Bassano Bresciano observatory has been fully automated and remote controlled for long time. It can work automatically all night without the presence of operators and can be remotely controlled. A self-built system is able to govern the step motors that move the telescope, the asynchronous motors that move the dome, the flat lights, the focuser and the anti-condensation system. This system is based on a controller running dedicated software written in C ++ language. The controller is connected to a PC where is running a software for the complete observatory management. This is Polypus software also made in C ++ by us. Each software is closely linked to each other and to the devices they control, making it difficult to extend functionality. Now the growing needs require a rethinking of all parts of automation so we decided to start the developing of a new controller named TCS2020 (Telescope control system 2020).
It is an open project so you can find all the realization steps on this blog .
Here you have the full development documentation
Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is selected for this purpose.
It is a medium performance controller and low prices, has a Linux operating system and is supported by Codesys. Many hardware peripherals are available on the market for Raspberry. CODESYS is the leading manufacturer-independent IEC 61131-3 automation software for engineering control systems. This provides us Ethercat fieldbus support, sophisticated motion libraries and communication libraries over IP. It is used for the brushless driving with DS402 profile. WIFI connection is use for the communication with PC where Polypus is installed. Moreover, Raspberry has many GPIO lines useful for digital I/O connection and I2C line where many more complex devices can be managed.
A Codesys application running on the Raspberry is able to manage: telescope, Dome,3 focusers and some switches.
For all devices managed by TCS2020 we realized ASCOM driver on .NET platform You can find here drivers:
A new version of Polypus is required in order to manage devices through ASCOM driver and implementing more feature than version 1. This software is under construction. Here you can find a beta version
Main page with devices status
ASCOM driver setup
These are the main features: