ADAPTATION OF AN EQG-ATLAS MOUNT
Any use other than strictly private of these images must be subject to prior consent.
In June 2009, Thierry Legault contacted me to adapt his EM400
for motorized tracking of satellites (ISS, space shuttle etc.), in order to be
able to obtain complete videos of nighttime passes. The work consisted in two
- Step 1 : visual tracking with a viewfinder and control of the mount with a wireless jostick
- Step 2 : computerized tracking controlled by Vidéos Sky (home-made)
Later I too became interested in ISS imaging, I was got by
Thierry's bug after the RCE party.
Then I began to design of a similar system on my mount, and I needed more than 6 months to obtain a functional prototype. This were the occasion to make this prototype for an American friend, met in New York furing NEAF
In addition I received an incredible number e-mails of astronomers who want to track the ISS, and I had the idea to make a plug-and-play modification, easy to use for astronomers. This modification is not completed. Made from the experience of the EM400, it is remarkably accomplished.
The main problem was to make a new firmware allowing the
selection of a range of 16384 different tracking speeds. The original firmware
has not capable of that. I had to reproduce the basic functions of the mount to
keep compatibility, adjust settings to keep sideral speed while integrating the
new functions, this has possible only with an external box containing a part of
the software needed for these functions.
The tracking is automatic, you simply aim your viewfinder in the vicinity of the ISS so that it crosses the field of the tracking camera, then the ISS will be locked and tracking begins.
User settings are available during capture and tracking though the joystick, to compensate for mechanical flexures. For a focal length of 1.2m this is useless.
What happens with a mount connected for the first time?
After the connexion of the module and the execution of VideosSky, the external box will update the part of the internal code of the mount, allowing new functions. These new functions are inside the external box and for ISS tracking this box will be the conductor of the tracking, simply controlled by Vidéos Sky.
Below is a live capture of the guiding camera, a slow motion, a PDF shortly describing the modification and several photos of the box. I currently have 3 ISS passes to be processed.
Document to download: Photographier_ISS_EQ6.pdf
My Setup with C8 EDGE HD:
(C) Emmanuel Rietsch 2014.