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Garage door openers and safety

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#1 Raginar

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 09:30 AM

Hey guys,

So I dumped the used belt drive and went with a screw drive as recommended by the Sky Shed guys. It works like a charm (it's a tad more intense to put up... see the last picture of the NASA shed's in their tutorial, that's what I had to do and lower my middle beam)!

So, how do you guys make 'sure' it doesn't close on your scope? I've seen the foster system with glint tape and a different type of sensor. Do you guys have any other creative ways to handle it?

Thanks,
Chris

#2 Footbag

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 10:35 AM

Which garage door opener did you go with?

I was just beginning my research on openers and the screw drive seems like the way to go. The ones you can close via a PC or smartphone app see very cool.

#3 Raginar

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 10:47 AM

Adam,

Dude, there is only one as they say :). The Genie 900 series powerlift is pretty much the only one on the market at this point. They sell them at Menards and Home Depot I beleive (not available on Amazon as far as I could find). I used 1 extension kit to make it move my roof so that it reached the wall of my shed... If I wanted it to roll completely off, it would've took two extension kits. Wayne at Skyshed told me he didn't recommend more than 3 extension kits.

Genie doesn't have a MyQ feature as far as I've found; but, I don't see why the Chamberlain-made device wouldn't work with it. It just replaces your wired controller for the mount and that's just a 'push' switch with no logic talking to the GDO as far as I can tell. If you go that route, they sell them for 80 bucks on Amazon.

I guess my big put on this is to just do their way :). The other is that if you have a skyshed based on the original plans, you may need to modify your supports for the roof (when rolled off) to make it fit. If you follow their instructions and look at the end, you'll see what I'm talking about. I needed an extra 4x4 to make it work and I had to lower the lateral support beam between the feet. Their instructions for their demo shed look easier but I didn't feel like re-doing my legs.

If you have any questions, just send me a PM and we can email about it.

#4 Footbag

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 10:55 AM

Adam,

Dude, there is only one as they say :). The Genie 900 series powerlift is pretty much the only one on the market at this point. They sell them at Menards and Home Depot I beleive (not available on Amazon as far as I could find). I used 1 extension kit to make it move my roof so that it reached the wall of my shed... If I wanted it to roll completely off, it would've took two extension kits. Wayne at Skyshed told me he didn't recommend more than 3 extension kits.

Genie doesn't have a MyQ feature as far as I've found; but, I don't see why the Chamberlain-made device wouldn't work with it. It just replaces your wired controller for the mount and that's just a 'push' switch with no logic talking to the GDO as far as I can tell. If you go that route, they sell them for 80 bucks on Amazon.

I guess my big put on this is to just do their way :). The other is that if you have a skyshed based on the original plans, you may need to modify your supports for the roof (when rolled off) to make it fit. If you follow their instructions and look at the end, you'll see what I'm talking about. I needed an extra 4x4 to make it work and I had to lower the lateral support beam between the feet. Their instructions for their demo shed look easier but I didn't feel like re-doing my legs.

If you have any questions, just send me a PM and we can email about it.


Thanks for the info. I may E-mail you when I get closer to buying it. Siding, roofing, then I'm working on the inside. I cannot wait.

I have been staring at the roof thinking it may be more difficult then I first though. But hey, what's a few hours of chin scratching.

#5 Raginar

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:15 AM

You're doing angle iron and casters right? The hardest part is going to make sure you align everything correctly. That's a lot of wheels to get correct :)

The nice thing about commercial garage door material is it has some 'play' to it.

#6 Footbag

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:48 AM

You're doing angle iron and casters right? The hardest part is going to make sure you align everything correctly. That's a lot of wheels to get correct :)

The nice thing about commercial garage door material is it has some 'play' to it.



The casters are already aligned on the track and working well. I was concerned about the 1/64th tolerance, but since the axles had almost 1/4" of play I put that concern to rest.

I'm getting a little squeaking that developed this morning, but I'm fairly certain it's just wood on wood rubbing. I should be able to fix it with some sand paper. Or maybe some drawer glide grease.

#7 Raginar

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 12:08 PM

The axles are what made it easy for me too. Apparently I'm not that good of a carpenter! :) I had some wood on wood issues as well. If you get too large of a chunk, it's usually nothing a chisel can't handle :).

#8 Raginar

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 01:05 PM

And to clarify, I'm asking how you ensure your telescope isn't hit by the roof closing. In my case, if my tube is in its CWD (counterweight down) position, it's just a few inches too high and could be hit.

I'm wondering what solutions you've come up with.

Thank you

#9 Footbag

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 01:33 PM

I think what you are looking for as far as a sensor is called a curtain sensor. They are installed on elevators frequently. I don't know about garage doors or observatories or how to make them adapt.

