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help with a small project - precise 1rpm motor & circut

Discussion in 'Sensors and Actuators' started by danstar10, Jan 9, 2013.

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  1. danstar10

    danstar10

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    Jan 9, 2013
    Hello!
    I am about to embark on a small project to build a star tracking platform for my camera, and I would greatly appreciate a little help regarding the circuit design and component sourcing.
    I am new to electronics and have not built anything outside of school projects may years ago, but I like to see myself as a hands on techy person :geek: and I have a soldering iron!

    What I am trying to achieve is to build a circuit which would control a motor to turn at precisely 1rpm. This could be done via the circuit controlling the motor directly to 1rpm or by having a precise alternate rpm from the motor and then using small gears to give a resultant 1rpm.

    There are various designs online for such circuits, but a lot of them are different and a either way I dont think I would stand a chance without some advice. Here is a design for a similar star tracking platform which will help anyone interested see what my end goal is:
    http://www.garyseronik.com/?q=node/52

    There is a circuit design at the bottom of the web page:
    [​IMG]

    This diagram is by no means strictly what I want to go with, I have no idea if this is the best way to go about it so I would love to hear some ideas and would really appreciate some advice.

    Another problem is I have no idea how to source this kind of stuff, so advice on shops or a good website to get components from would help. I am based in London UK.

    Thanks in advance!
    Dan
     
  2. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    Hey Dan
    welcome to the forums :)

    well that link to the project that you provided has info on where to source the motor and gears. they are the difficult parts and your probably best source
    the rest of the components can be purchased at any electronics parts store

    so follow what they have done it obviously works
    no point reinventing the wheel :)

    Dave
     
  3. duke37

    duke37

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    Jan 9, 2011
    My thought is that you do not need 1rpm exactly since you can vary the motor speed with R1 to suit. The speed could vary with temperature and motor friction.

    A better but much more complicated method would be to use a stepper motor controlled with a micro as timer.

    You can get components from Maplin, Bowood Electronics, Cricklewood Electronics, RS, Farnell, etc

    I would solder the components to some strip board (Vero) for neatness.
     
  4. danstar10

    danstar10

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    Jan 9, 2013
    Thanks for the replies guys.
    To connect the components, do i just need some basic copper wire?
    I am a complete novice at this so just saying to do it like in the diagram doesn't get me too far :) for example the little junctions in the diagram - are they just wire soldered to the middle of a strip of another wire? As I say, complete novice :D
    Great that list of suppliers is very handy, thanks duke37.
    Actually it may save us all some pain if you can point me to good starters reading material on the fundamentals?

    Cheers
    Dan
     
  5. tedstruk

    tedstruk

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    Jan 7, 2012
    Hey, I always thought that a motor that turns a higher R would be better for a tracker plate... that if you geared it down exponentially, and then used a standard dimmer switch to increase or decrease the power to the motor, causing it to speedup or slowdown....
    it only has to turn one way if its battery powered., you could use a celson(sp)selsen motor? if you want it to go backwards. anyway use two, one for declination and one for ascension... I was smart, bought an ETX 80...tracking built in...
     
  6. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    You've been advised above to use stripboard, it's also known as veroboard.

    A better approach may be to build up the circuit initially on a breadboard. Although sometimes difficult to find, there are boards made with the same conductor layout as breadboards and these can be helpful in transferring a working circuit on a breadboard to a more permanent one that is soldered together.

    Normally stranded wire is used to connect the circuit on its board to things like batteries, switches, motors, etc.
     
  7. duke37

    duke37

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    Jan 9, 2011
    Strip board, origionally made by Vero, is SRBP board which comes in various designs. The most common has holes in a square matrix, spaced at 0.1 in (2.54mm). One side of the board has copper strips running in one direction. Standard components can be placed with their leads through the holes and soldered to the strips.
    The strips can be cut to restrict the connection using a small drill but I have the luxury of a Vero cutter which is a small drill with a plastic handle.

