This Software Bisque Paramount MX robotic German equatorial mount has . . .
• 90 lb (41 kg) payload capacity
• Light weight Pyramid Portable Pier 250 lb (113.6 kg) payload field tripod
• Maximum 7 arc second peak-to-peak periodic error, even before using periodic error correction
• Belt-driven worms for “no-slop” backlash (typically less than 2 arc seconds)
• Maximum 6°/second slewing, 5.4°/second default
• GEM design allows the right ascension axis to track past the meridian for up to 2 hours
• All motors and cables are mounted internally for protection
• Includes the most comprehensive software package available with any mount
• 30 arc second or better all-sky pointing, using supplied TPoint software
Heavy duty mount:
The Paramount MX is custom machined from 6061 aluminum at Software Bisque's own production facility. The mount head, less counterweights, weighs only 50 pounds, making the Paramount MX truly field portable. The 7.5" 375 tooth aluminum right ascension and declination gears combine with precision brass worms to provide a maximum periodic error of a mere seven arc seconds peak-to-peak – even before periodic error correction is used. Apply periodic error correction and the peak-to-peak error can be be reduced to approximately one arc second or less.
Three-position mechanical switches in right ascension and declination engage the worms during normal operation, disengage the worm from the gear when balancing the payload, or lock the axis during transit. The right ascension and declination axes are supported by 6-inch contact ball bearings. All cables and motors are inside the body of the mount. Through-the-mount access holes allow you to add your own internal cables. A 45 arc minute bubble level is built into the mount for accurate leveling in the field.
A Paramount MX-style Versa-Plate for attaching optical tube assemblies is standard equipment, as is a 16-in. (41 cm) counterweight shaft and two 20 lb (9kg) counterweights. The Paramount MX can be used over a 10 to 65 degree latitude range. The azimuth adjustment range is +/- 3.5 degrees. The altitude and azimuth polar alignment knobs are calibrated, so that making adjustments using the supplied TPoint Polar Alignment Report software is simple and very accurate.
A universal AC power supply included. It can be used with any 100-240VAC source, from 47 to 63 Hz. It draws a maximum 1.9A. The DC output to the mount is 48V, with a 1.66A maximum draw. The instrument panel has one 12V and one 5V power port on the mount's instrument panel to supply power to your observing equipment. There is a built-in autoguider port and focuser port on the instrument panel.
Two brushless DC servomotors are used to drive the scope. If your mount is used for survey astronomy all night, every clear night, no other type of motor is sufficient. Other commercial mounts use "brushed" motors that don't have nearly the life expectancy of brushless DC servomotors and are not designed to be operated for long periods at the (relatively slow) sidereal rate. The Paramount MX uses single-reduced belt-driven worms to assure backlash so small (typically less than two arc seconds in both axes) that it is difficult to measure. Autoguiding calibration is always a snap with this “no-slop” system. Spur gears and other components that may introduce backlash are not used.
The DC servomotors provide fast slew speeds and consistent torque at all slew rates. The maximum slew and tracking rate is six degrees per second in both right ascension axis and declination (the default slew rate is 5.4 degrees per second). A temperature-compensated internal oscillator with better than 10 parts per million accuracy ensures accurate tracking rates over a wide temperature range. There is also a built-in temperature sensor that allows the slew rate to be automatically reduced when the temperature drops.
The gear-reducer and worm-block designs of the Paramount MX are extremely efficient, so that little power is lost between the motor and the telescope drive. Though good balance is always recommended, the Paramount MX has no problem slewing or tracking even when several foot-pounds out of balance. You'll spend less time fiddling with the telescope and more time acquiring data with the Paramount MX. Advanced electronics:
The Paramount MX includes Software Bisque's fourth generation dual axis telescope control system. Its integrated USB 2.0 computer to mount communication interface can be controlled via the supplied TheSkyX Professional Edition software, using either Mac OS X or Windows (7/Vista/XP, 32- and 64-bit), right out of the box. There is an integrated two port USB 2.0 hub at the camera-end of the telescope, right where USB ports are needed most.
The position of the motors is monitored 3333 times each second to ensure optimal tracking accuracy and smooth, consistent slewing at all rates and at all times. Tracking and "in progress slews" are immediately stopped in the event the mount's payload encounters a fixed object, such as the side of the pier. Slewing and tracking rates can be configured with 56-bit precision. That means that the right ascension and declination motors can be rotated at 0 to 4000 revolutions per minute and virtually anywhere in between. This provides very precise tracking and slewing, with the ability to track comets, asteroids, and even fast- or slow-moving objects such as low earth orbit satellites or any object that moves above or below the sidereal rate.
The supplied hand control features an integrated mini-joystick control and configurable rate, a five-position switch that allows single-handed mount control, an integrated bright red LED flashlight, a sturdy "hang anywhere" cable loop, and a 15-foot coiled hand control to mount cable.
Programmable periodic error correction with "seeing agnostic" periodic error curve fitting is built into TheSkyX Professional Edition software supplied with the Paramount MX. AutoHome™ homing capability (to better than one arc second resolution with built-in sensor circuitry on each axis) ensures that the mount always knows its orientation (after an initialization process called "homing"), even after power failure. There is a configurable park position for operation in a remote location dome. There is a soft "reboot" capability. This means that the control system can be restarted through software and does not have to be manually turned off, then on. Pyramid Portable Pier tripod:
The supplied Software Bisque Pyramid Portable Pier tripod is designed for fast and stable setup of the Paramount MX mount in the field, in your backyard, or in your observatory. The Pyramid Portable Pier weighs only 20 pounds (9.1 kg), yet will support a full 250 pound (113.6 kg) maximum payload. That's more than enough capacity to hold the 90 pound (with counterweights) Paramount MX equatorial mount and any possible telescope and accessory combination capable of being used with the mount.
The Pyramid Portable Pier's tubular and machined aluminum design provides outstanding stability in a truly portable 20 pound platform. It has a 360 degree azimuth adjustment. Raised leveling adjustment knobs minimize lower back strain when leveling the mount on uneven ground. The pier feet swivel to conform to the ground's uneven surface. There is a center tray for holding accessories.
Supplied software: The Paramount MX comes with the world's best and most powerful astronomy suite of astronomy software. The Paramount MX includes Software Bisque's TheSkyX Professional Edition (with periodic error correction curve fitting); the TPoint Add On to TheSkyX Professional Edition (with ProTrack and Super Model features); the Camera Add On to TheSkyX Professional Edition; and a Multi-OS and Six License Add On to give you the option to operate the Paramount MX on both Mac and Windows operating systems, using up to six different computers. Newer firmware versions can be downloaded directly from the Software Bisque web page and updated using TheSkyX Professional Edition.
Capable of backyard observatory, field portable, or remotely-located robotic operation via the internet, the Software Bisque Paramount MX and Pyramid Portable Pier combination will provide the advanced astrophotographer or dedicated visual observer with truly portable and professional-grade heavy-duty performance in a compact package.