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Gonzo

a remote unmanned pico observatory

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Oh I understand completely...  hey, my obsy is in the back garden & more than 3 years on I'm still finishing it & still not ready for autonomous operation.. (but getting closer). At least if it goes wrong I can run out to sort it!

I think there's quite a few on here that have fingers crossed for you... & many that are learning from you too :icon_salut:

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Between my address in the UK and here there is a gap of 451 miles and 8~ hours driving....

I'm going to spend the next few months (well, until the Xmas holidays) setting up my network and electric wiring.

OH, did I mention I will be building a mock up box (well just the frame) when I'm back home ;)

The purpose is to test all the scripts I will have to write to control the lid opening/closure and parking of the scope.

For normal use, emergency shutdown, rain conditions etc....

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Have read this whole thread, and I just wanted to say that this is so cool :-)

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Between my address in the UK and here there is a gap of 451 miles and 8~ hours driving....

I'm going to spend the next few months (well, until the Xmas holidays) setting up my network and electric wiring.

OH, did I mention I will be building a mock up box (well just the frame) when I'm back home ;)

The purpose is to test all the scripts I will have to write to control the lid opening/closure and parking of the scope.

For normal use, emergency shutdown, rain conditions etc....

Excellent approach, prove it in a test environment before rolling out to production. It's only when you tackle something like this you realise the enormity of the prep & planning for something that actually leaves the earth!

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After a couple of miserable days, in other words.... rain.... and lower temperatures, I've found the box to be dry inside as in no water leaks.

However, I did leave inside the pier, my stapler and a screwdriver; to my surprise I've found them humid to the touch. No dripping wet, just a very thin layer. Which almost disappeared within a couple of minutes after opening the lid.

I do think the ventilation will help, solar vent on top and another small fan on one side.

What do people think?

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I think you're absolutely right with the ventilation. This is something I'm also considering in my build.

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Phase two:

 

IMG_1215-90_640.JPGIMG_1217-90_640.JPG

I've built this afternoon a mock up frame of the box currently in Germany.

It's on a smaller scale and it's super light (softwood, no sides etc...) I will cover up the lid with that black roofing material I used before.

The aim is as I said previously, to test all my scripts and do the wiring.

Edited by Gonzo

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mock up box up and running

Next step is to install and wire up the Raspberry PI's...

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Well it's been a while, project still alive. Had to stop working on it as my other project is taking quite a lot of my free time...

res_IMG_1872.JPG

building a race car out of my 65 Mustang.... 

back on subject, I'm now in Germany for the Christmas holidays.

I've checked my box and after 3 months of being outside, the box is dry inside!!! There is no leak, no damages, nothing happened to it.

The only issue I can see is some dust, now I can't remember if most of it was from me doing some wood cutting last time or not.

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Great thread :D

Something that got me thinking is the use of two actuators for the lid... If either one of them fails the lid won't close, meaning you have twice the chance of something not working as intended. Have you considered using some conterweight/spring/something to help opening the lid with just one actuator?

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Great thread :D

Something that got me thinking is the use of two actuators for the lid... If either one of them fails the lid won't close, meaning you have twice the chance of something not working as intended. Have you considered using some conterweight/spring/something to help opening the lid with just one actuator?

It was first setup with a single actuator, I've added a second one to ease the opening/closing of the lid and also to cut down on the noise.

I do see your point about one failing and it's game over... it's a risk I'm willing to take at the moment.

As for some counter weight, it's a bit late now to add them. That would require quite a lot of redesign.

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What I had in mind was to replace one of the actuators with a spring-loaded <something> that would reduce the amount of force needed by the actuator to open the lid. Like the struts that help opening a hatchback's rear gate.

Maybe for the next one :)

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What I had in mind was to replace one of the actuators with a spring-loaded <something> that would reduce the amount of force needed by the actuator to open the lid. Like the struts that help opening a hatchback's rear gate.

Maybe for the next one :)

That's a good idea, I will look into that. I could get one of fleebay for cheap and test this. thanks for the idea.

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snow proof.....

normal_image.jpg

...well, I don't know yet if it's snow proof.....

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I did open up the lid the following day, it was still super dry inside. No moisture at all. Will still install a solar fan to be on the safe side as there is no metal in the box at the moment to attract moisture.

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Some further progress.

After battling with a silly issue with my Raspberry B+ (yeah, don't upgrade to the latest firmware... it breaks stuff...) I am now able to move forward with the automation.

Here's a video (which you might find not that exiting, but it's a huge step for me).

The scope parking and closing the lid is done automatically from a bash/python script (still in dev)

root@raspberrypi:/home/observatory-dev# more closeroof-dev.sh #!/bin/bash#Establist a connection to the indiserver#indi_setprop 'EQMod Mount.SIMULATION.ENABLE=On'#indi_setprop 'EQMod Mount.DEVICE_PORT.PORT=/dev/ttyS64'#indi_setprop 'EQMod Mount.CONNECTION.CONNECT=On'#Current connection stateCON=`indi_getprop -h 192.168.0.104 | grep Mount.CONNECTION.CONNECT | awk -F= '{print $2}'`DISC=`indi_getprop -h 192.168.0.104 | grep Mount.CONNECTION.DISCONNECT | awk -F= '{print $2}'`if [ $CON == "On" -a $DISC == "Off" ]	then####################Parking the scope######################indi_setprop -h 192.168.0.104 'EQMod Mount'.SLEWMODE.SLEWPRESET6=Off##indi_setprop -h 192.168.0.104 'EQMod Mount'.SLEWMODE.SLEWPRESET10=Onindi_setprop -h 192.168.0.104 'EQMod Mount'.TELESCOPE_PARK.PARK=Onecho "Scope parking"sleep 60#Park set valuesRA=`cat ~/.indi/ParkData.xml | grep -A1 raencoder | sed  '/^[ \t]\+/d'`DEC=`cat ~/.indi/ParkData.xml | grep -A1 deencoder | sed  '/^[ \t]\+/d'`#Create rangeminRA=`echo $RA - 25 | bc`maxRA=`echo $RA + 25 | bc`minDEC=`echo $DEC - 25 | bc`maxDEC=`echo $DEC + 25 | bc`#Current RA / DEC valuesCRA=`indi_getprop -h 192.168.0.104 | grep CURRENTSTEPPERS.RAStepsCurrent | awk -F= '{print $2}'`CDEC=`indi_getprop -h 192.168.0.104 | grep CURRENTSTEPPERS.DEStepsCurrent | awk -F= '{print $2}'`if (($minRA<=$CRA && $CRA<=$maxRA)) && (($minDEC<=$CDEC && $CDEC<=$maxDEC))	then		echo "PARKED"		echo PARKED > .park	else		echo "NOT PARKED"		echo NOT_PARKED > .parkfi#############################Close the roof            #############################python << ENDfrom time import sleepimport pifacedigitalio as pfiopfio.init()pfio.digital_write(0,1) #turn onsleep(17)pfio.digital_write(0,0) #turn offexit()END#firoot@raspberrypi:/home/observatory-dev#
The little dome at the front is my rain sensor, there is also a little contact switch to check that the lid if fully closed.

All connected to a dedicated Pi B+ with the new Piface module controlling the linear actuators.

At the present time, I have not installed the contact switches on the mount itself to detect if the scope is fully parked (currently done only by software but will be software + hardware in the final version)

There will also be an override switch, a three-way one as in Auto~off~Manual attached to the outside of the box.

I'm a long way from a full automation, but this is a huge step forward.

Next step is to write a "deploy" script, open lid / unpark scope / move scope to home position.

Edited by Gonzo
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I don't know how much your lid weights or how to dimension this so it won't be too hard for your actuator to *close* the lid. Maybe a company where you can return things with not too many questions asked is better?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Force-Stroke-Support-Struts-Spring/dp/B00A14IWAU

Those could be just what I want - never thought of them :)  Thank you for the link :)

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Cool that you added the dev script. I'm about to control a roll-off roof with a RPI so it's a good start for me :) (I'll use inductive sensors (Balluff BES0068) to determine begin and end states and drive a frequency controller (Optidrive IP20) for a 3-phase motor with a belt.) If I have useful script additions to share I'll post a link to it.

-- Hans

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I just bought an Odroid-C1 and this thing blows the Raspberry Pi B+ out of the water.... It is FAST!!!!

anyway, thanks Hans for the idea on the inductive sensors, I was thinking of a mercury sensor to check the physical position of the mount.

As for the scripts, they are really a work in progres, the one I've posted works well on my RasPi.

Whenever I get less lazy I will setup a Git repo for my scripts.

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Bad news about my Atik Titan camera, it doesn't work under Linux any more. It used to, now it doesn't and we don't know why.

Some sort of driver issues, but no fix yet for it.

It works perfectly fine under Windows XP however.

It will be for sale soon as I can't use it for my remote observatory :(

oh but I got myself a 314L+ ;)

Edited by Gonzo

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