traditional worm and wheel gears pairs with the latest state-of-the-art encoder technology enables these mounts to perform at the same level of precision as professional direct-drive mounts.
The GM mounts utilise two high-precision proprietary (1/10th arcsec resolution) absolute encoders mounted directly on each axes. These encoders provide very impressive high precision GoTo pointing (typically to within 20 arc secs) and tracking accuracy (<1 arcsec).
The diagram above shows the 10Micron GM mount RA tracking error profile measured with an encoder coupled to the RA axis. To show how accurate the tracking is, Jupiter and its moon Ganymede are shown as they appear from Earth at the same scale in arc seconds.
The high-speed slewing of the mount, from 2 degrees to a sprightly 20 degrees per second, is achieved using high performance servo motors.
The GM3000’s Right Ascension and Declination axes are made from alloy steel (for maximum rigidity) 80mm diameter for RA and 50mm for DEC.
The axes are driven by two servo brushless AC motors that utilises a belt drive reduction system with automatic backlash recovery that results in a backlash-free system.
Both axes feature classic worm and wheel pairs. The worm wheels are made of (B14) bronze with 244mm (215 teeth) diameter for the RA and 192mm (250 teeth) for DEC. The RA worm is 32mm in diameter and the DEC worm is 24mm. both made from alloy steel.
A dual Vixen/Losmandy type dovetail mounting saddle clamp provides wide compatibility with telescopes from a variety of manufacturers. Once you have mounted your telescope and equipment onto the mount you can then use the electronic balance function to achieve perfect balance in both RA and DEC, without unlocking the clutches. The mount also features internal cable routing for data and/or power to accessories (i.e. CCD camera) to eliminate cable snagging or tangles.
GM mounts can track 30 degrees/2 hours past the meridian so long duration astrophotography is easily achievable.
The absolute encoders provide extremely high tracking accuracy (<1 arcsec) so autoguiding is not necessary. However, the GM mounts can be used with an auto-guider, if required, via a standard ST4-compatible guide port.
The built-in object database contains celestial objects from the major astronomical catalogues (e.g. Messier, SAO, NGC and more) down to 16th magnitude. The mount’s tracking rates are adjustable depending on the object being studied and the orbital elements of comets, asteroids and even artificial satellites can be loaded directly to the mount (without the need for an external PC), so that these celestial objects can be followed across the sky accurately.
Electronic Control System
A PC is not required to operate the mount as GM mounts can be controlled using the supplied weatherproof 4-line control handset keypad, with the computer’s electronic 'brain' being housed in an independent portable external control box.
The handset’s display and the large ergonomic keypad (ideal for when wearing gloves), features a red backlight for ease of use in the dark. An internal heater keeps the handset display warm when the mount is being used at low-temperatures which allows for maximum readability in all temperature and lighting conditions.
The connectors of the motors, encoders, power and handset all use security lock screws for robust and secure connection.
If you wish to connect your own PC to control the mount, a WiFi, RS-232 or Ethernet connection is needed. The GM mounts can then be controlled using commonly available software packages via the proprietary 10Micron ASCOM driver (or Meade compatible command protocol). Included with the mount is software that creates a “virtual handset” on your PC with the same functionality and features as the physical hand set for easy (and familiar) control from your computer. Furthermore, the RS-232 port on the external can be utilised to control an observatory dome (and without a PC). The mount can also be parked in different user-defined positions in case of any internal “obstructions” and can also be switched on and off using the dedicated connector on the control box panel. All these features help make the GM HPS mounts ideal for observatories and for remote operation.