[amsat-bb] Re: LVB Tracker Questions

Sion Chow Q. C. (9W2QC) 9w2qc at 9w2qc.net
Fri Feb 29 05:23:17 PST 2008

Dear Howard and Gould,

Thank you very much for replying to my query, and also please accept my
apologies for the delay in replying back as I was tied up with some urgent

I must say that the LVB Tracker website is really great, and the materials
(documents, pictures, etc) has helped me a lot when building the tracker.
Before asking on the amsat-bb, I was trying to source for a Hitachi LCD but
failed to find one.  Since the complete kit that came from AMSAT-UK came
with a Powertip LCD, I was pleased that this was available on from RS
Malaysia.  However, since the model number was slightly different and I
could not find any mention about the instruction set, I thought it will be
safer to ask here.

Thanks to both of you guys for the information about the Ethernet interface
too.  The circuit seems simple, and when I have finish building the other 2
units, I will try this out.  Of course, I would have to obtain the Lantronix
interface first.  Thanks for the heatsink precaution too.  I see that this
Ethernet interface will provide me flexibility when experimenting with
different software on different machines for satellite work in the future.

A special thanks to Howard for the effort in develop the LVB tracker and
make them available for us to use.  I must admit that this is a very
affordable tracker that works very well.  After building the first kit, I
was very pleased with its performance that made me build the second one to
use on my other rotator.

Sion Chow Q. C.,

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Howard Long [mailto:howard at howardlong.com]
> Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2008 9:18 PM
> To: 9w2qc at 9w2qc.net; amsat-bb at amsat.org
> Cc: 'Gould Smith'
> Subject: RE: [amsat-bb] Re: LVB Tracker Questions
> Hi Sion Chow
> Sorry, I only just noticed your post.
> Putting my finger in the air, the LCD you suggest should work as it
> looks
> like it uses the standard Hitachi parallel interface.
> Regarding the Lantronix Ethernet adapter, exactly as Gould suggests,
> essentially it's simply converting Ethernet to a logic level UART
> interface
> just like the FTDI device does. Like the FTDI device you need to
> install a
> virtual COM port driver on your PC.
> I wrote up some (very) rough notes a few months ago.
> It consists of a 3.3V LDO and some resistors to do 5V to 3.3V
> conversion
> from the PIC to the Lantronix device. The PIC inputs are compatible
> with the
> 3.3V levels provided by the Lantronix: this is why there are two unused
> TO-92 transistors on the board that I originally thought would be
> necessary
> to do the voltage upconversion.
> http://www.g6lvb.com/Articles/LVBTracker/Ethernet/IMG_0057small.jpg
> http://www.g6lvb.com/Articles/LVBTracker/Ethernet/IMG_0058small.jpg
> http://www.g6lvb.com/Articles/LVBTracker/Ethernet/IMG_0059small.jpg
> http://www.g6lvb.com/Articles/LVBTracker/Ethernet/IMG_0061small.jpg
> The Lantronix takes a lot of juice so you must adequately heatsink the
> 5V
> regulator on the main LVB board. I don't think that a simple clip-on
> heatsink is sufficient if you adhere to the "too hot to touch" rule of
> thumb. The LDO doesn't need a heatsink.
> 73, Howard G6LVB
> -----Original Message-----
> From: amsat-bb-bounces at amsat.org [mailto:amsat-bb-bounces at amsat.org] On
> Behalf Of Gould Smith
> Sent: 25 February 2008 20:33
> To: 9w2qc at 9w2qc.net; amsat-bb at amsat.org
> Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: LVB Tracker Questions
> Hello Sion Chow,
> I have placed information on LCD selection for the LVB Tracker on  the
> LVBTracker.com .  These were generated from problems we experienced in
> selecting LCDs for the complete tracker box.
> The ethernet interface has only been tested by building a handmade
> interface
> board between the Lantronix part and the 28 pin Tracker box socket.
> The
> Lantronix software driver does essentially what the FTDI software does
> for
> the USB module - it converts the serial data between the LVB processor
> and
> computer serial port (real or redirected) to either USB or ethernet
> communication.  The computer tracking software thinks it is taking out
> a
> standard serial port and the LVB Tracker processor thinks it is taking
> through a RS232 serial port.
> If you have a special program on the computer to generate rotor data
> into a
> USB port or Ethernet port you can use the modules.  Essentialy you are
> just
> faking the computer tracking software into thinking it is still talking
> through a serial port and using a USB or Ethernet connection between
> the
> two.
> 73,
> Gould, WA4SXM
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <9w2qc at 9w2qc.net>
> To: <amsat-bb at amsat.org>
> Sent: Monday, February 25, 2008 2:53 PM
> Subject: [amsat-bb] LVB Tracker Questions
> > Dear All,
> >
> > Greetings from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
> >
> > I have built one LVB Tracker complete kit from AMSAT-UK, and am
> > extremely pleased with it. Now I would like to build another unit,
> but
> > this time from scratch.  I have two questions about this tracker,
> > which I hope someone can help me clarify.
> >
> > 1. Can someone kindly advice a suitable LCD panel for this tracker?
> > Would the Powertip PC1602ARU-HWB-G be compatible with this tracker?
> > (RS Part Number 466-6452)
> >
> > 2. I am also very interested into the Ethernet interface, but have no
> > clue on how this works.  I know a suitable unit is produced by
> > Lantronix but that is about it.  Could someone kindly advice what do
> I
> > need to get the Ethernet interface going?  Is there an evaluation kit
> > readily available like the one from FTDI for the USB interface?
> >
> > Any help and advice is really appreciated.  Thank you very much in
> > advance.
> >
> > 73,
> > Sion Chow Q. C.,
> > 9W2QC.
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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