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How can the SATRAN be controlled?
The rotator can be controlled over you WLAN with our free app “Satran Control” for android smartphones, available from Google Play.
Are there more ways to control it besides the app?
The control board has an in-built webserver and when setup you can access it from your browser and manually send Az/El coordinates.
The rotator uses very simple HTTP GET queries for the commands, like this:
There are plans in the future for making drivers or interfaces for different popular satellite prediction software like hamlibs rotctl, gpredict etc. Also you are free to come up with your own code or ideas, please contact me if you need any assistance or technical information.
What voltage does it require?
The SATRAN has a voltage requirement of 9 volts, but no less than 8 or higher than 10 or the circuits may be damaged. The total current draw is approx 1-2 amps.
What type of satellites can it track?
All satellites that are geostationary or in LEO (“low earth orbit”) and has publicly available TLE kepler elements, which can be found online from CelesTrak.
What are the max antenna load?
The maximum weight that the rotator can handle depends a lot on the components, quality of the 3D-prints and the settings of the stepper drivers. Therefore its not possible to give an exact torque specification. But our tests show that approx 500grams is the most that the rotator can handle.
Is the SATRAN mk1 weather-proof?
The first version of the SATRAN is not completely weather-proof and is not designed for continuous outdoor use. However it can be made relatively splash-proof if you seal the housing with silicone upon assembly, but this makes it a lot harder to disassemble.
How do you initialize the rotor?
When you start the SATRAN, you need to first make sure it is completely leveled and that the azimuth is pointing north. Gently rotate the entire turntable manually until you hear a small “click” from the limit switch. There you have the starting position (0 degrees). Now bring out your compass and make sure that the antenna is pointing towards north.
When you plug in the power, you do not need to redo this process as long as it is still mounted as above. The satran initializes and moves into position when it boots up.
Will the firmware code be released?
The code for the firmware will probably be released later this year, but because I have over 500 hours of development and all of my last money invested in the project I cant make everything open source until I know I can get my investment back.
Why is it making a whining sound?
But if the noise is very high or perhaps the stepper drivers on the control board (the two red ones) get very hot, you can lower their current by turning the small potentiometer counter-clockwise by only a few degrees. This needs to be done when power is disconnected.
The red drivers get very hot, is something wrong?
If you have an IR-thermometer (an in-ear fever thermometer can sometimes work) you can point to the IC on the red stepper drivers and measure their temperature. A normal operating temperature should be around 60 degrees celcius (140 fahrenheit).
If they are even hotter or there is a high pitch noise coming from the motors, you can turn the potentiometer on the drivers only a few degrees counter-clockwise to lower their current. This needs to be done when power is disconnected!