P19151: Satellite Tracking System

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Final Demo and Handoff

Throughout the project, the team was aware that this project could be completed entirely, and the goal of this phase was to deliver a fully functional product as ordered by the customer. The prototype delivered should need only improvements should the project be picked up by future teams.

Test Results Summary

Test Results Summary

Future Design Improvements

The prototype was successfully built and found to work as intended. That said, there were a number of findings that might lead to improvements in the future:

Short term improvements to complete the project as is:

  1. There is a recurring problem with ESD. It could possibly be charge accumulating due to the rubber belt rubbing against metal pulleys. The shafts should be properly grounded.
  2. Due to line drop across the Ethernet cable, improvements need to be made to the power delivery system. James Stefano has some suggestions involving switching the motors to always run off the battery, and adding a trickle-charging regulator on top of the battery.
  3. Verify constitution of weatherproofing
  4. Create calibration sequences
  5. Verify functionality of Pi/Arduino interface
  6. Record live satellite pass
  7. Complete weatherproofing and test
  8. Mount ground box to pole/railing
  9. Install on rooftop
  10. Create a better counterweight system from a single block that is threaded to the rod

Long term design improvements to make if the project were to continue to a new MSD team

  1. During the design phase in MSD 1, it was thought that a microcontroller would be needed to manage high-speed active feedback for motor control, but since the project ultimately ended up using stepper motors, this high-speed feedback isn’t needed. So, the Raspberry Pi could run the whole system.
  2. During the design phase in MSD 1, it was thought that should the battery need to power the motors, it would need to be in close physical proximity, to avoid the inductivity of the ethernet cable. So much capacitance needed to be added though, that the battery could most likely be moved inside. If the RF chain was also moved inside the gimbal (which is acceptable, since it was shown through testing that the electronics don’t interfere with the signal), the external “pole box” could be eliminated entirely.
  3. The feedback path for the lab supply could sense the actual voltage at the gimbal, to correct for dynamic drop on the line. This would provide a more consistent supply voltage to all loads.
  4. Possibly add a web interface to set paths rather than text-based SSH session.
  5. Pull satellite paths from online database rather than manually entering pass parameters.
  6. Improve weatherproofing
  7. Create PCBs for all power components
  8. Improve heatsinking on motor drivers. Don't use eval board, include them in the custom PCBs
  9. Add a camera to the installation site so that the system can be actively observed
  10. Add lightning protection

Risk and Problem Tracking

Final Risk Summary

Retrospective Analysis of the Project and it's execution has lead to the following conclusions:

The following details the things that went wrong with the project:

The following details the things that went right with the project:

Final Project Documentation

Gimbal Schematic

Lab Wiring Diagrams

Pole Box Schematic

Electrical Design Documentation

Mechanical Maintenance Guide

Final BOM


Main Assembly CAD Files

Limit Switch 3D Print Files

Project Archive

Final Presentation Materials

Technical Paper

Project Poster

Lightning Talk

Plans for Wrap-up

The project is nearly complete, but the remaining tasks unfortunately prevent it from being used reliably (see 80/20 rule).

The pole is installed on the rooftop, and is ready to be used.

Shifeng and Noah next to the newly installed pole.

Shifeng and Noah next to the newly installed pole.

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