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We are absolutely excited to introduce our new Mach2GTO Universal Robotic mount that sets a new standard for portable telescope mounts. It is so easy to use that you will be up and running in no time at all and the mount will simply disappear into the background. No fuss, no bother.
Universal Robotic means that Mach2 fulfills all of the requirements of a robotic mount for automated operation for imaging, satellite tracking, comet tracking, star survey work and others. In addition, the clutches allow it to be used manually for star sweeping. It is so easy to use that it can be set up quickly in the field with minimal effort and no complicated startup routines. The encoders keep track of the axis positions at all times whether parked, unparked, power on or power off.
- Polar Align, Power Up and Go!
- Renishaw Absolute Encoder for the ultimate in precise tracking - no SDE or random errors above 1/4 arc sec
- Absolute encoder provides near zero tracking error and resists outside influences such as wind and cable drag
- Precision balancing via the clutches without taking the worm gears out of mesh
- Brushless Micro-step Servo System for precise and whisper-quiet slewing and tracking
- Custom tracking rates in both axes (for asteroids, comets, satellites)
- Auto-Adjusting gear mesh
- Image all night without meridian flip, as long as your scope clears
- Daytime polar alignment is now simplified since we have encoders to set the positions
- Precision azimuth adjuster with rotating base
- Built-in bubble level & compass
- Right-angle polar alignment scope (optional)
- Through-mount cabling
- Fully supported enhanced ASCOM driver
- Threaded for QHY Polemaster AP900 adapter (shown in photo)
- Portable – under 40 lbs
- Operate with 12V battery or up to 24V power supply
- Ideal for 6-7” refractors, 8-12” SCTs and Maks
GTOCP5 Control System
We have developed a new control system which combines the precision performance of Renishaw Absolute Encoders with the whisper-quiet motion of brushless micro-step servo motors to produce a very accurate observatory-grade mount that can also be set up in just a few minutes in the field. The mount can be operated manually via the clutches or electronically with the encoder loop providing the pointing and tracking functions.
- Use of Absolute Encoders means that the mount always knows where the axes are pointing and don't need to establish home on power-up.
- The mount can be operated manually via the clutches or in full GoTo mode via keypad or external software.
- Absolute Encoders are dead accurate in slewing, pointing, tracking, guiding. Periodic error and backlash, reversal delays in Dec are eliminated.
- Rapid feed-forward servo loop stiffens the axes against outside disturbances such as cable drag and wind loading.
- Both axes can be run at custom tracking rates from sub-arc second motions per hour to 1000x sidereal.
- The GTOCP5 brushless servo system can be run from 12 volts to 24 volts with max slewing from 1200X (5 deg/sec) to 1800X (7.5 deg/sec).
- The power to the motors is self-limiting and cannot cause any kind of damage to the windings or the electronics, even when in a stalled state.
GTO Keypad (optional purchase)
The Keypad is a self-contained computer that allows you to control all essential telescope functions and includes an extensive database of objects. Many people do not want to bother with a computer in the field and like the handiness of the Keypad and its ability to operate in very cold temperatures. The Keypad is an ideal choice for these users.
We have designed the interface and firmware to be as intuitive and easy to use as possible, while filling it with terrific features to make your observing session productive and pleasurable.
Optimized for Astronomy
Astro-Physics mounts and the Astro-Physics GTO Servo Control System are designed from the outset as tools for celestial observing and imaging. These mounts do not have any military or defense applications. Applications like missile, airplane, or very low earth orbit satellite tracking require faster tracking rates and more rapid changes to those tracking rates than our mounts allow. Note that the ISS is generally within the mount’s tracking rate capabilities.
Mach2GTO and Renishaw Absolute Encoders
Mach2 Tracking Performance with Absolute Encoders - PE = 0.21 arc seconds
All of our 1100GTO and 1600GTO mounts with Absolute Encoders have always used the Renishaw Resolute Absolute Encoders for precise positioning and tracking. Now our newest mount, the Mach2 has Renishaw encoders built into every mount. What are the main differences between the Renishaw and other less expensive relative encoders?
Lab Certified Accuracy!
The Renishaw encoder accuracy is verified against a laboratory standard. Each ring comes certified with its own calibration measurement. The maximum guaranteed error on these rings translates to less than 1/2 arc second per hour tracking error.
