Computer Controlled Alt-Az Mount

Second Generation Alt-Az Mount

I built a computer controlled altitude azimuth (alt-az) mount primarily for astrophotograpy like satellite passes and long exposures. The mount does not have the strength to move heavy loads, like DSLR cameras. I repurposed the mount to track terrestrial objects.

The mount is powered by a battery because the two servos require more power than the arduino can supply. I built a small board with a voltage regulator and the connectors for the two servos. It connects to the battery and with two wires to the arduino for position control. The arduino acts as a middle man between the servos and computer. I wrote a python program to calculate the azimuth and altitude angle between two positions. It also can automatically fetch the position of an Instamapper or APRS (still working on APRS) station. It sends those angles over serial to the arduino which uses the arduino servo library to generate the waveform to control the servos.

Software Interface to Control Mount

The mount works but still requires some calibration. I intend to use it to visually track a high altitude balloon.