Project tutorial
Automated Telescope Dust Cover Controller

Automated Telescope Dust Cover Controller © GPL3+

Open/close a telescope's dust covers remotely or use as a camera shutter to automate dark frames with cameras lacking an internal shutter.

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Components and supplies

About this project

I operate a telescope observatory remotely from my home located 60 miles away. My observatory already automates most function like opening and closing the roof, controlling the telescope mount, monitor weather conditions, and taking photographs. The missing piece was the ability to cover the telescope objective lenses to keep dust, insects, tree frogs, etc. off the glass when the telescopes are not in use

This project allows the operation via a computer app of up to 3 motors, 2 servo and 1 stepper, to open and close cover for the main telescope and the guide scope. A recent modification to the Arduino Sketch and a new ASCOM filterwheel driver allows TheSkyX to use this as a shutter for taking darks with camers without an internal shutter.

Code

ASCOM FilterWheel Driver with CodeVB.NET
No preview (download only).

Schematics

RDC Schematic
rdc2_WjWKhAS0vT.fzz
Motor Bracket, arm and cover
Motor bracket for main scope tube was fabricated using 1/8" x 1-1/2" aluminum bent to radius, 1/4" x 1/2" bar stock for arm, and 8" round acrylic disk (eBay) for the cover.
Img 4898 j7v87uz9vl
Arduino Sketch
rdc_v1_oPhxRYgidp.ino
In action, test.
img_4873_WSkm28Ih0P.MOV
Document
General info
Arduino Sketch
Sketch to use 2 servos or 1 servo and one stepper. Change commented out code accordingly to suit your setup.
rdc_v1_2servos_xE9IfoKtZ9.ino
Arduino Sketch for single servo
This is useful to create a 'filterwheel' that can be used by TheSkyX to automate taking dark frames with cameras lacking their own internal shutter.
rdc_fw_1_1servo_z6y6V9QJ5R.ino
ASCOM Filter Wheel Driver
TheSkyX will use a slot named '!Shutter!' as a camera shutter to take dark frames
guidershutter_OCINbb81cd.zip

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