Feb 26

DIY Telescope progresses once again…

Hi again,

Long time no see? ๐Ÿ™‚ …

After a long delay due to high workload over xmas sales and having to move house (again), the telescope goto mount progresses.

The man-cave is now mostly setup as a workshop and various projects begin once again.



*A-hem* back to the project ๐Ÿ™‚ …

Programming the PIC Micro goes into gear with the motors now controlled by an interrupt service routine. The timer is on about a 5ms tick. each tick it tests the speed setting of each of the 3 motors. If the motor is within 10 degrees of the aim the speed is set to slow by the main routine else it’s fast. The ISR will either tick the motor over every interrupt on fast, or every 4 ticks on slow.

Perhaps a tad rough but its a start and it works ๐Ÿ™‚ (well after much debugging and swearing as usual ).

With only 5ms per tick I needed to keep the ISR code as simple as possible, my first attempt had it too slow and there wasn’t enough time for the LCD code in the main routine to work!!!

Also I found the motors turn much smoother and stable with the ISR control. Though I’m not convinced the steppers I chose will be strong enough for the end design but at least they are easy to swap over.

For those of you who may be interested in the code just let me know in the comments, if needed I’ll clean it up and post it.

So onward to sleep ๐Ÿ™‚ back again soon I hope!


– Radan.

Sep 16

DIY Astronomy Progress!

Greetings, work on my DIY Telescope GOTO mount continues again.

ET-Base40 Proto board with PIC16C877 cpu,ย 2-line LCD Display, Stepper motor and driver board. Wired up for first test.

After several attempts re-learning ‘C’ to program the pic, I have the motor on a swing with the rotation on the LCD display.

Unfortunately due to working on it late at night a couple night ago, I managed to fry one driver chip and destroy a motor. Oh well, progress is not without some costs. (about $7, not really a concern)

Here’s a youtube shot of the action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIUbCfqXFwA

Time to get back into it, more work to be done!



Apr 23

Puzzle me!

Hi again,

Added yet another hobby to my list (actually a few inc some gadgets but later)

Saw a jigsaw puzzle in a Toy & Sports shop located in Milton NSW that I just HAD to get, actually they had about a dozen of them I wanted but just one for now…

Heres a link to the site and a picture of the one I purchased (1000 piece – should take me a while ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Awesome! It’s just so me ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m thinking I might Webcam the construction, not 100% sure yet, going to test the feasibility of it.

(if you think I should webcam it let me know by comments!)

Other new events are gadget purchases that have kept me busy along with watching more anime and playing Wii games. My partner and I have been stuck on playing Rune Factory for the Wii, complex game, sometimes frustrating, but awsome fun as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Purchased myself a MID – Mobile Internet Device, basically a cheap iPad type thing, 7″ screen, reasonably light and portable, runs 3 systems, Android, Windows CE6 & Ubuntu Linux. Lots there for me to tinker with ( and being a cheapish unit it needed a little tinkering ๐Ÿ˜‰ )ย  Half the price of the iPad and far more ability to tinker…

Learning Java as I can, thus the MID purchase with Android being java based and potential profit maker if I can start developing apps for it…

Well that’s most of my catching up, let me know about the webcam thing, or any other comments, any suggestions on apps? ๐Ÿ˜‰

seeya again soon!



Aug 29

DIY Astronomy Step #3

Moving along… Just finished stabilizing the mount.

Now has a new base box to bolt it firmly to the tripod.


Also a new mounting plate for the telescope itself to position the center of gravity a little better, also drilled 4 positions for it so I can move it as needed depending on the weight of the camera attached etc.


The unit is now usable again! Next step is to motorize…

Aug 20

DIY- Astronomy!


I’ve been into astronomy for a long time now, having had a few different telescopes and binoculars. My current telescope is a Tasco Galaxsee reflector with a 4.5″ mirror, 114mm x 500mm focal length.
My problem with this telescope has always been the RA mount, being confusing and time consuming to setup and find anything useful. So since I also use a computer program to track stars, planets etc and starting to get into astrophotography using a webcam, I’ve been wanting a computerized ‘GOTO’ mount to hook up to my laptop for easier locating and tracking of objects, especially to go with the astrocam applications.

Now the easiest way to achieve this goal would be to purchase one, but since they’re all about $500 upwards and that I have limited funds, I figured I should make it a real hobby and build one.

The following are the current and planned steps, I’ll blog further as I progress to the final product.

Thanks and enjoy!


Step #1: The Design:

The Sketch

The Sketch

Step #2: The 1st Build (just the mechanics):AltAzMount1aAltAzMount2a

Step #3: The Stabilised Mount: TBA

Step #4: The Motors: TBA

Step #5: The Electronic Controller: TBA

Step #6: The Computer Interface: TBA

Step #7: The Final Product: TBA