The dome has been going together beautifully with no hitches yet. The money paid for pre-assembly was well spent!
I’m thinking of automating the HD-10 I have. After many years [since 1993], your dome is still going strong. No leaks, never a wind problem. I’m redoing the mount and telescope this winter.
B.P., New Jersey
I purchased a PD10 from you in April of this year. I just thought you’d like to know it survived the worst of Hurricane Katrina without any damage. The eye of the storm passed directly over us (the official track was about 2 miles east of here) and so we went through the worst winds in the eye-wall, *twice*. Peak winds hit 130mph to 140mph here. That’s surely the record for ProDome survival. I’m very pleased. If you would like to use this information to promote the durability of your Dome products, I’d be more than happy to provide whatever you need. FYI, We live on 150 heavily forested acres and lost about 60% of our trees and a few buildings. Poplarville, where we live, has the distinction of having the eye of Katrina, and Camille in 1969, the two most powerful hurricanes to hit North America, pass directly overhead. For that reason, Poplarville was the first city that President Bush personally visited after the storm.
N. B, Mississippi
We purchased a home dome 5 years ago and have incorporated it into our Montessori school. As you can see the school was built around the dome. It is a central feature of our school.
G. B., Wisconsin
Here is a picture of my observatory in Franktown Colorado. Franktown is about 25 miles SE of Denver at the junction of state highways 86 and 83. The WPO is a 10′ ProDome mounted on a 10′ x 10′ wooden structure that I built myself. There are construction pictures on my website (see links page). In the 3 years that I have owned the ProDome, it has operated flawlessly. I am very pleased with this dome.
I have attached a couple of pictures of our finished dome. It has served us well. We are going on our 3rd year and it is a wonderful upgrade for us as we were using the old gable style slide off the roof. I’d recommend the home dome to anyone considering an observatory dome. Jerry, you were always available to answer questions as we installed this as well as afterward for tech support. Please feel free to use any of what I said as a quote for your new endeavor. As a side note to you… please know the issues we did have in getting the shutter to slide properly had less to do with rigging and more to do with lubing. After we “greased the hell” out of the cable and jackscrew (not recommended by Homedome) the shutter has been working well ever since.
S. L., Connecticut
Dome works great, suggestion, save the small pieces of the white guide strips leftover and use them as guide shims on the inside edge of the back shutter if it favors one side more than the other by cutting and stacking two-inch pieces as it rubs on the edge of dome lid, keeps it perfectly aligned during the whole transition. Also less twisting with turnbuckles on the end of motor cables. Dome now is heated & air, houses a 14 inch Meade,ED 80 & teleview scope, using SLR,S 2000XM & SBIG ST-10XME cameras. Lots of photos TOO. WAS WORTH THE INVESTMENT
I would be very happy to send pictures of my observatory. I built mine on top of my one-story ranch home directly above my computer room. This way I could have a very convenient way of setting up my targets in the telescope and sending images to my computer for processing. I’ve had my 6’ “home dome” which houses my 12” Meade LX200GPS telescope for about 4 years now without one hint of a problem. It has been working for me just great. I think it was the best solution for my needs. I live in the upper peninsula of Michigan and the winters can get pretty fierce. There are times when the temperature can get down to 20-30 degrees below zero. Our snowfall may average between 200-300 inches per year. Yet my telescope is protected from the elements. The shutter operates just fine and there is complete 360 degrees rotation capability for the dome. The room has also been completely watertight even with the snow and rain that we get up here. I would not hesitate to recommend the “home dome” to anyone needing to create an observatory. My compliments to you and your entire staff for a job well done.
I am including copies of some pictures I’ve taken of my Technical Innovations 10 ft diameter Home Pro Dome. It is part of the personal observatory that is 22 feet long by 14 feet wide, which was constructed at my home in Krakow Missouri. The observatory includes an office on one side and a telescope room on the other side. The rooms are separated by a wall with a picture window and a door. During the design of the observatory, I considered the slide-off roof that many home observatories have; but I was concerned with obstructing the horizon with the roof and the increased space required to support it during observation times. The Pro Dome solved these concerns for me so my observatory was designed around the 10-foot diameter Pro Dome footprint. The builder who built the observatory also installed the Pro Dome and there were some operating problems at the beginning, but your phone assistance along with the details in your construction manual helped us to iron out all the bugs. The unit has worked superbly and as advertised for two years now. My ultimate goal is to control the telescope and perform astrophotography in the office section of the observatory; however, most observations at this time are performed at the telescope in the ambient air. Under these conditions, the dome stabilizes the night air, limits fogging of the telescope, reduces moisture absorption of catalogs, and is easy to operate. And on cold nights the dome helps keep the observers protected from the wind. I realized how much I enjoyed the Pro Dome when I had to send my 12” SCT telescope, which is the scope under the dome, back to Meade for repair. Since I didn’t want to remove the mount, I did all my observations during the time of repair, with my 10” SCT outside the observatory. Every night I chose to observe the heavens, I had to build the scope, level it, do my observations, and tear it back down. All my charts would get wet from dew and once I had to tear down quickly due to a fast-moving thunderstorm. The Pro Dome is just so convenient and I am so happy that I have one. My fellow amateur astronomers envy my observatory and the Pro Dome that houses my telescope.
My wife and I purchased our PD-10 in 2003 to house a CGE-1400. I have used it trouble-free since and can say that the dome has allowed me to be much more efficient with my observing. On nights that are marginal, or where there is very little time, I can still observe! If I did not have the dome, these observing opportunities would be lost. Another pleasure is being able to leave my CCD camera and telescope up continually. This allows for much greater efficiency as well. I like being protected from the win, and even dewing is not as much a problem. The dome also acts as a great light shield as it blocks the neighbor’s porch lights! It even shielded me from a black bear one night! The dome has withstood 50mph winds, torrential downpours, and heavy snows without a single problem. I can honestly say it has been one of my greatest astronomy investments.
Jerry – We have had many enjoyable evenings inside the Pro Dome. All of our star parties were a huge success. Many new friends were acquired through the sharing of the dome with others. You have an excellent product.
R. M., Arizona
I’m glad to share some pictures of my 10′ ProDome, which by the way is 10 years old this year! The HomeDome without a doubt has contributed more to my enjoyment of astronomy than any other equipment I own.
I got your postcard about your new web page. I have my RoboDome on top of my garage addition and I have pictures on my current web page. I am very pleased with the RoboDome and the (DDW) software, it has functioned without a major hitch. I did get a broken spring metal slider on one of the sliding contacts which have been fixed and it is back to normal. Stabilizing the scope in the roof of the garage was the only problem I could foresee when I had the RoboDome installed. However, when I open the garage door and the dome itself, I have a natural flow of air thru the dome, like a chimney, that easily cools and stabilizes the scope giving very good CCD pictures.
My observatory consists of a Technical Innovations PD-10 dome mounted on three wall rings. The observatory houses a 10-inch RC and 4-inch Televue refractor mounted on a Paramount ME, with a pair of SBIG STL-11000M cameras. The observatory is also outfitted with Digital Dome Works, the observatory automation system sold by Technical Innovations. An in-dome computer is controlled by a laptop in my home. The observatory is connected to my house via an Ethernet cable directly into a wireless router, so I have the benefit of a high-speed link to the observatory and the ability to control the observatory computer from my laptop operating wirelessly. As a result of the DDW automation package, I’m able to operate my observatory by remote control from the comfort of my living room. This enables me to perform complex tasks by remote control, such as a 100+ star alignment running unattended for three hours under Automapper II, or taking multi-hour CCD exposures. Digital Dome Works is extremely robust and reliable and works perfectly with the Paramount ME. I also enjoy occasional visual astronomy and find the PD-10 to be very comfortable for myself joined by several guests.
