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iOptron Cube

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I guess that almost no one would use an iOptron Cube SmartStar mount with a Questar 3.5" quartz scope – except that I found out that it is a cheap solution that really works. The motorized base that comes with the Questar is fine for tracking stars, but I really wanted a portable GoTo scope, so I purchased an iOptron Cube, which is an inexpensive Alt-Az GoTo mount. Then I had to figure out how to mate them, and it looked like it wouldn't be easy, because Questar kind of does their own thing as far as mounts. The Cosmic Orange iOptron that I purchased uses a standard dovetail mount, which is foreign to the Questar. Then I MacGyvered it, using a simple but sturdy plastic tie-wrap that I threaded through the dovetail and around the proprietary Questar mount – voilà. It was reasonably sturdy, so it was time for the smoke test.

The iOptron Cube works flawlessly – just punch in one of 80,000 objects and the scope slews right to the object. I started with Jupiter and saw the moons quickly. Then on to many, many stars – each one showed up almost near dead-center of the Questar. I have to admit that the Cube is a fine solution to GoTo, and cheap, too. Some of the people on the Cloudy Nights forum didn't think that this was a very good idea, I guess because the idea of a $7K scope on a $300 mount seems absurd to some backyard astronomers, but there you go – I'm totally pleased, and the Cube is a rock-solid solution for scopes that weigh up to 15 pounds, so the Questar isn't much of a challenge. I guess those same forum people would have spent thousands of dollars to do the same thing, but a $10 used dovetail and a $0.50 plastic tie are sufficient for the task at hand. NOTE: I guess if the tie-wrap fails, I'll be sorry!

I say: Be brave. Experiment – that's where the all the fun is in astronomy.

The iOptron Cube is available through www.iOptron.com It is well worth the price.

I live in Huntsville Alabama, I'm relatively new to astronomy, having been at it for only 50 years or so. I currently own just one scope, but it seems to work just fine.

I would have included a picture of the tie-wrap and the dovetail, but you know what they look like.


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