Prasad D made a great mirror in our telescope-making workshop here at the Chevy Chase Community Center, and then proceeded to machine a wonderful Crayford focuser, from scratch, after I showed him how to use our 1944-era South Bend lathe. A very friendly fellow, he unfortunately (for us) moved to Philadelphia, which is not really close, but he’s kept up doing excellent ATM work.

As an example, on Tuesday last he brought in a brand new German equatorial drive and controller system that he had cobbled together from various parts. He replaced the original motors in the drive head with stepper motors, and then put together an Arduino board, a wireless communicator, and two stepper-motor controllers. All of the circuit is controlled from an app that he devised, on his Android device. We didn’t have any clear skies to try it out, but I could certainly see the motors slewing to various invisible objects such as the star Procyon and Messier Object 42..

Really first-rate job, and very nicely done! (He said he didn’t want it to look half-baked, and it doesn’t!)

Prasad asked me to “please give credit to the original creator of the electronics – Howard Dutton. He calls the system OnStep. It is based on Arduino Teensy3.2 microcomputer and it can be customized for any type of mount including Dobsonian. It is very easy to work with and your students at CCCC may find it interesting.”
I see a web page with lots of information:

I’ll post some still photos here and then upload two short videos to Youtube – which I cannot embed on this blog, but can only link to. If you click on the photos, you can see larger images.



Here is the first video that I took of his device in operation:

Here is the link to a shorter video, not as detailed, that I took of the device:

If you have problems viewing any of this, please let me know by leaving a comment. Thanks.