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NexDome User Experience

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#1 AJ132

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 12:30 PM

I am currently on the waiting list for a NexDome from Woodland Hills (expected to ship sometime around the end of April). While I am waiting for the Observatory to show up, I am curious how other owners of the NexDome are getting on with it and what their user experience has been? There are several postings about new setups available on the web, but not much in the way of actual user experience with the NexDome after it has been put into service. 

 

Has anyone one experienced any customer support issues with the NexDome? I know of one owner who had real problems getting a replacement shutter after it blew off and broke during a storm. I am curious if anyone else has experienced customer support issues?

 

I am particularly interested in the experience of those who have the rotation and shutter automation kits and how these have been working? Also if the open source ASCOM drivers for rotation and shutter are working as expected? Rotation and shutter automation are two of the primary reasons I choose the NexDome. My goal when I ordered this observatory was to be able to setup an imaging run in Sequence Generator Pro and have it run the sequence, park the mount and close up the dome at the end of the session without me needing to be there to baby sit. I choose a Dome over a ROR due to local light pollution issues (I live in a sub-division). The idea is that having the Observatory that is fully automated will greatly improve the utility of my imaging rig as I will be able to use it on nights when it would otherwise not be possible due to work commitments the next day.

 

It is always nice to hear from people with hands on experience, therefore any NexDome Owners out there who would like to share their experience here would be greatly appreciated. I am likely to stick with my NexDome order as I can't justify the next step up in price for a full automated observatory, but it would be nice to know what I can expect in the way of "real world" performance.

 

Thank you in advance for providing your knowledgeable feedback.

 

Clear Skies.
Andrew J



#2 5dave

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 01:21 PM

I will be closely following this thread, as I am thinking about purchasing this dome as well. Thanks for opening it.

 

:waytogo:  :imawake:



#3 lifesagrape

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 01:35 PM

Hi,

I have put my experiences with Nexdome here

https://www.ostahows...exdome-a-review

I have yet to install the dome rotation, hope to get to that soon.

 

Terry



#4 5dave

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 02:16 PM

Terry:

 

Thanks for putting up that link for your Nexdome review. Very enlightening and well done.

 

Dave



#5 Mcaustin2004

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 05:05 PM

I ordered the dome/rotation kit end of May 2016.  Received the dome mid November and just received the rotation kit Friday 2/17/2017.

the dome kit arrived with a wall cracked(not significant but if I'm buying something new, I want it defect free). The other walls all had the left corners cut off.  Again nothing to cause structural or weakness, but bad packing.  One dome panel also had a defect (hole) from the manufacturing process.  There was a lot of hardware missing and the instructions were a bit lacking.  Nexdome did replace the cracked and defective panels and gave me a cover for the inconvenience of the other panels being damaged.

it seems sturdy enough but a CGE-Pro, tripod, and with an 11 EdgeHD is testing the height threshold.

 

The RK came without any instructions/manual and there doesn't seem to be any on the web.  I decided to dry test it before I install it.  Again, because of the lack of install material you're left to figure it out.  At first I couldn't get the controller to be recognized by my system.  I had to install the arduino environment to get ports defined.  I now can get connection but no way to control the motor.  I have SGP and cannot get it to connect.  It looks like it connects via the stand alone ASCOM program, but doesn't seem to recognize the home position.  There is a sensor that is triggered by a magnet to either mark the home position, but it doesn't seem to stop the motor.  Not sure if it's because the plug isn't making contact due to amount of glue they used inside the box.  The plug wouldn't go in until I used some force unlike a regular headphone jack where it clicks to ensure insertion.  I would say it's far from the plug and play description they use.  Also almost installed the track around the interior but when I looked at an image on the web when I went to download the drivers, I saw that the home sensor is under/behind the track so, again, this is where install instructions would come in handy.  If I'm left to try and find images on the web to see how things go together, then the product isn't ready and should not have been allowed to be sold.

just my 2 cents.



#6 Mcaustin2004

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 05:07 PM

I had ordered it thru telescopes.net as well.  At one point they told me maybe I should have waited to make the purchase.  That should tell you enough about the market readiness of Nexdome.



#7 Mcaustin2004

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 09:12 AM

So i was able to finally connect to the nexdome controller using SGP, however the dome rotates when it should be home and stops when its not.  Im not sure but there is an arduino update that may need to be uploaded to the board along with some motor libraries. Also, it calls for a wiring change.  I emailed Nexdome and will wait for their response.


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#8 AJ132

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 03:51 PM

Terry, thank you for sharing the link. Actually had already visited your site and recall that I partially based my decision to order the Nexdome based on your experience.

I didn't see it mentioned on your site if you using either the dome rotation kit or the automatic shutter kit? Do you have any experience with either of these addons?

#9 AJ132

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 03:55 PM

Mcaustin, thank you for the great feedback. Really nice to hear from someone with hands on experience. I will be watching this post closely to see if you are able to get the dome and shutter working correctly.
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#10 Mcaustin2004

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 09:46 PM

AJ132, I received an email from Babak and he had the guy writing the code for the RK and he gave me some very good instructions.  I do get the feeling that they are very sincere in my satisfaction of the product.  The dome survived the storms this weekend with my CGE-Pro inside(me checking every 30min that the dome was still there bitting my nails).

its very sturdy.  I hope t have the RK fully installed this weekend and up and running, if not then my next chance is the first weekend in March.



#11 AJ132

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 09:56 AM

Hi Mcaustin. Thanks for the update and it is great to hear that the NexDome can withstand some sever weather. Having feedback on how these Domes operate and withstand the elements in the real world is really helpful. I will be eagerly awaiting your report on how the RT kit install went. Also, very encouraging that your customer support experience has been positive.

 

My Nexdome will house an AP Mach1 with an EdgeHD 1100. Which I think its about the same size as your setup. I hope everything will fit. I had a custom made pier built pier to be 42" high. I may have to have it cut down to a shorter height if it is too tall for the dome.

 

I will be traveling the next week or so and may not be able to respond to post, but I will be checking back upon my return.

 

Thanks again for sharing your experience.

 

Andrew J



#12 AJ132

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 01:56 PM

Mcaustin/Others.

 

Another question I had that maybe you can help me with is if the door for the Nexdome is fairly secure? I know it is made of plastic so I suppose someone determined enough will be able to get in. That said, I am curious if it is relatively secure with the door closed and locked? How secure do you feel leaving your equipment in the dome for an extended period of time? I plan on getting an Internet Camera to watch over the dome and mine will be sitting in my backyard about 30 feet from my house, so I am not too worried about someone breaking in, but thought I would ask the question anyway. 

 

Thanks again for the feedback.

 

Andrew J


Edited by AJ132, 10 March 2017 - 01:57 PM.


#13 Mcaustin2004

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 06:16 AM

Like you said, if someone is determined they'd get thru the door.  There is a gap so it doesn't seal all the way, but enough to keep things dry when it rains(and it's been raining a lot here in Texas, so much I haven't been able to do anything really since Dec).

i have been keeping my CGE-Pro in there just to be ready when I have a clear weekend.  I wouldn't worry too much about the door, but the shutter(if you don't have a good way to secure it.  Someone could open the shutter and then rotate the opening towards the door and get more leverage on the locking mechanism.  Also, the screws for the handle face the outside so, all that will be needed is a philips screwdriver.  The door is really made to keep things out and act as a deterrent rather than security.  I looke at it this way.  If someone breaks into my obs and if they don't know what a CGE-Pro mount is, they may have trouble dismantling it easy enough to move it out of the obs.  I keep all my other equipment(scopes, cameras, etc.) in the house.

I have a home automation system(SmartThings) and have put a motion sensor in the dome that would alert me to any movement and trigger a siren when I am not home or when in a certain mode.  I also have security cameras around the house that cover the area where my obs is located(about 40-50ft from the house.


Edited by Mcaustin2004, 12 March 2017 - 06:18 AM.


#14 Mcaustin2004

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 06:26 AM

Update on the RK:

 

so I finally was able to install the track and the motor. 

Works when I physically toggle the switch.  I need to get a slimmer nut for the home sensor to secure it down and to keep the magnet that activates it from catching it and ripping it off as it goes by.

I can connect to the RK via my computer and the ASCOM POTH protocol(peer the instructions) but that's about it.  No rotation, no calibration, nothing.  Emailed the guy writing on the code and hopefully will have something by next weekend.


Edited by Mcaustin2004, 12 March 2017 - 06:28 AM.


#15 Full Sun

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 07:26 PM

 I want to give NexDome a bit of "a plug", which I have been intending to do for awhile but it has been a particularily eventful week -weather wise, here in the Niagara area of Southern Ontario. We have experienced what I would call extreme  windy conditions just a few days ago. When I say that I am talking about two of my neighbors trees damaged, one split apart, another down and uprooted, houses in the area lost shingles and tree branches distrbuted all over the neighborhood. In other words, winds that were said to have hit 110 kms an hour. No problems to report with the Dome though I lost some sleep listening to every wind  gust, and checking for signs of damage throughout the night. There was none. Now we just went through another weather event. As you may have heard with the latest NE storm, we here also experienced over 24 inches of snow coming down in continuos motion for 48 hours. This was a real old fashioned winter storm,the likes we have not had here for decades. Again, no problem with the dome.

