The LightPhase Controller

LightPhase Package Contents

Package contents and appearance may vary according to controller model and purchasing options.

Introduction

Accompanying the rapid evolution of new technology available to Astronomers, is the necessity to configure systems with superior accuracy in order to realize their full potential. With an optical system, one of the key contributory factors is a perfect focal adjustment.

The LightPhase Controller has been specifically designed and developed to meet the requirements of modern Astronomical enthusiasts. It is a high quality, cost effective and flexible solution, providing precise digital control of compatible motorized focuser and rotator systems from a Personal Computer.

The controller is available in three models, each designed to suit specific motor types. All models operate using the same LightPhase software drivers and applications.

The DC controller simulates the step positions of the Unipolar and Bipolar stepper models by accurately timing the duration of move operations. Although it is not possible to achieve true positional repeatability using standard DC focuser units, the controller can be configured to achieve a remarkably high degree of precision.

In addition to the same advanced functions as the Unipolar controller, the more advanced and powerful Bipolar controller features software configurable current control, enabling the use of higher drive voltages for superior motor performance without additional components and providing a wider selection of suitable motors and systems. The peak phase current is easily configured using the software driver interface and optionally, a holding current may be applied to the motor when stationary.


Computer and Power Connections

The controller is fitted with a small Light Emitting Diode providing a constant visual indication of the unit status, the LED has been kept to a minimal functional size in order to remain unobtrusive during an observing session.

A native USB 2.0 interface provides convenient, fast and robust computer connectivity.

A standard 2.1mm centre positive DC power connection socket allows easy connection to a suitable external power source.

LightPhase Controller Computer and Power Connections

Equipment Connections

Focuser connections are fully compatible with the popular and widely established interface standards, making the controllers suitable for immediate use with many currently available commercial units.

Outputs are provided on stepper models for optional use with travel limiting switches, two or three wire circuit modes are available to suit various switch configurations.

All controller models implement software travel limiting, which operates independently of any limit switch connections.

The connection for the Digital External Temperature Sensing Probe is adjacent to the focuser connection, allowing the leads to follow the same natural route towards the telescope.

LightPhase Controller Equipment Connectors


Software

LightPhase software drivers and applications are available from our website, allowing full functionality to be quickly and effectively used with a suitable motorized focuser.

The drivers and applications are supplied in optimized 32-bit and 64-bit platform versions, both versions may be installed and used simultaneously on a 64-bit operating system.

All the drivers and applications may be used together with the same, or with multiple controllers.

A calibration function is provided in the driver software to enable multiple samples to be taken of the temperature and focuser motor position. These may be subsequently used to automatically calculate and assign a thermal correction slope value for use by the Temperature Compensation function.

As many of the controller settings are dependent on each other, when a setting is changed, the driver automatically updates any related settings requiring synchronization, enabling easy and accurate configuration.

Installation of the optional ASCOM compliant focuser and rotator drivers allows access to the controller from third party ASCOM compliant applications, expanding the available range of applications which may be used with the controller.

LightPhase Software CD

LightPhase Driver Configuration Windows

The Driver is used by client software applications to communicate with, configure and control up to four individual controllers simultaneously.

Motor configuration
Temperature configuration
Calibration configuration
System configuration

LightPhase ASCOM Focuser Driver Configuration Windows

Up to four controllers may be used with ASCOM compliant applications.

Motor configuration
Temperature configuration
Calibration configuration
System configuration

LightPhase ASCOM Rotator Driver Configuration Windows

Up to four controllers may be used with ASCOM compliant applications.

Motor configuration
Temperature configuration

The LightPhase Control Application

Provides a compact and convenient interface for controller operation.

The LightPhase Control Application

The LightPhase Positions Application

Provides the ability to save and restore focuser positions. Optionally the saved positions may be accompanied by temperature data, allowing automatic compensatory adjustment to be made when restoring the positions.

The LightPhase Positions Application

The LightPhase GamePad Application

Allows positional control of up to four controllers, using a wired or wireless USB game controller connected to the PC.

The LightPhase GamePad Application

The LightPhase Help Documentation

Provides easy access to important detailed information.

LightPhase Help Documentation

Please note that all software user interface windows may vary considerably in appearance, subject to the controller model, operating system, client applications, software versions and system settings in use. The example window screenshots were captured with the software running on Microsoft Windows 8.1 operating system.


