The time we’ve all been waiting for, has come. We are proud to release v2 of SatNOGS Ground Station (Tracking Box) with many upgrades and fixes from the previous version. Notably:
- Redesigned Axis Gear Assemblies. They are now smaller, more robust and reliable based around a much more powerful NEMA 17 Stepper Motor. The two assemblies are now structurally connected, making the whole assembly much more rigid. Also we redesigned the Worm Gear for improved printability on 3D printers.
- Integrated electronics. We designed and built a new PCB to house all electronics (Arduino, and Stepper Drivers) along with an additional PCB as a PSU for voltage regulation and neater cable management. (see previous post)
- Reworked stepper driving code, featuring a much cleaner code, acceleration and deceleration in movement, stop functions and early opto-homing support. (see previous post)
Tripod and On-board computer (TP-Link) stayed the same, with developments on them coming down the road.
A detailed Bill of Materials is available here.
We have also compiled a detailed construction guide, with step by step instructions on how to assemble the Ground Station Tracking box for both Mechanical and Electronics components.
All Designs and 3D printable files can be found here and all PCB files for our electronics shields can be found here.
Development does not stop with v2, and we are already working on the homing/zeroing code that will enable the homing parts we included in v2 to function. Moreover based on more testing we are applying to v2 and feedback from the community, we expect minor fixes to be released soon.
We can’t wait to see v2 out there, built by others, so get started and/or provide feedback!
It was time for us to test out the designs for our PCB that would take care of the motor control.
In a true hackerspace fashion instead of ordering the PCB we decided to built the capacity to produce our own (much needed moving forward). We could not settle for a simple single-side capability with no solder mask, so we shot for a typical side-project extravaganza 🙂 What we ended up with was a double side capable UV exposer controlled for timing and after many tests the expertise to apply solder mask for uber cool finishing for our diy PCBs.
Back to SatNOGS specific PCBs the design was slightly changed from v1. We changed the capacitor, rerouted for optimal setup the board and thanks to [n0p] comments we added breakouts for unused Arduino pins (you never know what you will need!).
Production went smoothly and the PCB test showed that everything was in place correctly!
Having the finished v1.1 motor control PCB ready we thought that we could tidy up our power circuits too. That called for a PSU PCB tailored to our needs. Agis, our team electronics expert, quickly designed a PSU PCB based around a Voltage Regulator capable of having an input of 12V DC and an output of again 12V DC plus 5V DC stable through USB Type A too.
Production once again was smooth and we ended up with our PSU PCB. Pics below are from a slightly modified version with a cap (both designs can be found in our repo).
Detailed designs and Gerber files can be found in our Github repo
Next steps for our electronics will be to focus on the auto-homing circuits (using the handy breakouts!). A separate log on that will follow!
For v0.2 of our ground station we have been working on consolidation of our electronics trying to minimize size and upgrade the components. Combined with the current minimized approach for the gear assemblies, this will enable us to deliver a smaller more rigid and reliable ground station.
The electronics that needed to be fitted in are the following:
* An Arduino. We selected Pico for the size advantage
* Two stepper drivers. We are using Pololu compatible A4983 based stepper drivers.
Agis (our electronics expert) designed an integrated board to fit everything in. Here is the result
And the schematic:
We are printing the PCB as we speak and will be posting a new log with the construction and testing.