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|This page describes the various kinds of encoders that the CT-2 controller is designed to work with, and provides detail on the usage and other considerations for each.|
|Potentiometers are the easiest encoders to use because the CT-2 has on-board Analog to Digital converters. By connecting your 'pots' directly to the CT-2, and calibrating, the antenna position can be read without any further hardware. The potentiometers are connected via the DIN-8 jack on the board. The connection information is shown here: Potentiometer Readouts|
|US-Digital Absolute Encoders are the easiest to connect and use, after potentiometers. The wiring is simple and available pre-made from US-Digital. Absolute encoders are normally 'geared' one to one with the rotation of your antenna, and provide an absolute position value. In this respect they are like potentiometers, but much more accurate. The following links will take you to the various locations in this web where information on hardware and software for use with Absolute encoders can be found.|
Absolute Encoders are also usable and although they
are a lot less expensive than the USD variety, they are more complicated
to set up. Also they do not have an inclinometer version so one
would have to build an inclinometer (like with using a pendulum) or gear
it as with an azimuth encoder. These encoders are really
inexpensive, running about $50 or so. There are two models that
can be used, ETS25 and MAB25. I don't see much difference when
using them. They can be purchased from P3 America, in San Diego,
These encoders do not have the proper output signals or data format to be compatible with the Drz Controller (which was designed for US Digital's can-bus format.) However an adaptor board is available from Gary, N8CQ. Using this board the encoder will plug in or mount to the adaptor board and the board is compatible with the RJ11 connectors used with the Drz Controller. With these adaptor boards, calibration and usage is the same as with the USD devices. For more information use this link: Megatron Absolute Encoders
|The CT-2 controller can work with several makes of pulse type
encoders that produce what is called a "quadrature" data output stream.
While designed for the US-Digital incremental encoders, there are
several other manufacturers of incremental encoders whose products can be used.
The usage of incremental encoders for the CT-2 has been a work in
progress and several hardware and software changes have been made over
the years as we gained experience with these versatile encoders.
The greatest improvement has been the addition of the capability to use
the 'index pulse' that is provided with some incremental encoder models.
This provides a means to reliably reset the pulse count to the exact
value required by your antenna calibration, automatically in many cases,
or manually when necessary.
This capability is implemented in CT-2 controllers with version 2.1 or later firmware. This pulse is called an index pulse, or Z-pulse (for Zero Pulse), or sometimes a Z-index. Since the board was not originally designed for this, it is accomplished by using the RJ11 input jack that is normally used for absolute encoders. Thus one cannot use absolute and z-index incremental encoders together. An add-on board is available to handle converting the index pulse from TTL to RS485 levels at the encoder. This is designated on our Products page as the LC485-IDX. For assembly, wiring, and connection details see the links below.
Our initial effort to provide index
pulse detection did work for many encoders, but we soon discovered that
there could be problems with some models, or when the encoders were
mounted such as to provide reverse rotation from normal. A change
in software with a corresponding board modification cured that problem,
Note 1: The US Digital and Heidenhain encoders all produce a very short pulse each time the encoder shaft passes the zero point. To work with these encoders, the jumpers at Pad1-Pad2 (for Azimuth), or at Pad3-Pad4 (for Elevation) must be removed. Also see notes in the Reverse Gearing section, below.
Note2: The BEI and Dynapar encoders and some others produce a long pulse each time the encoder passes the zero point. For these encoders the jumpers at Pad1-Pad2 and at Pad3-Pad4 must be connected. Also see notes in the Reverse Gearing section, below.
The following links will take you to the various locations in this web where information on hardware and software for use with incremental encoders can be found. For the hardware aspects of Z-Pulse usage, see the paragraphs below.
|CT-2 Modifications for use with Index Pulse
Hardware, Wiring, and usage of the LC485-1 level converter.
Index Pulse Conversion Board (LC485-IDX)
|Incremental encoders are meant to be geared to the antenna so that
the encoder shaft turns clockwise (as viewed from the top) when the
antenna turns clockwise. If your mounting arrangement requires
that the encoder shaft turn counter-clockwise when the antenna turns
clockwise then some special wiring is required. Additionally it
makes a difference whether you are using the index pulse or not.
If you are not using the index pulse, or if you are using US Digital or Heidenhain encoders, simply reversing the A and B leads from the encoder will allow the controller to count normally (positive for increasing azimuth or elevation). This means reversing pins 3 and 5 on the wires from the encoder to the RS-485 board at the encoder. (See the LC485-1 board schematic and the connection table below the schematic.)
However for BEI and Dynapar encoders, simply reversing A and B will not work if you are also using the index pulse. In that case do not reverse A and B as described above. Instead it is necessary to change the connections in the RJ45 plug where it plugs into the RS-485 board at the controller. The A channel connections must be reversed for azimuth or elevation (or both). To accomplish this, for azimuth, reverse the wires to pins 3 and 6 at the RJ45 plug. For elevation, reverse the wires to pins 7 and 8. (See the LC485-1 board schematic.)
|In order to support the Z-Pulse available with some incremental
encoders, a modification to the CT-2 circuit board is required.
All new CT-2 controllers incorporate the required board modifications,
but if you have an older CT-2, or are upgrading your CT-1 to a CT-2. the
modification is presented here. Note that this modification is required
if you have firmware version 2.10 or greater and you are using incremental encoders.
(See the download page
for information on finding the firmware version.) The modification
effectively swaps the function of the two microprocessor I/O lines
called RB1 and RB4 (microprocessor pins 34 and 37). The two existing traces to
those pins must be cut and jumper wires to 'criss-cross' the connections
must be soldered on. The photo below shows the modification.
This photo shows the upper left corner of the bottom of the CT-2 board. The two traces shown must be cut, and the wires soldered on as shown. The pins of the PIC microprocessor are shown for reference.