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Old 03-12-2020, 07:07 PM
Taters (Liam)
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DIY Tracker? Something between a barn door and EQ6

I can't be the first person to wonder at the possiblities that lie somewhere between a barn door tracker and a full EQ6?

Since moving to the city I haven't used my old EQ6 in about 8 years, and it's too heavy to carry out hiking, I bought an EQ3 years ago with the intention of getting more use out of it for wide field astro, but the little 9V battery and motors are so unreliable it's basically a paperweight.

I like the look of the MSM "rotator" but I don't love it.

I have an idea for a very light, USB powered, sidereal tracker with no extra features. Just a stepper motor + Arduino, worm drive, and an on/off switch.

Google has failed me and I don't know enough about stepper motors, or Arduinos to know if it's feasible.

Will an Arduino be able to control a stepper motor with enough precision for ~5 minute subs at 24-50mm focal length?

Can this contraption be powered by USB?
USB-A or USB-C are both convenient options available in my hiking kit.

Is it worth it or should I just fork out for a dedicated brand-name tracker?
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Old 04-12-2020, 08:09 PM
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ChrisV (Chris)
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If you want Goto - onstep. I've got it on an eq5. A really light portable setup that I use for short focal length imaging. There are people doing to smaller eq3 mounts. Sounds like overkill but it won't cost much more than what you are talking about. The biggest cost is the motors, gears and time to sort out the mechanics

Last edited by ChrisV; 04-12-2020 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 04-12-2020, 11:06 PM
sunslayr (David)
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I know people have used the Star Adventurer with lightweight scopes like the Red/Spacecat. While you can automate anything with an arduino and a stepper such as your EQ3, you will be ultimately limited by the platform you're running and its stability. At 50mm though I can't imagine there would be much of an issue. I think you can also improve sideral motor by adding a regulated power supply of you wanted to go that route. Too bad there is no push to EQ4.
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Old 09-12-2020, 10:42 PM
rising (Craig)
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I will be be building this for an inexpensive introduction to astro photography. Standalone with keypad and LCD or ASCOM or INDI support. There is also a companion guide scope and guide camera.

I'll post something when I get it done. Can't say when that will be. I'm still fixing up a 3D printer that I bought for $50. There's not actually much wrong with it that wasn't wrong with it when it come from the factory. It's all the [needed] enhancements that are taking time.
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