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5/16/2024 7:00:51 AM
Sky Watcher CQ350 Pro mount and tripod combo
Sky-Watcher,CQ350 Pro,Mount,Tripod,Astronomy,Astrophotography
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Sky Watcher CQ350 Pro mount and tripod combo

Mounts

Sky Watcher CQ350 Pro mount and tripod combo


Thursday, May 16, 2024

Richard Harris Richard Harris

The Sky-Watcher CQ350 Pro is a center-balanced equatorial mount, recently introduced as a lighter yet capable alternative to traditional mounts. It arrives in three large boxes, with the mount head, tripod, and accessories such as counterweights and an optional polar scope securely packed.

The Sky-Watcher CQ350 Pro is an observatory-class equatorial GoTo mount designed with an impressive 77-pound payload capacity, it supports large optical tube assemblies (OTAs) along with guiders, cameras, and filters. Key features include built-in USB PC control for seamless operation, belt drives for minimal backlash and reduced periodic error, and whisper-quiet stepper motors without internal gearboxes to further decrease backlash.

It includes a SNAP port to eliminate the need for a remote shutter release cable, an autoguide port for compatibility with modern guiders, and a D/V saddle plate for versatile OTA mounting. The mount is supported by a heavy-duty steel tripod, ensuring rock-solid performance, and comes complete with two 22-pound counterweights and a DC power cord. It offers sidereal, solar, and lunar tracking modes and boasts a database of over 42,000 celestial objects.

Setting up the CQ350 Pro mount with heavy-duty field tripod

  • Mount Head: Securely encased in thick foam within the first box, along with the counterweight bar and additional small accessories.
  • Tripod: Weighing 15kg, found in the second box.
  • Accessories: Two 10kg counterweights and an optional polar scope in the third box.
  • Note: No carry case is included, which is a consideration for those transporting to remote locations.
     
Assembly

Assembly

  • The assembly process is straightforward, attaching the mount to the tripod with a threaded connection and securing it with Allen bolts.
  • Features a large green metal knob for easy altitude adjustment.
     

Power

  • Powered by a 12V plug, ensuring a secure connection.
  • Connectivity ports are located on the counterweight side, raising concerns about exposure to moisture.
  • Includes a USB hub for connecting devices such as laptops.
Observations

Observations

  • Polar Alignment: Achieved easily under dark skies without disturbing the setup when tightening.
  • Astrophotography: After changing to camera setup, the mount supports extensive imaging sessions without any disruption, capturing high-quality images of celestial bodies.
     

Astrophotography results

  • Images captured included the North America Nebula and the Soul Nebula, showing sharp details through multiple exposures.
     

Functionality

  • Despite excellent performance, the mount's cable management could be improved.
  • Offers significant improvements in load capacity and weight over traditional models, making it suitable for serious astrophotographers.
     
Key features of the CQ350 Pro

Key features of the CQ350 Pro

  • Large Knobs: Easy adjustments, suitable for use with gloves.
  • Robust Tripod: Accommodates heavy setups, adjustable height.
  • Mount Compatibility: Supports both Losmandy and Vixen style dovetails.
  • Hand Controller: Intuitive SynScan controller familiar to Sky-Watcher users.
  • USB 3.0 Hub: Strategically placed to minimize cable interference.
     

Specifications

  • Price: $4,265.00 for mount and tripod
  • Type: Center-balanced equatorial.
  • Load Capacity: 77lbs.
  • Tracking Rates: Sidereal, solar, lunar.
  • Power Requirements: 11–16V DC 2A, 55W.
  • Connectivity: Includes USB and power outputs, plus ports for various devices.
  • Weight: 18.5kg without counterweights
     

Overall, the Sky-Watcher CQ350 Pro stands out for its combination of durability, portability, and high performance, making it an attractive option for both novice and advanced astronomers.

Specifications



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