Re: Computer/Stepper motor driven telescope?

Willie Koorts (wpk@saao.ac.za)
Wed, 10 Sep 1997 14:21:57 +0200 (GMT+0200)

On Wed, 10 Sep 1997, Henry Titchen wrote:

> I am very interested in constructing a mount for a small reflector 
> telescope that is moved by computer controlled stepper motors.  I would 
> like to be able to automatically track various LEO satellites using this 
> setup. 
> 
> I realise that software/hardware is available commercially to do this but 
> can I do it on a small budget?
> Does anyone on this list have experience with such apparatus?

Hi Henry

I can strongly recommend you have a look at Mel Bartel's "Motorize your 
Telescope" page - http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~mbartels/altaz/altaz.html - 
(for incase I typed it wrong, there is a link from my HP under telescope making).

I was so inspired by Mel's article that I started making one for my satellite
tracking telescope (80mm spotting scope).  I finished the mount and the drive
electronics (a simplified version of Mel's) and got the software to a stage
where I moved the mount around. Unfortunately I have not worked on it for a
while now. 

A good source for (cheap/free) low power stepper motors are ones from old 
5 1/4" floppy drives - they seem to be strong enough to drive my 80mm 
refractor.  To go for Mel's drive, they must be the unipolar type ie. 
the ones with more than 4 wires.

Regards
Willie

         Willie Koorts   wpk@saao.ac.za   http://www.saao.ac.za/~wpk/

       Cape Town,  Observatory   33d 56' 03"S   18d 28' 36"E   GMT + 2h
       Wellington, South Africa  33d 38' 56"S   19d 00' 52"E   GMT + 2h