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The Datastorm D2 Controller and Direcway DW6000 modem
Part 1 - Introduction

by Don Bradner

Latest update: 9/11/04
The long-awaited combination of a Datastorm D2 controller and a Direcway 6000 modem has been released by Motosat. This article describes features of the units and part 2 will describe networking with the two. Here is a picture of the front and back of both units, stacked:

The DW6000 This is an all-in-one modem-gateway that combines receive and transmit modems with a host computer in a single box. It has receive and transmit cable connections, a power connector, and a single ethernet port. The front has a number of bright blue status LEDs.

The D2 Controller This is an intelligent controller that moves the satellite dish into position, and stows it when requested. It has cable connectors for the receive cable, which comes from the dish, and another out to the receive connector on the modem. It uses the same power and dish cables that are used on the D1. It also has a single ethernet port through which it must communicate with the modem. On the front are Search and Stow buttons that can be used instead of a computer control interface.

The D2 is now production hardware, but the software is still beta. The biggest problem is with the firmware "hanging" which requires a power off/on reset to get it back to functioning. Fortunately the most common hangs are after Cross-Pol has completed, and you are online.
Typically the controller will be operated from a main System Status page which is the default when a browser is opened to the controller IP. Click the image at right for a full-size view. The page includes Signal Quallity, TX and RX status, all obtained from the modem, Signal Strength obtained from the receive cable, and System Status. Various sensor data is displayed, as well as satellite location information. The screen attempts a refresh once per second, but is sometimes delayed if the modem does not respond fast enough for the controller. There are buttons to Search, Stow, and to Stop any action in progress.

Generally the items on the configuration screen (again, click to see full-size) are not changed after they are setup by the installer. Changes would have to occur on this page if satellite or transponder were ever changed. The Dish Parameters page includes things like search window size, the DVB Parameters page is not used with Direcway, and the Network Parameters page will be discussed on the next page of this article.

The dish can be manually moved via the Manual Motor Control page. This page lacks a signal quality monitor, which limits its functionality as a standalone operation. A page devoted to ways to use this with the monitors from the 6000 is planned soon.

Click here to go to Part 2 - Router Networking

About the author: Don is a semi-retired pet shop owner and long-time programmer who runs this site for the fun of it.

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