Jump to content


Mount Preparation For Imaging Season...


Recommended Posts

I have spent the last week or so tweaking my Avalon M-Zero configuration to try to get the best out of my fairly stable imaging setup. Up until now I was chopping and changing things but now I am pretty much sorted in that respect.

My biggest challenge has been cable management...it has been a nightmare to get something that I am happy with and the only real solution I have come up with is to add a USB hub to the DEC part of the mount since it moves in unison with all the bits that need USB connectivity.

I also wanted to achieve two things...

  1. Dual imaging with another widefield camera on the opposite side of the main OTA for when total gear weight isn't strictly a limit.
  2. Single OTA imaging with my portable batteries as a counterweight for when total gear weight is a limit such as airline travel.

Attached is an image of the mount in the most portable (i.e. airline friendly) configuration. It is a fully connected system ready to be used and cutting down on weight by not even requiring a counterweight (even though the counterweight is only 500g). I still have to tweak the battery packs by making a bracket for them, currently they are just taped together. I also have the option of moving the StarGo controller and using that as counterweight as well which I have done here.

All the bits are modular and clamp onto the Vixen bar on the bottom of the lens...(it is actually an Arca Swiss dovetail). I am in the process of labelling all the cables and will make harnesses where needed, some have already been done.

Although it still looks messy from a cabling point of view, there is no chance of cables snagging and I can image from horizon to horizon with no fear of it happening (it is possible to have no meridian flip on the M-Zero if your OTA allows for it). Everything connected to the guide scope and the main scope are physically bolted/clamped together so flex is very much eliminated for this focal length. The USB cables have been clipped to the right length and there is no sagging or dragging.

You may notice that I had to put a scope ring on the tripod foot of the lens and clamp it to the front of the lens to stop flex. This was a major issue for me in the past.

In the image there is the following:

  • Avalon M-Zero Mount mounted on a T-Pod T-90 tripod.
  • Baader modified Canon 6D
  • Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens
  • 2x Anker 20,000mAh airline friendly lithium power packs. (5V, 12, 16 & 19V outputs), one for the mount and one for the cameras and USB hub (though a single one would do for a night's imaging).
  • Multi-port USB 2.0 hub
  • QHY5L-II-M guide camera (also doubles as PoleMaster for polar alignment)
  • 130mm QHYCCD MiniGuideScope
  • External power supply for 2x Canon cameras

I must add that the counterweights in this configuration are not ideal as they are not symmetric but that is why the StarGo and Batteries are at right angles to each other. The mount seems to be fairly well balanced in this configuration and I will have to test it to make sure it isn't a problem, though I am confident it won't be.

Still need to finalise a few outstanding bits, but I am much happier now...just need some dark clear skies to test it all out!



  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used this particular single OTA setup under the (slightly murky) skies last night and it was such an easy set up.

Having all the cables clipped to the right length and labeled up made things so easy...I can highly recommend it to those who haven't done so yet.

Combined with less than 5 minutes of polar alignment with the PoleMaster I was imaging the passing clouds in about 30 minutes...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.