Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 67

apps to drive it, including iOptron's
own Commander Lite or the popular
SkySafari. It is also fully compatible with
ZWO ASIair control computers. I operated
the mount using the hand paddle,
SkySafari on my iPad (connected via
Wi-Fi), and also with an ASIair control
computer - all with no problems.
The HAE29EC comes with an AC
power supply that delivers 12 volts DC
at 5 amps. This was more than sufficient
to power the mount as well as an
ASIair controller with two cameras and
a dew-prevention strap connected. The
mount lacks some of the convenient
features present on other recent iOptron
mounts, such as USB and power
pass-through ports. This is likely to
keep the size and weight of the head as
compact as possible. The manual shows
where users can run cables through the
unit's central body, but the opening
proved too narrow for my USB cables.
The HAE29EC can operate in either
alt-azimuth mode or equatorial mode
with a latitude range of 0° to 90°.
Switching from equatorial to alt-azimuth
involves removing and reinserting
a threaded indexing pin to allow the
polar axis to aim at the zenith. Unfortunately,
removing the indexing pin
requires a slotted screwdriver rather
than the provided hex wrench that
fits every other screw on the mount.
A menu item in the Go2Nova hand
paddle allows switching the computer
tracking from equatorial to alt-azimuth
modes and back, with a reboot required
in between.
Under the Stars
A typical evening with the HAE29EC
begins by setting up the tripod then
loading it with the scope, cameras,
and everything before performing any
critical alignment. Because the mount
and tripod are so light, attaching the
telescope after an iPolar alignment
session runs the risk of ruining precise
polar alignment.
Thanks to the HAE29EC's strainwave
gearing, balancing your equipment
on the mount isn't critical, but it
does help prevent potential accidents
at certain angles due to a particularly
off-balance load. But achieving accurate
balance is tricky, as there is no clutch
mechanism to release the strain-wave
gearing. Movement in either axis can
only be accomplished using the hand
control buttons or through software. I
found it practical to determine the balance
point of my scope and accessories
by placing them on a wooden dowel
to find the approximate balance point,
which I then marked before installing
the equipment on the mount. Balance
in the right-ascension axis isn't necessary
with the high torque of the strainwave-drive
system unless your load is
more than the maximum recommended
without a counterweight.
As noted earlier, polar alignment is
accomplished with the provided iPolar
camera that you install on the bubble
level on the north-facing plate of the
head. The device takes short exposures
in order to record stars near the north
or south celestial poles, which the iPolar
control software quickly plate-solves
(identifying known star patterns) to
determine the mount's exact orientation.
You then adjust the altitude and
azimuth knobs on the mount until you
get the mount's rotational axis (+) onto
the green circle marking the polar axis.
The iPolar device claims it can deliver
polar-alignment accuracy to within 30
arcseconds, which I found to be the
This rear view of the HAE29EC shows the
azimuth and altitude adjustment knobs and the
stowed hex wrench that fits most of the screws
on the mount. The hole on the side of the altitude
plate is for storage of the azimuth-locking
screws when not attached to the tripod.
case. The entire polar-alignment process
took less than five minutes.
The next task is to perform a star
alignment with the controller to
ensure accurate Go To slews. When the
Go2Nova hand paddle is first powered
up, the user has to enter the date, time,
and geographical location. After that
you must select an alignment star from
Left: The north-facing side of the mount includes the jack for the Go2Nova hand controller, an
ST-4 autoguiding connection, and the 12-volt DC power input as well as the on-off switch. At top
is the bubble level required for leveling the head when setting up in alt-azimuth mode. The level
also serves as a mounting stud for the iPolar camera. At bottom is the 3
/8
× 16 threaded socket that
accepts an optional 200-mm long counterweight bar. Right: This image shows the iPolar polaralignment
camera installed and secured by its two thumbscrews. A Mini-USB cable connects the
device to a PC computer running the iPolar software.
sk yand tele scope .o r g * MAY 2024 67
http://skyandtelescoper.org

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
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 10
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 11
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 12
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Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 84
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Cover3
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Cover4
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