I hold the record for the most number of Home-Dome’s purchased and built (3) by one individual. I have been an amateur astronomer for over 10 years and worked my way up through larger scopes until I needed a permanent home for my LX200-14” While I try photography and enjoy the amazing views, I also enjoy working with the technology. Somehow a roll-off roof just was not the experience of the professionals that I wanted. But, due to changes in my work and the decision to relocate I found myself having to leave my observatory behind. Determined and undaunted I persisted in building yet another and finally another. I wouldn’t be without one – period. The quality, flexibility, and functionality of the Home-Dome is an amazing thing. It provides the full experience provided to professionals on the mountains of Hawaii all in my own backyard. In each case, my needs and challenges for building construction varied as all three were different designs. Regardless of my needs, I was most impressed with the availability, cooperation, and assistance from Technical Innovations. Their professionalism and concern for a successful operation are unparalleled by any vendor in any industry. Their service doesn’t end when the product leaves the shop nor when you’ve completed your construction nor ever from what I can tell. I know I could call tomorrow with even a casual discussion of some hair-brained scheme and count on Technical Innovations to help me work it out and turn it into something real. I intend to have a Home-Dome for the rest of my life.
Dr. J.G. Texas
Jerry, I build the Starcatcher Observatory specifically for the HD6S dome. I could not be more pleased with the quality of the fabrication and ease of assembly and installation. The dome has operated flawlessly, even during windy conditions. The observatory is located at the Orange County Astronomers Anza, California Site. Other observatories there also use Technical Innovations domes as well. The Observatory is equipped with an 11″ SCT on a Large German Equatorial mount. The CCD image train with a Robo-Focus Crayford focuser extends well beyond the back of the Telescope. The dome accommodates this with room to spare. The dome has required minimal maintenance in eight years of operation – just resealing at the roof periodically. I have never had a leak anywhere on the dome. It’s reassuring to know all is well during a storm. This dome has weathered high winds as well. Some higher than 60 mph. Some well-fitting light fixtures would be a nice option for doing maintenance on the telescope. Otherwise, I am completely happy with my Home-Dome.
This observatory is the culmination of a year of web searches and advice from other observatory owners and technical experts. Part of the search for the best, of course, included the dome. The dome partly determines the design of the observatory; and after thoroughly researching what others had to offer, it became clear that Technical Innovations could not be beaten. This observatory has a 10 ft Technical Innovations Home Dome mounted at one end, and the experience has been totally phenomenal! Photos taken with the centrally mounted 10″ Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope are crystal clear. There is no need to be concerned about wind gusts that would normally shake the telescope. Neither is there a need to purchase a dew shield because the dome even protects against most dew accumulation. With the dome’s clear 360 degrees view, my wife and I have introduced many scouting organizations to the wonders of the night sky. There have been no disappointments … ever. Building the observatory was my hobby for a while; but now my hobby is pure, tremendously enjoyable, amateur astronomy … and sharing what I have. If anyone wants observatory plans and/or construction tips, I would be more than happy to share.
My 6′ HomeDome is the single most important aspect of my imaging routine. The ability to set up for a night of imaging in mere minutes, or quickly close up shop when the clouds appear, is priceless. I spent many days researching a fiberglass dome design that fit my budget and was appealing to the eye and was sold on Technical Innovations’ product line immediately.
Dr. A.S., Florida
Attached are three photos of my dome, pier, and foundation. I ordered the concrete base from a local concrete company. It is a standard 8-foot manhole. I had them put the 2-foot diameter hole in the center to clear the pier which extends about 8 feet underground, has a lot of rebars welded to the pipe, and has about 5 yards of concrete surrounding it. The pipe, which was a scrap piece from a Well drilling company, is filled with concrete and has three threaded supports welded to it so the top plate on the pier can be perfectly leveled. I installed a theodolite on the top of the pier and pushing and pulling didn’t seem to move the image at all. The concrete manhole is slightly smaller than the dome support ring and an “adapter ring” was epoxied together from plywood sections. This allowed the plywood ring to be anchored to the concrete and since it was perfectly round, it was easy to adjust the DSR to the required round shape. Then all that was needed was to drill through the DSR and plywood and bolt things together. The top of the cement flange on the concrete manhole is really flat and smooth which is hard to do yourself. The concrete company delivered the manhole and set it over the pier. Since it weighs something over 30,000 pounds, it isn’t a do-it-yourself job. When the days get shorter and this summer’s crop of mosquitoes goes away, I will start using the thing. A note or two on the dome: I think the “Preassembly” option was well worth the extra money, especially if you don’t have helpers available. The sliding cover needs a stop to limit its rearward travel or the latch mechanism and the inside handle hits the rear cover. It gets dug up and your fingers get smashed. I put a piece of rubber inner tube over the latch handle so that water won’t get in and freeze up.
B.G., New Hampshire
I am writing to let you see another example of my completed HD10 dome. I love it. You most certainly can provide a link to my website, and I will offer as much help to others as I can. I just got the dome up Friday. It is fabulous. I have been on pins and needles working on it this week… but now that it’s up I am impressed with the value of what I have. My new HD150 mount and 10 inches optimized Newtonian also arrived… and the dome and this scope look as if they were made for one another. For those with a permanent site this choice definitely is an alternative to purchasing a more portable scope such as a Richey Chretien. My dome and Newtonian are about the same cost as one of these portable systems, only it is more convenient to use.
I have finally completed my new mobile observatory! We had a “First Light” dedication at the Lake Afton Observatory with the Wichita, KS club on August 17, 2001. This project has been a great success. I even got a front-page article in our local paper. I want to thank you for your help and guidance with the dome kit.
My dome arrived in good shape. My neighbor and I opened the box on the truck and we had everything in the garage in 30 min. The Yellow Freight driver helped too. My wall proved to be right on the money…base ring went on and leveled with ease. DSR as well, and then did the dome in one day when the winds calmed down a bit. Was able to just bolt stuff together in the order the book said and got it sealed before any rain or dew. Another few hours and the shutter was operational. Rain and hail tests occurred a few days ago and all was dry inside. I’m glad we changed my order to include pre-drilling. I will suggest folks have their domes pre-assembled if they ask.
We use the PD15 with two astronomy classes at our private girls’ high school. It was a gift that generates curriculum activities in many classes beyond astronomy. We are also doing classes for local science teachers, for parents and alumnae, and assisting with Project Astro at a local museum. When we opened the dome in June 2000, we had 400 visitors, most of whom had never looked through a telescope before. Some guests speculated that we had actually pasted photos on the end of the scope. The dome is a big attraction to the whole area and generates much excitement.
I’ve had my HD-6S dome for two years. It has worked flawlessly until the other night when I had a problem with a drive motor. I was able to fix it in my shop. When I move to the SW in a few years, I plan to get a 10′ dome. I love the product.
Our dome is now functioning very well, it is a “dome divine”… Already it showed its usefulness in the few demo sessions we had so far. Our roll-away shed, although very useful, got insulted as an out-house, but the Pro-Dome coined our site in Wyalusing State Park as “THE OBSERVATORY”! The fiberglass/resin panels are superbly fabricated and the dome, once assembled, is remarkably solid and moves smoothly. A fine design!
I bought a 10″ Home Dome last year and it is functioning like a charm. I placed it on circular farm silo concrete bricks, about 5 feet high. I have the outside covered with cedar siding painted the color of my house. Planted roses and chives around the perimeter. Looks nice and crisp… just like having a mini-Mt. Palomar in the yard next to the pond. Thanks again for a wonderful product. People just marvel when they get inside and watch all the gadgetry.
I am really glad I got the 10 ft dome with the extra base ring– there is a lot of workspaces inside and headroom is not an issue. We will be on vacation most of June but I look forward to having [you] visit us when we return.
I installed the HD-6T this weekend. It went together well… I installed the DSR, dome halves, rear shutter, and then top & front shutters. I must make minor adjustments to the DSR to ensure a completely free rotation around the base wall. It rotates very well now, but I think that I can improve (center) it further before I caulk. I was surprised at the ease of the shutter installation. Overall the instructions were clear and orderly.
I will be sending you photos from time to time. It would please Elma and me if you use our photos. Assembling our [HD6S] dome was a real pleasure for both of us and our trip to Cumberland to pick it up and talk with guys at the plant was also a pleasure. If I hadn’t read your booklet “At Home in a Dome” I wouldn’t have been able to build the structure we now have. The booklet is a gold mine of knowledge and clarity. One of the major problems that the booklet solved was “how high should the wall be?” Thank you very much.
I am really happy with my dome [HD6T with Dome Trak]. I spend so much more time observing now because in five minutes I’m ready to start taking CCD images. The dome is one of the best things I’ve ever bought.
