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Mount outside all the time?

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#1 WhitenerJ

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 10:59 AM

Does anyone leave their mount outside year round? I wad hoping to be able to leave my Atlas on its tripod outside most of the time using a telegizmo cover. Does anyone Di this? Would it be protected from heat and cold with the cover? It would be sitting on concrete. Thanks.

Jason

#2 Jeff Smith

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 11:32 AM

Years ago I left a CGEM mounted on a pier outside for a year or so. It rains and snows A LOT around here. I used a blanket, thick tarp and a couple bungee cords to keep it out of the moisture. I had a few screws start to rust but otherwise it was fine. The key is to keep moisture off the mount and allow air to circulate.

#3 Chucky

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 11:40 AM

I left my G11 mount head outside year around atop a wooden post. Had a custom made Sunbrella fabric cover made. The mount looked and operated like new for the several years I left it outside. This fabric is remarkable. Never had any moisture problems and it always kept water out.

#4 broca

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:02 PM

I've never had a problem leaving my G11 outside on a pier under an TeleGizmo 365 cover. I'll bring it if I'm projected not to use it (work/weather etc) though.

#5 Project Galileo

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:21 PM

I did it for years with a Telegizmos 365 cover and my powder coated LXD-75. Never a problem. I used a foam strip around the wooden base to tighten the bottom of the cover around. This gave a great complete seal to keep out spiders and wasps. I would walk out with the ota, lift off the cover, add the counter weights and shaft that were stored outside on the shelf, open the rings and attach the ota, power up and unpark, and was viewing in no time at all. Having it polar aligned already was a joy.

Posted Image Posted Image

#6 StarWrangler

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:53 PM

Hi Whitener,

This what I did for my Vintage Celestron C8"

A weather proof box, ( NO It Is NOt A Bird Cage)you could make one to cover just the mount.

Alan O.

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#7 StarWrangler

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:54 PM

Another photo,


Alan O.

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#8 mich_al

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 04:14 PM

My CGEM has been outside on a pier for a couple of years now. I use a Telegizmo 365 cover and a remote temp humidity sender unit inside. In the Summer I shade it and when the humidity gets high I turn a ligh bulb on. No issues so far.
I'd be a little concerned about a tripod tipping over in excessive winds or soft soil or mechanical failure or ???.

Al

#9 Jeff Smith

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 06:54 PM

I did it for years with a Telegizmos 365 cover and my powder coated LXD-75. Never a problem. I used a foam strip around the wooden base to tighten the bottom of the cover around. This gave a great complete seal to keep out spiders and wasps. I would walk out with the ota, lift off the cover, add the counter weights and shaft that were stored outside on the shelf, open the rings and attach the ota, power up and unpark, and was viewing in no time at all. Having it polar aligned already was a joy.

Posted Image Posted Image


This is impressive. WOW!

#10 Hilmi

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 04:40 AM

If you live in an area with salty air, I would advise against it. I have mine in an observatory that is not fully sealed for less than a year now and many screws and knobs are starting to show surface corrosion. I'm within 1 mile of the sea. I heard one person advise that you use spary on car wax on the mount every once in a while, that does sound like good advice, and I don't see any harm in it as long as you keep the wax of the gears.

#11 dawziecat

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 09:37 AM

I have a G11.

It stays outside all the time. Sits on grass (it matters).
I leave the mount out all the time. The optics and electronics stay out often . . . but not if I think I won't be able to image for a stretch of bad weather.

The Telegizmo has not worked out for me as I am not able to seal off the bottom due to tripod legs. Moisture rises from the grass and utterly soaks the mount. That moisture is then trapped. If you're on gravel or concrete/asphalt, maybe not a problem at all. I can't say.

So I use an inelegant green trash bag instead of that costly TG cover. :( :( As a second "line of defense," I wrap baggies around the motors and seal 'em off with rubber bands during storms.

For a G11, with removable electronics, this has worked well enough. For an Atlas, I can't say.

The Telegizmo is a great idea . . . but not so much on grass, and not so much if you can't sort of seal off the bottom around tripod legs. It does of course do very well indeed in a heavy rain or snow storm but rising dew has made it "worse than nothing at all" for me.

I don't recommend this to anyone but somewhere you have to compromise between what's best for the gear and what's best for making use of the gear. Having to haul out, set up and align the stuff accurately enough for imaging is a disincentive to actually making use of it. At least to me it is.

My G11 has been exposed to Florida sun and Nova Scotia winter for 18 months. The plastic lock knobs show it already. The rest of it seems perfectly fine.
The motors seem fine. The mount gears seem fine.

This "method" allows me to make use of the gear every single clear night. And I do just that.

Almost like an observatory. :) :)

I am sure it is not the best way to keep the gear in "mint" condition though, especially cosmetically.

#12 star toucher

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 12:06 PM

Although I have never left my mount outside for any length of time I can assure you in the warm weather months the cover would be home to a lot of mud daubers (wasps). Our folded umbrellas always serve as a dry spot for them.

#13 wolfman_4_ever

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:24 PM

If you live in an area with salty air, I would advise against it. I have mine in an observatory that is not fully sealed for less than a year now and many screws and knobs are starting to show surface corrosion. I'm within 1 mile of the sea. I heard one person advise that you use spary on car wax on the mount every once in a while, that does sound like good advice, and I don't see any harm in it as long as you keep the wax of the gears.


I live only .5 miles away from the ocean and I have a mount in an observatory and one outside under a 365 cover. I use a dehumidifier inside the observatory and have had not issues. I use some wd-40 on the mount outside every once in a while and it looks and runs great.

