Features and Specifications
The Paramount MX has a broad range of exciting features and capabilities that will keep you focused on the stars and not your equipment. Software Bisque urges you to compare the Paramount MX feature set with every other commercial mount in this price range before buying any mount.
- German equatorial mount design.
- Instrument capacity (not including the counterweights): 100 lb (45 kg). Maximum payload capacity (instruments plus counterweights): 200 lb (90 kg).
- Weight of the mount (including the Versa-Plate): 50 lb (23 kg)
- Every Paramount MX component is custom machined from 6061 aluminum at Software Bisque's production facility. The precision worms are machined from brass.
- Brass worms and aluminum gears that have a maximum seven (7) arcsecond peak-to-peak periodic error before periodic error correction. When periodic error correction is applied, the resulting peak-to-peak periodic error should be approximately one (1) arcsecond or less.
- Both the right ascension and declination axes have a simple three position mechanical "switch" to engage the worm during normal operation, disengage the worm from the gear when balancing the payload, or lock the axis during transit
- GEM design allows the right ascension axis to track past the meridian for up to 2 hours (time).
- All internal harnesses (cables) and motors are encapsulated inside the body of the mount, just like the Paramount ME.
- Through the mount access holes allow you to add your own internal cables.
- Calibrated polar alignment adjustments that are virtually identical to the Paramount ME.
- Paramount ME-like homing, tracking and pointing performance.
- 7.5-inch right ascension and declination gears (375 teeth).
- 6-inch contact ball bearings in both right ascension and declination.
- Periodic error correction curve fitting included with TheSkyX Professional Edition.
- 45 arcminute bubble level included.
- A Paramount MX-style Versa-Plate for attaching optical tube assemblies is included.
- Power supply included. Paramount MX power supply specifications: Max Power Output: 80W, Input: 100-240VAC ~47-63 Hz 1.9A, Output: 48V 1.66A max.
- Two (2) 20 lb (9kg) counterweights included. Note that the Paramount MX and Paramount ME counterweights are identical.
- 16-in. (41 cm) counterweight shaft included.
- Standard Paramount MX wedge can be adjusted to reach latitudes from ten (10) degrees to slightly higher than sixty-five (65) degrees. A Paramount ME-like Latitude Adjustment Wedge is available for latitudes outside this region.
- Azimuth axis polar axis adjustment range is plus or minus 3.5 degrees from center position (seven degrees total).
- Altitude and azimuth polar alignment knobs are calibrated, so that making adjustments using the TPoint Polar Alignment Report simple and accurate.
Control System and Electronics
- The Paramount MX includes the MKS 5000, Software Bisque's fourth generation dual axis telescope control system.
MKS 5000 Electronics
- Integrated USB 2.0 computer to mount communication interface can be controlled via TheSkyX Professional Edition on either Mac OS X and Windows (7/Vista/XP, 32- and 64-bit), out of the box.
- 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 slews at all rates and 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.
- The single board control system electronics requires the minimum number of components and has a small physical size.
- Hand controller features an integrated mini-joystick controller and configurable rate, a five position switch that allows single-handed mount control, an integrated bright red LED flashlight, sturdy "hang anywhere" cable loop and 15-foot coiled hand paddle to mount cable.
- Programmable periodic error correction with advanced adperiodic error curve fitting built into TheSkyX Professional Edition.
- Built-in autoguider port on the Instrument Panel.
- Built-in focuser port on the Instrument Panel.
- One 12V and one 5V power port on the Instrument Panel.
- An integrated through the mount generic "power source" port on the Instrument Panel backed with 18-gauge wire to supply power to your observing equipment.
- Configurable software limits (using TheSkyX Professional Edition) to ensure the mount does not encounter the pier.
- Brushless DC servomotors with all moving parts on bearing surfaces. 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.
- DC servomotors provide fast slew speeds and consistent torque at all slew rates. The maximum slew and tracking rate is six (6) degrees per second in both right ascension axis and declination (the default slew rate is 5.4 degrees per second). The gear-reducer and worm-block design 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 when several foot-pounds out of balance. You'll spend less time fiddling with the telescope and more time acquiring data.
- AutoHome homing capability (to better than one arcsecond resolution) with built-in sensor circuitry on each axis ensure that the mount always knows its orientation (after an initialization process called "homing"), even after power failure.
- Configurable park position.
- Audible feedback that indicates normal operation and error conditions.
- Slew and tracking rates can be configured with 56-bit precision. What does this mean? The right ascension and declination motors can be rotated a 0 to 4000 revolutions per minute and virtually anywhere in between, providing precise tracking and slewing. This gives you the ability to track on comets, asteroids and even fast- or slow-moving objects such as LEO satellites or any object that moves above or below the sidereal rate.
- Single-reduced belt-driven worms mean the Paramount MX has backlash so small it is difficult to measure (typically less than two arcseconds in both axes. Autoguiding calibration is always a snap with this no-slop system. Spur gears and other components the may introduce backlash are not used.
- Temperature compensated internal oscillator with better than 10 parts per million that ensures accurate tracking rates over a wide temperature range.
- Built-in temperature sensor that allows the slew rate to be automatically reduced when the temperature drops.
- 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.
- The Paramount MX includes the following suite of astronomy software, and is developed by the same engineers who designed the mount.