Discovery Astrophotography with ZWO ASTRO

[AM5 FAQ] 33 things you might want to know about ZWO AM5 mount!


Topic: AM5

Q: Will the AM5 fit a standard photography tripod or just the ZWO supplied one?

A: The AM5 mount can work with any 3/8” screw mount. It is recommended to use the ZWO supplied tripod which will be more convenient, provide better stability and improved safety in use.


Topic: AM5

Q: How do you calculate how much counterbalance weight would be needed?

A: According to the engineering calculations, we can calculate the maximum load capacity of AM5 mount:

  • 13kg without the counterweight

The OTA should be secured on the AM5 of no more than 20cm in length.

  • 20kg with the counterweight.

Supported counterweight: ≤5kg.

The counterweight should be secured on a counterweight bar of no more than 25cm in length.

load capacity of AM5 mount


Topic: AM5

Q: How do you balance the telescope with the AM5? Will the axis unlock to check balance, or does it allow a significant difference in balance?

A: It’s OK to keep them roughly balanced. There is no need to precisely adjust the balance.


Topic: AM5

Q: Will ZWO be supplying the counterweight arm for purchase?

A:Yes, now you can purchase it via the ZWO website below.

ZWO Counterweight Bar


Topic: AM5

Q: Will ZWO be making a travel case available?

A: We will not be making a travel case for the AM5. The mount will be sold with an outer packing box in the material which normally used for packing drones.


Topic: AM5

Q: Does the AM5 have a home position sensor?

A: Yes, A zero (home) position sensor is fitted, the AM5 mount also features a one-button go to zero position function. At meridian flip the mount will stop. Automated meridian flips will be possible using the ASIAIR and  3rd party acquisition program (e.g. APT, SGP etc.) via the ASCOM/INDI platform.


Topic: AM5

Q: Is the AM5 based on the OnStep system?

A: NO. The AM5 uses a system developed completely and independently by ZWO.

This guarantees system stability and interoperability with ZWO products like ASIAIR and means that future development and system improvements are built by ZWO developers versus 3rd parties.

The AM5 operating system features an online upgrade functionality.

It is compatible with the LX200 command set.


Topic: AM5

Q: Can you connect a ZWO camera to the body to act as a polar alignment camera? 

A: Yes, ZWO cameras can be connected to the AM5 to act as polar alignment cameras.


Topic: AM5

Q: Laser alignment – Will we have this function or not? 

A: The Laser function will be removed from the first edition of AM5.


Topic: AM5

Q: Is the braking on both axis – RA and DEC?

A: Only on the RA axis. The DEC axis does not need it.


Topic: AM5

Q: Is there a price for the pier extension?

A: Now we have PE200 ($39.00$169.00) and PE160 ($99.00) , you can choose a suitable one for your own needs.


Topic: AM5

Q: Since PE70x2 has been discontinued, what’s the alternative for AM5?

A: PE200 has released not long ago. It’s easier to install than PE70 and more stable than PE160.


Topic: AM5

Q: Will the tripod support adding counterweights at low latitudes without the pier extension or just with it?

A: Depending on the length of the OTA you might need a pier extension to avoid collisions. For the low altitudes, if you are adding the counterweight, then you may need to add pier extensions to prevent the bar and the counterweight from hitting the mount.


Topic: AM5

Q: Does the AM5 have 1:3 synchronous belts on both RA and DEC axis?

A: Yes, it does.

Drive – Harmonic drive + Synchronous belt (Reduction ratio: 300:1)

Reducer specification (RA) – Model No.17 (Reduction ratio: 100:1)

Reducer specification (DEC) – Model No.17 (Reduction ratio: 100:1)

Periodic error – <±20”

PE duration – 432s

Drive (RA) – Harmonic NEMA42 stepper motor + Brake

Drive (DEC) – Harmonic NEMA35 stepper motor


Topic: AM5

Q: How is the AM5 different from the Rainbow Astro 135?

A: The AM5 and Rainbow RST-135 both use harmonic drive speed reducers. The AM5 has a larger mount weight and increased load capacity, making it more stable in use.

Each ZWO AM5 harmonic drive speed reducer is tested for periodic error, ensuring it meets the accuracy and the required performance with the benefit that the AM5 is only half the price of the RST-135.


Topic: AM5

Q: How come you recommend a shorter focal length at 900mm? The screenshots of Rosette Nebula and Horsehead are pinpoint.

