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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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gillmj24
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 12/06/05

Loc: PA
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: averen]
      #5520072 - 11/14/12 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.

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Peter L.
super member


Reged: 04/19/08

Loc: PEI, Canada
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: gillmj24]
      #5520800 - 11/15/12 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...

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: Peter L.]
      #5520863 - 11/15/12 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


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5520868 - 11/15/12 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


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CarolG
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/16/06

Loc: Oklahoma
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5521831 - 11/15/12 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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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: CarolG]
      #5524083 - 11/17/12 10:25 AM

Carol,

Thanks for the feedback on the Maxdome II controller. I was starting to wonder if I had might as well breadboard my own.

-Rich


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EricG
member


Reged: 06/05/11

Loc: Gatineau, Qc
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: averen]
      #5526543 - 11/18/12 06:07 PM

Jared,
The original system had faulty components/soldering and was incorrectly wired. The dome would rotate in one direction only and the manual switch was defective. I also found the software interface design to be poor. After returning the equipment for repairs, the system was still not working so I exchanged it for the MaxDome system, which has been robust so far.
If you go with MaxDome, here is some info:
-There seems to be an issue with the interface between MaxDome and the AAG CloudWatcher; the shutter closes randomly when connected to CloudWatcher and I do not know what the cause is yet.
-For the rotation system on the 8' dome, the number of "tics" that worked best for me is 98 as it provided sufficient azimuth resolution for proper homing and pointing.
-My MaxDome azimuth controller box from Explora-Dome did not come with a manual switch, which is not an issue for me but may be a requirement for you. The MaxDome card itself has an input for manual control, so Explora-Dome or yourself could add the manual switch if required.

Overall, integration of the MaxDome into the observatory has been straightforward. The CloudWatcher issue still needs to be resolved however.

Eric


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Megabusa
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/28/12

Loc: Page ,AZ
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: EricG]
      #5526809 - 11/18/12 08:45 PM

Quote:

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


Eric I got to ask, I'm looking at your WOOD base Plate mounted on top your Pier, I was thinking about using Wood myself, Did you use wood to Isolate from Elc ground

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EricG
member


Reged: 06/05/11

Loc: Gatineau, Qc
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: Megabusa]
      #5528650 - 11/19/12 07:34 PM




Eric I got to ask, I'm looking at your WOOD base Plate mounted on top your Pier, I was thinking about using Wood myself, Did you use wood to Isolate from Elc ground




Actually, I used wood as it is easy to work with and it was meant to be a temporary solution. Using wood also made it easy to install the support for the East bias pulleys. Eventually, I would like to replace it with a metal plate, as I am afraid the wood plate will cause the polar alignment to change with the seasons (Canadian climate), but I have not measured the changes in polar alignment to confirm this.
Eric


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Megabusa
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/28/12

Loc: Page ,AZ
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: EricG]
      #5529027 - 11/19/12 10:44 PM

Thank you for the Reply

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