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Our latest piece of hardware is a new Star Projector. Our old model lasted 22 years after re-building it three times with new wiring etc. A friend of mine, Simon Ould of www.spaceodyssey.co.uk offered me his old star projector as a potential upgrade. After a few tests, I knew it wasn't going to be bright enough for my large domes, was far too heavy, nor was the power supply at it's full efficiency. I realised I would have to rebuild it from day one.
I thought I only had a 70% chance of succeeding, I took the gamble, purchased it and took off just two crucial components. After several months of planning and 3 weeks construction, I made the new design. It now has many advantages over other projectors in the mobile planetarium market.
Central axis is now driven via a belt and pulley normally used in a 3D printer. A spring from a deck chair became a tensioner to keep the motor on the belt. The drive motor was from a model railway turntable.
These are the original components to commence the project. A friend (Steve Goldsmith) who is an engineer made the brass rings as an electrical pick-up. As the projector will rotate, wires cannot connect the lamps to the power supply. I used the similar principal to a power drill. The lamp holders were destined for a dolls house.
The completed project with an extra laptop for sound effects, music, and eventually digital Greek mythology character projection.
Such a projector would have cost around £9000, I managed with £650 and includes some features not found in any other star projector in the UK.
I always believe in providing a service that every potential customer can afford, rather than buying in ready-made technology because it's there then pricing myself out of part of that market.
The North Hemisphere mounted with axis and drive ring in place. The axis was a sawn off broom handle and the metal axis holder is normally used as wardrobe pole mounts.
The project above was completed 16 May 2016.
Our next phase is to compliment this is a 4k resolution digital projector. Some of our competitors have been using a 1k system in their domes. But our domes are much larger and wouldn't project a quality image. Cinema grade 4k projectors have only just become available for the home market. A unit has been completed; February 2019. It is running in our domes as a trial.