APCC Audible signal during SLEWS - preventing mount runaway disasters


Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi Ray,
 
    A thought just occurred to me about a SECOND “early warning system”, in cases where the mount suddenly goes berserk and heads for the pier at “break-scope” speed. This has now happened to me twice, with TWO failed CP4’s,  in less than a year. This last time I was extremely lucky to have spotted the slewing mount on the APCC’s excellent 3D VIEW, barely in time from the corner of my eye.
 
    With that (terror) still haunting me, I would like to suggest that there be an APCC option to have the computer “issue beeps” at regular intervals, ONLY when the mount is slewing. The rate of those beeps could be proportional to slew speed – fast at 600x and slower at 300x, for example. If it is bothersome, it could be enabled or disabled as a user menu option, perhaps on the Emergency Stop window. It would have a loudness setting, which might be “automatically  doubled”,  if the slew continues for too long (e.g. longer than say 1/4 of an east to west horizon  slew time, at present rated slew speed). Or, it might be sent out, every few degrees, during a slew.
 
    This audible warning system is not unlike a modern day vehicle’s warning beeps, when the vehicle is backing up. It would offer the user an added level of security, about an unwarranted slew, in case he isn’t watching the 3D VIEW, or the 3D View window is buried under other desktop windows. He might also be away from the console, doing other tasks,  having a snack, or napping between long imaging sessions, and the stream of beeps would at least get his attention to check that the slew was as had been expected – especially helpful for the user to monitor an “automated”  meridian flip.
 
    Both the 3D View and the Emergency Stop window provide good warnings about a slew in progress, but you have to be staring at those windows, when something goes wrong. The audible warning can bring your attention to those windows quicker.
 
    Of course, this assumes there was (perhaps) some kind of an electronics glitch, but with the CPx processor is still fully operational. Or, some other astronomy  app has unexpectedly issued a slew. In both my cases with the CP4’s, I can’t be sure that there wasn’t a complete controller systems failure, where a sonic waning would have been impossible to send anyway, and only yanking the main power cord saved an expensive scope from utter disaster, twice.
 
    I would hope that  “sonic pulses” during a slew may add a “auditory warning” to augment the present 3D VIEW  visual one. No guarantee that the controller is still viably “in control”, enough to issue such “slew warning” beeps, but this may provide some assurance.
 
Thanks,
Joe

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