SoundStepper is a 100% software telescope controller, for Windows, that uses audio hardware to control step motors in real time. All it requires is an external analog current amplifier to operate.
- SoundStepper can control up to 4 motors (RA, Dec, focuser and field derotator) of a equatorial or alt-azimuth-mounted telescope.
- SoundStepper can control any type of equatorial-mounted telescopes with step motors. Manual-pointing mounts (ex: barndoor, poncet platforms, "polar axis", threaded-rod driven mounts), "meridian-flip" mounts (ex: GEM or cross-axis), and "no-meridian-flip" mounts (ex: Fork, yoke, horseshoe, split-ring), and beginning from 5.0 beta version, alt-azimuth mounts too.
- SoundStepper can "sync" and "go-to" manual-pointing mounts, making faint objects easier to find (manually center scope on a star, find the star in Cartes du Ciel, right-button, "sync", right-button on faint object, "go-to").
- Using analog control, SoundStepper drive step motors with quietness, smoothness and linearity. With adjustable linearity, the typical wobbling is 1/20 of step. Like microstep controllers, it can put the motors in any position between step positions.
- In addition to the analog control option, SoundStepper is also capable to control commercial "pulse/direction" microstepping drivers.
- No PICs, no micro soldering on small SMDs, no EPROMs. SoundStepper uses cheap USB-AUDIO devices to drive steppers, through a simple (SUGGESTED) analog current controller, or standard "pulse/direction" drivers.
- No MS-DOS dedicated computers. SoundStepper does realtime control sharing the computer with planetarium, photo/video capture and others applications, in Windows. It take advantage of the audio devices buffering and autonomous playing.
- SoundStepper has built-in PEC and NPEC (periodic and non-periodic error correction systems). With NPEC, the entire threaded rod can be "trained", enabling the use of cheap thread rods, and the "thread rod/nut/arm" system (like "Astrotrac").
- Main screen with keyboard arrows "control box" (four speeds: slew, find, center and guiding), go-to, flip, park/unpark, and focuser/rotator controls.
- Permit save many defined positions of focuser, according eyepiece, camera, barlow and filter being used.
- LX200 command interface compatibility, enabling the use of LX200 ASCOM driver, through any virtual serial-TCP redirector. The TCP/IP interface enable control the scope from a remote computer. Compatible and tested with many softwares, including Cartes du Ciel and Stellarium.
- Configuration screen with many controls, to match SoundStepper with your motors and mount.
- Autosave and autorecover last telescope and motor positions (crash recover)
- Joystick interface: You can control the telescope with a standard joystick, wired or wireless.
- Field derotation for alt-azimuth mounts
- Backlash compensation
- Portable: You can run SoundStepper from any external HD or Pen-drive. No installation procedure is required.
I know my own opinion can't be neutral, but I have to write it here: it really works, is cheap, and easy to assembly. Thank to it, I'm rid of parallel/serial ports and MSDOS for the equivalent of US$25 per motor. And I didn't have to weld PICs nor burn EPROMs. And the software is free, open source and public domain. No more I lose 30 minutes or more trying to find a 16th magnitude comet or asteroid in the sky! Using latest version of Soundstepper, even with my "threaded rod/arm" mount, now I can do "sync" in a nearby star, and "go-to" for an object that would be almost impossible to find otherwise.