ASCOM and Communications protocols

I hope you all had a great New Year and have big plans for 2011.

I don’t have much new to report on the Satellite tracking platform.

I’ve been looking into equipment for the system and at communications protocols.

My initial plan was to use Linux as my operating system to run the tracker, but I like the idea of ASCOM which provides a software driver interface so that end users do not need to worry about the hardware implementation. Unfortunately, for a system which is heralded to be “Open” wherever possible, it is only a standard for Windows. The end result will probably be that I write an ASCOM driver to run the unit on windows but retain the ability to talk direct to an RS232 serial port for other systems where required.

I’ve also got my hands on a MAX7456 Breakout Board. This is an on screen display chip which should let me overlay accurate GPS time on top of a PAL or NTSC video signal. The chip is extra handy as it has Horizontal and Vertical Sync outputs so I don’t even need to built a circuit to get the Sync pulses.

I’ll keep you all updated….

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