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Comparing Explore Scientific's iEXOS-100-02, iEXOS-ET, EXOS2-GT

iEXOS-100-02 vs iEXOS-ET vs EXOS2-GT

AstroTelescopium Team |

Selecting the right equatorial mount is paramount in the ever-evolving realm of astrophotography and astronomy, ensuring the capture of breathtaking celestial images.

In this comprehensive comparison, we will delve into the distinctive features, functionalities, and performance capabilities of Explore Scientific's iEXOS-100-02, iEXOS-ET, and EXOS2-GT.

Whether you're a seasoned astrophotographer or a passionate stargazer looking to elevate your astronomical pursuits, this overview will break down the differences and nuances between these three impressive equatorial mounts, helping you in selecting the perfect companion for your cosmic adventures.


PMC-Eight System

Let's begin by discussing the key similarity among these three mounts that separates them from other motorized equatorial mounts in the market: Explore Scientific's PMC-Eight™ System.

Taking GOTO technology to new heights, the PMC-Eight is a groundbreaking innovation that goes beyond the typical single-processor designs that currently dominate the industry.

Unlike other systems, the PMC-Eight stands out with its eight independent CPUs, each assigned to specific tasks, showcasing a clever electronic design approach. This distinctive distribution of responsibilities among the processors results in a system known for its exceptional responsiveness, increased efficiency, and unmatched reliability.

The PMC-Eight comes with a belt-driven system that minimizes vibration, ensuring smooth motion without any backlash. Its dual-axis micro-stepper motor offers precise control, virtually eliminating vibrations. Stepper motors were chosen over DC servo motors because they can withstand significant strain without causing damage to mechanical or electronic components.

For ease of use, the PMC-Eight system offers flexible control options. You can operate it wirelessly or plug in with a tablet or PC. Plus, it's compatible with Windows 10, Android, Amazon Fire, and iOS platforms, making it easy to use with different devices.

The ExploreStars app, which is free to use, makes navigating and controlling things a breeze. Just a heads up, though – the tablet or laptop you need to run it isn't included and needs to be bought separately. This way, you can pick a device that fits your preferences and needs.


ExploreStars App

Designed exclusively for the PMC-Eight system, the ExploreStars app offers a comprehensive and user-friendly experience. Its intuitive interface simplifies and expedites the process of aligning your telescope, offering both 2-star and 3-star alignment procedures.

The ExploreStars object database is like a treasure trove, holding a wide variety of celestial objects. It covers everything from our own Solar System to entries from the Messier Catalog, the New General Catalog, and the Index Catalog, making it a rich and diverse collection.

On top of that, the database is loaded with over 70,000 stars, giving users a diverse and plentiful resource to delve into the marvels of the cosmos.

Powered by a dynamic database, this app is continuously updated to provide users with the latest astronomical discoveries, ensuring an ever-expanding and up-to-date resource for exploration.


ASCOM Compliant

While the Explore Stars App effortlessly handles the PMC-Eight, this system is all about being versatile. It gives you different options, not just for checking out celestial views but also for navigation methods.

Catering to the diverse needs of both amateur and professional astronomers, the PMC-Eight is compatible with the widely used ASCOM Standard interface.

ASCOM, short for AStronomy Common Object Model, is an open initiative creating a standard interface for various astronomy equipment, such as mounts, focusers, and imaging devices, within the Microsoft Windows environment.

Some examples of currently available interfaces include ACP, APT, AST/ATC & Ricerca (Omega Lab), AstroArt, AstroMB, Cartes du Ciel/Sky Chart, CCD AutoPilot, DeepSky, Deepsky Planner, DFM Engineering, Earth Centered Universe Pro, EasySky, Eye and Telescope, Project Pluto, Hallo Northern Sky, Maxim DL, MaxPoint, PinPoint Astrometric, Prism, Sequence Generator Pro, Sidereal Technology, The Sky, SkyMap Software, SkyTools 3, Star Atlas PRO, Sky Observer, StarryNight, Stellarium, and Virtual Moon Atlas.


Comparing the mounts





The Explore Scientific iEXOS-100-02 equatorial mount adopts a German Equatorial Mount design (GEM), known for its effectiveness in keeping celestial targets centered for visual observers. This design is particularly advantageous for imagers as it aids in mitigating common astrophotography challenges, such as field rotation, ensuring a stable and precise capture of celestial scenes.

Tailored for smaller telescopes, the Explore Scientific iEXOS-100-02 equatorial mount boasts a weight capacity of approximately 9 lbs for equipment alone, 15 lbs for astrophotography applications (including equipment and counterweights), and around 19 lbs for visual use (incorporating both equipment and counterweights).

The mount head, weighing 9.45 lbs, features clutched dual-axis worm gears coupled with precision stepper motor belt drives, ensuring quiet operation. The clutched RA and Declination axes provide smooth movement and allow for precise balancing, streamlining the process of repositioning your telescope. Additionally, the inclusion of an altitude knob enables seamless and precise height adjustments for enhanced flexibility during observation.

Equipped with a polar alignment sight hole along the RA axis, the mount facilitates a rough alignment of the observing setup with Polaris, ensuring precise altitude control for swift alignment without the need for a polar scope. Plus, the inclusion of a straightforward bubble level proves useful for stabilizing the tripod, adding to an overall user-friendly experience.

