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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night
      #6240754 - 12/08/13 12:49 PM Attachment (40 downloads)

Spent all night imaging in my new observatory. There was no liguid water about to freeze up my tracks . . . but lots of heavy frost that did!

I was unable to close up at 6AM until I whacked the end beams that carry the roof with a sledge hammer.

Not an auspicious beginning!

I have used WD-40 on the rollers but I see a pair of hand-cranked trailer winches in my immediate future.

Edited by dawziecat (12/08/13 12:50 PM)


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mikey cee
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6240781 - 12/08/13 01:03 PM Attachment (45 downloads)

Here's the solution against future snow or ice ups.. All you need are two ripped halfs of 4" PVC pipe the lighter version. Then one 4" PVC toilet flange cut in half. Mike

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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: mikey cee]
      #6240987 - 12/08/13 03:01 PM

Mike:
Two questions:
1/ How long are those guards? I see a torque moment problem with 12 feet or or more of PVC hanging beyond the roof support outrigger beams. I don't see how I can support 'em.

2/ Any hints on how to rip long sections of PVC safely on a table/radial arm saw? I think I can manage it although I am not looking forward to the operation.

Edited by dawziecat (12/08/13 03:59 PM)


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JJK
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/28/08

Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6241055 - 12/08/13 03:51 PM

Quote:

Mike:
Two questions:
1/ How long are those guards? I see a torque moment problem with 12 feet or or of PVC hanging beyond the roof support outrigger beams. I don't see how I can support 'em.

To eliminate the support problem, why not use multiple smaller sections and use flashing to cover the seams?

2/ Any hints on how to rip long sections of PVC safely on a table/radial arm saw? I think I can manage it although I am not looking forward to the operation.




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Galaxyhunter
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 01/02/06

Loc: Northern Illinois
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6241102 - 12/08/13 04:25 PM

Quote:

Mike:
Two questions:
1/ How long are those guards? I see a torque moment problem with 12 feet or or more of PVC hanging beyond the roof support outrigger beams. I don't see how I can support 'em.

2/ Any hints on how to rip long sections of PVC safely on a table/radial arm saw? I think I can manage it although I am not looking forward to the operation.





When I cut mine, I used a large table was at work. It could cut through both sides at ones. I don't think a regular table has enough height to do it, so you would need to cut in two passes. I had a helper to catch the other end. Put a Sharpie line on the side. Set the fence for 1/2 the O.D., then place a block 1/2 the O.D. next the pipe to use a guide (rotational). It is not a bad job, just don't rush it.

Look on your other post ( "ROR tacks in icy climate" ), I placed a link where as I made my covers on a hinge. I didn't need the support off the end of the roof rails. I used this system a few years until I automated my Observatory.


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*skyguy*
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 12/31/08

Loc: Western New York
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Galaxyhunter]
      #6241128 - 12/08/13 04:42 PM

How do you keep the wind getting under the PVC 1/2 pipe and tearing them off the track ... or is this not a problem?

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Galaxyhunter
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 01/02/06

Loc: Northern Illinois
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: *skyguy*]
      #6241159 - 12/08/13 04:57 PM

Quote:

How do you keep the wind getting under the PVC 1/2 pipe and tearing them off the track ... or is this not a problem?




I have never had a problem with that.


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JJK
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/28/08

Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Galaxyhunter]
      #6241181 - 12/08/13 05:11 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Mike:
Two questions:
1/ How long are those guards? I see a torque moment problem with 12 feet or or more of PVC hanging beyond the roof support outrigger beams. I don't see how I can support 'em.

2/ Any hints on how to rip long sections of PVC safely on a table/radial arm saw? I think I can manage it although I am not looking forward to the operation.





When I cut mine, I used a large table was at work. It could cut through both sides at ones. I don't think a regular table has enough height to do it, so you would need to cut in two passes. I had a helper to catch the other end. Put a Sharpie line on the side. Set the fence for 1/2 the O.D., then place a block 1/2 the O.D. next the pipe to use a guide (rotational). It is not a bad job, just don't rush it.

Look on your other post ( "ROR tacks in icy climate" ), I placed a link where as I made my covers on a hinge. I didn't need the support off the end of the roof rails. I used this system a few years until I automated my Observatory.




With a proper jig, you could cut the pipe in two passes with a circular saw.


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JJK
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/28/08

Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: *skyguy*]
      #6241188 - 12/08/13 05:12 PM

Quote:

How do you keep the wind getting under the PVC 1/2 pipe and tearing them off the track ... or is this not a problem?




A few tie downs would eliminate that problem, if it arises.

BTW, that's a smart-looking observatory.


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Midnight Dan
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Reged: 01/23/08

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Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: JJK]
      #6241272 - 12/08/13 05:58 PM

Someone posted a photo in a recent thread of a 1/2 pipe PVC cover like above - except that it was mounted with hinges on one side. You could just flip it off to the side before rolling your roof off, then flip it back on when the roof was back in place.

