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Old 26-09-2019, 06:02 PM
snowyskiesau
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OnStep build

Despite moving down to Tassie from Sydney a number of years ago, I never took advantage of the dark skies and the telescope(s) have sat in boxes under the bed
A friend recently expressed an interest in astrophotography (he's was a professional photographer) and it got me interested again.
Motor drive being a must for photography, I went looking for low cost options and found OnStep.

I have stepper motors and drivers from my 3D printer spares box , I've just placed an order with Mouser for the components and the PCBs are being made for a ridiculously low price in China. Pulleys and belts courtesy of Aliepxpress. All have to do is stick 'em together - when they arrive.

As a minimum order of PCBs is 5 off, I'll have a few spares or both the main controller and the smart hand controller. I'm happy to offer these free (plus postage) to anyone else who wants to build one of these. I can provide the BOM from Mouser as well.
I might even get interested in the astonomy stuff again, it's very dark at night in southern Tasmania (60km south of Hobart) and to be honest, there's not an awful lot to do
I'll post mores details once parts arrive and construction begins.


(Telescope is a Skywatcher ED80 on a Vixen SP mount)

Regards
Geoff

Last edited by snowyskiesau; 26-09-2019 at 08:25 PM.
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  #2  
Old 26-09-2019, 09:31 PM
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ChrisV (Chris)
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Have fun! What did you go with the mini/Max PCB ?
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Old 26-09-2019, 09:44 PM
snowyskiesau
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I've gone with the MaxESP for both the main controller and the smart hand controller as I'm familiar with that ESP32 plus I already had some on hand.


i did manage to stuff up order the hand controller PCB and got the Teensy 3.2 version - don't order stuff late at night! Re-ordered the right ons today.


Still deciding whether to use the RJ45 connectors or to go with some 4 pin microphone connectors.



Regards
Geoff
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Old 27-09-2019, 10:27 AM
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Show us some pics when you get it going. I used these connectors for the stepper motors - just cause they were easy to get and have a nice screw-lock
http://www.jaycar.com.au/4-pin-micro...ector/p/PP2010
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Old 27-09-2019, 12:09 PM
snowyskiesau
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisV View Post
Show us some pics when you get it going. I used these connectors for the stepper motors - just cause they were easy to get and have a nice screw-lock
www.jaycar.com.au/4-pin-microphone-panel-male-connector/p/PP2010

I've used those on CNC project, cheap relaible and can handle the currrent well.

Currently rinting a motor mount that uses those connectors https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3214768
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Old 27-09-2019, 04:38 PM
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I am using OnSTEP as well in belt-modified EQ6..

My approach was a bit different - I split the system such that motor part (steppers, Pololu drivers) are in the mount processor part is in the hand-pad. This way I can use OnSTEP, Bartels, Sound-Stepper, my own driver etc. on the same mount.

Also, I can use single hand-pad on other mounts I have (Bartelised dob, LDX75).
Very good and versatile firmware indeed.
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  #7  
Old 28-09-2019, 08:01 AM
Stefan Buda
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowyskiesau View Post
Despite moving down to Tassie from Sydney a number of years ago, I never took advantage of the dark skies and the telescope(s) have sat in boxes under the bed
A friend recently expressed an interest in astrophotography (he's was a professional photographer) and it got me interested again.
Motor drive being a must for photography, I went looking for low cost options and found OnStep.

I have stepper motors and drivers from my 3D printer spares box , I've just placed an order with Mouser for the components and the PCBs are being made for a ridiculously low price in China. Pulleys and belts courtesy of Aliepxpress. All have to do is stick 'em together - when they arrive.

As a minimum order of PCBs is 5 off, I'll have a few spares or both the main controller and the smart hand controller. I'm happy to offer these free (plus postage) to anyone else who wants to build one of these. I can provide the BOM from Mouser as well.
I might even get interested in the astonomy stuff again, it's very dark at night in southern Tasmania (60km south of Hobart) and to be honest, there's not an awful lot to do
I'll post mores details once parts arrive and construction begins.


(Telescope is a Skywatcher ED80 on a Vixen SP mount)

Regards
Geoff
Hi Geoff,
My workhorse 16" planetary is using a Bartels controller and I've been thinking for a while that I should upgrade to a more user friendly approach that doesn't require an old PC for generating the PWM waveforms. Each time I want to use the scope, I have to drag out the trolley with the PC and plug in the cables.
My mount is Alt/Az so the setup is useless for planetary imaging without a proper controller that can also drive the field rotator.
From a brief look at OnStep it seems that it has field rotator control so it sounds like a good option.
I'll PM you with my address in case a set of the PCBs is still available.
Cheers,
Stefan
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:44 PM
snowyskiesau
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Components have arrived from Mouser - no shortage of plastic bags there!
PCB might be delayed because of the Autumn? holiday in China. Same for the belts and pulleys.

Time to practise the soldering on an old kit I found. Most of the components in the OnStep are through hole, the few surface mount ones are large sizes so should be fairly easy.
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:11 PM
Sunfish (Ray)
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I would also be interested in the smart hand controller pcb. I have onstep running on an old fork RA and plan to use Ascom , but perhaps the smart hand controller would be a useful tool.
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Old 05-10-2019, 10:45 AM
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What's wrong with the teensy 3.2 version of the SHC? I've got one and it's fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowyskiesau View Post
I've gone with the MaxESP for both the main controller and the smart hand controller as I'm familiar with that ESP32 plus I already had some on hand.


i did manage to stuff up order the hand controller PCB and got the Teensy 3.2 version - don't order stuff late at night! Re-ordered the right ons today.


Still deciding whether to use the RJ45 connectors or to go with some 4 pin microphone connectors.



Regards
Geoff
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Old 10-10-2019, 02:04 PM
snowyskiesau
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Originally Posted by ChrisV View Post
What's wrong with the teensy 3.2 version of the SHC? I've got one and it's fine.
A Teensy 3.2 is about $35 whereas the NodeMCU is only $7 and I already have a couple.
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  #12  
Old 15-10-2019, 10:19 AM
snowyskiesau
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First of the PCBs arrived today - the Teensy 3.2 ones I ordered by mistake :-(


Neat matt black finish, Excellent quality
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Old 15-10-2019, 05:10 PM
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Excellent. Do you know where to get the 8 pin bussed resistor?
I found them at Mouser for a reasonable price, but they aren't available for a few months
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Old 15-10-2019, 06:18 PM
snowyskiesau
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Quote:
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Excellent. Do you know where to get the 8 pin bussed resistor?
I found them at Mouser for a reasonable price, but they aren't available for a few months

Mine came from Mouser, perhaps I got the last stock. I did have trouble getting the small joystick/switch for the hand controller as it's an obsolete part that is no longer stocked. I did manage to find an Aliexpress seller of new/old stock but had to buy 20!

Last edited by snowyskiesau; 15-10-2019 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 25-10-2019, 05:17 PM
snowyskiesau
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PCBs for the hand controller arrived today so no reason to delay the build any longer. I did get a bit sidetracked 3D printing a PCB holder for soldering.


I also found the encoders I had for an Argo Navis (sold a while back) so adding encoders is now on the build plan, just need to find some wiring details.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:38 AM
Sunfish (Ray)
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I would be interested to see how the encoders are work out for onstep. I have Argo encoders on the onstep mount I have working in RA but not completed yet.

I am a bit of an electronic klutz so it is easier to find someone has made it work first.


Quote:
Originally Posted by snowyskiesau View Post
PCBs for the hand controller arrived today so no reason to delay the build any longer. I did get a bit sidetracked 3D printing a PCB holder for soldering.


I also found the encoders I had for an Argo Navis (sold a while back) so adding encoders is now on the build plan, just need to find some wiring details.
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Old 08-11-2019, 12:31 PM
snowyskiesau
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Several of the members who have ordered boards, have asked for details on where I go the various parts.



The best place to start is the OnStep forums . Here you can access the wiki and through it, the design and BOM lists at EasyEDA. I've attached 2 spreadsheets from my Mouser order that may help. Things not in the BOM include the nodeMCU I used, stepper drivers and header pins for the MCU - these were things I already had from other projects. I ordered from Mouser as they had all parts in stock and I use them for electronic components. They charge $25 delivery for orders under $60
I got the ESP32 nodeMCU from eBay. Stepper drivers (TMC2130) were bought through Aliexpress.
If there is any other info I can provide, please ask.
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File Type: zip SHC-EXP.zip (13.4 KB, 9 views)
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