Arduino based Yaesu Rotator Controller

Board now back in stock click this button to purchase :


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This is what you get :

k3ngv4

They will be supplied assembled with headers, RJ45 connector, LCD brightness pot, all capacitors, resistors and transistors soldered up. You don’t get the LCD, switches, LED’s or a case of course! The PCB is designed to fit into a Hammond 1598BSGYPB enclosure (Farnell 1426554). Personally I don’t use switches but these are suitable : Multicomp Momentary PTM

Scan131

Here it is with an Uno installed :
IMG_1735

And without :

IMG_1738

Update 05/05/2013 :

I’ve sold out of the first two batches of these rotator boards so I’ve placed an order for some new ones which should be delivered before the end of May. We took the opportunity to add a few improvements to the PCB. Its still based round the concept of plugging an Arduino Uno or Duemilanove in upside down as per the post below. Additionally we added the following improvements :

1/ LCD back light is linked to a PWM port so you can adjust the LCD back light brightness via code.
2/ Reset switch added.
3/ Added a remote power switch port (I use this to power a relay to turn the controller on see http://ava.upuaut.net/?p=461
4/ Broke out the I2C Ports
5/ Added LED indicators for the axis activations.
6/ Redesigned the board to accommodate changes.

download
As before I plan to offer this PCB with the headers (RJ45 for rotator connection, Arduino headers and back light dimming resistor) and the switching circuits pre-assembled for about £25 including delivery (will confirm in the next few weeks).

You will need to supply reset switch/LED/LCD if you require these. Personally I use https://www.sparkfun.com/products/709 for the LCD.

This design has been released as open source the schematic is available for download here : K3NG Rotator Interface V3, the Cadsoft Eagle files here : K3NG Rotator Interface V3. Using the schematic and this image :

standardmod
You should be able to wire a cable to match your particular rotator controller.

Original Article :

Given my ideal location for tracking on top of a hill I decided last year to beef up the Watson Collinear antenna I was using to a yagi. The only issue with this is the yagi antenna is directional and needs to be pointed at the target. To facilitate this I purchased a Yaesu G-5500 Elevation-Azimuth Rotator unit. This comes with a great controller that has a port on the back to plug in the optional GS-232A controller.

The only downside is the controller is a few hundred quid which given it can be emulated with an Arduino seemed a little bit excessive. Having spent a while searching round the web I came across K3NG’s Arduino Rotator Serial Interface which was by far and away the most complete code I’ve seen.

These days making PCB’s is so cheap thanks to Mitch at Hackvana I decided to make a board for the rotator controller hardware. Initially I was going to make a custom Arduino board with AVR on it etc but then I decided to make it easy and just put a header on there so you could plug an Arduino Uno/Duemilanove on there. This instantly gives you power, the serial interface and is replaceable quite easily.

For the other components I used surface mount 0805 components and transistors. Connection to the rotator was via a CAT5 socket. The large pot on the left is to adjust the screen brightness. The header at the back is to connect an LCD too and there are 4 headers for physical up/down/left/right switches on there.

The Arduino goes in upside down :

Then the LCD plugs in :

Finally it was designed to go in a Hammond enclosure :

Add a 3D printed front bezel :

And voila a nice tidy interface for the controller that costs a damn sight less than the proper Yaesu thing. Now use K3NG’s wonderful code at http://radioartisan.wordpress.com/yaesu-rotator-computer-serial-interface/ to get it up and working.

I’ve released this board as Open Hardware so you are free to use it as you see fit. The Eagle CAD files are here : K3NG Rotator Interface V2

Bill of Materials for the board as follows :

Resistors : all 0805 1K Farnell 9332383
Capacitors : all 0805 0.1µF Farnell 1759143
Transistors : all MMBT2222A Farnell 9846700
RJ45 Jack : TE CONNECTIVITY 3-5338556-1 Farnell 2059819
Pot : TE CONNECTIVITY / CITEC 5350500107 Farnell 1174451
Header : Just buy strips of 1 row 2.54mm pitch  header i.e Multicomp MC34743 Farnell 1593425
Case : Hammond 1598BSGYPBK Farnell 1426554

Just a quick warning I did originally intend to have the ICSP header broken out so you can program it via this but I didn’t have my spatial awareness hat on when I made the board and the lines are inverted so as it stands the ICSP break out isn’t usable (unless you plug it in from the rear of the board). This won’t affect you programming the Arduino as normal via the USB.

Leave a comment ?

60 Comments.

  1. hi every one maybe some one can help because im pulling my hair out the box is all up and running i have got test buttons that i have put on and thy seem to work fine controlling my yaesu 5500 controler az and el
    are fine .. BUT THE ONLY THING IS I CANNOT CONECT TO HRD IM THINKING IT COULD BE THE CODE THAT I HAVE NOT SET UP RIGHT . could some one help me
    PLEAS PLEAS PLEAS 😥 😥

  2. Hey Jamie,

    Sorry you’re having issues with this, I only do the hardware for coding you’re probably best posting on the Radio Artisan mailing list. Include diagrams of how you have it wired etc.

  3. Alex Watters

    Jamie
    I had the very same problem with HRD. I finally downloaded the
    PST_Rotator software and code for my Adrino UNO. I backup up all of my modifications to a seperate folder just in case. I’ve been able to use the KN3G verzion to simulate rotator functions with a meter and LED’s before connecting to my Alliance U-100 Rotator. I’ve stopped there because I just don’t get how the connections work or how they are correctly wired? I have a functional U-100 Rotator and control box. I’ve wired it up and tested it and its 100%. But I had another working box i stripped down and wired up per the schematic and I can’t get it to function….But the PST-Rotator firmware works great.
    Alex Watters-KV4PW

  4. Anthony, you seem to skip around the connection interface posts I have looked at and since this is a hardware issue would appreciate clarity I have the Yaesu 450c rotator and understand that the break out from your project is via the RJ45 what you do not make clear is do you parallel tack onto the back of the controller or do you serial off the back of the control unit (control unit meaning Yaesu control unit).
    second hard ware question LCD hardware is this a parallel LCD unit or a serial LCD unit? Are there any websites out there that show block diagrams of your hardware the best type of arduino unit to purchase in 2016? 73 G4XCP gail

  5. Hi Gail,

    For some background I designed this board for myself to use with my G-5500 Yaesu. I’ve never seen any other rotator nor have I tested it with any other rotator. So I don’t skip the connection questions the usual answer is I just don’t know. However that said all my board is four transistor switches that pull the connected wires down to ground when the Arduino turns them on.

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean by parallel tack or serial tack but the schematics are open source here:

    http://ava.upuaut.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/K3NG-Rotator-Interface-V3.pdf

    The RJ45 connection is a standard wiring http://ava.upuaut.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/standardmod.gif

    The LCD is a parallel one. Personally I’ve only tested this with the Arduino Duemilanovo.

    Cheers,

    Anthony M0UPU

  6. thank you for your prompt reply
    for anyone reading this that has managed to interface this unit with the Yaesu 450c control unit which does not have a remote port on the back do I connect from the MOUPU RJ45 directly to the left right controls on the Yaesu 450 control unit or is another interface needed. How would you wire this to the control unit would you connect in parallel to the switches? any information much appricated which would help me and also others reading this too
    73s
    G4XCP

  7. Hello gail,
    Just saw your message.The answer is you cannot connect it directly to G450c.If you look at the G450c schematic,the left/Right switches reverse the polarity to Rotator motor.You will need some kind of interface between your controller and rotator.
    73
    AP2AM

  8. hello
    I’d be interested in your Arduino UNO with a rotator control my question is can I use it with my Yaesu G1000DXC and connect the output yaesu ext controller?
    could you confirm the price with the UNO?

  9. Hi Bruno,

    I’m not sure I don’t have experience with that unit. All the board is a few transistors acting as switches to control “something” on and off. The circuit diagram is open source and in the post so you are welcome to ascertain if it will work for your application. I only sell the board, the Uno you’d have to source from elsewhere like Sparkfun or Adafruit.

    Cheers

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