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PlaneWave L-500 Direct Drive Alt-Azimuth Mount

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SKU 1321100

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  • Capable of carrying a 91kg/200lb payload
  • Direct-drive motors on each axis.
  • Zero backlash and zero periodic error
  • High resolution encoders on each axis for precise positioning
  • Slew speeds of 20-50 degrees per second
  • Pointing accuracy <10 arc sec RMS with PointXP mount modeling software
  • Enclosed electronics and through the mount cabling
  • Dual Telescope mounting capability

The PlaneWave L-500 is PlaneWave's mide-range alt-azimuth, single-fork arm style mount that is capable of carrying a total payload of 91kg/200lbs. This mount therefore can easily carry a PlaneWave CDK17 or CDK17 or other similar size (or smaller) scopes and their accessories (e.g. camera, filter wheel etc).

PlaneWave L-500 with 2 telescopes mounted

PlaneWave L-500 Series Mount showing a PlaneWave CDK and a Celestron RASA mounted side-by-side (not included)

The mount combines versatility, simplicity and affordability by combining all the technology of PlaneWave's Observatory-class telescopes into a compact and stand-alone mount and is a breakthrough in mount design, specification and features for the price.

The L-500 mount uses a direct drive motor system with high resolution encoders on both the RA and DEC axes that results in zero backlash and periodic error. The mount can slew at speeds from 20 degrees to up to 50 degrees per second! 

The mount is offered in an Alt-Az configuration (or Equatorial with the optional Equatorial wedge). The Alt/Az configuration is considerably more compact than an equatorial mounted configuration, allowing a larger telescope to fit in a smaller enclosure.  Unlike German Equatorial mounts, no polar alignment is necessary, there are no meridian flips and no large protruding counterweights to create a potential hazard if the telescope is located in a public observatory.

L-500 Mount Features

L-Series direct drive

PlaneWave L Series AZ Direct Drive

The PlaneWave L-500 features Direct Drive motors and on-axis encoders on both the RA and DEC axes. This eliminates the need for gear-based mechanics, thereby eliminating backlash and periodic error. With the high-resolution encoders providing feedback for the direct drive motors, not only will the telescope track without periodic error and backlash, the mount will also counter wind gusts with precise servo feedback.

CDK and L-series mount ready for use

PlaneWave L Series mount with CDK mounted ready for high speed slewing for satellite tracking.

The L-series direct drive motors can move the telescope at speeds from 2 degrees and up to 50 degrees per second. This makes the mount ideal for tracking satellites or just minimising celestial target acquisition time.

Dual mount capability

Dual mounting for PlaneWave L-Series mounts

The PlaneWave 8"-wide dovetail mounting bracket holds telescopes onto the inside of L mounts fork arm. An additional dovetail clamp is available to allow the mounting of an extra supplementary telescope on the outside of the fork arm adding to the mount's versatility. 

L-series balancing

Azimuth horizontal balancing system

Adding extra accessories to a single-mounted telescope, or adding a second telescope can affect the overal balance of the whole telescope. The upper portion of the L mount can be moved horizontally for precise centre-of-gravity balancing whether the mount is in Alt-Az or Equatorial configuration.

L-Series internal cable routing

Internal through the mount cabling

To keep cabling from e.g. CCD cameras, filter wheels etc, the L- series mounts feature interior "through-the-mount" cable routing via access panels in the fork arm and azimuth axis sections.

CDK's at work

PlaneWave CDK700's at work

The PlaneWave alt-az L-Series uses the same proven technology as used in the well-respected CDK700 telescopes which are being used in Universities such as the UK's University of Central Lancashire Alson Observatory >>HERE<<.

L-500 Specification & Performance


Type Alt-Azimuth / Equatorial Direct Drive Mount
Weight 257 lbs (100 kg)
Component Weights AZ base: 55kg (121lbs) ; Fork arm 62kg (136lbs)
Max. Load Capacity 200 lbs (91 kg)
Latitude Range 0 to 90 degrees, Northern and Southern hemispheres
Cable Management Equipment cables can be wired through mount


Control Electronics PlaneWave Interface dual axis telescope control
User Interface PlaneWave Interface 4 (PWI4) Control Software with integrated PointXP mount modeling software
Homing Sensors Home position sensors are included allowing the mount can find its home position on power up.
Slew Rate 20 degrees per second (standard); 50 degrees per second (maximum), both axes
Power Requirement Accepts 120 VAC. Supplied with 12VDC 15A Regulated Power Adapter


Motor Control Industrial grade brushless motor control system and built in electronics
Motor - Azimuth and Altitude Direct Drive 3 Phase Axial-Flux Torque Motors
Encoder - Azimuth and Altitude 152mm disk built into the azimuth and altitude axes with stainless steel encoder on the circumference with reader yields 18,880,000 counts per revolution of the telescope. This translates to about 0.069 arcsecond resolution
Motor Torque Approximately 20 ft-lbs continuous; 50 ft-lbs peak
Drive Electronics Industrial grade, off-the-shelf brushless motor drives for each axis with custom designed interface card
Telescope Control Software PlaneWave Interface (PWI4). Incorporates PointXP mount modeling software by Dave Rowe All ASCOM compatible.



Pointing Accuracy <10 arcsecond RMS with PointXP Model
Pointing Precision 2 arcsecond
Tracking Accuracy < .3 arcsecond error over 5 minute period
System Natural Frequency 10 Hz or greater