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Options for "dumb" Onstep?


W Maxwell
 

What I would like to do/have:

1. As close to pre assembled as possible
2. Center and track
3. Work with SHC or at least the Losmandy hand controller (for 492 system)

What I don't really need (it can be there, just don't need it):

1. GoTo
2. Fast slews
3. Wifi/bluetooth
4. Ability to hook into autoguiding

Basically a "configurable" Losmandy 492 system.

Why?  This is for an older mount that its impossible to find motors for and will be used for solar system only. My previous flailing attempts building these things is perhaps legend on this forum, so I'm looking for a simple option. Configuration is no problem. Hardware adaptation to the mount is no problem. Electronics?... not my forte.

I read an Uno is an option, but "not used to due its limitations". Would that work here? An Uno and a couple drivers...could that run Onstep for the above purpose? For that matter, is there someone here who would be willing to sell me their  "old obsolete underpowered" build?

(BTW, Many thanks to Michael Ahners who has been insanely helpful, but I hate to bug him further since he's dealing with the brunt of the Texas weather/power/water problems. )

P.S.  My previous full meal deal build, aided by more than generous help from several forum members, has been running with great success!


Khalid Baheyeldin
 

On Sun, Feb 21, 2021 at 02:25 PM, W Maxwell wrote:
1. As close to pre assembled as possible
One company used to sell a kit that includes pre-assembled electronics, brackets and motors for a couple of popular mounts.
However, for whatever reason(s), they fell off the map and the users came to the forum to ask.
So that is no longer an option.

If you want a pre-assembled controller, you can contact George Cushing.

2. Center and track
3. Work with SHC or at least the Losmandy hand controller (for 492 system)
OnStep only works with the SHC for full features.
No commercial full feature controller will work.

But the basic Losmandy controller (which only does N/S/W/E) should work.
More on this on the basic hand controller page.

What I don't really need (it can be there, just don't need it):

1. GoTo
2. Fast slews
3. Wifi/bluetooth
4. Ability to hook into autoguiding
These are all there by default. If you don't want them, don't use them and you will be fine.

The only exception is Goto. In lieu of that, you need to tell OnStep to increase the speed of slewing
then use N/S/E/W to go to the object manually. To change that speed, you need an SHC.

So a basic controller will not cut it.

Basically a "configurable" Losmandy 492 system.

Why?  This is for an older mount that its impossible to find motors for and will be used for solar system only. My previous flailing attempts building these things is perhaps legend on this forum, so I'm looking for a simple option. Configuration is no problem. Hardware adaptation to the mount is no problem. Electronics?... not my forte.
You need someone to build you a board. George does that. See above.

I read an Uno is an option, but "not used to due its limitations". Would that work here? An Uno and a couple drivers...could that run Onstep for the above purpose? For that matter, is there someone here who would be willing to sell me their  "old obsolete underpowered" build?
The Uno is definitely not an option. It lacks enough flash memory to store OnStep (128K minimum needed, Uno only has 32K).
Moreover, the Uno alone will not work. You need an extra board so you can attach StepStick drivers to control the motors, and so on.

The MKS Gen-L is an option.
The FYSETC S6 is also an option.

Both are prebuilt, but you still need to do some wiring.

Since you also need an SHC, you will need something with an ST4 controller, which both the above lack.
George offers such boards.


W Maxwell
 

Thanks Khalid. Very helpful.

I thought I read George was no longer assembling the boards. I will contact him to see if I misread.


Khalid Baheyeldin
 

On Sun, Feb 21, 2021 at 04:16 PM, W Maxwell wrote:
I thought I read George was no longer assembling the boards. I will contact him to see if I misread.
If he does not assemble boards, you can still use the MKS Gen-L (cheap) or S6 (fast).
You will still need to get a 6P6C RJ port for the ST4 SHC, and wire it to the relevant pins on the board, as per the Wiki.

Given your previous challenges, this can be done by a friend who knows electronics.

Once that task is done, there is no other wiring or electronics involved.


W Maxwell
 

Yes, I went back to George's site and it does indeed say he is no longer assembling boards.

If I was to eliminate the ST4/hand controller option and just go Wifi would I only then need to plug in the drivers?

For example:

https://www.amazon.com/Semoic-Stepper-Printer-Substrate-Subdivisions/dp/B07XPB64WG

driver

with
https://www.amazon.com/Printer-Integrated-Motherboard-Controller-Mainboard/dp/B08FYG16QH

ad cables/ wall wart/ motors and configure?

