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Re: [TowerTalk] SteppIR problem...size wires? ala KH6

To: David Gilbert <>,
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] SteppIR problem...size wires? ala KH6
From: Jim Lux <>
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 14:37:50 -0700
List-post: <>
At 02:13 PM 6/18/2007, David Gilbert wrote:

>Wouldn't it be simpler to design a proper line driver that would
>interface the SteppIR controller to a long cable?

Actually.. I think it would be better to make the "power handling" 
wires the short ones, and the "information handling wires" (the RS232 
connection) the long one.   Rather than try and develop and build 8 
drivers (2 coils for each of 4 steppers), just buy an off the shelf 
long distance serial connection.
  Putting the SteppIR controller at the base of the tower is a nice 
compromise between short wires and accessibility for servicing. Put a 
Hoffman enclosure there, and you're basically done...

Just in cable costs alone you'd save money: running a serial port 
500ft takes two pair phone wire or something like cat5 cable, which 
is very cheap.  Hundreds of feet of 16 conductor cable is a fair 
investment in copper alone.

You can remote an RS232 with a variety of off the shelf line 
driver/longhaul modem widgets using either twisted pair (RS422) or 
optical or RF (Mouser sells, among other things, little Radiotronix 
modules that use RF to send RS232 long distances).  Or, you can run 
ethernet out there (using 802.11?) and use a ethernet to serial 
converter. 400 ft is a long run with Cat 5, though...

The question would be whether there's some "front panel" features of 
the SteppIR that you need that cannot be suitably replicated in the 
shack. (push buttons, indicators, etc.)..  Ideally, it would be all 
"off the shelf" stuff (sure, one can speculate about a PIC that reads 
buttons and lights LEDs and talks via the RS232 interface, but that's 
a whole project in itself).

Jim, W6RMK 


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