Paramount MX+ FAQs
Q: What is the Paramount MX+?
A: The Paramount MX+ German Equatorial Mount has been redesigned to incorporate the same high-torque precision servo motors used in the Paramount ME II. See the Paramount Spec Sheet for details about the new motors.
Otherwise, the Paramount MX+ has virtually the identical feature set of the original Paramount MX.
Q: What are the changes and new features in the Paramount MX+?
A: The Paramount MX+ includes the following changes and new features:
Upgraded servo motors. The Paramount MX+ now employs the same long life, high-torque, brushless servo motors that are used by the Paramount ME II.
- Higher payload capacity. The Paramount MX+ can carry up to 100 lb (45 kg) of equipment, or 200 lb (90 kb) equipment plus payload. Additional counterweights may be required for heavier payloads.
Optional higher maximum slew rates of up to 10 degrees per second. An optional, higher wattage power supply is sold separately.
To accommodate the larger motors, the original Paramount MX Three Position Switch has been replaced with a Two Position Switch that places an axis in balance and track mode. There is also a separate rotating knob that allows each axis to be locked during transport.
Worm and gear “cam stop” adjustments can be made without removing the worm block covers.
The declination axis access hole is rectangular, rather then circular.
Q: What is the price of the Paramount MX+?
A: The price of the Paramount MX+ is $9,000, the same as the original Paramount MX.
Q: When did the Paramount MX+ begin shipping?
A: The Paramount MX+ began shipping July, 2014.
Q: Does the Paramount MX+ replace the Paramount MX?
A: Yes. The Paramount MX+ supersedes the Paramount MX.
Q: Can the Paramount MX be upgraded to be a Paramount MX+?
A: While Software Bisque could offer an upgrade from the Paramount MX to the Paramount MX+, the upgrade price may be prohibitively high. While the external changes to the Paramount MX+ appear subtle, the "under the hood changes" to perform the upgrade require the older model Paramount MX to be shipped back to Software Bisque, completely disassembled and the new components installed. Add this overhead to the cost of two way shipping and new components, and most Paramount MX owners would likely pass (we predict) based on the incremental gains in Paramount MX vs. Paramount MX+ performance.
Features and Specifications
The Paramount MX has a broad range of exciting features and capabilities that will keep you focused on the stars and not your equipment. Software Bisque urges you to compare the Paramount MX feature set with every other commercial mount in this price range before buying any mount.
- German equatorial mount design.
- Instrument capacity (not including the counterweights): 100 lb (45 kg). Maximum payload capacity (instruments plus counterweights): 200 lb (90 kg). Additional counterweights may be required for heavier payloads.
- Weight of the mount (including the Versa-Plate): 50 lb (23 kg)
- Every Paramount MX component is custom machined from 6061 aluminum at Software Bisque's production facility. The precision worms are machined from brass.
- Brass worms and aluminum gears that have a maximum seven (7) arcsecond peak-to-peak periodic error before periodic error correction. When periodic error correction is applied, the resulting peak-to-peak periodic error should be approximately one (1) arcsecond or less.
- Both the right ascension and declination axes have a simple three position mechanical "switch" to engage the worm during normal operation, disengage the worm from the gear when balancing the payload, or lock the axis during transit
- GEM design allows the right ascension axis to track past the meridian for up to 2 hours (time).
- All internal harnesses (cables) and motors are encapsulated inside the body of the mount, just like the Paramount ME.
- Through the mount access holes allow you to add your own internal cables.
- Calibrated polar alignment adjustments that are virtually identical to the Paramount ME.
- Paramount ME-like homing, tracking and pointing performance.
- 7.5-inch right ascension and declination gears (375 teeth).
- 6-inch contact ball bearings in both right ascension and declination.
- Periodic error correction curve fitting included with TheSkyX Professional Edition.
- 45 arcminute bubble level included.
- A Paramount MX-style Versa-Plate for attaching optical tube assemblies is included.
- Power supply included. Paramount MX power supply specifications: Max Power Output: 80W, Input: 100-240VAC ~47-63 Hz 1.9A, Output: 48V 1.66A max.
- Two (2) 20 lb (9kg) counterweights included. Note that the Paramount MX and Paramount ME counterweights are identical.
- 16-in. (41 cm) counterweight shaft included.
- Standard Paramount MX wedge can be adjusted to reach latitudes from ten (10) degrees to slightly higher than sixty-five (65) degrees. A Paramount ME-like Latitude Adjustment Wedge is available for latitudes outside this region.
- Azimuth axis polar axis adjustment range is plus or minus 3.5 degrees from center position (seven degrees total).
- Altitude and azimuth polar alignment knobs are calibrated, so that making adjustments using the TPoint Polar Alignment Report simple and accurate.
Control System and Electronics
- The Paramount MX includes the MKS 5000, Software Bisque's fourth generation dual axis telescope control system.
MKS 5000 Electronics
- Integrated USB 2.0 computer to mount communication interface can be controlled via TheSkyX Professional Edition on either Mac OS X and Windows (7/Vista/XP, 32- and 64-bit), out of the box.
- Integrated two port USB 2.0 hub at the camera-end of the telescope, right where USB ports are needed most.