>Given your previous challenges, this can be done by a friend who knows electronics.

Brilliantly diplomatic  ;-)  I had people PM me in admiration of my tenacity in the face of my unending capacity to blow either my mind or the boards..


Khalid Baheyeldin
 

On Sun, Feb 21, 2021 at 04:51 PM, W Maxwell wrote:
If I was to eliminate the ST4/hand controller option and just go Wifi would I only then need to plug in the drivers?
Yes, the StepStick driver just plugs in.

Note how I said "StepStick driver"? You complained about driver being software driver, but it was not us who did
the nomenclature: it was named that way in the 3D printer community.

What is ATM? Automatic Teller Machine, Asynchronous Transfer Mode or Amateur Telescope Making ...
Answer: it all depends on the context ...

For example:

https://www.amazon.com/Semoic-Stepper-Printer-Substrate-Subdivisions/dp/B07XPB64WG

driver
For this board, as well as the S6, the TMC2130 SPI driver, or the TMC5160 are the recommended ones, since
they can speed up the slewing (I know you don't care about that, but if slewing turns out to be too slew, at
least you have a way of speeding it up).

with
https://www.amazon.com/Printer-Integrated-Motherboard-Controller-Mainboard/dp/B08FYG16QH
That board should work.

The S6 also works and is faster but not as cheap (though not expensive either).

Here is a video where I show a basic setup (axis1, axis2, and WiFi only) on the S6.

Note that the WiFi adapter is not a Wemos D1 mini, but still works.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhEA3TjKxpM

ad cables/ wall wart/ motors and configure?
Yes. Basically the same idea on either board (Gen-L or S6). The cables can be bought so that they plug
into the board without any soldering or crimping. These cables are from the 3D printer community.
The motor side may need soldering or RJ45 ports if the cable is short or the motor has no port in it.

>Given your previous challenges, this can be done by a friend who knows electronics.

Brilliantly diplomatic  ;-)  I had people PM me in admiration of my tenacity in the face of my unending capacity to blow either my mind or the boards..
I borrowed the wording from someone else who is diplomatic. I lack that quality ...


W Maxwell
 

Very helpful, thank you.

So I am understanding correctly: the MKS Gen L V 2.0 board would have a usb out which could function as a virtual serial port for various PC software, but would not, out of the box, come with either wifi or an ST4 port. Correct?

So if I was to use it under PC control, the board plus the drivers and motors (plus misc cables/motor mounting..) would be the only hardware I would need?  "Electronics wise" assembly would only be plugging in the drivers, wiring in the motors, plugging in the wall wart, and configuration? Is there a socket/power supply on the board itself to accept a wall wart?




 


Khalid Baheyeldin
 

On Sun, Feb 21, 2021 at 06:16 PM, W Maxwell wrote:
So I am understanding correctly: the MKS Gen L V 2.0 board would have a usb out which could function as a virtual serial port for various PC software, but would not, out of the box, come with either wifi or an ST4 port. Correct?
Correct. USB is built in.
An ST4 port has to be built using 6 wires, and a 6P6C RJ connector.

So if I was to use it under PC control, the board plus the drivers and motors (plus misc cables/motor mounting..) would be the only hardware I would need?  "Electronics wise" assembly would only be plugging in the drivers, wiring in the motors, plugging in the wall wart, and configuration? Is there a socket/power supply on the board itself to accept a wall wart?
Yes.
Power supply is via a screw terminal. So you loosen the screws, and insert the two wires, noting the correct polarity.
You also plug in the StepStick drivers, also noting the correct orientation (black side with black, color with color).
You plug in the motor cables, and if you are lucky, the motors have the 6pin connector (only 4-wires used) common for 3Dprinter

Once you have done all that, you program it using the Arduino IDE over USB.

Then you can use any planetarium software to drive OnStep over USB with an ASCOM driver. Free planetariums include Stellarium and SkyChart.

If you want to use your Android phone, then you only need to solder is 4 wires to the Wemos D1 Mini.
The other end will be Dupont so they just plug in to the board.
Again, you should note which wire goes where.

One thing I should mention. The MKS Gen-L has several versions.
Ignore the V1.x ones, because they don't support SPI, which is recommended for this board.
V2 has two variants: V2.0 and V2.1. I don't know the differences enough to give advice, though the wiki has something on that.
So hopefully someone who sees this would do so.


W Maxwell
 

Thank you. Very helpful.