Serial Autoguide Relay Controller

Many CCD cameras that make good autoguiders do not have outputs for controlling a mount. There are also software protocols for driving the guider inputs of mounts that are dependent on good real time performance from the operating system (something that most desktop operating systems are not good at).

I have built a simple device that accepts commands across a serial port and translates them to relay signals to guide a mount. Two protocols are supported. The first emulates an interface sold by Starlight Express. This protocol depends on the host computer for its timing accuracy, since relay on and relay off commands are sent separately. The second protocol was developed for some instrumentation at Mt. Stromlo Observatory and manages all of the timing within the controller.

In order to use this device, you need to use a guider control program such as Maxim DL that supports the SX or Mt. Stromlo com port driven interface.

This is a simple board that uses an inexpensive Atmel microcontroller. All the parts are available from Digikey for about $20.

Relay Guider


© Copyright 2007, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.