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Astro-Physics

1100GTO German Equatorial Mount


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ASTRO-PHYSICS 1100GTO German Equatorial Mount 
with
GTOCP4 Control Box Auto-Adjusting Motor/Gearboxes

Your choice of three models:
1100GTO German Equatorial Mount (1100GTO)
1100GTO German Equatorial Mount with Absolute Encoders (1100GTO-AE)
1100GTO German Equatorial Mount with Extended Temperature Range Encoders (1100GTO-AEL)

What's New in 2016?

Throughout the years, the Astro-Physics design team has sought to continually improve our product line, particulary as the technological demands for ever more precise equipment has increased.


GTOCP4 Control Box

The GTOCP4 Control Box offers multiple connection options to suit your requirements including wifi, ethernet, USB and serial ports. In addition to all the features carried forward from previous control boxes, the GTOCP4 applies safety slew logic to all slew commands. Future firmware updates will be available via direct downloads.

Auto-Adjusting Motor/Gearboxes

The Astro-Physics new motor/gearboxes were designed to be more responsive for precision astro-photography, while at the same time making it super easy to use and adjust. Here are some key features:

  • Spring-loaded worms maintain full contact under all guiding and slewing conditions
  • Automatic setting for worm mesh requires no adjustments over long time periods
  • Very easy to do precision balance by new mechanism which allows full backing off the worm from the worm wheel
  • Very low backlash geartrain eliminates Dec reversal delays and provides high position accuracy during guiding
  • Geartrain components are made with high-strength stainless alloy for extremely low wear even with continuous slewing applications
  • Worms made with high-strength alloy eliminates wear during long periods of slewing, especially useful for remote setups that do survey work
  • All worms are tested to meet stringent periodic error specs. Error is measured with PEMPro and the resultant compensating curve is loaded into the servo controller so you can use the PEM function to remove 90% of the variability even in non-encoder mounts.

Why an 1100GTO?

This medium-sized mount travels eagerly to star parties where your 12V battery will keep it running all night or is content to stay at home in your observatory, ready to image while you sleep. 

Astro-Physics offers three versions of this mount: 1100GTO, 1100GTO-AE and 1100GTO-AEL. The latter two versions include the Standard Temperature Absolute Encoders or the Extended Temperature Absolute Encoders, respectively. If you order the 1100GTO without the absolute encoders, you will be able to purchase them at a later date to install yourself. 

This webpage discusses the features that are common to all three mount versions, except where indicated. 

The 1100GTO was introduced at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in Suffern, NY in April 2013. In the video below, George Whitney, from the Astro-Physics Technical Support staff, explains key features of the 1100GTO in an interview conducted by Dennis DiCicco, Sky & Telescope editor. We also invite you to view the entire video for demonstrations of these additional exciting products: 1600GTO German Equatorial mounts with discussion of the Absolute Encoder System used in both the 1100GTO and 1600GTO mounts, Right-Angle Polar Alignment Scope, the 10 x 60 Vario Finder with Quick Release Guider Bracket and the Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC) software.

Improved Features Compared to the 900GTO, its Predecessor

Since the introduction of the 900 German Equatorial Mount in the mid 1990s, it has evolved several times to meet the increasingly greater technological requirements of our customers. The new 1100GTO is the next step in that evolutionary process offering increased capacity, ease of setup and use and enhancements to make your imaging sessions more productive and enjoyable. The modular design allows you to easily upgrade your mount with limit switches or absolute encoders sometime in the future.

Here are some changes that you may find useful in addition to the GTOCP4 and Auto-Adjusting Motor/Gearboxes discussed abovel: 

