This senior design project was done in conjunction with Dr. Richard Ditteon of the Rose-Hulman Physics and Optics Department (client). The project focused on the control system of one of Oakley Observatory's Richey-Chretien telescopes, known the Telescope Interface Module (T.I.M.); the telescope is unsuable without this control box. Unfortunately, the T.I.M. is prone to failure, and replacement T.I.Ms in the market are costly and have features that our client does not need. The goal of this project was to design a more economical control box that comes with its own software for remote control of the telescope. Our solution uses an Arduino Mega as the brains of the control box. It has the ability to turn on cooling fans, measure several temperatures--ambient temperature, primary and secondary internal mirror temperatures-- and can control the primary mirror motor. In order to tie everything together, the team built a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that allows remote control of the telescope with this new hardware design.
My main tasks in this project were to design the hardware for the replacement control box, build the GUI, and interconnect the hardware with the software, while my teammates primarily worked on the difficult task of reverse engineering the original control box.
Figure 1. The original control box that needed replacement.
Figure 2. The hardware used for replacing the original control box.
Figure 3. The prototyping and testing process.