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In this page we give more details about the GSoC ideas 2018 from ninux.

The Turnantenna

The orginal description is here.

The idea of the Turnantenna came from Salvatore, a member of the ninux community of florence. He built the first prototyp, which you can check in this presentation: presentation.

The basic idea is to have one step-by-step engine in the plastic box, this engine is controlled by an Orange Pi and some additional circuits. The OPi gets the power from ethernet (in this case, directly from the Ubiquiti M2 in the picture) , and so needs to be controlled remotely via some remote calls. The OPi instructs the engine to move N steps clockwise or anti-clockwise and re-points the antenna. Currently the code-base (from Salvatore, and re-worked by Edoardo) is split in two:

  1. the driver that in python controls the engine

  2. a web interface used to control the driver (in PHP)

Right now, the whole idea is very prototypical. We are now (early 2018) in the process of re-working the whole structure of the project, Marco (another ninuxer) started to work from scratch on the project, designing the Turnantenna to become a 2-engine device (which can move in 2 dimensions), he is also designing all the pieces in a way we can 3d-print most of the stuff. This is probably going to happen before March 23rd, when we will present the new prototype at the Italian conference in Turin.

The GSoC will start from the new prototype and will have to re-engineer the source code of the driver (mostly), and the web page. The driver will need to be able to move two engines (even if the prototype may still have one engine only), it need to be thoughtfully tested (with pytest or equivalent) and expose clear API to the web page. The web-page will be reworked accordingly. Note that right now, it includes also a box that exports a frame from the Ubiquiti web page that shows the signal level, this will be rediscussed.

As a side-activity, we might include also another device to control the engine, a LoPy module, that we could use to turn the antenna when the device is not reachable anymore. We already have the hardware and we need to put everything together, this is still quite to be thought.

UPDATE: here you can find a presentation from Marco about the latest design of the turnantenna (in Italian, with more pics and diagrams).