  • Dec. axis gear increased to 7.2" (183mm) for higher payloads and more stability.
  • Azimuth adjusters have been repositioned to the rear of mount which allows you to make minor corrections quite easily without reaching or moving around the mount. Since the knobs are now in front of you as you look through the polar scope, the graduations can be more easily seen as you dial in your position. 
  • Built-in precision-rotating pier adapter is now included and not purchased as a separate item.
  • Major altitude adjustments are extremely quick and easy to make by simply shifting the position of the altitude adjustment bar into a new slot. The large "captain's wheel" knob, convenient to grasp and turn, performs the fine adjustments. If you travel to a star party at a different latitude, the changes to your setup are quickly made and allow you to transport the RA assembly in a more compact, zero degree latitude configuration.
  • Altitude range now extends from 0-78 degrees in its normal configuration. The Hi-Low Wedge is no longer necessary. 
  • Unobstructed Dec. opening for Polar Alignment Scope allows greater field of view for both the Astro-Physics Right-Angle or the Losmandy Style Polar Alignment Scopes. 
  • Internal routing of motor cables to remove the possibility of snagging. 
  • Easily route additional cables through the large openings in the R.A. and Dec. axes. The top of the Dec. axis separates so that you can add cables with large connectors. 
  • Right-angle connectors are used where applicable to reduce strain on the cables. 
  • Improved clutch system with NO clutch plugs that can potentially deform over time if they are overtightened. This issue has been eliminated.
  • Clutch can be set to any amount of engagement up to complete locking of the axes so nothing can slip. 
  • Control box mounted vertically rather than on the top to reduce the possibility of moisture getting into the electronics in damp environments. 
  • Precision bubble level built into mount base.
  • Stainless steel lanyard post on either side of base to hang your keypad. 
  • Greater capacity to provide a rigid platform for fairly large instruments or side-by-side setups.
  • Absolute Encoder option to provide error-free tracking, software readable absolute position, customizable home and limit functions for robotic imaging. This option can be installed when you purchase your mount (order either the 1100GTO-AE or 1100GTO-AEL version) or you can purchase the option as an upgrade kit when you are ready to take advantage of its capabilities. 
  • Limit/Homing Switch option to provide home and limit functions using a mechanical switch (does not use the absolute encoders). This option will be available in the future. 

Versatility 

Portable

Extremely solid, rugged, high payload mount, yet the equatorial head comes apart into two components for hassle-free field setup. 

Operate with 12V battery
You can take it to the darkest skies and power it with a commonly available 12V battery. In the observatory, we suggest a minimum 5 amp filtered, regulated power supply like our 13.8-volt, 5-amp Power Supply (PS138V5A). For a heavy payload in cold conditions, we offer a 15-volt, 12-amp power supply (PS15V12AC).

Clutches
Allow manual operation if power is not available. Use the clutches to easily balance your setup, then lock the R.A. and Dec. axes so that they cannot move when the motors are engaged.

Image past the meridian
The mount will track and guide well past the meridian in either direction if the object is located such that the telescope will clear the pier. This allows the user to set up the mount for a long series of exposures without stopping in the middle to flip sides. One can start the telescope under the mount while pointing at an object in the eastern part of the sky and track it all the way deep into the western sky. This is very useful for long exposure H-alpha or in cases where a large number of individual exposures are needed for stacking.

Easy alignment for critical viewing
You can align the 1100GTO using setup routines in the optional keypad for most non-critical observing. The optional Right-Angle Polar Alignment Scope will allow you to quickly zero in on the pole or the polar alignment routine in PEMPro (included) will guide you through the process. You can even align the mount during the day with our clever Daytime Polar Alignment Routine (outlined in the Keypad Manual) for solar observing, viewing the planets at twilight, or just getting a jump start on a long night.

Multiple Options for Controlling your Mount in the Field or in Your Observatory
You have your choice of the GTO Keypad (optional), which is a full-featured handheld computer, PC computers using a wide variety of software with or without the Astro-Physics ASCOM driver, Mac computers or even your mobile smart device (like your iPhone or iPad). Follow this link to discussions of GTO control options


Mechanical Features
 


Precise Mechanical Fabrication
Using modern CNC machining techniques, Astro-Physics makes all components to a high precision level, which results in a final package that is solid and accurate in all respects. The critical angles are accurately machined so that the mount is orthogonal to a very high degree. This results in pointing accuracies well below 1 arc minute for a properly aligned mount. Massive thrust bearings and preloaded shaft bearings provide excellent stability under all imaging situations. 

Easy to Adjust and Maintain
The design of the 1100GTO is straightforward with modular construction. We provide information in the Technical Support section of our website pertaining to typical adjustment issues. 

Components are modular
All electronics including the GTOCP4 control box, motors, gearbox or cables can be removed for servicing. The RA and Dec axes can be shipped separately, if needed. 

