NEW Telescope Control System Documentation

Created: 08/19/19 by EF
Updated: 09/06/19 by EF

An IR&D grant has funded the modernization of the control system and drives for the FLWO 1.5m Tillinghast telescope. The old control system was last updated in 1990 and relied on obsolete computer hardware and operating systems that could not be upgraded. Its failure would have shut down the telescope.

The project includes replacing the hour angle and declination servo motor controllers, computer, and control software, while adding absolute position encoders.

The new system is expected to improve observing efficiency through more accurate pointing and smoother tracking.

Ian Huss and Damon Burke of DFM installed the new system between 07/29/19 and 08/08/19. Ted Groner adapted the existing tcs to control FAST and TRES as in the past, and the telescope through the new system. We have been testing its features and becoming acquainted with its operation. We found several problems that needed corrections. We worked with DFM through August and have started the observing season on 09/01/19. The system is performing reasonably well, but still requires adjustments that will be included as soon as possible.

Documentation is being updated for the new system.