Roll Off Roof control

I was thinking of remotely closing my roll off roof with SGPro . I was wondering does anyone do this now and what electronics board would I use and software to make it operate and possible contactors or relays would I need . I have a cable system that pulls open and pulls closed the roof. I was looking at garage door openers but I cant find one that will open a 20 ft run , everything is a 8 to 10 ft run on garage door openers . I basically go out and open roof and turn computer on and scope and come back in house and remote control by inside computer and I was wanting to, after end of imaging the scope parks and the roof would close this is what I would like .

Any ideas anyone


Here at the Stellar Skies dark sky site operation, most of our remote imagers open and close their roll off roof observatories using the motor system sold by Jim Collins known as the MVO Control system. You will need to convert you observatory from a pulley system to a rack and pinion system with the supporting automation. While not cheap ($2K), it has proven very reliable and Jim provides excellent customer support.

MVO Controls

This system is compatible with SGP and can close your roof when SGP parks the scope. You can also add weather station support so that an “unsafe” condition will also terminate SGP and close the roof.


MVO is OK but as with most of these it is spendy. I did mine with a rack and pinion system (you can buy the rack and pinion gears from McMaster Carr). The control board is a single Maxdome board (you only need one for a roll-off instead of two as you would for a dome). The drive is a 240 volt 3 phase gear motor running from a 120 V single phase to 240 V three phase frequency drive converter. That has the huge advantage of not only being able to dial in the desired roof opening speed but also to be able to ramp the start and stop as you wish. This results in very smooth and quiet operation and way more power than I need for my roof. If you have access the the ACP forum, many details were discussed there on this thread - it is way too detailed to describe here.

ACP Thread on Roof Control

Be aware that some of the parts I used may not be available anymore as that specific part number - there are probably equivalents. One thing to be aware of with R and P systems is that although they are very smooth, they can “rack” a poorly or lightly built building.

I have a Talon6 system.
It’s used at several remote observatories.

It’s quite easy to install and control.
It has Cloud Watcher connections, and take care of internet and computer connections lost.

They sell also an IpSwitch module, that helps you to turn on/off remotely up to eight devices.

I use botj at my observatory and I am very happy. No problems for years.

I use a standard 12V gate motor drive via 2 Velleman boards and the Lesvedome driver. Works perfectly.

Charlie, I have Jim’s system. I can start SGP and the roof opens. I can’t get it to close. I know it’s something simple. Maybe in the slave options ? I’m also using the Sky pro.


My own observatory’s roof is controlled by a servo motor system I built myself. I am only aware of Jim’s system from what other members of Stellar Skies have told me. Jim’s system has a lot of configuration options and it is likely that one of those options is preventing the roof from closing automatically. As mentioned, Jim is very helpful to owners of his system so contacting him will be your best option.


MVO is now recommending this type system from Aleko to be used with their skyroof system.
I just installed the Aleko 2450.
Aleko 2450 kit