Re: New images with the 140EDF refractor

Joe Zeglinski

Hi Rick,

Have you implemented "dead man safety switches" in software yet? I wonder
if a background program could check for a ping from your home PC, to see if
things are still under control. or to send a query to the mount, to verify it
hasn't gone awkward. Otherwise, issue a kill command to the power bar.
Something like that.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Rick Wiggins" <rickwiggins@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2007 7:38 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: New images with the 140EDF refractor

Hi Ray,
As you and Roland already know, I have developed a fully remote
observatory in the desert about 3-5 hours (depending on traffic)away
from my home. With my work, home, and family responsibilities I am
lucky to be able to go out to it once a month. Coupled with that, my
control link must be operated with a satellite link and no phone line
backup and I have a fairly remote operation. There is no way to
overstate the difference between running remote locally (backyard or
short driving distance) and running remote where remote means a day or
more to access the observatory at best.

I frequently post and ask for help on solving remote problems. When I
review the responses, most assume that one can go out and remedy any
major failure manually. A truly remore observatory must detect all
potentially harmful scenerios and safe the system to avoid
catastrophie. In addition to detecting problems and safing the system,
the system must be capable of recovering to a known state.

In the past year of initial operations I have seen these plus more:
1. Three full power outages that lasted over 6 hours
2. Many internet failures including one double hardware failure
(ethernet switch & fiber converter)
3. Computer failure (both hardware and software). One of these was the
the one that can cause the AP mount to hit the pier depending on where
it was during the failure and how the software fails.

I have tried to design and implement systems that safe my system and
allow recovery from these and many other failures. Luckily, my system
did safe itself during the most recent power and internet failures and
was able to fully recover remotely. I am not done with the system (we
never are), but it does seem to be working well and I know I would
have designed and built it differently if I had easy access. Many of
the features that I included were direct results of early failures.
The real trick is having the system such that it will preform the
required protection under all cases and knowing that you can trust
that operation even if you have no communication with the site.
WoW! I spent more than my 2 cents worth!

Thanks, Rick

--- In ap-gto@..., "Ray Gralak" <rgr@...> wrote:

I see your point. I can do remote imaging here also for
testing purposes.
Yes you can do that but it's a different ball of wax when the setup
is truly


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