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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Raginar
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The Bone Yard
      #5160682 - 04/07/12 12:25 PM

Hey guys,

I've been lurking in the observatories forum for the last year or so. I decided to build a sky shed last year when I realized I would actually do AP. So, over the winter and after many setups and tear downs due to the weather, I decided it would be worth the effort to build a sky shed. It's still a work in progress with the finishing touches; trim, stain and landscaping. But, it survived a hail storm and doesn't seem to be leaking yet .

Attached are some of the pictures. I hope you enjoy them! And thanks to everyone who has posted in the past; your pictures really helped me figure out what exactly needed to be done.

Chris


photo (5) by mads0100, on Flickr


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5160686 - 04/07/12 12:26 PM

Here is a video of the roof rolling.

http://goo.gl/Sczci


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5160689 - 04/07/12 12:27 PM

Here is a picture of it with the roof rolled/scope on the pier.

photo (4) by mads0100, on Flickr

You'll notice the overhang pinned to the gable. This was due to some high speed winds that were really bending the overhang before I could cut it off. I removed those sections shortly after this and need to put rake trim over it.

Edited by Raginar (04/07/12 12:32 PM)


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5160691 - 04/07/12 12:28 PM

Here is another picture of the walls prior to being installed. Being able to build most of the parts in the garage and carry them out was super-useful.


image by mads0100, on Flickr


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5160697 - 04/07/12 12:31 PM

Finally, here is the picture of the floor/pier before I put the walls on. It settled about 2" after I got the roof on... Take care with your foundation! The wood pier is just a 6' 6x6 of treated lumber. WHile it's not nearly as stable as a concrete pier, it dampens well and it handles the CGEM fine.


photo by mads0100, on Flickr


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Starman27
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5160896 - 04/07/12 02:56 PM

Good work. Enjoy it! Did you mean the entire floor settled 2 inches with the weight of the walls and roof? Did it settle evenly?

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Starman27]
      #5161089 - 04/07/12 05:20 PM

No, just the back corner. You can tell from the "other side" and especially if you look at it parallel with the tracks. However, it doesn't seem to effect the rolling. I'm not sure how 'easy' these things are supposed to be, but I'm not having any trouble rolling it off. What I've found is if I push it off from one side, it's shift slightly and bind up, but a sharp 'push' on the offending end puts it back on kilter and rolls just fine.

I've been too busy at work to really enjoy the end result but I have had the opportunity to practice rolling it on and off and setting up. Definitely easier than lugging the mount/tripod/scope/etc out.

Chris


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5161410 - 04/07/12 10:13 PM

That's nice work, Chris! I always contend that if one can build an obs, it'll prove to be the best astrobucks you've spent.

David


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5161702 - 04/08/12 03:31 AM

Dave, I completely agree. Tonight was the first night I was able to really get a good polar alignment with my scope. Having a safe, dry place for my mount to always be setup is really nice. Oh, and when I woke up and saw the clouds had moved in, I didn't worry about rain; just rolled the roof and started shooting darks .

If you have the room and some time to build one, a shed really makes it easier.. and that's with one night under my belt!

Oh, and the wood pier is the other one. I was a little worried about doing the 'wood'. While it's not 'rock' solid, as you'd expect, it has no problem dampening out the movement of the scope and getting it ready prior to taking pictures with a fairly decent load on it. (35# or so).

Oh, and total cost was around $1500; not cheap by any means but definitely manageable. The most expensive parts were the sheathing, the roofing, and the darn track. I couldn't find anyone to give me a decent deal on track!! 40' of track and rollers cost me nearly 350 bucks... That was probably the biggest sticker shock. Other than that, 5/8" plywood for the walls isn't cheap either. However, it definitely makes for a nicely finished product in the end. The biggest thing I found was to buy wood as you needed. I was surprised to find a fairly significant difference in price of lumber depending on the when/where... For instance, lumber was cheaper at menards (2x4s, etc) but the sheathing was almost 20% cheaper at the local lumber center. I probably could've saved some money if I'd shopped around more.

The tool I didn't have and found I really needed was an electric shears. Cheap, bought one on Amazon for 36 bucks, and it cuts through metal roofing like butter. Otherwise, I only used a circular saw, a sawz-all, a miter saw, and an electric driver/drill. I used mostly 3" screws to put it all together too.

One thing I would've done differently with the roof is probably to properly sheath it with plywood decking. I don't think it would've weighed significantly more (just over 2 sheets of plywood of the thinnest stuff I could find if I did it) and it would've saved me a few bad punctures of the metal roofing. Oh, and I bought 1 5/8" roofing screws, when I should've just bought 2.5"... I only needed a few of the 2.5" but it was at the end of the day when I wanted to be done! And, with the metal roofing, you'll need to rent a larger shear tool to cut it evenly to the length of your roof. I think the electric shear could be used too, it just wouldn't be "as" clean.

Oh, and build the roof with pre-made materials. It cost 35 a piece from the local box store to have 4/12 pitch gable ends bought. There just isn't a reason not to make it simple .

Finally, you're really gonna need a buddy to help you out with this. I needed help for about 3 days of construction; the foundation, actually throwing the walls up, and finally getting the steel roofing on. Mostly it was a weight thing; I could manage the parts by myself but it wasn't easy!

Well, time for bed since the clouds rolled in.

Thanks again, and CS!
Chris


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starbob1
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5161830 - 04/08/12 08:45 AM

Good job.Very nice.Just make sure you protect your T-11 siding.I use and recommend a Good Solid color Acrylic Stain.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: starbob1]
      #5162358 - 04/08/12 03:29 PM

That's next on the list now that it's complete. I think a good stain will be very tasteful versus painting.

The skyshed 'demo' picture is what I'd like to go for .

Chris


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thesungazer
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5162434 - 04/08/12 04:38 PM

Very nice, Chris! I'm sure you'll have many clear nights of enjoyable observing.

Maybe you should paint a Bone (B-1 for you non-Air Force types) on the side of it!

Greg
(8 years on the Buff)


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: thesungazer]
      #5162920 - 04/08/12 11:40 PM

Good to meet you Greg, ever make it up to Ellsworth? That would be cool, I was thinking just a sign with a burned in B-1 .

Your shed looks good too. What do you have in it?


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budman1961
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5163612 - 04/09/12 01:37 PM

Nice build Chris! I know you will get a lot of use out of it, and certainly not having to drag everything in/out is a real joy!

Andy


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: budman1961]
      #5164157 - 04/09/12 08:38 PM

Ya, now if it would just stop with the cirrus clouds I'd be GTG!

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thesungazer
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5165304 - 04/10/12 02:03 PM Attachment (89 downloads)

I've not had the pleasure of visiting SD, Chris. I'd love to see the stars under your skies. Maybe one day...

The Rising Sun's primary instruments are a couple of solar scopes. I also have a C14 Edge.

Keep us updated on your progress!

Greg


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: thesungazer]
      #5167625 - 04/11/12 09:49 PM

Hey Greg,

That refractor is amazing! I'm thoroughly jealous . Maybe a large SCT, but I can't imagine having something like that in my 'shed'. Oh, and I got it stained over the last few days. Just in time for some thunderstorms. Took some of my first pictures too; if they turn out I'll post them. So far I'm very happy with the polar alignment and just general ease of use. Best money I've spent on astronomy!

The neighbors were definitely interested in what I was doing. They had trouble grasping exactly how it was going to open up in order to let the telescope out. Apparently they had a tally on how many different ways it could work out . Either way, they said it was, 'neat'.

What seat did you sit in buffs btw? I'm a back seater.

Edited by Raginar (04/11/12 09:51 PM)


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5172428 - 04/14/12 05:47 PM

Question for everyone, what do you do about rain on your tracks? I'm noticing just a small dribble making it into my obs due to settling of the tracks. I have the two holes drilled, but it seems to condense on the bottom of the track and slowly make it's way in. My immediate idea was to get a length of rope and do something like a wick to let the water run down.

Any ideas?

Chris


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5221168 - 05/14/12 12:28 AM

Well, I never posted a semi-finished picture! Here is the inside and the outside. Still need to put some corner trim on and get a good sign but she's essentially done .


The shed ready for business! by mads0100, on Flickr


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5221170 - 05/14/12 12:29 AM

And here is the scope on the pier showing some of the cabling:


Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5221172 - 05/14/12 12:32 AM

And another angle of the scope on the pier.


Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr

I think the biggest thing I was surprised about is how effective wood is as a pier. The 6x6 has remained true and dampens out any vibrations quickly. It has some movement when you slew the mount around, but it's quickly removed and there isn't any issues during AP.

Here is my best example so far: my focus is a bit soft but there are round stars! The biggest change I've made hardware wise is a lode star guider... it made a HUGE difference between binning/better CCD chip.



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Hilmi
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5221365 - 05/14/12 06:55 AM

Looking good

The color theme sure does pop out of the surrounding though!


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Starman27
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5221405 - 05/14/12 07:46 AM

Very nice result.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Starman27]
      #5221640 - 05/14/12 10:46 AM

Thanks Himli/Herman!

The colors do pop out a bit . Most people seem to match their house, but since my house is grey... I wanted something a little more interesting in the backyard.

How's your roof obs coming?


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Hilmi
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5221780 - 05/14/12 12:07 PM

The roof obs is very fast, but after 5 years of waiting, I'm finding it hard to wait 1 week!

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Hilmi]
      #5223335 - 05/15/12 10:56 AM

I felt the same way. It'll be worth the wait!

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CounterWeight
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5223406 - 05/15/12 11:49 AM

Chris,

Congrat's on your observatory, I agree with what David said about it being some of the best $ spent for hobby -especially for imaging. Doesn't change everything but it sure changes a lot of things that make a huge difference as you already noted. Looks great by the way - you do good work Looking forward to your imaging from the new 'astro-hangar'. Am curious as to what/ how you based decision on the wall height? Thanks for the great thread / images here.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5225080 - 05/16/12 12:58 PM

Hey Jim,

Thanks! I can't wait to produce some quality photos too. I'm still learning but I'm happy with the progression from where I started and where I'm at now. I figure it'll get easier and easier as I try new things. The obs at least allows me to have a consistent platform every night!

Astro-hangar, that's awesome! I hadn't thought of that one. I like it .

My walls were based on the plans; my neighbor and I (he's a carpenter, not into astro) went back and forth on the wall height. He suggested making them higher so that I could walk in without the distraction of almost hitting my head (6' 5" or so). I decided to go with how the Sky Shed plans were out of simplicity. I didn't want to make a change and have it ripple through the plans as I was building things! What I found? it doesn't matter. Since the Sky Shed design relies on the gables and the runners to keep the roof straight so it's fairly open on the inside. If I'd decided to run 2x4s across the runners to strengthen to roof, I would've had a need to increase the wall height.

One other consideration is how much of the sky do you want to see. I can see down to about 20 degrees in the E-S-W. The N is obviously a little more worse (40 degrees) due to the roof. So, the lower walls have other advantages as well.

Glad you enjoyed the pictures. This was a wonderful project and I'm glad my wife let me do it. I enjoy DIY around the house and this was definitely the biggest project I'd tackled so far. It gave me a reason to buy some new tools an learn some new tricks! Cutting 22.5 degrees is ridiculous... biggest suggestion is to buy your gable ends pre-made. They have them at Menards and for 35 bucks a piece, it was the best money I spent .

GL, feel free to PM if you have any other questions.

Chris


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budman1961
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5260891 - 06/07/12 09:53 PM

I really enjoyed viewing your show, and chatting finally! It was a really great time! Your Bone-Yard is fantastic!

Andy


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: budman1961]
      #5261534 - 06/08/12 08:54 AM

Thanks man, it was fun sharing the sun at the same time. The cool part was getting two different views between my ED80 and your LX200 .

Mallincam is doing well it seems, glad you're reallly getting it done.


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Bart
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5261662 - 06/08/12 10:30 AM

Chris,

Very interesting thread. Nice job on the build. Question: how did you install the wood pier? Did you use cement to anchor it?

Thanks
Bart


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Bart]
      #5264538 - 06/10/12 10:56 AM

Hey Bart,

Yea, my pier is very simple. Just the straightest 6x6x6' post I could find at Menards and 2 bags of 'post' concrete. I dug the hole about 36" down, put the post in, poured the post concrete around it, and started to wet/mix it in the hole per the manufacturers instructions. 24 hours later she was straight as an arrow.

The best part? The post hasn't warped at all. I dunno why/how, but It's still the straightest piece of lumber I bought for this project .


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5300445 - 07/03/12 10:35 AM



Update to the obs. My mom decided she didn't need a C5 for birding and passed it on to me. I decided to throw it on the CGEM and see what I could do with it. Thankfully I still had some of my AP accessories so it was a pretty easy go of it. It's really improved my CGEM's ability to take good images.. Apparently the AT8IN was a little heavy for my particular CGEM.

Best example so far:


CS!


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5672175 - 02/10/13 11:29 AM

Updated picture with my new equipment. An MI-250 makes a wonderful observatory mount. In addition, I upgraded the ED80 with a moonlight focuser and bought an SBIG ST-10XME for AP.


New mount and camera by mads0100, on Flickr


DSC_2272 by mads0100, on Flickr

The Bone Yard. by mads0100, on Flickr
Results:


Not bad for 60 minutes of data!


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EddWen
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5672547 - 02/10/13 03:13 PM Attachment (51 downloads)

When you said Bone Yard, I thought you might be thinking of this...

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Starman27
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: EddWen]
      #5672576 - 02/10/13 03:45 PM

Looks like a rock solid setup. The MI250 is wonderful mount.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Starman27]
      #5673064 - 02/10/13 09:00 PM

Thanks Herman, it's working really well so far.

Edd, that's where it comes from. And, from our beauties down the road. If the weather is right, they come over my house.


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PWP
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5699992 - 02/25/13 02:56 PM

Looks pretty sweet Chris...nice job! The staining really made it look sharp and it weatherproofs it as well.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: PWP]
      #5709845 - 03/03/13 01:39 AM

PWP,
Thanks! It matches the surroundings pretty well. I've really enjoyed having a shed for all my stuff. Clear skies!


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Starman27
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5710467 - 03/03/13 11:36 AM

Just saw your recent image of M42 taken with this rig. Outstanding!

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Starman27]
      #5710912 - 03/03/13 04:09 PM

Thanks Herman It's good to see everything coming together!

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csa/montana
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5711088 - 03/03/13 05:45 PM

Congratulations Chris! You did a beautiful job on your new observatory! I really like the new stain on it; it really adds a lot to the overall appearance! A big plus for the awesome equipment you have, also! You will so enjoy being able to observe in minutes, without hauling all your equipment out, and then back in!

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5717161 - 03/06/13 07:58 PM

Thanks Starman and Carol. I finally installed a network connection and connection to make the extension cord work a little better. I also added a UPS and a laptop just for the shed. No more macbook sitting in the cold!

I'm still debating about making automating the roof. I don't have permanent power.. but it'd be neat when the WX is good to just click a button and wake it all up.

Carol, I am enjoying the complete lack of setup!


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bunyon
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5717857 - 03/07/13 07:54 AM

What is the wood disk you have the mount sitting on?

It's a beautiful observatory.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: bunyon]
      #5720092 - 03/08/13 09:21 AM

Paul, my wife's contribution. My new mount came with a top plate but no bottom plate. I mentioned that I was love a round think piece of wood... And she agreed me the prefab bed 12" bar stool seats at Menards!

Really cool


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celtictexan
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5785309 - 04/08/13 06:01 AM

I like the way you have made it double for a kid play area with the swing.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: celtictexan]
      #5785475 - 04/08/13 09:12 AM

Thanks CT, it was a pork barrel add-on from the CFO. I probably could've done without it .

I'm currently working to put a 'normal' door on it. Of note, the plans from Sky Shed are no kidding 1" too small for 'custom' exterior doors length wise. If anyone reads this, make your walls an inch higher!!!

Chris


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5983579 - 07/21/13 08:11 PM

Update to the Bone Yard:

Recently been through a few projects to make it slightly more automated around my shed. The first thing I tackled was the addition of a garage door opener (Genie series 900, 1/2 hp, screw drive, required 1 extension kit to move a full 10').

Sky shed garage door Opener by mads0100, on Flickr

This took some modification to my original Sky Shed plans. I added a 4x4x10' to the end of the rail as a place to support it and I had to lower the 'center' rail that was always there by about 18" for the new garage door track to clear the track. This wasn't trivial as it required me to re-align the track as it had warped slightly over the last year. On the plus side, it's even 'more' stable than it was before .


Sky shed garage door Opener by mads0100, on Flickr

Here is a picture of my kids.. And, how I 'rigged' the end of it. This isn't flashy but it works for the time being. I think in the future I'll use a post end cap to tie it appropriately to the rail. I already have the end cap, just need the will to do it now. Of note, place this rail so that your 'screw' in the middle of it still has its end in the little holders that go up and down it. If it isn't, the drive will get out of wonky and you'll have issues.


Sky shed garage door Opener by mads0100, on Flickr

This is a picture of how I rigged up the outside of the shed to move. This needs to be very sturdy as you can imagine. I tried a 'minimalist' approach to start with and this failed... any slop in the system will make it 'more difficult' to open your room. So, these are 1" tubular steel with 1/4" holes all over them. It works great, and the 1/4" holes allowed me to install numerous 1/4" bolts. I started with lag bolts into the 2x4 on the end and followed that up with the bolts when I only had plywood sheathing to attach it to. They're tied into angle iron on the other side.

Also of note is the black piece. What I found was that when it opened it would pull the 'sled' into the c-channel track and it would jam up. That black piece, furnished with the Genie, allowed me to keep it out of the c-channel.

You'll also notice the safety cord. It's the only way to manually close the shed. This thing will NOT move on its own. The screw drive is impossible to move by hand.


Sky shed garage door Opener by mads0100, on Flickr

Here she is. Total dimensions are roughly 12" by 12" by 18". The picture makes it look worse than it really is. I thought about putting it outside the shed and just couldn't think of a good way to seal it up. Also of note, make sure you put the opener up and figure out exactly where you're gonna put her. I cut a rather big hole in my shed... and really needed a smaller one. On the plus side, I epoxied the piece back in but still... it was annoying. The 'shell' for the motor is the 'thickest' 'L' iron I could buy at Menards. I bought 3 total pieces of it. Otherwise, just a bunch of lag screws into the 2x4s and 1/4" bolts to hold it together. You need to do something like this... at first I didn't have the steel frame and flexing caused issues. I think it added about 30 bucks to the project.

Also of note, the sensors are setup to reflect the IR beam off of what we call 'glint' tape in the military. We use it to ID friendlies on the ground in our IR sensors. I snagged a few pieces of it and put it on my mount where it is visible to the sensors in the parked position. It allows me to ensure I don't 'open' the shed with scope in the incorrect position. Unfortunately, that safety doesn't work the other way.


Sky shed garage door Opener by mads0100, on Flickr

This just shows how it's mounted to the wall.


Sky shed garage door Opener by mads0100, on Flickr

This picture shows how I bolted the tubes on the outside to the inside of the shed. The more points the better! There are lag screws into the 2x4, but once I needed spots where there was only sheathing I came up with this. Just like the sky shed guys, it's not pretty but if you planned it out better.. it could be. The bolts are freakishly too big too .


Sky shed garage door Opener by mads0100, on Flickr

Finally, glint tape. This is what it looks like. The sensors are pointed right at it so it reflects back at them to keep the scope safe.

Next up, a full up Foster Systems weather station and ROR controller. I'm excited to see how it works and if it'll do what I want it to do. I had an 'incident' that involved a pop-up thunderstorm soaking my shed... the CFO approved emergency aid to make the shed close itself. I was lucky that nothing was wrecked in the few minutes of rain that fell on it (besides a laptop power supply). Anyways, I'll keep you updated.

Any questions, please send me a PM or post in here. If you need a particular picture, just ask and I'll get it for you.

Clear skies.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5983594 - 07/21/13 08:22 PM


Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr

Forgot to post a new picture of the rig. Things are cleaned up a bit; traded out the 8" newt for a 12" LX200. Moved the majority of the electronics to the top of the scope and changed out the power of the majority of the electronics to a 12v regulated power supply.

Things left to do to the equipment include adding an arduino-based stepper focuser to the LX200.

One other thing I 'discovered'. Gorilla Glue works great for securing electronics plugs. All of my USB cables are now 'gorilla glued' into their sockets. The benefit is no more disconnects due to the scope moving. And, the glue is removable and doesn't appear to do any harm to the electronics.



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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5995645 - 07/28/13 10:19 PM


Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr

Finally got around to putting in electricity. We dug the trench with the help of the kids. I almost got a trencher/vibratory plow but I'm glad I didn't. My soil/fill is very rocky and it just wouldn't have paid off. The deciding factor was the installed sprinkler system being in 3 parts that I'd have to hand dig around. After that... it just wasn't worth it.

Total time to dig down to 12" for roughly 75' was 4 hours. Some direct burial Cat5E and 12-2 was about 100 bucks.

Electrician will be here on Tuesday to hook it all up. I wish I'd done this from the start! The amount of 'damage' to the yard was minimal (you can see that side of my lawn isn't doing so hot) and it's pretty simple.

CS,


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5997479 - 07/29/13 11:09 PM

Ethernet works. Wired up the connectors and it's doing good . Now I just need to get the 'flat' cable to connect it to my router. Electrician comes to hook up 120V tomorrow.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #5999782 - 07/31/13 10:13 AM

Electricity was installed today. Total cost was $250. I can't believe I waited so long considering the extension cord I was using cost nearly 65 bucks...

If I could do it again I would've done this when I first built the shed.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6001303 - 08/01/13 11:05 AM

First pictures were gathered last night. My ethernet switch was one spot too short so I had to go out there at one point to reboot something. Otherwise, I wouldn't have needed to get in the shed at all.

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budman1961
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6001699 - 08/01/13 04:59 PM

Thats fantastic Chris! Fully automated....how sweet is that. I can imagine in the winter time you will really enjoy your efforts!

Andy


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: budman1961]
      #6002437 - 08/02/13 01:00 AM

Thanks Andy, it's slowly coming together. Hopefully it'll make deployments a tad more interesting.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6007573 - 08/05/13 12:48 PM

Foster Systems Astro Alert and Roof Controller are installed. This was kind of trivial once I found the 'issues' with the setup. Here is the 'writeup' from another request-for-help that I posted in the equipment forums. I'm posting it here in case people are following my progression.

As requested and good ettiquette, here's the deal. First off, the 429 error was due to ASCOM 6 SP2 not being installed. I had installed SP1 but didn't realize the roof controller relied on SP2 (nor is it documented on their site). So that really threw me into a tizzy.

Second, they're currently working through some bugs with a new roll out of software. The software linked on their website is 'bad' and doesn't work. So, I contacted a fellow on their forums who is the resident expert (Todd Benko) by clicking on his name and it happens to let you email a person. The unfortunate thing about their forums is you can't actually post until 'approved' and after a few weeks my account still hasn't been approved. Apparently Stan is on vacation and that is what is driving the delays.

So, received the 'working' copies of the software and it worked just fine. The other issue was the prolific usb to serial convert that Stan uses. It's finnicky as most of us are aware. I would suggest either getting your own (my tripp lite worked great) or plan on having the device directly connected to your computer (a tad ridiculous) as it won't work through a hub.

The real solution is an older desktop with a serial port or three .

BTW, this thing is awesome. Once i got the weather station up and running, it was easy to wire into my wall mount. Once that was complete it was completely capable of shutting the roof once I sprayed water at the sensor. I left it running all night and it even sent me a text when a thunderstorm was in the area to let me know that it was raining .

Now I just have to figure out how to get the data on weatherunderground or something similar.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6019464 - 08/11/13 06:25 PM


Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
Continuing with the efforts to automate my roof and a few devices within the shed. First off, here is the Foster Systems AstroMC controller software.

Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr

It's configured to work with its weather station (astro alert) and I've hooked up a 'roof open', 'roof closed', and a 'at park' magnetic switches to it for closing the roof.

Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
Roof Closed

Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
Roof Open

Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
Mount Parked. Yes, this is 'enough' as the declination can be at any position and still be safe. It's strictly that the RA axis needs to be 90 off from the CWD.


Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
Flat Box 'on' via the PCA in the roof controller. I have it hooked up to AUX 1. I will also have my dew heater configured to trip at specific settings as well. Just haven't got it mounted yet.


Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
Flatbox 'off'. If you can see on the screen it shows off.
The only weird thing is the delay from when you hit the button to when it actually does the command. I assume that there is some timing going on with the serial communications that is inherent in the delay. It happens when opening and closing the roof as well.


Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
Power switch. This is a web enabled power switch that allows me to control each plug. It works great with just about everything you might want to control. The primary reason is my SBIG camera will just keep 'blowing' if I don't power it off at the end of the night. I also like to shut everything off but the computer and the roof.


Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr
The other big change I did was to add some Anderson powerpoles for DC distribution. That led me to get a Powerrig 4005H for distributing power from my regulated power supply to the rest of my gear. It wasn't cheap, but I really wanted to fuse out my equipment 'just in case'. In addition, I went with some 4 way splitters on the scope itself (USB, focusers, and secondary cooler on the SBIG). It also is used for several of the ancillary devices such as the flat box, etc.


Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr

Anyways, you'll see that I have GFCI outlets and ethernet in the shed too. That was definitely the best addition I've done in awhile. It's nice not dragging an extension cord and 150' of ethernet cable to get a connection .


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6019603 - 08/11/13 07:55 PM


Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr

Forgot to add a picture of the weather station. I mounted it slightly above the roof line using a piece of 2x2. Everything is working except the anemometer; I'm not sure what the deal is as it's 'working' as it should but it doesn't seem that the weather station is registering it. Stan from Foster Systems is looking into it for me.

