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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Bart
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/28/06

Loc: Somewhere near Charlottesville...
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Patrick]
      #5828645 - 04/28/13 03:44 PM

Great job, give inspiration to us all....

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gmartin02
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 04/11/05

Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5830930 - 04/29/13 07:09 PM

Quote:

Thanks all. Updated link on the crawl space fan to keep air moving on hot or moist days. I posted the wrong link before. This one has the built-in dehumidistat
and thermostat along with pigtail installed.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200327483_200327483




That's pretty nice, but it looks like you can only control the fan operation based on humidity, not temperature. The description say that there is a freeze protection thermostat, but doesn't mention a "full featured" (adjustable) thermostat.


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PWP
member
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: gmartin02]
      #5832095 - 04/30/13 11:55 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Thanks all. Updated link on the crawl space fan to keep air moving on hot or moist days. I posted the wrong link before. This one has the built-in dehumidistat
and thermostat along with pigtail installed.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200327483_200327483




That's pretty nice, but it looks like you can only control the fan operation based on humidity, not temperature. The description say that there is a freeze protection thermostat, but doesn't mention a "full featured" (adjustable) thermostat.




I had the same concerns since it said a range of what appears to be up to 50 degrees but after purchasing it and running it set a 30% humidity, it does trigger to come on in the heat of the day. As we know, heat is usually accompanied by building humidity which is why there are afternoon thunderstorms. After all, it is really the humidity that is the concern for the electronics and I do have a telegizmo heat reflective cover which I keep on the scope even in a stored position. If anyone is that worried about airflow.. does have an option to set it to "ON"..to run continuously. If you want to do that, I would think a simple timer is in order for the evening to go off unless you want it running day and night. Then again, if it rains overnight you don't want the power to be off when the humidity is up. It appears to be well built...perhaps running it 24/7 at least in the summer is not a bad idea.


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PWP
member
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Patrick]
      #5832151 - 04/30/13 12:20 PM

Quote:

Hi Perry,

I'm looking for alternatives to the Northern Machinery Skates. Although it looks like they'd get the job done, $220 for 4 seems a little pricey. Are there any less expensive options out there? BTW, I will not be doing mine with rails because I will need to walk around the area and I don't want to be tripping over rails in the dark.

Patrick




Patrick,

I got lucky and when I purchased mine they were on sale for half off...around $28 a piece I think. However, if your not worried about keeping them on a track...you can use the link below for some a great alternative and much cheaper. They have a 1000lb capacity and you would probably only need 4 but at that price why not use 6? Even if you plan to climb in as I do to use the shed as a warm room once rolled off 4 or more of these will hold you plenty! Hope this helps.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_40246_40246

P.S. Excellent point about tripping over the rails in the dark once the shed is rolled back as I have done that twice now. Thinking of painting them with glow in the dark paint which should give them just enough luminance without causing any light polution.


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Patrick
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5832254 - 04/30/13 12:51 PM Attachment (33 downloads)

Quote:

I got lucky and when I purchased mine they were on sale for half off...around $28 a piece I think. However, if your not worried about keeping them on a track...you can use the link below for some a great alternative and much cheaper. They have a 1000lb capacity and you would probably only need 4 but at that price why not use 6? Even if you plan to climb in as I do to use the shed as a warm room once rolled off 4 or more of these will hold you plenty! Hope this helps.




Thanks for the link. I found a set from Grizzly with brakes on them, HERE. I'm not sure how I'm going to engage the brake part yet, but it would be nice for the shed to be locked down when either not in use or when standing to the side.

I have an advantage in that I will not be using the shed as a warm room or be sitting in it. My deck is right outside of my morning room which I have set up as a control/warm room. I just need the shed to cover the scope and lock it up when not in use.

Regards,

Patrick

Edited by Patrick (04/30/13 04:38 PM)


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PWP
member
*****

Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Patrick]
      #5833464 - 04/30/13 11:35 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I got lucky and when I purchased mine they were on sale for half off...around $28 a piece I think. However, if your not worried about keeping them on a track...you can use the link below for some a great alternative and much cheaper. They have a 1000lb capacity and you would probably only need 4 but at that price why not use 6? Even if you plan to climb in as I do to use the shed as a warm room once rolled off 4 or more of these will hold you plenty! Hope this helps.




Thanks for the link. I found a set from Grizzly with brakes on them, HERE. I'm not sure how I'm going to engage the brake part yet, but it would be nice for the shed to be locked down when either not in use or when standing to the side.

I have an advantage in that I will not be using the shed as a warm room or be sitting in it. My deck is right outside of my morning room which I have set up as a control/warm room. I just need the shed to cover the scope and lock it up when not in use.

