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TamarackSkies Observatory build pics

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#51 rlandsboro

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 12:10 PM

Regarding heating the dome. I ran a short duct (maybe 5') into the obs from the heated space next to the obs. I put an electric damper and fan in that duct. It will be thermostatically controlled at a minimum - with t-stat set to maybe 45 degrees. So when the obs temp drops to 45, then warm air is pulled from the home into the obs to keep the dome's metal skin above freezing. This adds some inefficiency to the home heating but it should also make things easier on the equipment in the dome by avoiding extreme cold temps.

I say "at a minimum" because the sloped roof around the dome has a snow melt system of heated wires under the shingles. That system is activated by both a temp sensor and a moisture sensor. It would be nice to have that control activate the damper. That way I would only heat the obs and dome if it is actually snowing. I'll just have to figure it out. Part of the fun.

I also have another duct/damper/fan to take air out of the dome for summer needs. This to draw cooler air in through the dome slot and out the bottom of the obs to equalize summer temps when it is warmer.

#52 tim57064

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 07:28 AM

James, I have been following your OBS build thread and was wondering if you have any recent images of your progress? I ask this because the last posting of any was in June.
We all love what you are doing and what you have accomplished so far.
Would truly like to see your recent progress as some of us are a visual sort.Please and Thank You

#53 csa/montana

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 09:53 AM

Would truly like to see your recent progress as some of us are a visual sort.


+1. Indeed we would love to see the progress! :jump:

#54 rlandsboro

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 11:14 PM

Thanks for the interest. I've spent the last months working on that really big warm room attached to the obs :). Finishing interior ceilings and preparing for flooring. Also finishing the exterior and landscaping/driveway, etc. So I don't really have any new obs picks. The dome is due to ship soon and I plan to spend time at the site then to handle that install. I'll get plenty of pics then. But it will be a few more weeks I think.

FYI - the estate homes in the community typically have names. Mine was being called the "Skyview Lodge" so I adopted the name.

#55 rlandsboro

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 01:51 PM

Here is a pic of the roof snow melt system - it gets installed under the shingles. The dome will be installed on a sloped roof dormer. So this system provides enough heat to prevent snow from building up on the roof against the high side of the dome - and to prevent ice dams from building up on the lower sections of roof as water from melted snow runs off during freezing temps. The rain gutters also have their own heat sytems.

The system is activated by temp and moisture sensors - so it actually has to be raining or snowing with freezing temps before it is energized.

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#56 rlandsboro

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:00 PM

Here is the snow melt system on the high side of the dome. What you see is a thin metal mesh that gets electrically warmed when the system's sensor criteria for temp and moisture are met. The primary vendors for these systems (I think) are Heatizon and Warmquest.

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#57 rlandsboro

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:03 PM

The dome vendor - Pier Tech - says the dome is about ready to ship. Here is a pic they sent me of the dome being finished in their shop.

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#58 thesungazer

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 05:51 PM

Impressive!

Greg

#59 stmguy

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 08:11 AM

Looks really ,really nice!
Norm

#60 Raginar

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 08:24 AM

The ice melt system is unique. I haven't seen that before.

#61 tim57064

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 08:59 AM

The ice melt system is unique. I haven't seen that before.


Neither have I,This would be a great alternative to the cable you can put up on your roof before winter hits every year.
Hope that it works without any hiccups. Would not be fun to repair if needed.

#62 rlandsboro

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 12:06 PM

Hope that it works without any hiccups. Would not be fun to repair if needed.


I hope so, too:). It is supposed to be pretty foolproof. The conductive heat element is called z-mesh and you can nail and staple through it without harm. To me the potential issue is the conductors from the end of the mesh to the transformers - can't nail through those. The transformers are in a space between roof trusses that is accessible from inside the obs.

#63 rlandsboro

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 10:56 AM

The dome is now crated and ready to ship. I'm told the big crate is about 2,000 lbs and the smaller crate is about 1,500 lbs. They will arrive on a flatbed. A bobcat with forks on site should handle the unloading. I plan to do the (re)assembly myself with some helpers. And I plan to wait for a few sunny days to do the work :)

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#64 tim57064

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 08:07 PM

James, looks as though you will be well on your way soon.
It's a good thing you live where you do.
Suppose to be 15 degrees F here tomorrow for the high temp and I would not like to have to be putting together a dome in this weather. :coldday:

#65 rlandsboro

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 12:39 PM

Yes, it will be cold :)

Here is a pic taken this morning of the summit of the mountain I am on - the summit about 1,000 vertical feet above my site.

