Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 66

S&T Test Report by Johnny Horne
iOptron's
HAE29EC
Mount
HAE29EC Dual SWG
Mount with High
Precision Encoder
U.S. Price: $3,348 mount head,
$318 Carbon Fiber Tripod
ioptron.com
This portable package
promises excellent accuracy.
IT'S TOUGH TO KEEP track of just
how many mounts iOptron has produced
over the years. Based in Woburn,
Massachusetts, the company has long
been at the forefront of telescope drive
technology, with its high-performing,
Chinese-manufactured products suitable
for a wide range of instruments.
But there's one feature that nearly all
its recent mounts have in common.
They are driven by strain-wave gears
rather than traditional worm gears.
These systems are incredibly small and
lightweight yet can carry surprisingly
heavy payloads, without requiring a
counterweight.
A recent addition to the lineup is the
HAE29EC. I tested it together with the
company's carbon-fiber tripod for several
months with a variety of telescopes
ranging from a 71-mm refractor to an
11-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain.
Fit and Finish
The HAE29EC has the ability to operate
in both equatorial and alt-azimuth
configurations, making it very versatile.
The RA (or azimuth) axis also incorporates
a high-resolution encoder to
greatly reduce the significant amount of
periodic error inherent in strain-wave
drives. The iOptron's load capacity is
13.5 kilograms (29.7 pounds), and as
with its predecessors, no counterweight
or counterweight bar is included, nor is
it required in most cases. An optional
counterweight bar 200 mm (8 inches)
long and weighing 4.5 kg is available if
desired. Adding both raises the drive's
66 MAY 2024 * SKY & TELESCOPE
What We Like
Accurate tracking free
of backlash
Compact size
What We Don't Like
Lacks convenience features
for manual positioning
Cable pass-through ports
are too small to be useful.
The iOptron HAE29EC with High Precision Encoder is a German equatorial mount that incorporates
strain-wave drives in both axes, producing an impressive payload capacity for its size.
payload capacity to 20 kg.
The mount is also available without
the RA axis encoder for $2,098, so the
encoder model adds $1,250 to the price
tag. But if you're interested in astrophotography,
the added expense is well
worth it.
Besides being lightweight, the
HAE29EC is very small and is easily carried
in one hand. Lots of work went into
keeping its size and weight to a minimum.
Thick aluminum altitude support
structures in the base as well as the
dovetail saddle are milled out to shed a
few kilos while maintaining rigidity.
The mount accepts both Losmandyand
Vixen-style dovetail rails via an
easily convertible, dual-format saddle
plate that measures only 120 mm long.
A separate, detachable iPolar alignment
camera that takes the place of a
traditional polar scope is also included
in the package.
The optional 2.29-kg, carbon-fiber
tripod stands 94 cm tall and 59.7 cm
when fully retracted. The mount head
attaches to the tripod by seating it
on the central pin of the tripod with
the azimuth pin guided between the
azimuth adjustment screws. It's then
secured with two azimuth-locking bolts
stored in two holes in the base. A hex
wrench is located in a magnetic slot in
the mount that fits most (but not all)
the bolts on the mount.
Users can control the HAE29EC sevThe
mount comes with a foam-fitted, zippered
case. The head can be stored in the case
in either its equatorial or alt-azimuth configuration.
There are also cutouts for the Go2Nova
hand controller, the power supply, and the
iPolar polar-alignment camera.
eral ways. It comes with the company's
Go2Nova hand paddle, or you can use
a laptop or other computer connected
via a USB socket located at the base of
the hand controller. The mount also has
built-in Wi-Fi, and you can use several
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR
http://www.ioptron.com

Sky & Telescope - May 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - May 2024

Contents
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 1
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 3
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 4
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 5
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 6
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 7
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 8
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 9
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Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Cover3
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Cover4
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