I am excited to announce the DarkLight Cover/Calibrator, and its ASCOM ICoverCalibrator driver is now officially online and available.
The DarkLight Cover/Calibrator, known going forward as DLC, is a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) solution using an Arduino Nano, servo motor, and if desired, an Electroluminescent (EL) Panel. This device aims to act as a dust cover for remote telescope users, and a calibration panel if desired. With the DarkLight, fully compliant, ASCOM driver, the cover can be operated using the DLC Windows application or any automation software supporting the ICoverCalibrator driver in ASCOM v6.5 or newer.
While this device DOES NOT make the scope weatherproof, it is an excellent addition to any observatory to accomplish hands-off control of the cover. If elected, it can be expanded to include a hands-off dark/light calibration capability for astrophotography.
The application, Arduino firmware, driver, manual, and schematics are available on my SourceForge page.
There are currently two versions of 3D parts, which have been designed for the Takahashi FSQ-106N and the Explore Scientific ED102 Essential Series but may fit other telescopes depending on their size. The two variations will fit dew shields with an outside diameter of approximately 146.3mm and 156mm, respectively, and all files can be printed on beds that are at least 200 mm. The STL files also are located on the SourceForge site or available on Thingiverse.
See it in action here:
If you build one, please share a picture or two, I'd love to see it!