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Old 03-02-2019, 04:52 PM
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Spartacus
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Brisbane, Australia
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Talking "Flat Cap" DIY Flip Flat

Hi

Some who went to Qld Astrofest would have seen this before when it was just a automated telescope lens cover " The Night Nurse" we named it since it just put the scope to bed.
Since then we have extended its functionality to include an EL panel to do automated flats and cap the scope against dew at the same time at the end of an astrophotography session. So we have changed it's name to "Flat Cap"
Its an air conditioning flexible tube clamp with stick-in felt to protect the telescope tube. The cap itself is all 3D printed PLA. This is attached to a 3D printed box designed to fit a powerful servo motor. The shaft is connected to a metal rod that passes through a small bearing captive in the wall of the box. This ensures no flex so once it is clamped in position on the tube it closes perfectly each time. The EL inverter and an arduino uno is contained on a remote location and is connected via a composite cable that splits to provide separate power to the panel and to the servo via a mini 3 pin lockable XLR connector. The other end is a 5 pin DIN plug to the box with the Uno and inverter.
The Uno runs home made code (thanks to Chris) that initiates the servo open or close and initiates the EL light at the time set in the sequence using Sequence Generator Pro.
Chris has been using this a number of times now pretty successfully. It certainly beats doing manual flats. Probably cost about $90 all up.
Cheers
Mike
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