Sainsmart TB6560 Stepper Drivers

While Adafruit has some nice driver boards for Nema-17 Stepper Motors, my Nema-23 motors have a higher current rating. This seems to mean that Arduino is my only option at this point. I’m more than fine with this since its a dedicated project that will sit in a box out back. Here is one of many decent video’s. He uses a 24v power supply, I will use a 12v supply that I already have, unless it proves out that I need more power.

I don’t need or want speed, but it will take some torque to turn the double inductor control on the Palstar BT1500A. I also want it to be precise – on 80M, the tuning is a little “sharper” than on 160 or 30M.

I also will need to go with wireless because while I am only using 2 wires to provide 12V to the Palstar BT1500A out in the box, I will need one wire in my rotator cable for the 5V + line (I think I can share the minus line), which does leave 5 more wires for control. Since I might just use my laptop to control the tuner – use GUI sliders and then save settings to memory, I only need to send the commands.

Here’s a nice wiring page:

OK – I think I will have just enough to at least get the motors spinning and get my code to do what it needs to. I’ve been told to get the Duemilanova Arduino board, but since I already have an Arduino Uno, I will start with that. I will also worry about screw shields and wireless later – after I learn the basics.

I think this project is the perfect “hello world” Ham Radio and Maker project. It is VERY useful and is complex enough to be a chalenge, but not so overwhelming that I was scared into just buying my way out of the project. I’m especially happy that I did go with the Palstar BT1500A – because several nights checking into the net on 75M at full power and all is well – much betterthan trying to force the poor KAT-500 to match the Mod Bob – it really needs this remote tuner at the feed with these large analog components. No sparks, no arcs or faults!

OK – next step: remote controlled automation!

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