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New resources for Intelligent Drive System Owners
AWR have released a Terminal programme (Windisp) for the PC to enable basic interrogation of the Drivebox or the Intelligent Handset. The command set can be explored by using the information in the protcol documents, entering the low level commands and seeing the responses. The terminal programme is a general purpose one we have developed for use in debugging serial data streams from a wide variety of microprocessor developments with embedded PIC, Texas MSP430 or Hitachi H8 processors. The configuration files have been set up to use a specific hardware setup, so please use the right one, and the correct computer lead!

You will find an array of new offerings in the DOWNLOADS page of the website.

Latest Firmware
Version 1.69 includes several new features to do with LIST management, an extra CAL3 calibration point and TRACKING in the presence of polar alignment errors.

The list management has an option to WIPE the whole list and another one to LOCK it so that extra points will not be added until unlocked.

The calibration points are now even more helpful in sorting out the telescope mechanical characteristics.
  • CAL3 - If you have a GEM or FORK type where the tube can be reversed over the pole at the central meridian then it is possible to get an idea of optical misalignment and non-orthogonality between RA and DEC axes. So the procedure is to select a variety of stars near the central meridian at different declinations, Centre one of them, press CAL1 then do MREV centre it again then do CAL3. The display will give you an RA difference in degrees. Optical misalignment gives you a constant error independant of the declination and non-orthogonality gives you a varying error depending on Declination. The two diagrams show how the DEC axis moves with either of these errors present.
  • CAL2 - Result can now be USED or WIPED. If you use the results then corrections will be calculated every ten seconds on BOTH axes to drive the telescope to follow the star, even though the polar alignment may be out and the star normally drifts. It will now not drift, but tracks. An extra function, UNCAL, stops this process from happening (and RECAL to include it again). At installation it may be necessary to press UNCAL before the first CAL1 to avoid unpredictable results.
If you have OPTICAL MIS-ALIGNMENT error you can shim the tube rings to minimise this error. Do this close to DEC = 0 degrees as the Non-Perpendicular error is zero at this point and use the CAL3 procedure to determine the amount. NonPerp error can only be sorted by calibration. TPOINT can compensate for these errors now.

External Encoders
AWR can now integrate standard Optical shaft encoders (see JIM's MOBILE INC) with our QUAD Decoder Box feeding the Intelligent Handset. This means the scope can be used by hand and still maintain accurate calibration. At least 20,000 steps per rev of the prime axis are required to achieve about 30 arc seconds. A gear set with 5:1 ratio can achieve this in addition to the optical encoder. Then an accurately driven motor is only required on the RA with a small DC motor for adjustments only on the DEC. This also means that scopes with a SECTOR drive or TANGENT ARM can also maintain accurate calibrations over the whole sky.

We have delivered a high performance high precision system using expensive optical shafty encoders to Astrofox which have been fitted onto a 36 inch telescope. Further information in our LARGE systems page.

We shall be at ASTROFEST this coming FEB 07 demonstrating these systems with stock to sell!!
There is a price reduction on the SEEKER to 59.
The CLOCKS SC110 have been re-tooled for a new box and new processor due to obsolescense and will be available again end JAN 07.
A new product will be demonstrated - a SEEKER combined with a simple Handset - called "GUIDE & SEEK". This fits in the autoguider socket of ANY telescope. It is very useful if you are guiding by hand as the control box is small and light compared to the large expensive Handsets in most GOTO systems.