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My NexDome rotates! Thanks to user RPINEAU

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#1 Mcaustin2004

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 10:11 PM

So if you have followed my past posts on NexDome you'd already know that I've had some trouble with NexDome.  Please see my previous posts for history.

 

This thread will go over the issues I had with the RK and the final elegant solution by cloudynights user rpineau(Images will be posted below this first post).

here's a quick summary:

May 2016-order placed thru telescopes.net. NexDome kit + rotation kit
Nov 2016-NexDome(ND) walls and dome received, no rotation kit(RK)
Feb-2017-rotation kit arrives, 7 months after I ordered it.
May 2017-rpineau sends the shield he designed.
June 2017-functional rotating dome.

 

Didn't quite work.  Figured out I had to install the arduino environment to get it to communicate to my PC, now I have connection to the controller, but it won't home or calibrate.  Followed ND recommendations for dip switches and installed the shareware driver fro, github.  Still won't work.  Opened up the controller box to find a mess of hot glue and wires.  Now I'm not an EE but, I know enough sense that hot glue isn't how wires should be secured(see photos).  I was surprised that for the $900 price tag, how poorly put together this controller was assembled.  I had sent ND a request for an RMA and was told to return the unit but to hold off shipping it for 2 weeks as they would not be in the office.  About then user rpineau contacted me and instructed me how to connect using a telnet program and send it Home and Calibrate commands.  It accepted the H command but the C command would always return errors.  He asked for an image of the wiring, I laughed and said to myself, he must mean the hot glue and wires.  He responded quickly saying that there was a wire connected to the wrong pin on the arduino board.  Now I thought I could just pull it out and place it in the correct pin.  Well, there was soooo much hot glue that it was impossible to re-insert the wore into the correct pin.  Now, rpineau sent me a design for a shield(or PCB) that could easily plug into the arduino and motor stepper.  I thought, why not? Why risk not getting the unit or a replacement for who knows how long.  So I went with rpineau's idea of a shield.  This would eliminate all the wires and ALL of the hot glue.  Problem was getting all the hot glue off the board.  I decided just so spend the $17 and order the same board off of Amazon.  rpineau sent me the shield, fit like a glove, better yet, it worked....kinda.  So after testing and testing, the thing couldn't find home.  It would just spin and spin.  Rpineau gave me lots of tips to try.  Turned out, the home sensor wasn't working.  It would randomly find home but not at the sensor.  Looked at the adapter jack closely, removed hot glue from inside the jack and then noticed that sloppy soldering was the culprit.  I had already ordered an new switch from Amazon.  Connected it and Viola!!! Home is found and it calibrated!  I couldn't wait to try it out with my mount,  Work got in the way of speedy testing so I finally tested it beginning of June with my mount using SGP to control the dome.  IT LIVES!!!!!! The dome rotated with the mount.  I did some quick slewing during the day.  Went to the sun, then some objects in different parts of the hemisphere.  The mount would move and after it slewed, the dome would move.  This is probably due to the driver and another user at SGP forum verified this is how his non-ND dome behaves but it slews together during a run sequence.  Now I just have to put it in a nice box.  Been waiting to try it out with an image run, but I'm only home on weekends and the clouds have found out my dome is operational so they've all come by to visit.

 

I have to give much appreciation and praise to rpineau as his shield design saved my rotation kit from a hot glue mess and sloppy soldering.  You'd be surprised how little it will be to add rotation capability to your dome using rpineau's solution and the github code.

 

Now, I will say the dome I like.  Yes I had issues with ND but the dome itself is a nice dome for the money and ND did make right the issues I had with the dome kit.  They did attempt to make it right with the RK but at that point I was done and decided a new path with the shield.  In my opinion, ND should have had a solution like rpineau to begin with, but decided to take short cuts.


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#2 Mcaustin2004

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 10:19 PM

Hot glue mess makes my RK controller useless.  Sloppy soldering shorts out the home sensor.

Attached Thumbnails

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#3 Mcaustin2004

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 10:22 PM

rpineau to the rescue.

The shield to fix all RK problems.  Just need to place it in a box.

Attached Thumbnails

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Edited by Mcaustin2004, 17 June 2017 - 10:24 PM.

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#4 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 10:27 PM

Yup. He's the man.


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#5 rpineau

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 11:41 PM

Thanks guys.

If anyone want some of these PCB I have a few in stock (with or without the component).

I'll publish the exact list of component here (I buy mine from mouser but once you have the reference you should be able to find them anywhere).

I had the new PCB made from dirtypcbs.com so they cost about $3 a piece, with the rest of the component the new PCB to replace the previous mess is really cheap (why is NexDome not doing this instead of the mess we see above).

Feel free to contact me if you want one )like if you're building your own rotation kit ;) ).


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#6 rpineau

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 11:58 PM

As promise the full component list :

 

Shield PCB : from me $3 (I factor in the shipping cost I had to pay).
I will open source the Eagle files (Need to build the page on my website) so contact me if you want them before the page is up.

