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#126 Agatha

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 08:28 AM

Hi Dan,

Yes, slight protrusions is a better word. I'm glad that it's not damage.

I didn't realize that you have the 5 bay. It's always hard to tell unless one is taking a picture from above. How do/did you decide which direction to face the door? Does it matter at all and where is yours pointing?

Congratulations on a wonderful new POD. :D

I will have to join the Yahoo POD group too for many more questions.

It will be fun to watch the inside take shape. Have fun.

Best,

#127 csa/montana

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 08:44 AM

Dan, Congratulations! You have a beautiful observatory, on a great looking deck! Oh, did I mention awesome skies! :bow: :bow: :bow:

Can't wait to hear about your first light report!

#128 Midnight Dan

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 10:13 AM

I didn't realize that you have the 5 bay. It's always hard to tell unless one is taking a picture from above. How do/did you decide which direction to face the door? Does it matter at all and where is yours pointing?

... I will have to join the Yahoo POD group too for many more questions.


The prevailing winds in our area are from the west, so I positioned the door to the east. I just thought it would help in the winter time to keep driving snow from working it's way into POD around the door seal. Not sure if that's an issue, but that was my reasoning. The downside of facing east is that snow drifts build up on the downwind side of objects - right where the door is! So I may have more snow shoveling to deal with to get into the POD in the winter.

The Yahoo Skyshed POD group has lots of great information so if you're considering a POD, it's an excellent resource. But I'm also happy to answer any questions I can here, so fire away! :grin:

-Dan

#129 Midnight Dan

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 10:22 AM

Dan, Congratulations! You have a beautiful observatory, on a great looking deck! Oh, did I mention awesome skies! :bow: :bow: :bow:


Hi Carol:

Thanks for the good words! But I should mention that the "awesome skies" are an illusion :smirk: It seems like most of the times when I've been taking photos of this, the skies have looked pretty good. While I do have an awesome view of the horizon in all directions, that horizon is normally filled with clouds. The number of clear nights in these parts is embarrassingly low :p .

The problem I've faced in the past is that life is busy, and clouds are frequent, and when a good night does come along, I don't have time to take advantage of it - especially if I want to do any AP. I'm hoping the observatory will help with that problem because setup and teardown times will be pretty much eliminated! But I'll still have the clouds to deal with. :cloudy:

-Dan

#130 Peter9

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 11:06 AM

Hi Dan,
Your POD looks great. Well done. If you enjoy using it half as much as I enjoy using mine, then your on a winner.
I have prevailing westerlies most of the year ( Some North to North East in winter). For this reason I park my POD with the non opening dome facing West so that it takes the brunt of the bad weather. Seems to work as I have not had a single drop of water leak into the dome in over two years of owning it.

Good luck and enjoy.

Regards. Peter.

#131 munchmeister

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 03:01 PM

Way cool !! Looks great and looks like you'll be having lotsa fun.

#132 ben2112

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 06:40 PM

That looks so cool. I am so jealous. Can't wait for you to give us a first lights report. :) :like:

#133 tim57064

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 10:17 PM

Dan, Hello, I've been wondering how you have been coming along with your new OBS? Have you placed your scope in it permanently yet? Has the weather co-operated enough to use it? Are you completely finished the installation? Just curious as I see you haven't had any additional posts for a while. Tim

#134 Midnight Dan

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 03:40 PM

Hi Tim:

Life got complicated! My division at my company got sold to another company. That means I officially retired from the old place (whether I wanted to or not), and got hired to the new company. My wife also lost her job which means she's "retired" and looking for another job. Seems like it's been a whirlwind of filling out forms, going to meetings, investigating options, doing financial planning, dealing with health care - just a TON going on!

I did get a scope set up in the observatory (my C8), but for the moment all I've had time to do is a few nights of visual. I have to say, it's REALLY nice to just go out there when the mood strikes (and when time allows), and just fire it up and go. And at the end of the night, I don't have to dread tearing everything down and dragging it all back in the house. IT ... IS ... WONDERFUL!

