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Proceedings Paper

Receiver control for the submillimeter array
Author(s): Todd R. Hunter; Robert W. Wilson; Robert S. Kimberk; P. S. Leiker; Robert D. Christensen
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Paper Abstract

Efficient operation of a submillimeter interferometer requires remote (preferably automated) control of mechanically tuned local oscillators, phase-lock loops, mixers, optics, calibration vanes and cryostats. The present control system for these aspects of the Submillimeter Array (SMA) will be described. Distributed processing forms the underlying architecture. In each antenna cabin, a serial network of up to ten independent 80C196 microcontroller boards attaches to the real-time PowerPC computer (running LynxOS). A multi-threaded, gcc-compiled program on the PowerPC accepts top-level requests via remote procedure calls (RPC), subsequently dispatches tuning commands to the relevant microcontrollers, and regularly reports the system status to optical-fiber-based reflective memory for common access by the telescope monitor and error reporting system. All serial communication occurs asynchronously via encoded, variable-length packets. The microcontrollers respond to the requested commands and queries by accessing non-volatile, rewriteable lookup-tables (when appropriate) and executing embedded software that operates additional electronic devices (DACs, ADCs, etc.). Since various receiver hardware components require linear or rotary motion, each microcontroller also implements a position servo via a one-millisecond interrupt service routine which drives a DC-motor/encoder combination that remains standard across each subsystem.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 December 2002
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4848, Advanced Telescope and Instrumentation Control Software II, (13 December 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.461362
Show Author Affiliations
Todd R. Hunter, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Robert W. Wilson, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Robert S. Kimberk, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
P. S. Leiker, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Robert D. Christensen, Smithsonian Submillimeter Array (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4848:
Advanced Telescope and Instrumentation Control Software II
Hilton Lewis, Editor(s)

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