Happy 49th Birthday to our planetarium projector
Our Harmonic Reed/Spitz Nova III is now 49 years old. It was developed by Al Faulkner in 1961, and sold in 1962 for $2000. Only around 250 were made, and very few are still in use today. Due to age, and lack of accessible parts, our own projector is featured only a few times per year, opting instead for a low tech, but quick and effective self-developed system.
Our Nova takes around 16 hours of work to begin a season, with about 1 additional hour each week to keep it happy.
One unusual feature of our Nova, is that the controls are not located on the unit, but instead are fed to a control board designed for a Spitz A3P. Needless to say the system is unique, and by unique, I mean temperamental. For a professional to come in to perform the annual start up overhaul it would cost around $3500 for the 2 day event. I am fortunate, in that when the tech was here for the past 10 years, I studied the system and his method. Fortunate because our school, due to budget considerations, no longer covers this cost. I now consider myself somewhat of an expert with the Nova III, and that's not bad. If any of you have one of these that you are willing to part with, let me know, I need the parts.