Lead-free GTOCP3 Control Boxes for Mounts Shipped to the European Union after July 1, 2006

In order to comply with the lead-free requirements that became effective in the European Union on July 1, 2006, Astro-Physics redesigned the GTOCP3 control box using lead-free components. Unfortunately, we were unable to obtain an equivalent focus motor driver chip to replace the original chip. As a result, 6-9V DC focus motors will no longer function at both slow and fast speeds when plugged into the control box. Fortunately, these focus motors have their own control devices so you will still be able to use them. Please read the section below for more information regarding DC focus motor function, if you use one.

Most of the new focus motors now on the market employ stepper motors that are operated with their own controllers and the control box is not used to power them. Current models from Optec (TCFS, TCFS3), StarLight Instruments (Digital FeatherTouch System), Technical Innovations (RoboFocus) and Finger Lakes Instruments (DF-2 and PDF) all have stepper motors with both proprietary controllers and ASCOM compatibility. If you are using these focus units, you will continue to use them in the same way that you always have. The reduced focus function of the control box will not impact you at all.

Additional information for people who use 6-9V DC focus motors: The lead-free replacement chip we were forced to use does not provide the correct output power for both fast and slow speeds with 6-9V DC focus motors. At the keypad’s high-speed setting, the focus motor will turn at a slightly reduced rate (about 20% less). Depending on the particular focus motor and your power supply voltage, it may or may not function at all at the slower speed setting due to the decreased power output of the substitute chip. For the JMI unit that we use in our testing, the slow speed did not function at all when plugged into the control box. We do not know how other manufacturers’ DC motors may respond.

If you plug your DC focus motor into the control box, it may not work at all at first because the keypad and TheSky both default to the slow speed. You will likely hear the motor hum, but not see movement. If you have a JMI Motofocus or similar focus motor, you may need to switch to the high-speed setting in the keypad to control your motorized focuser from the keypad.

Although we are still searching for an equivalent lead-free driver chip for the future, we cannot provide upgrades for the current control box.

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This page was last modified: January 27, 2007

Astro-Physics, Inc.
11250 Forest Hills Road, Rockford, IL  61115, U.S.A.
Phone: 815-282-1513   Fax: 815-282-9847