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.
Dec 28, 2014
Oct 4, 2011
Oct 4, 2011
Jul 7, 2015
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