My walls are pretty high. I don't think my current SCT will reach out. Maybe if I ever get a large refactor.

#10 Raginar

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:01 PM

Someone at my job had an interesting idea. We have special IR reflective tape (glint tape) that we use for various purposes. He suggested that I put the two sensors so that they can view the 'home' position and apply a piece of glint tape so that it would reflect the ir beam back to the sensor. If the tape isn't there... no reflection. If it is, you win.

Apparently no one worries about this besides me.

#11 jaddbd

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 06:52 PM

Chris,

That is exactly how I have mine set up. I have a bike reflector attached with Velcro on the back of my OTA or camera (depending on which scope I have riding) and a wall mounted sensor (a foster 'at park') that projects and receives a red beam of red light. The beam and reflector are positioned so that the reflection is only returned when the scope is in the safe park position. The roof will not open or close (when controlled by the computer) unless the scope is parked and the sensor is receiving the reflected beam of light back to it. The garage door remote is not affected by this sensor so I leave the battery out of it garage remote control so no one can accidently move the roof when it is unsafe.

Be aware that the garage door circuit only provides protection when the door is closing. You can crash your scope opening or closing the roof - thus the need for a controller like the Foster (in addition to the sensor) which breaks the circuit both ways.

John D

#12 Lorence

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 07:09 PM

Be aware that the garage door circuit only provides protection when the door is closing. You can crash your scope opening or closing the roof - thus the need for a controller like the Foster (in addition to the sensor) which breaks the circuit both ways.


Doesn't it make more sense to design the observatory so that there can not be a collision between the telescope and the roof? It's more work and it increases cost but when I look at others trying to solve a problem that could have been avoided in the first place I just shake my head.

#13 jaddbd

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 08:57 PM

Doesn't it make more sense to design the observatory so that there can not be a collision between the telescope and the roof? It's more work and it increases cost but when I look at others trying to solve a problem that could have been avoided in the first place I just shake my head.


That would be nice, but in my case not practical. My largest rig stands well over 8 feet high in the AP park3 position (CW down), the gables pretty much had to be on the East and the West sides since I am on a 10 percent North South grade and the roof had to open (slope side first) to the North given the topography. Using a dedicated roof controller that integrates directly into my Session software works fine for me. The software automatically issues a park command before a roof command and the roof command will not execute until the sensor detects a parked mount.

John D

#14 Raginar

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 09:04 PM

Lorence,

That is a great suggestion. Shed's already built and the pier is already in place though. As Jason stated, there are reasons not to build your mount so that it's always below the ROR. My personal reason was to min-max the amount of visible sky I have without doing something wonky like drop sides. That would've made my current conundrum easily solved though :).

John, how do you guarantee your scope is out of the way?

#15 Raginar

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 10:45 PM

And... my glint tape totally worked. The downside to it was readily apparent however. What does a garage door opener do when it detects something breaking it's link? It opens! I really need it not to move at all...

Argh :)

#16 jaddbd

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 12:33 PM

John, how do you guarantee your scope is out of the way?


The ASCOM roof driver does that. The park position for my mount is Alt 4, Az 170 which puts the OTA pointing just above the horizon to the south. The reflector is mounted on the rear of the OTA and the sensor is on the North wall directly opposite the reflector on the rear of the OTA. If the ASCOM roof driver does not get a return from the reflector then the 'atpark safeloop' is disengaged and the roof won't move. The roof has alarm type magnetic sensors do detect if the roof is in the open position, closed position or 'midway'.

ASCOM roof driver screen:

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#17 jaddbd

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 12:37 PM

Sensor on the North Wall:

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#18 jaddbd

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 12:39 PM

Reflector on the back of the OTA (attached to the back of the top rail). The OTA is in the 'Safe' at park position:

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#19 Raginar

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 11:26 AM

Yea, I think a Fosters System is in my future. I was looking at home automation equipment to see if I could hack together something. But, they all cost about that amount.

The only cool thing about the home automation hardware is that it can use data from websites such as NOAA weather reports. Who needs a cloud sensor when you can use the METAR from the local airport?

I wonder if I could use the garage door sensor.. I imagine they're the same thing.

I did come up with an interesting solution to this that everyone might want
to hear. I'm in the military and we have these pieces of IR reflective material
that are worn on various parts of our uniform. I had some extra from a previous
deployment and velcroed them to my mount in the 'home' position. Then, I
stacked the sensors side by side with just a little angle between then so it
'reflects' from the transmitting side to the receiving side. When the mount
isn't in it's proper position, it won't work and will remain closed.

The only downside to this is that it only works when you're opening the roof.
Garage door openers only provide protection against the door closing and do not
take into account someone walking across the beam when it's opening. I wish it
went both ways... still, 50% protection for the cost of some velcro and 'glint'
tape (maybe 2 bucks) is not too shabby.






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