Forum: Virtual Classroom - Assembly Of The Tracking System

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Assembly Of The Tracking System

Now that are available the stl files of the parts of the tracking system...
It would be nice to have some information about the assembly procedure of the parts and also information about the electronics...Luis Gonzalez 2nd Feb 2016

I understand your question and want you to know that we are working enthusiastically to get that information posted.

Some of the final decisions like the options for the electronics support package will be flexible, depending on the user's availability of parts or materials. But we should have guidelines posted soon.

Our intention with ThumbNet has always been to have the users experiment and work with whatever parts or materials they have on hand, to minimize cost and maximize input from the community. With that in mind, we also understand that a lot of people simply want to see a basic procedure that they can follow step by step. That is what we are working on now.

I hope to have the assembly procedure for the mechanical parts of the ThumbNet station posted here in the Virtual Classroom by the end of this week.

Thanks for your understanding, and don't hesitate to ask specific questions if you have any.

Wade 3rd Feb 2016

Version 1.0 of the assembly procedure has been posted in the Virtual Classroom in the same section as the printer files.

It will continue to be improved in the coming days and weeks, but I wanted to ensure that the basics were posted as I promised earlier this week.

Don't hesitate to ask questions as needed!!

Wade 6th Feb 2016
Version 1.1 has been uploaded to the Virtual Classroom.

There is still work to do, but we're getting there.

We appreciate everyone's patience!

Wade 13th Feb 2016
Have a question about the tracking station or those of us without printers :) What is everyone using instead? Or how do you get the parts to build one?

Ham operator here but am very new to the sat tracking part of the hobby so don't shoot me too soon :) I am working as the "Teacher / Instructor / Mentor" for our local Ham Radio Group and have this tracking station and antenna set up as a project for us to build. We all have Radios, and we all have Antennas. The Tracking Station and the Dongle is the part that is kicking our butts ;) Looked for the dongle online but they seem to be sold out?? Where do we get that? Any help would be great.

Robert (W0QFW) Robert 15th Feb 2016
Hi Robert

We tend to embrace rather than shoot people here!

We've chosen ThumbNet parts to be as low-cost and readily-available as possible, and everything is documented on the ThumbNet pages. Some groups are working with local schools, universities and hackers to have the plastic parts of the hardware 3D printed.

We are working on new, even further improved dongles right now, but it will take the factory a few weeks to build them. We'll probably sell the dongles directly through this site, but we will also be giving away some for free, to schools that demonstrate a commitment to working with them. Following that, we'll be hand-picking the best volunteers around the globe to receive the complete antenna/tracker/receiver ThumbNet stations - absolutely free-of-charge! So it pays to keep involved.

If it ever seems like it's taking a while to get a response from the forum, please feel free to contact us directly through the Contact Us page - we are more responsive than most organisations!

Shaun Admin 16th Feb 2016
Hello All.

Version 1.2 of the Assembly Procedure has been uploaded to the Virtual Classroom.

Improvements to this version are the inclusion of the electronics and software sections to operate the Tracking Station with a Laptop and an Arduino.

Version 1.3 will include the sections required to drive the tracker with a Raspberry Pi or other single board computer and should be released shortly.

Let us know your thoughts. Feedback is always welcome around here!!

Wade 7th Mar 2016
Hi Wade

Will the Raspberry Pi work with the Tracking Station, or will the Raspberry Pi II or III be required?

I noticed that the price of the Pi II has been reduced a lot since the release of the Pi III.. Is about $30 dollars US or less on eBay and

I think that using an on-board computer will be much cheaper, overall, than using a laptop or desktop... or, even a smartphone.

Bobbie 14th Mar 2016
Thanks Bobbie.

I don't have a RPi one to test with, but there is nothing overly demanding going on in there, so my gut feeling is that it should work with no problems. (Assuming GPredict runs normally!!)

The primary hardware in our kits is going to be the C.H.I.P. by The Next Thing Company. But we are working on the procedures for the RPi as well, since that is what a lot of people will have immediate access to.

The software is scheduled to be completed in the next couple days, so I expect to post the Python script for a RPi or C.H.I.P. to run the tracker to the Virtual Classroom by the end of week. With a small bit of luck, I will have the procedures for setting up the complete RPi as well.



Wade 14th Mar 2016