Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home pageAstronomics discounts for Cloudy Nights members
· Get a Cloudy Nights T-Shirt · Submit a Review / Article

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

Privacy Policy | Please read our Terms of Service | Signup and Troubleshooting FAQ | Problems? PM a Red or a Green Gu… uh, User

Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

Pages: 1 | 2 | (show all)
EricG
member


Reged: 06/05/11

Loc: Gatineau, Qc
Received my Explora-Dome
      #4646330 - 06/18/11 05:57 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.com/site/egastrophotography/home

Let me know if you have questions or comments.

Eric


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: EricG]
      #4646416 - 06/18/11 07:11 PM

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

David


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Bob Griffiths
Getting Grouchy
*****

Reged: 10/10/05

Loc: Frederick Maryland
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #4647087 - 06/19/11 08:17 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.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tim Gilliland
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/28/09

Loc: Sand Springs Okla.
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: Bob Griffiths]
      #4649379 - 06/20/11 03:36 PM

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

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
EricG
member


Reged: 06/05/11

Loc: Gatineau, Qc
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: Tim Gilliland]
      #4671512 - 07/03/11 10:58 AM Attachment (100 downloads)

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

Edited by EricG (07/03/11 11:00 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: EricG]
      #4671687 - 07/03/11 01:09 PM

....and it begins!!

David


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
quantumac
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/17/07

Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #4675043 - 07/05/11 11:20 AM

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

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
jmiele
Patron Saint?
*****

Reged: 12/04/10

Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: EricG]
      #4675614 - 07/05/11 05:16 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

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
EricG
member


Reged: 06/05/11

Loc: Gatineau, Qc
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: jmiele]
      #4676084 - 07/05/11 10:45 PM Attachment (85 downloads)

Quote:

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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: EricG]
      #4676189 - 07/05/11 11:45 PM

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

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Chris Schroeder
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/11/04

Loc: N.E. WI Sky Glow
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: EricG]
      #4676520 - 07/06/11 08:03 AM

Congratulations Eric!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Starman27
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: Chris Schroeder]
      #4676607 - 07/06/11 09:16 AM

Have fun Eric! Enjoy your observatory.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
EricG
member


Reged: 06/05/11

Loc: Gatineau, Qc
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: Starman27]
      #4696986 - 07/17/11 11:31 AM Attachment (92 downloads)

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

Edited by EricG (07/17/11 11:33 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
jmiele
Patron Saint?
*****

Reged: 12/04/10

Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: EricG]
      #4698338 - 07/18/11 02:00 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

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Chris Schroeder
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/11/04

Loc: N.E. WI Sky Glow
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: EricG]
      #4698532 - 07/18/11 08:17 AM

Looks great Eric

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
bob irvin
sage


Reged: 03/22/11

Loc: Greater Los Angeles, CA
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: EricG]
      #4701046 - 07/19/11 03:17 PM

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

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

bob


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Midwest Mark
member


Reged: 02/10/10

Loc: Southern Illinois
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: bob irvin]
      #4701211 - 07/19/11 05:08 PM

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

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
EricG
member


Reged: 06/05/11

Loc: Gatineau, Qc
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: bob irvin]
      #5504697 - 11/04/12 10:20 PM Attachment (43 downloads)

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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Aquarist
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: EricG]
      #5518685 - 11/13/12 08:57 PM

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

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
averen
Vendor Main Sequence Software
*****

Reged: 01/20/09

Loc: Austin TX
Re: Received my Explora-Dome new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5519347 - 11/14/12 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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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...

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | (show all)


Extra information
10 registered and 12 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  Christopher Erickson 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 4074

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics