GM2000HPS Mount Details


 

 

 

 


 

 HPS 


 

HPS (High Precision and Speed) is the total system integration of special high resolution absolute encoders with the sophisticated QCI control system and 10Micron's precision worm drive mechanics, delivering <1arcsec p-p precision and high speed (20deg/sec), at a price previously unachievable by any other technology.  With the integration of 10Micron's new HPS System into the GM2000HPS, amateurs now have the ultimate (portable) platform to use for acquiring long exposure unguided images with medium-large sized instruments.  The high-resolution absolute encoders are permanently attached and calibrated to each axis, not simply as an add-on to an existing system, but fully integrated mechanically and electrically into the control system.  The HPS encoders know their absolute position, even after power down.  Factory inspection and calibration of each mounting ensures that the phenomenal accuracy is maintained throughout the full rotation of each axis.

 

HPS Tracking Curve (obtained from a GM2000HPS)

 

Drive System Comparisons

 

When selecting a mount and considering different drive systems, it is important to consider the tradeoffs associated with each approach.  Traditional motor- encoded precision worm gear driven mountings have predominated the amateur market for many years, providing good value and accuracy (typically ~8 arcsec p-p).  Open-Loop Periodic Error Correction can reduce this by almost a factor of two in the best situations.  However, the accuracy of even the best mountings still falls short and requires autoguiding or very short exposures to prevent trailing. 

 

Recently, a new Direct-Drive system has arrived on the amateur mounting market.  These systems incorporate high resolution encoders on each axis and directly drive their axis' without the use of gears (the axis itself becomes the motor, requiring high currents to provide sufficient torque to drive and hold position).  While this approach has some advantages, in practice, it also has disadvantages to overcome.

 

We think the hybrid 10Micron HPS System provides the best overall solution, providing extreme accuracy and speed, along with the portability, quick setup, reliability, and robustness of a conventional worm driven mounting.

 

If you are comparing mounts and their drive systems, we suggest you click on the link below for an overview of the different drive types and their tradeoffs:

 

 


 Portability 

The GM2000HPS Ultraportable was developed from the ground-up to be the ultimate portable large-capacity mounting system, without any compromise to the rigidity, accuracty, features, and performance required by the most demanding permanent installations.


 

Standalone Operation

No separate computer needed. The GM2000 HPS incorporates a full featured and flexible GoTo control system that provides both total standalone operation as well as full remote operation of the GM2000.  The powerful controller is conveniently integrated right into the base of the mount.  Its internal LINUX based software is fully upgradeable and future-proof. QCI provides a large suite of object databases for powerful and convenient location of objects and is as easy to use for casual use as it is for serious work.  The full function handpad incorporates an industrial low-temperature capable red backlit display and illuminated keypad to provide reliable access to all functions through a convenient menu and button interface. 

 

Powerful stand-alone functions include accurate polar alignment routines and a sophisticated internal pointing model that utilizes up to 25 stars to achieve pointing accuracies of under 20".

 

QCI also includes a full suite of hardware interfaces for remote operation - including an integrated LAN port for remote connection without a PC!  For more details on this powerful integrated control system, please click on this QCI Control System link.

 


 

2-Piece Mount Head

Whether for nightly setup in your backyard, or transport to remote sites, minimizing the weight of the largest components is key to enabling safe and comfortable setup.  The GM2000 splits into two convenient and easily carried components weighing only 28lbs and 33lbs.  Precision alignment pins and no-tool clamp knobs guarantee a rigid and accurate coupling.

 


Optimal Weight

In order to achieve the requirement for high rigidity and pointing/tracking precision, along with low weight for portability, the 10Micron engineers carefully optimized the design of all components of the GM2000.  Where possible, many parts have been lightened by removing non-critical material.  This 'lightening' is done carefully to not compromise either the accuracy or rigidity of the key structural parts.  The 10Micron engineers also avoided the approach of fabricating the mount from a myriad of pieces and screws.  Key structural components are machined as single pieces to consistently achieve high accuracy and maximum rigidity. 

The architecture of the mount also plays a key role.  For instance, in order to achieve the high reliability, performance and accuracy of the GM2000 drive system, 10Micron chose the optimal gearing material for the worm gears - Bronze.  With the superior drive properties that come with Bronze also comes weight.  Rather than simply using lower cost aluminum for the gears to shave weight, both the Dec and RA gears incorporate central hubs of aluminum, and only the outer periphery is made from Bronze.  This combination takes more cost and effort, but gives the best of both worlds - the low weight of aluminum, with the superior drive and long wear properties of Bronze.

The result is a robust and compact mount with a total weight of only 62 lbs, but a real-world capacity of over 130 lbs!

 


Counterweight Shaft Attachment

Say goodbye to the hassles of the typical thread-on counterweight shaft.  The GM2000 quick connect locking system enables a rapid and sure connection.  Simply insert and twist the 40mm diameter counterweight shaft approximately one quarter turn, then secure with the single lock knob.


Clutches

The ability to manually move a mount is a prerequisite for any portable mount.  The GM2000 incorporates fully adjustable clutches in both axes to enable ease of balance and manual movement.  The design of the GM2000 clutches and drive gearing avoids the loss in rigidity and accuracy that can accompany other clutch designs. 

 


 

Accessories for Portable Usage

From the light and rigid Carbon Fiber Centaurus Tripod, to the custom fitted transport cases, 10Micron offers a full selection of accessories that are designed to perfectly compliment the portable capabilities of the GM2000 QCI Ultraportable.  Complete mounting and accessory packages are available.   For more information on Accessories, please click this link.