Regards,

Patrick




That will work fine since you have no plans to use it as a warm room. Nice choice with the 3 inch as that will keep it as low to the deck as possible. Since the wheels don't swivel once you have them bolted to the 4x4's and have the floor lag bolted to the 4x4's I would simply drill about a 1/3 inch hole or so directly through the floor and the 4x4 directly lined up with the brake pedal. You may need to invest in a 8 inch plus wood drill bit but harborfreight.com usually have them cheap. You could then install a metal dowel rod and afix it to the brake. You could then bend the top end to make a handle which you would want running close to the wall on the inside of the shed. You could simply push it down to lock it and pull it up to unlock. You probably only need it on the front casters on each side of your doors so they are easy to lock and unlock from the outside by simply reaching in. Just a thought.

Nice HD BTW!


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Patrick
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5834279 - 05/01/13 12:31 PM

They're actually 4" wheels, but the same concept. I didn't want to go too small due to the gaps in the deck floorboards.

I like your suggestion for the brake actuator arm. I'll probably need to weld or bolt something on to push/pull on it from above.

Thanks!

Patrick


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Patrick
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5834283 - 05/01/13 12:34 PM

Did your Keter model come with a window or did you add it in?

Edited by Patrick (05/01/13 11:07 PM)


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PWP
member
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Patrick]
      #5835423 - 05/01/13 11:25 PM

Quote:

Did your Keter model come with a window or did you add it in?




The Apex model I bought did come with the window. It looks nice from the outside but I ended up taping some white posterboard to the inside to reflect the sun and provide shade. The window side faces west and I noticed late in the afternoon when the sun shines through it it tends to add a lot of uneccesary heat to the interior. May be just as well if you don't have one. I would invest in the ventilation fan I posted a few threads up. I have found these sheds do tend to be 20 degrees hotter than the outside temp. With temps up to 107 or so here in the heart of the summer...I will keep mine on 24/7. I have had the scope in our garage for the past 2 years and it has been fine and it gets pretty hot in there as well. Honestly I am more concerned about moisture than I am the heat. I have a remote temp/humidity sensor in the shed and keep an eye on it from inside the house and it seems to be doing fine.


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audioaficionado
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/24/12

Loc: Medford, Orygun, USA
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5875037 - 05/21/13 12:24 AM

Would foil covered rigid insulation panels attached to the interior surfaces help with the heat issues?

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scopefreak
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 04/14/04

Loc: Mayslick KY
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: audioaficionado]
      #5877598 - 05/22/13 09:20 AM

Perry,

Looks really nice!! I finished my ROR 2 years ago after thinking a lot about the roll off shed design. For me, I had enough space to build a ROR connected to a storage shed that has a total foot print of 30' X 16'. The OBS is 16' X 10' with a 5' X 10' warm room. Kinda cozy but enough for one person.

I really like how well you have everything organized in the shed to allow for use as a warm room and still cover the scope when not in use.

I do have one question for you. Is the pier isolated from the rest of the concrete pad? In the pictures it looks as though the pad connects with the pier. If this is the case, have you noticed any vibration being transmitted to the telescope when people walk around the pad area? Just wondering.

I think you will really enjoy what you have built!! And it looks GREAT!!!

Kevin


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PWP
member
*****

Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: audioaficionado]
      #5880188 - 05/23/13 12:56 PM

Quote:

Would foil covered rigid insulation panels attached to the interior surfaces help with the heat issues?




Hi Steve,

Haven't had to worry much about that yet but if I see temps exceeding 105 I will most certainly give that a whirl although I would rather not if at all possible. Scopes are made for temp swings that can be expected in observatories. Main issue is humidity..with moisture and electronics ...not a good mix. So far, I have found no leaks (have had some pretty strong spring storms) and dew doesn't seem to be a problem. Keeping my fingers crossed I don't encounter issues. Once I get a full year of seasons under my belt with this observatory it will tell the tale if any further alterations need to be done.

Perry


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PWP
member
*****

Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: scopefreak]
      #5880236 - 05/23/13 01:29 PM

Quote:

Perry,

Looks really nice!! I finished my ROR 2 years ago after thinking a lot about the roll off shed design. For me, I had enough space to build a ROR connected to a storage shed that has a total foot print of 30' X 16'. The OBS is 16' X 10' with a 5' X 10' warm room. Kinda cozy but enough for one person.

I really like how well you have everything organized in the shed to allow for use as a warm room and still cover the scope when not in use.

