10Micron AZ2000HPS Alt-Azimuth Combi Mount
Price as Configured: $15,440.00
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The AZ2000HPS is the last version of the AZ2000, an altazimuth mount based on the mechanics of the GM2000. It is a very versatile research mount, perfect for scientific activities such as satellite tracking, photometric and astrometric measurements, LiDaR laser applications and so on. Due to its altazimuth design, it is necessary to use a field de-rotator in order to get long exposures without field rotation. The mount is built for the demanding observer using photographic instruments up to a weight of 110 lbs. (50 kg) in the single telescope mode and 110 lbs. (50 kg) on one side and 77 lbs. (35 kg) on the other in the dual telescope mode. Movements are driven by two servo brushless motors, with timing belt reduction having zero backlash. Both axes feature a classic worm – worm wheel pairing. The worm wheels are made of bronze (B14), with a diameter of 172mm and 215 teeth, while the worms are made of alloy steel with a diameter of 24mm. The axes themselves are made of 50mm diameter alloy steel for maximum rigidity.
The standard configuration allows the assembly of optics on only a side of the mount and is supplied with a short counterweight bar. It’s not necessary to exactly counterbalance the weight of the telescope. Typically, using a counterweight equal to about 50% of your instrument payload is sufficient for a stable configuration. An option is available for a dual telescope configuration, as shown in the pictures above.
The original AZ2000 was produced in a special “Antarctica” version, which was able to work at the extremely low temperature of -84°C (-119F). Special mechanical and electronic considerations were necessary in order to design and produce this peculiar mount, from the correct choice of material to the use of special lubricants, wiring, and connectors. A special housing was designed to protect against temperature and ice crystal formation requiring different levels of seals depending on the effective operational temperature.
The electronics are housed in an independent control box, easily removable. The connections of the mount and keypad feature security lock screws. The mount can be controlled using the included keypad, without connecting an external PC. The keypad is built in order to maintain the maximum readability in all lighting conditions. Both the display and the ergonomic keys, allowing for the use of gloves, feature a red backlight. A heater keeps the display warm for usage below freezing temperature.
The keypad is built in order to maintain the maximum readability in all lighting conditions. Both the display and the ergonomic keys, allowing for the use of gloves, feature a red backlight. A heater keeps the display warm for usage below freezing temperatures.
The mount can be controlled using the most common software packages by connecting it to a PC with the RS-232 serial port or the Ethernet connection, via the 10Micron ASCOM driver or the Meade compatible command protocol. Furthermore, a dedicated software (also included with the mount) can be used to create a “virtual keypad” replicating exactly the functions of the physical keypad. The RS-232 port can also be used to control an external dome. This flexibility makes the mount an ideal mount for observatories and remote observing sites.
The object database contains many star catalogs and deep-sky objects up to the 16th magnitude. Solar system objects can be tracked so that their motion is compensated with respect to the stars. You may load orbital elements of comets, asteroids and artificial satellites into the mount, so that these objects can be tracked directly using the keypad (without any external PC). Pointing is made accurate through the usage of a model containing up to 100 stars, which allows for the correction of the classical polar alignment and conic errors, and also of the most important flexure terms of the optical tube. In this way, it is possible to obtain pointing accuracies of the order of 20 arcseconds RMS. The same model can be used in order to obtain the maximum tracking accuracy, compensating also for the atmospheric refraction (depending on the local atmospheric pressure and temperature).
A series of auxiliary functions is provided to help the user with quickly aligning the mount to the celestial pole. You may also save and recover the alignment data of different observing sessions. This function is very useful if you have many instruments in different setups, each one requiring different flexure corrections. Tracking through the meridian, a typical problem with german mounts, is solved allowing for tracking for up to 30° past the meridian (configurable), in both directions. In this way, any object can be tracked for at least four hours.
Unlike equatorial mounts, tracking through the meridian is not an issue with a altazimuth mount.
The tracking accuracy makes autoguiding unnecessary for many uses. The absolute encoders on both axes allow the mount to obtain a typical tracking error below 1 arcsecond. It is possible to autoguide using the ST4-compatible port or through the serial/Ethernet connection, with a guide rate configurable from 0.1x to 1x. The guide rate can be automatically corrected for the declination of the target so that there is no need for recalibrating the autoguide when observing at different declinations.
The AZ2000HPS is perfect for observatory use.
Other functions of the mount are designed in order to obtain the maximum flexibility in the most usage conditions. The mount can be switched on and off using the hand pad, power switch on the control box, or the dedicated relay connector on the control box panel. You can use the electronic balance functions in order to balance your instrument without unlocking the clutches. The mount can be parked in different user-defined positions. An external dome can be controlled directly using the RS-232 serial port, avoiding the need for using a dedicated external PC. Once configured with your instrument parameters, the firmware is able to make all the calculations required for positioning the dome slit in front of your optical tube, for almost all instrument configurations.
The AZ2000 can be supplied in a special version for very low-temperature operations.
The 10Micron AZ2000HPS basic package includes:
- AZ2000HPS mount head with absolute encoders on both axes
- Control box and stand-alone hand pad with internal modeling and control software
- QCI 2.8 internal software
- Counterweight shaft
- Mount cables
- AC/DC power supply (Monolithic) or DC power supply (Ultra Portable)
- Integrated WiFi
The full package for the AZ2000HPS Single-Scope version adds:
- One 13.2 lbs. (6 kg) counterweight
- One 26.4 lbs. (12 kg) counterweight
- Tripod adapter
- Centaurus aluminum tripod
- Tripod soft case
In addition to the contents of the Single-Scope package items, the full package for the The AZ2000HPS Dual-Scope package adds the assembly for mounting two scopes and removes the two counterweights.
Due to the different saddles available, they are not included in the packages and must be chosen separately.