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Deep Sky West (Midlands)


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Not part of the observatory build really, but some permanent extended dewshields to interrupt the scope location laser beams have been made from 8” plastic pipe.

They were made as light as possible but they have still necessitated a counter weight to be fitted to the rear of one of the saddles to balance everything out, not surprising considering where they are located.

They have been flocked with the self adhesive material supplied by FLO, it’s easy to apply and does a great job.

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Another milestone, the Pulsar 2.2 m dome after being in storage for 18 months, is now assembled! A mixed reaction from the family now it is sitting in the garden. Mrs Tomato definitely wants a gr

Time for an update. As posted previously, Mrs Tomato didn’t like the white dome so it is now resplendent in British Racing Green. The weather has played havoc with the finish on the dome, how do outsi

Further progress made over the festive season, the circular rack made up of 6 lengths joined together, has been installed using adjustable brackets so that it can be made reasonably level and circular

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 13/03/2020 at 16:36, tomato said:

Finally getting round to fitting the  Hydreon rain sensor, a nice looking piece of kit. This will initiate a dome close and shutdown to start with.

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On 13/03/2020 at 18:34, Gina said:

I'll be interested in reading how well it works.

Just needs a 1k pull up resistor and one line of code changing to get it up and running. And the lock down to be lifted........

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Well, after the minor interruption of the Coronavirus Lockdown, work has resumed on the powered shutter. One key element of the design brief was the drive must not eat into the dome aperture, this is at a premium with two 6” refractors side by side in there. 
So, after a couple of abortive designs employing a toothed belt drive (curved shutter and straight belt means a tensioned moving motor mount plate) we looked at how successful the rack and pinion drive for the dome had been and employed a curved length of this to drive the shutter open and closed. As the shutter opens past the zenith, the additional rack length extends through a slot in the dome skirt, but clears the vertical wall of the dome so does not impede rotation. The steel rack was drilled full of holes to keep the driven weight down, but a suitably substantial 12v motor was chosen to power it. Stop points are controlled by limit switches at the top and bottom, the shutter drive will be incorporated into the control software to close on End of Session, rain detected, or low volts on the battery supply, (don’t want to be caught with an open shutter, and no power to close it).

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And here is a little video of the powered shutter in action. Right now, I am not that bothered it’s cloudy, I’ll just keep playing with the shutter.😊

Just finalising the software now to ensure it closes automatically to the specified conditions.

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2 hours ago, Rusted said:

Well done! Is there a bypass to the system so that the shutter can be closed manually without power?

There is a separate pendant to operate the motor if something went wrong with the main control system, and a back up 12v battery is also available. In auto mode the shutter will close if low battery volts is detected. 
If the motor failed, then it would necessitate unbolting the motor plate to close the shutter, not fun at 3 a.m. in the dark, but possible.

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On 02/11/2019 at 16:59, tomato said:

Some further additions, first a Steampunk inspired drain pipe for the dehumidifier, second, a set of 4 LED lights for standard illumination inside the dome, and thirdly an intercom so the telescope  technician  can talk to the imager in the warm room. This may seem a bit OTT, but better than shouting to each other at 2 a.m. which could be considered a bit anti-social. @Tomatobro picked this up (new) for £5 on eBay.

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Hi @tomato, it has taken me ages to find you post about the dehumidifier exit, I'm not plumber so can you advise what bits I need to create a similar exit from the dehumidifier, also where did you get the flexible clear tubing from?

Many Thanks.

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