No Trouble

The new dome and shutter control PLC finally had it’s first night on-sky. The result? No fuss, no trouble, it just worked as designed. To have everything go so smoothly was very satisfying. So much work and trouble, so much worry on my part. Yes, I had performed two days of testing, but this would be on-sky, at night, the final test.

Keck 2 Dome
The Keck 2 dome in the glow of sunset
I arrived on the summit after lunch to convert the system, removing the old PLC and connecting the new controller. A few tests, moving the dome and shutters showed that everything seemed to be working. The plan was to stay into the night to insure that if there was trouble I was on hand to fix it, or convert back to the older system.

As the last rays of sunset gleamed I took Capt. Marvel (the radio controller for the dome) and went up onto the roof. From there I commanded the shutters to open, watching with satisfaction as the giant assemblies smoothly opened to the night.

Better yet, the night was partially used for testing the new telescope control system, the TCSU project. Thus the new PLC was tested with both the old system and the new telescope control system.

The result of all my worry was a simple one line write-up from the telescope operator in the logs the next morning… “New dome PLC operations successful. No issues.”

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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