Chp. 7: Planning the Installation

Chapter 7 – Planning the Installation


It is imperative you have a plan for the conversion that includes specific dates. For example, if you need to make infrastructure improvements to your facility, you obviously will want to complete this before the fulldome installation. Does your dome need repainting to adjust its reflectivity? It is possible that the seats may need to be removed completely so that this service can be performed – one must allow for that downtime.


If your institution employs staff specifically to handle in-house building maintenance and construction, find out what they are capable of doing. If you can get plumbing or electrical work done in-house, it can greatly reduce costs. If you can do this in-house, also know that you may not be at the top of the institution’s priority list! Plan accordingly and set deadlines. Vendors should supply specs for electrical and HVAC work. It is probable that several separate circuits may be needed for a projector. This must be in place before the fulldome vendor arrives.


Many fulldome vendors will require you to build supports for the projectors. Allow time for this. Projectors must be immobile as to maintain alignment.  They must be free from vibration sources.


Plan on being closed for the appropriate amount of time. If you are just going to play back fulldome shows, your closure time will be shorter. If you are going to conduct live programming with the real-time system, you have to learn how to do that and allow practice time. It may be difficult giving a star talk on the Summer Triangle when you are busy scanning your new controls looking for the button that brings up the triangle. Practice makes perfect!


Although each installation may be different, a typical conversion may go as:

  1. Removing the old projection system (including projectors, special effects, automation system, wiring, etc.)
  2. Dome repair & possible re-painting
  3. Seat repair or replacement
  4. HVAC upgrades (computers must stay cool! Many vendors will require a separate room for their graphics processors.)
  5. Determine where the new projectors will be installed and conduct any electrical upgrades
  6. Prep for the new system – projector stands, console upgrades (many planetarium consoles are slanted, but your new computer monitors may need to sit on a flat surface)
  7. Arrival and installation of the new system
  8. Installation of any additional systems (lighting, sound)