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A software for ATM telescope automation

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SoundStepper is a "100% software" telescope controller, for Windows, using audio hardware to control step motors at real time. All it requires to operate are external step motor drives, which can be a commercial "pulse/direction" drive or analog current amplifiers.

SoundStepper Web Site


Robotics, Astronomy


Public Domain


  • Controls up to 4 motors (RA, Dec, focuser and field derotator) of a equatorial or alt-azimuth-mounted telescope
  • Controls 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
  • 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
  • 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 interoperability with Meade-compatible software, through virtual serial-TCP redirector. The TCP/IP interface enable control the scope from a remote computer
  • 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
  • Certified from Windows XP to Windows 10, including Vista, 7 and 8.1 versions, both 32 and 64-bit
  • Native ASCOM driver for Telescope and Focuser


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User Ratings

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User Reviews

  • 1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5

    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.

    Posted 09/22/2010
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