Jump to content


Photo

How do you keep warm in cold northeastern nights?

  • Please log in to reply
34 replies to this topic

#1 elisek

elisek

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 14
  • Joined: 19 Jan 2012
  • Loc: massachusetts

Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:34 AM

Hi, its cold outside. I want to know what people are doing to keep warm and not freeze.

Also on telescope equipment: I am interested in those scope dew heaters, but i am afraid to use one, because when i did turn on my dob's built in fan, the battery pack exploded, and the dew/wetness might of shorted it out, so i need suggestions on how to safely keep my scopes (dob/sct/refractor) and eyepieces from freezing and fogging up.

I haven't been out in months, so your useful tips are greatly appreciated.

#2 Dennis_S253

Dennis_S253

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1707
  • Joined: 22 Nov 2011
  • Loc: West Central Florida

Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:48 AM

Loose layers of cloths. Long johns, sweat pants, snow mobile suit and good boots. Battery pack blew up... OMG

#3 elisek

elisek

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 14
  • Joined: 19 Jan 2012
  • Loc: massachusetts

Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:15 AM

yeah - that battery pack came with the dob and it was only on for an hour! Scared the *BLEEP* out of me, but i was worried more about my scope lol!

#4 Thomas Karpf

Thomas Karpf

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1746
  • Joined: 09 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Newington, CT

Posted 07 February 2013 - 07:05 AM

To prevent dew, use a dew shield. A cheap one may be made from either a 1/4" (or thereabouts) exercise mat or a plastic roll-able cutting board and some duck tape.

#5 Achernar

Achernar

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9033
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA

Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:44 AM

Multiple layers, starting with long johns. I often wear a one piece set of Carhardt coveralls, or a heavy army jacket with a hood. I wear work boots with thick boot socks, and sometimes I put a chemical handwarmer in each boot. If there is ice and snow, they need to be water proofed, there's products available with which you can treat your boots. Insulate soles are also a must if it's snowy or icy out there. I cover my head with multiple layers as well, using hats, baclavakas or both under the hood, which also can be used to screen out stray light.

As for your experience with your battery pack blowing up, that is a reason why I install fuses, circuit breakers or both in electrical systems. A dead short was the cause of the battery blowing up, because there was a nearly resistance free path back to ground and that meant a huge amount of current can flow long enough to destroy the equipement. The less resistance in a circuit, the more amperage can flow though it, and that means even a small 12-volt battery can for a short time deliver hundreds of amps with destructive results. Imagine what 480-volt alternating current can do during a short circuit. When dealing with 480-volts, let alone 13,800-volts, a dead short like that will cause a massive explosion, fire, and death for anyone near the equipment. Even a 12-volt battery has a lot of punch, you can actually weld metal with a pair of them wired in series. When arc-welding, a welder is deliberately creating a short circuit that is enough to turn metal into a molten puddle. A fuse will blow or a circuit breaker will trip in the event of a short circuit, saving your equipment. When I was using a homebuilt controller, having that fuse in series with eveything prevented a big problem more than once. A common source of trouble with dew heaters is a short developing at the RCA jack, which can blow up a battery if there is no fuse in between them.

Commerically made dew controllers, or a well designed homemade one will at least have a fuse to prevent this occurance. I recommend the Dewbusters, they not only have short-circuit protection built in, they will let you know if a dew heater is shorting. They will also let you know if the battery is running low. Using one of these controllers will prevent a repeat of the disaster you experienced. They are well made and you can use them with any sort of heater strip, even ones you made yourself without voiding the warranty. You order them from www.dewbuster.com, which also has instructions on how to make your own heater strips for any application. One other thing that helps is keeping your eyepieces in the case, and keeping the lid closed except when taking out or replacing an eyepiece. When it's really dewy, I put a heat pack in the case to keep the contents from cooling down to the dew point.

As for my Dobs, I use heaters on the secondary mirror, eyepiece and finderscopes. On the largest telescope, I also use a shroud and a fan in the mirror box to keep the main optics dew free.

Taras

#6 Madratter

Madratter

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6210
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2013

Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:48 AM

Loose layers of cloths. Long johns, sweat pants, snow mobile suit and good boots. Battery pack blew up... OMG


I can attest that Snowmobile suits are absolutely wonderful things although they are a little baggy. I no longer have mine and I live far enough South it isn't really necessary, but they are great.

#7 Greyhaven

Greyhaven

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 1823
  • Joined: 11 May 2004
  • Loc: Lewiston, Maine

Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:36 AM

I can't deal with extreme cold weather because of health reasons so Dec., Jan.and most of Feb. I'm an online astronomer. Extreme cold air is very dry so when I was healthier and could get out dew was not a big problem.I always kept my equipment stored in a dry but unheated storage. Bring equipment into a heated area after it cools down causes more problems. Moist warm air causes dew to form on the inside and outside of all optical and electronic gear, so my advice would be
" Keep it sheltered. Keep it cold." In the milder temps your equipment will loose its temp. to the outside air quickly drawing moisture from the air on to your cooled lens and dew shields and heaters work best. Laptops ect. can be covered with card board boxes to keep them dry. What type of battery box blew up? Most scopes use a small 12 volt fans water should not have an effect on them. Was it some kind of AC to DC power source? Good luck with your winter viewing. Until March I'll spend my nights here on "Frigid Nights"
Be Well
Grey

#8 csrlice12

csrlice12

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10591
  • Joined: 22 May 2012
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:49 AM

Actually, I'm to the point now that if it's real cold, forget it, I'll keep warm inside. To me, that's anything below freezing (32*F). I might do some short grabngo if its a little colder in the back yard, but if it's below 20*, I'm indoors. Spent a year at the North Pole, just don't care for the cold.

#9 WaterMaster

WaterMaster

    Moat Keeper

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 9330
  • Joined: 17 Feb 2010
  • Loc: Southeast Idaho, USA

Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:05 PM

I draw the line around 10 F. I also use a snowmobile suit and have gloves with a small pocket on the back for chemical handwarmers. I have a pair of heated socks that I wear with a pair of felt-lined boots. The hardest part of my body to keep warm is my head, which has less and less natural insulation each year. :lol:

I rarely have dew problems, but occasionally I have to deal with frost. I make my own heaters so I have a couple of custom strips for my EP's.

#10 Seldom

Seldom

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 803
  • Joined: 05 Aug 2012
  • Loc: N of Cedar City Light Dome

Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:27 PM

My DSC electronics aren't happy much below 32F unless they have a snowsuit, so I got some insulating curtain fabric and made one.

#11 johntrob

johntrob

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 375
  • Joined: 14 Mar 2011
  • Loc: Georgia, USA

Posted 07 February 2013 - 05:51 PM

I am trying to move back to Georgia. Best way I know to stay warm in the winter.

#12 Mxplx2

Mxplx2

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 243
  • Joined: 12 Sep 2012
  • Loc: PA USA

Posted 07 February 2013 - 07:15 PM

Our cold northeastern nights are most often accompanied by persistent cloud cover along with snow covered ground, so for me it's just "forget about it."

#13 lamplight

lamplight

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2497
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2012
  • Loc: western MA, U.S.

Posted 07 February 2013 - 07:29 PM

I haven't had too many dew or frost problems only being out a few hours in winter so far this year. Still use a dew shade in the SCT though. My toes are always the first to go.. I have got to start using those warmer boots I have!! Come in for hot tea, warm up the toes, go back out.

Last night was a rare clear night and only around 30f so a real wonderful treat for winter. Only did about 3 hours but had to be up in the morning and I've been learning once I start getting cold, my observing suffers and consequently my enjoyment.. So I quit.

Seal up everything before coming back in if storing scope in house, prevents condensation.. I wrap my tablet/phone Ina blanket too so it can cool down gradually sans moisture.

#14 GeneT

GeneT

    Ely Kid

  • *****
  • Posts: 12655
  • Joined: 07 Nov 2008
  • Loc: South Texas

Posted 07 February 2013 - 07:41 PM

I don't know--here in San Antonio, it is 75F :grin: as of 6:45 p.m., Feb. 7, 2013. I have the windows open, and a ceiling fan going.

#15 Doc Bob

Doc Bob

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 695
  • Joined: 27 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Maryland, USA

Posted 07 February 2013 - 07:56 PM

. . . heated motorcycle outfits . . . Batteries for go-to, telrad, i-pad, and suit!

