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the OnCue Obserservatory Control System (D.I.Y.)

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#1 Paul Romero

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 06:34 PM

Hi all,

   Having been fighting the obselesence of my circa 2007 Foster Systems control board, I have found a DIY solution for both observatory control.. My interest is the observatory control athttp://www.stellarjo...rvatory_control called OnCue OCS Observatory control system. I cannot find any info on cloudy nights for this system, but it is the direction I've chosen to go, as the alternatives are zero support/hundreds of dollars or great support/thousands of dollars.

Has anyone got any tips or user links to step by steps for this Arduino board based system?

Clear Skies!

Paul



#2 vidrazor

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 07:25 PM

Doesn't Ekos supply full observatory control and automation? I believe NINA is also working towards that end.



#3 kathyastro

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 07:43 PM

I haven't used that one, but my system is 100% DIY, Aduino-based, with ASCOM control.  DIY will keep you busy for a while, but at least you can fix it if it breaks.


Edited by kathyastro, 19 September 2021 - 07:44 PM.


#4 Paul Romero

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 08:40 PM

Hi vidrazor et all,

 

 

I believe there is a walk around for EKOS and INDI on a Windows based server system at the mount. I think it is either ASCOM remote control with some sort of add on program.

 

The system I ordered is an Aduino (sic?) board and relays. Do you know if INDI can run on that?

 

NINA is a great software. When do you think it might be able to control an observatory, as in automated from dusk to dawn.

 

clear skies,

 

Paul



#5 Paul Romero

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 08:41 PM

Hi Kathy,

 

  I am interested in learning more about your system. Could you provide a link?

 

Clear Sklies,

 

Paul



#6 vidrazor

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 08:57 PM

Hi vidrazor et all,

I believe there is a walk around for EKOS and INDI on a Windows based server system at the mount. I think it is either ASCOM remote control with some sort of add on program.

The system I ordered is an Aduino (sic?) board and relays. Do you know if INDI can run on that?

NINA is a great software. When do you think it might be able to control an observatory, as in automated from dusk to dawn.

clear skies,

Paul

I don't have an observatory myself, I have been working with Ekos for astrophotography via Linux via Astroberry on a Raspberry Pi, and in the process of learning it have seen references to observatory control, for instance, here, and here, with some more general information on Ekos/INDI here. Ekos/INDI run natively in Linux and Macs, but is somewhat convoluted to run on Windows. I have read similar of NINA via ASCOM, although NINA for me is a distant option, so I can't speak for that. I am concentrating on Ekos for my astrophotography needs. I work with ASCOM for one of my cameras that Ekos doesn't support, but I've been disappointed to have found the promise of ASCOM to be incomplete, but that's another story. ;)

 

So hopefully those links can provide you with information that can help you decide if it's worthwhile for you to look into Ekos to run your observatory.
 



#7 Paul Romero

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 09:08 PM

Hi,

 

Those are some good links....earmarked the youtube video to watch. It looks like there is a roll off roof option in the video.

 

Thanks for spending the time to reply!

 

Paul



#8 kathyastro

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 08:09 AM

Hi Kathy,

 

  I am interested in learning more about your system. Could you provide a link?

 

Clear Sklies,

 

Paul

I don't have it all documented, because it was never my intention to distribute it.  However, I will give you a link to what I have.

 

I have an Exploradome, which I initially automated with the Foster control system.  I was not happy with it, and replaced the controllers with my own Arduino-based controller.  I kept most of the hardware, but I replaced the rotation drive motor, which was a big DC motor, with a stepper motor, driving the original gear.

 

The shutter consists of two doors, which need to be sequenced properly.  Instead of using a wireless link to a fancy electronic controller in the dome, I built a brainless sequencer using relays, diodes, and the door limit switches.  It is powered through the original battery-charging contacts, with positive voltage opening the doors and negative voltage closing them.  This limits shutter operation to the home position, but that is not a big hardship.

 

The Arduino controls both the shutters and the rotation.  It includes an autonomous emergency close function, that is triggered by rain, or power failure (I have battery backup), or by a loss of communication with the PC.  I wrote an ASCOM driver for it, so it will work with any standard software.

 

The Arduino code is at: https://www.dropbox....e v2.0.zip?dl=0

The ASCOM driver is at: https://www.dropbox....ver v1.zip?dl=0



#9 Paul Romero

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 11:34 AM

KATHY,
THANK YOU!
I will download them now, so you don't need to keep the link open.
I am a techie, but not a coder. I hope to find a program to use with my simple RoR observatory with a simple open/close relay (magnet). The motor just needs to be controlled with a push button relay.

Clear Skies!
Paul

#10 kathyastro

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 01:59 PM

KATHY,
THANK YOU!
I will download them now, so you don't need to keep the link open.
I am a techie, but not a coder. I hope to find a program to use with my simple RoR observatory with a simple open/close relay (magnet). The motor just needs to be controlled with a push button relay.

Clear Skies!
Paul

Oops, my bad.  I should have asked if it was a ROR or a dome.  My stuff is all dome-related, so it may not be of much use to you.




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