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Gina

Gina's Observatory Roll-Off-Roof Automation

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I have started looking at motorising my roll-off-roof. Have bought a reversible winch from ebay and ordered some 6mm nylon rope. I shall use manual control at first but later plan to provide remote control. I already have some high power MOSFETs that will easily handle the current (maybe 50A).

Yesterday's fine weather enabled me to open the roof and check out where and how I might run the rope and position the pulley and winch. Here's a couple of diagrams of the roof open and closed. The main support woodwork is shown in light green and the roll off section in dark green with the rope in blue.

post-13131-0-08653700-1351418960_thumb.ppost-13131-0-17552200-1351418958_thumb.p

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Initially I thought of putting the pulley outside the scope room but that presented two related problems - the pulley and rope would be outside in the weather and the gap required for the rope's access would spoil the weatherproofing. Protecting from the weather with a cover did not seem practical. Instead I plan to put a bracket on the outside of the ROR with the rope going through the brush draught excluder. This means the pulley will be inside the scope room. This idea is not carved in stone and might change.

This is the winch :- http://www.ebay.co.u...984.m1439.l2649

EWinch2000LBKMSWMBoard00.jpg

I have removed the wire cable ready to use rope which is far easier to use and safer. I plan to make up a divider and have the rope wrapping and unwrapping at the same time from the two sections as others have done.

I'll post some photos of the obsy of the areas in question shortly

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Good luck Gina - looks like a major project :cool:

Thank you :)

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I use a mains powered winch at the moment but its too noisy. I'm thinking of trying the sliding gate approach of motor and toothed rail.

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Just had a look at the link. Thats not a bad price about the same cost as my mains one was from Toolstation. How noisy is your winch Gina? Does it also "clonk" everytime it's engaged?

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I don't know yet - I tried it from my jump starter box but it's battery is flat. I'll probably buy a battery to dedicate to the purpose together with it's own charger later.

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I don't know yet - I tried it from my jump starter box but it's battery is flat. I'll probably buy a battery to dedicate to the purpose together with it's own charger later.

Check your ratings on the jump starter.. Looking at the specs this winch could draw 90Amps.

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Check your ratings on the jump starter.. Looking at the specs this winch could draw 90Amps.

Rating is 400A

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First of all, Gina if you look at the orignal thread on moving the roof you will see I posted a couple of photos showing the winch in a plastic toolbox, this has allowed me to put the winch on the warm room roof and the power cable came down the outside ensuring the weather proofing of the roof was not compromised. The winch is meant for a vehicle so the weather would not be detrimental to it but it went in a box anyway.

Secondly, it is noisy as hell and I will be placing rubber underneath and polystyrene all over to dampen the noise. The thing is it will only be moving for a few seconds at a time so the noise although there will be minimised.

Jim

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First of all, Gina if you look at the orignal thread on moving the roof you will see I posted a couple of photos showing the winch in a plastic toolbox, this has allowed me to put the winch on the warm room roof and the power cable came down the outside ensuring the weather proofing of the roof was not compromised. The winch is meant for a vehicle so the weather would not be detrimental to it but it went in a box anyway.

Yes, I remember that. There isn't enough clearance on the warm room roof in my case. I've tried pushing and pulling at various points on my roof and the bottom of the heavy (high) side seems best - it's where I manually push/pull it.
Secondly, it is noisy as hell and I will be placing rubber underneath and polystyrene all over to dampen the noise. The thing is it will only be moving for a few seconds at a time so the noise although there will be minimised.
Thanks for that :) I'll add sound insulation too, then. It might need a rethink of where to mount it - have to see.

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Gina, is there a possibility of a ledge on the outside at roof height to allow this, before I done my warm room I had already put an overhang on the other end of the observatory to take any equipment I wanted to put there, the winch and solar panels were installed on it.

Jim

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Hi Gina.

My efforts are comming along thus.

I have mounted the Boat winch just inside of the obsevatory,just next to to door way.I found that because of the way the winch handle orientates,i could,nt mount it any other way.

Above the winch i have mounted 2 Pulley blocks that take the rope up the wall vertically,the second pulley allows the rope to pass over the wall to the outside.

On the far roof outrigger support beam,i am mounting a heavy duty Pulley block.

The idea is to run the rope to the Outside pulley block,around and back to a large "J" Bolt secured to the roof.The rope will just hook onto the "J" Bolt.

Hopefully when winding the winch,the roof should roll back.

I have mounted another "J" Bolt on the inside of the roof,so to close,i will just remove the rope from the outside pulley and hook to this inside "J"Bolt.

Hopefully it will close the roof.

I know this isnt a closed system,but if it works it will suit me.

I think in the future i will replace the winch with a motor,as the ratchet is as noisey as hell,and i,m worried it will wake the neighbours.

Mick.

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Gina, is there a possibility of a ledge on the outside at roof height to allow this, before I done my warm room I had already put an overhang on the other end of the observatory to take any equipment I wanted to put there, the winch and solar panels were installed on it.

