DFM Engineering, Inc.
1035 Delaware Ave. Unit D
Longmont, CO 80501
Phone: 303-678-8143
Fax: 303-772-9411

"TCSGalil™ Installations"

The acronym TCS stands for Telescope Control System.


TCSGalil™TCSGalil™ is a moniker for DFM's new TCS, which utilizes a Galil DMC (Digital Motion Controller) in the Motor Driver Chassis (MDC).

A total of 20 TCSGalil™ Systems have been deployed since August 2013.

Four have been deployed on new telescopes and the rest as retrofit TCS on existing telescopes. TCSGalil™ is evolving to accommodate the variety of legacy and future systems, as well as developments in third party software.

TCSGalil™ was designed to provide a replacement for the legacy DFM TCS as well as a path to retrofit legacy DFM TCS systems. The driving force of the TCSGalil™ development is the transition to a TCS computer without bus level dependencies.

The legacy DFM TCS has utilized a custom ISA bus card since 1991 and a suite of other custom DFM circuit boards. Over the last 25 years many of these circuit boards have become difficult or impossible to support. The greatest difficulty was the unavailability of ISA slot capable computers.

In addition to providing a path to retrofit legacy DFM TCS, TCSGalil™ is a powerful feature-rich environment for developing new retrofit TCS for a variety of unusual characteristics.

In 2011, DFM transitioned from quadrature encoders for telescope position to Heidenhain Serial interface encoders using a PCI bus counter card.

The first 4 TCSGalil™ used the Heidenhain encoders. The University of Wyoming (UWYO) retrofit used these encoders. The Heidenhain counter card is another bus level dependence that will age out as computers loose PCI slots and when Heidenhain discontinues the product.

Middlebury College Observatory


Starting with the Middlebury College retrofit, we exploited the Galil DMC's capability to use Renishaw serial encoders. This interface can be wired directly to the Galil DMC, eliminating the PCI bus dependence of the Heidenhain counter card.


Kryoneri Observatory


The Kryoneri Observatory upgrade was the first TCSGalil™ to utilize a 50 volt/10 amp linear power supply. It was also the first TCSGalil™ to utilize AC servomotors for dome azimuth control.


Sydney Observatory


The Sydney Observatory DFM CCT-16 was the first TCSGalil™ to be installed in the southern Hemisphere.


Red Buttes Observatory


UWYO Red Buttes Observatory: First TCSGalil™ Retrofit. First retrofit to deploy Heidenhain absolute encoders. First retrofit to be leveraged into an autonomous robotic observatory.


Harvard University Observatory


The Harvard University Observatory Retrofit was key in the refinement of our accurate speed command technique using the Galil DMC. This development was spread throughout the TCSGalil™ community retro-actively.


Valparaiso University Observatory


The Valparaiso University was the first TCS-16 retrofit with friction-driven quadrature position encoders and a DC focus motor.


Williams College Observatory


The Williams College TCS retrofit is the first TCSGalil™ with interface to an ACE Smartdome.


Colorado College Observatory


The Colorado College TCS retrofit is the first TCS with USB to Framegrabber software/hardware that eliminates another PCI slot dependence.


BYU Observatory


The Brigham Young University West Mountain Observatory TCS retrofit will be the first to utilize a Galil RIO to provide additional I/O to control the DFM 5-Axis Focus Housing.


With the addition of the serial absolute position encoder capability, the DFM TCSGalil™ now has a high resolution encoder capable of driving telescopes with on-axis torque motors. If successful, on-axis motors may be the next step in drive technology, replacing the friction drives that DFM has manufactured in the past.


For additional information about the DFM TCSGalil™, please see the following links:

Telescope Control Systems (TCSGalil™)

TCSGalil™ Standard Features

TCSGalil™ 16" Standard Features

TCSGalil™ 20-50" Standard Features

Also for additional information about DFM Telescopes and recommendations, please see the following links:

How to Buy a Telescope

Internet Telescope Performance Requirements

Comparing Telescope Drive Technologies