the imaging device (a CCD camera or DSLR), the telescope (optical tube
assembly), and the mount. All three must be of solid quality; one bad
component is all it takes to doom the effort to subpar results.
those new to the hobby focus on the imaging device and the optical tube
assembly; the mount is an afterthought or too pricey to consider at
all. An excellent German equatorial mount (GEM), capable of superb
tracking with minimized periodic error (inaccurate tracking because of
tiny mechanical imperfections) can easily set you back five figures. Yet
beginners typically overlook merely good GEMs, which cost only around
In an attempt to bridge the gap between the excellent and
good GEMs, Attila Mádai, CEO of the Hungarian company MDA-TelesCoop,
has introduced the Telescope Drive Master
(TDM). This product corrects a mount’s periodic error without the need
for an autoguider system, thus transforming a good mount into an
excellent one or making an excellent mount even better. Explore Scientific from Springdale, Arkansas, is the TDM’s distributor in the United States and Canada, and Meade handles orders everywhere else.
I tested the TDM on my Orion Atlas EQ-G GEM. This mount is a good one; I have used it visually with several optical tube assemblies and also for imaging. Yet it does suffer from periodic error (as do most mounts to some degree), so I was anxious to see if the TDM could truly transform my good mount into an outstanding one.