This is a project to eventually fully "robotocize" the Perkins Telescope at Lowell Observatory so that remote observations can be conducted with a minimum of on-site intervention required.


Summary from May 2018 visit

Telescope motion

Axis Motor steps arc-sec Encoder step arc-sec
Rt. Asc. 720 28.444 720 5.555
Decl. 360 22.7555 360 2.777

Controlled by DOS program "MOVE" (MS-Fortran / x86 assembly)

  • Primary interface is PC48 Multi-Axis Motion Controller
  • This is an ISA bus controller which is pretty fancy
  • Manual in SVN or
  • Uses ASCII commands over ISA bus
  • Interface box (homemade, with many green circuit boards in vector box) "Compatible with IO38 Breakout board" (can't find manual for this) but schematics are at end of Perkins manual
  • Motor controller is no longer Compumotor but at least the RA is Parker Hann AR-13SE control box.

Dome Shutter

  • Raised by winch with 3hp motor (230V 15.8A 1725 RPM) plus electric brake (230V 1.4A)
  • Momentary on-off-on lever control with limit switches
  • Contactor in box on dome wired via limit switches


  • Raised / lowered by switch on console
  • Need to investigate - maybe not suitable for automation

Mirror shutter

  • Toggle switch on telescope, auto-stop when in position

Patch panels

  • T - Telescope F - Observing floor W - Warm room
  • All feed to central panel in computer room
Last modified 3 years ago Last modified on Oct 16, 2019, 2:58:21 PM