Brand: Sky-Watcher

Sky-Watcher EQ8-R Mount Head Only with Counterweights (S30612)


Brand: Sky-Watcher

Sky-Watcher EQ8-R Mount Head Only with Counterweights (S30612)


  • 110-pound (50 kg) Payload - All-metal precision internal construction makes this mount extremely strong and stable. The EQ8-R is a perfect fit for even the largest OTAs Sky-Watcher has to offer and is designed to thrive in your permanent or semi-permanent personal observatory.
  • Belt-drive On Both Axes - Streamlined design and improved motor positioning allows for dual belt drives providing minimal backlash and significantly reduced periodic error, which means smoother, more accurate tracking.
  • Integrated Cable Management System - An integrated thru-mount cabling system contributes to the overall sleekness and efficiency while the internal USB hub, power, and serial ports eliminate cable drag and reduces the worry of cable snags.
$5,300.00 USD

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Full Details What's in the Box? Specifications Reviews and Questions

Product Description

Building on the legacy of Sky-Watcher’s popular EQ8 mount, the EQ8-R introduces a variety of upgrades and enhancements that make observatory-class astrophotography easier than ever. Upgrades include a more streamlined design with balanced motor positioning, a sleek thru-mount cable management system and repositioned power hub with a more ergonomic feel to your setup and workflow. Also included are internal USB hub, larger saddle knobs for ease of use in cold weather, homing sensors to keep your mount oriented, physical hard stop to prevent cable snap, larger locking levers for ease of use, thread-on aircraft power connector for a secure connection, PC direct control, PPEC training for tack sharp images, and more!

Please Note: The images all show the EQ8-R on a tripod, however this model is sold without one for users who plan to mount on a permanent pier or have another tripod/pier solution.

Whisper-quiet dual belt drives greatly reduce periodic error while providing enhanced tracking and guiding. Gears measuring over eight inches in diameter help handle large payloads and provide smooth tracking. The fully realized cable management system eliminates cable drag and makes remote setups ridiculously convenient.

For users already familiar with previous Sky-Watcher mounts, the EQ8-R is a substantial upgrade, but with familiar features that will help dampen the learning curve. This is an observatory-class mount designed to be controlled PC Direct or even completely remote and yet, the EQ8-R can still be run by the tried-and-true SynScan V5 hand controller with a 42,000+ object database. Two large carrying handles make set up and takedown less awkward. Other features a D-style dovetail saddle, two 22-pound counterweights, DC power cord, and built-in USB PC control.

What's in the Box

  • Sky-Watcher EQ8-R Pro Equatorial Mount Head
  • Two 22-lb. Counterweights
  • SynScan Hand Controller
  • SynScan Cable
  • DC Power Cable


General Mount Info
Mount Type High-capacity motorized equatorial (EQ)
GoTo Yes
Payload Capacity (lbs) 110
Mount Head Height (head by itself) 19.5"
Mount Head Weight (lbs) 56.8
Mounting Saddle Type D-style
Power Type DC11~16V, 3 amp
Cable management Four USB 3.0 ports, Three 2.1mm power ports, Three serial connections
Polar Scope Sold seperately
Latitude Range (degrees) 10° to 65°
Computer/Drive System Info
Object Database Complete Messier, NGC, IC and SAO catalogs, 25 user defined objects, total 42,900 objects
Controller SynScan hand controller, flash upgradeable, or PC direct
Alignment Procedures One-, two- and three-star alignment
Slew Speeds 1000x, 800x, 600x, 400x, 200x, 32x, 16x, 8x, 2x, 1x
WiFi Optional WiFi dongle
GPS Optional SynScan GPS sold seperately
PC Direct Connect Port Yes
Included Weights 22lbs (two)
Motor Type 0.9° hybrid stepper motor
Drive System Belt

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
If the mount continues to work as it is now, I will be really happy with it.

I purchased the EQ8-R mount in December 2023 and now have been using it for almost 3 months. In summary, I am cautiously happy with the mount.

• Sales support was great from All-Star telescope. Scope was delivered on schedule to my observatory.
• Mount easily handles my 70 lbs of telescope and imaging equipment (includes 88 lbs of counterweights). Slews fast, works well with plate solving in NINA.
• Seems to work well to temperatures down to -10C. Haven’t tested below this.
• I would consider the periodic error of the RA gear to be excellent. Tested 6 worm cycles with PemPro to measure RA tracking accuracy to 0.76 seconds RMS (without PEC). Wow!
• Autoguiding keeps overall error down to around 0.6 RMS Arcseconds and is basically seeing-limited. I can now image with my C14” Schmidt reliably. Excellent.
• Polar alignment was very smooth and easily done using NINA 3-star routine.
• Integration with Green Swamp Server is good and works with my system well. Took some time to learn and get working right.
• Auto home to reset calibration feature is welcome and necessary since clutches are weak and sometimes slip.
• Good price point for a mount with these capabilities.

