Like many amateur astronomers I have spent my fair share of time fiddling with an equatorial mount in the dark trying to align it with the Earth's axis of rotation. I have also spent quite a lot of time fumbling with a planisphere by torchlight to try and find that elusive object that I know is up there somewhere.
These days those astronomers with cash to spare can turn to technology to ease these woes. You can buy computerised telescope mounts that can work out where they're pointing. Connect them to a laptop and the direction of view can be seen in a virtual planetarium. With the highest spec mounts you can simply enter the name of the object you'd like to view and watch as the telescope automatically slews to point at it.
On the other hand if you are stingy, or you enjoy a challenge or (like me) both then there are plenty of options for home-brewing your own computerized telescope mount. This page documents my attempt.
The telescope I am using for this project is a Skywatcher 10" Dobsonian. This comes on a simple plywood alt-azimuth mount, which has the advantage of being mechanically very simple. The downside is that tracking an object's motion is tricky as it requires movement in both axes, unlike equatorial mounts.
The steps to computerizing this telescope mount are as follows:
The video linked above describes the progress on this project so far. Summary and additional info: