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It's now been a year since my obsey was installed, so I thought I'd post a few details about how things have gone. I've focused on the automated parts....rather than me digging holes in the ground and pouring concrete... Firstly, a bit of background: about a year ago I decided that I wanted to move to automated observing which was motivated by the poor UK weather and the fact that I like my sleep - so, after a bit of research, I decided to go for an Ian King Roll Off Off Observatory - mainly due to Ian's excellent reputation and the fact that it came with various options such as an electric roof and a cloud sensor/electric roof controller that was Ascom and ACP weather alerts compatible. I decided on the smallest size available since I wanted it to blend into my garden to the maximum extent. Since I was interested in automation, I decided on a very small warm room, basically just large enough for someone to get inside. My design philosophy was that mains power and ancillary equipment would, as far as practical, go in the warm room and low voltage equipment would go in the main obsey. The picture below shows the external view of the obsey and the main interior. Since my telescope can hit the roof, I incorporated two safety switches on the RA and DEC axis, these switches are closed when the telescope is in the "telescope safe" position (see below). I've also incorporated a third safety switch on the drop down wall (above picture). So for the roof to open or close, all three switches must be in the closed positions. My second safety feature is designed to minimize the chance of rain from entering the obsey when the roof is open. I went for a total of three rain sensors, all of which are independent of each another. The main rain sensor is integrated into the cloud sensor and so far this has never failed. However, it is dependent on my obsey PC working correctly. I therefore decided that I needed a back up sensor that would trigger an alarm in my house if it detected rain when the roof when open- so I went for a battery powered wireless weather station approach - whilst this works, on testing it I was concerned that it requires quite a bit of rain before the sensor is triggered. I therefore decided on a more sensitive rain alarm sensor which sits on my warm room roof. This sensor also incorporates a heater, so needs to mains powered, it is interfaced it to a battery powered wireless alarm link to my house. For the time being, I've decided not to install a UPS but I do have a mains power detector alarm in the house. So, when I'm observing it's normally from a PC screen in the house. I recently decided to purchase CCDNavigator which has recently been upgraded to be ACP Compatible which makes programming an observing session very easy. Overall, I've been impressed by the physical build quality and the stability of the controlling software, which has proved very reliable. Alan
In 2015 I decided that I wanted to move to automated observing (basically due to the UK weather and the fact that I like my sleep) - so, after a bit of research, I decided to go for a Ian King Roll Off Off Observatory - mainly due to Ian's excellent reputation and the fact that it came with various options such as an electric roof and a cloud sensor/electric roof controller that where Ascom and ACP weather alerts compatible. I decided on the smallest size available since I wanted it to blend into my garden as much as possible. Since I was interested in automation, I decided on a very small warm room, basically just large enough for someone to get inside. My design philosophy was that main power and ancillary equipment would, as far as practical, go in the warm room and low voltage equipment would go in the main obsey.
I have finally got my automatic Flat-flap design up and running. This will be an integral part of my Observatory Automation project. The concept is that I want to be able to capture flat calibration files for each filter and to collect them immediately after an imaging sub-session before moving on to the next filter run. The auto-flat flap will be controlled by a VBScript from CCD Commander that will call on LesveDome software to operate a 'spare' switch on the observatory control motherboard. This switch will trip the onboard relay to turn on the Earlsmann EL panel's inverter and then move the panel into position in front of the telescope under servo control. The PWM (pulse width modulation) servo controller is programmable to allow the setting of servo start and end positions as well as transit speed. Control Panel Internal Components Servo Linkage A short Video Demonstrating the Action
Hi Everyone. I'm almost finished building a new dome and I have installed 12 volt motors / gear boxes to drive the dome. Now I am wanting to control the dome from my computer, so that the opening on the dome is always in line with the telescope. At this stage, thats all I want - I don't need the computer to open / close the shutter or to install a weather station or anything like that. My question is, what would be the simplest / cheapest option to achieve syncronisation between the pointing of the dome and telescope? I was wondering about using a raspberry pi or something like that? I've never done anything like this before, so if anyone has an idea, I'd be really keen to hear it. Thanks very much! Ross