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Tonight will be my last night shooting with my observatory. Goodbye, or rather good riddance. Since I've had a dome my productivity per night has gone down a lot, driving me nuts. Firstly, had a six month fog bank so no telescoping, then when I got back on my CGE pro was acting funny and not tracking in DEC. That drove me nuts for months. Things are better now, Paramount ME is tracking like a champ, and thus everything is working again.

So here's what the new observatory will have...

Paramount ME
Paramount Pier
Technical innovations PD10 automated dome
All Sky Cam (not sure which one)
ACP with scheduler
Maxim and CCDsoft
SkyX pro
Flatman XL
Moonlite autofocuser
Lodestar guider off axis
optec pyxis LE rotator

And then any combination of:

72 mm APO refractor
127 mm APO refractor
11 inch edge HD
8 inch RC

With

SBIG 8XME internally guided with 5 position wheel
Starlight Express SXVR H18 with 7 position wheel

That's a lot of hardware. Going to take my skeshedpod down and sell it and my CGE pro.

So today it comes down, funny I have four clear nights ahead of me. But need to rebuild the deck, so time to shut it down, pull the pier out, rip up the deck, and begin putting it all back together again with solid artifical wood stuff and a more solid footing for a heavier pier setup. I'll be working this weekend that's for sure, but hell if I get my new setup going late next weekend that would be pretty rad. Totally automated amazing setup.

The only thing I could possibly upgrade from here is the OTA itself, which I won't be bothing doing for quite some time. Have enough toys to get some good shots for a while.

Complete automation, it's been a fantasy of mine for a year since Trevor and I started astrogab and mcfarlin started showing me all these astronomy tools I'd never seen before. I'm two weeks away from that, and I can't wait. Imagining PERFECT alignment, 200 point plate solved perfect measuring, etc. Game on.

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Comment by Charles Dunlop on March 28, 2012 at 5:28pm

What i'm really anxious for is my IT guy to come over and set the whole network up so that I can log onto the telescope from wherever and turn it on, etc.

Comment by Charles Dunlop on March 28, 2012 at 2:43pm

I'll have plugged into the USB...

1. CCD
2. filter wheel
3. focuser
4. Rotator
5. mount
6. flatman
7. Dome
8. Weather Cam
9. guider
10. sinewave USB

That's ten things plugged in that I can think of, not too bad. There's seven slots on my computer and my hub has 6, I'll be fine.

Comment by Charles Dunlop on March 28, 2012 at 9:58am

Emil...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PZE8ZUM0ps

The entire process is automatic in ACP, including whether to open the observatory door. It's a very nice program, totally automated.

Comment by Emil Kolbert on March 28, 2012 at 8:54am

Can you explain what do you mean with the schedule? In CCDAP I can tell when the software should start the session...

Comment by Charles Dunlop on March 28, 2012 at 8:04am
It is a lot of cables. But no big deal. USB hub for those things that don't have high levels of inputs and outputs like rotator, focuser, flatman, etc. USB directly for things that get used a lot like guider, ccd, and observatory.

Emil does ccdap have a schedule type option?
Comment by Charles Dunlop on March 28, 2012 at 8:02am
Ccdap doesn't have scheduler like acp does.
Comment by Emil Kolbert on March 28, 2012 at 1:23am

ACP? is not redundant with CCDAP?
Anyway is your decision after all.
That is a lot of hardware I have to say, but that means a lot of cables :-) go figure out in darkness with one belongs to what or better say where the hack this cable goes (scratching my head) LOL I already had experienced such "wonders" and in darkness is pure fun... Ups, crap, s***t that was the mount power supply... this one? Why is my PC not running now? This one? Crap, camera down... I go in bed now... not funny anymore!
Good luck mate. Im really happy for you.
Emil

Comment by Charles Dunlop on March 27, 2012 at 1:40pm

lol steve. Nice thing is, my friend is building the deck AND uilding the pier base, all I need to do is basically wait for the cement to try and then set everything back up.

Comment by Steve Coates on March 27, 2012 at 1:38pm

Just make sure you leave enough power in your grid so your neighborhood does not have a blackout (actually that may be desirable). Your stuff has evolved over the past year or so. We're all looking forward to your getting set up, just remember, measure twice and cut once!

Comment by Charles Dunlop on March 27, 2012 at 1:08pm

thanks Marc, I can't wait to be setting this thing up, taking like four hours to really lock it in.

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