23-Oct-2023 My widefield setup with my RASA is off mount now, replaced by my new Takahashi Epsilon 160. In playing with that I have started learning to use Skywave to help me collimate both the Epsilon and the RC. When I had a couple of free nights I had the RASA inside and used my ACT to optically align the RASA. I made some adjustments that I feel good about but have to wait now as the Epsilon took its spot. Some day I will get my POD-S so that my second observatory can be fully automated with my third mount.
1-Mar-2023 All the work I put into the Ultrasonic Park detection solution I created is now shelved. I mean, I wrote a python code, shell scripts, made a bullet proof reliable solution that would always run as long as the raspberry pi was up, but frost started to make the RC Ultrasonic sensor have unreliable readings for windows of time. This happened more than once late in the night when it is trying to close up. So, I have moved to "Plan B" which was a much simpler Active - Active IR sensors, hoping that being active they might not be affected by dew and frost like a larger reflector is. These are hard to aim, you can't see the IR with your eyes, but I found that my ASI224's inside my observatory an see them clearly so I aimed them a little better. The first night park detection failed for the RC. When I went out there to see in the morning, I only rubbed my finger on the front of the emitter, and it cleared enough frost off that the beam got to the detector and the relay fired. I designed and printed matching dew shields and had success last night as it closed up for clouds and everything worked correctly. Of course it did, I was awake watching from the couch.
3-Nov-2022 My first PLA correction baffle has deteriorated so I printed a new one-piece baffle. This new baffle only
needs about 1/2 a loop of electrical tape to give it a nice snug fit on the RC. You can download my 14"
Carbon fiber RC corrector baffle .stl , pictures are below. New screw drive opener installed. Frost
has become a big problem with IR park detection sensors so I am trying to move to Ultrasonic sensors
which seem to be working. I have also moved to one SkyRoof for the observatory that is not connected
to either mount. Still working out all the kinks.
11-Sep 2022: I have both mounts working together autonomously! All the heavy lifting in AOPs is done, AOPs
has evolved to version 8.1.39. Only making minor tweaks these days. AOPs gives me the ability to
do many things regarding controlling operations. It allows me to pick which mount or mounts are in
play. It allows me to set a No second chance flag so that if it closes for weather and conditions
improve later it will not start again. I can set a Force Flag to force it to not start tonight or to start
tonight disregarding the weather forecast. Under normal circumstances, the forecast is the final
criteria used to determine if it should start.
18-July 2022: I've moved to Voyager Advanced for image acquisition!
Autonomous Operations v3 (AOPS) is currently in development.
Coming Soon: Control over forecasting and automation while facilitating autonomous operations!
I have not been very productive for the last 6 months. Mostly due to frustrations with the RC.