Jump to content


Photo

Mounts left out in the elements.

  • Please log in to reply
36 replies to this topic

#1 HCR32

HCR32

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 446
  • Joined: 27 Aug 2010
  • Loc: Melbourne Australia

Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:14 PM

How many of us leave our mounts outside cover with tarps or canvas sails with great success. I was interested in knowing how you beat moister and heat that can damage your electronics.

#2 mdowns

mdowns

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1668
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2010
  • Loc: Englewood,FL

Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:29 PM

I leave both my mount (g11) and scope (c11) outside 24/7 here in sw Florida. I use a astrogizmo 365 to cover it and so far(more than 5 months) its been perfect. Always dry inside the cover and the scope never seems overly warm.Thats saying alot in light of the amount of direct sunlight it bakes under most of the day.I'm a big fan of the astrogizmo. Works great!

#3 rmollise

rmollise

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15554
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2007

Posted 25 March 2013 - 08:04 AM

Not me. If you live, like I do, in an area that's humid, hot, and rainy, your mount would soon be the Hilton Hotel for the 8-legged set. Spiders can squeeze in through the smallest openings and would actually prefer their digs be covered with a nice tarp... ;)

#4 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 25 March 2013 - 08:13 AM

I left my CGEM outside for most of the winter. Of course, snow is easier to protect against and in SD we tend to have very little of it to begin with.

Like everyone else, put a waterproof tarp over it and let it be. No issues. Temps down to -10F or so.

#5 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20268
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 25 March 2013 - 11:05 AM

Not me.

I've thought about it several times. Ultimately I decided that the risk of moisture and or critters eventually borking the electronics and/or corroding the shiny metal bits was too high.

Instead I built a shed and have marked the position points for each mount's tripod's feet on the pavement in front of the shed. I can leave a given mount set up in the shed and deploy it rapidly to its correct orientation with little muss or fuss. Best of all, I know that it remains dry and secure.

Le Shed:

Posted Image

- Jim

#6 end

end

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 357
  • Joined: 31 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Houston, Texas, USA

Posted 25 March 2013 - 11:29 AM

I also use the Astrogizmo 365 and keep my CGE PRO outside nearly all the time. If I'm going to be out of town for an extended period of time it comes in, otherwise it stays out. However, I would not do this without some kind of heater under the cover to drive out the humidity. I use a single 40W light bulb, but you can also buy heating sticks. With this combination even with 98 and 99% humidity nights I have a dry mount and scope. I put a remote humidity / temperature sensor in there and find that the temperature is usually kept about 10 degrees F higher than ambient at night which is plenty to keep everything dry. This is just south of Houston where we have very humid weather all the time. No trouble with bugs yet, but I do keep an eye out for them.

#7 gastargazer01

gastargazer01

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 146
  • Joined: 21 Dec 2012
  • Loc: Flowery Branch GA

Posted 25 March 2013 - 05:10 PM

I also use and am very happy with the 365 cover for my C11 & CG-5ASGT. I am testing areas on the property where to place a pier. We have had wind advisories, heavy rain, cold, warm but all has been great. I was very worried a month ago but I feel pretty comfortable with the setup until I get the pier installed.

http://bufordexchang...Splacement.html

#8 dawziecat

dawziecat

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2330
  • Joined: 20 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rural Nova Scotia

Posted 25 March 2013 - 08:07 PM

If you're on a grass surface, as I am, the Telegizmo is worse than nothing!

I leave the mechanics out, under a garbage bag. The electronics and optics all come in. The telegizmo has not been good in my case. It traps moisture rising from the grass.

#9 saadabbasi

saadabbasi

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1135
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2009
  • Loc: 29N

Posted 26 March 2013 - 12:04 AM

What size would I need for a ATRC8 + Paramount MX? Any idea guys?

#10 end

end

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 357
  • Joined: 31 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Houston, Texas, USA

Posted 26 March 2013 - 07:11 AM

If you're on a grass surface, as I am, the Telegizmo is worse than nothing!

I leave the mechanics out, under a garbage bag. The electronics and optics all come in. The telegizmo has not been good in my case. It traps moisture rising from the grass.


My CGE PRO + telegizmo is on a tripod over grass. As long as you add a heat source like a light bulb, or heat stick there is zero moisture. I've tested this under the worst conditions: 99% humidity, fog, rain, etc. However, I agree that if you have no heat source you will still get plenty of dew condensing.

#11 Aquarist

Aquarist

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1041
  • Joined: 27 Aug 2012
  • Loc: Illinois

Posted 26 March 2013 - 10:40 AM

Not me.

I've thought about it several times. Ultimately I decided that the risk of moisture and or critters eventually borking the electronics and/or corroding the shiny metal bits was too high.

Instead I built a shed and have marked the position points for each mount's tripod's feet on the pavement in front of the shed. I can leave a given mount set up in the shed and deploy it rapidly to its correct orientation with little muss or fuss. Best of all, I know that it remains dry and secure.

Le Shed:

Posted Image

- Jim


Jim,
How is this different than keeping everything set up in an observatory (from a weather protection perspective)?

#12 HowardK

HowardK

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1091
  • Joined: 20 Oct 2010

Posted 26 March 2013 - 11:36 AM

Sorry

What is a heat stick?

#13 end

end

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 357
  • Joined: 31 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Houston, Texas, USA

Posted 26 March 2013 - 01:08 PM

Sorry

What is a heat stick?


Also called a dehumidifying rod. These are simple rod shaped devices that heat up when plugged in. They are frequently used in safes to keep fire arms from corrosion. You can see one here. Generally this is considered a bit safer (with respect to a fire hazard) than simply putting a light bulb under your tarp or cover because it is supposed to have a lower temperature at the source.

The idea is that if the temperature under the tarp/cover is slightly higher than ambient, you won't have condensation. In my case I find that the temperature is about 10F higher than ambient on most nights which is plenty to keep the water away. On the other hand, I'm in Houston so I almost never have to worry about freezing condition which might be an issue for people in colder climates.

#14 telescopemullet

telescopemullet

    Viking 1

  • ****-
  • Posts: 632
  • Joined: 16 Nov 2009

Posted 26 March 2013 - 01:19 PM

I leave my mount out under a BBQ cover, when it rains a thick plastic garbage bag goes over that for added moisture protection. Under the cover is a 60watt bulb left on 24/7. Works great.

#15 mich_al

mich_al

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2389
  • Joined: 10 May 2009
  • Loc: Rural central lower Michigan Yellow Skies

Posted 27 March 2013 - 08:57 AM

Mine has a couple of remote temp/humidity sending units (Oregon Scientific) under the Telegizmo 365. One on the mount and one inside my open tube OTA (capped and dessecant bag). I can monitor it from inside and run a 100 W bulb when humidity gets to high. If it gets too hot I shade the whole thing with some burlap camo.

#16 orion61

orion61

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4576
  • Joined: 20 Oct 2007
  • Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk

Posted 27 March 2013 - 01:33 PM

If you want to ruin your mount and optics, leave them outside PERIOD!
Nothing protects them properly. I have even seen damage in an improperly sealed/maintained observatory.
I have been on the buying end of equipment that was admittedly kept outside but promised to be mint and properly protected..
Both failed in the first 6 mo.
If you see rusted screws, the elements have worked into everything.
I am guilty of leaving mine out for the viewing night but
completely cleaned the next morning.
I see so much stuff, rusty tripod legs, optic coatings failing, ,Seized screws, If you look at a C14 with the edges of the mirror coating bad, guess what ..
I have tried to use various tarps, covers Plastic bags, tied down, tarps put under first, on motorcycles, even one you drove into and zipped up then blew up with a running air pump. NOTHING is like properly stored equipment.
I have a 24yr old Celestron Compustar 14, that is just like brand new both cosmetically and functionally. I have looked closely at over a dozen big scopes the owners kept out for days/weeks/or months at a time.
ALL showed signs of the elements.. even the paint was dulled.
Take care of your investment... little more work but
LOTS more enjoyment, think of a failure at the worst time!
My worst was a Meade 12" LX200 on a 200 mile one way trip,
wasted time, huge dissapointment, $350.00 + Shipping to fix!
(Sorry, I'm off my high horse now)
Larry

#17 HowardK

HowardK

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1091
  • Joined: 20 Oct 2010

Posted 27 March 2013 - 02:17 PM

Sorry Larry

I think u are way off here

I have my cge pro with planewave 12.5" and 80mm apo outside ( not on grass) under a telegizmos 365 cover for 3 years...yes there are 4 rusty screw heads on the mount....but everything else is perfect....and i mean perfect.

#18 end

end

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 357
  • Joined: 31 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Houston, Texas, USA

Posted 27 March 2013 - 02:51 PM

Another thing to consider with respect to the "little more work but LOTS more enjoyment" is that with a telegizmos 365 + heating light I can be using a fully aligned scope in 10 minutes of light work (basically just hooking up all my electronics) in contrast to an hour of heavy work to set up + an hour of tear down every night. What this means is that I use my setup far more frequently than if I kept it inside when not in use. Granted a climate controlled observatory would be much better and may prolong the life of my equipment by some small amount, but I (like many others) don't have the $5-$15K necessary to put that together not to mention the space required.

