Posts Tagged ‘rotator’

This weeks learning

So far this week I have learnt that aligning parts in Google Sketchup isn’t as easy as it is in something like Solidworks. Still for a freebie programme I’m not going to complain.

Progress on the rotator project is slow, mainly because of the usual lack of time. But at least the idea is cemented in my head and now its just a case of doing the mechanical design and then hooking everything up. Below is a rough draft of the proposed Az / El arrangement for the clankies amongst us. I’ll complete the design either myself in a huge amount of hours or, more likely ask one of the CAD jockeys at work to fix it in a matter of seconds.


With this arrangement it should not be complex to either fabricate, buy or 3D print parts to suit. The latter is a preference as then the model can then be used by anyone to get parts made either as laser cut solids or 3D prints.

The main parts will be 2 off nema 17 steppers, gears from actobotics (This may need to be adjusted to slow the steppers down sufficiently) and that nice radio artisan / K3NG chaps code with Anthony, M0UPU’s board.

Onwards and upwards

Arduino Rotator

The little project I have to homebrew an Azimuth and Elevation rotator has moved on a little. After spending countless hours researching the project I came across a couple of really useful resources. Firstly the Radio Artisan website has simply done the hard stuff with the codes and secondly Anthony Stirk, M0UPU has made a shield / board for easy interfacing.

I’ve ordered a board and will see what I can do with it once it arrives. Next weekend is SOS Radio Week so I’ll be hamming it up at St Bees Lifeboat station so I doubt I’ll get a chance to do anything but we’ll see.


Back when I had an easier job I decided that I’d attempt to make a really simple, lightweight rotator that used off the shelf servos or stepper motor’s driven by an Arduino. Either interfaced with a PC or as a stand alone device.

Well, things move when you’re not looking and it seems like my bright idea was also several others, and whilst I’ve been busy not doing anything radio, others have.

I’d managed to buy a couple of servos off eBay and managed to drive them with the standard examples. Although the movement wasn’t as smooth as I’d have liked. Perhaps a couple of large capacitors would have helped but as I didn’t have anything suitable to hand I thought I would have a go anyway.

Well it didn’t work out like that. After spending over an hour installing the Windows 8 drivers (how to turn you off an operating system!) I hooked up the Arduino and wrestled with the servos. Either they are knackered or there’s something missing…..

Time to take a step back and reflect, or buy a few caps

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