Computer control has spread to so many industries that many system components, such as motor controller boards for the PC-clone, Macintosh, and UNIX workstation are now available commercially.
In the previous edition of this book, the authors included several circuit schematic diagrams for custom electronics to perform functions that can now be performed by off-the-shelf circuitry. Many of these boards are affordable by amateurs and can save a great deal of time in developing a system. In this book, you will see fewer electronic schematics and more examples of how to use off-the-shelf boards and subsystems to configure your control system quickly.
This book still fills a gap in the books that are available on using personal computers in astronomical applications. Most of the other books stress computing that can be done at the leisure of both the hobbyist and the computer, and computing that uses only the basic computer and standard peripheral devices (disks, printers, etc.) as they come from the computer store. Image processing and orbit computing are examples of this type of computing.
This book is primarily concerned with how to connect a non-standard computer peripheral device (a telescope) to a computer and how to program the computer to perform time-critical computations. This is only one example of the more general problem of real-time control, so if viewed in this larger context, this book should find an audience among those interested in any real-time control application, such as robotics.
|Author||Mark Trueblood and Russell Genet|