Review - Counterweight Bar Accessory Mount for GEM Mounts
Posted: 2 June 2019
Counterweight Bar Accessory Mount for GEM Mounts
$44 (plus options)
ScopeStuff sent me their new Counterweight Bar Accessory Mount for GEM Mounts and some of the available options to test out on my Meade LXD55 German Equatorial Mount (GEM). The purpose of the Accessory Mount is to provide an alternative location for mounting various types of accessories on a GEM while retaining or even improving the balance of the system. As you can see from the ScopeStuff product page there are many available options that you can attach to the Accessory Mount. The Mount itself comes in two versions: one for an 18mm diameter counterweight rod and one for a 20mm diameter rod. My LXD55 has a 20mm rod.
As seen in the photo at the right, the Accessory Mount comes with an Allen Wrench to tighten the block's grip on the counterweight rod.
There are several holes of various sizes on the Accessory Mount for attaching a multitude of accessories. The hole sizes are conveniently labeled:
Here is the Accessory Mount on the counterweight rod of my LXD55 with an ETX-105 OTA:
Here are some of the available options from ScopeStuff that you can add:
Dovetail Saddle for Orion/Synta/Vixen Type Dovetails ($39)
Orion/Synta Type Finder Mounting Shoe with Cross Slots ($18)
One Pound Pancake Counterweight ($31)
You can attach cameras to the Accessory Mount using the proper accessories. Here is an iPhone and the 1 pound counterweight attached:
And just the iPhone attached using a handy 90° bolt available from ScopeStuff:
I attached a DSLR camera to the Accessory Mount using a supplied 1/4" bolt and a Ballhead I had. Here you can see how a camera is attached to photograph the sky in a southerly direction:
Here is a tracked 10 seconds exposure with the DSLR and 50m lens showing a portion of the Milky Way, part of the constellation of Scorpius (at right), and the bright planet Jupiter (lower left):
The exposure could have been longer but I only did an approximate polar alignment of the GEM.
As expected from ScopeStuff, the Accessory Mount and options are of high quality and excellent design. With some forethought you should be able to select from the available options to get the most flexibility for mounting accessories on your GEM. You will need to be certain you fully tighten down the Accessory Mount on the counterweight rod, especially when adding heavy accessories like a large guidescope or camera.
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