Problems and Solutions
If you run into a problem, you can call Prof. Tammy Smecker-Hane
(824-7773 at work, 509-7195 at home anytime).
Problems with the Portable GPS Telescopes
- Please note that the Meade 8" and 12" LX200 GPS telescopes
require a 12 V, 5 amp power supply. Thus the power supplies for
the Meade LX200 GPS telescopes are interchangeable. However, the
11" Celestron (the one that the Astronomy Club uses) requires a
power supply, one that is 12 V, 1.5 (or 2) amp. Therefore, you
cannot switch the Meade and Celestron power supplies! The
Celestron power supply will be marked with tape that says
"Celestron 11" ONLY".
- If you align the telescopes using the 2 star algorithm and it
is not successful then the most likely cause is that you have
mis-identified the two stars. Consult your night sky map again
and make sure you know the correct names of the stars.
If you need to reboot ucirob.ps:
If ucirob crashes you may need to reboot the
machine. You can't simply reboot the computer because the
computer will be sending random signals to the rack. If you do,
you're likely to get random motion of both the shutter, dome and
lights! Instead follow this sequence:
- Turn off the power to the rack (red button on top of rack) and
turn off the power to the AC controllable outlet box (red button
on the middle box in the rack) .
- Reboot the computer.
- Enter ucirob, which will set the state of the electronic input
to the crate. Then exit ucirob.
- Turn the rack and AC controllable outlet box back on.
- Restart ucirob. Send the dome to the home position
(Telescope/Send Dome Home) to make sure its properly
Below are some common
problems experienced with the 24-inch telescope and how to go
about solving them:
- The dome does
not rotate, and/or the slit does not open/close.
Check to be sure
the toggle switch on the light grey control box mounted on the
wall to the right of the Observatory door is flipped to the
"Automatic" position so that the computer can control the dome.
Next cycle the power on the Auxiliary I/O box (turn off the
switch on the middle panel of crate, wait 5 sec, then turn it
back on) and try to move the dome in ucirob. That should fix it.
If not, to test whether the dome can move at all, you can flip
the toggle to "Manual" on the box on the wall and move the
dome using the "Slew Dome" toggle switch. Also, you should make
sure the small controller box labeled "DC Speed Control", which
is sitting on the back side of the crate, has its toggle switch
set to "Run CW" and the rate set to 50 units. If the dome does
not move in manual mode and the DC Speed Control box is not
powering up then a fuse is likely blown, and it will require
maintenance to fix.
However if the dome is open, do not leave it open; call someone
to come out and close it. If you can move the dome manually to
its home position (the two black box boxes overlap one another)
then you can manually close the shutter by flipping the middel
toggle labeled "Shutter" up to "Manual" then when its closed
flit it back down to "Auto".
- Mirror covers
The N+S mirror covers open first then the E+W mirror covers
open. If one of the N or S covers doesn't open then the E+W
covers will remain shut. You can get up on the ladder and gently
open them by hand, if needed. The electrical connectors to the
mirror cover drive motors sometime become dislodged.
Unfortunately these connectors are relatively easy to dislodge,
but on the upside this helps prevent the exposed motor terminals
from being broken off instead. If the mirror covers won't open,
check to make sure the electrical connectors are making contact.
If that doesn't work, check the controller on the bottom of the
crate and make sure the "Automatic" mode is selected rather than
"Manual" mode. That way the computer can control the mirror
covers. Its common to have someone accidentally kick the switch
into the wrong position.
- The telescope
will not initialize or will not move.
Check that the the power cord for the RA/Dec amplifiers did not
come loose. These cords go into the back of the crate in the
middle panel that is blank. See if the power lights are on. You
can tell whether the amps are on by trying to move the telescope
by hand. When the amps are on, current through the motor
coils makes it impossible to turn the motors manually.
When the amps are off, the motors turn freely.
crashes during use.
