Observatory Upgrade Info

General info about upgrades, changes and day to day issues at the observatory can also be found by checking the observatory's logbook.

Information about planned upgrades, upgrades in process or on past completed upgrades can be found below.

= Installation of SV110ED OTA  =
STATUS: waiting on OTA delivery

= Installation of Sky Quality Meter LE  =
STATUS: Completed

= Installation of 12" LX200R SCT OTA  =
STATUS: Completed
This upgrade will replace the 10" Meade OTA.  

= MKS 4000 Control Boards =
STATUS: Completed
The Paramount ME's control system has been upgraded from the older MKS3000 series controller. The new controller supports auto cold weather slew reduction.

= ACP Obseravtory Control Software =
STATUS: Completed
DC3 Dreams ACP Observatory Control software has been integrated into the observatory. The software allows seamless remote control of the observatory and its systems. Many of the custom user scripts and routines had to be rewritten.

The upgrade required the replacement of the older Autodome control board with Diffraction Limited's new Maxdome2 system. This was the most costly part of the upgrade. That was needed to get the ASCOM compatibility needed by ACP.  The observatory's older version of MaxImDL 3.x was upgraded to 4.x

A new focuser controller was also added. The new control box (LazyFocus) provides an ASCOM interface to the Meade Micro-Focuser. FocusMax could not talk to the focuser via the Paramount ME

A Pyxis camera rotation device was also installed. That allows the SBIG ST-402ME camera to be rotated remotely.
= Paramount ME =
STATUS: Completed

The observatory got a major upgrade in the form of a new telescope mount capable of carrying 150lbs of optical load.

The Meade 10"  LX200GPS optical tube assembly (OTA) was removed from its original fork mount. The forks were be replaced with a German Equatorial Mount made by the Software Bisque known as the
Paramount ME. The Paramount ME was purchased used from a private observatory in New York. The mount offers improved pointing accuracy over the old LX200GP mount. The Paramount has 5 arcseconds or less periodic error before correction.

Before the upgrade was completed a number of steps had to be accomplished:
- Removal of the LX200GPS OTA.
- A new pier adapter plate to adapt the Paramount ME to the Pier-Tech2.
- A custom scope cradle was fabricated by Andy Homeyer to attach the LX200GPS OTA to the Paramount ME's Versaplate.
-  A new power cable was run under the floor to the pier. The Paramount ME requires 48 volts DC, the pier only supported 12 volts DC,
- The dome geometry needed to be redefined for the GEM mounted OTA, as it was defined for the fork mounted LX200GPS. (This is still being tweaked).
- Fabricated a new wireless remote controlled switchbox for the two Meade focusers.

More info and pictures of the mount can be found here.


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Updated 07/11/2015 - Please report broken links webmaster@jatobservatory.org