In 1996 Software Bisque introduced the Paramount Robotic Telescope System. By tightly integrating the mount with the personal computer, a new level of productivity was realized and the automation of small observatories sent discovery to a new level. The Paramount evolved into the Paramount ME, the world’s number one research grade robotic telescope mount, the standard to which all other mounts are compared. The Paramount MEII takes another step forward with the following improvements:
Image Across The Meridian
Depending on your optical configuration, the Paramount MEII can image up to 3 hours beyond the Meridian. And for added piece of mind, the hard stop position can be changed to insure OTA collisions don’t occur. You can program the ME II’s soft limits so that instead of hard collisions the mount decelerates to the user defined soft limit.
Greater Weight Capacity
In order to make the Paramount MEII a more stable platform when larger optical tubes are used, the Paramount ME underwent a large number of mechanical and electrical improvements. The maximum weight capacity for any mount is partly dependent other factors such as the enclosure (dome vs. open air) and the OTA size and rigidity. At 150 pounds, the stated capacity of the ME was conservative and a large number of astronomers routinely achieve very good results with well over 200 pounds bolted to the ME. Software Bisque have increased the stated weight capacity of the ME II to 240 pounds making it a great choice for most optical tube assemblies up to 20 inches (0.50 meters) in diameter. The Paramount MEII features, combined with the following enhancements make the ME II the most capable mount in its class.
The diameter of the declination gear was increased by 25% to 9.5”. The declination bearing surface was increased by 33% using high precision thin race bearings that have 48 points of contact with much higher ratings in axial, moment and thrust loads. The declination worm at one inch diameter is now the same size as the RA worm. These changes, combined with a larger declination shaft and solid declination tube make the entire declination axis stronger and more stable when carrying heavy equipment loads.
Counterweights and Counterweight Shaft
The 1.875” counterweight shaft accepts new 7-inch diameter, 30 pound (14 kg) counterweights. The shaft will accept 5 counterweights (150 pounds or 68 kg), and up to 8 counterweights (240 pounds or 109 kg) by adding the counterweight shaft extension.
Telescope Control System
The ME II is driven by the MKS 5000, Software Bisque’s fifth generation telescope controller. New to the Paramount ME II, the MKS 5000 powers two NEMA 23 brushless DC servo motors that deliver over 30 oz-in of torque. Supplied with a 200 watt power supply, the ME servo control system is the most powerful, most accurate controller in its class.
Through the Mount Cabling
The internal shaft diameter on both the RA and declination is 2.5 inches providing ample room for various cabling options. With a built in high speed powered USB hub, many devices simply “plug in” to the instrument panel and will run over the same USB port that handles mount communications. And high power devices can utilize the existing four 18-gauge power lines that carry power from the rear panel up to the instrument panel.
Paramount ME II Specifications
|Control system electronics||MKS 5000 (Fifth generation)One board includes all ports and control system electronics|
|Counterweight shaft||47 cm (18.5 in.)x 4.8 cm (1.875 in.)Carries up to six counterweights|
|Counterweights||14 kg (30 lb), two included|
|Declination bearing||8-in (48 contact points)|
|Declination gear diameter||9.5 in.|
|Declination housing||5 in. x 0.5 in. wall 6061 aluminium tubing|
|Declination shaft diameter||3.0 in.|
|Declination worm diameter||1.0 in.|
|Hours past meridian (track and slew)||2|
|Maximum slew speed*||4 degrees per second in right ascension and declination*|
|*Maximum Slew Speed Disclaimer: The factory default of 80% maximum slew rate works well with most payloads over a wide range of temperatures. Paramount mounts can slew at the maximum slew rate with a balanced payload that is approximately 50% or less of the total rated capacity, when the spring plunger pressure adjusted to factory standards at moderate ambient temperatures.As the mass of the payload increases, and/or the ambient temperature decreases, the mount may not be able to maintain maximum slew speeds. When near or above the stated capacity of the mount, or during cold temperature operation, slower maximum slew speeds and lower accelerations will be required.|
|Motor diameter||2.3 in.|
|Motor torque||30 in-oz|
|On axis encoder (optional)||See details below|
|Physical hard stop position||Configurable|
|Power supply||221 W (+48VDC, 4.6A max.)|
|Right ascension bearing||8 in. (48 contact points)|
|Right ascension gear diameter||11.4 in.|
|Right ascension housing||7 in. x 0.5 in. wall 6061 aluminium tubing|
|Right ascension shaft diameter||3.0 in.|
|Right ascension worm diameter||1.0 in.|
|Software included||TheSkyX Professional Edition for MacTheSkyX Professional Edition for WindowsTPoint Add On (Mac and Windows)Camera Add On (Mac and Windows)Multi-OS and Six License Add On for Mac and Windows|
|Through the mount cabling||Large diameter cable conduits. Cables can be run through the mount without altering polar alignment, removing the optical tube assembly, or altering the polar alignment and no mount disassembly is required.|
|USB ports on Instrument Panel||Two (2)|
|Weight (mount body with no payload)||38 kg (84 lb)|
|Weight capacity (total payload without counterweights)||109 kg (240 lb)|