Thank you Jabian. The AVX is standard (low end basic mount) but I've been very happy with it. I tried several dolly options because I'm not into work... setup carrying out - connecting etc.
I can be rolled out and shooting in about 5 minutes and if clouds come in I can be rolled back into the garage in 2 minutes.
I tried several cheap dolly options and failed. Mostly due to not rolling in grass or taking bumps well. So I went to this. It's a Bogen tripod dolly. They are 400. (ouch) but they had two
open box units for 200 each. I bought one and shared the find and the other sold fast. I kinda wished I had bought them both for that.
Thank you !
I didn’t think on checking this professional video/cine stuff.
Unfortunately I’m in Spain and to the 450 USD cost I have to add 200 USD for the courier and import taxes... (big ouch).
I will check similar devices from European companies...
Anyway, my support is already nearly finished and I must confess that, all together, digital cut of the wooden base, wheels, feet, cnc cut of the feet supports and a few fancy tools I *needed* for the work, I think I have expend more than 450 USD.
I do not have grass or bump problems because I move the telescope through my apartment that is a penthouse with terrace, but I have to negotiate the steep drop of the terrace entrance. For this, I will use a kind of bridge with rails made of aluminium. Not tested yet...
I have not updated much on this thread, but there have been quite a few changes.
Here is the current imaging setup. I have a 12" concrete pier now (begging for a dome), and I have 3D printed custom holders for all the power bricks, focus controller, dew heater, etc. The scope comes in after a session, but the mount just gets covered, keeping the polar align spot on.
12" pier with HDX110 using EQMod
ASI 1600 mono/color mains with ASI290MM in off-axis
ASI filter wheel
Moonlite focusers for the sharpening
AT115EDT w/.8x for the light
Fedora Linux, 100% INDI
I started trying INDI about a year ago as I was transitioning from unguided to guided exposures. I recently finished putting together the setup shown in these pictures. Currently, it needs to be put together and moved to the balcony every time I want to do weather permits imaging.
I use Astroberry on a Raspberry Pi 4 to control everything remotely. There is a single cable going to the mount from the rest of the world: a 12V power cable, coming from a 12.5A source.
I wanted to have the least number of cables running across moving parts: the raspberry sits on the main telescope and so it moves with it, together with the cameras and the electric filter wheel that are connected to it (well, EFW is in fact connected to the ASI1600MM hub, the ASI120MM not, as I felt it worked better plugged in its own port at the raspberry). The raspberry connects to the mount via Bluetooth.
There is a power box (described in a
) attached to the RA arm of the mount. It sources power to the mount and the camera cooler (12V) and to the Raspberry Pi (5V). Power cables to the raspberry and camera cooler run through the declination arm.
It's been a long learning process, but here is the first HaRGB image I have done with this setup: www.astrobin.com/thmb4v/
I'm grateful to all the people in this forum. You all have been a source of invaluable help.
Some photos of my remotely controlled observatory, now operational (from our living room). The box is roughly 48 inches (1.2 meters) on a side and 60 inches (1.5 meters) high. As I do not have clear access to the north (very tall white pine trees), the hinged roof, that opens with linear actuators, does not need to open fully but I am considering modifying it so it open more like a roll-off roof.
Everything operates under a distributed KStars/Ekos/INDI system on ODroid computers running Ubuntu Mate.
Once the proverbial rainy days go away, I will be able to refine the orientation on the obsy and perform polar alignment and a few tests. Once I am satisfied with the operation and tests, I will likely move it to another area of our lot.
Thanks to the contributors for the KStars/Ekos/INDI environment and to Gonzothegreat for the initial design ideas!
I love these small setups. Both yours and Gonzo's. Can you give us a rundown of the equipment? I see you have some weather devices, and maybe a box or two I'm not familiar with. I'll be setting up a "micro" observatory myself in the coming days. I'm working on drawings and yard placement at the moment.
@G_Gagnon thanks, I saw your post on Facebook today, had no time to respond. It's a very nice box you've done there
Glad to see I've inspired a few out there. If you don't mind I'll give you a few tips that I learned from running my box.
tip #1 and already mentioned by @H__ is about ventilation.
It is VERY important that you add a passive system, take a look at my box, I have a hole at the bottom (well, multiple small holes) covered by a vent plate (and a mesh in between)
then at the top, I have a solar powered fan. If you do not add any ventilation, dew and general humidity will form on anything metallic.
I never had any humidity issues ever in my box with such passive system.
tip #2 limit switches, the ones you are using are very similar to the first ones I had, and they are garbage and tend to fail.
Find on eBay these ones instead.
tip #3 I highly recommend that you extend your "roof" over the main box, add an extra plank or half plank.
Believe me, the rain will make its way in...
Kstars Mac osx
Odroid C4 / WO Redcat51 / CEM25p / ZWO533MC / QHY5L-II-M (OAG)
And the most important part... what is your plan if something fails inside and you can't open the roof?
On my box, I can remove the side panel even with the roof closed, so in case of a total loss of everything I can still open it.
Kstars Mac osx
Odroid C4 / WO Redcat51 / CEM25p / ZWO533MC / QHY5L-II-M (OAG)
Thanks for your comments and suggestions, they are much appreciated.
As far as the 'boxes' and control in the observatory, I have a box with power distribution (Powerpole), a Raspi 3 B+ running the observatory (roof relays and limit switches, "Weather Radio" weather station and, once ready, a lightbox for flats). Power is controlled by a Digital Loggers web switch. A PoE network switch provides wired connectivity and monitoring camera connection.
Because of an early mishap, and on my wife's suggestion, I have installed a manual roof control for when I need to work on the obsy as well as a panic button, just in case .
Unless the roof opening system totally fails, I have a battery backup mechanism that feeds the linear actuators in the eventuality of a power failure, controlled by a small wireless remote. I haven't devised a way to get inside yet in case of total failure but I can have access to the linear actuators holding brackets with minimal 'damage' to the roof. I have a nicer solution in mind but I haven't found the hardware for that yet.
I haven't implemented the ventilation yet as I am not sure on how I want to do it. I have thought of something like the following with a fan controlled by an Arduino monitoring temperature and humidity but I'm still juggling with the idea. I also have to consider snow possibly blocking air inlet, in the equation.
Thanks for the tip on the limit switches. I will look into better ones but an alternate solution I thought of is adding redundancy through magnetic sensors such as door open/close sensors, connected in parallel with the switches. The switches are used to confirm full closure or full opening states, not as actuator limits per say.
As far as the extra plank is concerned, there may not be enough space to install one as the gap between roof and wall is rather small I could probably use the same rubber membrane I uses to protect the hinges side of the roof. Not as elegant but this is not a beauty contest.
As far as my equipment, it consists of a William Optics GTF81 scope, mounted on an OnStep modified Astro-Physics AP400 mount, all controlled with an ODroid N2 computer and Pegasus Astro UPB. Cameras are ZWO.