Date   

Re: Upgrading From Key FOB Control to Computer Control

Andrew J
 

Hi Darryl .

If you are looking for a slightly less DIY than LesveDomeNet (LDN), you could also have a look at the MaxDome II. I have been using them for about 5-6 years with very few problems. They are still not cheap at around $1500, but much less than the Foster Systems. And a lot fewer issues. My only complaint is that Diffraction Limited still has not released a 64-bit driver so you still have to use the ASCOM hub, rather than connecting directly using the driver to communicate with 64-bit imaging programs like SGP or N.I.N.A. Two other learnings were that I had to run the antenna wire all the way around the dome vs how they describe in the manual and to try to keep the antennas now more than about 6" apart. Second,  use millimeters rather than inches as your unit of measure when dome geometry measurements. I found inches to be too granular as most programs only allow you to enter whole numbers. It does not matter which unit of measurement you pick as long as you use the same one for all your measurements. 

Hope this helps.

Andrew J


Re: Upgrading From Key FOB Control to Computer Control

Crobbin
 

ExploraDome now uses the MaxDome II system. Works great!

On Nov 21, 2022, at 2:24 AM, Dave Newbury via groups.io <dnube@...> wrote:

Lesvedome sounds like a good DIY option. If you want something more turn-key, I would implore you *not* to consider the Foster Systems option - it is unreliable and not well supported. I'm hoping by now that Exploradome has stopped using them.

You can see some similar comments from others in this thread:
https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/656035-foster-control-system-for-dome/

But there are many many other unhappy customers out there. Probably would not get a sense of this from Fosters "help" forum because relevant posts would get deleted!

I switched to MaxDome II (Diffraction Limited) a couple years ago and it has been solid. But there are other reliable turn-key options out there as well.


DaveNL


Re: Upgrading From Key FOB Control to Computer Control

Dave Newbury
 

Lesvedome sounds like a good DIY option. If you want something more turn-key, I would implore you *not* to consider the Foster Systems option - it is unreliable and not well supported. I'm hoping by now that Exploradome has stopped using them.

You can see some similar comments from others in this thread:
https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/656035-foster-control-system-for-dome/

But there are many many other unhappy customers out there. Probably would not get a sense of this from Fosters "help" forum because relevant posts would get deleted!

I switched to MaxDome II (Diffraction Limited) a couple years ago and it has been solid. But there are other reliable turn-key options out there as well.


DaveNL


Re: Upgrading From Key FOB Control to Computer Control

Darryl Hedges
 

Manning B.:

Thank you so much for the detailed and extensive recommendation that you offered. I will look into the option that you chose and see how complicated or simple it is.

Thanks again for taking time to tell me about your experience. I really appreciate it!

Darryl Hedges


Re: Upgrading From Key FOB Control to Computer Control

Pictor User
 

Hi Darryl,
I did exactly what you are wanting to do.  After looking at the various options, I settled on the LesveDomeNet (LDN) option.  Please note that this is not a turnkey option; it is more a DIY approach.  I am not an electronics engineer, but it still worked out fine. My choice was primarily based upon two factors: 1) the successfulness of others using this option, and 2) cost.  In my opinion, the LDN solution is superior on both counts.

The LDN solution is built upon the Velleman K8055N project board which can be ordered as a kit or preassembled.  It uses through-hole (not SMT) components so is relatively easy to assemble as a kit which is what I did.

There are several other electronic components that you must acquire as well.  These can be ordered from suppliers such as Digikey, Mouser, and the like.

There are other hardware components you will need that can be obtained from your hardware stores like Ace, Lowes, Home Depot, etc.

And, you will need a commutator wheel.  I had mine made out of aluminum by a local machinist because I do not have the tools to do that.

The LDN solution is operated by software developed by Pierre de Ponthiere.  The software is available for a nominal cost and is very well supported by Pierre.  The LDN solution can not only control the dome rotation, but also shutter operation, and more, if after you have enjoyed automated dome synchronization to telescope movement you want to do more.

There have been several implementations of the LDN solution approach.  Many have chosen the Charles Harrow design and that is the one I am using.

Information about the LDN solution approach is available at www.dppobservatory.net and there is a discussion group on Groups.io about LDN: lesvedome@groups.io

I recommend going to the above Web site and also joining the LDN forum where you get much more information can ask more questions.

I hope this helps.  I think you will really enjoy the benefits of dome rotation automation.

Manning B


Upgrading From Key FOB Control to Computer Control

Darryl Hedges
 

Has anyone started with a key FOB dome rotation system and then added the additional components to convert to a computer-controlled dome rotation system? Problems? Recommendations? Cost difference?

I have asked Explore-Dome several times via their web site for a quote on the components needed and the price, but have never received any acknowledgement. Thanks!