Chris


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6024016 - 08/13/13 09:32 PM

Update on the weather station: I still don't have my anemometer working. But, I solved my weather station problem. I worked with Brian over at Weather Display to read the updated boltwood II format that the Astro Alert creates. His software will take the info as a stationless weather station and allows you to update WXUnderground among other websites. Pretty useful!

Check out: www.weather-display.com. You'll need the R70 or later version and include the even more updated .zip file a few files down to activate it. From there, you go to the Advanced Settings and you'll find Boltwood... turn it all on, point it at your OneLineData.txt and it'll do it's thing .

http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=KSDRAPID20

Edited by Raginar (08/13/13 10:36 PM)


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Toml08
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6072092 - 09/09/13 08:48 PM

Chris, how has the web power switch worked for you? Looking to add that into my setup.

Thanks,
Tom.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Toml08]
      #6073117 - 09/10/13 12:14 PM

It does exactly what it says it will do. Very simple and works great. It does have some advanced features such as power monitoring and some scripting ability that I haven't really got around to using.

It was a pita to get started. Make sure you have a cross over cable on hand, it was the only way I could get it to talk to my network. All of this is in the manual though.


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Toml08
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6073170 - 09/10/13 12:46 PM

Thanks Chris, I appreciate the info.

CS,
Tom.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Toml08]
      #6132433 - 10/12/13 03:25 AM

Of note, I recently added a desktop computer to replace the laptops I've been burning through. The snow storm ate my poor laptop! So, the computers have been shifted to a better location where they'll stay dry even if snow forces its way into the shed (60 knot winds and 48" of snow...).

So I went looking for a cheap, low power alternative. I found an AMD A4 3.4 GHZ (dual core) as the basis for a HTPC from Toms Hardware. The parts on it are around 2 years old and compare favorably to the 'newer' A6 series. Total outlay for the case, power supply, motherboard, processor, serial card (star tech 2-port serial card), and memory was around 240 bucks on Amazon.

Only bummer is the battery backup no relies solely on a UPS. But, plugging in the serial devices and just having them work is awesome


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thesungazer
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6132577 - 10/12/13 08:18 AM

That's a great find, Chris! You can always add a red backlit keyboard to increase the cool/geek factor even more.

http://www.ebay.com/bhp/red-gaming-keyboard

Greg


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: thesungazer]
      #6133102 - 10/12/13 01:24 PM

That would be cool

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Toml08
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6138644 - 10/15/13 09:42 AM

Chris sorry to hear about the laptops. Went the same way with the desktop and serial card make everything so much easier.

Be safe with all the weather you're getting,
Tom.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Toml08]
      #6139876 - 10/15/13 09:49 PM

Thanks Tom, I appreciate it. Are you astrobin?

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BYoesle
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6140625 - 10/16/13 10:36 AM

Really great thread Chris giving me a lot of good ideas - thanks!

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Toml08
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: BYoesle]
      #6140668 - 10/16/13 11:02 AM

Chris, have a astrobin account but have not used it.

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csa/montana
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6140762 - 10/16/13 12:03 PM

There's more inexpensive red backlit keyboards, you don't need a more expensive "gamer". I've had a red backlit keyboard for years; they can be found for around $40. Mine adjusts from high to low intensity, a really nice feature.

Here's several low priced illuminated keyboards. Link

I would definitely recommend a backlit keyboard for the observatory!


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JJK
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6141632 - 10/16/13 07:30 PM

Do any highly reliable PC laptop computers have illuminated keys (as do MacBook Pro laptops)?

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: JJK]
      #6142058 - 10/16/13 11:36 PM

Carol,

You cost me more money... From paint brushes to keyboards, you're such a huge help.

Tom,
It's ok, I was just wondering if you had a central place for all your pictures?

Bob,
My only recommendation is to just do everything at once... this piecemail stuff is for the birds. I should've just automated the roof from the start.. added the weather station/roof controller. If you have the money that is. The other thing I'd do differently is make my pier bigger. It's good enough for widefield work, but I don't think I can do long exposure with the 12" on it.. I think my project next year will be to replace it with something sturdier. I think if I'd done like 4 6x6s bolted together.. that would've been enough 'mass'. 1 6x6 just isn't 'quite' adequate.

JJK, not that I know of . I went to a desktop recently actually. So far I've been really happy just 'VNCing' to my computer using an i-device if I need to be in the shed and have a screen, or using my indoor computers for direct access. The added benefit of having good serial ports that aren't via a USB converter can't be stressed enough... USB to serial converters give me heart stress!


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csa/montana
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6142118 - 10/17/13 12:18 AM

Quote:

Carol,

You cost me more money... From paint brushes to keyboards, you're such a huge help.





I just can't help myself.


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tim57064
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6156940 - 10/25/13 08:18 AM

Chris, I had checked out your OBS thread way before I was finally given the okay to build mine. I cannot believe I had not commented on your OBS thread before now.

I love what you have done with it as far as using a garage door opener for opening and closing the roll off roof.
What you have done with operating everything remotely is what I would like to have for mine some time in the future.

Kudos to you for what you have accomplished.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: tim57064]
      #6157042 - 10/25/13 09:32 AM

Thanks Tim! It's fun to have it all automated. I'm in the military, and it is nice to control it from wherever I end up . No missed nights for me anymore.

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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6157059 - 10/25/13 09:41 AM

Chris,I want to Thank You for serving.Air Force by chance then? I myself was in the Army and served nearly 16 years,most of which in the Reserves. Always Good to hear from other veterans and current members serving.

Edited by tim57064 (10/25/13 09:42 AM)


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: tim57064]
      #6157887 - 10/25/13 05:31 PM

Air Force. I'm almost to 15 years . I did about 7 years in the reserves. I really enjoyed my time there.

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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6178813 - 11/06/13 09:10 AM

Chris,

Very nice setup! I would like to see a pic of the shed in the snow just for grins

Cheers!


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Phillip Easton]
      #6178835 - 11/06/13 09:26 AM


image by mads0100, on Flickr

As requested! Not quite the most snow I've dealt with. I did have to scrape the ice off the tracks to open it last night though


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tim57064
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6180421 - 11/07/13 07:03 AM

Chris ,I realize this is an older post. Yet how or where did the snow make it's way into the Obs?

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6180555 - 11/07/13 09:05 AM

Tim,

If I have a heavy storm and the wind is out of the NW (which it always is here), it can get through my paint brushes where the track comes in. My most recent addition is more garage door seal along the entire edge of that wall. I form fitted it to the track so there really isn't any gaps. Most of my electronics have shifted to the center of that wall now too. So if it happens again, I won't have any losses.

Oh and get a high value insurance rider.. It's a godsend for all your telescope stuff if something bad does happen.


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KenK
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: JJK]
      #6182003 - 11/07/13 11:10 PM

Quote:

Do any highly reliable PC laptop computers have illuminated keys (as do MacBook Pro laptops)?




Little late to the party on this one, but I buy Dell Latitudes E6420's (older), and now the newer E6440's (they both have backlit keys) as well as the samsung series 9 laptops. All nice laptops.


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tim57064
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6182518 - 11/08/13 09:25 AM

Chris,I would appreciate it if you had a pic you could post of how you form fitted the garage door seal around the track. I am going to attempt to finish the sealing on my three other walls today. Thanks

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: tim57064]
      #6182537 - 11/08/13 09:33 AM

No problem. So far it's working really well. It's definitely not pretty though.

But, you can't see it either.

Ken, thanks! I ended up with a desktop and I'm using Vnc on a iPad when I'm in the shed. It works pretty good


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tim57064
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6184289 - 11/09/13 09:39 AM

Chris, Thanks,I think I may have figured out how to attach the seal for the rail,I will post a pic when I install it today to see if this is how you did it. Made me think though.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: tim57064]
      #6184312 - 11/09/13 09:53 AM

Ok, thanks, I honestly just tacked mine up with an electric staple gun I'd love to see your setup.

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tim57064
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6184320 - 11/09/13 09:58 AM Attachment (15 downloads)

Quote:

Ok, thanks, I honestly just tacked mine up with an electric staple gun I'd love to see your setup.




It has taken me a while of trial and error it putting my strips up had to re-adjust 3 times because of binding when closing the roof.I used #8 screws and washers,plenty of them.


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Phillip Easton
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6185388 - 11/09/13 08:35 PM

Quote:



As requested! Not quite the most snow I've dealt with. I did have to scrape the ice off the tracks to open it last night though




Thanks, any problems with snow drifts?

Cheers!


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Phillip Easton]
      #6185816 - 11/10/13 01:48 AM

Phil,

No, snow drifts surprisingly don't seem to do much to it. The big one that forms gets knocked down by the little pine tree to the North.

I am having an annoying problem with the roof having trouble opening when it's cold out. It just needs a little extra 'umpf' to make it happen. I'm wondering if I could get some tensioned springs to make it take 20-30# of force off the garage door opener. Literally, if I put my hands on it and push just a little while she's opening, no deal.