Unlink the ST6, if you're using it. Then power down the CCDs
(click on the "CCDs" button on the ucirob program), wait a
minute, then power back up and try it again. Everything should
- Cannont link
If you cannot link to the CCDs, it may be that they are not
getting power from the crate. We've had power spikes before that
blow out the powerstrip that the CCDs are plugged into. To check
this, power up the CCDs ("CCDs" button in ucirob program), and
plug the desk lamp into the powerstrip that the CCDs are plugged
into, which resides on top of the red tool cabinet. If the strip
is dead, just plug the CCDs into another powerstrip and use an
extension cord to get power from the outlet across the room
under the printer. Contact Jim Kelley and ask him to fix the
- The red light
and fan on the CCD does not turn on after hitting the CCD
power button on UCIrob.
Check to see if the USB cord is properly plugged into the
computer controlling the CCD. For CCDAuto, this should be the
Linux PC. For CCDOps, this should be the Windows PC.
- A star at the
center of the ST9 imaging CCD is not where it should be on
the ST6 finder CCD.
Check to see if the ST9 CCD has rotated with respect to the
telescope. The flat side of the CCD should be parallel to the
bottom of the telescope. Sometimes when the telescope makes very
large moves near the horizon, the CCD is jolted out of position
and must be reset by hand. If the ST9 is in the correct
position, a star is at the center of the ST9, but well off to
the side of the ST6 CCD, then the finder scope's orientation
relative to the 24" telescope needs to be adjusted. Let the
faculty or TAs know of the problem and let them make the
adjustment, because its a little tricky.
thinks its at the wrong focus setting.
If you have changed the focus of the telescope and have not
exited ucirob's Focus window when the telescope crashes, then
the telescope thinks its at the wrong focus position. To fix
this, write down the TUV settings that you think the telescope
was left on and contact Tammy Smecker-Hane and have her edit
these into the /home/UCIrob/Scope.dat file so that the next time
you enter ucirob the telescope will know the correct focus
position. Note also that the focus sets for CCD, EyePiece and
Spectrograph are stored in the focus.dat file.
- The CCD frosts
If the CCD frosts over, you need to turn off the temperature
regulation, allow the CCD to warm back up, and then turn back on
the temperature regulation, but set it to a higher temperature.
The CCDs aught to be able to be set to about 25 degrees below
Note that the dessicant plug in the CCD need to be baked out
periodically to remove moisture. SBIG recommends baking the
dessicant plugs for 4 hrs in an oven at 375 degrees. If you
remove a dessicant plug then you either need to put in the dummy
plug (its a spare we have that is black in color and you can
tell it from the other plugs because inside it does not have
wire screen mesh that the others do) or tape over the hole with
electrical tape so that moisture doesn't get inside the camera.
Be careful and make sure you do NOT bake the black rubber O-ring
with the dessicant plug or loose it!
- the Instrument
Selector Won't Stop Spinning the Diagonal Mirror.
If the instrument selector
won't stop spinning the diagonal mirror, it means the
solenoids that stop it in the various positions are not being properly energized. There have
been a couple related issues in the past. But the power supplies in the rack
will crowbar if they get a surge. And there's something about rebooting
the computer that causes this. The only way to un-crowbar the power
supplies is to cycle the power switch on the front panel of the controller box
(the bottom box in the crate labeled "AutoScope TCS-200").
Cycle the power (orange button). Turn it off, wait 5 secs, and
turn it back on. That should solve the problem.
Note, in normal operation, the instrument selector knob on the
side of the instrument selector should be set to "A" so that
that the telescope can control it automatically.
- XEphem won't link to the 24"
If you ungracefully exit XEphem (either the computer
crashes or you hit the "X" on the upper RHS of the XEphem window
rather than exit with File/Close) then it may lock and not let
you relink again. The error says to look in the
/home/observer/XEphem/lx200xed.log file for more info, and
that file, which is owned by root, says:
lx200_open_scope (getting message queue
ID): No such file or directory
queue: Invalid argument
You solve this problem using ucirob, not XEphem. Close XEphem
then in ucirob, on the top menu bar, click on Remote Link" and
select "Close Link" then select "Open Link" and restart XEphem
and the problem should be solved.
- A Drawer in the Red Tool Box/Chest will not open
If a drawer of the red tool box/chest located to the left of the
telescope pier won't open then its because you have another
drawer open. This tool chest will only allow one drawer to be
open at a time in order to prevent it from tipping over. Make
sure all the other drawers are closed and also make sure the lid
to the lowest open compartment is pushed all the way back, and
then the drawers will open.