Anyone designed a limit switch or similar to prvent pier col...


Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 7/4/2007 2:06:33 PM Central Daylight Time,
chrishet55@yahoo.com writes:


Sorry for the plug on the AP list but you may want to check out my
automation system, http://m1oasys.com
WoW! That is the coolest thing I have seen lately. Very nice!

Rolando


**************************************
See what's free at
http://www.aol.com.


Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 7/5/2007 2:39:43 PM Central Daylight Time,
rickwiggins@earthlink.net writes:


This level of improvement not
only prevents hitting the pier, but also maintains mount pointing
which will be lost if I cut off power to the mount while it is
tracking.
The mount NEVER loses pointing even if power is suddenly removed. All
pointing information is stored in the servo controller at all times, so it can never
be lost. All you need to do is initialize the mount at power up - something
that is totally automatic if the keypad is set to Autostart "Yes". Otherwise,
if yoy are not using the keypad to start the system, a normal startup procedure
using your favorite 3rd party software method will instantly restore the
servo back to where it was. True, it won't be pointing to the same object as
before because the earth has rotated, but the servo knows that and will know where
the scope is now pointing, same as any shutdown and restart at a later date.

Rolando


**************************************
See what's free at
http://www.aol.com.


Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 7/6/2007 3:09:25 PM Central Daylight Time,
rickwiggins@earthlink.net writes:


Hi Roland,
Since that is the case, then as long as I stop the RA before the
scope hits the pier and turn off power, I can maintain pointing. I
could then (in the morning after discovery), turn power back on, re-
establish the link between TheSky and the mount, and then properly
park the mount!

Problem solved with only a microswitch, a latching relay, and some
wire!
Yes, that's right. Many times I simply turn the power off after a night of
observing, leaving the scope parked at any odd angle, even well past the
meridian. Next session, maybe a week later I turn on the power, press Objects menu on
the keypad, go to the same object that I was on before and press GoTo. The
scope slews to the object, and it will typically be off by only a few dozen
pixels in RA on my CCD.

Rolando


Thanks Roland



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See what's free at http://www.aol.com.


Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 7/6/2007 5:36:44 PM Central Daylight Time,
kattnerk@haynesboone.com writes:


Would AP consider a tracking safety stop as a feature update? Would
it be possible to set a point at which you do not want the mount to
keep tracking past the meridian? And then store this point in the
servo so that the servo will turn tracking off once this point is
met? I could sure use this much more than a GPS unit and now that I
know I don't even need a watch, I'm leaving that at home too. The
Gemini units have this feature and it was nice to have.
The AP mounts have a clutch, so it would not be possible to always insure
that the point on the gearwheel is always at the same place in the sky. A hard
microswitch stop is probably safer than a software stop.

Rolando


**************************************
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http://www.aol.com.


Wiggins, Rick
 

Hi Roland,
Since that is the case, then as long as I stop the RA before the
scope hits the pier and turn off power, I can maintain pointing. I
could then (in the morning after discovery), turn power back on, re-
establish the link between TheSky and the mount, and then properly
park the mount!

Problem solved with only a microswitch, a latching relay, and some
wire!

Thanks Roland

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:

In a message dated 7/5/2007 2:39:43 PM Central Daylight Time,
rickwiggins@... writes:


This level of improvement not
only prevents hitting the pier, but also maintains mount
pointing
which will be lost if I cut off power to the mount while it is
tracking.
The mount NEVER loses pointing even if power is suddenly removed.
All
pointing information is stored in the servo controller at all
times, so it can never
be lost. All you need to do is initialize the mount at power up -
something
that is totally automatic if the keypad is set to
Autostart "Yes". Otherwise,
if yoy are not using the keypad to start the system, a normal
startup procedure
using your favorite 3rd party software method will instantly
restore the
servo back to where it was. True, it won't be pointing to the same
object as
before because the earth has rotated, but the servo knows that and
will know where
the scope is now pointing, same as any shutdown and restart at a
later date.

Rolando


**************************************
See what's free at
http://www.aol.com.




astrokattner
 

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:

In a message dated 7/6/2007 3:09:25 PM Central Daylight Time,
rickwiggins@... writes:


Hi Roland,
Since that is the case, then as long as I stop the RA before the
scope hits the pier and turn off power, I can maintain pointing.
I
could then (in the morning after discovery), turn power back on,
re-
establish the link between TheSky and the mount, and then
properly
park the mount!

Problem solved with only a microswitch, a latching relay, and
some
wire!
Yes, that's right. Many times I simply turn the power off after a
night of
observing, leaving the scope parked at any odd angle, even well
past the
meridian. Next session, maybe a week later I turn on the power,
press Objects menu on
the keypad, go to the same object that I was on before and press
GoTo. The
scope slews to the object, and it will typically be off by only a
few dozen
pixels in RA on my CCD.

Rolando

Would AP consider a tracking safety stop as a feature update? Would
it be possible to set a point at which you do not want the mount to
keep tracking past the meridian? And then store this point in the
servo so that the servo will turn tracking off once this point is
met? I could sure use this much more than a GPS unit and now that I
know I don't even need a watch, I'm leaving that at home too. The
Gemini units have this feature and it was nice to have.

regards,

Ken


astrokattner
 

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:

In a message dated 7/6/2007 5:36:44 PM Central Daylight Time,
kattnerk@... writes:


Would AP consider a tracking safety stop as a feature update?
Would
it be possible to set a point at which you do not want the mount
to
keep tracking past the meridian? And then store this point in the
servo so that the servo will turn tracking off once this point is
met? I could sure use this much more than a GPS unit and now that
I
know I don't even need a watch, I'm leaving that at home too. The
Gemini units have this feature and it was nice to have.
The AP mounts have a clutch, so it would not be possible to always
insure
that the point on the gearwheel is always at the same place in the
sky. A hard
microswitch stop is probably safer than a software stop.

Rolando

Can't the mount "remember" how far it is past the meridian as the set
point and then in all subsequent sessions stop tracking if the mount
exceeds that point? For example, I can track about two hours past
the meridian without hitting the pier, so the mount would just have
to remember the number "2" and then in all subsequent sessions simply
stop tracking if the mount tracks more than 2 hours beyond the
current "Z" number?

My old retired G11 Gemini system does this and the feature is very
handy. With a software stop, it would seem to be more adjustable
than a hardware feature.

regards,

Ken


Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 7/6/2007 11:04:23 PM Central Daylight Time,
kattnerk@haynesboone.com writes:


Can't the mount "remember"
The "mount" is composed of several distinct and separate functions - it is
modular to allow for maximum flexibility. The motor drivers consist of a servo
drive that translates an RA/DEC command into an angular rotation of the two
gear wheels. The keypad is a database that contains thousands of objects with
their RA/Dec numbers, and has other control functions in its software. This is a
distinct and separate item - the keypad is not a mount motor driver. We also
have Pulse Guide and 3rd party planetarium software which allows for
controlling the mount with a separate computer, completely apart from the keypad. A
function to control the mount servo drive (the CP3 unit) can be added to any of
the software programs in the keypad, Pulse Guide or planetarium program because
these are the human interfaces that communicate with you. The mount servo
drive does not automatically know what you want - it is basically dumb and will do
whatever it is told by these outside programs. The only way the servo knows
what you want is for you to command it from the outside via software command.

Commands to do a STOP exist in the AP protocol (the :KA# command is one such
command), so it is not impossible to send a command to stop tracking from any
of these outside software programs at a certain point in the tracking. It's
just a matter of it never having been done by either a) the keypad software guy,
or b) the planetarium software guy (good luck ever getting them to do that),
or c) the designer of Pulse Guide. Now that the desire to have this function n
the mount has been raised, we will try to add it to our wishlist for the
upcoming new keypad software and possibly Ray Gralack can add it to Pulse Guide
(he is very responsive to good suggestions), but you probably will never see it
anywhere else.

As far as having it automatically stop beyond a certain point, that is not
going to fly. Lots of imagers want the ability to go far beyond the meridian,
perhaps all the way to the opposite horizon with the scope upside down. I image
this way all the time and do not want an automatic stop of any kind.

