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Received my Explora-Dome

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#1 EricG

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 04:57 PM

I just received my 8ft Explora-Dome, so I will be building my observatory in the next few weeks. I already had a concrete pier in the backyard and will be building the observatory around it. I recently created a website where I will post pictures of the construction. The site will also contain the documents I am preparing as I design and test the observatory. You can find some of the documents under the "Equipment" section of the site, I will add more shortly.

http://sites.google....hotography/home

Let me know if you have questions or comments.

Eric

#2 David Pavlich

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 06:11 PM

Congratulations! I hope you'll post some pictures as you progress.

David

#3 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 07:17 AM

Congratulation on your purchase....

IF you are as happy as I have been with my ED you will be thrilled... Mine is on a 10 x 10 base closing in on 5 full years of usage and absolutely not a thing has required any attention since its first light EXCEPT to wash the dome every year or so...

Bob G.

#4 Tim Gilliland

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 02:36 PM

I can't tell you how happy I am with mine. Best astro investment I have made.

#5 EricG

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 09:58 AM

Given that it's a fairly big investment, it's good to know that you are happy with the Explora-Dome. I am hoping to have everything built and automated before the fall.

I just built the platform for the dome. I attached a picture and updated my site.

Eric

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#6 David Pavlich

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 12:09 PM

....and it begins!!

David

#7 quantumac

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 10:20 AM

Congratulations! Nothing like a brand new observatory. Looks like you've got a good start.

#8 jmiele

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 04:16 PM

Eric, I have been looking at these. Are you doing the 8' x 8' round or 8' x 10' round? Have you used there plans for the foundation? If so, how does the bottom ring align with it? Joe

#9 EricG

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 09:45 PM

Eric, I have been looking at these. Are you doing the 8' x 8' round or 8' x 10' round? Have you used there plans for the foundation? If so, how does the bottom ring align with it? Joe


Joe,
It is the 8' round building. I am not aware of plans for the foundation, so I designed one. The platform needs to be approximately 92 inches in diameter; the Explora-Dome instructions recommend measuring the top ring before installing the bottom ring to ensure they are the same size.

I am adding files to my website which document the observatory construction and other topics as well. I attached some drawings of the platform and the thermal management approach I am contemplating is heat is an issue.

I will post more once I install the walls and confirm the platform is adequate.

Eric

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#10 csa/montana

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 10:45 PM

Eric, how exciting for you! You will so enjoy your observatory!

#11 Chris Schroeder

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 07:03 AM

Congratulations Eric!

#12 Starman27

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:16 AM

Have fun Eric! Enjoy your observatory.

#13 EricG

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 10:31 AM

I completed the construction of the building and started installing the automation system. There were a few issues with the construction:
1. The pilot holes in the top ring did not match the holes in the aluminum brackets for the wheels. This was easily fixed by redrilling the holes.
2. The bottom ring halves were not the same length, and by following the assembly instructions this resulted in the door not being centered with the platform as planned.
3. One of the power cables connecting the automation control boxes to the batteries had reversed polarity, which resulted in the destruction of some of the components in the azimuth control box. I am in the process of obtaining a replacement box and cable.

While I wait for a new azimuth box, I will verify what thermal management features I need to implement in order to keep the temperature down during the day and to bring the dome temperature close to ambient air temperature at night.

Eric

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#14 jmiele

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 01:00 AM

Looks great to me. I think I like the Exp Dome best in that class. They are like 5K for one like that? Joe

#15 Chris Schroeder

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 07:17 AM

Looks great Eric :like:

#16 bob irvin

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 02:17 PM

Great job, Thanks for posting the updates. Enjoy your observatory.

I'd be interested in some pictures of the inside too. :)

bob

#17 Midwest Mark

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 04:08 PM

Congrats, it looks great. Make sure to give us a first light report when you're settled in!

#18 EricG

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:20 PM

It's been a while since I posted progress on the observatory. The automation system had a lot of issues, and after several months I decided to swap the control system for another one. Also, I've been busy testing the system, including the Gemini 2, and building the software to automate imaging sessions.

Basically, I've been busy building and testing, not imaging.

I attached an image to this post of the scope inside the dome and I included many more pictures on my site if you are interested.

Eric

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#19 Aquarist

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 08:57 PM

Congrats and enjoy! Going down a similar path starting in the spring.

#20 averen

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:54 AM

Eric,
What all issues did you have with the automation? I'm building my own dome and will be automating it...just wondering what pitfalls to avoid.

Nice looking dome and setup!
Jared

#21 gillmj24

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:05 PM

I'm guessing the Foster Systems automation marketed by exploradome did not work. I have had so many issues as well. Never got brave enough to try my new computer (two fried in quick succession) so I don't know what I will do with my dome now.

#22 Peter L.

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:33 AM

I initially had issues with the Foster System as well. Hand controller never worked, nor did the replacement they sent me, so gave up on that entirely. I initially had problems as well with heat in the serial cable which was very concerning. However, I re-seated all of the connections and havn't had that problem since. I've got the software working now, and it does work pretty well although I find the software quite touchy and difficult to navigate. Once it's working, though, you don't really have to revisit it often anyway...

#23 Starhawk

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:00 AM

I tried starting a thread on this and didn't get any responses: is there a dome automation system which works well out if the box?

-Rich

#24 Starhawk

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:03 AM

And for clarification, I may have been bitten by the dome bug after seeing the exploradome at ASAE. But an ongoing voyage of discovery with automation routines doesn't sound like fun.

-Rich

#25 CarolG

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:03 PM

I bought an Exploradpme in 2008 and have the MaxdomeII system for dome rotation. The only adjustment I had a very small amount of trouble with was setting the number of rotation tics. The system has worked very well with no problems. I control it with MaximDL, and it has been great. I'm now in the middle of installing an automated shutter control with Maxdome II. At this point, I don't know how the shutter control software will work in Maxim DL. I'm still struggling with installing the hardware for the shutter control, because the installation for an older dome is a little different than for the newer domes. Dan, the owner of Exploradome, has been very good at walking me through the process. He provides excellent customer service.






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