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Thursday, May 12, 2016

ScopeDome: Electrical

With the dome structure completed, it’s time to add some of the electrical components. I'll give a brief description of the system as to not bore you with the details. 

First, the power supply to run the dome requires Japan voltage (100VAC) to be stepped up to European voltage (230VAC). Next, the power supply to run some of the accessories requires 100VAC (Japan) to be stepped up to 120VAC (USA). Next, the power supply to run the camera, rotator, OAG, dew heater, etc. requires 12VDC regulated. 

power supplies

Before adding anything to the pier, foam backer rod was placed between the pier and the platform. The pier is isolated from the platform to prevent vibration. Vibration is a bad thing when taking photos of the night sky. The floor will be covered with a protective, waterproof mat. This will give the interior a "finished look."

The main component of the "rotation" part of the ScopeDome is the wireless shutter controller. The controller basically runs the shutter motor which opens and closes the dome. The shutter controller receives its commands from the main controller.

Note the antenna on the left side. The entire system is wireless.

The main controller is mounted on the pier. It controls the movement of the shutter and dome rotation. It can also control the telescope mount, camera, weather monitor, and a bunch of other accessories. 

This is the dome rotation motor and home sensor. Note the wires are routed under the platform to keep the floor free of wires. 

The cable guides on the dome wall really make the wire installation simple and clean.

I decided to mount all of the stationary components on the concrete pier. How?

Look carefully...see the tiny black box on top of the pier? That's the remote control for a key chain. It's used to amaze and dazzle any visitors. Yeah, whatever.

Easy! Just build a heavy duty cover for the pier. The cover is made from 1 1/8" plywood. It's solid and has no problem handling the heavy components. The cover attaches to the platform, but not to the pier. This keeps the pier isolated from vibration. The cover is  stained flat black to reduce glare. Yes, the CCD camera is that sensitive. Plus, I think it looks cool! Now, to mount the components...

...humm, since the power supplies don't have mounting brackets, I had to make them out of aluminum angle.

Worked perfectly!

 It's starting to look like an observatory! 

One thing is missing...the telescope! It's too early for that. I need to make sure the dome powers up and the software works before the fun stuff begins. Full automation is the goal. To make that goal a reality requires a system that is reliable. Test one thing at a time and then test it again and again. If this vital step is not done with certainty, problems will occur that can be a nightmare to troubleshoot later. This is a good chance to learn the system in a logical manner. Schematics and notes also help to keep the electrical gremlins away. 

Up next...wiring to the circuit breaker box and powering up with the minimum amount of smoke.       George

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