Jump to content


Photo

The Bone Yard

  • Please log in to reply
171 replies to this topic

#51 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 29 July 2013 - 10:09 PM

Ethernet works. Wired up the connectors and it's doing good :). Now I just need to get the 'flat' cable to connect it to my router. Electrician comes to hook up 120V tomorrow.

#52 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 31 July 2013 - 09:13 AM

Electricity was installed today. Total cost was $250. I can't believe I waited so long considering the extension cord I was using cost nearly 65 bucks...

If I could do it again I would've done this when I first built the shed.

#53 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 01 August 2013 - 10:05 AM

First pictures were gathered last night. My ethernet switch was one spot too short so I had to go out there at one point to reboot something. Otherwise, I wouldn't have needed to get in the shed at all.

#54 budman1961

budman1961

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1103
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2011
  • Loc: Springfield, MO

Posted 01 August 2013 - 03:59 PM

Thats fantastic Chris! Fully automated....how sweet is that. I can imagine in the winter time you will really enjoy your efforts!

Andy

#55 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 02 August 2013 - 12:00 AM

Thanks Andy, it's slowly coming together. Hopefully it'll make deployments a tad more interesting.

#56 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 05 August 2013 - 11:48 AM

Foster Systems Astro Alert and Roof Controller are installed. This was kind of trivial once I found the 'issues' with the setup. Here is the 'writeup' from another request-for-help that I posted in the equipment forums. I'm posting it here in case people are following my progression.

As requested and good ettiquette, here's the deal. First off, the 429 error was due to ASCOM 6 SP2 not being installed. I had installed SP1 but didn't realize the roof controller relied on SP2 (nor is it documented on their site). So that really threw me into a tizzy.

Second, they're currently working through some bugs with a new roll out of software. The software linked on their website is 'bad' and doesn't work. So, I contacted a fellow on their forums who is the resident expert (Todd Benko) by clicking on his name and it happens to let you email a person. The unfortunate thing about their forums is you can't actually post until 'approved' and after a few weeks my account still hasn't been approved. Apparently Stan is on vacation and that is what is driving the delays.

So, received the 'working' copies of the software and it worked just fine. The other issue was the prolific usb to serial convert that Stan uses. It's finnicky as most of us are aware. I would suggest either getting your own (my tripp lite worked great) or plan on having the device directly connected to your computer (a tad ridiculous) as it won't work through a hub.

The real solution is an older desktop with a serial port or three :).

BTW, this thing is awesome. Once i got the weather station up and running, it was easy to wire into my wall mount. Once that was complete it was completely capable of shutting the roof once I sprayed water at the sensor. I left it running all night and it even sent me a text when a thunderstorm was in the area to let me know that it was raining :).

Now I just have to figure out how to get the data on weatherunderground or something similar.

#57 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 11 August 2013 - 05:25 PM

Posted Image
Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
Continuing with the efforts to automate my roof and a few devices within the shed. First off, here is the Foster Systems AstroMC controller software.
Posted Image
Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr

It's configured to work with its weather station (astro alert) and I've hooked up a 'roof open', 'roof closed', and a 'at park' magnetic switches to it for closing the roof.
Posted Image
Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
Roof Closed
Posted Image
Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
Roof Open
Posted Image
Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
Mount Parked. Yes, this is 'enough' as the declination can be at any position and still be safe. It's strictly that the RA axis needs to be 90 off from the CWD.

Posted Image
Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
Flat Box 'on' via the PCA in the roof controller. I have it hooked up to AUX 1. I will also have my dew heater configured to trip at specific settings as well. Just haven't got it mounted yet.

Posted Image
Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
Flatbox 'off'. If you can see on the screen it shows off.
The only weird thing is the delay from when you hit the button to when it actually does the command. I assume that there is some timing going on with the serial communications that is inherent in the delay. It happens when opening and closing the roof as well.

Posted Image
Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
Power switch. This is a web enabled power switch that allows me to control each plug. It works great with just about everything you might want to control. The primary reason is my SBIG camera will just keep 'blowing' if I don't power it off at the end of the night. I also like to shut everything off but the computer and the roof.

Posted Image
Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
The other big change I did was to add some Anderson powerpoles for DC distribution. That led me to get a Powerrig 4005H for distributing power from my regulated power supply to the rest of my gear. It wasn't cheap, but I really wanted to fuse out my equipment 'just in case'. In addition, I went with some 4 way splitters on the scope itself (USB, focusers, and secondary cooler on the SBIG). It also is used for several of the ancillary devices such as the flat box, etc.

Posted Image
Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr

Anyways, you'll see that I have GFCI outlets and ethernet in the shed too. That was definitely the best addition I've done in awhile. It's nice not dragging an extension cord and 150' of ethernet cable to get a connection :).

#58 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 11 August 2013 - 06:55 PM

Posted Image
Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr

Forgot to add a picture of the weather station. I mounted it slightly above the roof line using a piece of 2x2. Everything is working except the anemometer; I'm not sure what the deal is as it's 'working' as it should but it doesn't seem that the weather station is registering it. Stan from Foster Systems is looking into it for me.

Chris

#59 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 13 August 2013 - 08:32 PM

Update on the weather station: I still don't have my anemometer working. But, I solved my weather station problem. I worked with Brian over at Weather Display to read the updated boltwood II format that the Astro Alert creates. His software will take the info as a stationless weather station and allows you to update WXUnderground among other websites. Pretty useful!