R. C., Indiana
I purchased a six-foot dome from you four years ago — it’s been fabulous in a most brutal environment, the coast of New England on Plum Island. My dome has withstood the wildest New England coastal weather imaginable. Nor’easters, snowstorms, let them come. She has performed beautifully. I’m now interested in upgrading to a ten-foot. I plan on donating the 6 footers to a local high school. The new one goes in its place. Your dome, (and my telescope) were featured on a Home and Garden special recently. I’m a correspondent for ABC News 20/20 and Prime Time Live. They were doing a program on celebrity homes.
I have definitely been observing more since my dome has been installed. Having the telescope “ready to go” is a great incentive. The electric shutter option was money well spent. It greatly speeds up the opening operation, and it also impresses visitors! Thanks for all you do!
This is to let you know that I received the observatory on Friday. As you promised, the unloading was not a problem. I think it is an impressive piece of engineering. By Sunday, the [HD-6T] was up and ready on top of the highest section of my backyard deck. Some minor adjustments for the smooth rotation of the dome yet need to be done but it looks and feels wonderful. On Monday, we had high wind warning (40 mph with gusts up to 55 mph). The observatory “stood proudly against the elements.” And from a later note: I tell you, my wife, the children and I feel like kids with a new toy. The telescope (8″ LX10 Meade) is now mounted on a concrete pier in the center of the observatory., I will be installing some low voltage red lights this coming weekend and everything will be set to begin stargazing and astrophotography. We are looking forward to the fun.
E.A.V, North Carolina
It’s been a few months since we finished it, but you can finally see our ProDome 10 atop our school’s science building. We couldn’t be happier with the result. The motors turn the dome smoothly, though I have yet to wire the electric shutter. Check out our Sewickley Academy website.
I think of you often and wanted to say that things are going great with my PD-10 and DDW. I have saved so much time over the past year or so and find that my image-taking is much better since being on a pier instead of the tripod. The equipment not only works reliably, but it also looks really cool at the end of my driveway. My neighbors even think it is interesting and they often come over to look at it if they see me out during the day. Your ad with my picture in it was a great way for me to show people how popular this hobby has become.
Well, my dome is up. I still have to wire up the drive power supply and install the electric shutter but basically, I’m looking at a miniature of the Palomar Observatory from the window of my den. The finished product is very attractive. Just thought you would like to know that my six-year-old son Alex had fun rotating the dome for me to test rotation. He did it effortlessly. Great product.
I have been very happy with my 6′ dome and have shown the craftsmanship of the dome to many of my astronomy friends.
Except for some finished work inside, [my HD-6S] is nearly done! The dome works perfectly, it looks great too! We named the observatory “Star Catcher” …inspired by a poem my daughter sent me. The observatory is located at the Orange County Astronomers Anza California site. It’s about 12 miles north of Mount Palomar. I can see the dome with the 200″ from my site. I am truly happy with my dome. I know I made the right choice.
I continue to use my Home Dome with much pleasure. My sunspot observation today was the 1477th time I have used it since the first night on April 20, 1996. I count day use as one and night use as one more in my log. The AAVSO just informed me that I am to receive an Observer Award for my contributions to the Solar Division. Without your Home Dome, this would not have happened. Having the telescope ready to go has allowed me to observe the Sun each clear day.
Absolutely, please do quote me in your customer comments, as I’d wholeheartedly recommend your domes to anyone in the market for one. They are a great product! In 2001, S.B. moved his dome to a new site and wrote again: One really appreciates the modular design of your domes when one needs to take it apart for a move. A great thing about reassembling it a second time is that all the bolt holes were already drilled. I want to thank you guys for supplying stainless steel bolts and nuts. I had no problem with the “freezing” of the nuts on the bolts due to corrosion that could occur with zinc bolts and nuts. Out here at my new site, we get really strong winds, but as I said, I would think only tornado winds would destroy the dome, but then my new house would also be destroyed. Let’s hope that never happens! By the way, I did receive the pack of replacement J-connections for the wind restraint system. Thanks greatly for looking out for your customers.
