About OnStep

 OnStep Information


What is OnStep?
OnStep is free/open source goto system using components that are mainly
intended for the 3D printer industry. Developed by Howard Dutton, it has grown
slowly, yet steadily over the past several years. It is not an assembled product,
but if you can use a soldering pencil, a hacksaw, file and drill you can convert
just about any mount that you own to this powerful precision goto system.

For more information wander over to the OnStep group and mailing list, and
subscribe. There is also an extensive Wiki with documentation here

Why Onstep?
One of the main concepts behind OnStep is economy. If you break down any goto
mount drive system you will soon notice that there’s really not many there. Yet when
a part fails, its replacement may cost 80% of a used mount’s cost. If you look into the
production costs of these components you find that they are usually less than 15%
of the purchase price! 

OnStep designs are open source and licensed under the GNU General Public License
(GPL). The designs are by users for users. 

All the necessary components are off the shelf. All of this means that costs are low
and if repairs are necessary, easy to replace. 

Another concept is independence. Problems do happen, but why should you have
to send your mount or entire telescope system to a manufacturer, at considerable
expense and delay, to replace a component that is designed to be installed by an
unskilled worker? This is particularly onerous when shipping rates continue to rise
to the point where they amount to 50% of your transaction costs. If you build your
own system you can also repair it at little expense. 

Community support is readily available from the creators of the system as well as
hundreds of users. Support is far more accessible than any commercial product.

To brings user costs even lower we have set up this service that buys parts in quantity
and passes these and delivery savings along in an effort to strengthen the OnStep
community. Additionally,  if you are in North America there are no long waits for
deliveries from Asia.

Parts and Kits offered
Now let me say right up front you don’t need any of these offerings to build your own
OnStep goto system. The circuit diagrams are available online, and you can order the
printed circuit board (PCB) directly from China, or even use use a perfboard. The rest
of the components are available from China via eBay, AliExpress or other online
electronic sources. 

All we’re doing is easing the path for you, providing the product at near cost for fellow
astronomers. 

STM32 OnStep Blue Pill
The STM32 is designed around the so called Blue Pill board, which has an STM32
ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller. It is an inexpensive, yet relatively fast at 72MHz,
capable of offering performance comparable to many of the best commercial goto
systems. It features all the base OnStep features, including a USB and WiFi interface,
a focuser control option, PEC (periodic error correction), and limit sense. Like all
OnStep projects the STM32 is the result of the work of its users. Khalid Baheyeldin
and Dave Schwartz did the work to port the OnStep software to the STM32 and design the PCB layout.

Parts are available in two forms:

A: PCB Only

This is the PCB that allows you to build a controller - $5. It is a PCB with through tinned
vias that make assembly fairly quick. You will need to get all the other components
separately. 

B. Full kit

This means all you have to source separately are the step motors and their drivers. 

Kits currently available

STM32 - $30 full kit currently unavailable
STM32 - Short kit - $25, sold w/o the Bluepill.
MiniPCBV1 &V2 - $45 kit.
MaxPCB - $45 kit.
Smart Hand control (ESP32) - $25 kit.
Basic Hand control - $10 kit.

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