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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    2

    Default Thinking of Automating

    I am building an observatory at Stellar Skies in the Texas Hill Country. I am not sure about adapting to my set-up.

    Losmandy Titan running Gemini 1
    Moonlite focus unit with high-res steppers controlled by MiniV2 (can be linked to observatory computer via USB, ASCOM drivers installed)
    SkyX with camera add-on
    ST9ME and ATIK 314L+ cameras with filter wheels. ATIK would be used for guiding with the ST9; Atik as primary with a ZWO for guiding.

    I do not have Maxim DL

    My partner will be installing roll-off roof controls, so we should be able to open the roof. There will be a weather station. How my partner is integrating roof opening and the weather station is unknown to me at this time, but he wioll be able to do it remotely.

    So, can I both control the scope and focus with this set-up? Not sure what else is needed.

    Thanks, Ed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Mesa, AZ
    Posts
    26,842

    Default

    Hi -- The main thing is that ACP requires MaxIm DL for camera control. For design reasons I can elaborate on, it cannot use the TheSky camera add-on. If you can guide and image with the cameras you have and MaxIm DL then that setup can be used with ACP.

    My biggest concern is the Gemini 1 controller. For whatever reason(s) getting the Gemini to behave with respect to ACP's automatic GEM flip management has been sketchy. I can say that in the remote past I spent an enormous amount of my time working with Gemini people trying to understand it, and some people claimed success. I had them write up how they did it, and for a while I included it in my online help. Too many people subsequently could not get it to work and blamed ACP's inadequate design. I removed the Gemini info.

    For fully auto (ACP Expert, managing 24/7) the roof should be closed by the weather station without needing a computer (contact closure), while also providing some kind of safe/unsafe (and better yet, other weather info) indication for ACP (via a scripted weather server). If you're OK with opening yourself, then the roof doesn't need to be "controlled" by ACP. If it has an ASCOM Dome interface, then you can indeed go 24/7.

    One other thing: If the roof is "low hung" so that it will destroy your scopr if it's not parked, you have a "sub-optimal" situation for remoting. Even if you do install interlocks, suppose the scope doesn't park... your equipment gets wet or covered in sand/dirt/???. You really need to be able to close up on a weather unsafe, regardless of what computers and other electro-mechanical stuff is doing.

    If you want to call and chat I am available most business days, however I am going to some training next week M-t and to the Society for Astronomical Sciences conference the week after. So leave a message if I don't pick up and I'll return the call as soon as I can. +1 480 396 9700
    -- Bob

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thanks for the quick answer, Bob. I suspect ACP will not work for me because of the Titan. I know exactly what you mean about Gemini and flips. I never could figure out why this problem persists, but there it is. With Gemini 2 on my G11 I still need to synch after flipping.

    Ed

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Mesa, AZ
    Posts
    26,842

    Default

    One way to go is to convert the Titan to another TCS. There are at least a few ACP users who have switched to the Sidereal Technology control system, and they report that the Titan is a great mount once the control system is also great.

    http://www.siderealtechnology.com/
    -- Bob

 

 

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