I just wanted to let you all know that my [PD-15] dome installation went very well. It took me a while due to my busy schedule, but everything worked out nicely. I really like your product and I plan on adding your automation products soon.
I just felt the pen had to go on paper today to tell you both I just could not believe that in 3 days, by myself, my PD10 (with 2 extra walls) is fully assembled and functional in my garden. Let me itemize my delights: The PD10 duly arrived at my door in a large wooden crate – indeed a Pandora’s Box, but no ills within! It was protected outside and the various parts inside were extremely well padded. Unlike many [instruction] manuals that laypeople have to read and digest and then discover hardly any of it makes sense……yours did! Every page was easy to understand, (plain English as we say here in England) and I was able to follow and carry out the assembly without worry. The quality of the PD10 parts was superb. No jagged edges in this kit! (and I have dealt with fiberglass canoes for years, so I know what smooth edges should look and feel like.)
We’ll put a photo [of the HD6T] in the Auckland Astronomical magazine. Everyone is trying to solve the observatory problem in one way or another, and yours gives an excellent option. The exchange rate with the US$ is very for us folks in NZ. And from a later message. We still love the Home Dome which we’ve been using since July. It is very good at blocking out wind and stray light. We’ve even managed to discover a new asteroid: 1999 SO9, about 250 million km from Earth and 15-20 km in dia. Next year it is possible we will order another Home Dome for our farmlet in the South Island.
J.S., New Zealand
This] is a first-class outfit. Having put up a couple of previous domes., I can appreciate the thought that must have gone into the planning of the HOME-DOME. So far as I could tell, no detail was overlooked.
Given the quality of construction and the easy assembly, HOME-DOME is the best buy in astronomy today.
I am pleased with the dome both in appearance and operation.
P.W., Ontario, Canada
I have done much more observing for longer periods of time than ever before in the winter months. The dome is a blessing.
I’m absolutely delighted with my HOME-DOME. It makes late-night observing a delight.
D.S., New York
I am very satisfied with the HOME-DOME, which went into service last August. I can begin stargazing less than five minutes after entering the observatory, and all my telescope accessories are at hand.
I am extremely pleased with the dome. It has caused quite a sensation here. It works much better than I thought it would. Your instructions were great.
P.G., Alberta, Canada
I am well pleased with the quality and ‘looks’ of the dome.
D.C., Ontario, Canada
I know you are always looking for new ideas. One simple thing I did is I purchased a red rope light from the local hardware store and installed it as recessed lighting under the lowest rib [of wall ring] on the inside of the dome. My eyes never make eye contact with the lights, and it throws a soft red downward light to the floor that doesn’t disturb my night vision. It wraps nicely in a circle around the dome, out of sight.
We had some high winds, up to eighty miles an hour, this winter, and the dome was just fine. It has been nice, being out of the wind, on a clear night, to view the different stars and planets.
I don’t know how many of your clients have installed their domes as part of their homes, but we love it for the convenience and safety factors, plus it’s included in our home alarm system.
I am enjoying the HOME-DOME a great deal and use it every clear night. The drive works very well and actually turns the dome better than by hand, probably because of the more even pressure on the two sides. Thanks again for a good product. It does everything you said it would.
We had an inch and a half of rain last night….when I checked the dome this morning, all was dry!
Upon receiving the dome, I was amazed at the high quality of all the pieces. No sanding was necessary and the smooth finish couldn’t be better.
The construction of the HOME-DOME was done by me and my brother in about 12 hours. We followed instructions to the letter and did not have any great difficulties….it is not hard if you take your time.
The HD6S worked out great. It mated with my structure perfectly and I believe really enhanced the appearance. I assembled it in the warmth of my garage/workshop in one day alone, then took it apart and reassembled it with assistance from my wife at the observatory the next day The workmanship on the dome is excellent! It surpassed my expectations.
It is so nice to be able to leave the equipment ready to use, and not have to spend most of my time setting up and taking it down. I could not be happier. The observatory is even more of a joy than I expected, and I expected a lot!
I wish all my purchases were as satisfying as the PRO-DOME. It works flawlessly and is now all spruced up.
It went together with no problems, it looks terrific. Thanks for all your help.