 I had two of the shutters blow off in an incident last fall and have been carefull to make sure the lips are under all four wheels which I wasn't careful about before. I also place two quality bungie cords afixed over the both top sets of wheels horizontally across the two main sliding shutters to prevent the wind to get underneath them. This operation takes me no more than two minutes and I am sure this have helped maintain the most vulnerable part of the orb. Also, I really have to say as well, that I have not discovered a drop of rain in the dome, and it has gone through  some vigorous rain systems over the past year. All in all I am very pleased with it,as it greatly enhances the enjoyment of the hobby ...Ok there,is some backyard light pollution, but still...

 Jerry


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#16 Raginar

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 07:30 PM

Thanks jerry! That's awesome.

#17 guyroch

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 07:54 PM

 I want to give NexDome a bit of "a plug", which I have been intending to do for awhile but it has been a particularily eventful week -weather wise, here in the Niagara area of Southern Ontario. We have experienced what I would call extreme  windy conditions just a few days ago. When I say that I am talking about two of my neighbors trees damaged, one split apart, another down and uprooted, houses in the area lost shingles and tree branches distrbuted all over the neighborhood. In other words, winds that were said to have hit 110 kms an hour. No problems to report with the Dome though I lost some sleep listening to every wind  gust, and checking for signs of damage throughout the night. There was none. Now we just went through another weather event. As you may have heard with the latest NE storm, we here also experienced over 24 inches of snow coming down in continuos motion for 48 hours. This was a real old fashioned winter storm,the likes we have not had here for decades. Again, no problem with the dome.

 I had two of the shutters blow off in an incident last fall and have been carefull to make sure the lips are under all four wheels which I wasn't careful about before. I also place two quality bungie cords afixed over the both top sets of wheels horizontally across the two main sliding shutters to prevent the wind to get underneath them. This operation takes me no more than two minutes and I am sure this have helped maintain the most vulnerable part of the orb. Also, I really have to say as well, that I have not discovered a drop of rain in the dome, and it has gone through  some vigorous rain systems over the past year. All in all I am very pleased with it,as it greatly enhances the enjoyment of the hobby ...Ok there,is some backyard light pollution, but still...

 Jerry

Hi Jerry,

 

I was wondering if you would post pictures of how you set your bungie cords to keep everything secure.  I'm just about to install my Nexdome and this seems like a good idea.

 

Guylain



#18 Mcaustin2004

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 04:14 PM

well, Harvey still got me.  Winds in Austin must've been pretty strong that my shutter got blown off.  I was on vacation during the storm and luckily only had a tripod inside the dome.  Got back this week, 9-11 to half the shutter hanging off the dome.  It looks like the only damage are some cracks and a few small broken off pieces on the sides.  I think the shutter is still usable and can make do.  I did talk to Babak and they have done some redesign of the shutter to make it a bit more wind proof, but at $150+shipping for each piece, I think I'll be able to live with some cracks.  I'll just be utilizing some lock down measures from now on.



#19 GeneralT001

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 06:01 PM

Hi,

 

Please tell me more about the RK. Do you have it working? I have a dome/ring and am interested in getting the dome rotation kit. Has any instructions been written up?

 

 

Thanks


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#20 Mcaustin2004

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 02:20 PM

Yes I have/had it working thanks to Rpineau 

I have to repair my shutter and am looking to redo the platform.

if you can find a track, the RK will be cheaper if you build it yourself.

if you go that route I can tell you what the parts you need.



#21 GeneralT001

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 06:07 PM

Hi,

 

Any idea where to find a track?



#22 GMcFall

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 01:54 PM

Hi, I've been following this post and would like to say, I have had my NexDome for about 1 1/2 years now and it is working great. I assembled the whole thing by myself (except for lifting the dome itself). I'm considering adding the rotation kit. Looking at the NexDome webb site, it looks like they have a new design and complete installation manual. Does anybody have any experience with the new design?  It appears to be one complete unit ready to mount on one of the supports. I'm going to contact them next week.

Thanks.

Gary



#23 Ron in Michigan

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Posted 29 May 2019 - 12:04 PM

I love mine (2 years) and shutter and rotation kits.  Hasn't been easy - lots of new product issues. But finally latest 2.11E drivers and firmware are really nice.

 

AND Tim Long is doing an official (paid by NexDome) release very soon. I'm a tester... it's near.  And will help simplify the confusion out there with the various versions and drivers.



#24 Ron in Michigan

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Posted 29 May 2019 - 12:06 PM

PS we have a active facebook group. Join us.

I have used teamviewer several times to log into new nexdome owners systems to update firmware and drivers. I just did it for a guy in Quebec and only speaks French and I only speak english.  Was rewarding. = )


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#25 Eliserpens

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 09:32 AM

Could someone please let me know whether it is essential to motorize the dome and shutter?  Also, it seems that NEXDOME had a lot of customer issues with delivery and quality.  Are there any recent purchasers that can comment on whether there have been any improvements?

thanks

Elise




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