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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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CMacD
super member


Reged: 01/23/12

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Remote and Robust! How do you do that? Generally. new [Re: CMacD]
      #5505382 - 11/05/12 12:39 PM

With all the talk of security cameras - we use this one at work and it is pretty awesome for about $100 - Foscam FI8910W. It allows for remote control with phone apps and is very good in low light conditions if you turn on the built in lights. I am seriously considering at least one of these and mount it somewhere that provides a good field of view.

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EricG
member


Reged: 06/05/11

Loc: Gatineau, Qc
Re: Remote and Robust! How do you do that? Generally. new [Re: CMacD]
      #5506037 - 11/05/12 09:46 PM Attachment (63 downloads)

I am documenting the building of my backyard observatory, so you may be interested in some of my documents. I attached the system architecture document to this post. You can find more documents here: sites.google.com/site/egastrophotography/Equipment

Note that I have not implemented everything that you'll see in the design documents. Also, this is my first time building an observatory, so I am learning as I go even though I did spend a lot of time researching before I started.

Eric


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CMacD
super member


Reged: 01/23/12

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Remote and Robust! How do you do that? Generally. new [Re: EricG]
      #5506081 - 11/05/12 10:23 PM

Quote:

I am documenting the building of my backyard observatory, so you may be interested in some of my documents.

Also, this is my first time building an observatory, so I am learning as I go even though I did spend a lot of time researching before I started.

Eric




Good job Eric. Looks like you have indeed done your homework. I will be lucky to produce a tenth of the documents you have created. On a good day I get a few scribbles on paper


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CMacD
super member


Reged: 01/23/12

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Remote and Robust! How do you do that? Generally. new [Re: CMacD]
      #5506702 - 11/06/12 11:20 AM

oops - The edited code segment got mangled.
Next post below

Edited by CMacD (11/06/12 11:47 AM)


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CMacD
super member


Reged: 01/23/12

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Remote and Robust! How do you do that? Generally. new [Re: CMacD]
      #5506745 - 11/06/12 11:46 AM

I woke up this morning thinking about this stuff. And since I think best in the morning I decided to write it down. Below is a higherarchy of the various systems that I think I will be employing based upon your feedback with risk and nessesity. The higher the number the more basic and reliable the operation. I think this is the way to do this - but please correct me if I am wrong
Code:
 
-------------------------------
[ Level 1 Atom Based PC #1 ]
[ Atom Based PC #2 ]
[ Primary Control ]

[ Level 2 Raspberry Pi (I/O) ]
[ System Health ]
[ Backdoor control ]

[ Level 3 Electrical interlocks ]
[ Independant systems ]

[ Level 4 Hard physical Stops ]

[ Level 5 Human Intervention ]

-------------------------------------------------------

Level 5 - Last fallback for saftey - a warm friendly body

Level 4 - Primary risk (high cost) - Damage to the corrector plate, hyperstar, and CCD
- Hard physical stops to prevent breakage from a runaway mount
- This may reck the mount but save the scope (Lesser of two evils)
- Hopefully we will never get here

Level 3 - Individual system's power will be interconnected to other systems through
electrical interlocks by way of limit switches with multiple contacts
- This system runs independant of higher order systems and takes control
- Primary purpose if tripped: Home the scope and close the roof
- Roof cannot open unless scope is parked
- Scope cannot power-on unless roof is open
- Limit switches engage before hard physical stop, rain sensor trips etc.
- Returns control to higher order systems after trippage
- This system should never fail (Very robust components - relays, switches)

Level 2 - Raspeberry Pi with I/O board
- Primary purpose: System health, backdoor into observatory over internet
- All limit switches auxilliary contacts connect here
- Temperature sensors, weather monitor
- Power cycling, environment/fan control (Through normally closed contacts)
- Single Foscam robotic security camera
- Web Server for observatory health/security with email warnings
- This system may fail but not be fatal

Level 1 - Multiple Atom based PC's
- Primary connectivity device (tightvnc)
- Primary telescope, CCD, webcam control
- Image processing etc.