Mechanical Specifications

Construction All CNC machined aluminum bar stock, stainless steel, brass; stainless steel fasteners
Finishing and Assembly Every part is hand-finished and inspected. All assembly is done by hand, by highly skilled mount assembly staff.
Worm wheel - R.A. & Dec. 7.2" (183 mm), 225 tooth aluminum
Worm gear - R.A. & Dec. 0.71" (18 mm) diameter special low-wear alloy 
Axis shaft - R.A. & Dec. 3.15" (80 mm) diameter 
Shaft axis bearings - R.A. & Dec. 3.94" (100 mm) diameter
Latitude range  0 to 78 degrees
Azimuth adjustment  Approximately 18 degrees (+/- 9 degrees from center)
Counterweight shaft 1.875" (47.6 mm) diameter x 14" (356 mm) long [12.875" (327 mm) usable length], incl. large machined safety stop knob. Optional 9" (229 mm) shaft extension available.
Weight of mount

Total: 54.0 lb. (24.5 kg)
R.A. axis/polar fork: 26.0 lb. (11.8 kg)
Dec. axis: 16.0 lb. (7.3 kg)
Dec. top plate 1.5 lb. (0.7 kg) 
Counterweight shaft: 10.5 lb. (4.8 kg)

Capacity  Approximately 110 lb. (50 kg) of scope and accessories, depending on length. Recommended for refractors up to 200 mm, 14-16" Cassegrains, Ritchey-Chretiens and CDKs.

These are only guidelines. Some telescopes are very long for their weight or heavy for their size and will require a larger mount. Remember also that imaging requirements are more rigid than visual observation. Maximum capacity may require the use of the 9" extension (M12675)
Instrument mounting interface Refer to list of suitable mounting plates below
Pier adapter base diameter 7.730" (196.3 mm) Base. The base is an integral part of the mount and azimuth adjuster.

 

GTOCP4 Servo Drive System

Like the previous GTO mounts, the GTOCP4 drive system uses a high-quality Swiss DC servo motor controlled by a microprocessor to an accuracy of 0.05 arc-seconds per step. Tracking is very smooth, noticeably smoother than any stepper motor drive or inexpensive servo motor. The system can be accurately controlled over a speed range of 4800:1, which allows 0.25x sidereal for manual guiding to 1200x sidereal for 5 degree per second slewing. The circuit draws approximately 0.5 amps when tracking the stars, 2.5 amps with both motors slewing and requires only 12 volts to operate. The servo drive will satisfy the requirements of the sophisticated, advanced astro-imager, yet is easy for the casual, visual observer to use. 

Gear Accuracy and PE Performance
The heart of this mount is a precision gearbox using custom high-quality fine-pitch gears, coupled to a highly accurate worm and worm wheel. These parts are manufactured and assembled at Astro-Physics' facility and individually tested to meet or exceed their periodic error specification of 7 arc seconds (+/- 3.5 arc sec.) before introducing any periodic error correction. The PE is smoothly variant with extremely low ripple or moment to moment error. In contrast, mounts that use commercial gearboxes have very small spur gears with tiny teeth and too few of them. This generally causes ripples in the tracking rate which are difficult to guide out.

Each mount is rigorously tested on their specialized periodic error tester. Only mounts that provide an accuracy of 7 arc seconds or better will pass this inspection. If the mount exhibits greater error, the substandard part is identified, replaced and the mount is retested. 


Pre-loaded PEMPro Curve
As mentioned above, the spec of 7 arc seconds (+/- 3.5 arc sec.) is the maximum native mechanical error inherent in the mount's RA axis WITHOUT any software correction. In order to optimize performance even further, Astro-Physics use a special version of Ray Gralak's PEMPro developed specifically for our test equipment. They generate a unique PE curve for each mount that we program into each GTOCP4 Control Box. Simply use the optional Keypad or your Astro-Physics software (ASCOM V2 driver, PulseGuide or APCC) to turn the PE Correction "on" and you will see results significantly better than our published 7 arc second spec without additional PEMPro runs! However, you may use PEMPro to further refine your PE, if you chose to do so.

1100GTO-AE or 1100GTO-AEL: If you purchase either of these versions with absolute encoders, the final in-house PEMPro run will utilize the corrections of the absolute encoders and the values will be stored in the GTOCP4 Control Box. 