I thought I'd have a lot more done on it by now but as I said, things got busy. I bought a deep cycle battery and I installed the solar cells (a Harbor Freight special), but I haven't had time to wire things up. I've just been using a little NiMH battery pack to power the mount. I also got the floor installed.

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Still LOTS to do. Need to get the solar panels wired, install some LED lighting, put some shelves in the bays ... it will take time.

Right now, I'm dealing with a leak at one of the pivot points. This is a common occurrence with new PODs and it usually just takes a little fiddling with the seals. So far, I haven't been successful so I have a post in to the POD Yahoo group to see if I can get some help.

I'll keep posting when I have time.

-Dan

#135 tim57064

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 08:30 PM

Dan ,Sorry to hear everything that is going on with the loss of jobs by both you and your wife.It is a good thing that you were able to continue working with your new employer though. Wishing the best of luck to you both especially your wife in her job search.

The Pod floor looks great and the solar panels also are a nice addition. I believe those total 45 watts do they not,15 watts each right?
I am sure you will figure out the leaking problem.

Again,best of luck to you both. Tim

#136 Midnight Dan

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 08:09 PM

Went out to the observatory tonight for a short visual session. Sky was cloud free and Clear Sky Chart looked good. Turned out to be pretty weak though. The moon was ok, but the seeing was pretty bad and everything was swimming. Plus there was a ground level mist that the moon was illuminating which pretty much washed everything else out.

I parked the mount and turned it off, closed the dome, and then ... something went horribly wrong. I looked around and realized ... there was nothing more to do! :scared: I kept thinking - there has to be more to it. But no. I could just walk up to the house and be done! Can it really be this easy? So this is what everyone means when they say that an observatory was the best accessory they ever bought. Unbelievable! Even a lousy night of observing is soooo easy, it's still fun - not frustrating!

OK, now I get it! :grin:

-Dan

#137 audioaficionado

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 08:26 PM

Sweet! :waytogo:

#138 ben2112

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 09:28 PM

Very nice, Dan. :grin: Did you ever get the wiring done for the solar panels?

#139 tim57064

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 09:35 PM

Went out to the observatory tonight for a short visual session. Sky was cloud free and Clear Sky Chart looked good. Turned out to be pretty weak though. The moon was ok, but the seeing was pretty bad and everything was swimming. Plus there was a ground level mist that the moon was illuminating which pretty much washed everything else out.

I parked the mount and turned it off, closed the dome, and then ... something went horribly wrong. I looked around and realized ... there was nothing more to do! :scared: I kept thinking - there has to be more to it. But no. I could just walk up to the house and be done! Can it really be this easy? So this is what everyone means when they say that an observatory was the best accessory they ever bought. Unbelievable! Even a lousy night of observing is soooo easy, it's still fun - not frustrating!

OK, now I get it! :grin:

-Dan

Dan, I cannot wait for my first encounter with the same feeling. Sooo excited and not too long from now.Maybe by the next new moon. :jump:
Congrats.

#140 Midnight Dan

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 10:23 PM

Very nice, Dan. :grin: Did you ever get the wiring done for the solar panels?


Not yet. That'll be tomorrow morning.

-Dan

#141 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 09:42 AM

Only thing I can add Dan is that you must be one heck of a SLOW LEARNER !!!!

Lack of both set up time as well as shut down time should be a no brainier...
rotflmao !!!!! :shrug: :flower:
Bob G

#142 Midnight Dan

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 11:21 AM

Only thing I can add Dan is that you must be one heck of a SLOW LEARNER !!!!


