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This project started in the spring of 2006 shortly after I got my Atlas EQG and the EQMOD project came to light.

The program is a windows based application that communicates with the hand controller wirelessly.  The current and possibly final radio is an AirCable Bluetooth serial dongle.

A much simpler paddle will be available for sale.  It will have basic functionality, N-S-E-W, increment and decrement speeds.  The PC software will not have anything but the basic settings in it.  Projected cost is $175 plus shipping.

The hand controller has 4 directional buttons (red) that can be pressed in tandem to produce a diagonal slew such as North-East.  The yellow buttons are mode buttons.  Pressing a mode button and one of the 4 red buttons will access a programmable function.  Final controller is likely to have 3 mode buttons.  Current functions are:

Direction Mode 1 Mode 2
North Slew Speed Increase ECU Move Scope to Chart Center
South Slew Speed Decrease ECU  Center Chart on scope position
East ECU Next item  in user Object List
West ECU Previous item in user  Object List

Other programs will be adaptable to the software.  The ultimate goal is going to allow the user to specify their favorite planetarium program and set hot keys to button pushes. 

Top end view, the power switch (in off position) and the RS232 serial port.  Removing the AirCable Mini dongle will allow corded operation.

Here are the current specs on the hand paddle:

Size 2.5" wide, 4" long, 1" thick, 6" overall with antenna
Weight 5.6 oz with battery
Run time 18-20 hours on a fresh 9V alkaline
Range Meaningless, I had to have a pair of 10X50's to see the mount well before I could have lost the signal.  Line of sight should be close to 1/8 mile with a good radio in the PC
Functions Movement, 8 directions using the red buttons.  Buttons can be reversed in the application.  All changes and slew speeds are reloaded on next use of same telescope.
Functions Programmable to allow Hot-Key use of an external program. Yellow Mode buttons will shift the 4 red directional buttons.

The application will work with ASCOM compliant telescopes.  Here are some screen shots of the application:

Control tab, allows user input of RA and DEC coordinates and slew to these coordinates.


Speed control tab. When scope is loaded, the Minimum and Maximum slew rates are drawn from the telescope and set into place.  If the same telescope is selected as was last used, the current slew rate(s) are set to the last used speeds.  Same for any button reversal choices.  During normal use of the program the main form is generally minimized and one or more of the mini forms are left visible.  All the mini forms can be set to be on top of any form whether they are currently active or not.  The UP/DOWN buttons increment or decrement the radio button pre set slew speeds on level at a time.  Separate slew speeds for each axis if desired.  Pushing MODE1/NORTH or MODE1/SOUTH on the wireless controller produces the same results.  A LED on the hand paddle will illuminate when the MAX SLEW rate is selected.