The mount comes with a super light 1.25" tripod that only weighs 5.35 lbs, making it easy to carry around. It's compact and portable, and there's even a handy accessory tray included for extra convenience. When fully collapsed, the tripod is just 25.5", but when you attach it to the mount head, it extends to 45", giving you flexibility in size to meet various observational needs.

To make things easier during nighttime stargazing, the mount and tripod have glow-in-the-dark markers in key spots, helping you keep your bearings with your setup. The package includes two 1 kg counterweights and a counterweight shaft to balance things efficiently. To power up the PMC-Eight system, you'll need 8 C batteries, and the battery pack is securely kept in a bracket on one of the tripod legs while in use.






Think of the Explore Scientific iEXOS-ET equatorial mount as the upgraded version of the iEXOS-100-02. It has all the features of the iEXOS-100-02, but it kicks things up a notch with a more robust tripod, a polar finder scope with illumination, an azimuth adjuster adapter, and a camera dovetail plate. These extra tools are a game-changer, especially if you're serious about diving into the world of astrophotography.

Unlike the 1.25" lightweight 5.35 lb travel tripod that comes with the iEXOS-100-02, the iEXOS-ET model steps up its game with the more robust 11 lb Twilight Medium Duty tripod. This tripod boasts 1.5" stainless steel legs, providing a sturdy base for both observing and imaging setups. For added stability, a die-cast aluminum spreader tray securely locks against the inner side of the legs and doubles as a handy accessory holder. You can customize the tripod's height, ranging from 25 to 42 inches, with a broad 42-inch footprint. Engineered to minimize vibrations, the tripod allows you to add extra weight to the iEXOS-100 mount without sacrificing performance, ensuring a solid and stable platform for all your astronomical pursuits.

Instead of just the simple polar alignment sight hole, the iEXOS-ET comes with the Illuminated Polar Finder Scope which is all about boosting the accuracy of aligning with the celestial pole, especially for astrophotography enthusiasts. This handy tool makes it easier to achieve a precise alignment, with a reticle featuring markings customized for both the northern and southern hemispheres. Equipped with an illuminator that lets you adjust the brightness, it caters to different visibility conditions. While a rough alignment might do the trick for visual observing, when it comes to astrophotography, you need a higher level of precision, and that's exactly what this illuminated polar finder scope delivers.

The Azimuth Adjuster Adapter is a handy tool crafted to make polar alignment super precise by allowing you to make fine adjustments in azimuth. It's designed to work seamlessly with the Twilight Medium Duty or Twilight Heavy Duty tripods, and it's also compatible with the Light Duty tripod that comes with the iEXOS-100 tracking goto system. This adapter is a game-changer for iEXOS-100 users, giving them the power to achieve meticulous polar alignment with those refined azimuth adjustments.

Additionally, the Explore Scientific Camera Dovetail Plate offers a convenient solution for attaching a camera to a standard astronomical tripod with a Vixen-style saddle plate. Specifically designed for this purpose, the Camera Dovetail Plate features three slots for camera mounting. The device comes pre-equipped with a standard ¼-20 bolt in one of the slots, and it includes a 3/8-16 adapter adhering to the European standard. For users preferring the ¼-20 bolt, a straightforward removal of the 3/8-16 adapter is all that's needed. Additionally, the Camera Dovetail Plate incorporates a spring-loaded pin, designed for compatibility with certain cameras and camera foot plates, enhancing its versatility.






The Explore Scientific EXOS2-GT equatorial mount really shines when it comes to payload capacity, setting it apart from the iEXOS-100-02 and iEXOS-ET. If you're aiming to use a bigger telescope that would typically need a much larger equatorial platform, the EXOS2-GT is your solid and portable solution. For astrophotography, it can handle an instrument payload of 28 lbs plus counterweights, and for visual use, it can manage up to 40 lbs plus counterweights. That's some serious lifting power!

To handle the beefed-up payload capacity, the EXOS2-GT comes with a sturdier three-section adjustable height tripod featuring 2" stainless steel legs. You can adjust the height from 26.8" to 42.5", and a center stabilizer bar locks the legs in place, keeping vibrations at bay. The tripod also includes a handy accessory tray with holes for 1.25" eyepieces. Plus, if you're setting up on the ground or grass, the spiked feet provide extra stability, especially on bumpy or uneven surfaces. It's all about keeping things steady for your stargazing adventures.

The EXOS2-GT mount head is made of cast aluminum, sporting a sleek black powder coat finish. It comes with a Vixen-style dovetail saddle to easily mount compatible OTAs.

Additionally, it comes with a pre-installed illuminated polar axis scope to up your alignment precision game. For better leveling during setup, it's equipped with an integrated "bull's eye" bubble level right on the mount base.


Add portable power

The Explore Scientific USB Power Bank serves as a reliable companion for your Explore Scientific PMC-Eight GOTO systems, especially when utilizing iEXOS and EXOS2 mounts.

It keeps things running smoothly for about 8 hours in the field, drawing 0.5 amps (0.6 amps during slewing). Packed with an 8300mAh rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery, this little powerhouse gives you a 12v output through spring-loaded power plugs and a 5v USB port.

Need a guiding light in the dark? The built-in red LED flashlight has got you covered, helping you find your way without messing up your night vision. And weighing in at just 1.4 pounds with a compact and rugged design, it's the perfect companion for stargazing and off-grid adventures.



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