Explore Scientific / Losmandy G-11 with Explore Scientific PMC-8 Electronic GoTo System
This killer combination of the esteemed Losmandy G-11 mount and tripod, and Explore Scientific's unique new PMC-8 electronic GoTo system is a match made in heaven! With the characteristic precision machined steel and aluminum design of a G-11 and the extremely robust new PMC-8 electronics, the resulting mount and tripod is guaranteed to last you for long years to come. And with the traditionally extremely high quality of the G-11 mount and the special new PMC-8 electronic GoTo system's fascinating new features, it's equally guaranteed that this setup will satisfy for all of it's lengthy lifespan.
Let's start with the tried, tested, and familiar G-11 mount. A smooth combination of enough strength to handle even impractically heavy payloads and elegantly beautiful design, the G-11 is a truly splendid mount and tripod. More than likely to last a lifetime of hard, heavy use the G-11 is robust and sturdy by design. Precision machined in aluminum and steel, it is yet another testament to the quality of it's series. The Losmandy G-11 mount is moved by newly installed high-resolution .09° 400 count stepper motors with a micro stepping controller that makes the motor work at 12,800 steps per revolution with drive rates accurate to a few arc-seconds per day.
Then there's the PMC-8 Electronic GoTo System. These extremely robust electronics include a Multi-Processor Micro-controller with 8 CPUs (thus the name) that run independently and are completely deterministic in their behavior.Within this multi-processor system is a 64 Kbyte EEPROM Non-Volatile Memory bank; a Wireless Ethernet 10/100 with full IP function which permits operation from anywhere using a browser, ASCOM, or APP over the web or serial port and Non-Volatile Memory used to store user selected parameters. This system is all controlled from a Windows app for PC, tablet, or phone with a full graphical user interface called ExploreStars, which was developed as a result of the OpenGOTO Community. Explore Scientific plans to have means to allow the use of an iPhone or iPad or Apple MAC computer shortly after shipping of the mount begins.
The ExploreStars app is open source software, meaning that it's open to be modified and developed as anyone who downloads it sees fit. It is also free, and can be downloaded HERE, as well as in a link further down. Explore Scientific provides a Software Developers kit to make modifying the software of the ExploreStars app easier, and are really working to provide for a community to work on the software and define it as best fits the needs of those using it! And of course, even those not interested in doing such work can benefit from downloading other people's modifications as fits their needs.
Then there's the interface of the control panel. A classic four button pattern for guiding, centering, slewing and moving appears on the touch screen of a phone or tablet, and as a display on a computer. You can select and enter your desired GoTo, Slewing, Centering and Guiding Rates as you see fit, and you of course have access to standard 1 star, 2 star alignment and 3 star alignment functions. The database holds over 70,000 objects and the interface is just beautiful. High quality graphics serve to add to the overall experience for the better, enhancing the entire application. It also has the features of Sidereal, King, Lunar, Solar, and user defined tracking rates, a synchronize function, a search function, co-ordinate input, Custom mount support using enterable stepper count scaling and Polar Axis Correction!
For stellar objects Explore Scientific used the Hipparcos/Tycho II database. Where possible, they have cross-referenced the Bayer, Flamstead, SAO, HD/Harvard, DM, BD/CD/CPD, and GSC catalogs. The user can search by any of these designations to find a given star. When the system first starts, it loads the 2,000+ stars of magnitude 5.5 and brighter. The user can load the additional 68,000+ star catalog as needed. It's incredibly convenient, and for Non-Stellar objects? Explore Scientific uses the RNGC/IC catalog. The system is designed so the user can update the provided catalogs and create your own catalog using tables and scripts in Microsoft Access. Also, each object has a unique ID number, so users can report errors and omissions.
Taking things away from the software, let's take a look at the hardware- and wow! It sure is on par. Based on the Russell W. Porter Slip-Ring design, this German Equatorial mount is manufactured with all-machined aluminum and stainless steel, then finished in black with a durable hard anodize. There's also a removable smooth stainless steel 1-1/4 inch diameter weight shaft with a built in safety knob. Included with the mount is a 21lb counterweight, adding to the value of this sublime construction. This amazingly high quality feat of engineering is rated for 100lbs of weight including both instruments and counterweights, more than enough for most setups to be mounted with weight to spare!
The mount has numerous features that make polar alignment smooth, precise and simple. For initial polar alignment setup, the G-11 has two bubble levels and the mount's latitude scale is laser etched in 2 degree increments.The equatorial head is supported by the Losmandy HD Folding Tripod with it's massive 3-inch diameter, continuously adjustable legs for precise leveling. The mount's 1.25-inch stainless steel polar axis is hollowed to allow through the polar axis sighting of the Northern or Southern Celestial pole. The unique fully locking tangent arm design for altitude adjustment for aligning to the celestial pole is from 6-68 degrees latitude, and sports a large easy-to-adjust aluminum knob. The single knob azimuth control is bi-directional with +/- 8.5 degrees adjustment.
- All machined aluminum and stainless steel, black anodized.
- All stainless steel hardware.
- One 3.750” diameter needle thrust bearing.
- One 2.000” diameter needle thrust bearing.
- Two 1.500” diameter needle bearings.
- 5.625” diameter, 7075 aluminum worm gear, 360 tooth.
- Dual supported, ball bearing housed ground High Precision Brass Worm.
- Variable slip clutch, both axes. One knob per axis design.
- Porter Slip Ring Design.
- 1.250” diameter stainless steel shafts.
- Through the axis polar scope mounting, works in Northern and Southern Hemisphere.
- Instrument Weight Capacity 60 lbs.
- Equatorial head weight 33 lbs.
- Accepts both "D" Losmandy Style Dovetail or Vixen Style Dovetail.
- Download the ExploreStar application and read more about it HERE!
Manufacturer Product Number: ES-G11PMC8-00