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Author Topic: Controllers for Alliance U-110 rotors?  (Read 12874 times)
AF8F
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Posts: 32




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« on: October 05, 2012, 04:34:48 PM »

I'd like to build an Az / El rotator out of Alliance U-110 rotors.  And I'd also like to control them with HRD via a USB port.  Does anyone know of controllers that can do this?

All of the home-brew projects that I've found either use a computer's parallel port (which I no longer have) or require programming a Basic Stamp, both of which I'd like to avoid.

I enjoy kits, but have not found one of these either.

Can someone point me to a computer controlled controller for Alliance rotors?

Thank for your help.
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AF8F
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Posts: 32




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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2012, 12:10:26 PM »

All of the rotor control companies are telling me that the Alliance rotors cannot be controlled because they do not have any position sensing hardware, i.e. a pot or potentiometer.

So now I'm investigating how to add this.
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W9GB
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Posts: 2659




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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2012, 02:56:10 PM »

Quote from: AF8F
All of the rotor control companies are telling me that the Alliance rotors cannot be controlled because they do not have any position sensing hardware, i.e. a pot or potentiometer.
So now I'm investigating how to add this.
Bruce -

The Alliance U100 rotators were designed in 1950s during the post-WW2 expansion in USA.
It was a mechanical world, and vacuum tubes for electronics.  Transistors were emerging from research to first production in mid to late 1950s.

Doug Braun tackled this problem (desire for position feedback) in late 1990s with the "then readily available (and cheap)" Radio Shack TV rotators.  They are more $$ today.
This OEM design was sold by ChannelMaster in 1990s.

Adding a Position-Feedback Potentiometer to a TV Antenna Rotator
http://www.dougbraun.com/rotor_mod.html

PHOTO GALLERY for work
http://www.dougbraun.com/pix/rotorpix/

PARTS LIST:

Rotor:  I used a readily available Radio Shack rotator.  The Radio Shack rotator is a Channel-Master OEM mfg. product (Eastern Asia, Carolinas) identical to models sold by other brand-name companies.

Gear: From Small Parts, Inc.  (www.smallparts.com)  It is part #GD-4860, cost about $6. It is a 60-tooth 48-pitch plastic gear with  a 1/4" hole. Small Parts has a catalog full of cool stuff. Try to order some other stuff with the gear, to offset the shipping charge.

Potentiometer:  A Bourns 3540-series 10-turn pot, resistance 2k ohms. (Any standard 10-turn model whould work). Mouser and Digi-Key carry them.  The Bourns model is very accurate and well-made.  I got it at a hamfest for three bucks.  New, they run $12 or so. The actual resistance value depends on the rest of the control circuitry, but you should probably not make it more than 2K or so,  to reduce noise pickup.

Metal plate:  A bit of scrap aluminum about 1.5" x 3".

Nuts and Bolt:  From hardware store (e.g. Home Depot, Ace, Lowe's)

Cap over pot:  A 1" PVC pipe cap, also from hardware store (e.g. Home Depot, Ace, Lowe's)

When the rotor turns 360 degrees, the 10-turn pot turns about 9.3 turns.  
When putting everything together, make sure that the rotor can travel over its full 360-degree range without jamming the pot at the ends of its rotation.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2012, 03:23:49 PM by W9GB » Logged
W9GB
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Posts: 2659




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« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2012, 03:06:50 PM »

Quote from: AF8F
I'd like to build an Az / El rotator out of Alliance U-110 rotors.  And I'd also like to control them with HRD via a USB port.  Does anyone know of controllers that can do this?
Bruce -

NO controllers as commercial product.  
WHY?  Alliance Manufacturing, Co. shut their doors in 1994, and the U110 is no longer mfg.
http://www.rotorservice.com/faqs.htm#What%20happened%20to%20the%20Alliance
Limited market -- AMSAT members, and available satellites to track.

This SECOND POST is specific for Alliance U100 or U110 TV rotators.
DIY Trackers have been built by AMSAT members for these rotators.
These SOLUTIONS are outlined at Norm's Rotor Service -- which bought the Alliance Mfg. inventory, molds, and engineering designs.
http://www.rotorservice.com/press3-alliance.htm

DIY knowledge is required to build --
since the Alliance U100 is just a 24 VAC motor in a metal enclosure.
The solution is largely one of motor control -- and position sensing / determination.

KH6HAK
http://kh6hak.tripod.com/az-el-rotor-control.html

Jim Koehler, VE5FP wrote a construction article in December 1998 QST magazine
An Inexpensive Az-El Rotator System
Uses the Motorola 68HC11 controller
http://p1k.arrl.org/pubs_archive/94912

KO6TH
http://home.wavecable.com/~ko6th/

N0YK
http://users.wbsnet.org/n0yk/cushcraft.htm

N1BUG
http://www.g1ogy.com/www.n1bug.net/station/neweme/99array.html

Dave, K8DAV Tracking software for Alliance U100 rotors
Cuyahoga Amateur Radio Society
http://www.k8dav.com/u100_info.htm

In 2009, Gary, N2NRJ and Doug, KC2PCR built and tested the K8DAV tracker system.

The tracker consist of Dave's K8DAV Tracker software running with either Ham Radio Deluxe or NOVA on a MS Windows PC connected via Serial port to the BASIC Stamp Controller.
The controller is wired to 4 low voltage DC controlled AC relays that when energized sends 24 VAC supply current up to the stacked Alliance U-100 rotors positioning the antenna(s) for AZ/EL tracking.

PROJECT and PHOTOS
http://www.cnyara.com/index.php?name=Content&pid=18&page=1
PAGE 2
http://www.cnyara.com/index.php?name=Content&pid=18&page=2

PARTS LIST:
Project box Link
Molex - 6 position terminal strip Link
Parallax IC BS-1 Project board Link
Rear panel ac jack - salvaged part from computer psu
4 - 470uF capacitors -salvaged parts from computer psu
6 V transformer- salvaged part from wall wart type psu
24 vac transformer - salvaged from original alliance rotor control
4 - dc controlled ac relays - Grayhill 70S2-04-B-06 DC 6A SOLID STATE RELAY
4 - Green 5v LED indicators
1 - Red 5v LED indicator

INSTALL
http://www.cnyara.com/index.php?name=Content&pid=18&page=4
« Last Edit: October 07, 2012, 04:05:59 PM by W9GB » Logged
KG4RUL
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Posts: 2752


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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2012, 08:22:27 PM »

The problem with the U-100 is the position sensing system.  In the rotator head is a switch attached to gearing and a cam that actuates the switch momentarily for each 10 degrees of rotation.  In the controller is a solenoid that is pulled in when the rotator head switch closes and rotates the position indicator in 10 degree jumps.  So, all you know about the actual position is that it is somewhere in a 10 degree range of rotation at any given instant.
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