Can I Motorize My Manual Eq Mount

Can I Motorize my Manual EQ Mount?

An Equatorial Telescope is a vital piece of equipment for Astrophotographers. It’s a prerequisite for tracking the manifestations of the night sky.

While it is the telescope that you may herald. The tracking job falls upon the Mount, not the telescope.

If your goal is to capture the deep sky with your Camera. Working out the basics of a manual EQ mount becomes essential.

Before we dive deeper into the Mechanics of Manual EQ Mounting. Let’s discuss essential details about the telescope Mounts.

What is a manual EQ Mount?

Telescope Mounts come in Two Variants- alt-az and EQ mount. An EQ mount is a type of an alt-az Mount.

The only difference is that an EQ mount has a tilted axis. This tilt allows the Mount to point at a local celestial pole.

The Mount focuses on a specific target. This prevents you from drifting from your field of vision.

For simplicity, consider a camera tripod. Tripods are for better vertical Movement and rotation. Telescopes that use this principle as a foundation are called Alt-Az Mounts.

German Equatorial mounts or EQ are a bit more composite. They are preferred when the goal is the identification of faint celestial bodies.

GEM EQ mounts can compensate for the Earth’s rotation. Much like a tripod keeps the Camera steady. EQ mounts lend stability to a telescope.

How do EQ mounts work?

The Earth rotates, and you, the observer, rotate with it. This makes the stars appear as circular patterns.

When observed with naked eyes, stars seem to move slowly. As a telescope’s magnification increases, so do the speed.

While this speed might be irritating for sky gazers. It is delightful for Astrophotographers. EQ mounts offer a solution for that.

When compared to Alt-Az Mounts, EQ mounts are well-liked by Astrophotographers. The former rotates an object in a focal plane. This makes it harder for locating celestial objects.

The Equatorial Axis is also known as the Right Ascension. And, the perpendicular is what you call Declination.

The Right Ascension (RA) rotates as a single revolution. The revolution takes 24 hours.

The Internal Motors of an EQ mount rotate at a clock drive. This makes it smoother to match the Earth’s rotation.

Why is an EQ Mount important?

It is hard to discern the motion of the stars with a naked eye. An optical aid enables you to perceive the same motion with clarity

That is as far as a telescope goes. The Movement of celestial objects is the real challenge.

You can adjust the telescope’s orientation as a compensation. But that again is true for very brief sessions.

What happens when your goal is to view a single target? What could give more stability to click a long-exposure image?

An EQ mount is the answer to all your quandaries. The Axis of the Mount is compatible with the Earth’s rotational axis.

What are Motorized EQ Mounts?

Motorized EQ Mounts comprise of 2 motors. It can control either the RA or both RA and DEC.

If you have a manual mount, you are not at a disadvantage. This is because most Manual EQ mounts can employ motors.

If you are a stargazer, it is better to have a manual RA motor drive and DEC. These mounts store coordinates of numerous celestial objects.

Motorized EQ mounts also have built it in rotatory sensors. A computer then calculates the object’s position. It counts the accurate sensor impulses driving the motor in the right direction.

Is it possible to motorize a manual EQ mount?

You can motorize your Manual EQ Mount using motor drives. With the EQ mount aligned with motor drives, it is easy to track celestial bodies.

Typically, manual EQ mount comes without motor drives. The present control ae slow motion. They can fulfill both descension and ascension.

Once motorize, the Manual EQ mount allows tracking in the right ascension. Only minor adjustments are needed to center the celestial bodies.

This is true for both brief and prolonged observations. The manual EQ motor drives works in the northern and southern hemispheres. You can adjust the slew speed using a speed regulator.

Manual Tracking VS Motorized Tracking

Alt-Az Mounts are suitable for Stargazing. But they lack a larger margin for Astrophotography.

The Alt-Az mount is practical and convenient. But by using it, you are comprising on precision.

EQ Mounts have the perfect RA axis and the DEC axis. Slow Movement in a Manual EQ mounts is better for matching with the Earth’s Rotation.

Recommended Reading:


  1. Astro Backyard
  2. Optcorp
  3. Astronomy Source
  4. Sky at Night Magazine