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FORNAX 52 Heavy Duty Equatorial Mount with MC3 Controller and UMiPro Software - 50kg Load Capacity

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Fornax 52 Heavy Duty German Equatorial Telescope Mount
MC3 Motor Controller (click here for details!)
(MC3 is compatible with the Meade LX200 protocol. This makes it compatible with most telescope control software.)
Ursa Minor Pro Planetarium and Telescope Control Software (click here for details!)

Max recommended visual load (without the weight of counterweights): appr. 50kg

Max recommented photograpic load (without the weight of counterweights): appr. 40kg


Check out our blog where we shared some images of a Fornax 200 installation in Chile: Fornax Mounts in Chile – Fornax 200 Installation

We at 365Astronomy also use one of these mounts in our own observatory. You are welcome to visit us and have a look...(please call us for an appointment before you come... ;o)


Please note, the shipping cost depends on the delivery address, so please contact us for a quote. Shipping to UK mainland will be most likely less than £100. For other addresses please call or email us.

This is the latest incarnation of the former Fornax 51 mount. The Fornax 52 comes with much strengthened and improved wormbox that makes it an even more precise mount. The new housing of the worm drive is stronger and it has got an extra unit that holds it in exact position, eliminating any sideway movement that could have occured in earlier versions when changing direction under heavy load.

Designed and manufactured in the Europe Union, Fornax Telescope Mounts are a series of German Equatorial mounts for precise positioning and tracking large telescopes. These are available in various payload capacities: 50kg, 100kg, 150kg and 200kg (the latter one is coming soon). There is also a very compact, mobile version called Fornax 10 LighTrack that serves as a lightweight astro photo tracking solution.

The Fornax 52 has got a load capacity of up to 45-50kg. Although there are examples of use of even heavier telescopes, the recommended maximum load is 45kg - 50kg for this telescope mount.

We use one of these in our own observatory with 48kg counterweight that gives a good balance for the 4 telescopes that we installed on this mount: a A Celestron C11 Edge, a Primaluce Lab 120mm ED APO, an Explore Scientific 127mm achromatic refractor and a 365Astronomy branded 80mm/400mm short, widefield imaging refractor. All these are well balanced and the mount is capable of carrying them without any problem.

There are similar mounts on the market with practically the same theoretical payload capacity when used for visual observations, but much lower capacity when used for astro photography.
This mount has been designed to provide the same precision up to its maximum capacity and it can be used for astro photography up to its maximum payload if correctly balanced and aligned.

The mechanism of this extremely sturdy mount is being made of aluminium alloy, cast aluminium, bronze and stainless steel. The worm and the electric motor are located in an enclosed, sealed space (waterproof and dust-proof), making it less sensitive to dust and temperature fluctuations, and is practically maintenance free.

Thanks to the ingenious solution of the inner drive mechanism this telescope mount doesn't suffer from any backlash.

Typical periodic error (when unguided) is less than +/- 6 arc seconds (one period on the worm gear is 7.5 minutes long!) When using a TDM (Telescope Drive Master), this can be reduced to below +/-0.5 arc seconds. (TDM is an alternative solution to guiding.)

When using auto guiding, the mount reacts immediately, so corrections are very fast and completely free of play. This is the ultimate solution for astrophotography with a high quality/price ratio!

This model is suitable for both observatories and as a heavy-duty mobile solution that can be carried around!
(But of course, you'll need to be in good physical condition ;o)


Weight: 35kg
Recommended telescope weight: 40kg (max. 50kg)
Overall dimensions: 250 x 350 x 350mm
Shaft diameter: 60mm, anodised aluminium alloy
Bearings: diameter 95mm, high precision tapered roller bearings in X layout
Gear: diameter 194mm, 1 modul, bronze, 192 teeth
Worm: diameter 22mm, multiple thread, grinded, hardened, corrosion proof steel (KO13)
Periodic Error: < +/- 8 arc seconds
Periodic Error (with TDM): < +/- 0.5 arc seconds
Stepper Motors: 200-phase step / rev., 1.3Nm
Voltage and Current: 12V DC, 3.5A peak power consumption at max. load
Counterweight holder shaft: diameter: 33.7mm (1" KO33 tube) and length 470mm
Step-resolution: 0.5 arc seconds / step
Maximum speed: 4 degrees / second



Below instructions relate to the mechanical parts only. Instructions for the MC3 telescope control are available under the description of the MC3 controller and/or the manufacturer's website.

1. The red or orange knobs serve merely for manual directional movement.
2. If you have to disengage any of the axes, it can be done with an Allen key (size???). There is a locking ring at the bottom end of the Dec axis that is being secured by a screw. This locks the Dec axis for motorised movement. Loosen it up if you have to move the Dec axis by hand.
The second locking ring that locks the RA axis is invisible, but there is a screw that can also be accessed via the housing of the RA axis (location???)
3. There are black(???) flat bolts (sort of thumbsrews...) near the housing of each stepper motor. With the help of these you can adjust the strength of the spring that pushes the wormgear against the wormwheel on each axis.
4. Polar alignment. Horizontal movement is done by two screws. 
The vertical movement is slightly more complicated. You'll have to slightly loosen up the four bolts on the two sides of the Dec axis (the lower bolts just a tiny bit), then adjust the angle of the Dec axis by the brass turnbuckle-like adjustment screw. Once polar aligned, tighten up the screws. Then check out polar alignment again. Repeat it until you got a satisfactory polar alignment.
Best method for polar alignment for a observatory grade mount is a drift alignment. There are lots of variations of how to do it. Please search the net for this  and choose one that suits your needs.

See image below. The cat is a separate item and the most expensive one; it consumes much more than the Fornax 51 or 52 and less reliable... ;o)


Fornax 51 Heavy Duty german Equatorial Telescope Mount in a dome:

Fornax 51 Heavy Duty german Equatorial Telescope Mount installed on a pier (pier is available separately):

Fornax-51 Telescope Mount Dimensions

Fornax-51 Pier Top Dimensions


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