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Old Jan 20, 2011, 02:06 PM
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Joined Sep 2009
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Build Log
Antenna tracker for EagleEyes from ElectronicaRC.com

I know this isn't a new product, but I haven't found this kind of review yet. Anyway, check it out and tell me your thoughts of this product IF you own one.

INTRODUCTION
ElectronicaRC.com sells this Antenna pan/tilt assembly kit designed to work with EagleEyes, the groundstation from EagleTree Systems. It is designed to hold patch antennas (2.4Ghz: 8dBi, 13dBi and 14dBi. 1.3Ghz: 8dBi and 5.8Ghz) and has direct mounting points for L-Com 2.4Ghz 14dBi and 1.3Ghz 8dBi Antenna. ElectronicaRC.com also claims it may work with other antennas on the market.

The antenna tracker is ready for mounting to any standard photography tripod.

KIT CONTENTS
This antenna tracker came neatly packed as always from ElectronicaRC.com. I heard some parts moving around in the box, but nothing was broken.

• Plastic case w/ pre-drilled holes for EagleEyes (W: 118 mm, H: 61 mm, L: 190 mm)
• 4 pcs M3x40mm "pins"
• Aluminium rod w/ nuts to hold the pan/tilt mechanism
• 4 pcs zip tie 95mm
• Wooden plate w/ pre-drilled holes

Servos:
TowerPro SG-5010 double ball bearing - tilt
GWS S125 1T/2BB - pan

Aluminium profiles:
• Large, pan (Base: 252 mm, H1: 140 mm, H2: 166 mm)
• Small, tilt (Base: 227 mm, H: 32 mm)

Screws:
• 1 pc M3x16mm flat head
• 8 pcs M3x10mm flat head
• 2 pcs M3x12mm flat head
• 4 pcs M3x22mm flat head, Phillips
• 2 pcs 3x9mm self-tapping, Phillips

Nuts, washers:
• 10 pcs M3x2,1mm nuts
• 1 pc M3 nylon locknut
• 1 pc M3x5mm nut
• 22 pcs 3x7mm washers

THE BUILD
It didn't take me longer than probably 2 hours to complete this kit. Even though there was no manual (at least I didn't have one, now you guys do...) it's not rocket science to build this antenna tracker. All parts fit together nicely and I didn't have to do any special fixing.

First, do a check that everything that's supposed to be included really is in your box. Since there is no documentation included I had to find out for myself.

Then, start with mounting the pan servo. Make sure you have the long pins/nuts (M3x40mm) turned with the pins down through the holes. Don't forget the washer before you mount the nuts. I didn't use any thread locker, but I might regret that. Main reason is I didn't have any while I did this build.

CONCLUSION
Overall I'm satisfied, but I can't help feeling a little bit cheated. It's a nice product which is easy to build but for the price of €118 / $165.20 I must say that ElectronicaRC.com should provide you with a manual, parts list and most of all more precise milling of the box. I feel like I could have done an equal good job with my Dremel.

The wooden plate which is base for the pan servo is, as said before in this review, the Achilles heel of the whole unit. Why? Because it takes up all weight of pan/tilt mechanism, antennas and VRxs. This should be thicker, have some carbon rods or be made of some type of laminate.

This kit should also include mounting equipment for the VRx since that's what it's made for. Now I'll have to come up with my own solution.

Nevertheless, this is a nice add-on to my "groundstation-to-be" and now when I'm done, I can't resist feeling a bit proud.

I was limited on the number of attachments so if you want the complete build log with all pictures, go to my blog on rc-playground.blogspot.com.

Regards,
Lenny
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Old Jan 21, 2011, 10:03 AM
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Joined Mar 2009
1,093 Posts
I have the same antenna tracker and share your feeling : it's maybe a little overpriced.

It does the job, but it wouldn't be difficult to include a plan or any kind of documentation.

The details are not looking very professional, it looks like the small wood parts and the holes in the box are hand made.

The servos are powerful enough for a 1.2GHz patch antenna, one of them is a nearly 360° servo, used for the pan (I say nearly as I'm not able to have really 360°, there is like a small dead zone).

But the other one is a normal servo, not doing 90° for the tilt, maybe 60°. Maybe I'll have to add a servo stretcher. (should specify that I'm not using the eagletree system, so I tried the antenna tracker by connecting it to a RC RX. probably the ET system sends 'extended' servo pulses to cover 90°)

Another aspect is how do you attach the antenna to the antenna tracker ? To be honest I glued mine, didn't want to drill holes in my antenna. I've had a look at another antenna tracker, from immersionrc, and they recommend to use a ddt500h tilt mount, at first sight it's easier to attach to the antenna.

So it's usable and still less expensive than other systems (see for example http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...4&postcount=67 ), but I can't say I'm very satistied. Maybe if at least the black box was cool with a great logo or inscriptions, but it's just a black box with a lot of holes in case you use the ET system.
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Old Jan 22, 2011, 11:23 AM
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sweden
Joined May 2007
1,005 Posts
HI Lenny!


I got my groundstation and I followed the pics on your page to get a speedy assembly - thank you


Now to the bad parts - the really bad parts.

There is no way to mount the servo connectors internally on the Eagleeyes without modifications - start soldering on the Eagle eye.
(luckily I have straight headers at home making it look pro)

The LED's are hard/impossible to view from outside as well - so Ill fire it up and see if I can add some diffusers and holes in the plastic casing so they can be viewed easily

There is no slots for the card-reader on the bottom side of the PCB either...

On the images:


You clearly see that the pan/tilt connectors are angled.
And you see the connectors for EXP to the left of servo outputs.

On the images showing the full assembly further down the page


You see the servo connectors are straight up.

There are no holes for pan/tilt or EXP in the plastic casings.


The box is very hard to put together with Eagleeyes inside - its hard to align the plywood mount in the grooves so I marked mine with some white tape that makes it easier to see.

Ill add a few stickers to the box to make it look a bit more professional
AV IN, AV OUT1, AV OUT2,AV OUT3, EXT and so on as well as labels for the LED's OR I pop over to my dads workshop and have the text engraved...

Overall score of 1-10 must be less than half, close to 2-3 or so...


At least I didn't pay for it myself(gift) but it sure give me a few ideas of improvements


Pictures of my mods will end up on my page www.undcon.com
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Last edited by UndCon; Jan 22, 2011 at 11:36 AM.
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Old Jan 22, 2011, 11:52 AM
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United States, AK, Anchorage
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I have one. It's okay. For what you get though, it's over priced. Mine also didn't include instructions. And as mentioned, the small plywood mounting board is an Achilles' heel.



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Old Jan 22, 2011, 12:10 PM
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sweden
Joined May 2007
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Cool - did you have to modify servo connectors for pan/tilt?

1 bad thing is when using diversity the primary and secondary AV are on each side and the 4 outputs are 3 on 1 side and 1 on the other.

It would be much nicer to have all IN on 1 side and all OUT on the other
(Eagletree design miss)
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Old Jan 22, 2011, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UndCon View Post
Cool - did you have to modify servo connectors for pan/tilt?
I didn't. It also seems like the pan servo I received is a full 360+ degree plus servo. It doesn't seem to have any endpoints/limits on it.
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Old Jan 23, 2011, 02:49 AM
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sweden
Joined May 2007
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If your pan/tilt connectors are staight EagleTree must have changed into angled ones

no big deal - 5 minutes with a soldering iron to replace headers
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