 


 Capacity and Performance  


 

Capacity

Mount capacity is often misunderstood, and typically implied to be primarily a function of gear size.   While most mountings (even small ones) can physically support and drive very large loads without failure, capacity is determined first and foremost by the rigidity of a mounting.  Rigidity is simply the 'springiness' that you feel when pressing on the telescope or against its focuser.  It is quite easy to judge the rigidity of a mounting simply by pressing against the telescope's focuser in each direction, and noting how much a star shifts in the eyepiece. 

 

Unfortunately, it is not really possible to simply compare mountings on the basis of gear size, physical size, weight, or appearance.   Many unseen elements are primary contributors to a mount's performance.  The primary elements that contribute to rigidity (capacity) are the stiffness of the two axes and their bearing support system, the stiffness of the drive system (torsion) and the rigidity of the supporting structure of the mount itself.  Like a system of springs, the rigidity of a mount is the result of all these factors combined, and is often limited by its weakest element. 

 

Axis:  An often hidden or overlooked aspect of good mount design is the design and construction of the RA and Dec axes.  Much of the flex felt in commercial mountings is due to inadequate axis stiffness.   This can be caused by poor bearing configuration, long overhangs or cantilevering of the axis, or inferior materials.  Even seemingly large and impressive looking mountings often suffer from surprisingly soft axes due to poor design.

 

The GM2000 uses 50mm diameter thick-wall steel for both the RA and Dec axis.  Steel is 3 times stiffer than aluminum (which is often chosen for its lower weight).  Both axes are supported by extra-large diameter preloaded conical tapered roller bearings, which give much greater stiffness and bearing capacity than ball bearings.  The primary loads are closely coupled to the bearings to minimize flexure.   The result is an uncommonly high axis stiffness that minimizes flex in all directions.

 

Structural:  The key structural elements of the GM2000 (RA and DEC housings, Altitude Support Plates) and their attachments have been structurally engineered to provide high stiffness.  These key parts are precision machined as single pieces from from solid bar or plate stock.  The altitude support plates are one-piece gusseted and physically well-coupled to the oversized 125mm (4.9") diameter RA housing through precisely mating surfaces and 6-point clamping.

 

Drive System: The spring loaded anti-backlash mechanism of the worm drive delivers near zero backlash at the telescope.  The design of the worm support structure and large diameter precision tapered conical worm bearings result in a drive system with uncommon torsional rigidity, making the GM2000 particularly adept at handling long refractors.  No wonder TEC (Telescope Engineering Company) chose the GM2000 to demonstrate their 8" f/8 fluorite refractors at star parties and shows. 

 

The end result of all this careful engineering and execution is a mount that exceeds expectations for rigidity and capacity, while remaining easily manageable in portable use.

 


Performance

Drive System 

The GM2000HPS is truly the high-performance sports car of the telescope mount world.  The use of new technology brushless AC Servomotors enables a blazing fast slew speed of up to 20 per second!   These motors incorporate a new approach in servomotor design - F.I.S.   The Fully Integrated Servomotors incorporate the critical drive control and encoder electronics into the motors themselves.  This enables the unique mix of high performance and high accuracy inherent in the GM2000HPS drive system.

 

A unique zero-cogging kevlar belt reduction drive results in whisper quiet operation with virtually zero motor backlash.  Gone are the grinding and whirring noises of the gear drives used in most other telescope mountings.  Onlookers at NEAF 2007 were often seen pressing their ears close to the mountings just to see if they could hear the motors. 

 

No modern GoTo mount would be complete without a highly accurate and reliable drive system.  GoTo systems demand a difficult mix of high speed and high accuracy - over a long life of night-after-night use in automated installations.   To meet these tough demands, 10Micron chose the ideal material pairing of a special gear Bronze for the worm wheel , and a carefully matched alloy steel for the worm (not stainless steel, which has inferior properties for use in a worm).  While these materials add significant cost compared to the aluminum gears found on most other commercial mounts, the outstanding friction and wear properties of the GM2000 gears are critical to delivering the ultra-high speed and low error over the life of the mounting. 

 

The bronze worm wheel and hardened steel worm are produced using the latest tooling and machinery.  Worms are evaluated using precision helical path analyzers to ensure a consistent and smooth low native periodic error. The HPS absolute encoders are integrated by the factory (not an add-on), precisely centered and calibrated uniquely for each mount.  After assembly, each mounting is analyzed as a complete system using even higher precision encoders to ensure the HPS tracking accuracy meets the 10Micron standards.

 


 Precision and Finish  


 

Precision

The GM2000 was developed at 10Micron by a team of professional engineers with decades of experience in the design and in-house production of precision machinery for the machine tool industry in Europe.  Each mounting is fully machined and assembled in-house at 10Micron's production facility in Italy.  As machining experts, 10Micron is able to consistently produce a level of precision that is unique in astronomy. 

 

In order to deliver the absolute highest accuracy and rigidity, in every mount produced, all critical parts of the mounting are machined as single pieces from solid plate or bar stock.  No screwed-together or crude cast structures are used.  The quality of machining and fabrication is evident in every part of the mounting, inside and out.  Part-to-part fit and matching is superb and machined edges are fully radiused and blended for a functional and aesthetically pleasing look.

 

Fit and Finish

The fit and finish of every part is given close scrutiny.  All external surfaces of the GM2000 are hand finished through a time consuming buffing process to eliminate tooling marks, swirls, and sharp edges.  This process results in an exquisite satin finish that gives a beautiful and consistent look part-to-part, and serves to hide any smudges or marks that inevitably result from normal use and handling.

 

After surface finishing, the complete set of GM2000 parts are anodized together in one batch, in order to provide high consistency of color part-to-part.  The hardness of the anodized surface resists wear and chipping, unlike paint.  The end result of all this careful finishing is a mounting that is as breathtaking to look at as it is to use. 

 

Last Update 08/24/13

 

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