Well, you and my wife are now in complete agreement! :lol:

-Dan

#143 Midnight Dan

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 02:31 PM

Since leaks are a somewhat common occurrence with new PODs, I wanted to post an update on my experiences with my particular installation. Note that the POD is a roto-molded plastic building, which means that there are large tolerances and quite a bit of variability from part to part. These are taken into account in the design, and the gasket system works pretty well to divert water to where it should be - outside the building. But there is a certain amount of fine tuning that is needed to ensure the best seal under all conditions. Many users report some degree of leaks initially, but with enthusiastic help from Wayne (company owner) and the folks on the POD Yahoo group, people usually resolve the leaks in short order.

In my case, I started with the "standard" assembly and application of gaskets and sealant. After some heavy rains, I did notice some leaks. This first photo just shows the overall area where leaks occurred, viewed from the inside of the pod. The dome pivot is at the top, and there was evidence of some water in two areas below that.

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These next two show the leaks close up.

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The first thing I did was to try and see where the water was coming in. My wife stood outside with a garden hose and I watched for leaks inside. It seemed like the water was coming in from the pivot area, where the two halves of the dome came together. Here's a photo of the original gasket installation, which was done per the instruction video.

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There were a couple of issues I noticed. First, the gap between the halves was a lot larger on this side than the opposite side where no leak was occurring. Because of this, the gasket did not fully bridge the gap, especially on the rear side where it was open to water entering from that direction.

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To address this issue, I used a leftover piece of the L-gasket material to add a gasket piece on the non-pivoting half of the dome. I also added a short piece where the vertical gasket piece met the conner. I figured I had cut the original one a bit too short.

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While these extra gasket pieces don't make a perfectly water-tight seal, they did eliminate a large open access point. The second issue was what happened to the water that did get by the gaskets. There is a black foam seal applied to the edge of the dome hales that is supposed to angle downward towards the outside beneath the L-gasket. This should direct any drops of water that get by the gasket toward the outside.

However, after installing per the instructions, it seemed like there wasn't much of a downward angle on these pieces. In addition, when the two halves of the dome compressed the foam, parts of it bulged upward which provided spots where the slope was actually slightly towards the interior. To fix this, I removed the foam pieces and replaced them at a steeper angle:

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After doing this, we had another heavy rainstorm. Much to my dismay, I had a lot MORE water in the same bay where I originally noticed water. In fact, when I used a turkey baster and sponge to pull the water out, it was nearly a half gallon!

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Luckily, with a bit of sleuthing, the cause was found and easily fixed. Again, the garden hose came out. Now that other sources of potential leaks had been dealt with, it was easier to see the source of this one. As mentioned, tolerances on the parts can be large. The joint between the door section and bay section had a noticeable gap - larger than other wall joints. In addition, there is a "tab" sticking out from the bay wall section, which goes under the door wall section. This tab was sticking out a bit from the edge of the door wall, which provided a ledge for water to collect on and run into the gap.

http://i913.photobuc...zpsdbd32d9b.jpg

This tab also has a socket molded into it, which receives the pin from the door section when the two are assembled together. Because of the molding process, these molded sockets are at the far reaches of where the plastic has to flow, so it sometimes ends up thin, or can even have a hole in the side. This is what happened here. With the gap in the wall, the ledge on the tab, and a hole in the pin socket, it provided a route for the water to get into the floor of the bay … IF there was a storm with rain coming in at the right angle. Here's a photo looking down the edge of the bay, into the hollow area in the wall, and showing the pin socket. You can't see the hole because it's probably on the rear of the socket. But when water was sprayed against the wall joint with a garden hose, it appeared right there at the bottom of the pin socket.

http://i913.photobuc...zps740a75d3.jpg

The solution was simple - a bead of Lexel sealant along the outside of the wall joint.

I've had several more episodes of heavy rain since these fixes have been applied, and everything is now perfectly dry! Just want to thank Wayne and others on the Yahoo group for their help and suggestions for improving the water tightness of the POD!

-Dan

#144 tim57064

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:12 PM

Dan,It is good to hear that you were able to take care of the water troubles you were having. I hope that in the future they will not return for you.
I was wondering,if during the times of leaking,was your scope mounted on the pier,or anything in the bay that had the water? Hope nothing had any kind of damage.

