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Virtual Observatory up and running

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#1 rimcrazy

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 10:27 PM

I am collecting all of the necessary electronics, software and hardware for my remote observatory. The building is essentially complete but the dome is on back order to be delivered late Dec/early Jan.

I wanted to get a head start putting everything together as their are a lot of things new to me as well as Murphy always works overtime. It's 40 degrees in the daytime and the high teens at night up in Overgaard where my observatory is located. Nice to set things up on the patio down here in Phoenix where it's a balmy 65 outside in the day. Having everything just a step on to the patio makes it really nice. Much easier to debug cables, connections, configurations, calibrations, etc., etc., etc. Once this is all debugged then moving to the actual location should go much smoother.

Here is the basic setup:
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UPS, Custom PC, Davis Weather Station Controller:
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Dome Controller, Power Supply, 1 of 2 motors with encoder riding on the wheels to give "effective" rotation:
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10" LX200 with SBIG ST-7XME and RoboFocus:
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Weather Station and Cloud sensor (not visible) on patio roof:
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Gad, starting this is like opening a bag of potato chips. Can't stop eating chips..... can't stop buying one more adapter, one more cable, one more nut or bolt or framis or some other silly thing I did not think about. Well, that's why I have the "breadboard", to ring it all out.

#2 rlandsboro

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 11:15 PM

Having it up and running is no small thing and must be very reassuring. Congrats!

#3 Starman27

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 11:32 PM

Great proof of concept.

#4 csa/montana

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:07 AM

Awesome setup! Great idea to setup & test everything, while it's so close & handy to work on! The only thing I'm wondering, is the weatherstation. Can't tell by the photo how close the higher roof is, but wonder if that taller roof may block wind, rain?

#5 rimcrazy

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:39 PM

It might be blocking things but that's not really an issue. It will all be moving up to Overgaard in a month or two so absolute accuracy is not an issue. On rain, I have to cover my telescope and move some of the electronics back under the patio roof. I'm most concerned about connections, how to work the software, getting the cable rigging figured out ahead of time and just getting experience on how to set it all up. I can easily simulate a power outage and then see if everything works like I programmed .... or not which I'm sure will be the case on a few things.

Here is the building. All done just waiting for the dome. My son has his own business in Phoenix so I'm getting the dome delivered there. We will do a pre-assembly there, get all the holes drilled, figure the fitting and such. Then, disassemble it and, weather permitting, I'll truck it up to the building. My contractor is going to finish the internal support shims on site and we will have a crane rented to do the heavy lifting. The pier is custom made and is about 8.5' high and close to 1000lbs. You don't lift that with a few friends and pay them with a few beers. ;-)

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#6 rlandsboro

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:49 PM

Greait start! What kind of dome are you getting?

#7 Calypte

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:53 PM

Overgaard -- one of my favorite places. We own a tiny bit of land east of Show Low. When the BYO guys were here last month, building my observatory, they told me they'd also built one previously in Overgaard.

#8 rimcrazy

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:32 PM

I have a 10' HomeDome on the way. I started thinking I wanted a ROR (You can see one of the two support piers in the ground just on the right). The project has escalated a bit from my original intent (all good) but there is a good chance my Meade 10" won't be around much more than 1-2 years and something more substantial would replace it. That coupled with we do get some hefty winds up there and should the newer instrument arrive, I would have real issues. With a dome, moderate winds should not be too much of an issue where with a ROR it would shut me down.

I know of the ROR you speak of. Edd has that and Scott put it up for him. He's about a 5 minute walk from my place. Edd has some VERY sweet toys in there!






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