Outdoor setup advice
Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:13 PM
1. What should I do in terms of tripod settling? I don't want to do ASPA and a drift alignment and then two weeks later it's messed up because the tripod sank into the soil! Should I use some bricks or pieces of 2x4 for the tripod feet?
2. How about bugs? Is there some tape with bug killer i can wrap around tripod legs ?
3. I will be using a telegizmo 365 for the telescope, pointing down, is this really a worry for corrector getting grease?
Anything else to worry about? This will be outside from late march to September.
Posted 09 January 2013 - 01:52 AM
I would rather worry about moisture than bugs... telegismo 365 cover is not soft enough to seal bottom opening tight. I used to cover cpc1100 first with a big vinyl cover and seal bottom with bunge code. Then 365 cover and another bunge code to seal bottom tight. But still got little bit of moisture inside...So placed a big silica gel box inside. But not on the tripod, i used concrete pier.
I mounted it on a wedge so needed to have one size bigger cover and i could park the ota horizontally, not corrector down.
Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:37 AM
I went out and found 3 cheap 12" round paver stones at a local hardware/building supply place and placed them into the soil on my lawn. They were placed on some hard packed fine gravel, set flush with the soil height, and leveled (what the fine gravel was for) but I had no illusions that they would stay absolutely level when the frost got under them (it was in Colorado a few years ago). I didn't leave the tripod/mount outside, I rolled the mount over to the 3 pavers and dropped the leveling bolts. The pavers were marked for the leveler bolt locations so the whole setup was very reproducable.
With this setup I was very close to a good polar alignment when the bolts were in the marked locations and the tripod head was level. This meant a reasonable ASPA routine only took a couple of minutes, there was little need to move the adjustments very much. All year except during winter I found the pavers stayed remarkably true but because I was always moving the mount I was always doing a new initial alignment and tweaking the polar alignment.
I got a couple of seasons of viewing and limited imaging (video work) out of the setup and only had to handle the pavers once when I hit the edge of one with a shovel removing the snow and ice.
If you are going to leave the setup outside you'll probably find that it won't move very much in the spring, summer and fall but in the winter you can't be certain because of the potential for frost heaving ... how much movement will depend on how much moisture is in the soil. I was setting up on very dry soil so there was very little moisture. With a setup left outside like yours I'd shoot for fast setup and a reasonably consistent polar alignment but with the need to tweak it periodically. I would also expect to do an initial alignment (goto) each time you power up (don't rely on hibernating).
The only way to completely prevent periodically having to touch up your polar alignment and be able to depend on hibernating is a permanent pier set down below the frost level (probably 3' in your area). Without the worry of frost (not leaving things out in the winter) something like paver stones set on good solid soil are going to give you a pretty consistent setup ... but you'll probably still have to tweak things every few weeks or so.
Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:53 PM
3 pipes with a few inches of gravel then fill to the top with concrete...each tripod let would have its own solid pier to rest on..
Just put the top of the pipe even with, or an inch higher then the ground level...
Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:57 PM
JC, do you worry about the heat in the summer having the bottom sealed like that? Although i am concerned about bugs, I also worry abou the dreaded grease dripping on the corrector plate, but my cover is the SCT type... And with the wedge I am not sure how I would seal the bottom with a bag or something...
My goal here is to operate this setup from inside, so minimizing repeated set up time is key...
Thanks for the suggestions... In two or three months when I start the outdoor setup process i am sure I will run into more questions!
Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:32 PM
First the heat in summer, was not a problem under 365 cover. even at ther the hotest day scope & wedge was cool to touch...
I am not sure if SCT type cover can actually cover CPC1100 on wedge. Did you try ?
Pic of my set up..if you have a pier, you can seal the bottom quite well with bunge code...now it is under POD.