Explore Scientific took their workhorse mount and modified it produce an upgraded version of their EXOS2GT Motorized EQ GoTo Mount to provide users with a precision platform built to support and move refractor OTAs up to 152mm (6") aperture and reflectors of up to 203mm (8"), with a maximum payload capacity of 28 lbs. Modifications include the use of the PMC-Eight motor drive system, upgraded micro-stepper motors with encoders, installing a direct-drive connection between the drive shaft and motor, and replacing the wired control system with a wireless antenna for remote use from tablets and smartphones running Windows mobile operating systems. These modifications improve tracking precision, while reducing system vibration, and provide users with a wireless open-source control system that can be customized to their specific needs and shared with the Explore Scientific community.
The brains of the GoTo system is Explore Scientific's ExploreStars app for smartphones and tablets running Windows mobile OS that connects to the mount via its integrated WiFi antenna. If the mount is located near a WiFi network that is connected to the Internet, it can be controlled from a remote location. The app has a 70,000+ object database with an intuitive user interface controlled with the device's touchscreen, and an Ethernet 10/100 port. Multiple guide, slew, and tracking rates allow it to be easily aligned, manually controlled, and to accurately track near and deep-sky objects. A non-volatile memory and Real-Time clock preserves settings, including the backlash correction and PEC, when the system is turned off and power is disconnected.
The mount features a Vixen-style dovetail saddle for compatible OTAs, and an integrated bubble level to assist in leveling the mount during set up. The tripod is built with large 2" diameter stainless steel legs and tight tolerances to reduce vibration for clearer viewing. A center stabilizer bar pulls the accessory tray up to lock the legs in place, adding further rigidity and vibration reduction. It is adjustable from 29 to 42.5" to accommodate a wide range of users and features large thumbscrews for tool-free adjustment in the field. An adjustable tray is also included with the tripod to keep eyepieces, flashlights, and other accessories safe and at the ready.