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  #1  
Old 17-04-2018, 10:59 AM
AstroApprentice (Jason)
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Battery-operated stepper controller

Hi All,
Does anyone know of a battery-operated stepper motor controller?
I'd like to use one for visual fine motor focus when I don't want to set up the PC, cables etc. Something like the Moonlite or Skywatcher DC motor focus units, but for those of us with stepper motors already attached.
Avalon were thinking about a re-chargeable one, but I don't think it came to anything: http://www.avalon-instruments.com/products/x-md, plus the 1 Amp max limits the motors it can control.
Thanks for any info.
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  #2  
Old 17-04-2018, 11:10 AM
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If you are hands-on, you can do what I did.
I used cheap motor and cheap encoder from ebay, and put all together.

The whole thing is powered from USB 5V power bank.

There was also wireless solution.. available on Banggood, currently sold out.

Last edited by bojan; 17-04-2018 at 03:20 PM.
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  #3  
Old 17-04-2018, 05:23 PM
AstroApprentice (Jason)
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Thanks Bojan,
I might give that a try. If I fail, I think I found a commercially available one:
https://www.pierro-astro.com/materie...s-a-pas_detail
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  #4  
Old 18-04-2018, 09:52 PM
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redbeard (Damien)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AstroApprentice View Post
Hi All,
Does anyone know of a battery-operated stepper motor controller?
I'd like to use one for visual fine motor focus when I don't want to set up the PC, cables etc. Something like the Moonlite or Skywatcher DC motor focus units, but for those of us with stepper motors already attached.
Avalon were thinking about a re-chargeable one, but I don't think it came to anything: http://www.avalon-instruments.com/products/x-md, plus the 1 Amp max limits the motors it can control.
Thanks for any info.
How about a 12 volt battery pack, (many options there), with a DC plug on the end, some velcro and plug that into a Moonlite stepper motor focus control box. The one I have, has a 12v input socket for power. Button controls are in, out and there is a variable knob for the speed.

Or DIY
I say that as I'm making a DC motor controller at the moment to control a Meade focuser. Hope to post it here on IIS soon, once it's done. My point is, when doing the research for this build, I found it's very close to doing it with a stepper motor, same hardware. Differences being changes to the code (Arduino stepper control) and slight wiring changes. Cheap from Ebay stuff etc.
So if DIY is an option... That will be my next project.

Cheers,

Damien
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  #5  
Old 19-04-2018, 07:10 AM
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Hi Damien,

If you go with DC motor, make sure the dynamic braking is implemented, like in my version (Post #2 in this thead).
This is to avoid motor overshoot, it may be annoying with bigger motors.
I solved this with electronics... you can use QPDT switch and suitable wiring (I didn't have it at hand then). I have the 9V battery inside housing for 10 years, and it is still OK.
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  #6  
Old 19-04-2018, 07:27 AM
AstroApprentice (Jason)
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Hi Damien,
I didn't realise the Moonlite controller could operate without PC - a 12 V battery might be an option. I also found this non-PC, 12 V one: http://www.siderealtrading.com.au/pr...er-controller/

Bojan,
I like the look of this DIY mini-focuser - I wish the commercially available options were so compact.
https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/4...ronic-focuser/
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  #7  
Old 19-04-2018, 07:34 AM
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Yep, very nicely done
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  #8  
Old 19-04-2018, 05:32 PM
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redbeard (Damien)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bojan View Post
Hi Damien,

If you go with DC motor, make sure the dynamic braking is implemented, like in my version (Post #2 in this thead).
This is to avoid motor overshoot, it may be annoying with bigger motors.
I solved this with electronics... you can use QPDT switch and suitable wiring (I didn't have it at hand then). I have the 9V battery inside housing for 10 years, and it is still OK.
Thanks Bojan,

Yes I have implemented dynamic braking. It was very easy as I used a L298N DC Stepper Motor Driver Module Dual H Bridge Control Board.
By manipulating the I/O pins, you control how it works eg: dynamic braking, standby mode, speed (pwm), and motor direction. The module was under $5

I like what you have done without a micro, I'll have to look into it a bit more.

Cheers,
Damien.


