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Gonzo

a remote unmanned pico observatory

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Olly,

>can it make its first slew accurately enough to find an alignment star?

Kstars alignment using astrometry:

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Just hit a couple of issues.

First issue:

After reading more into the Google code for the indi-skywatcher protocol and indi-eqmod one, there is no 'park' function in the code.

I'm in contact with the author of the indi-skywatcher, he might try to add this function whenever he's got time.

Which means, not knowing when this function will appear, I will have to think differently for the box design. Glad I have not placed the order yet...

Second issue:

My friend who is machining all the brackets for the EQ3-2 (to fit the stepper motors) and build the pier has injured his shoulder. The workshop also is getting way too cold to wok in it too.

At the moment, all I'm going to concentrate on is the software side of this build.

stay tuned....

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At least one good news, I've asked the in-laws to do a speed test on their broadband connection.

The results are excellent knowing that they live in a tiny village in the middle of no-where with not even a single shop.

download  47.57 Mbps
upload 8.59 Mbps
and now for a laugh, mine:
download  4.09 Mbps
upload 0.65 Mbps

I leave in Kingston upon Thames.... rather shocking results :(.... 

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I'm starting to really like this Kstars software, it seems to have everything you would need under one roof.

Just found out that you have a built-in scripting tool, and among many things you can do with this, found the option to set the mount to a certain RA/DEC.

This might actually be my "park" tool which is missing in the indi eq-mod.

Obviously, it has to be tested...

After all if Kstars can control the following observatory

I think it should be fine for my little EQ3-2 ;)

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I'm now in Germany where the observatory will reside. I've managed to take some crucial measurements...

 

normal_balcony-table.jpg

The table is there to show where the box will be. It's almost the right dimensions.

 

normal_balcony-dimension_1.jpg

The balcony is facing north, I need to find a way to fetch the panorama I took with the iPhone....

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After reviewing the location and dimensions, I don't think I'll do a flip over top like I've posted earlier in this thread.

I'm going for a sliding top (will draw something when I'm back home). Found some interesting rollers for it http://www.linearandtelescopicslides.com/products/laz-laz-rails-paz-pax-sliders (waiting for price...).

Now question about the box itself, the balcony is tilled as seen above, shall I:

do a fully closed box (ie: with bottom) ?

do an open box (ie: no bottom, portable pier standing on the tiles directly) ?

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I've received yesterday my new Raspberry Pi model A, I've installed the INDI server on it and cleaned up the base install from software that I won't need (quite some disk space saved).

Also ordered today on fleebay a shaft coupler as the next step for me is the Arduino auto focuser.

normal_image.jpg

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Hi, I'm looking forward to seeing your progress with this, I'm in planning for somthing similar but using a newtonian. I like the idea of just keeping the whole thing compact.

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Finally some long over due progress...

Had to pick up my mount from my friend as he got himself a serious injury and will be off doing any fabrication for a while now. I'll install the stepper motors myself at some point for the AstroEQ.

 

Moving on to the observatory....

Went to B&Q this morning to buy some wood, had the "health and safety" speech about cutting treated wood..... (let's not even go there).

IMG_1570_640.JPGIMG_1571-90_640.JPG

IMG_1572-90_640.JPG IMG_1574-90_640.JPG

IMG_1581_640.JPGIMG_1582_640.JPG

I need to find some brackets to fit this inner piece of wood, don't really fancy using some long screws.

 

 

IMG_1583-90_640.JPGIMG_1584-90_640.JPG

IMG_1585-90_640.JPG

It's 90x90cm for the base, the side panels will be between 80cm and 95cm, not quite sure yet. I will have to triple measure.

I'm vert pleased with my work today, everything went smooth. It didn't take me long to do this.

The frame is treated wood, the cladding is not. It's pretty much a slow "work in progress...", the cladding is not really fitted as I will have to trim it a little bit and treat it (next week-end maybe if the weather allows it).

Oh and I will be using my tripod (my custom pier will not be ready any time soon), which I need to modify. ie: cut the inner legs by 5 cm to lower the overall height.

I will try to do the next panels in the up-coming weekends. The all observatory will have to be flat-packed and MUST fit in the car...

The base fits just about between the rear shock tower in the boot.

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Due to the tripod being slightly too high, I've cut the legs down by at least 20 to 25 cm.

Unfortunately, I have not done my measurements correctly and I'm now struggling with the roof design.

I have 147cm between the wall and the hand rail, however the box is a 90cmx90cm square. A roll on roof would require 180cm.

I can either have it hang over the rail by about 35cm or try to negotiate some balcony estate.... and have the roof slide the other way.

Unless someone have some clever ideas for that small roof.

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How tall is the box? If more than 90cm, can you have it roll off and over somehow (garage roller door type action), rather than off horizontally?

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The box will be no more than 90 cm tall. I thought about what you're saying, garage door style, however I don't quite know how to make it happens.

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Some long overdue updates on this remote observatory box...

 

normal_obs_0280.jpg x normal_obs_0281.jpg

normal_obs_0284.jpg x normal_obs_0287.jpg

normal_obs_0290.jpg x normal_obs_0284.jpg

normal_obs_0297.jpg x normal_obs_0300.jpg

The box as you there was being held by some temporary L brackets to see the overall volume of it. And of course to make sure that all my measurements were correct.

As you can see, the telescope fits nicely inside.

There are tons of things to do before I ship it over to Germany.

Here's a quick video of it:

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Quick one: Having never seen the mount in question, does it not need counter-weights?

/per

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Quick one: Having never seen the mount in question, does it not need counter-weights?

/per

It's an EQ3-2, yes there is a counter-weight bar. Not shown in the above pictures. It was taken in consideration in the measurements of the box.

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more progress today...

normal_obs_0310.jpg x normal_obs_0311.jpg

normal_obs_0312.jpg x normal_obs_0313.jpg

The mount will be controlled by AstroEQ.

A quick video of it. I don't have the right length for the RA motor belt so I will have to order one.

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As I am unable to find a suitable roller shutter for my roof idea, I'm going for a conventional roll-on-roof now.

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Here's a quick video of the half roof opening, helped by a linear actuator.

This side will be against the wall of the house on the balcony.

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Just thought about posting this one here too


AstroEQ with Kstars/Ekos under Debian / Raspberry PI


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Hit a brick wall with my split roof design, so it's back to my original idea: one single piece. Going to order a second linear actuator, one is capable of doing the job but rather have two just in case.

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Some updates about my box:

IMG_0927_640.JPG

This is what the box now looks like, the lid has received three coats of Ronseal wood protection and the sides two coats.

I still have to think about sealing the lid when in close position due to a rookie mistake in the design. As I am now three weeks away from taking this to Germany I don't have much time in doing it again.

IMG_0921_640.JPG

Inside.... nice and compact. And no I will not leave the Makitta in it....

IMG_0923_640.JPG

deployed...

IMG_0925_640.JPG

front view

IMG_0926_640.JPG

side view, keen eyes will spot that the actuators are missing.

My power supply went up in smoke, literally, a few weeks ago. doh :(

Waiting for a more powerful one ;)

Plans are as follow:

"flat pack" the box and transport it to final location in three weeks time, assemble it over there in Germany.

leave the scope here

build a mock up frame of the box to carry on testing, wiring etc....

comes Christmas season,  I will take the scope and bits over and go live.

Comments are always welcome please.

Edited by Gonzo

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I am following this thread with great interest as my Parents have a farm on the edge of the Exmoor Dark Sky Reserve so I keep bouncing the idea of a semi autonomous setup round and round.

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I am following this thread with great interest as my Parents have a farm on the edge of the Exmoor Dark Sky Reserve so I keep bouncing the idea of a semi autonomous setup round and round.

To be honest, it is a lot harder to plan and put in place than I thought it was going to be. But I'm always up for challenges....

You really really really need to think about all possibilities :)

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a little more progress....

 

IMG_0939-90_640.JPG ~~~ IMG_0940-90_640.JPG

 

I will staple it once assembled at the final destination.

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