Called “The Cadillac of Tracking Mounts” in a Sky & Telescope
review, the Teegul Sky Patrol III equatorial head mounts on most photo tripods, sets up in minutes, and holds scopes up to 7 pounds in weight (a Takahashi Sky 90, for example). Its worm gear drive is motorized in right ascension, and includes a right ascension drive corrector hand control for astrophotography, a manual declination control, counterweight shaft and 1.3 pound counterweight, and 6V battery pack that uses four AA batteries (not supplied). Its light weight and compact size make it ideal for travel.
The Sky & Telescope review reported consistently well-tracked 15-minute exposure astrophotos with no manual guiding corrections whatsoever with an 85mm telephoto lens. Two out of three unguided 15-minute exposures with a 180mm lens also showed “nice round star images. In manually guided shots with a 300mm lens, guiding was easy and corrections infrequent during 10- to 15-minute exposures,” according to Sky & Tel.
The Teegul has a 1/4”-20 thread hole in the underside of its 4.5 pound body. This lets you mount the Teegul on almost any suitably sturdy photo tripod having a standard 1/4”-20 camera attachment bolt. For safety and rigidity, however, it is recommended that the Teegul not be mounted on a photo tripod’s pan head that has been tilted over to set the mount for your latitude. The pan head may not be able to support the weight of the mount and counterweight, plus scope and camera body, without slipping in the middle of an exposure and ruining your shot. Instead, it is recommended that the Teegul be mounted on a set of photo tripod legs, sans pan head, using the fixed (#TSV6010) or adjustable (#TGULAD) latitude adjuster shown below to set the mount for your latitude. There is also a complete ready-to-travel version of the Teegul (#TGULTRI) that includes a TST-6010 fixed height tripod and a variable latitude adapter.
The Teegul Sky Patrol III hand control has switch-selectable Northern or Southern Hemisphere operation. An optional polar alignment scope is available for polar alignment in both hemispheres. It clamps onto the Teegul mount with one thumbscrew and can be left in place permanently. There are five drive rates set by a dial switch on the hand control: sidereal; solar; and 0.7x, 0.5x, and 0.3x sidereal for centering. Drive correction in right ascension is controlled by two pushbuttons for guiding during imaging. One provides 2 times the sidereal rate for periodic error tracking correction to the west, while the second temporarily stops the drive for a sidereal rate correction to the east. One revolution of the right ascension worm takes about 17.5 minutes. The 6VDC motor drive draws 170mA when tracking.
The Teegul is capable of handling a 7 pound (3.2kg) maximum payload using the supplied 1.3 pound (0.6kg) counterweight, although the optimum payload is 4.4 pounds (2kg). An optional 1.3 pound (0.6kg) counterweight (#TGULCWT) is available for balancing heavier loads. However, despite these payload limitations, the Sky & Telescope review loaded the mount down with a 14 pound payload, using additional counterweights with no adverse performance effects.