Min-EQ

This is a product I've wanted to buy for as long as I can remember. My normal telescope mount rig, a Synta EQ-6, with the Celestron-8 (C8) mounted on it weights well over 100 lbs!

So using some birthday money I had the funds to get this, as well as the EQ-1M motor drive. I ordered it from Orion Telescopes, a company of which I've been a customer for quite a long time. The boxes (2) arrived within 5 days.

The mount is both larger and heavier than I expected it to be, which has its pros and cons. Its extremely solid, the counterweight itself was suprisingly heavy. The downside is that its not quite portable enough to carry into the mountains as I was hoping to do on a hike for those airy, clear nights up there. However, it will be perfect for throwing into the car for weekend trips.

The kit was pretty easy to assemble and came with its own tools. I had it assembled in a matter of minutes.

Update: September 25, 2006

I've finally had some time to use the mount in earnest and here are some additional comments.

The first one, and this one being a major one: the position of the clock drive prevent the mount to be positioned in a way to photograph the zenith. There's no way to position the mount properly that makes this possible. This makes photographing the most interesting parts of the Milky Way, for example, impossible.

Another problem is the proper alignment of the declination axis with Polaris. There's no provision in the small shaft for a site scope, and there are no markings along the barrel to eyeball an alignment. Due to the low nature of the base itself, even eyeballing the alignment takes some contortion. I'm going to see about affixing some sort ot pointers on the side and bottom of the mount that I can use to get an approximate fix on polaris.

Again, the low nature of the mount, especially when fitted with my Shorttube 80, makes it very difficult to position my head at the eyepiece or camera viewfinder. I have to place the mount at the edge of a table or my tailgate so I can position my head below the surface level in order to see. I plan to put the mounthead on a tripod instead of the table-top legs and see how that works.

Is it worth it? So far, I've been happy with the results. The tracking is true when aligned properly. Its extremely light and portable. I just need to work out the kinks in the shortcomings to make it faster to align.