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PaulRO
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stepper motors to move antenna

Hello !

 

My name is Paul, I am from Romania.

 

I need some ideas on how to make a project.

 

I need to control a fake antenna (I am saying fake because it won't be attached to anything, just for display purposes) using LabView.

 

The antenna will be very small (about 15cm in diameter and made from light materials) so I won't need powerfull motors. I was thinking about hooking up 2 stepper motors (maybe from a printer) to some sort of controll board and to a PC with LabView. The antenna needs to move 360 degrees on a round base and 180 degrees of elevation.

 

I found a video on youtube that is a lot more complicated and a lot heavier than what I need, but should give you a better perspective of what I am talking about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vihdaseWNQw

 

I need the cheapest way possible (because I am on my own budget).

 

Thank you !

Member
BenDAE
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Re: stepper motors to move antenna

Paul, 

Interesting project. I'm glad you're choosing to use LabVIEW. Do you have the NI Motion driver installed yet? A great website for getting started with motion can be found here. Let me know if you have any specific questions. Also, I'm a little confused about what you mean by 180 degrees of elevation. Perhaps you could include a sketch. 

Ben D.
Applications Engineer
National Instruments
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PaulRO
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Re: stepper motors to move antenna

[ Edited ]

Thank you for your answer.

 

I decided to go with the Arduino package for LabView.

 

I got the Arduino Uno v3, two EasyDriver Stepper Motor Driver and two Stepper Motors (1.8 deg step angle).

 

I'm trying to get the antenna to track a satellite. I have to enter the azimuth and elevation of the satellite into LabView, and the antenna, from the 0 position (I will use the magnetic north as 0) will have to move accordingly to face the satellite.

 

So the base will have to be capable of a 360 degrees turn (for azimuth) and the elevation a 90 (my mistake, not 180) degree angle (for elevation).

 

I found an example built in the Arduino package for Labview on stepper motor, but how can I adjust that to what I need ?

 

How can I convert 360 deg and 90 deg to steps for the motors?

 

Thank you

Member
BenDAE
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Re: stepper motors to move antenna

Please post the example and show me/the forum group what you've tried.

Ben D.
Applications Engineer
National Instruments
Member
PaulRO
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Re: stepper motors to move antenna

I drew a quick sketch hoping you will understand better what I'm trying to do. I only connected one stepper motor for a test run. I opened the "Arduino Stepper Motor.vi" in LabView and tested on stepper motor 1. It didn't move (but maybe I didn't set it up correctly in labview). The setup was made exactly as the picture I attached.

 

The stepper motor 1 (which controls elevation) has to move the antenna 90 degrees. So I'm guesing I have to divide the 90 degrees to 1.8 degrees (the motors deg/step) to find out how many steps I need in total. And the same for stepper motor 2 (360 / 1.8).


So I need a .vi that automaticaly transforms the degrees which you set the elevation and azimuth to steps for the stepper motors. And when I press "Start" the two motors move to the desired position. I also need a "Reset" button to automaticaly come back to the original position (which will be 0 degrees azimuth and 0 degrees elevation - let's say the magnetic north) each time I run the program.

 

 

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PaulRO
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Re: stepper motors to move antenna

And one more thing: is there an explanation document for the "Arduino Stepper Motor.vi" ? 

 

There are a few things I don't know how to set up, like the "Stepper Configure.vi" - seems like anything I change doesn't really do anything and the same thing with the "Init.vi" , "Stepper write.vi", "Stepper ToGo.vi" or "Stepper Close.vi".

Member
BenDAE
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Re: stepper motors to move antenna

PaulRO,

It appears that the Arduino Discussion forum may be your best route for getting assistance with your application specific to Arduino VI's. I wanted to make sure you knew about it.

https://decibel.ni.com/content/groups/labview-interface-for-arduino?view=discussions 

 

I will do my best to resolve your issue here, but I don't claim to have much Arduino experience.  I am still unsure of where you got the VI's. Was this what you downloaded? https://decibel.ni.com/content/docs/DOC-15971

Ben D.
Applications Engineer
National Instruments
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PaulRO
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Re: stepper motors to move antenna

Ok, so I will post on the Arduino discussion forum. Yes, that is where I got the .vi's.


Thank you for your assistance.