Re: 8' ExploraDome Current Horizon Height 1/12/22

stan in Brooklyn
 

Hi Frank,

I just ordered the ED with 8' round building for my house in the mountains, expect to get it in April/May.  I'm doing the planning work now--did you ever get a definitive answer to your question?  50" or 54"?

Thanks,
stan in Brooklyn


Re: Where do I find the copper strips material?

Pictor User
 

Try looking for shim stock.  Maybe that will help.  Or, contact ExploraDome directly.
Manning B


Where do I find the copper strips material?

George Dunham
 

My copper strips conductor need replacement.  I need a description for it to search google for replacement material.  Thanks in advance.


8' Exploradome shutter failure.

George Dunham
 

I thought I would post about this shutter failure to see if I can get some feedback.  Do to the upper shutter switch failing to activate on the upper shutter reaching "open" state, the driver misinterpreted the cycle and tried to open the bottom shutter when the upper shutter was still closed.  I know this doesn't make sense but it happens when one of the switches fails to report on an open or closed state.  In any case, the bottom shutter actuator struts tried to open the bottom shutter and actually popped the actuator struts mounting bracket out of it's 5 screw holes on the dome leaving the bracket dangling.  On inspection the holes actually look like they were not damaged (very much).  I have remounted the bracket but am waiting on a switch to replace the top "open state" switch.  Is this actually designed into the dome for safety?  Also of note: the lower shutter "closed state" switch mounting bracket was actually bent slightly down (after the errant opening action) so that the "closed state" was not activating (the adjustment of contact on this switch has always been twitchy and may have led to this failure as well).  I bent the bracket back and adjusted the switch position to have contact but this will all need to be retweeked once the upper "open state" switch is replaced and the control board gets the correct switch states.


Exploradome 8' Shutter switch replacement?

George Dunham
 

The top switch with roller on my 8' dome has failed.  I need to replace it.  Can anyone point me at the correct switch to order?


Re: ExploradDome 2 Shutter System Issues

 

I think you have the wrong e-mail

On Aug 16, 2022, at 2:05 PM, Jack Huerkamp <Mallincamusa@...> wrote:

Dave,
 
I spoke to Dustin at ExploraDome and ended up purchasing some new ELK 924 relay controller boards.  Over the years, the contacts on the relays must have gotten pitted due to arcing when the contacts close.  Carefully swapping out the relay boards restored the shutter system to peration.
 
Yours truly,
 
Jack
 
Jack Huerkamp
Jack's Astro Accessories, LLC
38388 Pine Street
Pearl River, LA 70452-5192
985-445-5063
30.37N  89.76W
 
All of us get lost in the darkness.
Dreamers learn to steer by the stars.
………………………………….Neil Peart
 
 
 
From: main@Exploradome-Observatories.groups.io <main@Exploradome-Observatories.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dave Newbury via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2022 7:48 AM
To: main@Exploradome-Observatories.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Exploradome-Observatories] ExploradDome 2 Shutter System Issues
 
Hi Jack,
Not sure if you made any progress on this?  I can't help you much as I own the Exploradome 8ft, and best I can tell it looks like you have a different controller. But I agree that it seems like a controller issue (or maybe loose wiring somewhere?).  Have you tried contacting Exploradome folks? They are generally pretty helpful.

Also - hope it is not the Fosters System controller  ...


Dave 


Virus-free.www.avg.com


Re: ExploradDome 2 Shutter System Issues

Jack Huerkamp
 

Dave,

 

I spoke to Dustin at ExploraDome and ended up purchasing some new ELK 924 relay controller boards.  Over the years, the contacts on the relays must have gotten pitted due to arcing when the contacts close.  Carefully swapping out the relay boards restored the shutter system to peration.

 

Yours truly,

 

Jack

 

Jack Huerkamp

Jack's Astro Accessories, LLC

38388 Pine Street

Pearl River, LA 70452-5192

985-445-5063

mallincamusa@...

www.mallincamusa.com

30.37N  89.76W

 

All of us get lost in the darkness.
Dreamers learn to steer by the stars.

………………………………….Neil Peart

 

 

 

From: main@Exploradome-Observatories.groups.io <main@Exploradome-Observatories.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dave Newbury via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2022 7:48 AM
To: main@Exploradome-Observatories.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Exploradome-Observatories] ExploradDome 2 Shutter System Issues

 

Hi Jack,
Not sure if you made any progress on this?  I can't help you much as I own the Exploradome 8ft, and best I can tell it looks like you have a different controller. But I agree that it seems like a controller issue (or maybe loose wiring somewhere?).  Have you tried contacting Exploradome folks? They are generally pretty helpful.

Also - hope it is not the Fosters System controller  ...