#14 Boomstick

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 03:53 PM

My Orion Atlas has been on my back patio for about 2 and a half years using a telegizmo cover. I also have one of those 7 watt heater sticks as well. At the time my logic was that I would get far more use out of it and wasn't concerned with the impact. However there's been no impact to speak of... other than the feet of the tripod that stick out look a bit weathered :-)

Telegizmo cover is still going strong / no signs of wear.

The only thing I'd recommend is securing your tripod. I drilled / installed three threaded anchors on my patio and have the tripod legs secured to I-Bolts. It's been through many severe thunderstorms / etc without issue. No moisture / nothing.

I also leave ALL of my electronics (camera, adaptive optics, focuser, usb hub, etc) outside as well. The only thing I have inside is a PC. When I getup in the morning I just roll up the USB cord and hang it back on the telescope and drop the cover back on it. The only thing I leave powered while it's covered is the heater stick.

Edit: Two more notes...
1. I'm in WV, in a valley... generally foggy / wet soaked atmosphere.
2. It made a huge difference in terms of value for me. My setup is always ready / always used. The "wear" has been such that I would comfortably put a Paramount or the like under it without concern... and soon will be.



Glenn

#15 faltered

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:23 PM

Glenn - just curious - what is the 7 watt heater stick you use, and why do you use that? Would it all be just as ok without it do you think?

I have always wanted to do this, but was afraid to leave everything outside. I have no worry about theft, I was only worried about damage from the elements.

If thats the case, your post may have just talked me into leaving it all outside with a Telegizmo.

#16 end

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:16 PM

I have a CGE PRO on the stock tripod that is covered with a Telegizmos 365 - this is over a grass yard. I'm just south of Houston and by dawn the outside of the TG cover would be dripping wet and, unfortunately, the interior would also be quite wet. The cover work wonderfully well against the extreme heat and also against rain, but less well against dew condensation. About two weeks ago I started hanging a 40W lightbulb under the TG cover and now at dawn while the exterior of the cover is still dripping wet, the interior is cork dry. I placed a little weather meter inside and outside the cover to see what the different conditions were and found that on a typical night the "inside" temperature was about 10 degrees higher while the humidity was about 15% lower. For example two nights ago near dawn the outside temperature was about 62F with 98% humidity while inside the cover with the light was 73F and 82% humidity and all interior surfaces were completely dry to the touch. For me it is a no-brainer to use the light bulb for the foreseeable future as it makes the TG cover nearly as good as an observatory.

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:22 PM

I might add that the right power heating stick would give the same result, but I had the light bulb on hand. Also, I tried a 25W bulb, but that was insufficient to keep the interior fully dry. If you have your mount on a pier you can probably get away with very little heating, but the tripod setup really seems to catch the moist air.

Finally, the light under the TG cover creates a nice, slightly eery, ambient glow while the scope is not in use.

#18 Phil Wheeler

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:47 PM

This is a good thread. I have a CG5-GT (so far, tripod only, no pier) and have acquired a Telegizmo 365. I live about 1.2 miles from the Pacific (and close to Dave in El Segundo -- from whom I got the idea for a Telegizmo approach).

I hope to leave my mount out, probably on one of my concrete surfaces -- and even the optics if weather is good. But I'm still in the learning phase, so thanks for starting this thread.

#19 Boomstick

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:43 PM

I chose to use the dry rod to prevent moisture. I've used it from the beginning. My gut feel is that (at least in my region) it's needed. Not only does it provide some heat to prevent condensation, it <should> create / maintain some thermal currents within the enclosed area.

All I know for certain is that I've never had damp equipment, CCD / optical moisture issues / etc. Keep in mind when covering the equipment is almost always wet with dew as well. I think the dry rod is an important component.

Hopefully this doesn't violate any rules... but here's the dry rod I use:
http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_drd2.htm

For a while I only left the scope / mount outside and brought my equipment in. After about a month I was confident enough to leave everything out permanently. After a couple years... I'm confident the mount / equipment is suffering no more "wear / exposure" than it would be in an observatory... perhaps less... but that's debatable :-) It's even been through a couple modest hail storms, plus the 2012 Derecho storm.

If you're only concern is moisture / weather / etc... I'm confident you'll be as happy as I am. Just keep your eye on everything until your confidence grows.

Walked out and snapped a pic for you... foggy / wet outside as it all too commonly is :-)

Glenn

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#20 Boomstick

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:46 PM

Here's how I placed the dry rod... I wanted it close to the base rather than up in the top of the cover. I thought it would be better suited to keep a current moving if it were lower.

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#21 Phil Wheeler

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:01 PM

Here's how I placed the dry rod


Thanks for the tip; seems safer than using a lightbulb, and higher tech for sure. ! I have a Dry Rod on the way, Boomstick -- though I hope it doesn't turn out to be a "boomstick" :)

#22 wolfman_4_ever

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:52 PM

wow.. look at that cabling! I couldn't find the dri-rod at first.. Looks like it is working out well for you..

Nice rust on the counterweight and shaft..

#23 Jb32828

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:23 PM

I think the most important thing is to have your mount on a pier rather than a tripod, which allows you to seal off the bottom of the cover tightly using a good cover like the telegizmos 365 cover which I highly recommend. Mine has sat outside for over 7 months and not a single problem.

#24 Phil Wheeler

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:05 PM

wow.. look at that cabling! I couldn't find the dri-rod at first.. Looks like it is working out well for you..

Nice rust on the counterweight and shaft..


Probably some short wires; who'd miss 'em? :)






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