Quote:
I didn't realise the Moonlite controller could operate without PC - a 12 V battery might be an option. I also found this non-PC, 12 V one: http://www.siderealtrading.com.au/pr...er-controller/
Yes, great for when there is no PC. It is the Stepper motor controller.

Cheers,
Damien
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  #9  
Old 20-04-2018, 05:15 PM
axle01 (Alan)
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https://www.servocity.com/digital-ma...eed-controller

I get a lot of stuff from these people they have all the motors controllers and mounts any one could want, check out their website.

https://www.servocity.com

Al
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  #10  
Old 20-04-2018, 05:45 PM
AndrewJ
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Gday Damien
Quote:
I say that as I'm making a DC motor controller at the moment to control a Meade focuser.
I have made several of them to drive my Meade microfocusser.
Some used cheap Picaxes, some used std PIC and some used pure passive ICs.
Focus at any speed or direction with only one centre click potentiometer.
As its only driven by PWM, no complicated driver chips are required.

Andrew
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  #11  
Old 23-04-2018, 01:53 AM
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redbeard (Damien)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewJ View Post
Gday Damien

I have made several of them to drive my Meade microfocusser.
Some used cheap Picaxes, some used std PIC and some used pure passive ICs.
Focus at any speed or direction with only one centre click potentiometer.
As its only driven by PWM, no complicated driver chips are required.

Andrew
Hi Andrew,
Good one, yep, there's definitely a need for them.

It all started by me wanting to add the focuser to my ETX 125. I had the adapter for the back of the ETX to 2" so added a 2" ring and the focuser. Might have to put the ETX into EQ mode.

Finished it today. I'm going to post an IIS article with it soon just for a laugh. Couldn't help myself and built a Windows app to control it as well. It even works with the Meade classic Ascom focuser driver which I tested with a couple of astro apps. Hand controller is standard jiffy box ugly with yes the ugly buttons too.

Good to hear from you.

Cheers,
Damien
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  #12  
Old 23-04-2018, 07:35 AM
AndrewJ
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Gday Damien
Quote:
Couldn't help myself and built a Windows app to control it as well.
Thats just showing off :-)

Andrew

PS just remembered, i also made another unit to drive a small Jaycar gearhead DC motor that focusses my PST.
Should dig out the piccies.
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  #13  
Old 23-04-2018, 12:18 PM
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redbeard (Damien)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewJ View Post
Gday Damien

Thats just showing off :-)

Andrew

PS just remembered, i also made another unit to drive a small Jaycar gearhead DC motor that focusses my PST.
Should dig out the piccies.
Hi Andrew,

Yep definitely showing off ha ha! I have no friends you see, need all the attention I can get. lol.

Keen to see your pics. I might start a 'DC motor' post as this one started off stepper.

Cheers,
Damien.
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  #14  
Old 23-04-2018, 12:56 PM
AndrewJ
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Gday Damien
Piccies of PST unit attached.
I made a tilting frame for the PST so when its on a GEM, i can set the eyepice vertical. This allowed me to add a bracket for the focusser motor.
The controller operates as centre OFF and speed is then proportional to distance the knob moves. No switches etc reqd.
Andrew
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  #15  
Old 23-04-2018, 02:24 PM
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redbeard (Damien)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewJ View Post
Gday Damien
Piccies of PST unit attached.
I made a tilting frame for the PST so when its on a GEM, i can set the eyepice vertical. This allowed me to add a bracket for the focusser motor.
The controller operates as centre OFF and speed is then proportional to distance the knob moves. No switches etc reqd.
Andrew
Hi Andrew,

Cool, does the job. Like the simple control.

Cheers,
Damien
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  #16  
Old 29-04-2018, 03:05 PM
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ZeroID (Brent)
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As a pure rank amateur in this Arduino field my resources, both hardware and mental are some what limited but doing a bit of googling I found a very simple rotary encoder controller for a stepper motor with a zeroing button action. Seems to be about my level of build construction.

I just want something on the side of the mount so I can tweak the focus between filters without giving the whole system the shakes. This looks ideal. Just need to pick up a rotary encoder, I've got the rest of the hardware. I may tweak it up a bit with some leds to indicate which RGB filter setting it is on once I've figured the rest out.
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