 

Component for the shield :

3 position terminal block (1 per shield) : http://www.mouser.co...alkey845-30.703
2 position terminal block (3 per shield) : http://www.mouser.co...alkey845-30.702
1 Mohm resistors (3 per shield): http://www.mouser.co...ey279-YR1B1M0CC
Arduino pin header (1 per shield that you cut to the few ones that are needed) : http://www.mouser.co...y538-22-28-4320
6 Position header for stepper controller connection ( STL140/6 ) : http://www.mouser.co...alkey845-30.476
2 Position header for stepper controller connection ( STL140/2 ) : http://www.mouser.co...alkey845-30.472

 

component cost : $1.40 + 3x$1.04 + 3x$0.46 + $1.07 + $2.25 + $0.95 = $10.17 (+ $3 for PCB)

 

If you want to build the RK you also need these :

 

Stepper controller : $15 , this is the exact one they are using : https://www.amazon.c...e?ie=UTF8&psc=1
DFRobots Arduino Leonardo : $22 on average (can be find at lower prices).
XBee S1 (802.15.4) module : $25 , these are getting harder to find as XBee is replacing them with newer version. At some point I'll run some test with the newer version.
Stepper Motor : $72 , they use this one : http://www.phidgets....oduct_id=3333_0 . If you need more torque you can go bigger

 

stepperonline.com is also a good source for stepper motor. I recommend one with a gearbox to increase the torque ( http://www.omc-stepperonline.com/ )

 

 

That leaves the part that connect the motor to the dome. I would recommend using this :
http://www.explora-d...ck_Hardware.cfm

 

My goal is not to make money with this, just to help people if you don't have the skis to assemble the PCB (and have it made by a PCB house). I don't want to make this into a business, 

Regards, Rodolphe


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#7 GeneralT001

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 03:13 PM

As promise the full component list :

 

Shield PCB : from me $3 (I factor in the shipping cost I had to pay).
I will open source the Eagle files (Need to build the page on my website) so contact me if you want them before the page is up.

 

Component for the shield :

3 position terminal block (1 per shield) : http://www.mouser.co...alkey845-30.703
2 position terminal block (3 per shield) : http://www.mouser.co...alkey845-30.702
1 Mohm resistors (3 per shield): http://www.mouser.co...ey279-YR1B1M0CC
Arduino pin header (1 per shield that you cut to the few ones that are needed) : http://www.mouser.co...y538-22-28-4320
6 Position header for stepper controller connection ( STL140/6 ) : http://www.mouser.co...alkey845-30.476
2 Position header for stepper controller connection ( STL140/2 ) : http://www.mouser.co...alkey845-30.472

 

component cost : $1.40 + 3x$1.04 + 3x$0.46 + $1.07 + $2.25 + $0.95 = $10.17 (+ $3 for PCB)

 

If you want to build the RK you also need these :

 

Stepper controller : $15 , this is the exact one they are using : https://www.amazon.c...e?ie=UTF8&psc=1
DFRobots Arduino Leonardo : $22 on average (can be find at lower prices).
XBee S1 (802.15.4) module : $25 , these are getting harder to find as XBee is replacing them with newer version. At some point I'll run some test with the newer version.
Stepper Motor : $72 , they use this one : http://www.phidgets....oduct_id=3333_0 . If you need more torque you can go bigger

 

stepperonline.com is also a good source for stepper motor. I recommend one with a gearbox to increase the torque ( http://www.omc-stepperonline.com/ )

 

 

That leaves the part that connect the motor to the dome. I would recommend using this :
http://www.explora-d...ck_Hardware.cfm

 

My goal is not to make money with this, just to help people if you don't have the skis to assemble the PCB (and have it made by a PCB house). I don't want to make this into a business, 

Regards, Rodolphe

Hi rpineau,

 

Do you know if that Explora Dome track will work with the Nex Dome? If yes I would buy it and build my own with the parts you list above - mind you I am no electrical wiz either so would be posting here for HELP!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

 

Does anyone know how the Nex Dome track is held on? I see the Explora Dome used screws.



#8 rpineau

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 05:22 PM

I don't know if the Explora Dome track would work on a NexDome .. but that being said I don't see why they wouldn't.

They probably can be screwed on the dome (I never seen the "official" NexDome track, but I think they are also screwed to the dome).

 

Rodolphe


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#9 Mcaustin2004

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 10:19 AM

Nexdome track use 3M double sided industrial strength tape 



#10 guyroch

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 08:10 PM

Nexdome track use 3M double sided industrial strength tape 

Mine did not come with 3M industrial strength tape.  It came with less than adequate 2-way tape.  The track is about 1 inch wide.  The tape is about 1/2 inch wide.  Using the tape sent with my NexDome the track would come off every now and then.  I wend to Home Depot and bought 1 inch wide 3M 2-way tape and now the track seems to stay in place.


Edited by guyroch, 27 October 2017 - 08:11 PM.


#11 GeneralT001

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 08:21 PM

 

Nexdome track use 3M double sided industrial strength tape 

Mine did not come with 3M industrial strength tape.  It came with less than adequate 2-way tape.  The track is about 1 inch wide.  The tape is about 1/2 inch wide.  Using the tape sent with my NexDome the track would come off every now and then.  I wend to Home Depot and bought 1 inch wide 3M 2-way tape and now the track seems to stay in place.

 

Exactly what I did.




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