Other Systems running in parallel and connected
- Battery backup/Primary power / Solar Panels (Self contained)
- tcp/wifi/router/hub/turbo-hub/internet (Maybe one device - but bootable)
- backdoor cellphone or other gps device (Location if stolen)



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JAT Observatory
NOT a Wimp
*****

Reged: 02/20/05

Loc: In the Primordial Soup
Re: Remote and Robust! How do you do that? Generally. new [Re: CMacD]
      #5506897 - 11/06/12 01:19 PM

Quote:


Good job Eric. Looks like you have indeed done your homework. I will be lucky to produce a tenth of the documents you have created. On a good day I get a few scribbles on paper




I would recommend you document your setup. It will help you later when you need to trouble shoot the system. Also keep a logbook. Start it now as Eric did in the planning session. Be sure to record things such as part numbers serial numbers, prices and where you purchased things. Trust me it will come in handy later.


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JAT Observatory
NOT a Wimp
*****

Reged: 02/20/05

Loc: In the Primordial Soup
Re: Remote and Robust! How do you do that? Generally. new [Re: CMacD]
      #5506898 - 11/06/12 01:19 PM

Quote:


Good job Eric. Looks like you have indeed done your homework. I will be lucky to produce a tenth of the documents you have created. On a good day I get a few scribbles on paper




I would recommend you document your setup. It will help you later when you need to trouble shoot the system. Also keep a logbook. Start it now as Eric did in the planning session. Be sure to record things such as part numbers serial numbers, prices and where you purchased things. Trust me it will come in handy later.


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averen
Vendor Main Sequence Software
*****

Reged: 01/20/09

Loc: Austin TX
Re: Remote and Robust! How do you do that? Generally. new [Re: JAT Observatory]
      #5507137 - 11/06/12 04:02 PM

Can you turn off the IR on that Foscam? Price seems nice but I couldn't find this on their site.

Thanks,
Jared


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CMacD
super member


Reged: 01/23/12

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Remote and Robust! How do you do that? Generally. new [Re: averen]
      #5507204 - 11/06/12 04:37 PM

Quote:

Can you turn off the IR on that Foscam?
Jared




Yep. It has a manual and auto option


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JustinO
member


Reged: 10/08/12

Re: Remote and Robust! How do you do that? Generally. new [Re: CMacD]
      #5507820 - 11/07/12 01:23 AM

As an exercise, start from scratch as though you had not invested any time or money yet, design the perfect system, then compare it and its costs to what you are planing now. There is a very good chance that the from scratch 'exercise' will be less costly.

Then there is the other side of the coin. When designing a system, it is always preferable to start with a somewhat smaller, working system, rather than creating a whole new system.

Just though I'd give you a couple mutually incompatible options.


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CMacD
super member


Reged: 01/23/12

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Remote and Robust! How do you do that? Generally. new [Re: JustinO]
      #5507960 - 11/07/12 06:18 AM

Quote:

As an exercise...
Just though I'd give you a couple mutually incompatible options.




Gee thanks


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CMacD
super member


Reged: 01/23/12

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Remote and Robust! How do you do that? Generally. new [Re: CMacD]
      #5515642 - 11/12/12 09:09 AM

Rain sensor? I can't say that I have ever seen a rain sensor before. How do they work exactly? Can they discriminate between a heavy dew and rain? Where would you buy something like that - or is this something that is readily fabricated? I would like to add one to my Level 3 system of independent sensors but have no clue where to start.

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CMacD
super member


Reged: 01/23/12

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Remote and Robust! How do you do that? Generally. new [Re: CMacD]
      #5516876 - 11/12/12 10:02 PM

Does anyone have any experience with the Hydreon Optical Rain Gauge? Apparently it can operate with very little power consumption and can be set to turn-on at a rain intensity threshold. It is also quite inexpensive at $59. They advertise as an observatory control device. Just wondering if anyone has heard of them before? $59 is a good deal if they are a reliable piece of hardware.

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StarmanDan
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/27/07

Loc: Deep in the heart of Texas
Re: Remote and Robust! How do you do that? Generally. new [Re: CMacD]
      #5517836 - 11/13/12 12:32 PM

That looks pretty clever! May just have to get one to play around with.

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