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Technical Innovations Dome Features
Select from the topics below to read detailed information:Dome Sizes
HOME-DOME observatories are available in diameters of either 6 feet (183cm), or 10 feet (305cm). The 6 foot diameter observatory is offered in your choice of either a short model (HD-6S), or a tall version (HD-6T). The HD6T is a free-standing dome with a 45" high wall (including door) that you will bolt onto a deck or concrete pad. The HD6S or the HD10 is the dome to choose if you prefer to build your own walls. Both of these models are furnished with a base ring which will permit you to bolt the dome on to the top of your foundation/wall.
PRO-DOME diameters are made in diameters of 10 feet, and 15 feet (457cm). The base ring of these models includes a door. We offer matching fiberglass wall rings which may be "stacked" one on another in order to make a wall whatever height you need.
ROBO-DOME is our smallest Technical Innovations dome; it is big enough for a small automated telescope but can not accommodate a person. This dome is oval shaped, with a very compact footprint that is approximately 40 inches (101.6cm) by 50 inches (127cm). The dome diameter of rotation is 40 inches.
The dome specifications are published at our Dome Specifcations page.
The HOME-DOME Model HD6T has a standard wall which is 45 inches (114cm) high, and includes a door. The height of the ROBO-DOME base is 25" (63.5cm), but of course the dome is not designed to be entered into.
The modular concept of these domes provides the user with the alternative of building walls to accommodate the HD-6S, the HD-10, or any of our dome sizes. Take a look at the photos on the Technical Innovations section of our web site to examine a number of examples of customers' creative wall designs.
The smaller ROBO-DOME incorporates one moving shutter.
The domes turn easily on hard rubber faced, ball bearing rollers each of 3 inches (76mm) diameter. These rollers are mounted in the top of the dome base ring. The 6 and 10 foot domes are engineered so that a person of average build can manually rotate the dome quite easily.
While about half of dome owners choose to operate the smaller domes manually, motors for shutter operation and for the precise rotation of the dome are among the available options for the 6 and 10 foot domes. These features can be added at any time (at the time of original installation, or later) to the 6 and 10 foot domes. The 6 and 10 foot domes are designed so that the user of the dome or a local electrician can install the optional electronic motors. Furthermore, one may provide optional electronic motors to open and close the shutters.
Motors for shutter operation and rotation are included as standard equipment with the PD-15 and the automated ROBO-DOME.
All of these motors are powered by 12 Volt DC; this is typically provided from an AC to DC power supply, or from banks of rechargeable batteries (such as from an UPS systems). We do offer a power supply to convert your electric service at the dome (please specify your choice of either 110 or 220 VAC) to provide the 12 VDC 10 amps.
It is possible to wire the motor control switches for control of these functions directly at the dome, or to operate the dome motors remotely. Remember that if you intend to automate your dome, then it must be motorized.
Digital Dome Works (DDW) is a computer based automation system which allows you to open and close the shutter, and control the dome rotation azimuth so that it precisely and continuously matches the telescope position. While the basic DDW is designed primarily for situations where the control room and the observatory are located no more than 400 feet apart, we offer options that allows you to operate an observatory from great distances, even with contol through the Internet. In the case of DDS you choose the components needed to fit your situation.
Digital Dome Works includes dozens of operating features. Some of these depend on your remote control telescope being able to accept these commands:
The DDW control unit in the observatory contains two microprocessors which control the observatory motors, sensors and other devices. The control unit connects via an RS232 communication line to the controlling computer which runs the DDW Control Program (included with DDW). The Control Program provides the human interface: buttons allow commands to be sent to DDW (e.g., OPEN dome), and then data returned from DDW is displayed (e.g., diagram of dome rotation and shutter positions), and configurations may be set (e.g., set the telescope mount parameters).
If the distance between the observatory and the user is more than a few hundred feet, then the RS232 protocol is no longer suitable. Or if multiple users must gain access to the observatory, then a different type of communication must be used (e.g., telephone, network, or Internet). In such cases, you will need a computer in the observatory (to run programs and handle communications for all the observatory devices). You will probably need some of the DDW options as well. Options include:
All other domes are shipped in large sections requiring only simple bolt-together construction. All assembly bolts are made of stainless steel. Most hardware for assembly is provided, except the foundation bolts. Assembly requires alignment of the parts, measuring and drilling bolt holes, and use of common hand and power tools. Larger holes, for rollers and latches, are cut and finished at the factory. Typically, domes are assembled in place by two or three persons, without cranes or special equipment. Motors and automation require addition time but no special equipment. We offer factory pre-assembly as an add-on service.
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