GTOCP4 Control Box
The GTOCP4 Control Box contains all of the circuitry to drive the two servo motors and the logic required to navigate the sky. It can be easily removed from the mount, if required. The 1100GTO uses the same GTOCP4 Control Box as the 1600GTO and Mach1GTO (the control box is black-anodized for the latter mount). In fact, the control boxes for all three mounts are interchangeable with one another in an emergency. However, the absolute encoder function is only available in the control boxes sold with those mounts. Extensive information regarding the GTOCP4 can be found here. 

GTO Keypad (optional purchase)
The Keypad is a self-contained computer that allows you to control all essential telescope functions and includes an extensive database of objects. Astro-Physics has designed the interface and firmware to be as intuitive and easy to use as possible, while filling it with terrific features to make your observing session productive and pleasurable. Click here for detailed information regarding features and functions of the Keypad. 

Prior to mid-October 2015, the Keypad was included as part of the mount. However, some customers own multiple AP mounts, but only use one at a time. For them, one keypad is sufficient. Others only control their AP mounts with their computer and do not use their Keypad. So, Astro-Physics decided to offer the Keypad as an option. As a result, they were able to reduce the price of the mount accordingly. 

Many people do not want to bother with a computer in the field and like the handiness of the Keypad and its ability to operate in very cold temperatures. They will choose to purchase the Keypad. 

Optimized for Astronomy 
Astro-Physics mounts and the Astro-Physics GTO Servo Control System are designed from the outset as tools for celestial observing and imaging.  These mounts do not have any military or defense applications. Applications like missile, airplane, or very low earth orbit satellite tracking require faster tracking rates and more rapid changes to those tracking rates than our mounts allow.   Note that the ISS is generally within the mount’s tracking rate capabilities. 

GTOCP4 Servo Drive System Specifications

Electronic components Rated for industrial and automotive applications
Motors Zero-cogging Swiss DC servo motors, enclosed in machined aluminum housing
Motor encoder 2000 tic quadrature yielding an effective resolution of 0.050 arcseconds per tic
Motor reduction gear train 57.6:1 gear reduction through a custom built set of large diameter, fine-toothed, precision, spur gears for vastly superior performance
Servo Motor Control Box GTOCP4 Control Box, removable
Hand-held computer (optional) GTO Keypad to control all mount functions. Includes extensive databases and tour features in a simple, intuitive interface. Firmware updates via the internet
Power consumption ~ 0.3 to 0.6 amps at 13.8 volts - tracking
~ 1.3 to 2.5 amps at 13.8 volts - both motors slewing at 1200x
Power requirements Nominal 12 volt DC supply at minimum of 5 amps continuous
Periodic error

7 arc seconds peak-to-peak (+/- 3.5 arc seconds) or less in one worm cycle (6.4 minutes); native, prior to any error correction

Maximum slew speed 5 degrees / second

 

Absolute Encoders - 1100GTO-AE and 1100GTO-AEL

The 1100GTO mount has been designed and engineered to accomodate extremely precise Absolute Encoders. These are the same encoders as are used on the 1600GTO.

Absolute Encoders allow the mount to know its exact location regardless of accidental software errors and will allow its recovery. This is particularly important in remote setups. Furthermore, they virtually eliminate periodic error, reducing it below 0.2 arcseconds in our tests. If you order the 1100GTO-AE or 1100GTO-AEL, the R.A. and Dec. encoders will be installed and fully tested with the mount prior to shipment. 

However, if you purchase the 1100GTO without encoders, you may purchase the Absolute Encoder Kit at some point in the future and install them yourself. This do-it-yourself upgrade option will not be available until the latter half 2016. 

Check out the 10 minute (600 seconds) unguided exposure by clicking on the thumbnail below. Note that this image was taken with the 1600GTO, but as mentioned earlier, the same encoders are used on the 1100GTO, so the performance is representative.

 
10 minute unguided exposure

PEMPro Software, Version 2 


PEMPro (Periodic Error Management Professional), Version 2, by Sirius Imaging is included with this mount. It is a very powerful Windows software application that allows you to correct your mount's periodic error, polar alignment and backlash using your CCD Camera or Webcam to dramatically improve tracking and guiding. As mentioned previously, Astro-Physics' extensive testing procedures include several PEMPro runs so that your new mount will perform with optimum PE correction out of the box. Simply use the Keypad or the PulseGuide software to turn PE Correction "on." Although you will not need to use PEMPro when you receive your mount, you may wish to do a PEMPro run at a later date after the worm gear has run in. Depending on usage, re-measuring error and re-loading periodic error correction from one to four times a year is a good practice, especially if you do some unguided images from time to time. PEMPro also includes a powerful polar alignment routine. 

Pier Mounting Options

The 1100GTO mount integrates a precision rotating pier adapter and azimuth adjuster as part of its base. The mount's base will directly attach to the Astro-Physics pier, or it can be attached to any flat surface using the Flat Surface Adapter for 1100GTO and all 900 Mounts (119FSA). If you plan to use an 8" ATS pier, you will need the Flat Surface Adapter with Flat Pier Plate for 1100GTO and all 900 Mounts (119FSA-FP). The 1100GTO's wide adjustable 0 to 78 degree latitude range (which spans from Antarctica to the arctic circle) makes the use of a wedge unnecesary.

Dimensions

To determine the appropriate pier height for your system and to calculate many of the dimensions that vary with your latitude setting, please try this Excel spreadsheet Latitude Dimension Calculator.

Support

Cloud Break Optics stands behind all the products we sell.  We have first-hand experience using Astro-Physics mounts in the field (one of our owners has several years' experience using one as his primary imaging mount).  As a result, purchasing your Astro-Physics mount from Cloud Break Optics gives you two tiers of support.  We will be available to answer your questions and, should additional assistance be necessary, you have the world-class support of the manufacturer, as well.

All Astro-Physics mounts are supported by a dedicated staff who will assist with any issues that may arise. You can talk to a real person in a timely manner. Astro-Physics staff also participate the ap-gto user groups in the Yahoogroups forum. The user group is comprised of GTO owners who are willing to share their wealth of experience using their mounts as well as imaging strategies and other concerns of advanced amateurs.

 

1100GTO: 1100GTO German Equatorial Mount 
What’s Included:
  • Polar Fork / Right Ascension Axis (R.A.) Assembly
  • Declination Axis (Dec.) Assembly 
  • GTOCP4 Servo Control Box
  • Control Box Adapter 
  • 14" Stainless Counterweight Shaft, 1.875" diameter (M9404-A) and Safety Stop (M12676)
  • R.A. and Dec. Y-Cable 
  • Power Cable Set for GTOCP4, includes 6' Cable with PowerPole Connector, 18" Cable with Cigarette Lighter Plug and 18" Cable with Ring Terminals (CABPP4SET)
  • 15' Straight-through Serial Cable (CABSER15)
  • Allenhead wrench set
  • CD containing: PEMPro v2 Software and PulseGuide Software, both written by Ray Gralak of Sirius Imaging. Also, PDF of 1100GTO and GTO Keypad instruction manuals
  • Manual: 1100GTO German Equatorial
  • Manual: GTOCP4 Servo Motor Drive System
  • Registration Card

1100GTO-AE: 1100GTO German Equatorial Mount with Absolute Encoders 
What’s Included:

    • All items listed above for the 1100GTO
    • R.A. and Dec. Absolute Encoders, installed
    • R.A. and Dec. Readhead with wire harness, standard temperature version, installed
    • Junction Box and Cables
    • CD with Absolute Encoder Utility (Windows-based)
    • All required fasteners
    • Note: The Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC) software is not included as part of this package. It is available as an optional purchase.
    • All accessories that are listed as suitable for the 1100GTO are appropriate for this version of the mount, as well, with the exception of the Limit/Homing Switch System, which would not be needed anyway. 

 

1100GTO-AEL: 1100GTO German Equatorial Mount with Absolute Encoders (Extended Temperature Range)
What’s Included:

  • All items listed above for the 1100GTO-AE, except that the Readheads are the Low Temperature Version.
  • Note: The Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC) software is not included as part of this package. It is available as an optional purchase.
  • All accessories that are listed as suitable for the 1100GTO are appropriate for this version of the mount, as well, with the exception of the Limit/Homing Switch System, which would not be needed anyway. 

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