Jim

I don't think so but I'll be looking at other possibilities.

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Hi Gina.

My efforts are comming along thus.

I have mounted the Boat winch just inside of the obsevatory,just next to to door way.I found that because of the way the winch handle orientates,i could,nt mount it any other way.

Above the winch i have mounted 2 Pulley blocks that take the rope up the wall vertically,the second pulley allows the rope to pass over the wall to the outside.

On the far roof outrigger support beam,i am mounting a heavy duty Pulley block.

The idea is to run the rope to the Outside pulley block,around and back to a large "J" Bolt secured to the roof.The rope will just hook onto the "J" Bolt.

Hopefully when winding the winch,the roof should roll back.

I have mounted another "J" Bolt on the inside of the roof,so to close,i will just remove the rope from the outside pulley and hook to this inside "J"Bolt.

Hopefully it will close the roof.

I know this isnt a closed system,but if it works it will suit me.

I think in the future i will replace the winch with a motor,as the ratchet is as noisey as hell,and i,m worried it will wake the neighbours.

Mick.

Ah yes - I see. I've got a boat winch with a handle but wanted a reversible system not requiring manual moving of hooks or anything. That's why I bought the reversible motor winch. I can already move the roof on and off by hand. Edited by Gina

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Gina - you seem well on the way with this. Can you not mount the winch in the roof section so it travels with the roof and have fixed lines (at each end) with the winch taking-up and playing out rope as it goes back-n-forth...?

Just a thought

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Gina - you seem well on the way with this. Can you not mount the winch in the roof section so it travels with the roof and have fixed lines (at each end) with the winch taking-up and playing out rope as it goes back-n-forth...?

Just a thought

I don't know really - it's a thought certainly, thanks Francis :) I'll see about that - of course, it would need long heavy duty cables (unless the battery is on the rolling part too).

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A dozen or so pully wheels in the right place, rope, winch and battery, a couple of hours work and you have a auto roro roof :).

Jim

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I don't know really - it's a thought certainly, thanks Francis :) I'll see about that - of course, it would need long heavy duty cables (unless the battery is on the rolling part too).

It certainly wouldn't blow away again :eek:

This is my thought....

post-14748-0-06504100-1351447706_thumb.j

Blue outline obsy building, Black - RoR

Motor / pulley cab be at any height to clear building

Red cable/rope fixed to building at either end

Ropes should be self tightening in either direction.

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It certainly wouldn't blow away again :eek:

This is my thought....

post-14748-0-06504100-1351447706_thumb.j

Blue outline obsy building, Black - RoR

Motor / pulley cab be at any height to clear building

Red cable/rope fixed to building at either end

Ropes should be self tightening in either direction.

Interesting but unfortunately the base building ia actually shorter that twice the RORO roof. ie. the roof overlaps the warm room by several inches when open.

post-13131-0-45277900-1351451313_thumb.jpost-13131-0-46456100-1351452378_thumb.j

EDIT... Oh!! That doesn't matter - I don't think. But there isn't a gap between RORO roof and warm room roof.

Edited by Gina

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I've ordered a sealed 12v lead acid battery for the purpose - 44AH - this one :- http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/200670566607?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649

I checked the Halfords web site for comparison and the same battery costs twice as much from them. Coincidentally, it's the same battery as my car takes :D

I've also ordered battery connectors and an isolating switch. I figure I want to isolate the winch when I don't want the roof moving - I don't trust anything! :D Particularly electronics when I get it remotely controlled.

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The rope came this morning so one small bit of progress.

I've been having a further good look at where the winch, rope and pulley(s) can go and I can't see any alternative to my original plan. There's no room around the edge of the RORO roof for the winch. I've looked at the other (north) side with the higher runner but the roof is considerably more difficult to move from there. The main mass to move is in the south-side wall. The actual roof is of relatively light construction and the north-side wall is only about a foot to two foot high and also relatively light with 2mm acrylic sheet rather than shiplap weatherboarding. The bulk of the resistance to movement is in the 5 rollers/wheels of the south wall carriage and my engineering experience tells me that that is where to apply force to move the whole structure. Q.E.D.

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Drilled a hole through the woodwork to take a bolt for the pulley :) but now rain's stopped play :(

I've been unable to source a 4" pulley as I would have liked so I'll go with the pulley included with the winch (with about a 2" pulley). The rope fits it perfectly.

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Here are modified diagrams :-

post-13131-0-58944100-1351532771_thumb.ppost-13131-0-12589000-1351532770_thumb.p

Edited by Gina

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Fixed the pulley in place. Coach bolt through runner and into dividing wall frame will pulley threaded on and held in place with nuts. Here are a couple of pics showing the pulley with roof closed and open. The rope needs all my strength to pull the roof open - it's easier to push it but I guess that's to be expected :D

post-13131-0-62394800-1351615473_thumb.jpost-13131-0-90304200-1351616177_thumb.j

Edited by Gina

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