The Roller Roof Automation Thing

This will be our next project and is slated for release late summer or early fall of 2016. It is about controlling a roll-off roof reliably and with a bunch of safety details in place.

Roll-off roofs are sensitive things that need to be driven carefully. Based on experience from a remote observatory in Southern France with a 4 x 5 metre roof, The Roller is entirely based on solid state components driving DC motors from 12 or 24 volts, and has lots of safety features that make sure your motors remain intact after roof stuck incidents and the like.

The Roller will be supplied with an ASCOM driver that makes it usable with most software packages available for the Microsoft Windows platform. For users of INDI and other Linux systems, The RollerĀ“s native command protocol over USB-to-serial can be used to control it. As with other products we have done in the past, a USB-to-serial converter chip from FTDI is already on the board, so interfacing and system drivers are a non-issue.

Preliminary specs in short

  • Drives roof motor with speed control (PWM)
  • Drives an optional flap motor with speed control (PWM)
  • Motor drive capacity up to 12A continuous (30A peak)
  • Very low loss design
  • Software settable over current protection
  • Software controllable PWM frequency
  • Motor reversing is all solid state
  • USB interface, COM-port on your system
  • Screw terminals for end position switches
  • Screw terminals for manoeuvering switches
  • Screw terminals for motor connections
  • Wireless control of Nexa compatible switches
  • Firmware upgradeable from your controlling system (Windows, Linux, OSX)

We hope to have this out the door before the fall season starts.