Onstep Goto system
Telescopes mount restauration
The Takahashi EM-10 USD is a telescope equatorial mount made in Japan in 1994; It has been a great product, but nothing lasts for ever.
Mine had motor failures but spare parts are not available nowdays.
In astronomy, to buy new equipment can be very expensive: the latest version of this mount is greatly improved, includes Goto automatic features but is valued 3500 $ : out of reach for most people.
Luckily, the Internet community is more and more rich of Open source projects, which are incredibly full of contents, like Onstep by Howard Dutton.
OnStep is a computer controlled stepper motor goto system for Equatorial and Alt/Az mounts. The easy to work with Arduino based code runs on several popular microcontrollers enabling telescope control from a wide range of popular astronomy software.
It is a state of the art product and is also cheap and affordable!
It can fit a number of astronomy mounts, as long you have some knowledge of firmware and you are hands on .
Being an engineer, I had no hesitation and decided to try to implement it as an upgrade of my old tool.
I have purchased an hardware kit from Instein.Eu, and downloaded Arduino code from my PC to customise the firmware.
I assembled a new stepper motor to the brass gears , fit into the original mount space, connected RJ45 cable , and started to use the telescope.
I was curious to compare the performance with a system based on no encoders.
Well, with my satisfaction, the system was able to point and track accurately any sky target , while I was confortably inside my room connected wifi to my home router!
I reccommend this HW/SW upgrade to anyone hands-on, fond of telescopes maintenence and willing to try something similar.
info are avaliable in the links below: