AAS Meeting #193 - Austin, Texas, January 1999
Session 11. Observatories, Telescopes and Instruments
Display, Wednesday, January 6, 1999, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall 1

[Previous] | [Session 11] | [Next]

[11.06] New Tackle For Old Telescopes - Modernizing Telescope Control

W.J. Spiesman, R.L. Ricklefs, M.W. Blackley, M.E. Cornell, E.W. Green, J.F. Harvey, P.W. Kelton, A.L. Mitchell, P.S. Odoms, M.H. Ward (McDonald Obs.)

Aging Telescopes Control Systems (TCS) can be very expensive to maintain since even when old parts can be found, they are usually very costly and technologically primitive. For the price of repairing just one of our old encoders at McDonald Observatory, we have been able to acquire the full suite of hardware necessary to modernize control of a large telescope.

We have begun to update the 1960s vintage TCS of our 2.7-meter telescope so that it can be supported into the next century. Besides adding compatibility with modern hardware, the new TCS simplifies the addition of numerous enhancements. For us, this includes point-and-click selection of objects from star charts, automated slew with collision avoidance, and the ability for instruments to command telescope moves. The new digital servo control system can be used to remove such effects as mechanical backlash, encoder dead bands and slippage of friction coupled encoders.

Here we describe our new TCS in detail and discuss its capabilities.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: spiesman@earthling.net

[Previous] | [Session 11] | [Next]