404 engineering

Set Operating Parameters – Position Feedback

The Tracker IPm is a closed loop system which means it requires a position feedback in order to operate. It can be configured to accept motor pulse or 4-20mA analog position feedback. You can easily select a combination as well for those who have pulse feedback for the Azimuth motor but want an inclinometer with a 4-20mA output for the Altitude feedback.

You would use the Test I/O to configure parameters in the Tracker IPm.

Operations / Test I/O

The pop-up is represented below  has been cropped to fit this document. At the bottom, the TD & RD LEDs are represented. If they are not indicating communications by rapid blinking, then you are not communicating with the Tracker IPm and this will time out with an error message. If you have difficulties communicating, make sure the Tracker IPm is powered and connected properly and described in the previous section.

There are a number of Tabs at the bottom of this document which will allow you select and view or set parameters.

Set the Pulses Per Rotation

Select Tab L IN

Unless your Tracker IPm came from the factory pre-configured you must do the following:

See the Figure below.  ALT01_PPR and AZI01_PPR represents the number of pulses over a 360 degree rotation for Altitude and Azimuth respectively. The tracking mechanism does not need to rotate 360 degrees, it is just a theoretical number. For Single Axis PV or Parabolic Trough disregard the I/O Tags beginning with AZI01.


Example- A Kinematics 3″ Slew Drive with a brush motor has the following  specifications:

Motor pulses per full rotation: 2:1
Planetary Gear ratio: 236:1
Worm Gear: 62:1

Total Pulses Per Rotation = 2 x 236 x 62  =  29,264


High light the I/O Value you wish to change, type in the new number. Enter

While on this Tab, the ALT01_LATENCY & AZI01_LATENCY are advanced settings to tune larger tracking systems to prevent over  shooting the target position due to momentum. For now a default setting of 100 is recommended.

Next Step: Set Location Parameters


Connecting to the Tracker IPm

Open Project

With your latest version of tool kit open

File / Open Project

Go to the folder where you placed the project file. Select the file then Open

Serial Connection

You may connect to your Tracker IPm by either serial or Ethernet. To avoid local network issues, serial may be the preferred method to begin with.

Connect the RS232 port of your PC to the System RS232 Port B of the Tracker IPm. Most new PCs sold today no longer have the 9 pin serial port but a serial to USB converter is readily available from your local computer score or order PN RJ45-DB9F-IPM from us.

Use the RJ45 to RS232 converter that comes in the box with the Tracker IPm to connect an RJ45 patch cable to the RS232 Port B found on the top of the controller. The assembly should look like this:


This is the recommended method to configure your Tracker IPm because it allows connection without IP address issues sometime found on local networks. IC Systems can better provide direct support if your Ethernet port is free to access the Internet.

Device / Select…

Select the radio button “Use com port”

See Figure 1. to the right. The only change you may need to make may be the COM number. See the drop down for all detected ports. OK


Ethernet Connection

Tracker IPms are generally shipped with the Ethernet port configured for DHCP. If your local network requires a static IP address, then you will not be able to connect. For the initial configuration, you should determine the  IP address assigned by your router by using the auto connect tool shown to the right.

To discover the IP address: Operations / Auto Detect EtherTRAK Stations…

If you are unable to easily connect to the Tracker IPm then it is highly recommended to connect by serial cable as previously described.

To continue, close the discover box then : Device / Select…

Select the radio button “Use Ethernet”

See Figure above. Enter the IP address. OK

Next Step:  Set Operating Parameters

2 Axis Installation Overview

The Tracker IPm is designed for use in industrial environments and is flexible enough to interface seamlessly to all Tracker control systems. This user manual covers the aspects of hardware installation and maintenance for the VT-IPm2m- 113 SPA. For software features and capabilities please refer to the Help system in the  I/O Tool Kit software.

You should already have received your registration & software package by email from IC Systems support.
Following these steps will make installation and start-up easier.

  1. Wiring Diagrams 
  2. Power Supply Sizing
  3. PC Set Up
  4. Connecting to the Tracker IPm
  5. Set Operating Parameters – Position Feedback
  6. Set Location Parameters
  7. Set Operational Limits
  8. Set Sunset Storage Position
  9. Calibration
  10. Auto Calibration
  11. Manual Control & Calibration


Serial Connection DB9 to RJ45

Communicating to the Tracker IPm via the RS232 serial port is the preferred

method if you wish to avoid IP addressing issues normally associated with Ethernet connections. Since the RS232 port B is an RJ45 connection, a converter is supplied in the box pre-wired.  Use a standard CAT5e patch cable to complete the connection.DB9-RJ45-Pin-Outs

Many computers made today do not have serial ports but do have USB ports. USB to serial converters are readily available at any computer supply store but make sure that if the one you select is not plug & play that you load the driver software that may come with it.

If you need to make up your own converter, one can be purchased also at any computer supply store.  See Fig 1 for wiring diagram. This is the view from the back of the of the DB9 side.

Carefully but firmly push the crimped female connector ends into the appropriate hole as shown here with a fine screw driver.   If one or more of the crimped connectors are not pushed far enough down they may pop back out when you plug in the male side as shown in figure 2. This will cause a communication error!




Incorrect – Pins are not fully seated


Correct – Pins are fully seated


Make sure none of the metal extends out beyond the plastic as shown in fig 3. It is recommended that you plug in the male DB9 before you snap the assembly back together to see that none of the female pins are pushed out.


2 Axis Brush Motors

This drawing provides a simplified overview on how everything connects to a typical brush motor / Kinematics slew drive shown here. The feedback utilizes the pulses from the drive motor Hall sensors. The Tracker IPm uses only one Hall feedback for positioning.

