I am interested in building an electronic system to control the orientation of an astronomy dome based on the orientation of the telescope. I need suggestions on the various components I might use.
This is a Meade 16" LX200 telescope in an Ash Dome. Owned by a friend who doesn't use it much. I get to use it, maintain it, enhance it for about 1 week a year.
I can control the scope with my laptop using a program like "The Sky". However, after the telescope is pointed, I have to manually manage the dome and rotate it with a bi-directional switch. Very tedious.
The motor is 1/4 HP, 1725RPM, drawing 5.6 Amps at 120VAC.
There are programs that can be used with the telescope control to manage the rotation of the dome, but I am thinking of a lower-tech solution.
I would like to put some reflecting tape (perhaps mirrors) on the sides of the dome slot and point some lights (perhaps LED lasers) with a pickup device (hence the idea of the garage door styled "electronic eye").
The general idea would be to set up some simple device that would detect the change in location of the direction that the telescope is pointing, and activate the dome to track with the telescope.
If the telescope turns, the light would no longer be reflected and the dome would try to "find" itself or re-orient to a point where the light is once again detected by the reflection from the mirrors on the dome.
I was thinking about:
Garage door electronic eye activators
120V 6A relay switches
detect direction of the telescope; bar codes in the reflective tape
wireless signals to send activation to relay switches (telescopes go in circles and eliminating wires is always good.)
Anyone have any ideas about pre-built components, sources of good relays, electronic eyes, etc?