#16 Tony Flanders

Tony Flanders

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11173
  • Joined: 18 May 2006
  • Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA

Posted 08 February 2013 - 06:54 AM

I want to know what people are doing to keep warm and not freeze.


It's easy to stay warm -- at least in Massachusetts winters. If you lived somewhere like Manitoba, there would be nights when you wouldn't want to stay out very long.

The key, of course, is wearing adequate clothing. Unfortunately, most people don't own adequate clothing, but it can be improvised at fairly low cost.

Things often overlooked: A warm hat -- preferably under a hood -- is absolutely essential. Multiple layers on your legs. Insulated winter boots.

It takes me just a few minutes to suit up for temperatures in the teens. Below that, things get more problematic.

#17 Fortune07

Fortune07

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 178
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Adirondack Mountains, Upstate NY, Lake George Area

Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:59 AM

This is the way we started in Upstate NY

Attached Files



#18 kenrenard

kenrenard

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1562
  • Joined: 13 Dec 2012
  • Loc: Dunmore, PA

Posted 08 February 2013 - 08:00 AM

I bought a pair of Walls lined overalls with a heavy down jacket. A hat is very important as others have said. I even wear a full ski mask if it gets really cold. Generally though if you dress correctly you should be pretty comfortable for hours.

Ken

#19 csrlice12

csrlice12

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10591
  • Joined: 22 May 2012
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:31 AM

Now that I'm a little older; if there's snow on the ground, I'm indoors.......

#20 stargazer424

stargazer424

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 406
  • Joined: 03 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Central NJ

Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:32 AM

I stay inside...sad I know. I have had my telescope for almost 2 months now, I have used it 3x...I don't have much sky in my backyard so I would have to transport it to the car to bring it to a different site. Its just too cold to do that now...for me at least...I'm not a fan of cold weather...

#21 csrlice12

csrlice12

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10591
  • Joined: 22 May 2012
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:36 AM

Live in the Southwest?

#22 Greyhaven

Greyhaven

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 1823
  • Joined: 11 May 2004
  • Loc: Lewiston, Maine

Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:57 AM

Yes you're scorpion bait. :roflmao:
Be Well
Grey

#23 Starman1

Starman1

    Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 22726
  • Joined: 23 Jun 2003
  • Loc: Los Angeles

Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:33 AM

Hi, its cold outside. I want to know what people are doing to keep warm and not freeze.

Also on telescope equipment: I am interested in those scope dew heaters, but i am afraid to use one, because when i did turn on my dob's built in fan, the battery pack exploded, and the dew/wetness might of shorted it out, so i need suggestions on how to safely keep my scopes (dob/sct/refractor) and eyepieces from freezing and fogging up.

I haven't been out in months, so your useful tips are greatly appreciated.

Feet: cotton socks, wool sox, Sorels Dominator boots (good to -85)
Legs: fleece tights, more fleece tights, down pants, thinsulate pants, GoreTex outer layer
Head: two layers of balaclavas, 3-5 fleece or cotton hoods, 2 downfilled hoods
Hands: fleece-line wool mittens.
--Torso: 2-3 Sweatshirts with hoods, 4-5 fleece layers, some with hoods, two down parkas with hoods. Outer layer size XXXL to fit over up to 11 under layers.
At 0 degrees F, I can stay out all night till dawn and be reasonably warm.
The key is to add another layer any time you notice the cold, Never get cold because regaining the heat is impossible. Drink warm coffee or similar once per hour to warm up the insides.

In truly cold weather, batteries must be in an insulated box to keep them from freezing or at least losing most of their voltage. An ice chest works great to keep the battery warm if you don't have a battery box.

#24 hm insulators

hm insulators

    Aurora

  • -----
  • Posts: 4771
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2007

Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:47 AM

Live in the Southwest?


Perfect solution! :bow:

#25 lamplight

lamplight

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2497
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2012
  • Loc: western MA, U.S.

Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:51 AM

In truly cold weather, batteries must be in an insulated box to keep them from freezing or at least losing most of their voltage. An ice chest works great to keep the battery warm if you don't have a battery box.


very good tip. :goodjob:






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics