I try to honor several rules, some of which may be logically contradictory >>>
>technically/theoretically/pragmatically/prudently... loading to half or less total rated max load would be the safe, prudent approach. True for me and reasonable to recommend to friends and enemies alike, but only if asked.
>if I abuse my mount, eyes open... that's my business, not yours; converse also true. Don't photograph my overloaded mount, and then tell people what a dope I am.
>some of us intentionally overload our mounts, just to get the school-marm types to cringe and self-righteously snicker. It's fun to see beads of sweat erupt on someone else's forehead, when we push the envelope on our own turf. It's a sociological my space / your space dynamic.
>Moment(s) Of Inertia are not problematic, provided you adjust accelerations to throttle torques to half of max recommended ratings on clutches and drive-trains. Some mounts let you get in and program those... some don't. It's up to you to realize and think that through.
>perform multi-axis balancing on all overt and virtual axes. Most avocationals and even professionals are blissfully-unaware of this best-practice. Once achieved (and maintained), you can point to any spot above the horizon, always and everywhere remaining in perfect balance.
>pre-load axes (especially RA) using springs, magnets or similars... so that the bias is not conditional/pointing-dependent. Sliding a counterweight violates that, providing only conditional balance... not good, invitation to premature mount failure. What you need is global balance.
>provide six layers of safety on each drive axis: software, firmware, proximity, slip-clutch, hard-stop, and manual kill-switch.
Here's my old Cave mount, bearing 650# without complaint. To my surprise... it handled that offensive burden with dignity and grace. Balanced on all axes and spring loaded/biased at just one foot-pound, each guide axis. Collected several thousand hours guided imagery back in the 1980s with small sub arc-sec finesse. Decent for the era. Tom
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