By drastically reducing drive errors, the Telescope Drive Master puts 1 arc-second tracking ability within your reach without asking you to give up your existing mount.
The Telescope Drive Master (TDM) is the vision of accomplished Hungarian amateur astronomers, Istvan Papp & Attila Madai of MDA Telescoop. It was their desire to solve the problem of tracking imperfections that, to some degree or another, are inherent in all equatorial mounts, and the Telescope Drive Master was the result. The TDM is designed to attach to a range of popularly available equatorial mounts through the use of a separately purchased mount-specific adapter. The Telescope Drive Master„¢ uses an ultra-high resolution encoder and an electronics package that transforms your drive system into a super-performance, research-grade drive. This device does not require tedious PEC training. Just turning on the TDM eliminates nearly all of the periodic and non-periodic tracking error of your equatorial mount.
The TDM electronic controller unit compares the incoming signals from the high precision rotary encoder, which is mounted onto the RA shaft, with the time signal of its quartz oscillator. Any deviations of the angular velocity of the RA shaft from the prescribed drive rate are compensated by feedback regulation in real time by accelerating or slowing down the drive. If further correction is needed because of errors other than periodic drive error, the TDM allows auto-guider input as well. A typical drive on a moderately priced equatorial mount can easily have 20–30 arc seconds (or more) of periodic error. The TDM can easily improve it down to 2-to-2.5 arc-seconds peak-to-valley - which is what you would expect from equatorial mounts that cost many thousands of dollars. In many cases, that number will drop even further to 1 arc-second.
Download TDM Monitor Software for FREE!
This program can read TDM correction values in real-time via the PC serial port (or via RS232-USB adapter) from USART Port of TDM box.
The installation package contains the LabView runtime environment as well for using this application. In this way, the user can check the tracking error of any mount in real time in his/her warm room (without autoguider support). Before installation, it is recommended to read “ReadMeFirst.txt” file.
Download TDM TE Recorder Software for FREE!
Jerry Hubbell has independently developed an improved version of the TDM Monitor software called TDM TE Recorder. This program records and displays the Tracking Error (TE) as provided by the TDM and also records and displays the Right Ascension (RA) of your mount by connecting to your mount's ASCOM driver. This software freely available to Explore Scientific customers for their use.
This version includes the ability to save and load parameter settings. The biggest improvement is that this version includes a PID controller using the ASCOM pulse-guide API. The controller uses the TDM tracking error (TE) signal to correct your mount's TE via the ASCOM standard pulse-guide command. This allows you to dedicate your mount's autoguiding (ST4) port to your guide camera to correct the long-term drift typically associated with polar misalignment.