Highest Resolution for Unparalleled Tracking Accuracy!
The Renishaw Resolute read-head interpolates a special barcode that is engraved on the matching stainless steel ring into 67 million individual addresses. Every address is unique and fully reproducible down to sub-arc second levels. This is not possible with any relative encoder system.
Ripple and Resonances – NOT with Astro-Physics!!
Relative encoders use a simple ring that has engraved marks with separations on the order of 60 to 100 arc seconds between ticks. In order to achieve sub-arc second resolution, the gaps between these marks are filled in electronically by a method known as interpolation. Even the best interpolation methods have errors on the order of 5% (3 to 5 arc seconds). When used in a telescope drive system these relative encoders introduce a fast moving ripple in the RA tracking rate of 3 to 5 arc seconds, although the average or RMS value of this error can be quite low.
These peak excursions cause stars to move slightly back and forth in the RA direction during sidereal tracking. This tracking ripple can remain hidden when imaging with short wide-field scopes, but will manifest itself when using long focus instruments for high resolution work. It is generally a fast moving error, so it cannot be guided out.
No Sub-divisional Error!
Because of the ever present interpolation error (SDE) with low cost relative encoders, we decided long ago that we would not use them. Renishaw absolute encoders use a different type of interpolation system that smooths out the SDE to a level that is not detectable. There is no mechanism for a relative encoder to remove the SDE.
Never Needs Homing. Simply Polar Align; Power Up; and GO!!
An absolute encoder never needs to be homed. It is always home the minute power is applied. It always knows where it is and transmits the exact shaft position to the control box at all times.
Dependability to Astro-Physics Standards!
We have used Renishaw encoders for many years on our larger mounts, both in portable setups and in observatory remote installations. They have been totally reliable. Renishaw encoders are also considered to be the gold standard in the machine tool and robotics industries where precision is required. Yes, they are much more expensive than a simple relative encoder, but for the type of accuracy required in a telescope mount, there is nothing out there that comes close. We know, we have been evaluating options for years.
Benefits of Absolute EncodersThe utility of absolute encoders varies from brand to brand. Some manufacturers make very limited use of encoders and use relative (not absolute) encoders to provide a potential benefit to tracking and nothing else. In regards to premium mounts, assuming dual on-axis absolute encoders, the benefits may be:
- The mount always knows where it is pointed regardless of power loss, movement of the axes when the power is off, bumping the mount or wind movement.
- Homing positions can be set to whatever orientation a user wants, without limitation.
- No rehoming is required for remote locations should there be a power loss.
- Periodic error is fully corrected. No need for occasional PE measurement curves.
- Zero backlash in both axes for precision guiding.
- Dual axis absolute encoders allow for variable tracking that automatically adjusts for refraction parameters.
- Very accurate pointing makes it easy to find very faint objects.
- Very precise tracking such that unguided imaging may be accomplished with an appropriate optical/imaging setup.
- Very precise guiding, if needed, with instant response in both axes. Guiding is only needed to correct for optical/imaging train issues, not mount issues.
- Corrects for polar misalignment and repeatable mechanical flexures.
- Very precise dual-axis tracking is very important for high precision tracking on objects like comets, asteroids, artificial satellites, where the mounts use a "self-guiding" function based on orbital elements.
Construction All parts CNC machined aluminum, stainless steel, brass bar stock; finest quality bearings; stainless steel fasteners Finishing and Assembly Every part is hand-finished and inspected. All assembly is done by hand, by highly skilled mount assembly staff. Worm wheel - R.A./Dec. 5.9" (150 mm), 225 tooth aluminum Worm gear - R.A./Dec. 0.705" (17.9 mm) diameter, brass Axis shaft - R.A./Dec. 1.77" (45 mm) diameter Latitude range 0 to 67 degrees, engraved scale Azimuth adjustment Approximately 13 degrees (+/- 6.5 degrees from center) Diameter of base 5.800" (147.32 mm) diameter Weight of mount Total: 39 lb. (17.7 kg) Counterweight shaft 1.875” (47.6 mm) diameter x 13.625" (346 mm) usable length, incl. washer and safety knob. Weight 10.8 lb. (4.9 kg). For light-weight scopes you may not need any counterweights! Capacity Approximately 75 lb. (34 kg) scope and accessories only (maximum capacity depends on scope diameter). Refer to the graphic that discusses weight capacity calculation.