I do have one question for you. Is the pier isolated from the rest of the concrete pad? In the pictures it looks as though the pad connects with the pier. If this is the case, have you noticed any vibration being transmitted to the telescope when people walk around the pad area? Just wondering.

I think you will really enjoy what you have built!! And it looks GREAT!!!

Kevin




Thanks Kevin,


The concrete pier was poured seperate but to your point once I added the pad I did fuse the two together. I haven't had any issues with vibration but then again I don't have anyone walking about while I am viewing/broadcasting on NSN. I use a Mallincam VSS+ mostly so very long exposures aren't neccessary like they are with a DSLR. So far so good for my first observatory but undoubtably I will most likely start uncovering design flaws at some point.

If I ever build another, I do have a few ideas that I would do differently...mainly with shed choice. While the Keter Apex shed does the job it is a little more light weight than I would prefer. It has held together well and not leaked but I think the walls could have been constructed with a little heavier material. All four corners are a decent thickness of plastic/resin but the sides are made of the same material but put together like thick cardboard..waffle/baffle design. Not a big fan of that but with that provides added dead air space which probably aids in the dissipation of heat. As a result, pushing on the walls from the inside makes them feel a bit too flimsy which isn't a big deal but I am a big guy and if I ever trip inside the shed I am wondering if I would take out a wall or if it would flex and rebound me. Let's hope I never have to find out. The other concern is hail. I live in Texas where you can get large hail. I feel confident it will do ok unless it gets larger than quarter size. Again, let's hope that doesn't happen.

I researched a ton of sheds prior to this build and honestly there just isn't that many out there that have this appeal (most look like a shipping storage container)and very few have a single door design which I wanted. I am very surprise that shed manufacturers have not offered a shed with a side back roof design much like the Rubbermaid model that stores your riding lawn mower but a larger/taller model to serve as an observatory. Seems they could pick up added revenue even if they made it a special order item. But until such time the shed I chose hasn't failed me yet and has held together well and no compaints on moisture of any kind or excessive heat build up..so until something else pops up on the market all in all I am pretty happy with it especially for the price.

Perry


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PWP
member
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #6304966 - 01/10/14 08:35 PM

Made a narrative video of the build for any that couldn't access the links to the pictures above. Here is the link:

http://youtu.be/2yYseL0Q1bo


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nicklane1
sage
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Reged: 03/04/08

Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #6305201 - 01/10/14 11:20 PM

Great narrative. Beautiful and well thought out rollaway obs.
Did you say in the video that this was built in TX? Yet your sig says MO. Do you have two?


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PWP
member
*****

Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: nicklane1]
      #6317931 - 01/17/14 06:15 AM

Quote:

Great narrative. Beautiful and well thought out rollaway obs.
Did you say in the video that this was built in TX? Yet your sig says MO. Do you have two?




Thanks Nick,

No, I do not have two observatories. Sadly, I built this observatory in January through March 2013 while we lived there. I was part of an unexpected layoff in September so we relocated back to Missouri which is home. The new homeowners wanted the shed part to used for pool supply storage and keep it in the rolled back position and I think they were going to use the pier as a powered bird bath or fountain of some sort. Had I known a layoff was coming of course, I would have probably not built it but we can't live our lives as if the Sword of Damocles is hanging over our heads. The only thing I left was some concrete and the shed itself...so no huge investment loss.

It is nice to be home again (after 6 years) but the weather this winter makes me wish we were back in a more temperate climate. I am back to wheeling in out of the garage on a wheelie bar again but hope to build another observatory again soon. The nice part about that is I will do a few things different this next go round than I did on this build...a version two if you will.

I posted this narrative as some were having problems viewing the build on my Facebook link and I think it is good to share to give others ideas they may have not thought of.


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munchmeister
sage
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Reged: 04/04/12

Loc: Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #6318717 - 01/17/14 01:48 PM

Very, very nice observatory shed and very, very well done video. Very helpful. Too bad you had to leave it, though.

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nicklane1
sage
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Reged: 03/04/08

Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #6319435 - 01/17/14 08:59 PM

Hopefully that bit of misfortune is just like a few cloudy nights and will clear up soon.

You have given the rest of us a great blueprint. I particularly like that your obs is unobtrusive yet so very functional.


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PWP
member
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: nicklane1]
      #6319906 - 01/18/14 05:51 AM

Quote:

Very, very nice observatory shed and very, very well done video. Very helpful. Too bad you had to leave it, though.




Quote:

Hopefully that bit of misfortune is just like a few cloudy nights and will clear up soon.

You have given the rest of us a great blueprint. I particularly like that your obs is unobtrusive yet so very functional.




Thank you both for the kind words!


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