|Phase 3: Doing it right|
|This automation phase has these changes:
The interim telescope in phase 2 has been turned into a Newtonian Dobsonian which is how it spent most of its life before briefly living in the KPO dome. The new telescope is also a 12" cassegrain but with a much higher quality set of optics. As this is the present telescope it is covered in more detail here.
Phase 3 finally saw the realisation of a decent drive system meeting all the design goals. This is described in more detail here .
This hasn't really been mentioned in the previous phases since it's been a bit of a back-burner project while we worked on the primary goal of getting the telescope going.
The primary support electronics are the dome controller, power controller and environmental monitoring. These have all gone through various uninteresting phases with varying degrees of sucess. The current system is much more reliable and versatile from both the software and hardware perspectives (thanks mainly to experience gained in my job).
The current state of the support control systems is here.
This is still in its infancy and is where the bulk of the outstanding work is. The basic architecture is to move the main control back-end over to Linux using range of skills learnt since writing the software for phase 2. Like the original plan, the server software will be a distributed system with components running either all on one computer or on several computers as the load or physical distribution requires. The front-end will continue to run on RISC OS for the foreseeable future because of the integral support provided by ROCchart and, to a lesser extent, Astrobase. There are thoughts of a web-based thin client but we'll see how this develops.
As this is now current development, any details will be here .