At some point in the past, Physics purchased an old RAN Bofors gun mount and bolted a dish to it and attached some motors and stuff to move it, but didn't succeed in writing code to control the thing. So there's a several hundred kilo gun mount sitting on the roof of Physics doing nothing, when it could be looking for UFOs or doing VLBI on a really small scale with the other radiotelescope.

Mostly, it's a cool project that will require input from all members of the UCC, whether what you care about is microcontrollers, operating systems, mechatronics, data storage/analysis, or the web.

It's also a great opportunity to learn about science and help out Physics, a cool but underfunded section of the University.

It's important to note that 1) The Radiotelescope will remain the property of the School of Physics and 2) We'll be giving it to them when it's 'working', along with the code to make it work and display the data.

Creation date: 15 March 2010

Location of source:

Project leader

CraigWilliams [email protected]

List of people involved

Basically everyone.

Discussion List

Project plan


  • Initial inspection (./)

  • Find or buy the motors - Found in Physics Workshop (./)

  • Safety Plan / Inductions ([MTL] will advise what is needed)
  • Talk to physics about getting a receiver installed

Gun mount

  • Give it a good lube
  • Design and build a proper base to replace the pallet - [MTL] has some ideas
  • Test position sensors (pots)
  • Select and move to final location
  • Manually test movements (either by driving motor or with a big lever)

Control system

  • Check power supply for safety before supplying power (./)

    • Need to replace with plug packs for power supply at top of case
    • Need perspex to safe motor power supply & drivers

        • 1m2 of Perspex

        • Mains 4-way
  • Inspect existing electronics and try to identify capabilities
  • Test existing electronics
  • Label all cables
  • Identify current remote control capabilities
  • Decide whether to use existing equipment or replace totally


  • Identify control system remote capabilities
  • Look for existing control software

Other info

Control chips:

  • 74LS22 - dual 4-input NAND gate
  • 7407 - Hex inverter and buffer
  • 555 - timer IC
  • 2 x LM319N - dual voltage comparitors (?wired to potentiometer)
  • LM348 - quad 741 op-amp
  • OP07CN - very low offset single bipolar op-amps

3 x relays are dual-pole, dual throw: photo with block diagram

Stepper motor controller: RTA Pavia GMD 04 website uninformative datasheet

Perth distributor for RTA board:

Contacted Dean Walker and requested PDF technical manual via email. The GMD O4 is no longer a preferred purchase (obsolete 10 years ago) but replacement boards may still be purchased for repair.

Received Technical Manual

  • Dean Walker (Director)
  • Automated Motion Systems Pty Ltd
  • Phone: (08) 9309 1896
  • Fax: (08) 9309 5671
  • Email: [email protected]

  • Website

  • Unit 2, 7 Baretta Road
  • Wangara Industrial Estate, Wangara, WA
  • PO Box 1240
  • Wangara DC, 6947