A: The 900mm focal length is just an estimate based on the 1”-2”/px suitable sampling rate (normally the pixel size of an astronomical dedicated cooled camera is 3-4um), so not a recommended value but a guideline. We do recommend keeping your pixel scale above 1”/px.


Topic: AM5

Q: Does the AM5 connect wirelessly to the ASIAIR Plus, Pro and Original version?

A: Yes – all ASIAIR editions can wirelessly control the AM5.


Topic: AM5

Q: Does the AM5 emit its own WIFI signal?

A: The mount itself does not have Wi-Fi. The hand controller contains the Wi-Fi functionality, which can be wirelessly controlled by ASIAIR or other software on your computer.


Topic: AM5

Q: Can I use the mount from my Mac with INDI drivers? Can I control the mount with an iPhone or iPad?

A: Yes. You can control AM5 with ASIAIR or ASI Mount App, or use your Phone as a hand controller.


Topic: AM5

Q: Why ZWO is developing a harmonic drive mount? The harmonic drive mount is not that accurate in guiding compared to traditional mounts.

A: Compared to other mounts the harmonic drive mount offers greater portability, its lightweight construction is easier to transport and so is the perfect choice for astronomers who enjoy field trips to dark locations for their imaging. Also, the harmonic drive mount is more suitable for beginners since it does not need accurate balance.

The ZWO AM5 mount has a strong performance combined with a very reasonable price.


Topic: AM5

Q: The tripod might not be very stable for larger loads?

A: There is a centre 3/8″ locking knob along with 3 x M6 screws for securing the AM5 head to the tripod.

The tripod is also supplied with a weight bag, which will provide additional stability to your mount when loaded with sand, stones or even your portable batteries.


Topic: AM5

Q: Can the AM5 mount carry a Celestron C11HD?

A: To ensure stability of such a large OTA we recommend you use the optional counterweights to prevent large and heavy telescopes such as Celestron C11from tipping the tripod over.

The load capacity of AM5 mount without counterweights is 13kg, 20kg with counterweights. If you plan on large OTA’s like the C11 then don’t forget to take the counterweights with you when heading out to image.


Topic: AM5

Q: What the voltage range would be for the AM5? I have looked at the manual and it only specifies 12V.  I am wondering how it would behave with a regulated 13.8V coming from a car battery.

A: The range is 11-15V, and we recommend that the power supply capacity of the adapter be at least 3A or more.


Topic: AM5

Q: Will the mount be integrated with ASIAIR? How to use the GOTO function if I do not have the hand controller?

A: The ASIAIR will provide full control functionality for the AM5 and connect wirelessly. You will also be able to connect and control the mount using the dedicated AM5 app via wireless connection.

GOTO functionality is also available via USB, and you can connect the AM5 to other astronomy compatible software using a USB cabled connection. In this configuration the hand controller does not need to be used.

We will consider integrating the ASIAIR into the mount in any possible future designs.


Topic: AM5

Q: Does AM5 mount support ASCOM?

A: Yes, it supports ASCOM, INDI and is compatible with the LX200 command set.


Topic: AM5

Q: Why is the mount called AM5?

A: A represents ASI; M represents mount; 5 represents the grade.


Topic: AM5

Q: Will there be any encoder upgrades in the future?

A: Currently no, the AM5 mount is still considered an entry-level mount. In any future design we may consider adding encoders.


Topic: AM5

Q: Does the mount support PEC?

A: No PEC functionality is included at this time.


Topic: AM5

Q: Why the buzzer inside the AM5 will beep?

A: The buzzer inside the mount will beep to alert the user to a low voltage situation.


Topic: Ordering

Q: Does the pre-order stage mean we need to pay the full amount or just a deposit?

A: Mount orders require payment in full at time of ordering


Topic: Ordering

Q: Will ZWO be selling the optional counterweights?

A: Currently ZWO does not plan to sell counterweights. You can utilise any commonly available ones that fit the counterweight bar diameter.


Topic: Ordering

Q: When will payment be taken at ordering?

A: Payment will be taken at time of order. The estimated shipping date is the end of March or early April.


Topic: After-sale

Q: If purchased directly from you and item has warranty issues, can it be dealt with by a local dealer or does it have to be shipped back to you?

A: Now we have local dealers can provide assistance to deal with warranty issues for you. And if they can’t help you with your problem, feel free to contact us anytime!


More Posts

Send Us A Message

Go to Top