Check out: www.weather-display.com. You'll need the R70 or later version and include the even more updated .zip file a few files down to activate it. From there, you go to the Advanced Settings and you'll find Boltwood... turn it all on, point it at your OneLineData.txt and it'll do it's thing :).

http://www.wundergro...p?ID=KSDRAPID20

#60 Toml08

Toml08

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 76
  • Joined: 08 Jan 2011
  • Loc: Evergeen, CO

Posted 09 September 2013 - 07:48 PM

Chris, how has the web power switch worked for you? Looking to add that into my setup.

Thanks,
Tom.

#61 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 10 September 2013 - 11:14 AM

It does exactly what it says it will do. Very simple and works great. It does have some advanced features such as power monitoring and some scripting ability that I haven't really got around to using.

It was a pita to get started. Make sure you have a cross over cable on hand, it was the only way I could get it to talk to my network. All of this is in the manual though.

#62 Toml08

Toml08

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 76
  • Joined: 08 Jan 2011
  • Loc: Evergeen, CO

Posted 10 September 2013 - 11:46 AM

Thanks Chris, I appreciate the info.

CS,
Tom.

#63 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 12 October 2013 - 02:25 AM

Of note, I recently added a desktop computer to replace the laptops I've been burning through. The snow storm ate my poor laptop! So, the computers have been shifted to a better location where they'll stay dry even if snow forces its way into the shed (60 knot winds and 48" of snow...).

So I went looking for a cheap, low power alternative. I found an AMD A4 3.4 GHZ (dual core) as the basis for a HTPC from Toms Hardware. The parts on it are around 2 years old and compare favorably to the 'newer' A6 series. Total outlay for the case, power supply, motherboard, processor, serial card (star tech 2-port serial card), and memory was around 240 bucks on Amazon.

Only bummer is the battery backup no relies solely on a UPS. But, plugging in the serial devices and just having them work is awesome :)

#64 thesungazer

thesungazer

    Sungazer

  • *****
  • Posts: 1312
  • Joined: 06 May 2003
  • Loc: Maryland

Posted 12 October 2013 - 07:18 AM

That's a great find, Chris! You can always add a red backlit keyboard to increase the cool/geek factor even more.

http://www.ebay.com/...gaming-keyboard

Greg

#65 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 12 October 2013 - 12:24 PM

That would be cool :)

#66 Toml08

Toml08

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 76
  • Joined: 08 Jan 2011
  • Loc: Evergeen, CO

Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:42 AM

Chris sorry to hear about the laptops. Went the same way with the desktop and serial card make everything so much easier.

Be safe with all the weather you're getting,
Tom.

#67 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:49 PM

Thanks Tom, I appreciate it. Are you astrobin?

#68 BYoesle

BYoesle

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4863
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2004
  • Loc: Goldendale, Washington USA

Posted 16 October 2013 - 09:36 AM

Really great thread Chris giving me a lot of good ideas - thanks! :bow:

#69 Toml08

Toml08

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 76
  • Joined: 08 Jan 2011
  • Loc: Evergeen, CO

Posted 16 October 2013 - 10:02 AM

Chris, have a astrobin account but have not used it.

#70 csa/montana

csa/montana

    Den Mama

  • *****
  • Posts: 86120
  • Joined: 14 May 2005
  • Loc: montana

Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:03 AM

There's more inexpensive red backlit keyboards, you don't need a more expensive "gamer". I've had a red backlit keyboard for years; they can be found for around $40. Mine adjusts from high to low intensity, a really nice feature.

Here's several low priced illuminated keyboards. Link

I would definitely recommend a backlit keyboard for the observatory!

#71 JJK

JJK

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1873
  • Joined: 27 Apr 2008

Posted 16 October 2013 - 06:30 PM

Do any highly reliable PC laptop computers have illuminated keys (as do MacBook Pro laptops)?

#72 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 16 October 2013 - 10:36 PM

Carol,

You cost me more money... :) From paint brushes to keyboards, you're such a huge help.

Tom,
It's ok, I was just wondering if you had a central place for all your pictures?

Bob,
My only recommendation is to just do everything at once... this piecemail stuff is for the birds. I should've just automated the roof from the start.. added the weather station/roof controller. If you have the money that is. The other thing I'd do differently is make my pier bigger. It's good enough for widefield work, but I don't think I can do long exposure with the 12" on it.. I think my project next year will be to replace it with something sturdier. I think if I'd done like 4 6x6s bolted together.. that would've been enough 'mass'. 1 6x6 just isn't 'quite' adequate.

JJK, not that I know of :(. I went to a desktop recently actually. So far I've been really happy just 'VNCing' to my computer using an i-device if I need to be in the shed and have a screen, or using my indoor computers for direct access. The added benefit of having good serial ports that aren't via a USB converter can't be stressed enough... USB to serial converters give me heart stress! :)

#73 csa/montana

csa/montana

    Den Mama

  • *****
  • Posts: 86120
  • Joined: 14 May 2005
  • Loc: montana

Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:18 PM

Carol,

You cost me more money... From paint brushes to keyboards, you're such a huge help.




:lol: I just can't help myself. :grin:

#74 tim57064

tim57064

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1476
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2012
  • Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA

Posted 25 October 2013 - 07:18 AM

Chris, I had checked out your OBS thread way before I was finally given the okay to build mine. I cannot believe I had not commented on your OBS thread before now.

I love what you have done with it as far as using a garage door opener for opening and closing the roll off roof.
What you have done with operating everything remotely is what I would like to have for mine some time in the future.

Kudos to you for what you have accomplished.

#75 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 25 October 2013 - 08:32 AM

Thanks Tim! It's fun to have it all automated. I'm in the military, and it is nice to control it from wherever I end up :). No missed nights for me anymore.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics