This new iOptron iEQ45 Pro German equatorial mount has:
- Built-in dual-axis go-to computer drive with 359,000+ object database
- Built-in 32-channel GPS
- Stepper motors with synchronous belt transmission for zero backlash
- Permanent periodic error correction and ST-4 autoguider port
- 45 pound maximum payload capacity
- Built-in illuminated polar finder scope
- Adjustable height tripod with 2” diameter stainless steel legs
- Accepts both Losmandy D-plate and Vixen-style dovetails
The new iOptron iEQ45 Pro mount offers the beginning and intermediate astronomer an easily-portable and readily affordable high precision German equatorial mount. With built-in 32 channel GPS, a high accuracy go-to drive, permanent periodic error correction, and a 45 pound payload capacity, it is ideal for visual observing and long exposure astrophotography.
Payload capacity: The iEQ45 Pro has a maximum payload capacity of 45 pounds (20kg), not including counterweights, when used with optional counterweight shaft extension bar #8026 and an additional optional 11 pound counterweight #8027. Standard payload capacity as shipped is approximately 25 pounds. This allows the use of some serious optical tubes, along with a photoguide scope and considerable ancillary imaging equipment. However, most astronomers will probably want to limit the instrument payload to about 30-35 pounds, to benefit from the increased stability of having a smaller instrument on an over-sized mount.
Drive system details: The synchronous toothed belt transmission of the iEQ45 Pro is backlash free. The mount has a 256-tooth aluminum drive gear in right ascension and a 228-tooth aluminum drive gear in declination. 17mm brass worms are standard. The right ascension axis is a stout 50mm in diameter (40mm in declination).
The standard equipment dual-axis DC stepper motors use a temperature-compensated crystal oscillator quartz controller to provide 0.09 arc second per step resolution, assuring an imperceptible stepping motion during visual observing and imaging. Available user-selected tracking rates include sidereal, solar, lunar, and King.
The DC motors require a 12VDC (11~15VDC) power supply capable of providing a 2A output. The motors draw 0.45A while tracking and 0.75A while slewing. There are nine guiding, centering, and slewing speeds available: sidereal and 2x sidereal for guiding; 8x, 16x, 64x, and 128x sidereal for centering; and 256x (1°/sec), 512x (2°/sec) sidereal, and a maximum speed of ~5.8°/sec for slewing (1400x sidereal).
The iOptron iEQ45 Pro comes with an appropriately-sized 110VAC to 12VDC adapter, a 12VDC cigarette lighter plug adapter for use with optional rechargeable 12VDC battery packs, such as the Celestron 17 amp hour Power Tank, plus a USB cable and an RS232 cable and port for mount firmware upgrade and ASCOM control using an optional computer. Strain relief power cord cable protection is standard. The mount will operate over a -4° F to +113° F temperature range (-20° C to +45° C).
Hand control details: The supplied GoToNova technology computer hand control has a built-in 32-channel GPS for accurate time and location acquisition when aligning on the sky. It has a more than 359,000 object go-to database that includes: 60 named deep sky objects; 9 solar system objects; the 110 object Messier Catalog, the 7,840 object NGC Catalog; the 5,386 object IC Catalog; the 12,921 object UGC Catalog; the 30,642 object MCG Catalog; the 109 object Caldwell Catalog; the 4,076 object Abell Catalog; the 400 object Herschel Catalog; 15 comets; 195 named stars; 210 double stars; 116 asteroids; 38,528 GCVS variable stars; the 88 modern constellations with their names and more; 258,997 SAO catalog stars; plus 60 user-defined objects.
Permanent periodic error correction (PEC) for astrophotography is built in. HBX ports are provided for an optional ST-4 type autoguider, a PC, and auxiliary components. It uses a new command set that is completely open for user-defined control of the mount.
The GoToNova 8407+ hand controller has the largest LCD screen on the market, with an 8 line/21 character display and backlit LED buttons, plus a red LED reading light on the back. A heating mechanism in the hand control provides display visibility at a temperature as low as -4° Fahrenheit (-20°C), the lowest working temperature among commercially-available computer hand controls.
Mount details: The iEQ45 Pro’s mount is built to be strong, yet reasonably light, to satisfy both stability and portability needs. The equatorial head, not counting the two standard equipment 11 pound (5kg) counterweights, weighs only 25 pounds (11.4kg) for the highest payload to mount weight ratio in its category. The stainless steel leg tripod weighs 16.5 pounds. Additional 11 pound counterweights and a counterweight extension shaft are available for the 1.1” (28mm) counterweight shaft to balance very heavy payloads. During transport and storage, the standard counterweight shaft stores conveniently within the declination axis.
The mount is designed to operate in both northern and southern hemispheres at latitudes from 5° to 70°. A large adjustment control between the vertical side pieces of the mount and an indicator window in one of the side pieces makes it easy to align the mount on the celestial pole in altitude. Twin adjustment knobs in the base of the mount let you fine-tune the azimuth alignment on the pole over a +/-6° arc.
The standard equipment LED-illuminated polar alignment finderscope will let you align the scope on the celestial pole with very high accuracy. There is a built-in bubble level for leveling the mount for the most accurate tracking.
Tripod: The supplied adjustable height tripod has 2” diameter stainless steel legs, yet weighs only 16.5 pounds. It is very solid and stable, able to support the iEQ45 Pro equatorial head and even the heaviest rated payloads with ease. The top of the tripod (base of the mount head) is 29.75” above ground level with the legs fully retracted and 51”high with the legs fully extended. An optional pier is also available.
Optical tube mounting method: The mount head is equipped with a 6" long spring-loaded dovetail slot that accepts both of the industry-standard dovetails (Vixen-style or Losmandy-style D-plate), making is usable with virtually any optical tube mounting system.
If you’re looking for a stable, high-precision, mid-capacity German equatorial mount – yet one that is reasonably portable and reasonably priced – take a careful look at the new iOptron iEQ45 Pro. It may be just what you are looking for.