Tom How’s Patented dome rotation system :)

Today Tom How fitted and ran a fully automated dome rotation system to the Pulsar Observatories mini-WASP dome.  You can see a video of the system in operation HERE.

You will see the telescope array deliberately slewed using the joystick and the dome automatically rotating to keep in line with the telescopes.  Tom’s touch of genius in making this system work (despite any motor stalls or slippage between drive wheel and dome) is the use of a solid-state magnetic compass for absolute position reference – no rotary encoders needed.  Brilliant piece of work there Tom and I really appreciate the time and effort you have put into this project.  At least you have given me something a bit special (and a bit sexy) to show the sponsors on our “First Light” day 🙂

Keck I (the South dome) can be seen through the doorway of Keck II (the North dome).

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7 Responses to Tom How’s Patented dome rotation system :)

  1. Tom How says:

    Home with Gin and Tonic now – still can’t quite believe we got it working! 🙂

  2. Greg Parker says:

    Well – it was all due to you thinking the job out properly beforehand – something I’m not too good at 🙂

  3. Steve Loveridge says:

    Hi Greg – I’m in the process of building a system to drive a Pulsar 2.2m dome – would you be able to say what size stepper motor you’re using with your dome please? Thanks in anticipation. Steve

  4. Greg Parker says:

    I use 2 x 3.1Nm steppers bought from E-Bay – they are superb (meant for CNC applications).

  5. Steve Loveridge says:

    Thanks Greg – much appreciated

  6. laurence says:

    Hi Greg
    The compass work fine next to magnetic fields from the drives on the mounts?

  7. Greg Parker says:

    The compass is in the roof of the dome, it is not next to the mount nor the two powerful stepper motors that drive the dome rotation. Yes it works fine.

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