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Dome Control

The DomeControl hardware was designed to provide a Mac-friendly solution to the automation of a Sirius Home Dome, assuming that the Sirius manually-controlled motorisation option is already fitted. Sirius do offer computer-control of the dome rotation as an option, but this is based on a third-party electronics board with software for Windows only. This option also requires a small amount of hardware adaptation too, to provide for a means of counting revolutions of th motor drive shaft and for determining a known rotation position, normally called the home position.


The DomeControl hardware (also called MacDome Controller) is based on the following principles:


• use of a commercial proportional motor controller;

• use of a high-resolution optical encoder for position feedback;

• use of a magnet and Hall efect snesor for determining the home position;

• provision of a hand control box;

• provision of a height sensor, to adjust to the height of variable-height telescope piers.


These have been realised by using a powerful, intelligent motor control board originally intended for robotics. The prototype controller was based on an AX3500 board, and subsequent controllers are based on the smaller and cheaper SDC2130 board.



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