- The position of the motors is monitored 3333 times each second to ensure optimal tracking accuracy and smooth, consistent slews at all rates and all times.
- Tracking and "in progress slews" are immediately stopped in the event the mount's payload encounters a fixed object, such as the side of the pier.
- The single board control system electronics requires the minimum number of components and has a small physical size.
- Hand controller features an integrated mini-joystick controller and configurable rate, a five position switch that allows single-handed mount control, an integrated bright red LED flashlight, sturdy "hang anywhere" cable loop and 15-foot coiled hand paddle to mount cable.
- Programmable periodic error correction with advanced adperiodic error curve fitting built into TheSkyX Professional Edition.
- Built-in autoguider port on the Instrument Panel.
- Built-in focuser port on the Instrument Panel.
- One 12V and one 5V power port on the Instrument Panel.
- An integrated through the mount generic "power source" port on the Instrument Panel backed with 18-gauge wire to supply power to your observing equipment.
- Configurable software limits (using TheSkyX Professional Edition) to ensure the mount does not encounter the pier.
- Brushless DC servomotors with all moving parts on bearing surfaces. If your mount is used for survey astronomy all night, every clear night, no other type of motor is sufficient. Other commercial mounts use "brushed motors" that don't have nearly the life expectancy of brushless DC servomotors and are not designed to be operated for long periods at the (relatively slow) sidereal rate.
- The maximum slew and tracking rate is six (6) degrees per second in both right ascension axis and declination (the default slew rate is 5.4 degrees per second)*. The gear-reducer and worm-block design of the Paramount MX are extremely efficient so that little power is lost between the motor and the telescope drive.
*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.
- AutoHome™ homing capability (to better than one arcsecond resolution) with built-in sensor circuitry on each axis ensure that the mount always knows its orientation (after an initialization process called "homing"), even after power failure.
- Configurable park position.
- Audible feedback that indicates normal operation and error conditions.
- Slew and tracking rates can be configured with 56-bit precision. What does this mean? The right ascension and declination motors can be rotated a 0 to 4000 revolutions per minute and virtually anywhere in between, providing precise tracking and slewing. This gives you the ability to track on comets, asteroids and even fast- or slow-moving objects such as LEO satellites or any object that moves above or below the sidereal rate.
- Single-reduced belt-driven worms mean the Paramount MX has backlash so small it is difficult to measure (typically less than two arcseconds in both axes. Autoguiding calibration is always a snap with this “no-slop” system. Spur gears and other components the may introduce backlash are not used.
- Temperature compensated internal oscillator with better than 10 parts per million that ensures accurate tracking rates over a wide temperature range.
- Built-in temperature sensor that allows the slew rate to be automatically reduced when the temperature drops.
- Soft "reboot" capability. This means that the control system can be restarted through software and does not have to be manually turned off, then on.
All Paramount MX Accessories on the Software Bisque Store
Technical Paramount MX Drawings
Please visit the Paramount MX Documentation page (Click Downloads > Documentation > Paramount MX) for the complete list of the Paramount MX-related technical drawings.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where can I ask questions about the Paramount MX?
A: Please post your questions on the Paramount MX support forum. Software Bisque will try to answer them as quickly as possible.
Q: What software is included with the Paramount MX?
A: See Software above for details.
Q: Does Software Bisque sell a permanent pier for the Paramount MX?
A: Yes. Software Bisque Permanent Piers are compatible with the Paramount MX.
Q: Does Software Bisque sell a portable tripod for the Paramount MX?
A: Yes. Software Bisque manufactures and sells the Paramount MX Portable Tripod.
Q: Does Software Bisque sell a wedge to pier adaptor for the Paramount MX that is similar to the Paramount ME Wedge to Pier Adaptor?
A: Yes. Software Bisque sells a Paramount MX Base Plate to Pier Adaptor Plate.
Q: Can TheSky6 Professional Edition control the Paramount MX?
A: No. TheSkyX Professional Edition is required to control the Paramount MX.
Q: What is the Paramount MX warranty?
A: Software Bisque warrants to the customer that the Paramount MX will be free from defects in mechanical parts (for two years) and all electrical parts (for one year) from the date of delivery. Software Bisque's limited warranty covers only those defects which are the result of normal use, and do not apply to any improper or inadequate maintenance or modification or operation outside the product's specifications.
Q: I presently own TheSkyX Professional Edition. Can I receive a discount on the Paramount MX?
A: No. The software that is included with the Paramount MX is licensed to that mount. Therefore, Software Bisque does not offer a "software to hardware+software" upgrade. (This policy applies to the Paramount ME and Paramount ME II).
Q: What are the dimensions and weight of the Paramount MX shipping boxes?
A: The dimensions of the large Paramount MX shipping box are 13-in. x 24.5-i.n x 26-in. (33 cm x 62 cm x 66 cm ) and weighs 70 lbs. (32 kg). Counterweights are shipped separately. See Box 4 on the Paramount ME Shipping Information page for the counterweight box specifications.
|**The Paramount MX began shipping on July 15, 2011. The Paramount MX+ began shipping July, 2014.