The less than $200 for a high quality cover and a light bulb is a fantastic compromise.

#19 orion61

orion61

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4576
  • Joined: 20 Oct 2007
  • Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk

Posted 27 March 2013 - 03:27 PM

I'm not trying to cut down anyone or anything. That was just my experience and observations,
I dont have an Observatory either. my C14 takes me about 20 minutes to set up, and is still mint after 24 yrs, 3 yrs and only 3 rusty bolts.. ok, and I wish you the best.. Nothing is worse or more embarrasing than a failure in public.
But again if you can see Rust.. the Electronics have been exposed to humidity too.
I wish you all the best,and to NOT have my bad luck.

#20 Cotts

Cotts

    Just Wondering

  • *****
  • Posts: 4818
  • Joined: 10 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Toronto, Ontario

Posted 27 March 2013 - 06:53 PM

Jim, what is that blue stuff above your shed? I seem to recall something like it here in Southern Ontario but it's been a while....

Dave

#21 astro_baby

astro_baby

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 998
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2008
  • Loc: United Kingdom

Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:13 AM

I just stripped an EQ5 thats lived its whole life in an obs. The mount still ran ok but on strip down it was amazing how many spifers webs were inside it. The tracking motor cover had about five generations of spiders in there. Ditto for DEC main casing.

On top of that, although well lubed, the mount had a fair amount of internal corrosion, mostly surface stuff in many areas but some areas were much worse than others.

The mount has been in an obs for about four years. Its also ocasionally used as a portable set-up for camping.

Painwork was a big problem as wwell with a lot of paint f
Aked off and mashed up in the internals.

The UK of course is very damp at the best of times amd the mount has had very infrequent use, again natural for the UK where the sky is unreliable.

Corrosion was about what I would expect for any alloy and stainless contraption left under cover but outside for the UK.

#22 Footbag

Footbag

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5841
  • Joined: 13 Apr 2009
  • Loc: Scranton, PA

Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:19 AM

I wish I had the courage to leave my rig out under a 360 cover. I'd love to walk outside, remove the cover, walk back inside and begin imaging. My setup would be quicker, I'd get more astronomy in; the benefits are endless.

But, I'm not willing to risk it. I remember asking about the 360 cover in a forum post and everyone said it works. Then I read of a few people who it didn't work for. It's a matter of risk/reward, but the risk is great.

Unfortunately, the next best solution is an observatory which will cost at least $2500.

EDIT: Also, those recommending the cover should specify their climate. What works perfectly in Arizona may not in Buffalo.

#23 Falcon-

Falcon-

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4869
  • Joined: 11 Sep 2009
  • Loc: Gambier Island, BC, Canada

Posted 28 March 2013 - 10:30 AM

Also, those recommending the cover should specify their climate. What works perfectly in Arizona may not in Buffalo.


This is exactly what I was thinking reading this thread. Given my mount would be 10ft from the ocean in a coastal temperate rainforest I rather suspect it would not last as well as in a nice dry desert under a cover.

#24 HowardK

HowardK

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1091
  • Joined: 20 Oct 2010

Posted 28 March 2013 - 05:30 PM

Also, those recommending the cover should specify their climate. What works perfectly in Arizona may not in Buffalo.


This is exactly what I was thinking reading this thread. Given my mount would be 10ft from the ocean in a coastal temperate rainforest I rather
suspect it would not last as well as in a nice dry desert under a cover.


Good point

I am in the south of spain.
Very hot and dry summers with humidity.
Cool winters with coldish nights....mildly humid....rains a few times a month..sometimes really stormy rainfall....my setup is on tiles, not grass, i have a non electric deigned for a bathroom de humidifier under the 365 cover.....its crystals need drying out every couple weeks or so.

Am very content with my setup being outside under the cover.
Not caring about a few rusty screw heads.
The hand controllers and Mallincams are taken inside the house.
Mount and scope after 3 years work like new...and if i cleaned off the surface rust on the screws then you would think the rig was stored in the house.

#25 Joe Bergeron

Joe Bergeron

    Vendor - Space Art

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 1627
  • Joined: 10 Nov 2003
  • Loc: Upstate NY

Posted 28 March 2013 - 06:21 PM

I wouldn't do it, at least not without staking the tripod down. My G11 once blew over (with no scope on it) while covered with a Desert Storm mylar cover. I've seen many scopes blow over at star parties even when uncovered.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics