AAS 198th Meeting, June 2001
Session 5. Ground Based Instruments and Surveys
Display, Monday, June 4, 2001, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[5.02] A Digital Motion Control System for Large Telescopes

T.R. Hunter, R.W. Wilson, R. Kimberk, P.S. Leiker (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO))

We have designed and programmed a digital motion control system for large telescopes, in particular, the 6-meter antennas of the Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea. The system consists of a single robust, high-reliability microcontroller board which implements a two-axis velocity servo while monitoring and responding to critical safety parameters. Excellent tracking performance has been achieved with this system (0.3 arcsecond RMS at sidereal rate). The 24x24 centimeter four-layer printed circuit board contains a multitude of hardware devices: 40 digital inputs (for limit switches and fault indicators), 32 digital outputs (to enable/disable motor amplifiers and brakes), a quad 22-bit ADC (to read the motor tachometers), four 16-bit DACs (that provide torque signals to the motor amplifiers), a 32-LED status panel, a serial port to the LynxOS PowerPC antenna computer (RS422/460kbps), a serial port to the Palm Vx handpaddle (RS232/115kbps), and serial links to the low-resolution absolute encoders on the azimuth and elevation axes. Each section of the board employs independent ground planes and power supplies, with optical isolation on all I/O channels. The processor is an Intel 80C196KC 16-bit microcontroller running at 20MHz on an 8-bit bus. This processor executes an interrupt-driven, scheduler-based software system written in C and assembled into an EPROM with user-accessible variables stored in NVSRAM. Under normal operation, velocity update requests arrive at 100Hz from the position-loop servo process running independently on the antenna computer. A variety of telescope safety checks are performed at 279Hz including routine servicing of a 6 millisecond watchdog timer. Additional ADCs onboard the microcontroller monitor the winding temperature and current in the brushless three-phase drive motors. The PID servo gains can be dynamically changed in software. Calibration factors and software filters can be applied to the tachometer readings prior to the application of the servo gains in the torque computations. The Palm pilot handpaddle displays the complete status of the telescope and allows full local control of the drives in an intuitive, touchscreen user interface which is especially useful during reconfigurations of the antenna array.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/~thunter/servo/servo.html. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: thunter@cfa.harvard.edu

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