System Requirements

Operating System Microsoft Windows XP (x32) with Service Pack 3 or
Microsoft Windows Vista (x32 or x64) with Service Pack 2 or
Microsoft Windows 7 (x32 or x64) or
Microsoft Windows 8 (x32 or x64) or
Microsoft Windows 8.1 (x32 or x64) or
Microsoft Windows 10
Optional ASCOM Platform Version 6 SP1 or higher
Processor 1 GHz or higher
Ram 256 MB or higher
Video Display 1024 x 768, 16 bit colour or better
Mouse Mouse or other pointing device recommended
Hard Disk 100 MB of free space
USB Port Available USB 2.0 port

Specifications

Supply Voltage 9 - 24 Volts DC
Motor Power Output DC model - adjustable frequency PWM regulation
Unipolar model - pass through, as per supply input
Bipolar model - adjustable current chopping
Motor Compatibility DC model, max 1.0 Amp, DC motors only
Unipolar stepper model, max 1.6 Amps (0.8 Amps per phase) Unipolar motors only
Bipolar stepper model, max 2.5 Amps (1.25 Amps per phase) Unipolar or Bipolar motors
Stepper Motor Frequency Adjustable, 8 - 512 Hz (normal mode) or 16 - 1024 Hz (fine mode) (nominal)
Thermal Sensor Resolution 12 bit
USB Connector USB 2.0 Type B Socket
Power Input Connector 2.1mm Centre Positive Socket
Focuser Connector DC models - 4 Way modular connector socket
Stepper models - 9 Way D-Sub female socket
Case Dimensions 92.25mm x 66.25mm x 28.00mm (nominal)

Motor Connections - DC Model

Pin 1 Power +
Pin 2 No connection
Pin 3 No connection
Pin 4 Power -
DC motor connections

Motor Connections - Unipolar Stepper Model

Pin 1 Coil 1+
Pin 2 Coil 1-
Pin 3 Coil 2+
Pin 4 Coil 2-
Pin 5 Power (supply pass-through)
Stepper motor connections

Motor Connections - Bipolar Stepper Model

Pin 1 Coil B2
Pin 2 Coil B1
Pin 3 Coil A1
Pin 4 Coil A2
Pin 5 No connection
Stepper motor connections

Limit Switch Connections - Stepper Models

The use of Limit switches is optional, these connections can remain unconnected if required.

Pin 6 5V Logic, limit sensing switch 1
Pin 7 5V Logic, limit sensing switch 2 (dual circuit mode only)
Pin 8 No connection
Pin 9 Ground
Stepper motor connections

Controller Stepping Sequences

Unipolar Model - Normal Mode

STEP PIN 1 PIN 2 PIN 3 PIN 4
0 ON OFF ON OFF
1 OFF ON ON OFF
2 OFF ON OFF ON
3 ON OFF OFF ON

Unipolar Model - Fine Mode

STEP PIN 1 PIN 2 PIN 3 PIN 4
0 ON OFF ON OFF
1 OFF OFF ON OFF
2 OFF ON ON OFF
3 OFF ON OFF OFF
4 OFF ON OFF ON
5 OFF OFF OFF ON
6 ON OFF OFF ON
7 ON OFF OFF OFF

Bipolar Model - Normal Mode

STEP PIN 1 PIN 2 PIN 3 PIN 4
0 HIGH LOW HIGH LOW
1 LOW HIGH HIGH LOW
2 LOW HIGH LOW HIGH
3 HIGH LOW LOW HIGH

Bipolar Model - Fine Mode

STEP PIN 1 PIN 2 PIN 3 PIN 4
0 HIGH LOW HIGH LOW
1     HIGH LOW
2 LOW HIGH HIGH LOW
3 LOW HIGH    
4 LOW HIGH LOW HIGH
5     LOW HIGH
6 HIGH LOW LOW HIGH
7 HIGH LOW    

Example Limit Switch Circuits (Stepper Models Only)

Dual Circuit Mode (3 Wire)

Single Circuit Mode Limit Sensing

Single Circuit Mode (2 Wire)

Single Circuit Mode Limit Sensing

The information contained in this document is provided for guidance only.

Product appearance and specifications may be subject to change without notice.