View Full Version here: : Remote Autocontrol observatory .... more bother than it's worth ?
04-12-2008, 01:50 AM
Bored , spotted this at Cloudynights : http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/2731830/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/all/vc/1
Looks like more bother than it's worth , but then , we don't get night time temps that are polar here .
04-12-2008, 02:14 AM
I do it here.... Once I've set my scope up with laptop outside, I walk inside, log in to my laptop via RDP, use the sky to slew to targets, EQMOD to frame the image correctly, get guiding going, perform critical focus and fire off exposures all from the comfort of my media room...
All I need is an electronic, ascom controlled camera rotator and im 100% remote... Appart from the fact that its not in an observatory, and I still have to set it up before hand.. However to do it in a ROR obs would take little extra effort.. could easily have the computer control a motor to roll back the roof, relay switch to power up or power down the mount.... Anything is possible really...
Is it more bother than its worth? Whats convienience worth? What is "too much bother"?
If you've got a good understanding of the internet/networking, a good understanding of your setup and basic electronics, it wouldnt be much bother at all, and would be VERY satisfying...
My end goal at the moment is a fully remote observatory.. Im working my way towards it every day....
05-12-2008, 07:27 PM
I use VNC to run my backyard observatory. It works very well. I have cameras setup so I can see what is going on and a home made cloud sensor. It's one of those things if you haven't got you think you don't need one, when you get one you wonder how you did without it.
Sounds good guys, but I like to be next to my set up when it is doing it's stuff, I'm no very knowledgeable on this remote stuff, so I suppose I'm worried what may happen If I was not at the Helm, so to speak.
05-12-2008, 08:00 PM
Kenny - Can you send me an image of the cloud detector, and a bit of a description of what components were used? I'd be very interested.... Im gathering together all the necessary bits and bobs, so on the day when I finally have some land on which to build myself an observatory, I can have it fully remote controlled... Cloud sensors seem a bit too much, but at the same time, I can see how it could be useful.. some days, the clouds do just "come out of nowhere"
I have a webcam attached to the notebook, watching the mount while I'm inside, Just so I can see whats happening during a slew etc.. make sure no cables get fouled up anywhere...
Using automation gear is not that hard, I dont see why every observatory isn't remote controlled. I have automated a few roll off's for different people and organisations. Using good reliable products are the key.
If you want details on the best gear to use send me a pm.
07-12-2008, 08:42 PM
Alex, I will get around to writing it up one day, in the mean time I made from a peltier device and USB kit from various description on the net.
I'm a programmer so I wrote the interface and control program myself. If your into that it's not that hard, the main issue is getting the calibration correct. It works by measuring the difference in the radiation from the sky and the ground, when there are cloud the grounds radiation is reflected back. This needs to be offset against the air temperature as well. I be using it for 5 months and it works well. I have it alert me when I go to sleep if the clouds roll in. I will get it to close the observatory in the near future.
07-12-2008, 09:01 PM
Having it automatically close the obs if it detects clouds will be great...
I'll have a look into those links, I can program to a point, nothing fancy, but know enough to get me by. I'll see what I Can do...
08-12-2008, 11:31 PM
I recently experimented with one of those hand-held temperature measuring guns (laser-guided) and was interested to see how sensitive it was to the degree of cloud cover. In a sky with about 25% cover (scattered), I could easily pin-point the clouds just by looking at the temperature, which would vary between +5 deg C when aimed at a cloud and -30 deg C when on clear sky.
I then thought that it may not be too difficult to make a crude cloud detector by feeding the output of two IR detectors into a differential amplifier. ( I have not tried this yet.) One detector points towards the ground, and the other skyward. When the output of the amp exceeds a certain value, the sky could be judged to be clear in the direction of the skyward-pointing detector. I guess that this latter detector could even be mounted on the telescope and be set up so that when the amp output fell below a certain value, the sky could be judged to be cloudy and any imaging could be stopped.
Just a thought!
09-12-2008, 02:03 PM
That sounds like a decent idea, though what is the actual range of the IR detectors, because if they are only say 100 meters, then they might be giving you a errornous reading but if they are giving you readings that will change that much then your in, its just a matter of as you said reading like a ADC or DAC system, if it falls low, then output this, which will close your obs up but when it is high then your obs opens and happy days LET THE IMAGING COMENCE (in a godley tone):lol:
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