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Dob hooked up to SkySafari


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I have just completed a small project to add encoders to my 12" Dob and connect it up using Bluetooth to the SkySafari app running on phone or tablet.  I am amazed how good this setup is.  I managed to move effortlessly from one object to another and have never viewed so many objects in one hour.

I used an Arduino nano  with bluetooth adapter and a couple of cheap encoders from China (£9 each off Ebay) all hooked up with patch wires, so no need to solder.  It fits neatly into a small plastic box and is powered from a small phone battery pack.  The whole build only cost about £50 and has transformed my viewing.  I no longer have to spend ages trying to star hop in light polluted skies where half the stars cannot be seen.

The encodes were the key as other options I looked at used expensive 4000 PPR or 10000 PPR encoders but for visual observing using a Dob I felt this was over kill.  I opted for optical encoders with 600 PPR which, using software to detect each rise and fall on both channels, gives 2400 PPR which is enough for visual.

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Edited by pjmaciw
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The Arduino code is given below.  I take no credit for this as I pasted and modded other examples that I found on the internet to see what worked.  I cannot remember or find the exact sites I found but thank you all.

 

Update - Found it ...... this was the site that got me started - http://vincechanblog.ca/blog/?p=47

 

SkySafariEncoder_v0.3.ino

Edited by pjmaciw
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  • 1 year later...

A huge thank you for posting this project.

Have just completed, using arduino nano, HC05 Bluetooth, and CWZ6C encoders fitted to my Heritage 130P. Only change to the code was to use the internal pull up resistors. 

Works extremely well with Sky Safari 6 to give dob push to capability for only about £50.

Highly recommended as a project.

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