The worse part is, it only happens at night when it's cold. Daytime? No problem And she doesn't have any issues closing it.

*sigh*

Tim,

Do you have a part number for what you used? What is it mounted with? IT looks like an aluminum bar?


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tim57064
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6186042 - 11/10/13 07:41 AM

Chris ,Hello,I was wondering,since the problem with opening only happens at night maybe a heat source near the opener?

Since everything else you have in there is remotely operated,maybe you could come up with a heater that operates the same way?
Have it set up to where the heater turns on before opening the roof and shut off as it opens.
A space heater on a timer may be an option.
Just a thought. Try googling mini space heater and I'll bet you could come up with something and put it on a timer.
Just have the heater set up close to the opener so that heat is not wasted on the entire building.

My other thought is maybe you need to set the open force on the opener so that it is stronger?
I have found on occasion I have to do that for my garage doors.

Edited by tim57064 (11/10/13 07:46 AM)


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: tim57064]
      #6186247 - 11/10/13 10:23 AM

Tim, that's an excellent point! I think I can set it higher.

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JJK
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6186266 - 11/10/13 10:32 AM

Quote:

Phil,

No, snow drifts surprisingly don't seem to do much to it. The big one that forms gets knocked down by the little pine tree to the North.

I am having an annoying problem with the roof having trouble opening when it's cold out. It just needs a little extra 'umpf' to make it happen. I'm wondering if I could get some tensioned springs to make it take 20-30# of force off the garage door opener. Literally, if I put my hands on it and push just a little while she's opening, no deal.

The worse part is, it only happens at night when it's cold. Daytime? No problem And she doesn't have any issues closing it.

*sigh*

Tim,

Do you have a part number for what you used? What is it mounted with? IT looks like an aluminum bar?




The only solution is to do Solar imaging.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: JJK]
      #6186300 - 11/10/13 10:47 AM

JJK, time for a Lunt I guess

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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6186527 - 11/10/13 12:43 PM

Tim,

Thanks for reminding me I could adjust the garage door opener force. It was set midway; I cranked it up to max and it doesn't seem to have any more issues.

Also gave me an excuse to adjust my sensors a bit. Little more accurate closing/opening.


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tim57064
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6187613 - 11/10/13 09:44 PM

You are very welcome Chris.
Glad to hear it was something easy to fix.
It was a shot in the dark yet after I thought about it for a sec,it just made sense.
Won't open?, As "Tim The Tool Man" would say,More Power.

Edited by tim57064 (11/10/13 10:17 PM)


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: tim57064]
      #6187688 - 11/10/13 10:20 PM

I like it.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6241177 - 12/08/13 05:07 PM


Sky can! by mads0100, on Flickr

I've had an SDC435 for quite awhile from when I was interested in making it into a video-cam for astronomy. I ended up with a Mallincam and its been sitting on a shelf ever since. There was a thread about heated/ventilated enclosures for security cameras to make a simple 'all sky cam'.

I bought this:
http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=110&cp_id=11004&cs_id=1100401&a...

14.5" Heater/Blower and the mounting bracket for it:

http://www.monoprice.com/Product/?c_id=110&cp_id=11004&cs_id=1100402&...

You also need a 24VAC transformer (not available from monoprice of course):
http://www.amazon.com/Elk-TRG2440-24VAC-Transformer-Fuse/dp/B0007N5LJK/ref=sr...
SDC435 (up to 8 seconds integration):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA25V0P24987&nm_mc=KNC-...


4mm lens for security camera (140-degress FOV?):
http://www.amazon.com/Smart-Security-Club-Fixed-Focal/dp/B00FPPWFDU/ref=sr_1_...

DC60+ Video Adapter:
http://www.amazon.com/Easycap-Version-Capturer-Camcorder-Compatible/dp/B0044X...

I used speaker wire for the power and I had all the cabling for it. I'm using Yaw cam to run the software for it. Total cost including the camera is about $200.

Link to my 'all sky cam':
Bone Yard All Sky Cam

Edited by Raginar (12/08/13 05:09 PM)


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tim57064
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6241677 - 12/08/13 09:52 PM

Chris,Looks like you have a repair job on your skirting that needs some attention.Or was this something planned? Also,Why is the rubber outside? Is there supposed to be a wood skirt there? Just curious.

Also just checked out your web cam/all sky cam and think it is cool. How are you going to address all the noise in the images?
I was just thinking about something like this using security cameras just yesterday,Very cool idea.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6446823 - 04/04/14 10:00 AM

Just adding what I've done since I got home recently. I added a 1500VA battery backup; good news is that it has enough juice to open/close the roof on battery power. It said while running the test that it had about 5 minutes of power while the garage door opener was running. I consider that a win. Also, I sprayed my garage door wheel bearings with some lubricant. Nothing special, just garage door lubricant I bought on Amazon. It really improved the movement of the roof!

Finally, I'm going to start a construction project to modify the shed for a generic Pier-Tech2 (Linak DL2). The main benefits are that the roof controller will have direct control of opening/closing the roof without striking my telescopes. If a weather condition is detected, it will lower the pier and close the roof without any requirement for ASCOM working, etc. The bonus is that I need far less concrete than I thought; I only need a little 6" pier to make this happen . But, I have to remove my current wood pier (fairly easy, like removing a mail box post I hope) and I'm going to dig out the hole a bit to make it a bit more solid.

Of note, all my pictures since January were handled remotely from about 7400 miles away. I would remote into my computer in the shed each night, set it up to take pictures based on astronomical sunset/sunrise, and let it run assuming the weather was agreeable. I didn't have any big hiccups besides the roof being a little temperamental when it was extremely cold (< -15F). Based on how well it's working after a little lubrication, I think I have that problem fixed. The other issue I had was with the battery backups and I haven't completely solved that. When it would get below -15F, the UPSs would give me strange transients like I was losing power and it was swapping to battery mode. It turned out the cold was the cause and I wasn't actually losing power. I haven't solved that problem yet; both my APC UPSs exhibited this. The only really issue I had was with my mount... the roof/computer handled it without issue. This really becomes a non-issue though when I install the pier-tech since it won't require the mount to move.

I'll post pictures whenever I start working on it. We've had some bad weather and it's just starting to be spring around here.


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FOUNTAIN1
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6448031 - 04/04/14 08:44 PM

Good luck with the pier. After assisting with mine I am glad it's only a one time deal. Really cool that you can operate your observatory even when you're half the world away. I look forward to the pictures of all your new and upcoming updates.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: FOUNTAIN1]
      #6448622 - 04/05/14 09:16 AM

Thanks Glen, I'm just waiting on a tool to help me rip the wooden pier out. I've calculated out the height requirements of the concrete and I've got a cable to build from my roof controller to the pier as well.

My most recent change has been do more visual work. I bought few Delos eyepieces. I hadn't ever really done visual as it wasn't very stimulating with the plossls and 'noob' glass I owned/came with telescopes. After spending a few nights with my Delos, I get it now. I was checking out the moon last night... it was amazing! I just went from end to end and the level of detail visible was fantastic... and that was in my 17.3mm . I didn't even get into the high magnification eyepiece. I've found going out for an hour after astronomical twilight and doing some visual work is pretty rewarding before turning on the AP .


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FOUNTAIN1
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6448679 - 04/05/14 09:44 AM

Quote:

Thanks Glen, I'm just waiting on a tool to help me rip the wooden pier out. I've calculated out the height requirements of the concrete and I've got a cable to build from my roof controller to the pier as well.

My most recent change has been do more visual work. I bought few Delos eyepieces. I hadn't ever really done visual as it wasn't very stimulating with the plossls and 'noob' glass I owned/came with telescopes. After spending a few nights with my Delos, I get it now. I was checking out the moon last night... it was amazing! I just went from end to end and the level of detail visible was fantastic... and that was in my 17.3mm . I didn't even get into the high magnification eyepiece. I've found going out for an hour after astronomical twilight and doing some visual work is pretty rewarding before turning on the AP .




I know exactly what you mean with visual observing. After getting some wider field eyepieces that were well made, there was no turning back. I do find that I tend to use the low to medium power quite a bit due to seeing, but on those special nights the high power wide field eyepieces are a dream!

If you have a chance to take pictures as you remove your pier and then putting in the new one, that would be very interesting to see. I'm curious how you will do this with your floor and walls already up.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: FOUNTAIN1]
      #6448696 - 04/05/14 09:52 AM

I sure will. I have a little trepidation with it, but I know it's going to be a good thing. As much as I love my wooden pier, I know it's not 'solid' enough for the close to 69# of gear I float on my mount each night. I'm excited to have a more solid connection to the ground. Coincidentally, the wobble doesn't really affect imaging since it dampens out . But visually, it can be a little painful when you're focusing something like Jupiter.