Rolando


**************************************
See what's free at
http://www.aol.com.


Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 7/7/2007 11:57:37 AM Central Daylight Time,
kattnerk@haynesboone.com writes:


I
was just wondering if there is any smarts in the mount itself to keep
track of this, but it sounds like no.
Right now there is no function in the servo drive to turn the motors off
after tracking past the meridian. In order to impliment that, we would need to add
this function to the servo microchip, and that means that the older mounts
would have to be retrofitted with new chips. The function could then be enabled
or disabled with an outside software command from keypad or other software.

With the existing servo chips, since there is no function to turn off the
drive at a preset point on the gearwheel, that point would have to be calculated
by the outside software which is doing the controlling and at the proper time
a quit tracking command would have to be sent.

Rolando


**************************************
See what's free at
http://www.aol.com.


Roland Christen
 

I realize that other GOTO systems have advantages that ours doesn't have -
each new one that comes along can look at the previous efforts by others and add
to it to gain a leg up. In a perfect world every car would park itself and
when it's raining, run in and pick up that pizza at the counter so the driver
doesn't have to get wet. My poor 1994 Ford doesn't even have remote entry,
something that nobody has to live without any more. Why didn't they include that?
How dumb of them! What were they thinking, by golly???

Rolando


**************************************
See what's free at
http://www.aol.com.


dan kowall
 

The Gemini mounts sound an alarm when the safety limits are reached, but they don't stop tracking.

dan kowall

______

astrokattner <kattnerk@haynesboone.com> wrote: <<SNIP>>
Can't the mount "remember" how far it is past the meridian as the set
point and then in all subsequent sessions stop tracking if the mount
exceeds that point? .......

My old retired G11 Gemini system does this and the feature is very
handy.........
Ken






---------------------------------
Pinpoint customers who are looking for what you sell.


astrokattner
 

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:

In a message dated 7/6/2007 11:04:23 PM Central Daylight Time,
kattnerk@... writes:


Can't the mount "remember"
The "mount" is composed of several distinct and separate functions -
it is
modular to allow for maximum flexibility. The motor drivers consist
of a servo
drive that translates an RA/DEC command into an angular rotation of
the two
gear wheels. The keypad is a database that contains thousands of
objects with
their RA/Dec numbers, and has other control functions in its
software. This is a
distinct and separate item - the keypad is not a mount motor
driver. We also
have Pulse Guide and 3rd party planetarium software which allows
for
controlling the mount with a separate computer, completely apart
from the keypad. A
function to control the mount servo drive (the CP3 unit) can be
added to any of
the software programs in the keypad, Pulse Guide or planetarium
program because
these are the human interfaces that communicate with you. The mount
servo
drive does not automatically know what you want - it is basically
dumb and will do
whatever it is told by these outside programs. The only way the
servo knows
what you want is for you to command it from the outside via
software command.

Commands to do a STOP exist in the AP protocol (the :KA# command is
one such
command), so it is not impossible to send a command to stop
tracking from any
of these outside software programs at a certain point in the
tracking. It's
just a matter of it never having been done by either a) the keypad
software guy,
or b) the planetarium software guy (good luck ever getting them to
do that),
or c) the designer of Pulse Guide. Now that the desire to have this
function n
the mount has been raised, we will try to add it to our wishlist
for the
upcoming new keypad software and possibly Ray Gralack can add it to
Pulse Guide
(he is very responsive to good suggestions), but you probably will
never see it
anywhere else.

As far as having it automatically stop beyond a certain point, that
is not
going to fly. Lots of imagers want the ability to go far beyond the
meridian,
perhaps all the way to the opposite horizon with the scope upside
down. I image
this way all the time and do not want an automatic stop of any
kind.

Rolando
Right, I would not want an automatic stop either. The only way it
makes sense is if it can be turned on or off, and if on, set to a
particular position. This way, it can accomodate different equipment
configurations. I understand that it can be implemented in the
keypad software, which is the logical place to do so, but (as you
have pointed out), the keypad will not know where the scope is
pointing if it has been slewed with planetarium software, and
therefore, this feature wouldn't work if the key pad is in charge of
monitoring the situation. If the keypad were updated with any
movement of the mount, I suppose it could work, but then the mount
and keypad get "chatty" which you guys try to keep to a minimum. I
was just wondering if there is any smarts in the mount itself to keep
track of this, but it sounds like no.

