Building & Using a Tracking Mount for Astrophotography
Finishing the Mount
After assembling the mechanical parts of the mount, the project can be completed by making the variable DC power supply for the motor. I purchased most of the parts for this at my local electronics store. The 10-turn potentiometer for adjusting motor speed was purchased on-line. With a little planning, I was able to fit all of the electronics into a rather small plastic project box, which also houses the 9-volt battery. The box's metal cover serves as a heat sink for the adjustable voltage regulator integrated circuit. When the power supply is not in use, it can be disconnected from the motor by use of a set of quick disconnects on the wire leads.
My experience shows that with simple tools (jig-saw, drill press, screwdriver, hacksaw, soldering iron, etc.) it is possible for someone with limited skills to construct a workable tracking mount.
When describing this mount, I have used the term “inexpensive”, which is of course relative. I estimate that my mount has cost around $185 (US). If one is needed, a heavy-duty photographic tripod can easily add more than $100 to the total. Take note of the following link to “Mounts for Astrophotography” by Jerry Lodriguss:
In that reference Jerry states “… good, inexpensive German-equatorial starter mounts for astrophotography are difficult to find for less than about $750 - $1,000.” So in light of that observation, the roughly $200 cost of the Barn-door mount is very reasonable. And the results can be quite good.
For those so disposed, a Barn-door type mount can be purchased at
for $580 ( plus tax and shipping, subject to the current exchange rate for Euros). There are other commercially available tracking mounts such as inexpensive equatorial mounts for telescopes.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Building the Mount
- 3 Some Tips for Construction
- 4 Further Tips for Construction
- 5 Aligning the Green Laser With the Hinge Pin
- 6 Green Laser and Its Mount
- 7 Finishing the Mount
- 8 Using the Tracking Mount
- 9 Some Astrophotos Made Utilizing The Tracking Mount
- 10 Some Further Observations and Conclusions