Ultra-portable astro rig

August 24, 2019 - Reading time: ~1 minute

Last month I picked up an iOptron SkyGuider Pro, because, well who doesn't have one of these best-in-class star trackers? I felt left out. It also gave me an excuse to get the Stronghold Tangent Alt-Az base from AstroShop on AliExpress (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32822479423.html). I've been looking at images of this one for a while, and in reality it doesn't disappoint. It's a nicely machined piece of equipment, very sturdy, with a 10kg/22lb carrying capacity! I'm using this instead of the very compact light-weight version that comes with the SkyGuider Pro. 

Here's my ultra-portable astro setup, with the William Optics ZS61 APO, ZWO ASI071MC cooled color, ZWO ASI120MM-S guide cam, DeepSkyDad AF1 focuser, homemade powerbox (2 x 12v out, 1 x 5v 4 amp out, 1 x dew control out), controlled by a Raspberry Pi 4 4GB running Stellarmate 1.4.2 beta. The SkyGuider Pro has it's own battery for power, and the scope, cameras, focuser only require a single 12v 7-10 amp input. All other cabling and control functions are mounted on the ZS61. I'm using an old Celestron tripod--I tightened the bolts on the legs, and it's definitely sturdy and stable enough for any payload the iOptron can handle.