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Belt of Orion Observatory, Deck and Pier planning

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#1 Magellan

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:05 AM

Some of you may have remembered my post about getting a second hand SkyShed POD a while back. Spring is just around the corner and I am now starting the planning phase of permanently placing the POD and Pier. Plus my wife doesn't like where I put it now LOL.

Here is a view facing south and east of the meridian along the horizon:

Posted Image
East of Meridian by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Here is a view facing south and west of the meridian along the horizon:

Posted Image
West of Meridian by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Here is a view west of meridian facing zenith:

Posted Image
West of Meridian to Zenith by AstroJeff, on Flickr

View east of meridian toward zenith:

Posted Image
East of Meridian to Zenith by AstroJeff, on Flickr

And lastly, a view from the park position: (Chose this position to match that of the alignment arrows and to lessen strain on the mount)

Posted Image
Pointing North by AstroJeff, on Flickr

I have a lot of work ahead of me, I am planning on routing 12g3conductor wire through either garden hose or 1" PVC underground. I want to be able to control the power from inside my home, turn on and off the lights and mount but keep power on for the computer and such. This will all be hooked up to a 20a GFI breaker to my electrical panel, not sure if I will hook it up to the GenBox panel or not, doubtful though lol.

I spoke with our municipality and was advised I do NOT need a permit for any of the work to be done, the recommended that it be footed due to frost but I am not so sure, more work, more money and I have seen plenty of floating decks without any issues at all, but then again, it should be done right.

Frostline is down 48" I want to go down 2' BELOW the frostline, just in case and the footing will be a BigFoot footing: http://www.bigfootsystems.com and will be using 10-12" sonotube for the main pier. Its not easy to get 12" here, I looked everywhere. The deck plans are here: http://db.tt/TZ7GbL2D and the hole is where the pier will go, and the plans do not show extra bracing around the hole, when I will be bracing it.

I will be using the Starizona CGEM Pier plate and the Pier height takes this into consideration. I have offset the Pier inside the pod to 8" to the south to help with Zenith issues.

Let me know what you all think? Should I go higher? It closely mimics what I have now and I never image close to the horizon.

Thanks
Jeff

#2 Magellan

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 02:50 PM

are my Calculations sound? I just don't want to start digging and realizing I did it all wrong ;) I just wanted to ask the experts here, those who have been through this. I thought it was going to be easy, build a deck and slap a pier down but there is so much more to it than that.

#3 astrodog73

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 03:49 PM

I know nothing about frost lines, we don't have that issue here.... I certainly wouldn't bury electrical cable in garden hose though, spend a few dollars and use purpose made conduit....

#4 hcsceo

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:52 PM

Don't use the garden hose, definately use the PVC and use direct burial cable in it. How far is your electrical run? I think 12 gauge is only rated for 10amps for power transmission and 40amps for panels. Distance is your enemy here and GFCI can get goofy if there is too much loss at high loads on long runs. 15 amps on 10 gauge would be a good compromise. Also install a ground rod at the obs. I'm suprised you don't need a permit for the electrical run.

Our frost line is only a few inches here so can't help you there but you do need to get below it with your pier and your plan sounds good there. Call some contractors on the 12" tube. Even if your local stores don't carry it in stock they are bound to be able to get it on special order.

#5 mich_al

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 08:36 PM

My frost line is 48" here and I'm way South of you but if you're going 2' below that I bet you'll be fine. Bad place to make a mistake though. I just did a search online and it told me my frost line.

#6 Magellan

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 08:12 PM

Run is about 100' and the frost line is 48" here as well. I am on clay here but I am still digging will have a small excavator to do that and I am going to use the PVC and electrician who has the excavator will dig the trench and it will be going to the panel in the house.

Is it difficult to setup a switch inside the house to control lighting in the dome?

#7 hcsceo

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:15 PM

12 gauge at 100' for 20 amps will be fine. I just wasn't sure if you were going really far like over 500'. On the matter of controlling the lighting it isn't difficult but I think I would do it differently than wiring it. You will have to throw a bunch more wire at the issue if you did a light switch. Since you will most likely have internet out there I would use a internet controlled relay to switch them on. It won't require any additional wire and you can control it from anywhere you have access to a web browser. You can buy these with several controlled outlets so you power cycle equipment out there. Cost is very reasonable at about $100 for 4 ports. You could also use a night vision camera but I've had bad luck seeing black items with one like a mount :)

#8 TimN

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:09 AM

Buried cable for hydro in Northern Ontario as a summer job many years ago. We didn't go below frostline but snaked cable in the trench and took any large rocks out. The snaking allowed for the ground to shift without breaking the cable.






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