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Hardware

Instructions for the construction of a PANOPTES unit.
This document provides an overview of the process of building, testing, deploying, and running a Project PANOPTES Robotic Telescope (a “unit”).
A PANOPTES unit consists of the following components:
Component
Use
Control box
Contains the “brains” of the unit, a Raspberry Pi running our POCS software. Also contains the power distribution and control.
Camera box
Holds the DSLR camera to take photos of the night sky. Attached to the mount.
Mount
Precisely tracks stars so the cameras can take long exposure photos.
Pier
A rigid frame for the mount that minimizes vibrations as the mount moves.
Note that there isn’t a single design for the PANOPTES telescope, and therefore not a single document with instructions for building the telescope. Based on feedback from builders of the telescope and on changes in available parts, the team develops new designs for selected components (e.g. a narrower pier for supporting the mount, or a wider camera box to allow for larger DSLR cameras) and updates the documents frequently.
The documents provide detailed instructions on exactly how to build each component, but there is in fact considerabe room for adjusting the design to suit local conditions (e.g. in the event that you can’t get some of the parts we’ve specified).
If you plan to, or need to, make such changes, please discuss them on the PANOPTES Forum so that we can determine together the impact of your changes; for example, changing the bolts used to connect the camera mounting plates from metric to imperial will make no difference, while changing the kind of microcontroller will likely require that the software be changed to work with the new microcontroller.
The build instructions for a PANOPTES unit are divided into a number of logical sections, with some sections depending on each other.