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Interfacing ideas

Interfacing with the shack unit operates in a number of different ways

AZ/EL board to shack unit

Via the 9 pin sockets on the rear of the shack unit connections should be made through pins shown on top right.

The connections to the Elevation and Azimuth ports should be identical. The shack unit determines if the information is Azimuth or Elevation depending on which port is in use. Note that a plug or socket is mounted on the AZ/EL board the hardware should be mounted on the side that matches the pin numbering.

Note that there is a different wiring pattern required on J3 if you use the AD2-B interface from US-Digital. See the separate document in Encoders.

Right: Potentiometer connections to DB9

Right: Computer connection to DB25.

Note that all recent versions of the shack software no longer use the CTS and DTR connections.

The negative voltages on these pins can interfere with the operation of the PIC in the shack unit.

I now use the connections on pins 3,4 of J1 of the shack unit for other purposes.

Right: Large display (uVGA) to DB25

Using Orbitron

Orbitron is an excellent program for tracking satellites (not so accurate for moon or sun though). The shack unit interfaces well to Orbitron thanks to the excellent programming support provided by the author. Note that in January 2008 I fixed a problem with the Update Time function which did not allow for summer time.

Here is the manual describing how to interface Orbitron to my shack unit.

Using EME tracker by Doug VK3UM

Doug's excellent EME tracker program interfaces to the shack unit through the serial port. Here is his website to downoad the latest version of his program.

Programmers: How to interface to the VK5DJ Beam Rotator Controller

Download this zip file that contains a document describing the issues and some sample Delphi code.