Why the GEM Performance Tune by Astrotroniks?

(Owner of Astrotroniks, LLC. Jason (left) with friend David at the booth, NEAF 2011)

The Astrotroniks GEM Performance Tune provides many advantages for primarily the Astrophotographer, but also for the avid observer who's demanding of their mounts performance especially while observing Solar System objects at high powers.

When first endeavoring into Astro Imaging, the first thing you learn is the importance of your platform, the mount. The mount is the single most important piece of equipment in your imaging rig. No matter how good your camera or optics, if your mount can't track reliably through long exposures you will never be able to achieve satisfactory image results.

Today's consumer GEM telescope mounts are mostly of good quality, and far exceed the quality of mounts produced even just a decade or so ago, but unless you plan to spend in upwards of at least $7,000.00 on a new mount, chances are at some point you will discover short comings in your mounts performance. The main problem is no matter how well made your mounts internals are, by nature it is going to suffer from PE, (periodic error). PE occurs during a revolution of your mount's ring, and worm gears. We focus on reducing this repetitive error during the tuning service. In addition to PE the performance of the mount is also affected by other components physically related to the drive train, including bearings, friction washers, motors, and their spur gears with a large part of poor performance coming from axial Stiction (Stiction, is when the mount's ring gear physically interacts with its housing by rubbing at uneven areas of the ring and housing). Stiction prevents you from being able to properly balance each axis, and causes the drive to suddenly slow down or speed up during tracking, and when moderate to severe, autoguiding is unable to compensate for these deviations. Stiction is fully removed on most mounts during the Tune process, and other forms of non-periodic error are also reduced or eliminated.

Why do lightly used, and even brand new sub $7k mounts exhibit these problems?

Manufacturers of consumer mounts are not concerned with providing you a well tuned mount with precision adjustments because for most the skill doesn't exist in the assembly, or is too costly to maintain profit margins. Instead they are mass produced with less than precise tolerances, and assembled using sub par grease, in a production line manner and all too often, are not adjusted as precisely as they could be.

How can you obtain an acceptable level of performance from your mount?

The answer is fairly simple, have your mount Performance Tuned! There are only a couple of ways to achieve a proper tuning of your mount. One way being that you are very technically, and mechanically able and perform the work on the mount yourself, this method is only advised if you are certain of your abilities. The other option is to send your mount to a company that specifically offers these services professionally.

Why The Performance Tune by Astrotroniks?

There's just not many qualified options from which to choose, which presents the next question. Who do I send my mount to for tuning? This answer we believe, is also simple. At Astrotroniks your mount will only be serviced, by the company owner Jason. Jason is a very talented designer and engineer, with an intimate understanding of the German Equatorial Mount's mechanics and electronics. Additionally Astrotroniks has pioneered techniques that we implement in to our tuning, which have evolved into "The GEM Performance Tune". Choosing the Astrotroniks GEM Performance Tune ensures that you will be receiving, the most complete detailed service, and highest quality craftsmanship by professionals dedicated to the best possible results with complete customer satisfaction.