If you're interested, the Gemini system does somehow keep track of
this in the keypad when slewing with a planetarium program, so the
mount will still turn off tracking if a pre set limit is met. The
manual is here (see section 3.3.3 on page 37):

http://www.losmandy.com/losmandygoto/gemini_manual_l4.pdf

Also, as to software implementation, CCDAutopilot has a feature where
the user can set the amount of time the mount should track past the
meridian, after that time has expired, the software will flip the
mount and then contnue imaging.

thanks for the explanation!

Ken


astrokattner
 

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:


I realize that other GOTO systems have advantages that ours doesn't
have -
each new one that comes along can look at the previous efforts by
others and add
to it to gain a leg up. In a perfect world every car would park
itself and
when it's raining, run in and pick up that pizza at the counter so
the driver
doesn't have to get wet. My poor 1994 Ford doesn't even have remote
entry,
something that nobody has to live without any more. Why didn't they
include that?
How dumb of them! What were they thinking, by golly???

Rolando
Other goto systems may have additional features and I guess part of
th business is to decide which ones are truly useful and whether they
should be implemented or not.

But, I've had other goto systems like the Nexstars and Gemini and
after all that, here I am, an Astro-Physics AP900 owner. You have no
idea the number of nights of frustration I have been through with
inferior mounts (I've even had my own worm blocks machined on a
G11). Even my wife asked me last year, why do you have such a
frustrating hobby, just get that AP900 mount if its the best and then
have some fun. Good advice from her. At the end of a night of
imaging, I just stand there and look at my AP900 and think, "man,
that thing is better than a Rolex." It is quite an achievment and
I'm very proud to own one. Thank you.

Ken


Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi Ken,

I know it is almost a sacrilege to suggest this, but there is probably a
good chance of using a Gemini controller with the AP mount - one, if not THE,
finest mounts ever made. Since the Gemini would drive any "servo motors"
directly, all you would need is special cables. I wouldn't do this myself, of
course, because I would miss that wonderful keypad and display on the CP3, and
I really hate the Gemini keypad - you could break a thumb pressing it's
buttons until it pays attention to your command!

Sure wish some of the Gemini features were in the CP3 , but it is all a
matter of the best choice, and I never regretted moving from a G11 Gemini to
the marvel that my AP900 is - a thing of beauty and an instrument of
precision, finally crafted with Roland's years of personal experience. After
all, a Gemini G11 is what you "settle for", rather than an AP mount - which
something you aspire to.

Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "astrokattner" <kattnerk@haynesboone.com>
To: <ap-gto@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Saturday, July 07, 2007 6:35 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: Anyone designed a limit switch or similar to prvent pier
col...


--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:


I realize that other GOTO systems have advantages that ours doesn't
have -
each new one that comes along can look at the previous efforts by
others and add
to it to gain a leg up. In a perfect world every car would park
itself and
when it's raining, run in and pick up that pizza at the counter so
the driver
doesn't have to get wet. My poor 1994 Ford doesn't even have remote
entry,
something that nobody has to live without any more. Why didn't they
include that?
How dumb of them! What were they thinking, by golly???

Rolando
Other goto systems may have additional features and I guess part of
th business is to decide which ones are truly useful and whether they
should be implemented or not.

But, I've had other goto systems like the Nexstars and Gemini and
after all that, here I am, an Astro-Physics AP900 owner. You have no
idea the number of nights of frustration I have been through with
inferior mounts (I've even had my own worm blocks machined on a
G11). Even my wife asked me last year, why do you have such a
frustrating hobby, just get that AP900 mount if its the best and then
have some fun. Good advice from her. At the end of a night of
imaging, I just stand there and look at my AP900 and think, "man,
that thing is better than a Rolex." It is quite an achievment and
I'm very proud to own one. Thank you.