-Dan


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Ian Robinson
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Reged: 01/29/09

Loc: 33S , 151E
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6241352 - 12/08/13 06:53 PM

Obvious solution is to attach some low wattage heat tracing to the tracks (wouldn't need much current to keep frost from forming on the tracks).

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Raginar
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Ian Robinson]
      #6241394 - 12/08/13 07:17 PM

Ian, got any product ideas to make this happen?

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tim57064
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Reged: 08/23/12

Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Raginar]
      #6241644 - 12/08/13 09:34 PM

Chris,Use roof ice melt tape you can get from menards.Maybe can be placed under the angle iron if using the v style rollers?

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Raginar
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: tim57064]
      #6241662 - 12/08/13 09:44 PM

That is a good idea. My garage door opener is slipping recently.. I'm trying to figure out what causes it. I can't tell if it's the 'snow' on the track or what.

Any idea how a 'screw drive' garage door opener works or what would cause it to slip?


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tim57064
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Reged: 08/23/12

Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Raginar]
      #6241688 - 12/08/13 10:03 PM

Chris Hello,I am not familiar with screw drive openers. A slipping problem? Are you saying it seems to be skipping.Does it sound like it is grinding at all or a loud noise like chatter?Both my openers on my garage are chain drive and that is all I have ever had. I do not know of anyone here that has one,otherwise I could check one out and let you know.Troubleshooting and repair of mechanical items is a fun past time any more.

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Raginar
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Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: tim57064]
      #6241695 - 12/08/13 10:07 PM

I'd love to know I got a call in to Genie too, just to see if there is anything I can do about it.

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mikey cee
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6241891 - 12/09/13 12:35 AM Attachment (15 downloads)

Quote:

Mike:
Two questions:
1/ How long are those guards? I see a torque moment problem with 12 feet or or more of PVC hanging beyond the roof support outrigger beams. I don't see how I can support 'em.

2/ Any hints on how to rip long sections of PVC safely on a table/radial arm saw? I think I can manage it although I am not looking forward to the operation.


They were cut from standard 8' lengths. You can snap two chalk lines 180° apart. Then cut them with a jigsaw or circular saw. I used a table saw with a clamped wood jig at the rip fence. As far as wind lifting goes you can make some metal hoops out of heavy aluminum wire and hang them at the end around your track and support beam. My roof only goes out about 3' shy of the end of the track supports. Because they are light hanging over about 5' is no problem.

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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: mikey cee]
      #6242169 - 12/09/13 08:40 AM Attachment (14 downloads)

I am mulling over the suggestions on this thread.
I anticipate that stuff like freezing rain and wet,slushy snow that freezes after falling, could be a problem. I did not anticipate at all that mere hoarfrost could cause me grief! I am not really sure just what froze up on me. It was not likely the tracks at all. More likely frost seized the wheels.
This was not a problem that I could not open the roof because ice had blocked the tracks. The tracks were completely clear, and dry when I opened the roof. Then hoarfrost formed over everything exposed and the roof seized.
When you're cold, its dark and you've been up all night, you don't want to spend a lot of time out there trouble shooting an entirely unanticipated problem. So I did not see precisely what was sticking and where.

I can't see the long lengths of pvc cut in half working for me. In the first place, my tracks are mounted on the sides of the supporting beams, not on top. Secondly, unlike Mike, my roof is full-length, not a two piecer. I would be dealing with 14 foot lengths that could not support their own weight hanging out in thin air. Furthermore, I had not planned for this. There is no room on top of the support beams to mount covers with a hinge. They would obstruct the roof when they were rotated up. The gap between the roof and outrigger beams is only about 5/8".

It seems I need something light and removable, for use when I anticipate snow will occur.

Edited by dawziecat (12/09/13 08:45 AM)


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Raginar
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Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6242236 - 12/09/13 09:22 AM

Dawsie,

Make sure you drill some drain holes in the bottom of your track near the building. Prevents water from coming in.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6242288 - 12/09/13 09:59 AM

I would think with the weight of the roof, that even if the wheels did stick, because of frost, that they would roll under the weight. If the wheels did indeed freeze; even heattape along the bottom of the trough (for rollers) probably would be of little value. Possibly lubricate the wheels with something that is good for cold weather.

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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Raginar]
      #6242512 - 12/09/13 12:03 PM

Hi Guys:
Thanks for the suggestions. Holes in track are drilled. Won't help with frost though.

I will get some spray machine oil and give the wheels a good shot.

Contractor left today but will get me steel flashing to cover the rails against snow. Same stuff as the roofing end pieces . . . seems almost "made to order," it fits the 4X4 and rail assembly so well. They will have to be removed before and replaced after each session though. Fortunately, only an issue in winter . . . and when precipitation is forecast.


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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
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Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6242974 - 12/09/13 03:52 PM

WD40 is horrible stuff, attracts dust and dirt and evaporates away fast. They make a windshield defrost spray that could be used if they freeze, and a good low temp lube like SuperLube on the wheels and maybe in the track?

