Newbie: Advice on Kit

I am completely new to all of this but I need to start getting involved and to build a circuit to perform some functions for me.

I am not sure how far one can develop a Arduino but I have read many confusing pages.

I want to build a control circuit that will control a Dobsonian telescope focuser to enable smooth and slow focusing. Therefore the circuit should have 2 push to make switches to control direction of the stepper motor and a rotary switch to control the number of steps the motor should preform a minute.

Could some one recommend which Arduino I should look at and also what type of stepper motor I should be looking for as there are different types and I do not know what to get.

I am in the UK, what is the best Arduino suppliers?

Thank you for reading

My suggestion is the "standard" UNO.

You need something to convert the voltages/current to drive the stepper motor, and this is very dependant on what steppers there are. Are you buying/mounting the motors or are they already attached, and you just want your own controller?

I have bought stuff from http://www.oomlout.co.uk/ - seems OK shop to me. Their experimenters kit ARDX is one of the best ones, great selection, extreemly good examples/documentation for the newbeginner

Thanks for the response.

I will need to buy everything as I have no electronics experience at all though though the "Monkey See Monkey Do" approach I can understand things better. So I will need an Arduino, stepper motor and all the bits in between.

I´m just*(last week)* starting a similar telescope focuser project.

I want to make a Robofocus compatible steppermotor based focuser system for my Vixen VC200L.

I bought an ´Arduino UNO´ and a ´Adafruit AFmotor shield´.

For the AFmotor shield you can download some library´s that will give you the basic steppermotor control functions. The functions include microstepping so smooth movement is possible.

I just started last week so I only have the stepper motor running and about 80% of the Robofocus communication stack implemented. Now i´m just trying to understand how to best code/structure [u]backlash comp.[/u] , [u]temperature compensation[/u] and a [u]hand controller[/u]. I have never owned or worked with an electronic focuser yet..

grtz. frostbyte.

update:18mrt11, current project http://sites.google.com/site/arduinofocus/ update:19mrt11, there seems to be a problem with the adafruit afmotor library and microstepping http://forums.adafruit.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=20074

You can buy Arduino’s on amazon.co.uk. Mind you there is very little that you cannot buy on amazon.*

If you are on a budget, then a Duemilanove will work just as well as an Uno. If you are on even more of a budget - eBay and buy a Duemilanove clone.