• Dec backlash is excessive for a mount in this range. Tested 2000 ms in PHD2. I consider this unacceptable, and Skywatcher should either make periodic adjustment of backlash easy to do by the user (without worrying about voiding warranty) or make the worm spring-loaded as many other mounts do. Of course, a poorly implemented, spring-loaded worm gear would be worst. This poor backlash was compensated for by the ease of polar alignment. I have achieved near perfect polar alignment and Dec corrections are rarely needed during tracking. Auto guiding is working well at this point so I will live with the Dec backlash.
• No real-time clock in Synscan. Really, I guess I am just used to Celestron mounts.
• Don’t like that hand controller attaches to the movable part of the mount. It would be nicer if USB, power and hand control were connected to the stationary part of the mount. However, with my set up I control from a computer through Green Swamp Server and have disconnected the hand control, don’t use it and put it away in a box.
• Axis clutches are weak but functional.
• Seals on both axis between the elements and gears are not the best considering the observatory environment. Gears seem exposed to elements.
• Mount needs a solid power supply. My mount had moments where it refused to turn on. This is worrisome, but cycling the power switch a few times brought it back.
• Older versions of the EQ8 came in a nice road case. This one comes in a cardboard box. Not an issue for my permanent installation, but the box is big and difficult to store in-case warranty work is needed.

Calling this mount “observatory class” is a bit of a stretch, but it is observatory class in that it is really too heavy to be used in anything but a permanent mount situation. If the mount continues to work as it is now, I will be really happy with it. However, at $7000 this is a serious investment for me that I can’t repeat, so if long-term reliability becomes an issue (as some other users experience), I will be very disappointed. Thus, cautious optimism.

EQ8r PRO: Do your research before buying

Out of the box the unit shipped suffered several tracking issues. The unit would periodically bind and PHD2 reported variable significant DEC backlash 6-9 seconds. The unit was also making a grinding sound and slewed erratically. Tracking was also very erratic.

Unit was shipped to sky-watcher for warranty repairs. Unit has been returned and after the first couple of nights, the DEC backlash is now around 2 seconds and tracking seems to be stable. According to skywatcher tech support the worm gear drive needed to be adjusted.

Carries a heavy payload
Exterior build quality has nice finish
Saddle is well thought out and sturdy. Appreciate the large ****.
Power pass through and USB hub is well thought out.

Heavy and bulky
Internal parts and build quality should be reconsidered (especially given the target consumer and price point)
Variable backlash
Lack of transparency from sky-watcher (see below)

Comments about All-star telescope sales and after purchase support
Nick at Allstar telescope was easy to work with and was helpful, during and after purchase. I have purchased several items from this supplier and may buy again from them

Comments about Sky-watcher products and tech-support
I would say that I was a loyal sky-watcher customer. I started with a small star adventurer, had two EQ6r PROs and an own an Esprit 120. All of these items are great to own. And worked flawlessly out of the box. I still own one EQ6r pro and enjoy using it every clear night with my mid-sized gear. When I needed help with purchasing a replacement part or had some issues with these products, sky watcher tech support was great to work with.

However, I found working with them on the EQ8r PRO was not a great experience and it impacted my brand loyalty quite significantly. The tech support often would respond with one line comments instead of answering questions posed.

When I first reported issues with the mount, the tech support asked me to produce some unguided data through PHD2. Which I did. They claimed the mount was working within tolerances despite the numerous PHD2 data reports I provided them to the contrary and repeated statements of what I was hearing and seeing in the real world environment while trying to resolve the issues over several nights. It was only after I provided a video on a particular bad performance night did they agree to service the mount.

When the mount was received by skywatcher, they twice asked if I had opened the mount even stating there were residual finger prints in the interior. I had not opened the mount. When I asked if they had cleaned the “fingerprints”, they refused to answer. After which, the mount was repaired in less than a day and shipped back to me.

Lack of transparency around this “observatory class” mount is problematic. There does not seem to be any sky-watcher published information around performance. Information around expected backlash, tracking performance and operating temperatures would be welcome. This should be standard and would help the customer determine if the mount is working to spec. But instead, we must really on tech support to assess the mount remotely with logs. I have repeatedly asked for this information and they have refused to provide. I get why they might not want to report expected tracking performance as there are so many variables beyond the mount’s control. But expected backlash performance and operating temp range should be provided.

Overall comments
Do you research before buying this mount given its price point. I accept that it is possible I had bad luck with the mount that was shipped to me. Honestly, I relied on my past experience with skywatcher products and some YouTube videos. But one should dig deeper before buying, look on cloudy nights, look at some of the other forums, and join the EQ8r pro Facebook page. At least then you will have some information about the quirks related to this mount and you can make an informed purchase decision.

Clear skies.

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