Ken




To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto
Yahoo! Groups Links




astrokattner
 

Joe,
couldn't have said it better myself. My G11/Gemini is in a very nice
case in the garage. My AP900 is out under the stars. What more can
I say?

regards,
Ken


Hi Ken,

I know it is almost a sacrilege to suggest this, but there is
probably a
good chance of using a Gemini controller with the AP mount - one,
if not THE,
finest mounts ever made. Since the Gemini would drive any "servo
motors"
directly, all you would need is special cables. I wouldn't do this
myself, of
course, because I would miss that wonderful keypad and display on
the CP3, and
I really hate the Gemini keypad - you could break a thumb pressing
it's
buttons until it pays attention to your command!

Sure wish some of the Gemini features were in the CP3 , but it
is all a
matter of the best choice, and I never regretted moving from a G11
Gemini to
the marvel that my AP900 is - a thing of beauty and an instrument
of
precision, finally crafted with Roland's years of personal
experience. After
all, a Gemini G11 is what you "settle for", rather than an AP
mount - which
something you aspire to.

Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "astrokattner" <kattnerk@...>
To: <ap-gto@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Saturday, July 07, 2007 6:35 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: Anyone designed a limit switch or similar to
prvent pier
col...


--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@ wrote:


I realize that other GOTO systems have advantages that ours
doesn't
have -
each new one that comes along can look at the previous efforts by
others and add
to it to gain a leg up. In a perfect world every car would park
itself and
when it's raining, run in and pick up that pizza at the counter
so
the driver
doesn't have to get wet. My poor 1994 Ford doesn't even have
remote
entry,
something that nobody has to live without any more. Why didn't
they
include that?
How dumb of them! What were they thinking, by golly???

Rolando
Other goto systems may have additional features and I guess part
of
th business is to decide which ones are truly useful and whether
they
should be implemented or not.

But, I've had other goto systems like the Nexstars and Gemini and
after all that, here I am, an Astro-Physics AP900 owner. You
have no
idea the number of nights of frustration I have been through with
inferior mounts (I've even had my own worm blocks machined on a
G11). Even my wife asked me last year, why do you have such a
frustrating hobby, just get that AP900 mount if its the best and
then
have some fun. Good advice from her. At the end of a night of
imaging, I just stand there and look at my AP900 and think, "man,
that thing is better than a Rolex." It is quite an achievment and
I'm very proud to own one. Thank you.

Ken




To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto
Yahoo! Groups Links




jiprovi
 

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "astrokattner" <kattnerk@...> wrote:
In order to protect my equipment from damage in case I maybe tracking so past the meridian
that the camera housing may run into the pier, I remembered from an old post by Roland that
he does not tighten the clutches very far. I followed that recommendation and tighten the
clutches just enough so that I can still move the mount by hand with a little effort. I seem to
get excellent gotos and tracking still and I sleep at night a lot better knowing that the rare
instance of camera to pier collisoin while tracking will not do any harm.

James


Roland Christen
 

One of our local astrophotographers uses a simple alarm clock which has a
built-in 110 volt outlet. he plugs the power supply into the alarm clock, sets
the time for the alarm to go off and goes to bed. When the preset alarm goes
off, the scope simply turns off and cannot hit the pier.

Of course, then there's the time honored astrographic mounting, where the
pier is made in a bent configuration, allowing the scope to clear underneath at
all declination settings. It would not be that difficult to make such a pier
for a permanent observatory.

Rolando

In a message dated 7/9/2007 3:29:03 PM Central Daylight Time,
rickwiggins@earthlink.net writes:


Hi Roland,
I have a few items to post here:
1. I would love to see an option to add a microswitch shutoff
capability to the AP mounts (see below).

2. A software version would also be nice, but of course these rely
on computers for remote applications. A version for the
handcontroller would be nice for single session portable imaging.