GTO Drive Specifications
Electronic components Rated for industrial and automotive applications Motors Brushless micro-step servo system, enclosed in machined aluminum housing Absolute Encoders R.A. and Declination axes Periodic error (native) 0.25” arc seconds peak-to-peak, 0.05 RMS Servo Motor Control Box GTOCP5 Control Box, removable Hand-held computer (optional) GTO Keypad to control all mount functions. Includes extensive databases and tour features in a simple, intuitive interface. Firmware updates via the internet Power requirements Nominal 12 to 24 volt DC supply, minimum of 5 amps continuous Maximum slew speed
5 degrees / second at 12V
7.5 degrees / second a 24V
Flexible Control with Your Keypad, Computer or even your Mobile Smart Device!
As this chart shows, there are many options available for controlling your mount. Take a few minutes to link to descriptions of the varied software and devices that are available.
You will be able to link to a full-sized view of this chart.
Mach2GTO German Equatorial Mount
- Mach2GTO Equatorial Head with Dual Absolute Encoders
- GTO Servo Control Box (GTOCP5)
- Control Box Adapter (CBAPT)
- Extension Cable between GTOCP5 and mount
- 13.675" Stainless Steel Counterweight Shaft, 1.875" (47.6 mm) diameter with Machined Safety Stop Knob (M12676)
- Power Cable Set for GTOCP5, includes 6' Cable with PowerPole Connector, 18" Cable with Cigarette Lighter Plug and 18" Cable with Ring Terminals (CABPP4SET)
- 15' Straight-through Serial Cable (CABSER15)
- 1/4-20 Machined Knob Kit (M1485KBKIT)
- Allenhead wrench set
- AC-DC Power Supply
- ASCOM driver, available by download
- APCC Software, Standard version
- Thumb Drive containing: PDF of Mach2GTO and Keypad instruction manuals
- Manual: Mach2GTO German Equatorial
- Registration Card
Items You will Need for Your Mount
- Counterweights: Stainless Steel Counterweights - 5, 10, 18 lb. (5SCWT, 10SCWT, 18SCWT)
- Mounting Plates: DOVEDV10 or DOVELM162
- Pier or Tripod:
- Astro-Physics Eagle Adjustable Folding Pier (EAGLE6-EZ)
- Losmandy Light-weight Tripod with Adjustable Legs Fitted with ADATRI Adapter. You will also need the Control Box Extension Adapter (Q6280KIT).
- Berlebach Planet Tripod (AWTBER2). You will also need the Control Box Extension Adapter (Q6280KIT).
- Astro-Physics Portable Pier - 6" diameter, height: 24"
- 12V Battery or Power Supply that converts 110VAC to suitable DC: 13.8 volt, 5 amp Regulated Power Supply with Cigarette Lighter Receptacle (PS138V5A) or 25 amp Variable Volt Power Supply with Digital Readout (PSVPW25A)
Additional Accessories to Consider
- GTO Keypad with 15' Coiled Cable and Keypad Protector (KEYVFK)
- Astro-Physics Command Center Standard (APCC-ST) or Pro (APCC-PRO) software
- Right-Angle Polar Alignment Scope with Illuminator (RAPAS), requires Bracket listed below
- Bracket to Attach Right-Angle Polar Alignment Scope Adapter to Mach2GTO Mounts (RAPM2)
- Pier Accessory Trays (TRAY06 and TRAY06H) and Support Bars (TRAYSB1 and TRAYSB)
- Side-by-Side Dovetail Plates for D-Style Dovetail Saddles (SBD13SS, SBD18SS)
- Tripod Adapter (ADATRI) - attach to tripod or other flat surface
- Mount Adapter: to attach Losmandy HD Tripod or Losmandy MA Meade Field Tripod Adapter to Astro-Physics 400/600/900/Mach1/Mach2 Mounts (LT2APM)
- 10.7" x 1.875" Counterweight shaft (M1053-A) to use with very small scopes.
- 16.975" x 1.875" Counterweight Shaft (M9404-B) for heavier loads rather than adding a shaft extension.
- 14.5" x 1.125" Counterweight Shaft (M8084-B) - use with corresponding counterweights that may you already own
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