CoSaTrak drive satellite tracking circuit

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

The back EMF voltage spikes produced by stepper motors (particularly higher voltage motors) can damage your PC`s printer port if connections are made incorrectly, flyback diodes are absent or connected in reverse, etc. The safest options are opto-isolated or buffered/inverted circuits. For extra peace of mind it is recommended to rather buy a sepa

CoSaTrak drive satellite tracking circuit
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rate I/O card to use instead, if your PC`s printer port is motherboard-based. Although this is very similar to Mel Bartel`s circuit, it is not an exact copy. Two main differences exist: By some strange coincidence, I just happen to choose the reverse motor order to Mel. I also did not implement the inverter/buffer stage - I am driving the transistors directly from the printer port. A minor detail is that I seem to have chosen slightly higher rated components which could make a direct copy of my implementation slightly more expensive. Since my beta tester, Greg Roberts built a standard Bartel`s system, the CoSaTrak software was made compatible with both systems. This means that anyone with an existing Bartel`s motorized mount can start tracking satellites straight away! Just before rushing out to witness your first high powered satellite pass, remember that the gear reductions for your astronomical requirements are quite different from the ratios needed for satellite tracking because of the different speeds involved. Also, since I am ten years behind Mel in the development of the software, I cannot achieve the motor speeds he does with microstepping, overvoltage, etc. You will thus find that your astronomically geared mount will have quite a low limit for higher elevation passes around culmination because of the fast azimuth swings required. Satellite imaging (as against satellite tracking) has not yet been tried with our...

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