Serial DSC Board

FAR Circuits sells a custom printed circuit board, programmed PIC16F84 microcontroller chip, MAX232 chip, and 4-MHz oscillator for the serial version of my digital setting circles project.

Go to the FAR Circuits web page for ordering information and an order form. For the project description on the order form, use “Dave Ek Digital Setting Circles”. (If you look on his web page for a product listing for this board, it’s under the Miscellaneous category.)

Instructions for building the project using the PC board can be found on my construction page.

USB DSC Board

FAR Circuits sells a kit with a PC board and all board-mounted parts and connectors for the USB version of my digital setting circles project. The kit does not include the TTL-232R-5V USB-serial cable–that cable needs to be purchased separately and is available from Mouser and Digikey.

Go to the FAR Circuits web page for ordering information and an order form. For the project description on the order form, use “Dave Ek Setting Circle USB Interface”.

 

Please note: FAR Circuits does not provide technical support for this project. They only sell the PC board and components. Contact me directly by leaving a comment below with any questions you have regarding construction of the project. Contact FAR Circuits only with questions about ordering the board and chip, or questions about the status of an existing order.

25 thoughts on “Buy the PC Board and Chips

  1. I’ve got an old Byers CAM-TRAK 2 equatorial mount with encoders on the RA and DEC axes, stepper motor RA drive. It’s not a goto mount. Can I use your circuit with Cartes du Ciel and slew the scope manually? What feedback do I get on CdC?

    Thanks,
    tom

    Reply
    • Yes, you should be able to do that. CDC probably will give you feedback by moving a cursor or pointer across its display as you manually slew the scope.

      Reply
  2. Works great with CdC, Dave! I built the Far Circuits kit and it worked fine from the getgo. This morning I did a fake 2 star alignment on the bench and I got a moving cursor against the sky display as I turned the encoders by hand.

    tom

    Reply
  3. Hi Dave I run acroos your project for digital setting circle .I have a 10” zhumell and would like to build this project about how much all in all will it cost me to build this entire project .????

    Reply
    • Larry, the board and components will run you about $30 or so. Add another $10-$20 for cables, an enclosure, connectors, etc. The encoders can be expensive if you have to buy them commercially ($60 apiece or more). You can save some money if you can find some surplus encoders someplace.

      These are just estimates–I haven’t priced any of this out in a while, but it’s in the ballpark.

      Reply
  4. Dave, I ordered the USB version of the kit and am wondering if “your program” would work if installed on a net book running windows 7? I originally thought of ordering the rs232 version and use my old palm v, but the complexity of the kit was the draw back for me.

    Thanks…

    Reply
  5. Dave, what’s the latest version of the PIC firmware? I’ve got a board I bought a few years ago that I’m finally getting around to using. The PIC says “EK VER 2”.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • The USB kit will not work. You’ll need the serial kit. Make sure you have (or can find) a serial cable for your Tungsten before you proceed.

      Dave

      Reply
  6. About 10 years ago, I built an Ek box and added encoders to my Dobsonian, but I never got around to completing the project.
    Recently, I found about Skysafari, and I loaded it on my android tablet. I also added the US Converters Bluetooth adapter to the Ek box.
    Now, I can’t get the system to work, and the reason may be that my Ek box does not seem to remember the encoder resolution after a power down. That might be OK if Skysafari sent the command to set the resolution each time it starts up, but I don’t think that it does that.
    Is there a fix for this, like a newer version of the software?

    Reply
    • Rev 2 of the PIC firmware includes code that stores the encoder resolutions in EEPROM so they are remembered between power-on’s. You can download the firmware from my web site or buy a new chip from FAR circuits.

      Dave

      Reply
  7. Dave,

    I ordered and assembled the Far Circuits board and got a ttl-232r-5v from Mouser. This is a super simple project and I always check for cold joints and bridges before testing but when I plugged it up and assigned the COM port it would not initialize. Double checked everything and tried again with no luck. Made sure I was getting 5V to the board and scoped the oscillator. Good steady 4mhz. Then I noticed a brown spot on the tape label on the chip. Some how I have fried the cpu. I checked the cable and found 2 fine bare wires projecting from the 5V and RXD. Evidently left when the cable was tested before shipment. If they touched that would do it.

    How can I get another cpu?

    Thanks
    Glenn

    Reply
  8. With respect to the DSC Serial and the USB DSC boards. Is the only difference is that one connects to the serial port while the other connects to the usb port or do both need to connect to the serial port. It looks like an interesting project but I’m trying to figure out which version I should get

    Reply
    • Juan,

      Yes, the only difference is that the serial version needs a serial port to connect to, but the USB version will plug into a USB port.

      Dave

      Reply
  9. High resolution encoders are quite expensive and two alone is almost the price of a prebuilt telescope depending on which country you live in and exchange rates being so high. Potentiometer are relatively cheaper only problem is finding one that can do a full 360 whilst giving adequate resolution for both AzM and Alt axes.

    Reply

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