With the M-uno Fast Reverse mount, Avalon Instruments achieves the first professional portable single-arm mount devoted to deep sky imaging in the capacity range up to 20 kg (44 lb).
The M-uno design was developed on the basis of the LINEAR FAST REVERSE system also developed by Avalon Instruments, making use of the same technical concepts:
The M-uno's LINEAR motion transmission technology is based on pulley-tooth belt without play. Its unique geometry makes imaging at the meridian crossing easy without the typical meridian flip of a classic German equatorial mount, eliminating the risk of touching the tripod, performing a meridian flit or the need to wait for the object being imaged to cross the meridian. With the M-uno mount, an object can be finally tracked all night long!
Moreover, considering that at the meridian the sky is less subject to light pollution and to atmospheric turbulence, the M-uno is the ideal tool to shoot deepsky objects in their best conditions, close to the meridian, especially when the time is short and the sky is not so dark and clear!
The M-uno is designed primarily for astro imaging with high focal length catadioptric tubes (such as SCT, SC-Maksutov, RC, DK, etc) up to 11" aperture and 44 lbs. (20 kg) weight, according to the tube length. It is also possible to use the M-uno with Newtonian optics (for example 8” f4) and short refractors (400-500 mm), with a piggyback or parallel guidescope. To allow the use of refractors with length exceeding approximately 500 mm, an optional accessory is available to increase the space between the telescope and mounting flange to allow the passage of the telescope over the RA axis. In this configuration it could be necessary to perform a flip at the meridian to avoid the telescope striking the tripod. However, the larger overhang of the single arm system will allow a greater pointing angle compared to the classic German Equatorial Mounts.
Another M-uno advantage is that it doesn't need counterweights nor a counterwieght bar for most equipment loads like a German equatorial mount. The declination axis can be quickly balanced like an equatorial mount, while for the RA axis, it is possible to place the mount arm in three possible positions and achieve fine balance using only very small counterweights if necessary. The M-uno total weight is only 33 lbs. (14.9 kg) and it is provided with a comfortable handle for easy transportation. With these features, in terms of lightness and transportability, the M-uno ranks at the top of the mounts with capacity up to 44 lbs. (20 kg).Advanced Mount Control
Several options exist for controlling the M-uno mount including the proprietary STAR-GO system included with the mount as well as many commercially available and free ASCOM compliant planetarium programs. The mount can be controlled through the built-in Bluetooth interface, USB2 connection or serial connection. The wireless Bluetooth interface allows you to control the mount using programs like SkySafari through your smart phone or tablet. The M-uno has been specifically designed as a guided imaging platform and relies on a standard polar alignment (using the polar scope and/or drift alignment), a rough goto, and synchronization on a star located near your imaging target. The STAR-GO software is actively being improved to include additional goto, slewing and alignment routine capabilities that can be easily downloaded to the mount. In addition, the M-uno may be controlled using Software Bisque's The Sky and Tpoint programs to control all functions of the mount and develop pointing models for high precision goto accuracy.
The choice of pulleys and toothed belts allows Avalon Instrument's FAST REVERSE drive system to have very steady motion without play (no backlash) or sudden peaks, factors that are critical for long guided exposures and during high magnification visual observations. These features are of particular importance for the declination axis since they allow the axis to quickly reverse the motion without breaks to recover the backlash. It is from that ability that the drive system name FAST REVERSE was born. The toothed belts used in the M-uno are made of special material with steel strands incorporated to avoid any deformation, elongation and stress, and are much better than those used in the automotive engine drive systems (which are generally made of rubber with nylon strands). Similar belts are used in high precision CNC machining equipment.
It is important to note that in gear-worm systems the motion transmission has only one tangent point of contact and any errors on each of the two components will, sooner or later, result into a tracking errors. On the contrary, in the pulley-toothed belt system, no direct contact occurs between the pulleys and the motion is transmitted by the belt engaging from 50% to 90% of the girth surface. Consequently any error present, is averaged among the cogs and is very smooth, greatly reducing any tracking error.
These features allow the M-uno to perform guided exposures of 20-30 minutes with round stars even with optics of 2-3 meters of focal length.
No Wear, No Friction, No Lubrication, No Maintenance
The affects of wearing common in most mounts is greatly reduced or completely eliminated in the M-uno mount since no relevant friction occurs. All the pulleys and the axes rotate on roller bearings, 13 for the RA axis and 13 for the DEC axis, that reduce the total friction almost to zero. In addition to reducing wear, the very low system friction reduces any potential of motor slippage during GOTO operation to essentially zero. In conventional gear-driven mounts, on the contrary, it is well known that the difficulty regulating the coupling between gear and worm causes the loss of position if the spacing is too tight and the drive slips or in increase in play or axis slop is the spacing is too loose. The absence of significant play in the M-uno combined with the almost instantaneous movement of the axes with no drive slippage makes the initial calibration of the guiding CCD and program quick and easy.
Besides the performance advantages of the FAST-REVERSE system another substantial benefit is the substantial reduction in necessary maintenance. Unlike conventional geared mounts, the FAST-REVERSE system allows the mount to be constructed and operated without significant, and often troublesome, lubrication (most lubricants in the mount are contained inside sealed bearings). In addition, self-adjusting tensioning systems require no user adjustment. As a result of the elimination of lubricants and greases and the self-adjusting mechanisms of the mount virtually not mount maintenance is necessary. This has been proven by observing mounts that have seen significant field use while displaying not need for maintenance or adjustment over time.
The M-uno mount may be mounted on a variety of tripods including the Hercules wood tripod, the Berlebach PLANET wood tripod (in Natural with rubber feet) or one of two Avalon Instruments portable piers (Berlebach PLANET is available in different colors and with different options here). The M-uno will also fit on tripods from Baader, Geoptik and Skywatcher. The heavy duty Hercules tripods are available in three different minimum heights, 37 inch (95 cm), 27 inch (70 cm) and 18 inch (47 cm). The Avalon portable piers are available in 39 x 7 inch (100 x 18 cm) and 39 x 10 inch (100 x 25 cm) models with cast aluminum legs on the 7 inch model and all solid machined aluminum on the 10 inch model.
The M-uno FAST REVERSE mount is ideal for those traveling astroimagers seeking long deep sky exposures, even with high focal lengths, without the troubles of meridian crossing and excellent value for the money. The unique characteristics of the M-uno make it ideal even for use in a permanent location, especially with remote control.
The M-uno Complete Kit Option includes the following:
The M-uno A la Carte Option begins with the following: