SoundStepper is a 100% software telescope controller, for Windows.
Using audio hardware to real-time control step motors, it requires only simple external analog current amplifier to operate.
Most systems of this type is written in any language for MS-DOS, because Windows is very poor for real-time control. This means using the CPU in dedicated mode, and lose all possibilities of using the computer for other purpose simultaneously with the telescope control, such as for example a sky map, autoguiding, or capture images from a webcam or CCD.
In this system, for Windows, the CPU consumption is minimal, and can be used almost all the processing for other activities, without prejudice to control. The trick is to use the computer's sound hardware, which has data buffers and processing itself, to control step motors in "real time". What SoundStepper does is to generate a data stream and send it to the sound system, which in turn is responsible to play like a song, in constant speed, no flaws, leaps, without the need for real-time CPU.
SoundStepper can control up to 4 motors (RA, Dec, focuser and field rotator) of a equatorial or altazimuthal-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, altazimuthal 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.
No PICs, no small SMD microsoldering, no EPROM, no switching interference. SoundStepper uses a simple (SUGGESTED) analog current controller, plugged on cheap USB-AUDIO device, to drive a stepper.
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.
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.
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 (beginning with 5.0 beta version)