5. Using the Model 8200 ACU

5.1 Power-up the ACU

Warning: the antenna must have working hardware limit switches properly installed to avoid damage and, potentially, injury when operating the connected ACU.

  1. Verify that the ACU is connected to power.
  2. Turn on the ACU via the power switch on its rear panel. The touchscreen will illuminate when it is ready.

5.2 System Setup and Configuration

Software setup and typical operation is performed via the ACU front panel’s touchscreen display.

Screenshot: Model 8200 Setup > Home

Home screen of the Model 8200 ACU
Real-time data display shown above controls for access to all system functions.

5.2.1 Describe the antenna

Tap the Setup button and complete all fields on the Site tab.

Screenshot: Model 8200 Setup > Site

  • Latitude = degrees north
  • Longitude = degrees east
  • Altitude = antenna site’s altitude in meters
  • Antenna name = unique name to show on the touchscreen
  • Screenshot: Model 8200 Setup > Site > Axes under control Axes under ACU control = the number of axes on the antenna
  • CP/LP selection = whether circular vs. linear POL can be specified on a target-by-target basis
  • Period = maximum timeout for CP/LP switching

5.2.2 Enter the receiver’s characteristics

Screenshot: Model 8200 Setup > Receiver

For details, refer to the relevant appendices in the Series 8000 ACS Operation & Maintenance manual:
Encoders: see “Encoder connections”
Resolvers: see “Resolver connections”
DTR: see “Setup: DTR”
GD 253: see “Setup: GD Model 253 Tracking Receiver”

  1. For the BDC LO frequency, enter the vertical and horizontal values (or left and right, for circular polarization).
  2. The receiver attenuation, in dB.
  3. Specify the upper and lower limits of the frequency range, in any order.

The optional, built-in beacon receiver has a 0–10V analog output. In the next fields, specify:

  1. The reference voltage for the relative power level of 0dB. (A related offset is defined in each target’s settings. For an example, select a target at Home > Target and choose Edit to inspect its related setting.)
  2. The output’s slope (V/dBm).

5.2.3 Specify encoder positions

A position must be entered for each encoder or resolver. The ACU will calculate the required offsets.

Screenshot: Model 8200 Setup > Encoders

Encoder angle + offset = look angle to enter in the Position (deg) field

  1. Use the jog controls to manually point the antenna to a known or referenced look angle (e.g., known satellite position, star, true north, horizon, etc.).
  2. If the angles are unknown and there is no reference, measure them using an inclinometer, tilt sensor, level (EL), or compass (AZ).
  3. Enter the referenced or measured angles into the Encoders > Position (deg) fields. The ACU will populate the offset fields.

5.3 About the Setup Wizard

The Model 8200’s Setup Wizard can complete all the other configuration settings. It will drive the antenna through its full range of motion along each axis.

After it runs, all settings remain available to be edited.


  • Working limit switches must be in place on every axis.
     Without them, the antenna will drive into its hard stops and damages and/or injury may occur.
  • The Model 8200 must be installed and connected properly, including the Setup screens for Site, Receiver (if any), and Encoders (see above).
  • The antenna must not be tripping any limit switches.
  • Any limit jumpers need to be removed.
    photo: Model 8250 limit switchesPhoto: photo: Model 8250 limit switches tag
  • How long will it take? Expect the Setup Wizard to take the time needed to exercise the specific antenna fully, along each axis, and to perform any other tasks as described. The antenna will be in motion a number of times during this operation. Even if it pauses, motion may resume until the Setup Wizard concludes. If the Setup Wizard is interrupted for any reason, it will start over when it is run again.

5.3.1 Run the Setup Wizard

  1. Verify that all system requirements have been met and that it is safe to move the antenna through its full range of motion.
  2. On the ACU’s touchscreen, go to Setup > Limits.
  3. Tap the Setup Wizard button and confirm, when prompted:

Screenshot: Model 8200 Setup Wizard - confirm

When the Setup Wizard has finished, the system will go into Standby.

For details, the settings determined or calculated by the Setup Wizard are discussed in section 1.4, “Setup Wizard” of the Series 8000 ACS Operation & Maintenance manual.

5.4 Track a new target satellite

To track or point at a satellite, select it from the list of targets on the 8200’s touchscreen. To add a satellite to the list:

  1. Choose Home > Target
  2. On the “Target options” screen, tap New:
    Screenshot: Model 8200 Target > New
  3. The fields shown depend on your selection in the Mode* drop-down:

    Screenshot: Model 8200 Target > Modes (look angles)

    Note: Some modes require the system to have a receiver.

  4. Assign a unique name to the satellite unless you’re using TLE or IESS data, which provides a non-editable name.
  5. Complete the other displayed fields and, when you’re done, use the Save button.
  6. The new target will now appear in the list shown at Home > Target. To track/point at any satellite in the list, highlight it and click the Track button.

*Some modes require the system to have a receiver.

5.5 Start Up, Quit, Shut Down

Use the Setup > About tab to…

  • Desktop — view the desktop without affecting current ACU operations.
  • Quit — stop the ACU and exit to the system desktop.
  • Shut Down — stop and power-down the ACU.

5.5.1 Start the ACU application

The ACU software starts automatically when the Model 8200 ACU powers on. If the ACU’s power is on but the software is not running, you can:

  • Launch the ACU application via the Radeus Labs desktop shortcut…
  • …or, re-launch Windows via the Start menu, that will restart the ACU application, too.

5.5.2 Quit the ACU application

If a fault condition or some task requires quitting the ACU software, use the touchscreen’s Home > Setup > About screen and tap “Quit” to exit the ACU application and display the operating system desktop.

Screenshot: quit, shut down, or access the desktop

Quit the ACU software or Shut Down both the ACU and Windows.

To minimize the ACU software without quitting, tap “Desktop.” You’ll see the OS desktop and can find the ACU again in the task bar.

5.5.3 Power down the ACU

Use Home > Setup > About and use the Shut Down button to quit both the application and the operating. Then you may power down the ACU via the power switch on its back panel.

5.6 Standby

Home > Standby immediately puts the ACU in Standby mode. While in standby, the ACU will not command the antenna to move. It will remain in standby until an operator’s affirmative action takes it out of that mode.

Core values of Radeus Labs: