PAN005: Build Thread for "J. J."

Only two weeks until the Symposium on Telescope Science where we will display the PANOPTES poster and talk to people about our progress!

Countdown: 15 days to get our unit assembled and into test mode!

Hello All,

This thread is to report the status and progress of PAN005, named “J. J.”. This unit is named in honor of two friends who have passed away - Jenny and Jonathan. They would LOVE the Panoptes project! Jenny was a great friend and astronomy enthusiast, and Jonathan was a super-engineer and astro-imager, one of the most intelligent and talented people I have ever known.

Current Status:

  • Working through beta document for Linux commands to set up the NUC computer with all its necessary software. Hit some errors - posted to the Forum
  • Assembly of electrical connections in process, between boards and components
  • Decision made to “go solar”. Once the unit is working, will add a solar charger to the battery for “off grid” operation.


  • mount and all parts acquired
  • aluminum plates machined
  • cameras installed in camera box
  • camera box with cameras mounted
  • camera box on mount tested
  • power board, telemetry board, camera board all completed


Did you print (stencil) the text onto the box, or on the picture?

Hello @james.synge, the lettering is vinyl all-weather / outdoor lettering that I purchased from You fill out the form for what you want the lettering to say, choose the font, etc. I have some vinyl letters on my 30" telescope too - it has held up very well.

I’m guessing that you haven’t yet installed the USB and DC power cables that connect the control box with the camera enclosure. The core team found that feeding the cables through the mount in place of the polar scope, as shown in the instructions, is rather challenging. Furthermore, the mount wasn’t designed to have cables running through it, so there are some sharp edges that eventually abraded the USB cable, though that apparently took more than 2 years. If you want to avoid that risk and effort, it is worth discussing alternatives:

  1. I prepared the mounting plates with the holes and slot for the cables, but put a right angle turn in the cables so that they come out the side of the saddle plate at the top of the mount.
  2. PAN001 has been modified so that the USB cable now attaches to the bottom, front of the camera box, between the two lens openings.

I’d suggest doing something like the PAN001 solution, with a cable gland or similar to seal up the connection, and to stop the cable being abraded while the box is moving.