W9KE Satellite Tracker - G-5500

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The Yaesu G-5500 Az-El rotator is a popular rotor for use with ham satellites. It is two independent conventional motor driven rotors one for azimuth and one for elevation. Each rotor is mechanicaly connected to a pot which provides an analog DC voltage proportional to the position of the rotor. The G-5500 control box has a connector on the back that allows complete control of the rotors through a 7 conductor cable. Four of the lines control the direction of the rotors (Up-Down for elevation and Left-Right for azimuth). Two lines are required for the analog position output (one for each motor). Include a ground line and that makes seven. Power is available from another pin on the G-5500 rotor control box but I do not recommend using this as the source of power for the controller.

Only a small number of additional parts are required to add G-5500 control to the system. A two channel A/D converter for handling the analog position information and 4 small signal NPN transistors to control the 4 rotor control lines are the only major parts required for this option.

Some people convert TV rotors for use in az-el applications. If you have a rotor system that provides a 0-5.0 volt DC analog output voltage that is proportional to position you should be able to use this system.


My wonderful Yaesu G-5500 has a maximum continuous operation time of 5 minutes (see page 2 of the manual). On page 4 of the G-5500 manual they state "The rotator motors are rated for five-minutes intermittent duty. However, they be brought to rest for at least 15 minutes after-wards". This rotor built with a stepper motor will run 24/7 without the motor having the need to rest. Stepper motors are used in CAM systems where they often run for days without stopping.


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