Under Construction – Electrics (Part 2)

As installing all the electrics is quite some effort, we had to spend another day installing them.

This day was entirely dedicated to install all power sockets in the engineering room and the dome itself.

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Installing the power sockets in the engineering room. (Photo by Robert Mayrhofer, 10.11.2018)
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Installing the power sockets in the dome. (Photo by Robert Mayrhofer, 10.11.2018)

There are still a lot of things open, we have to do in the near future:

  • installing all switches
  • finalizing the switchboard
  •  installing the lights

Some of the tasks are currently blocked by the carpenter. He has to finish the ceiling and the staircase to the dome. After this, we can install the lights and switches (some of them will be mounted directly on the staircase).

But these things are subject matter for another post, and day, dedicated to electrical installation.

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Under Construction – Electrics (Part 1)

Friday 02.11.2018 was the day we began to install the basic electrics in the KRO building. But first we had another task to do:

Installing electrics and drive control in the 4m Dome of the Sternfreunde Steyr

As we already have some experience in getting the dome running (see Under Construction – The Dome, additional info of the dome can be found in Tech – The Dome), we made the offer to our partners at the Star Park Hohe Dirn, the astronomical club “Sternfreunde Steyr“, to also setup their dome. Since they need a custom home position for their dome they had to replace the sliding contact for the rotating parts of the dome. Once this was done, we installed all the electric wiring and dome control. It worked like a charm — first time right.

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Working on the dome control system of the 4m dome of the Sternfreunde Steyr. (Photo by Joe Stübler, 02.11.2018)

After this all in all one hour effort we switched to our own dome and observatory.

Electrical installation

We started with the installation of the main switchboard for the whole observatory. We planned to have at least some power sockets running this day — however, we had some other troubles to fix first (sealing the dome, small shutter repair after a heavy storm) — so we managed to only install the switchboard and connect it to the main power line.

The image below shows the current state of the switchboard. Some components, especially the control Raspi and related relays are still missing.

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The main components of the switch board already installed. On the left hand side, the relays for remote controlling the power sockets and lights, on the right hand side the main GFC and the different circuit breakers. (Photo by Günther Truhlar, 02.11.2018)

In the coming days we will finalize the switchboard and install the power sockets, the light switches and hopefully the lights itself (this depends on the company installing the ceiling which is currently missing). Also the stairs up to the dome are missing an are hopefully installed in some days.

Server rack

We also got a server rack donated from our chairman Günther Martello and his company MaG Informationsdesign GmbH.

We transported it already to the KRO, but it needs to be reassembled completely and of course a server is still missing. We are currently on the search for one which suits our needs.

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The new server rack for the KRO. (Photo by Joe Stübler, 02.11.2018)

Impressions

The weather was not that fine, but at least it didn’t rain. We took some landscape photos of the gorgeous place where we build our observatory.

Also a lot of tourists wandered up the mountain to get a lovely view and a good meal at the Anton Schosser hut near the summit. Fun fact: the KRO dome is visible at the very far lower right corner of the webcam placed on the Anton Schosser hut.

Under Construction – Observatory Construction (Part 2)

As described in the posts Under Construction – Observatory Construction and Under Construction – The Dome, the construction works at the observatory are progressing quite fine.

A view days ago we achieved an important milestone, as we could complete the facing of the building.

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The completed facing with air space. The main door and the external power plug sockets are cleverly hidden in the facade. It also works quite well with the already built wooden hut from our colleagues. (Photo by Franz Pribil, 21.09.2018)

The observatory was designed and planned by our LAG member Ing. Johann Bachlmayr who is a professional master-builder.

The next in completing the building, is the installation of the electrical stuff: wiring, server rack, lighting (read and white), network/internet access, etc. we will focus on in one of our next posts.

Under Construction – The Dome

In the previous post we talked about the search for the dome and its technical spec.

Now we got the dome delivered and started with the construction of. We ordered the dome without professional construction and setup, since we’d like to do this on our own.

The first major problem we encountered, was the delivery to the observatory site. As mentioned in “A project begins – And who drives it” the site is quite remote in the alps, and therefore we do not have a highway up to the front door of the observatory 😉 … it is more like a very steep and winding farm track, only used by the local farmers with their tractors.

So the delivery vehicle made it to the first hairpin bend and got stuck! Fortunately, the local farmer helped us out and towed the delivery truck and its trailer with his tractor up to the observatory.

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The tractor pulling the delivery up the hill. On the trailer you can see the tightly packed parts of our dome. (Photo by Johannes Stübler, 09.08.2018 )

The farmer also helped us with his tractor to unload the delivery, since the parts were quite huge (4m x 2.5m, barley road legal).

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Unloading the delivery truck. (Photo by Johannes Stübler, 09.08.2018 )

On the next day, with quite bad weather, we started to mount the dome drive ring to the concrete dome base. This was quite a tricky installation, since the parts have to fit together perfectly, and they also have to be adjusted perfectly to guarantee a smooth dome turn afterwards. So we need to adjust some parts. The base ring construction did take some days – it was the most complicated part in dome construction.

As the dome base ring, with its lower stationary part, and the upper rotating part was completed (see image below), we started with the actual dome construction.

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The finished dome base ring, the upper part rotates. (Photo by Johannes Stübler, 12.08.2018)

Since the individual parts are 8mm fiberglass, they were quite heavy, and we needed a lot of man power to move them around. To make us the life easier, we decided to build the dome on the concrete place in front of the observatory, and then lift it up and bolt it to the base ring.

The dome will become really stable only after it is finished, and so it was a challenge to hold the parts in place until they are bolted together. Luckily we had a lot helpers and so we managed to build the dome in one single day!

This was also necessary, because we had ordered the crane for the next day to lift the dome to its end position on the observatory.

The observatory got its dome on 18.08.2018 and was now so far built to start with the interior fittings.

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The final result and a little topping-out ceremony. (Photo by Günther Truhlar, 18.08.2018)

On the same day, we also did our first dry run, and hooked up the dome to a powerline, installed its electronics and fired it up: it moves quite well and smooth! So the dome is ready for operation.

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Our tech guys setting up the dome electronics. (Photo Johannes Stübler, 18.08.2018)

There is still a lot of work to do, so stay tuned for more!

Under Construction – Observatory Construction

It is now quite some time ago, since we posted our last update on the Kepler Remote project. But we weren’t deedless in the meantime. We manged to build an almost finished observatory which will become the home of KRO telescope.

As mentioned in the previous post A project begins – And who drives it we found a really good spot, and started to build an infrastructure there in cooperation with the “Sternfreunde Steyr”. The Sternfreunde Steyr, already built a hut and a dome last year.

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The hut and the dome of the observatory site, built by the Sternfreunde Steyr. On the right, there is already the base for their second dome. The free spot on the left (covered in snow) will be the place where the  KRO is built. (Photo by the Sternfreunde Steyer)
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The read area will be the future construction site for the KRO. (Photo by Johannes Stübler, 06.06.2018)

As the spot for the KRO was now defined, we started with the excavation. Digging into the soil was easier than first thought, and therefore the actual construction of the observatory building could begin.

The KRO building mainly consists of two parts (two floors):

  • The maintenance room/Sever room which houses the telescope electronics and provides some storage space too (ground floor).
  • The dome with the instrument itself (first floor).

The building is built entirely of concrete, since it also functions as the base for the telescope itself. The KRO is a remote observatory and therefore we do not need separated bases (during operation nobody should be in the building) for the building and the telescope, but the building had to be quite strong.

The building is now more or less finished, and just waits for the arrival of the dome. The dome construction, placement on the observatory building and dome description will be discussed in “Tech – The Dome”.