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Time to think about a powered roof again.

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8 replies to this topic

#1 Calypte

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 11:49 PM

My ROR was built in 2012 by BYO.  I shoulda had them install the roof motor at the time.  I didn't.  I can't say what possessed me to pinch pennies in the last lap.  I've been content to open the roof by pushing with my legs on a cinder block at the base of the south wall.  Occasional thoughts of buying the motor kit have always run aground on my fundamental disbelief that any rack-and-pinion mechanism or converted garage door opener would actually be capable of moving the roof, which must weigh at least 1000 lbs.

 

Things have changed.  I seriously broke my right tibia on Jul 2.  It was repaired with a titanium rod through the tibia and screwed to the bone.  Although I'm confident that my leg will eventually return to usefulness, I consider my days of pushing the roof open with my legs to be over.  

 

So I'm looking for advice from those who've been down this path, particularly those who own BYO observatories and who understand the standard home-construction style used by Scott.  Whatever I get, it will have to be installed by someone else.  I can probably get local help, since there are many handymen here in Anza, but I want to be sure I get the best kit to move this heavy roof.

 

In answer to an obvious question: yes, I've sent a message to Scott Horstman.  We'll see what he says.  But I'm going to have to consider my options.



#2 kolsen

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 09:27 AM

Calypte, I thought the same about my roof.  It was too big and too heavy and it took quite an effort for me to open it manually. No way would an electric motor open this thing.  But these motors are strong, I was amazed how easy the roof opened after installing an Aleko opener.  I would think a garage door opener has the same strength. 



#3 nimitz69

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 10:47 AM

do a search here as I’ve seen at least 2 people who’ve done it and their roof’s where heavier than 1,000 lbs



#4 physics911

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 11:39 AM

Also keep in mind it's not the weight of the roof that matters it's the force required to open it. It is proportional based on friction but you can add more wheels or better wheels or variety of things that will make it roll more smoothly. But to echo what the others have said the Aleko motors are strong. If you follow my post my roof is light but I can tell the motors have a lot of torque. The one thing I might consider doing differently in retrospect is using a chain drive instead of rack and pinion.

#5 zach540

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 03:13 AM

Also keep in mind it's not the weight of the roof that matters it's the force required to open it. It is proportional based on friction but you can add more wheels or better wheels or variety of things that will make it roll more smoothly. But to echo what the others have said the Aleko motors are strong. If you follow my post my roof is light but I can tell the motors have a lot of torque. The one thing I might consider doing differently in retrospect is using a chain drive instead of rack and pinion.

Why is that?  



#6 CharlesW

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 10:05 AM

If BYO can’t or wont do the job you might try Craig Drake. He is a general contractor and the default observatory builder up at GMARS and does excellent work. He lives in Landers and may charge some serious windshield time to get up to Anza. Contact Riverside Astronomy if you are interested. 



#7 physics911

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 06:21 PM

Zach540,

A rack and pinion system is solid and relatively quiet....... once you get it tuned. 

The issue is that the tolerance for the rack engaging into the gear is about 6 to 8 mm (roughly 1/4").  

Meaning, if over the distance of movement of your roof, say 3m (10 ft), you have to have a sideways tolerance of 6 to 8 mm before the rack becomes disengaged from the gear.  

Again, once you get it tuned, it works great, but I spent probably 3 or 4 hours one day making sure my v-tracks were absolutely parallel so the rack wouldn't jump off the gear. 

 

Chris



#8 Calypte

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 10:08 PM

I contacted Scott Horstman, and -- to my surprise -- he responded right away, and we had several exchanges.  So we're at the point where I told him I was ready to buy his motor kit.  I haven't heard from him since.  The price he quoted is different from the price on the website, and I need clarification before I do anything.  It'll be Monday before I can move any money anyway.

 

Scott insists that my concern about the weight of the roof vs the power of the motor is an unwarranted worry.  I also have a problem with the beam on the roof jamming on the top frame member of the drop-down rear wall.  I thought one of the pieces was going to have to be planed off, but he insists that some screws inserted in the right spots on the beam on the rolling roof will solve the problem.  I gather that I'm not the first person to have had this problem. 

 

Thank you everyone for your replies.  I'll keep in mind the GMARS guy.



#9 Greyhaven

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 11:03 AM

My ROR was built in 2012 by BYO.  I shoulda had them install the roof motor at the time.  I didn't.  I can't say what possessed me to pinch pennies in the last lap.  I've been content to open the roof by pushing with my legs on a cinder block at the base of the south wall.  Occasional thoughts of buying the motor kit have always run aground on my fundamental disbelief that any rack-and-pinion mechanism or converted garage door opener would actually be capable of moving the roof, which must weigh at least 1000 lbs.

 

Things have changed.  I seriously broke my right tibia on Jul 2.  It was repaired with a titanium rod through the tibia and screwed to the bone.  Although I'm confident that my leg will eventually return to usefulness, I consider my days of pushing the roof open with my legs to be over.  

 

So I'm looking for advice from those who've been down this path, particularly those who own BYO observatories and who understand the standard home-construction style used by Scott.  Whatever I get, it will have to be installed by someone else.  I can probably get local help, since there are many handymen here in Anza, but I want to be sure I get the best kit to move this heavy roof.

 

In answer to an obvious question: yes, I've sent a message to Scott Horstman.  We'll see what he says.  But I'm going to have to consider my options.

My observatorywas built in 2013 ony a 8'x10' and when I was 63 rolling it on and off was no great deal. Now as I stare 69 in the eyes its just not the same. I retro-fitted the Cider House Observatory with the Rack and Pinion set up last week single. I was working single handed suffering from congestive heart failure and lung issues, Here's  a video showing  the results      The unit I used will handle 1400 lbs racks sold separately. Good Luck!

Grey


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