#145 Midnight Dan

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 08:12 PM

Hi Tim:

Initially, I didn't have anything on the pier. I had read enough on the forums to know that I needed to see how well it was sealed up before installing gear.

After the initial shake-down, I did install the scope and other gear in the bays where I knew there were no leaks. I've never really heard of anyone having leak problems in the center where the scope goes. The secondary dome has a ridge on it underneath where it goes inside of the primary dome, so any water that might get by the gasket on the main curve across the top of the dome gets channeled down to the pivot points. The pivot points are where most of the problems show up. The scope location is actually quite safe. But ... I still cover it with a cloth just to keep off dust and debris and anything else that might come its way when I'm not there.

As for the bay where the main leak was, I had a few items in there, but only things that would not get hurt by water, like a plastic step stool. No damage to anything at all from water.

-Dan

#146 tim57064

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 09:38 PM

Very glad to hear that nothing was harmed and that you are working out the minor kinks.

#147 Midnight Dan

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 11:34 AM

Update on the leak fixes:

Had lots of bad weather recently. Multiple, lengthy, rain storms, some with high winds, knocking down branches etc. Inside the POD - perfectly dry! Not a drip, not a drop, not a splatter! Success! :grin:

-Dan

#148 Midnight Dan

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 11:39 AM

Also, I've started doing some mods to the POD. Pod-mods? :grin:

Anywho, first picture here is just one of the solar system installed and wired up. Not too exciting, just a single deep cycle battery and the solar controller that came with the Harbor Freight 45 watt solar panel kit. Very easy to install, and seems to work well:

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The system also comes with two 12V compact fluorescent bulbs that plug into the 1/4" jacks at the lower right of the controller. For the POD, they provide plenty of light for those non-observing nights when you have other work to do in the observatory.

-Dan

#149 Midnight Dan

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 11:59 AM

Next is my new "eyepiece case". As I began using the POD, I realized that there were some unique circumstances that required re-thinking of the eyepiece case ... and other equipment cases for that matter.

First, the POD bays are about 38" high, give or take depending on where you measure them. Initially, I had a small table in one of them with my eyepiece case on top. I found that I couldn't fully open the lid because it would bump into the ceiling of the bay. It became clear that a drawer system would work better than something with a lid because it wouldn't require any space above it to use it so it would make better use of the space in a bay.

I have several equipment cases with lids that could be replaced by a single drawer unit. Looking around, I found that a tool chest sold by Home Depot would be the best bang for the buck. These are sold by others online at around $200 or more for the exact same item with different branding. Home Depot had them for $129 - a steal in my opinion:
http://tinyurl.com/kejdff4

I bought this along with some rubberized tool shelf lining material and put it in the bay without the wheels or side handle:
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When I installed it, I noticed a couple of things. First, I had placed it on a couple of 1x4 strips to span the ridges at the bottom of the bay. When installed that way, it tended to slide around a bit. In addition, it was several inches less in depth than the bay, so anything falling off the back would be nearly impossible to retrieve once the thing was full of equipment.

So, on the bottom, I bolted it to a piece of plywood that I cut to the shape of the bay. That stopped it from sliding around. I also screwed a piece of luan plywood to the back of it at the top, to act as a backstop to keep things from falling off the back. Here's a photo of the backstop:
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One last thing I was concerned about regarding use of this case for eyepieces - humidity. My old EP case had a desiccant packet in it, but this tool chest had lots of holes in various places as well as gaps between the drawers and around their edges. I caulked the holes using silicon caulk, and used foam weatherstripping around the edges and on the bottom front edge of each drawer. I wasn't expecting an air tight seal, but if I could cut the air exchange down to a minimum, a large desiccant canister should keep the humidity under control. Here's some pictures of the weatherstripping:

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More mods to come.

-Dan

#150 audioaficionado

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 12:51 PM

Very nice pod mods. Especially the sealing mods of your storage cabinet.






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