3. My current design: I designed and built a relay box to shut off
power to my mount (or anything) when it receives an input from a
microswitch. It requires a microswitch and a trip block to be
installed on the mount. One of the devices can be attached to any
stationary section of the mount and one must be attached to the
moving portion of the mount (most likely, I will mount the block to
the moving section). When the block hits the switch, it triggers the
relay to shut down power. I designed the system such that I can turn
off the switch to allow resetting of the system or simply defeat the
system. I have not determined a best method of mounting the switch
and would love to get ideas from you or the group. So far, I have
considered using strong double sided tape, epoxy, or silicone to
attach the devices to the mount. Obviously, this design does not
easily accomodate adjustment, but works fine for a permanent,
automated observatory. I can make a section of the trip block to be
removable to accomodate tracking past the meridian when desired. If
you were to build in this type of feature (adding adjustability of
the position is even better) into the AP mounts, I believe it would
be very useful. The reason that I like a hardware stop is that it is
not dependent on the computer or any software.

Thanks, Rick



**************************************
See what's free at http://www.aol.com.


Wiggins, Rick
 

Hi Roland,
I have a few items to post here:
1. I would love to see an option to add a microswitch shutoff
capability to the AP mounts (see below).

2. A software version would also be nice, but of course these rely
on computers for remote applications. A version for the
handcontroller would be nice for single session portable imaging.

3. My current design: I designed and built a relay box to shut off
power to my mount (or anything) when it receives an input from a
microswitch. It requires a microswitch and a trip block to be
installed on the mount. One of the devices can be attached to any
stationary section of the mount and one must be attached to the
moving portion of the mount (most likely, I will mount the block to
the moving section). When the block hits the switch, it triggers the
relay to shut down power. I designed the system such that I can turn
off the switch to allow resetting of the system or simply defeat the
system. I have not determined a best method of mounting the switch
and would love to get ideas from you or the group. So far, I have
considered using strong double sided tape, epoxy, or silicone to
attach the devices to the mount. Obviously, this design does not
easily accomodate adjustment, but works fine for a permanent,
automated observatory. I can make a section of the trip block to be
removable to accomodate tracking past the meridian when desired. If
you were to build in this type of feature (adding adjustability of
the position is even better) into the AP mounts, I believe it would
be very useful. The reason that I like a hardware stop is that it is
not dependent on the computer or any software.

Thanks, Rick

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:

In a message dated 7/7/2007 11:57:37 AM Central Daylight Time,
kattnerk@... writes:


I
was just wondering if there is any smarts in the mount itself to
keep
track of this, but it sounds like no.
Right now there is no function in the servo drive to turn the
motors off
after tracking past the meridian. In order to impliment that, we
would need to add
this function to the servo microchip, and that means that the
older mounts
would have to be retrofitted with new chips. The function could
then be enabled
or disabled with an outside software command from keypad or other
software.

With the existing servo chips, since there is no function to turn
off the
drive at a preset point on the gearwheel, that point would have to
be calculated
by the outside software which is doing the controlling and at the
proper time
a quit tracking command would have to be sent.

Rolando


**************************************
See what's free at
http://www.aol.com.




astrokattner
 

Awesome, I was thinking of a simple lamp timer. Plug the mount into
the lamp timer and set the off time!!


--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:

One of our local astrophotographers uses a simple alarm clock which
has a
built-in 110 volt outlet. he plugs the power supply into the alarm
clock, sets
the time for the alarm to go off and goes to bed. When the preset
alarm goes
off, the scope simply turns off and cannot hit the pier.

Of course, then there's the time honored astrographic mounting,
where the
pier is made in a bent configuration, allowing the scope to clear
underneath at
all declination settings. It would not be that difficult to make
such a pier
for a permanent observatory.

Rolando

In a message dated 7/9/2007 3:29:03 PM Central Daylight Time,
rickwiggins@... writes:


Hi Roland,
I have a few items to post here:
1. I would love to see an option to add a microswitch shutoff
capability to the AP mounts (see below).

2. A software version would also be nice, but of course these
rely
on computers for remote applications. A version for the
handcontroller would be nice for single session portable imaging.