Yikes, I need to proofread before my first cup of coffee... I am writing like my 5 year old.

Edited by Raginar (04/05/14 09:58 AM)


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6462066 - 04/12/14 12:43 PM

So... The pier is out. I used a product from Sawyer Industries on Amazon to hydraulically eat away the ground around it and lift my wood pier out. the bonus to using water was that it really helped when I dug out the hole! I now have roughly 5 cubic feet of space available for my pier. So, I was looking on a website and it says 133 lbs of concrete is equal to 1 cubic foot of volume... That is INSANE. On the plus side, I don't think my telescope will be moving at all.

Thanks for the help.

Chris


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FOUNTAIN1
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6462322 - 04/12/14 03:19 PM

Quote:

So... The pier is out. I used a product from Sawyer Industries on Amazon to hydraulically eat away the ground around it and lift my wood pier out. the bonus to using water was that it really helped when I dug out the hole! I now have roughly 5 cubic feet of space available for my pier. So, I was looking on a website and it says 133 lbs of concrete is equal to 1 cubic foot of volume... That is INSANE. On the plus side, I don't think my telescope will be moving at all.

Thanks for the help.

Chris




I'm glad to hear the wooden pier came out easily. Now go pour some concrete!


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tim57064
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: FOUNTAIN1]
      #6462411 - 04/12/14 04:11 PM

Ditto!

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: tim57064]
      #6463538 - 04/13/14 09:33 AM

Glen/Tim, that water pick device worked really well. I really wasn't sure how I was going to get the darn thing out... and I happened across it while surfing the web. I had my doubts but I figured for 45 bucks... why not. My buddy definitely thought there was no way we were getting it out! It took about 45 minutes of jabbing this thing in the hole over and over again all around the pier before I could lift it out.

Concrete is in the ground . I feel like I got hit by a train after hauling 650# of concrete from my van to the shed by hand, but it was totally worth it once it was in the ground.

Those generic Pier-Techs are legit as well. I hadn't unboxed mine since I ordered it last fall and I finally tested it out by sitting on it. It had no issues raising my 200# self in the air!

So legit question, how long do you guys wait before ripping your forms out? I just have a small one towards the top. It was cold last night, so I'm thinking tomorrow afternoon after it warms up. When is it safe to put a telescope on it? Do you wait the whole 7 days or what not for it to 70% cure?


Chris

Edited by Raginar (04/13/14 09:43 AM)


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6463747 - 04/13/14 11:21 AM

And... it's pretty rock hard. It's just slightly off level W and E... It's level spot on N-S.

Concrete looks pretty 'wet' still. But, it's solid as a rock.


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tim57064
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6463783 - 04/13/14 11:40 AM

Any pic's? Chris, I would wait a couple of days to attach anything to the concrete to give it a little time to cure.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: tim57064]
      #6463824 - 04/13/14 12:08 PM

I have a video testing my Linak DL2 out that is pretty hilarious. It's just me sitting on it and lifting myself in the air. Otherwise, I took a few pictures of the hole but haven't took any of the 'after pour'. I went out to check that the bottom plate was still level and ran back inside. I'm assuming it's in the 20s where you are too?

Video of the Linak DL2:
http://youtu.be/1xReubYYdCg


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tim57064
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6463852 - 04/13/14 12:20 PM

Cool vid. That thing should have no problem lifting your set up and keeping it solid. Actually 37 deg.F right now yet with the 20 to 30 mph winds feels much colder.Suppose to have a little snow too,nothing yet,air too dry for anything to get to the ground.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6463859 - 04/13/14 12:22 PM



My daughter was taking pictures.



That's me chest deep trying to clear out the last bits of mud.



Finally the hole itself. It's 36 x 19 x 14"... roughly 5.2 cubic feet to where I wanted it and 660 lbs of concrete!



What 660 lbs of concrete looks like.

I'll post the plate and pier once I get it mounted again.

Edited by Raginar (04/13/14 12:27 PM)


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: tim57064]
      #6463874 - 04/13/14 12:32 PM

Tim,

We have about an inch of snow on the ground and it's in the mid-twenties and supposed to remain that way until tomorrow. The wind is making it much colder . Posted some more pictures, if I go out there this afternoon I'll post the new steel door I put on it and the bottom plate.


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6463983 - 04/13/14 01:31 PM

With a footing that size,I don't think you will have a problem with any movement. On this side of the state though we need to go down a minimum of 42" to get below the frost line.I go to 48" to be safe. We had frost getting below 3 feet around here this year. I know it does not get as cold in Rapid or at least stay that way for very long as it does here,so your frost level is more than likely higher. Even so,that much concrete is probably not going anywhere any time soon.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: tim57064]
      #6464087 - 04/13/14 02:49 PM

We need 36". The shed really helps keep the ground from freezing though. We don't get the extended cold snaps like you guys either.

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FOUNTAIN1
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6464205 - 04/13/14 04:01 PM

Hilarious video Chris! I also like the picture letting us know that it was your daughter taking the pictures so we wouldn't think you were wearing girly shoes.

Looks like the pour went great. Keep the pictures coming when you mount your gear on the new pier. I would also be interested in knowing your first impressions between the wooden one and the Pier Tech.


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: FOUNTAIN1]
      #6464605 - 04/13/14 08:33 PM

Thanks Glen!

So, I finished the cable to connect my Pier-tech to to the relay that will eventually connect to my Foster Roof Controller. The pin out, for future reference matches the directions from this website:

http://www.dd1us.de/Downloads/A%20telescopic%20column%20as%20a%20pier%20for%2...

Pin 2 is the 'down' button. Pin 5 is the 'up' button. And Pin 8 is common between. The other cables in the RJ45 appear to be dummy spots for more complicated controllers as they're wired out but go to no where on the controller itself.

I'm still trying to figure out how the relay plugs into my roof controller. I think the way to wire it is N/O.. but I'll do some testing with my cable and see how it works out.

Concrete is slowly drying... it's still pretty cold here.


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6464626 - 04/13/14 08:41 PM

Chris great to see it's going well, can't wait to see the finished setup. Great pics and video also.

CS,
Tom.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Toml08]
      #6466479 - 04/14/14 09:09 PM

Hey Tom,

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's turning out pretty good so far.

Hey Tim,

You're a concrete guy right? So it's been two days of the worse concrete curing weather ever. The concrete still looks... wet. Is that pretty normal? I removed the form and it's obviously a solid block at this point. I just don't know what right looks like .

Thanks,
Chris


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6466495 - 04/14/14 09:21 PM

Hi Chris:

If the weather has been cool and wet, then that's actually good concrete curing weather! If it's too hot and dry, you often need to keep it damp by spraying with water or covering with wet blankets.

Anyway, if you remove the form after a couple of days, it will very likely still look dark and damp. Completely normal.
-Dan


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6466537 - 04/14/14 09:48 PM

Dan,

Thanks I'm paranoid. It's been 48 hours but it was below 30 for one of those days and today was in the 50s. I was thinking about putting the column on it, but I think I'll wait until it looks more dry.


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Midnight Dan
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6467065 - 04/15/14 07:38 AM

You should wait a good week before starting to bolt things to it. It cures slowly over time and develops a lot more strength in the initial days and weeks. If you use it too soon, it can be crumbly and crack easily.

See the first chart here:
http://tinyurl.com/krtpj7t

Note that even after a week, it's only gained a small part of it's final strength. Once you get out to a month or so, you should have achieved most of the compressive strength.

So don't be in too big a hurry. A week should be plenty of time to start working with it, but even then you don't want to put excessive force on bolts in it.

-Dan


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6467226 - 04/15/14 09:27 AM

Dan,

Thanks for the chart. I'll be patient! I can't believe it takes that long for it dry.


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tim57064
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6467454 - 04/15/14 11:34 AM

Chris,Three days with optimum temps would be enough time to put a little stress on the mounting bolts,yet I would wait a couple more days before doing that now because of the temps we have been incurring.The low temps will help with the overall strength/curing, as the pier will not dry nearly as fast.You just poured on Sunday right?I would give it a minimum to Thursday before placing the mounting plate. I am sure that by Saturday,you would be safe to add that heavy mount of yours with the scope.Just don't crank down on those bolts to much initially when placing the mounting plate.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: tim57064]
      #6467484 - 04/15/14 11:47 AM

Tim,

Thanks for the advice. I poured on Saturday afternoon. Yea, I won't touch them till Saturday at the earliest I think. I'm going to open my roof up and let the Sun in too so the temperatures get a little higher too.

Thanks for the advice, I haven't done much concrete work.