Back in the day I worked construction through an Alaska winter (one of the reasons I moved to AZ :) so I know what to expect. Chemical warming packs in the toes of my boots and in the palms of my gloves will extend the time I can work outside.

The good news is that I have heat in the house and should always be just a few steps away from warmth!

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#66 BYoesle

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 02:38 PM

The clear sky and sun looks good though; great looking dome BTW. :waytogo:

#67 tim57064

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 04:27 PM

James ,So you are in the higher elevations then.I forgot that the weather there is not always like it is directly around Phoenix.I was there many years ago when driving thru a blizzard that was going on in and near Flagstaff and Phoenix was in the 60's.
I have a couple of sisters that live around there,one in Payson and the other is in Surprise. I always wish,for the weather anyway,I lived down there in the winter.

#68 rlandsboro

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 05:20 PM

Hi Tim,

This site is in Idaho - the home and obs is at 5200+ feet of elevation. But I live in AZ - which shows in my profile - and that creates some confusion.

James

#69 tim57064

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 09:07 PM

James,Sorry I remember that now.Guess I've been reading too much lately and forgot all about that.

#70 rlandsboro

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 06:29 PM

So just how bad an idea would it be to clad the round supporting structure beneath the dome with stone? Stone cladding is now in the approved design. My other option is to request a change and use cedar in one of the colors (brown or green) matching the house.

Everybody else involved (the wife, the builder, the architect, the design review committee) wants stone. It will be the same stone that is now on the rest of the house (about 1" thick) and of course the stone cladding will also have thinset mortar and a thick grout between the stones - which seems like a significant thermal mass.

I'm concerned that I may degrade the seeing after sunset with the stone radiating daytime heat out and up right under the dome slot - and for a longer time than the surrounding roof shingles. Even though the roof is a much bigger area that will need some time to cool - I think the thinner roof shingles should equalize temps with the atmosphere much faster than the thicker stone cladding. True?

And will using stone cladding be that much worse than wood cladding given the large shingled roof? I've seen pics where some people have built or retrofitted stone or concrete walled buildings for observatories. And those obs have an even bigger thermal mass beneath their domes.

If this stone cladding won't cause a significant problem I can go with it and please the herd. (And I won't have to submit a change request to the design review committee.) But if it will create a problem I would be quite silly to use stone.

I played around with Photoscape (free) and put together the pics showing renderings of the obs with stone (top) then brown cedar, then green cedar, and the bottom pic shows the actual stone (on the columns) under consideratiomn.

Does anybody here have any experience with a similar situation? My thanks in advance!

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#71 rimcrazy

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 06:34 PM

From just a color perspective of your mock ups I like the green the best but that's JMHO

#72 Midnight Dan

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 06:53 PM

Just my 2 cents , but it seems like between the roof, the stone cladding on the rest of the house, the stone patio, and the driveway (not sure what material?) you'll have heat radiating out all around you. A little extra stone around the observatory itself won't make much difference. On the other hand, keeping the wife happy will make a BIG difference!

-Dan

#73 seafury

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 02:50 AM

Hi the green makes it blend in better the stone really makes it stick out, what a place though wow

#74 TeleTex

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 07:13 AM

The green is the way to go.

#75 rlandsboro

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 03:45 PM

I like the green also :).

My concern is that stone cladding so close to the end of the OTA will cause worse issues (convection currents) than the other stone/brick/asphalt shingle and driveway that is part of the project - but farther away from the equipment.

I have researched this but can't come up with anything definitive. What I find are discussions about elevating an obs to overcome the "ground effect" of warm earth surrounding an obs. I have elevated this obs above the asphalt driveway and above the stone cladding near the ground and hope this will be helpful. So I worry that I might now "elevate the ground" up to the obs by installing the stone cladding at the obs level.

And I remind myself that I'm not just building an obs where I can give priority to astronomy in every decision. The project is a family vacation home that needs to make everybody happy. I just don't want to do something (else?) crazy dumb at the final stage of the project. This is literally the last exterior decision.






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