Skywatcher Skyliner gets "Orion intelligence"
Posted 02 February 2011 - 11:53 AM
and the altitude could easily be read from this Wixey digital gauge:
This worked very well but still I needed to know the azimut and altitude for any target (using CDC or another program running on a laptop or PDA in the field).
I got the chance however to purchase a second hand Orion Intelliscope controller + azimut and altitude encoders. I set up a DIY project to add some intelligence to the Skyliner 12" dob:
The encoders are magnetic discs and the sensors have to be at a rather precise position and distance from the discs. Also , you still have to able to remove the tube from the dobson base. It is possible as you can see in the following pictures. I also added encoder enclosures for protection, these were made from a lunchbox !
The central bolt is fixed to the ground board and the encoder disc is fixed to the bolt. The sensor unit is fixed to the dob base and so revolves around the disc. The orientation of disc + encoder is the same as in the original Orion intelliscope (there is no way to reverse any settings in the controller so this is vital). The controller has a test function to set the position and distance between disc and sensor accurately.
The central bolt revolves with the telescope tube in altitude, it does not carry the weight of the tube. The enclosure opens and closes so the encoder can be removed to dismount the tube from the base for transport.
The whole setup now works exactly like the Orion Intelliscope. The alignment is very easy and the pointing accuracy is stunning !!! Within 10 minutes I had looked at M36, M37, M42, M45, Cas Doubble cluster, Christmas tree cluster, Beta Mon II, ...
And it all runs on a single small 9V battery inside the controller, no more cables or laptops etc.
Now I love my 12" Skyliner dob even more!
Thank you for reading
Posted 01 August 2012 - 02:30 PM
Posted 01 August 2012 - 03:08 PM
There was an Intelliscope computer offered for sale on the CloudyNights classifieds recently (it is still not listed as sold) - but no encoders. Do you know if these use standard encoder interface, and thus be compatible with other encoders? (I think the answer is probably yes, but would like more info than just my hunch.)
They are not standard encoders - they are magnetic instead of optical and analog instead of digital. See The Intelliscope System (not my site) for excruciating detail about the internals of the Intelliscope.