Edited by Raginar (04/15/14 11:50 AM)


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6468445 - 04/15/14 08:01 PM

It's getting drier. I see what you guys mean about time. 3 days was obviously a little optimistic

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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6472655 - 04/17/14 10:46 PM

I bought some aluminum and built the 'bottom' plate for my telescope today. Aluminum is surprisingly easy to drill and work with. I was very impressed! The cost was right too; 20 bucks for 12" square of quarter-inch 5052 seemed reasonable. The concrete is drying well and the bolts were rock solid, so I decided to mount the pier to it. After leveling it at the base, I put the RA part of my Mi-250 on it and leveled that portion as well.

Here is the video of the pier going up and down. Of note, this was done with my custom ethernet cable I built so it can be controlled by my ROR controller. Pins 2 and 8 connect to make it go 'UP'. Pins 5 and 8 connect to make it go 'DOWN'.

http://youtu.be/csrwGk8hLZI

And here is a picture!



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FOUNTAIN1
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6473067 - 04/18/14 05:38 AM

Looks real good Chris! The level of automation you have achieved is very impressive. I hope to get there one day, but it will be a while. That pier is awesome. Is there any difference between your clone and the one offered by Pier Tech?

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: FOUNTAIN1]
      #6473212 - 04/18/14 08:51 AM

If you read the article linked above from a guy in Germany, no. He took a Pier-Tech apart and took apart the Linak and they use the same parts. You obviously don't get any support like you would if you bought the Pier-Tech nor do you get their software. But, since my roof controller can do it... it was a pretty good trade off considering it's about 1/10th the cost. The hard part is finding a distributor. There is a company called Stone Designs that has been linked on here before that was selling off a bunch of them for $250 + shipping... I felt it was worth it.

I really just wanted a stiffer connection. Wood was OK, but it still had some vibration to it like a tripod. So far, this thing is rock solid and dampens pretty quick.


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FOUNTAIN1
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6473237 - 04/18/14 09:07 AM

Thanks Chris for the information. I can see having a pier that is adjustable on the fly as a wonderful asset to have.

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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: FOUNTAIN1]
      #6474662 - 04/18/14 10:54 PM

Well, got a little farther. It is wired in now. Here is a picture of the foster controller. You have to use AUX1 and AUX2; I found out I didn't need to wire in the relay that Stan thought I might need. What I did was make a parallel between the negatives of AUX1/AUX2 and pin 8 on the Linak. Then the positives from AUX1/2 go to the positives of pins 2 and 5 of the Linak. When you command AUX1 or AUX2 it goes up or down. Or, you can have it slaved to the roof and it will turn on for a set time when the roof opens, and go down when it closes.



And, here is a video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgQrXAJ_CXw

Now, I just gotta get everything back together and soldered together appropriately.


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tim57064
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6474855 - 04/19/14 01:32 AM

Hey Chris,It's great to see that everything is starting to come together. Cool vid.

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FOUNTAIN1
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6475011 - 04/19/14 07:09 AM

Now that is automation! Very impressive Chris.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: FOUNTAIN1]
      #6476286 - 04/19/14 08:51 PM

Thanks Glen! Here is a daytime video with the scopes actually attached. Much more impressive .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18ZedwOfg50

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB7NtEGiMnw


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6476307 - 04/19/14 09:00 PM

Man! That is a nice feature! I really like that kind of automation. Have you had the chance to check on your polar alignment? Does it remain dead on from where you last set it?

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: FOUNTAIN1]
      #6476347 - 04/19/14 09:31 PM

It's level and the polar alignment will be fine. Based on the specifications for the pier, it only shifts up to 4mm total when fully extended. From what I've seen so far just knocking it around, it's not visible when you knock it and it dampens better than the wood pier did.

Pier-tech has reviews on things like polar alignment. All of their information suggests it doesn't move when you raise or lower it.


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FOUNTAIN1
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6476385 - 04/19/14 09:55 PM

Quote:

It's level and the polar alignment will be fine. Based on the specifications for the pier, it only shifts up to 4mm total when fully extended. From what I've seen so far just knocking it around, it's not visible when you knock it and it dampens better than the wood pier did.

Pier-tech has reviews on things like polar alignment. All of their information suggests it doesn't move when you raise or lower it.




That sounds wonderful. If you experience anything different please let us know. I may one day buy one too. Thanks for sharing all of this with us. It opens the door for all kinds of possibilities.


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hm insulators
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: FOUNTAIN1]
      #6481061 - 04/22/14 11:58 AM

That's pretty fancy! My late father would've loved it!

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: hm insulators]
      #6482813 - 04/23/14 09:04 AM

Hm insulators,

Thanks! Sometimes I think I enjoy the tinkering more than I like taking pictures .

Chris


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herrointment
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6484070 - 04/23/14 07:04 PM

Build first then modify. I like doing both.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: herrointment]
      #6484494 - 04/23/14 10:13 PM

Yea, it's definitely fun to do things as you go .

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6491506 - 04/27/14 10:06 AM

And, here is the first image.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6491509 - 04/27/14 10:08 AM Attachment (16 downloads)

Here is the Eccentricity values and the FWHM values from the new image. As you can see, they're pretty great! Eccentricity measures the amount of 'ovalness' of the stars. Anything less than .45 is basically not visible to the eye. Not too shabby .

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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6491517 - 04/27/14 10:14 AM Attachment (12 downloads)

And, here is the same target, 1 month prior with my old wooden pier. You can see that overall it's not 'too bad'. But, my FWHM is significantly different and the eccentricity values are higher. The other thing you don't see is the subs wasted due to bad eccentricity values. I had to throw away about 15% versus 3% between the wood/Pier Tech.

Guess it's a win


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csa/montana
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6491528 - 04/27/14 10:19 AM

Chris, your equipment and results are simply amazing! I've enjoyed following your thread!

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Midnight Dan
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6491805 - 04/27/14 01:21 PM

Excellent results! All your hard work paid off. Congratulations!

-Dan


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6492048 - 04/27/14 03:17 PM

Chris,Great to see your results of the new set up. That is a fantastic image in my eyes.

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FOUNTAIN1
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6492617 - 04/27/14 08:24 PM

Great image Chris! How long were the subs? Now that you have the new setup working, how long of a guided exposure do you think you can take before noticeable problems set in. I have spent the last two nights trying to get my rig running, but I am stuck at about 5 minute subs max. I'm curious what you are able to achieve since we have similar mounts and software.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: FOUNTAIN1]
      #6493403 - 04/28/14 08:57 AM

Thanks guys! It's been pretty cool. I only had one night of clear skies so far and it was on a work day so I barely got it setup, clicked 'run' and let it go. That picture is roughly 15 frames RGB of 5 minute exposures. Based on the stars, I'm going to expect taking 20 minute exposures won't be an issue.

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6511925 - 05/07/14 12:52 PM

For my own records down the road, an Astro Alert v3 uses an Sensirion SHT71 temperature sensor. Available from all over the place



And here was my second image. I think globs are kind of a true test of your system because it's so hard to do any of the 'gimmicks' to make them better.

The Linak DL2 is definitely a winner.


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6551832 - 05/29/14 10:56 AM

Also, another quick update. I finally figured out how to get the roof sensor working specifically when it opens. I was having trouble with it not quite getting exactly to the spot where the sensor was. If it was off by 1/2" either way it would sometimes not actuate the sensor and even adding more magnets didn't help. The center of the magnet HAD to fall over it... and I tried quite a few of these magnetic sensors. Over on the Foster Systems forums, a gentleman by the name of Todd Benko told me about 'limit switch actuators'. They're essentially just a switch that actuates on rotation and has an adjustable arm. The 'real deal' ones cost about 75 bucks a piece and are usually used in industrial settings for safety switches. I found one from China that cost about 18 bucks and I bought 2 of them. It took awhile for them to get here, but they're working great! Roof opens, and as soon as the arm is actuated, it triggers the 'roof open' relay.

Here is a picture:


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6595964 - 06/22/14 04:31 PM

I guess I never posted pictures of what it ended up looking like:


It works really well. Since I fixed the roof sensors, imaging is much smoother and doesn't rely on me doing anything manually. SGP opens the roof, takes the pictures, and closes the roof.

Here is a mosaic I'm working on:


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FOUNTAIN1
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6595998 - 06/22/14 04:52 PM

The mosaic is incredible! I haven't a clue as to how to do one, but I need to learn. The picture of your setup would not enlarge so I couldn't see much. Keep up the inspiring work Chris!

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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: FOUNTAIN1]
      #6596132 - 06/22/14 06:16 PM

Glen,

Here is a link to my flickr gallery. Unfortunately, flickr's 'forum' code doesn't paste easily so I cut out the links back to the original. I wish I could figure out how to do it correctly

image by mads0100, on Flickr

Other side of the pier:
image by mads0100, on Flickr

Close up of the driver with the RJ45 from my roof controller:
image by mads0100, on Flickr

It's my first shot at a mosaic . Surprisingly easy in Pixinsight. I hope it'll be easier but it definitely is motivating me to try it more often. How's your observatory?