Analog inputs from inclinometers and other 4-20mA  feedback devices can be used on either axis.

404-2031 r0 GRPH

Click for enlarged view


Tracker IPm Terminations for DI Sourcing (Factory Default)


Click for enlarged view

Altitude Relay and Slew Drive Wiring. Digital Inputs and Outputs for sourcing pulse feedback. This is most commonly used with brush motors. Sinking requires a jumper change in the base and also a revision to the Tool Kit 6pj project file. See Sinking / Sourcing Set Up.

Click for enlarged view

Altitude Relay and Slew Drive Wiring. Digital Inputs and Outputs for sourcing pulse feedback.

1021-306 WiringRelaysMotorK_AZr2

Click for enlarged view

External Manual Control Switches

Tracker IPm now offers another way to calibration your tracker without a PC by using manual control switches.  If you wish to use external switches for manual control and calibration, this is an easy way to do so. Since the switches are connected to low voltage (24VDC) signal terminal, micro toggle switches can be used. Use 3 position toggle switches which are Normally Open – OFF – Normally Open. Toggle type is preferable to momentary.

The Auto / Manual switch required to operate the Tracker IPm is included here. This is a two position SPST toggle switch.

Note Tracker IPms running on software version 1026 / 2026 / 3026  and above allow calibration of the tracker using only the toggle switches.







Enabling Calibration Utilizing Manual Switches

Operations / Test I/O

Select Tab D OUT


With Auto/Manual switch set in Auto, simply move one axis at a time in the desired direction. Hold the switch in place for short periods to bring the tracker into position. Holding it down too long may cause the tracker to over shoot. The user may leave MANUAL_CAL ON or turn off to prevent unauthorized local changes to calibration.

With Auto/Manual in the Manual position, each switch will move the tracker in the desired direction temporarily but go back to its current tracking position when put back into Auto.









Cable Sets for Kinematics Slew Drives


Wiring Pin Outs

Cable sets come in 3′,  5′ , 8′ and custom lengths complete with Amphenol 90deg connector.

Power Supply Sizing

Sizing your power supply to the Tracker IPm correctly is very important.

Note: By selecting the “Independent Motor Run” option in configuration, you need only to consider the current of one motor in a dual axis system.

Example:  A Kinematics SE3B-62M-24H01-RC 3 inch Slew drive with a 24H01 brushed motor.

This motor draws 2 – 3 Amps during intermittent and continuous operation but peak Amps can be up to 4.5 when starting the motor and may last only for a few milliseconds.

Adding up all the current draw:

  • 24H01 motor  4.5 A
  • mechanical relay 0.069 A
  • Tracker IPm 0.1 A

Total Amperage = 4.669 A

One might think a 5 Amp power supply would be sufficient but if you add solid state proximity switches, anemometers or other input devices that add load you could easily exceed the capacity of the power supply.

The result of an undersized power supply manifests itself in several ways. We must understand that when the current load of the circuit exceeds the rating of the power supply the voltage drops.

The first and most obvious is the chatter of the reverse mechanical relay because relays have a minimum voltage needed to power the coil. This is called drop out voltage and is often 80% of the coil voltage. So a 24VDC coil will drop out when the power supply voltage drops below 19.2 Volts. This is potentially damaging to the motor assembly and throws off calibration because the motor is running and changing direction rapidly until the voltage recovers.

The Tracker IPm has much more safety margin since it can operate between 10-30 VDC so a slight voltage drop which may affect the relay might not affect the controller. Typically if the voltage drops below 10 volts for a long enough period you will simply reboot the Tracker IPm.  The dip can also be so fast that it negatively affect the processors and causes a communications error in both the Serial and Ethernet ports. This may require a reset of the system comm ports.

Our recommendation is to have a 30% safety margin. In this example a 10 Amp power supply is highly recommended.


Controller Sinking or Sourcing

Tracker IPm are generally shipped from the factory with Sourcing as the default setting. This is the common setting for brush motors. For some brushless motor controls digital inputs must be Sinking so here is how you make the change. In the device configuration:



Save the settings and download to the controller.

The software part is completed, now you must change the hardware.

Power down the Tracker IPmSANY0085-260x300

  • Grasp the Tracker IPm module on the Top and Bottom as shown in Fig 1.
  • Squeeze the 2 tabs labeled “PRESS” firmly and pull out the module.
  • Pull the module out. It requires a bit of strength to do this.




  • The back plate is hinged at the bottom and will drop forward as in Fig 2.SANY0087






  • Locate the 3 pin jumper and move the jumper to the right 2 pins DC+ as in Fig 3.sinkJumper-800x200
  • Close the back plate.
  • Insert the module “firmly” until you hear the latches click.
  • Return the Tracker IPm to service.

Loading a new control program

If your Tracker IPm is connected to the Internet, we can update control program using our IPm Web Control otherwise here is the procedure to load from your PC.

See this link for instructions to connect your PC

If you haven’t done it already, down load the I/O Tool Kit software and install it on your Windows PC.

You will be sent a Toolkit project file (xxx.6PJ ) and an ISaGRAF project (appli.X6M) by email.

Save them in an accessible folder on your PC.

Run the I/O Tool Kit sent to you

If you are prompted to Register click here for Registration Instructions

Configure / Configure Station/Module

Select “Files to Load” tab at the top.

Select “Project” button

Select the appli.X6M file previously saved. Open / OK

Operations / Load / Load Advanced (Select Files)

Check only the ISaGRAF box with the directory where you placed the file. Load

The project will automatically run. You are finished.