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Observatory upgrades, additions, etc. ?

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#1 csa/montana

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:37 AM

This year, I'm going to repaint the inside of my dobservatory a darker blue. Also going to get this cart, to replace a fold-up table I've had to hold books, etc.

http://www.target.co...ck/-/A-10430240

I also was given this from a dear fellow CN'r to hold my netbook!! This is fully adjustable for height, and swivels. Very lightweight, and works beautifully to have my netbook handy while viewing!

I also want to build a screendoor so that I can leave the door open during the day, while I'm in there, without worrying about rodents, snakes, etc. making their way in!

Looking forward to hearing what all of you are planning to "upgrade", add to, etc., to yours!

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#2 Pat at home

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 01:07 PM

I plan on actually building one this year, upgrades might come later.

#3 1965healy

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 01:31 PM

I like the cart! I'm lucky, my net book fits perfectly on my wedge but your music stand is a great idea.
I need to finish the warm/control room. That's my project.

#4 csa/montana

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 02:17 PM

The cart will triple my usable space in a corner that I have a small fold-up table; and being on wheels is a definite plus! (Not to mention, it's black!) :)

The music stand works great with my dob!

#5 Midnight Dan

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 03:41 PM

I'm upgrading from zero observatories to one. :grin:

-Dan

#6 MHamburg

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 04:25 PM

I'm definitely committed to building a warm room. We just got 2' of snow and temps this week are dancing with the single digits.
Michael :coldday:

#7 RobVG

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 04:41 PM

I've put off updates for too long. I need to improve the linkage that opens the clam halves and add some counterweights .

#8 stmguy

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 05:28 PM

I'm still getting mine so that it is usable :)

Chapel Grove Observatory

Norm

#9 stkoepke

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 08:06 PM

Building mine this year, :woohoo:!
Spent a long time gathering my "best of ideas" list that I will include in the build.

#10 CarolG

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 08:13 PM

I'm just finishing up installing an automated shutter control for my Explora-Dome. Now I can just about control everything, if I want, from the house. This year I think I may build some shelves to replace the bulkier tables.

#11 ShawnPreston

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:18 PM

Ugh, so pleased with my observatory, yet so many upgrades I want to do!

- motorize roof opening/closing
- improve winterization
- hang a second monitor
- cover roll-off tracks so ice doesn't build up in them
- add some cameras

I always have great intentions of doing these things before winter, but never remember how much I NEED to until the snow flies!

Shawn

#12 Tom and Beth

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:38 AM

I keep saying I'm going to cover the exposed studs, but never seem to get around to it. For the most part, my Obs is working fine and is safe.

#13 csa/montana

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:37 AM

I keep saying I'm going to cover the exposed studs, but never seem to get around to it. For the most part, my Obs is working fine and is safe.


Mine are covered up to where the roof moves. I'm planning on possibly just painting them the dark blue. I had some leftover carpeting from the floor, that I stapled between the studs to dress it up a bit. Gives a nice background for anything you'd like to attach to the "bare" walls. (For these patches given to me by another CN'r, I just attached velcro to the back of them; they stick very well on the carpet.

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#14 Tom and Beth

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 04:11 AM

Yep...I've seen your Obs a few times in the forums, and that's been kicking me to get the walls finished. Instead I pick up a new toy and never get around to the walls.

Why are you going with a darker blue? Are you able to even notice the walls at night?

#15 Startraffic

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:21 AM

CSA/Montana,
I put one of these in my POD. http://www.harborfre...tool-chest-6... It was on sale for $129 best idea I've ever had.

Clear Dark Skies
Startraffic
39.138274 -77.168898

#16 Mirzam

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:59 AM

I'd like to build a light box mounted on the wall for taking flats when the observatory is closed.

JimC

#17 Wmacky

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:29 AM

My "upgrade" has to be the longest running ever on this forum. I'm just at the one year mark working on it EVERY weekend with my wife since having it transported to my new home. I'm at about the $5000 mark for upgrade materials, and tools, and still not to the point were it can be used, but I'm now close!

Abouts carts, boy did I get lucky! A co workers wifw works for a company that makes stainless steel medical carts. They had 20 small custom made carts left over form an 80 cart order. They were selling the extras for less than material costs - $50, and these were $500 carts. I grabbed one for the ob, and plan to mount a oak table top to it. Wish I had a pic handy.

#18 csa/montana

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:20 AM

Great luck on getting that cart! :bow: It's amazing what we can utilize to make our observatories better suited for our needs! :)

#19 Starman27

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:28 PM

I'm looking at adding a warm room to the West side of my observatory... in the Spring. Starting to design it. Also, motorized the roof sections.

#20 mclewis1

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:49 PM

I'm using a pair of those inexpensive plastic drawer stacks in one of my POD's bays. The drawer stack I have is two large and two small drawers. I put a 5/8" thick piece of ply on top as a desk top. All the computer and video stuff lives on top (computer, 9" crt, 19" LCD, keyboard, mouse, video amp, etc.).

The drawers sit back enough and the desk top sticks out enough so that I have room to sit at the computer with my legs underneath the keyboard.

The other POD bay is left open for a variety of storage requirements (tools, scopes in cases, dew shields, folded chair, etc.)

Red led rope light is wrapped around the "computer" bay for night time visibility.

18" grab bars on both the outside and inside edge of the door for stability getting in and out of the POD (it's on a 3' high deck/platform so there are 4 stairs and no railing up to the door opening).

Light switch at the inside edge of the door to turn all the electrics on/off. The wiring is simply run in the crease along the bottom edge of the walls and held in place with white duct tape.

All the electricals go back to either a drawer in the base or a waterproof distribution box under the deck. With the exception of the single switch to turn everything on all the electricals are simply power bars that go back to a single 4 position outlet in the electrical drawer.

#21 lamplight

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:27 PM

I plan on actually building one this year, upgrades might come later.

+1
And small, but that will be great :jump:

#22 microstar

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:47 PM

Ugh, so pleased with my observatory, yet so many upgrades I want to do!

- cover roll-off tracks so ice doesn't build up in them

I always have great intentions of doing these things before winter, but never remember how much I NEED to until the snow flies!

Shawn


Shawn, snow covers for the rails was suggested to me a couple of years ago. Still one of the simplest and most useful upgrades I've made. Keeps the snow from melting then freezing in the rails. I can remember my first few winters spraying de-icer in the rails to try to get rid of the ice. No more (as long as I remember to flip them back over after my sessions).

Re upgrades. I need to build a larger cover over top of the door to shed the snow from the door area. Do you get the impression we get snow here? It's not unusual to have 5 or 6' over a 5-month period here. I spend a lot of time pulling the snow off the roof.
...Keith

#23 csa/montana

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:30 PM

I need to build a larger cover over top of the door to shed the snow from the door area.



What type of cover do you have over your door? Show a close-up photo? I'd like to add one, as well.

#24 microstar

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:05 AM

You can see the small gable-type cover in my signature picture. That worked well except that I modified a small shelf and it wasn't outdoor material; I had to remove it last summer so I can't show you a pic of what it looked like in detail. This fall, as a stopgap, I just put a piece of 2x8 over the door but it isn't wide enough to be very effective. So this coming summer I need to build something that extends out farther, probably similar to the gable design I originally had and extending out about a foot.
...Keith

#25 csa/montana

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:34 AM

Difficult to see detail in the avatar picture. Since my door isn't the full height of a regular door; I don't want something that will stick out too far, for a "head banger". Just something to divert the melting snow, from the door itself. I'm thinking something like the aluminum corner trim for houses. It's "L" shaped, and I can just screw it on, over the door, and caulk across where it attaches to the observatory. I would round the two outer edges beforehand.

I don't want to put up raingutter, as it would simply freeze during the winter; and I don't want to use anything to heat them.






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