    I attach a photo of a commercial Vero board, you can see there are some integrated circuits with the strips cut between the pins. I will cut this up to use for my projects

    If you go for the Vero board method, then make sure that you get through hole components, not the modern diddy surface mount variety.
    This method is very good for a one off design but I have trouble cutting the strips in the right place as all holes look the same. Remember that the pin numbers of integrated circuits are labeled clockwise from underneath and anticlockwise from above.
    You must get the electrolytic capacitors installed the right way round.

    I have never used a 'breadboard' as used today but this consists of a plastic block with holes to make connections to underside strips. The holes contain sprung sockets so that components can be plugged in and changed around quickly. This is not suitable for a permanent solution.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Since you're using this for star tracking, you clearly want something very accurate. I would use a stepper motor running faster than 1 RPM and gear it down to 1 RPM.

    A stepper motor is controlled by a logic circuit, often a microcontroller, and driven by MOSFETs. Each time the control signal changes state, the stepper motor rotates ("steps") a certain number of degrees, depending on the design of the motor.

    Say your stepper motor has 180 steps per revolution and you use a gearing of 10:1 to step it down to 1 RPM. The stepper motor needs to make one full rotation every 6 seconds, and every rotation requires 180 steps, so it needs to be stepped once every 33.333 milliseconds. A controller should be able to do this - Google stepper motor controller.

    I suggest gearing the stepper motor down so you can get smoother rotation. The stepper motor moves in 2 degree increments, but after gearing by 10:1 your 1 RPM axle will move in 0.2 degree increments; much smoother.

    The stepper motor will need to be crystal-controlled, for accuracy. (Or perhaps mains-synchronised.) If it's programmable, you will be able to get other rotation rates, which might be useful. (My astronomy knowledge is too limited for me to say.)

    I suggest Googling stepper motor drivers and stepper motors, and seeing what stepper motors are available locally. There are several different types with different numbers of coils and different coil configurations; you need to make sure that your controller can drive the type of motor you choose. You will also need a power supply that can provide the voltage and current required by the stepper motor.
     
  9. BobK

    BobK

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    Jan 5, 2010
    Agree about the stepper as a better solution, but this might be a bit out of range for a beginner.

    Bob
     
  10. tedstruk

    tedstruk

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    Jan 7, 2012
    just another thought

    invariability is what you are after, you need to be more accurate than electronics alone can provide, and yes, you have to use a stepping motor, but I had this idea last night...

    I remember something about building a stepping motor with caps.

    why not cap the stepping motor for more accuracy? it would add about 16k?

    and it will take a genius to figure out the actual constants!
     
  11. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Bob, I agree it would be too much for a beginner if he had to design it all, but I imagine there are stepper motor driver boards available with documentation on models of stepper motors they can drive, and how to get a particular speed, etc, so maybe there wouldn't be much design involved. Some of these drivers might include a power supply.

    I haven't done this sort of thing before so I don't know, but I do know that stepper motors are widely used in hobby electronics, so off-the-shelf well-documented easy-to-use solutions are probably available. Perhaps a model-making forum, an Arduino forum, or a robotics forum would be a good place to ask.

    Re stepper motor with caps, I don't know what you mean. You would need to post some links.
     
  12. danstar10

    danstar10

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    Jan 9, 2013
    Ok it seems a stepper motor may be the way to go.

    I like the sound of a stepper motor driver board so all I need to do is solder on components. Does anybody have more experience using this kind of thing, and know where I may be able to source it?

    How complicated would it be to build it myself without a kit (with the help of you guys)?

    - some quick scouring - is this the kind of thing you mean?
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Stepper-M...459?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item3cc7ff5613

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DC-5V-Ste...al_Components_Supplies_ET&hash=item484eaaa29b
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  13. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    That's the kind of board you need, yes. But I wouldn't search on eBay because the information you get is too brief.

    Look for web sites of companies that design and make stepper motor control boards. These will have detailed descriptions of what the board is capable of doing, and should have recommendations for models of stepper motor to use with it. Or the kit may include a stepper motor.

    I think you should definitely go with a preassembled or kitset controller board. There's a fair bit of design work involved, and it makes sense for that design work to be done by people who already have experience with stepper motors and how to drive them, and the stepper motors that are available.

    The second board you found on eBay needs to be connected to an Arduino, and the Arduino needs to do the timing and signal generation, i.e. to act as the controller. The board has just the stepper motor drive circuitry. I would recommend a board that has the controller on-board; that will be a lot tidier and will not require you to write your own software or get into the details of how the software works.

    Perhaps I shouldn't have suggested looking in an Arduino forum. All you could find there are pointers to companies that manufacture stepper motor drive circuits; you would have to look at their web sites to see whether they make boards with the controller on-board. Robotics forums are probably a better place to look.

    I Googled stepper motor controller driver kit and found a few companies right away:

    http://www.oceancontrols.com.au/Stepper-Drivers.html
    http://www.jaycar.co.nz/productView...WORD&ProdCodeOnly=yes&Keyword1=KV&Keyword2=KD (a PC-controlled board with software included... do you have Jaycar in the UK? Probably not)
    http://www.robotshop.com/

    Do some more Googling, you should find lots of possibilities.

    There are people here with stepper motor experience. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? :)
     
  14. danstar10

    danstar10

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    Jan 9, 2013
    Thanks KrisBlueNZ, I think some of the pre assembled kits like you posted are the best idea.

    If you look at the Jaycar link, it states:
    'This kit will enable you to control the supplied stepper motor manually, or via your computers parallel port with the software provided.'

    So if I went for this kit, could I run it just bolted to my kit in the middle of a field with a 9v battery? And I don't need a PC or anything to control the speed? Is that something I would be able set as a variable from a PC and then it would remember it in the field?

    Sorry for all the questions, but it feels like I am getting close to what I need now so just want to make sure I fully understand what I will be buying in to. Exciting stuff! :D
     
  15. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    I don't think the Jaycar kit is what you want. I think when they say "manually" they mean that you can step the motor by pressing keys on the PC. I don't think there is any kind of controller on the board.

    I could be wrong. There isn't enough documentation on the Jaycar site to be sure. I downloaded the support software and it's pretty old - MS-DOS and Win9x. Probably not appropriate.

    There should be other options around. Try some Googling. If the documentation on the product doesn't describe it in enough detail for you to know whether it will do what you want, try another company. Stepper motor control is a common enough requirement nowadays that there should be properly documented options around.

    Did you look at oceancontrols?

    Sorry I can't help much. My internet access is limited for the next 10 days because I blew my monthly data allocation last week :-/
     
  16. BobK

    BobK

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    So far, it looks like all of these stepper controllers are intended to be interfaced to a micro or computer. Not much use for the purpose of the OP.

    What you need is a stepper controller that let's you set the speed digitally (not via a pot), and I can't seem to find anything like that. Which makes sense, becuase stepper motors are not normally used that way. The are used in variable speed and positioning applications, where some external control would always be necessary.


    Bob
     
  17. danstar10

    danstar10

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    Jan 9, 2013
  18. BobK

    BobK

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    Jan 5, 2010
    No, you would most likey need to do it every time you use it.

    The one you reference seems to be adjustable for speed, but not ditially, so it won't be any more accurate than your original design. I also worry that there are descrepancies between the description of the controller and that of the motor it is supposed to work with.

    controller: 6 to 12V
    motor: 24V!

    Bob
     
  19. danstar10

    danstar10

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    Jan 9, 2013
    Yeah the difference in voltage is strange seeing as the recommend it!

    So is there a digital equivalent to this that would be more accurate? Could you point me in the rite direction, or at least tell me what it is called so I can investigate further?
     
  20. BobK

    BobK

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    No, I am saying that I can't find any such thing. All of the stepper controllers seem to be indended to use with either micro or a PC supplying the speed and direction information.

    Bob
     
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