Dave


Virus-free.www.avg.com


Re: ExploradDome 2 Shutter System Issues

Dave Newbury
 

Hi Jack,
Not sure if you made any progress on this?  I can't help you much as I own the Exploradome 8ft, and best I can tell it looks like you have a different controller. But I agree that it seems like a controller issue (or maybe loose wiring somewhere?).  Have you tried contacting Exploradome folks? They are generally pretty helpful.

Also - hope it is not the Fosters System controller  ...


Dave


Re: Shutter Weather Seal

Dave Newbury
 

LOL - another Dave/David here!  I too would be interested where you go with this. Attached are some examples of what I've done to date, but still interested in opportunities for improvement.

My winters are long with many snow storms and horizontal snow of varying types. Before "hardening" I would get a few snow incursions per winter. Now I might get one or two of lesser significance.  Still occasionally have issue of snow/ice building up on brush bristles and then freezing up solid - hampering ability of dome to rotate (and thus worry about motor getting overloaded).

Three main focus areas:
1) Bottom of dome along circular track (used simple "brush seal")
2) Edge along sides of upper shutter (used simple "brush seal")
3) Gap at end of upper shutter where it mates up with lower shutter (used block of hard foam, cut to fit)

Exploradome used to sell lengths of the brush as a kit (with instructions for installation). Not sure if they still do (but maybe worth asking?).  Attached are instructions that came with the kit.


Clear Skies,
DaveNL

PS. Though I had made a previous post on this, including pictures, when I disassembled the upper shutter to attach the brush seals. But can't seem to find in the archive (old Yahoo groups postings). And I've since lost those pictures to a HDD crash.


Re: Shutter Weather Seal

David Clemmons
 


Hello, 

Dave, thanks for sharing your idea. Can you post some pictures of your installation? I used two inch and one inch window air conditioning weatherseal, held in place by Alien Tape. I put that in place fall of 2021, the only time I saw any snow coming in was when we had a blizzard with 45 mph winds. It left a very small layer of snow dust. I had to use different sizes because the gap varies across the width of the shutter. 

David Clemmons 



Shutter Weather Seal

Dave Menzer
 

All,

I had some snow dust work thru the shutter opening last winter, so one of my summer projects has been to investigate a brush seal for the shutter, similar to  the seal at the bottom of the dome. I have been working with:

Memtech, Inc.
9033 General Drive
Plymouth, MI 48170

PN F001.8MIL 144" 3.5" Assembly

and they have been great, sending me samples, no charge!, and checking in to see how it went. It looks like a 3.5-4" long brush is what is needed, and I have ordered 24 feet of it to do the shutter. I will update after installation on the friction level, as that is my main concern, but I don't expect it to be a deal breaker.

Dave


ExploradDome 2 Shutter System Issues

Jack Huerkamp
 

https://youtu.be/2F4nd11w75o

 See this video from yesterday.  It shows the issue with the shutters not closing consistently.  It is as if one or more of the contacts in the relays inside the controller are stuck, and with enough cycling, then the circuit is established, and the shutters start to close.  Once moving, the shutters continue to close until the limit switch is tripped.

 

 Today I am going to remove the control box and see if I can get a model number off of the relays inside the control box.  There appears to be 4 relays inside the box.

 

 The shutter system originally used the cable and spring technique with two motors and a series of switches to transfer power from the lower shutter motor to the upper shutter motor.  When the chain drive system came out, I went to it and the system using one motor has worked consistently for about 5 years.  All of a sudden, closing became erratic.  If the shutters fail to close, I can apply 12VDC directly to the motor and it will close, so I am thinking there is an issue in the controller box.

Any guidance in what to check will be appreciated.

Yours truly,

 

Jack Huerkamp


Re: SunShield Paint Application

Ted Blank
 

Hi Manning, I used a roller with a very long nap, the kind for applying paint to rough concrete surfaces (even though the obs surface is smooth).  Otherwise it just didn't pick up enough paint.  I did 2 coats, but one problem.  The paint is very heavy, and now with two coats on it, the shutter is so heavy that if it goes past the vertical point the motor can no longer lift it back over the "hump".  So apply the paint sparingly to the shutter.  The paint is amazingly efficient at reflecting heat.

Ted

On Fri, Jul 15, 2022 at 6:34 PM Pictor User <pictor-mb@...> wrote:

Hi Ted,
How did you apply the SunShield paint?  Brush or roller?  I have ordered the paint and tinted it slightly.  The Web site recommendation seems to be to use a roller although I think they say a brush can be used.  I have reservations about using a roller and am wondering what you used and how it turned out.  When it dried was it smooth or rough? 
Thanks,

Manning B


SunShield Paint Application

Pictor User
 

Hi Ted,
How did you apply the SunShield paint?  Brush or roller?  I have ordered the paint and tinted it slightly.  The Web site recommendation seems to be to use a roller although I think they say a brush can be used.  I have reservations about using a roller and am wondering what you used and how it turned out.  When it dried was it smooth or rough? 
Thanks,

Manning B

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