Edited by Raginar (06/22/14 06:17 PM)


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FOUNTAIN1
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6596323 - 06/22/14 08:16 PM

Chris your setup is looking great! It appears your cable management is much better than mine. Just out of curiosity, what length of subs are you able to achieve when imaging through your large scope? I plan to add a Celestron HD in the future, but I'm wondering if I will regret it if I will only be able to achieve 1 or 2 minute guided subs at longer focal lengths. Also, do you know what your periodic error is on your MI250 before correction? I have been looking at that on my mount, and wonder whether imaging at longer focal lengths is possible even with PEC engaged. Currently 10 minute guided subs is closing in on my limits, but that is only at 420 mm focal length. What has been your experience?

My observatory is doing great. I still need to post a few pictures of the current setup, but I've been lazy. . Now that I have things fairly well dialed in, I need to start imaging, but the weather has not been cooperating.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: FOUNTAIN1]
      #6596402 - 06/22/14 09:14 PM

Glen,

I have never imaged with it . I just got a ASI120MC, so I might give it a shot for planetary in the near future. I barely have my automation completely working every single time with my ED80, I just haven't found the time to use it. I do plan to soon, I just need a night where it's clear and not a week day. I don't have issues doing 20 minute exposures with my ED80 and my guiding is well under my image scale would be with the 12" @ 3000mm... so I think I'll be just fine though. PHD2 calculates that my guiding is just under .5". I think my arc seconds/pixel is somewhere around .7 with the 12".

My guess is that you can easily take 20 or 30 minute exposures with your G11 and the AT65. The hard part is going to be getting your polar alignment dialed in. How are you doing it currently? I tried Astrotortilla's polar alignment tool and have the best alignment I've ever had from a 'software' solution. I also haven't tried Alignmaster and people swear by that. I will say that I didn't have good results using the built-in features of the G2. It's just not good enough for some reason. Beyond that, you gotta go OAG. My eccentricity values (and exposure durations) increased a lot when I got an OAG. The Orion Thin OAG was a really good deal... unfortunately it didn't work with my STF8300. I ended up with the SBIG OAG after that... it's VERY gucci but it has a price tag associated with it. I'm really had I finally bought the bullet on an OAG. They're not hard to setup and my stars are better.

As for your second question, my native PE is 2.5" peak to peak or so. I do use PEC and it brings it down to .8" peak to peak which is pretty good . It definitely helps with my eccentricity values in PI as I can tell the difference between PEC and no PEC.

That's great to hear that it's all running. We should do some collaboration some time. You could shoot the color frames and I could concentrate on the narrowband data. My ED80 is a similar image scale and we'd be able to get a 2 for 1 on our imaging time. I'm sure you saw the results of our efforts on M27 in the beginning imaging forum. Unfortunately that petered out for some reason... I only saw 2 images out of the whole group (mine and MR's) even after posting the data for everyone to just process.

As Carol would say,"More pictures!!!"


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6596420 - 06/22/14 09:24 PM

I have an 5-6' section of that orange cable wrap you can have. PM me your address. It works well.

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DeanAK
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6597830 - 06/23/14 04:31 PM

Your observatory looks great! May I ask where you ordered your DL2? Was it from Linak directly?

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FOUNTAIN1
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6598019 - 06/23/14 06:31 PM

Thank you Chris for all of the information. I wasn't really sure what the benefit would be with an OAG vs my current autoguider, but maybe I need to consider one. As for the collaboration I am definitely game. I don't want to hold anyone up but if I can contribute then I am happy to participate. Hopefully the data I gather is good enough.

Your periodic error is really good, and a lot better than mine. I've had thoughts of having it hyper tuned one day. However, I'm kind of tired of fiddling with the equipment; I really just need to image.

As for more pictures, I'm heading out to take a few.


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Raginar
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: FOUNTAIN1]
      #6598240 - 06/23/14 08:45 PM

DeanAK, you can check the thread here:

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5997905/Main...

Stone Demensions is super helpful and it arrived as requested, brand new. $250 bucks + 50 bucks for shipping.

Glen,

That's the beauty of it. If you're capturing OSC for my L or Ha, we'll end up blurring it anyways so... it doesn't have to be perfect . Our image scales should be really close too. I'll PM you my email address. Maybe we can give something a try and see if we like it. Are you pretty good at calibration? Getting darks, bias, flats?

Yea, my Mi-250 is the best investment I made. I didn't fully understand what I was getting when I bought it other than my buddy told me it had < 5" p-p. After some tuning and swapping to the OAG, I've been really happy. I guess we'll see how it responds to the 12".

I know how you feel about equipment. I've spent the last 3 years fiddling with equipment. I totally understand why the old, crusty imagers just tell you to buy the best mount, scope, etc... Fiddling with equipment wastes ALOT of night sky.

Congrat's on the clear sky. Looks like we'll get rain again :/


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DeanAK
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6598383 - 06/23/14 10:05 PM

Great, thanks a lot.

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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: DeanAK]
      #6598399 - 06/23/14 10:20 PM

No problem, good luck!

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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6611762 - 07/01/14 06:18 PM

Great job Chris!

I also bought a Linak DL2 from Stone Dimensions about 3 months ago for my observatory (that I still need to build - perhaps this fall).

I was not sure that the DL2 would work the same "upside down" (with the power/control box cable on the bottom), but it looks like yours is working well that way. This is how I want to mount mine also so the power/control box is near the floor.


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: gmartin02]
      #6613329 - 07/02/14 03:50 PM

Greg,

Thanks! I've been really happy with it. It totally works upside down and doesn't seem to have any problems with weight. I'm pushing close to 180 with counterweights.

Chris


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6618857 - 07/05/14 10:49 PM

Picture of her taking sky flats automatically using CCDCC:


I also replaced my WAN IPCAM with a FosCAM (it died). The quality is significantly better. This is just 640x480 and between day and night it does an amazing job.


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FOUNTAIN1
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6619178 - 07/06/14 07:34 AM

Looking good! That is a huge load your mount carries. I'm not sure mine could carry that much, and produce the quality astro images you have posted. Do you prefer sky flats to using a mounted illuminated board for flats? Just curious. Also, is that your hand controller beneath the mount plate? Do you always leave it connected?

I really like the convenience of my foscam, but it has started to flash on my viewing screen during the night. When I wake up I find 300+ emails due to the motion sensor being fooled. It's like the night vision part can't make it's mind up on how bright or dark the image should be. So it flickers all night, and I end up with a lot of false alarms. Maybe it's just my camera.


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: FOUNTAIN1]
      #6619703 - 07/06/14 01:58 PM

Glen,

The Mi-250 is a beast with a conservative payload of around 100 lbs. I like the 12" SCT for visual and riding the ED80 on top is ideal for me. It works . And as long as G2 continues to support it, the mount is still a beast despite being out of production. It's unfortunate people don't know more about the Mi-250... there have been a few for sale on AM and they're amazing. My PE uncorrected is around 3" and corrected via PEC is around .245". Crazy right?

I built a flat box using LEDs and I've tried EL panels. Since I can use CCDCC to automate sky flats I seem to get the best results from them. It's the only thing I use MaximDL/CCDCC for these days. I'm sure SGP will catch up with sky flats one of these days .

Those were the weird things I noticed with my WANCAM and then it just died one day. I like being able to see what is going on in the shed so I went with a FOSCAM. So far, it's definitely a better product. I wonder if it would last longer if we put them in outdoor enclosures? I know they're fairly well protected, but maybe it'd be even better like that.

The email thing would be VERY frustrating :/.

I do always leave the hand controller connected. I guess I don't have to do I?

Edited by Raginar (07/06/14 02:00 PM)


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FOUNTAIN1
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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: Raginar]
      #6619851 - 07/06/14 02:59 PM

I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I have a bad Foscam. It'll be interesting to know how your camera holds up. The hand controller doesn't have to be hooked up unless you find yourself using it a lot. I leave mine in a handy place to use when the occasion arises, but most of the time it just sits in a basket.

You are correct about your mount, it is a beast! And that PEC you quoted is outstanding. I'm looking to go with an Astrophysics mount one day in the future. Hopefully all will fall into place.


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Re: The Bone Yard new [Re: FOUNTAIN1]
      #6619946 - 07/06/14 03:46 PM

Aren't we all? AP would be nice. I didn't realize how great this mount was going to be. I think I'll keep it until it dies at this point.

Yea, I would definitely write them about it. Maybe it just needs a firmware refresh... at 60 bucks shipped from Amazon the cost is low enough to just replace the darn thing too. Or leave it with the IR light off and use a IR lamp to light the area.


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