In order to deploy the firmware to the Arduino, you will need to download the software, configure the settings specific to your setup (board, steppers, addons) and then compile the project and flash it to the Arduino. This is all relatively easy to do with the Arduino tools (either Arduino IDE or Visual Studio with PlatformIO).
There are two main ways to get the Arduino firmware, depending on your level of comfort working with cutting edge code vs. older but tried and true code.
If you're interested in the changes between firmware versions in the latest code, checkout the Changelog. Note that we do strive to release stable development releases and fix bugs pretty quickly.
Get the latest stable release of the firmware from the Github releases page. The Arduino firmware will be located in a ZIP file called "V1.8.xx.zip". Extract the contents of this file into a folder where you want to keep the software.
There are other software packages like the ASCOM driver and OATcontrol too, see Software for a explanation on them and how to get them.
We all use Visual Studio Code with the PlatformIO addon and we suggest you get this if you intend to do any software work at all on the OAT firmware. But the Arduino IDE will also build and upload the firmware to your OAT.
Download and install Visual Studio Code. Then install Platform IO from the Extensions Tab in VSCode. Once you open the OpenAstroTracker folder (File > Open Folder), the rest happens automatically.
You can download the Arduino IDE from here and install it. Navigate to where you extracted the OpenAstroTracker firmware, rename that folder to OpenAstroTracker, and open the "OpenAstroTracker.ino" file with the IDE.
You will first need to install a few libraries. Do this by opening
Manage Libraries or by clicking CTRL+SHIFT+i.
In the search bar, enter
accelstepper and install the one by Mike McCauley.
If you are using NEMA steppers, you also need to install "
TMCstepper" by teemuatlut.
If you are using a GPS or Electronic Level, see their pages for install instructions.
If you are using the stock configuration of OAT (28BYJ-48 steppers, 16T pulleys, no addons, northern hemisphere) you can now just upload the firmware.
You MUST create a configuration file if you are not using the default hardware or are using Arduino IDE.
For more details and instructions on how to configure your firmware, go to the Firmware configuration page.
In Visual Studio Code with PlatformIO, you can build the version for your board after making the edits described above by clicking on
PlatformIO (the little alien head) >
Project Tasks >
Build. If you are compiling for ESP32, click on
In Arduino IDE, you can use
Compile/Verify to build or hit CTRL+R.
In Visual Studio Code with PlatformIO, you can use the
Upload command (right next to the
Build command) to flash the firmware onto your actual board.
In Arduino IDE, you can use
Upload or press CTRL+U. Note that you need to configure Arduino IDE to have your board selected (
Board) as well as the port it is on (
Note that if you are using the ESP32, you have to press and hold the reset button on the board until the programming starts.
The firmware implements a superset of the Meade LX200 GPS protocol. There are a lot of extension functions that can query and control aspects of the OAT.
The Meade Command Index is a page that lists all available command. This page is autogenerated, and we are in the middle of changing some formatting around to improve the quality of the page.