3. My current design: I designed and built a relay box to shut
off
power to my mount (or anything) when it receives an input from a
microswitch. It requires a microswitch and a trip block to be
installed on the mount. One of the devices can be attached to any
stationary section of the mount and one must be attached to the
moving portion of the mount (most likely, I will mount the block
to
the moving section). When the block hits the switch, it triggers
the
relay to shut down power. I designed the system such that I can
turn
off the switch to allow resetting of the system or simply defeat
the
system. I have not determined a best method of mounting the
switch
and would love to get ideas from you or the group. So far, I have
considered using strong double sided tape, epoxy, or silicone to
attach the devices to the mount. Obviously, this design does not
easily accomodate adjustment, but works fine for a permanent,
automated observatory. I can make a section of the trip block to
be
removable to accomodate tracking past the meridian when desired.
If
you were to build in this type of feature (adding adjustability
of
the position is even better) into the AP mounts, I believe it
would
be very useful. The reason that I like a hardware stop is that it
is
not dependent on the computer or any software.

Thanks, Rick



**************************************
See what's free at http://www.aol.com.




Wiggins, Rick
 

Hi Roland,
The timer idea certainly works well for manual imaging where the
operator is available to set the timer once a target is dialed in.
That is basically what I used to do before I started automated
imaging with automated meridian flips and multiple targets. This
solution will not work at all for automated imaging. In automated
imaging, the mount can be sent at any time to a target that may be
very near or 6 hours away from a required flip. In order to set the
timer, there would need to be a program that determines how far away
from the flip that the target is when the mount is sent to this
target. The target call could be a a given time, or after some
preprogrammed sequence, therefore, it is not simple to calculate the
time before the required flip. This is possible by programming some
software to read the automated imaging program, then determine the
proper timeout, and then setting a programmable timer. There are
some of us pursuing this type of trap; however, since this requires
much of the software to be operational, we would use the trap to
send a signal to the mount to park rather than simply turn off power.

The type of error that one is protecting is when the computer or
software gets stuck and the mount keeps on tracking. That is why a
physical limit is preferred although having both is even better.

I haven't seen such a mounting (that allows all mount positions and
tracks through meridian without interference) unless you are
referring to a fork mount (and even these usually have stay out
zones). A standard straight "pipe like" pier runs around $700 and up
for the AP 1200 and I expect this unique pier would be quite a bit
more, but that is simply my speculation.

I am continuing to pursue both a mechanical and a software solution
and am very open to suggestions.
Thanks, Rick


--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:

One of our local astrophotographers uses a simple alarm clock
which has a
built-in 110 volt outlet. he plugs the power supply into the alarm
clock, sets
the time for the alarm to go off and goes to bed. When the preset
alarm goes
off, the scope simply turns off and cannot hit the pier.

Of course, then there's the time honored astrographic mounting,
where the
pier is made in a bent configuration, allowing the scope to clear
underneath at
all declination settings. It would not be that difficult to make
such a pier
for a permanent observatory.

Rolando

In a message dated 7/9/2007 3:29:03 PM Central Daylight Time,
rickwiggins@... writes:


Hi Roland,
I have a few items to post here:
1. I would love to see an option to add a microswitch shutoff
capability to the AP mounts (see below).

2. A software version would also be nice, but of course these
rely
on computers for remote applications. A version for the
handcontroller would be nice for single session portable imaging.

3. My current design: I designed and built a relay box to shut
off
power to my mount (or anything) when it receives an input from a
microswitch. It requires a microswitch and a trip block to be
installed on the mount. One of the devices can be attached to
any
stationary section of the mount and one must be attached to the
moving portion of the mount (most likely, I will mount the block
to
the moving section). When the block hits the switch, it triggers
the
relay to shut down power. I designed the system such that I can
turn
off the switch to allow resetting of the system or simply defeat
the
system. I have not determined a best method of mounting the
switch
and would love to get ideas from you or the group. So far, I
have
considered using strong double sided tape, epoxy, or silicone to
attach the devices to the mount. Obviously, this design does not
easily accomodate adjustment, but works fine for a permanent,
automated observatory. I can make a section of the trip block to
be
removable to accomodate tracking past the meridian when desired.
If
you were to build in this type of feature (adding adjustability
of
the position is even better) into the AP mounts, I believe it
would
be very useful. The reason that I like a hardware stop is that
it is
not dependent on the computer or any software.

Thanks, Rick



**************************************
See what's free at http://www.aol.com.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]