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Shutter Automation

This Project implements shutter automation for a Sirius Home Dome. The Sirius shutter motorisation kit was already installed. This requires momentary-action switches to be operated by hand for the duration of the shutter movements. There are separate switches for upper and lower shutters. This project introduces computer-controlled automation by means of an additional electronics unit mounted above the standard box and with a number of connections to existing terminals on its internal terminal strips.


ShutterAutomation Boxes

Additionally there are a number of additional magnetic reed switches (of the type normally used to detect window opening in home burglar alarms), and one additional microswitch of the same type as those used in the motorisation kit itself. Four of these are used to interlock the motion of the 2 shutters, so that a single command will open or close both shutters sequentially. The remaining 4 are used to provide telemetry of the open and close status of each shutter. These 4 telemetry switches are routed via a dedicated junction box, seen in the picture above.


ShutterAutomation Boxes Closed

The problem with communicating with electronics mounted on the dome is that a wire link is not feasible. Therefore a radio-frequency link using a pair of XBee’s is used. XBee’s are very suitable for this type of connection as they can act as a wireless serial connection. In this case the computer end is simply a Serial XBee Explorer, and at the dome end a PIC-BEE. The other card, with interfaces, relays controllers and so on, is by ClearAndDark.


The result is that the shutters can be opened and closed simply by clicking the relevant buttons in the associated MacDome software. There is also a Stop button to allow stopping the shutters in a partially open state. Telemetry on the state of the shutters, the motors and the battery voltage is also provided. On the unit itself there is a momentary action switch to select manual or automatic operation (needed because of the interlocks introduced by the reed switches).

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