The control hardware (Arduino based or otherwise) will be the simplest part of any design. I recently bought all the components to make four 'Uno' (which should be more than capable) for less than $10 each, and I didn't shop around. No, the hardest part will be the actuators (IOW, the motors and motor control) and the sensors (IOW position detection and limit switches). These are also likely to be the most expensive components.
In order to keep cost and complexity down, I am proposing that we DON'T try to replicate the G5400/5500, etc. We don't need to swing huge arrays of long yagis any more, and won't need to until a HEO satellite appears in our sky. So we can limit ourselves to smaller antenna systems like the Arrow, the Cushcraft antennas I spoke of, and similar. I have nothing against the K5OE antennas (they look pretty nice!) except they were designed for P3D, and are probably more than needed to reliably use the current fleet of satellites. In any case, we have to decide what amount of maximum torque we want to handle, so we can go looking for suitable candidate motors. We want to keep these motors as small as possible to keep their cost (and that of their driver circuitry) to a minimum.
We'll also need to work out whether we want direct drive or geared, brushed, brushless, stepper, etc. And speed of rotation and so forth.
Stepper motors can produce lots of torque and their speed is controllable. They usually operate in steps of less than 2 degrees. And since the control hardware can count steps, we probably wouldn't need any position-sensing hardware at all, other than simple limit switches. But I'm not aware of any common source of surplus stepper motors. Ordinary motors on the other hand, are available in windshield wipers, window winders, starting motors, etc. But position sensing these will need additional hardware.
Personally, I'd like to see a system that runs entirely on 12 volts. This will make field day operation, emergency operation, car-park demos, rag-chewing while watching the windsurfing competition and bikini parade at the beach, etc, possible without the need for an inverter. Base station use should present no problems because 12v PSUs abound in all shapes and sizes and current limits, and most shacks already contain at least one 12v PSU already.
On 02/27/2013 09:56 PM, Lizeth Norman wrote:
Gus and the gang, What about K5OE's array here: http://rfanat.ru/s8/P3D_yagi.htm
Still think that using: 8x4 aluminum tube stock 1" aluminum round stock 1 arduino 4 relays a 24 v ps some limit switches fuses, of course two of the appropriate value pots and maybe some gearing and a few gears, bearings and motors for the drivetrain, should give us a complete -5400 or -5500 clone.
On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 8:30 PM, Gus [email protected] wrote:
Returning to this topic...
I'm thinking about a rotator that can handle a small system like the Arrow, or the Cushcraft A270-6s or even the A270-10s. NOT big boomers like the KLM 22/40 el CP yagis!
So we're looking at 1½ - 2 sq. ft of windloading, and maybe 10 lbs of weight. (Including some sort of crossboom, clamps, coax and counterweights. Rear mounted antennas like the Arrow will need a rear-mounted counterweight.)
Anybody qualified to say what that adds up to in terms of TORQUE required from the motors? With a little extra thrown in for a safety margin, maybe?
I think a simple, low-cost, easily reproducible design is probably doable, if we combine our ingenuity and expertise.
-- 73, de Gus 8P6SM Barbados, the easternmost isle. _______________________________________________ Sent via [email protected]. Opinions expressed are those of the author. Not an AMSAT-NA member? Join now to support the amateur satellite program! Subscription settings: http://amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/amsat-bb