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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Mary B]
      #6243010 - 12/09/13 04:05 PM

Quote:

WD40 is horrible stuff . . .




WHAT?

Sacrilege!

What's next? A slur against duct tape??

Seriously. Thanks for the hint. I will be looking for this stuff at the local hardware store.


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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6249192 - 12/12/13 02:20 PM

Roof was seized shut this morning. I am pretty sure it is the bearings in the steel roller wheels. I squirted liquid grease into them, rolled the roof back and forth a few times to distribute the gunk and closed back up. Checked back a few hours later and all was well. Temperature is currently minus 8C (17F). Won't be sure until tomorrow morning I suppose.

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Norm Meyer
sage
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Reged: 02/08/09

Loc: Warren, ME 04864
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6249570 - 12/12/13 05:36 PM

WD40 displaces water I would think it would help eliminate
moisture to prevent freeze up. But then again what do I know!

Norm


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Ian Robinson
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Reged: 01/29/09

Loc: 33S , 151E
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Raginar]
      #6249585 - 12/12/13 05:44 PM

Quote:

Ian, got any product ideas to make this happen?




In industry the heat tracing is simply run along the pipe / tube you want to warm.

http://www.thermon.com/catalog/us_pdf_files/TEP0059.pdf


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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Norm Meyer]
      #6249652 - 12/12/13 06:28 PM

Quote:

WD40 displaces water I would think it would help eliminate
moisture to prevent freeze up




Well, I am still shocked at Mary's heresy! I considered contacting a mod to have her heinous post expunged!

I did the WD40 thing . . and the roof still locked up on me. I am now all but positive it was caused by a thin layer of moisture on the ball bearings? Why the WD40 was not sufficient I don't know but it could have been I did not get it into the bearing races as I lost my little straw applicator and just used a wide spray. Truth is, I did not really understand how those wheels were constructed and wasted a lot of WD-40 on fittings that have no effect on the wheels rolling freely in the first place.
This morning, I did my best with a straw applicator to get the "liquid grease" right into the bearing races. It has not seized up since. I was out there this evening, it's -12C(10F) and the roof behaved very well. So, I think I have the problem licked.


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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
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Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6249690 - 12/12/13 06:43 PM

WD40 displaces water but also evaporates rapidly leaving little lubrication behind. It also attracts dirt and makes it stick, we banned it in the shop at the casino because of that. Guys used it on coin hoppers and gummed them up badly with coin dust, we ended up having to rebuild over 100 of them.

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thesungazer
Sungazer
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Reged: 05/06/03

Loc: Maryland
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Mary B]
      #6249815 - 12/12/13 08:12 PM

Another idea is white lithium grease. I put it on twice a year and lube the exposed metal parts too. Works great.

Greg


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John Fitzgerald
In Focus
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Reged: 01/04/04

Loc: AR
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: thesungazer]
      #6249829 - 12/12/13 08:19 PM

IMO the only way to go especially in freeze prone areas is inverted v track and matching wheels. Garage door wheels are a problem when not totally shielded.

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DeanS
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Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: John Fitzgerald]
      #6249856 - 12/12/13 08:36 PM

When I first built mine I had pulleys and rope to open the roof. Thought it would be fine even though it took a bit of effort to pull. First night that it could real cold, down in the 20's or so and I went to close up, it was like pulling a car with fishing line. The grease in the wheels must have thickened up and it was vey difficult to move which could be part of your issue as well. I had the 12 volt winches on it the next day

Now I am close to having the Backyard Observatory motor and rack installed so I will be able to automate it.

Dean


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thesungazer
Sungazer
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Reged: 05/06/03

Loc: Maryland
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: DeanS]
      #6249865 - 12/12/13 08:42 PM

Installing a motor is a worthwhile investment, Dean. I love it.

Greg


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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: thesungazer]
      #6250531 - 12/13/13 09:36 AM Attachment (13 downloads)

It went to -17C(+1F) here last night. It had risen to -10C(+15F) by morning. A good "cold soak" for the lubricated rollers. The roof rolls readily! Anyone else having trouble with garage door rollers in sub-freezing weather should try lubing them and understand better than I did just where to get the lube. Not sure all rollers are built the same but I attach a close up of mine. The free play for lateral movement is not likely a problem in freezing temps although I suppose it's possible if your tracks are out of parallel. The lube needs to get into the bearing races in the hub, as pictured.

I doubt I will install any electric openers. Even a hand winch seems unnecessary, if the roof continues to roll as well as it does right now. A simple push stick is fine. Full automation, as in a remotely located observatory is not a goal for me.

Edited by dawziecat (12/13/13 09:44 AM)


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Agatha
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Reged: 06/04/12

Loc: Coulee Region, Wisconsin
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6250777 - 12/13/13 11:49 AM

At the risk of committing sacrilege of WD 40, I must agree with Mary.

I love WD 40...always have a can around. It's good for many things. It is great for cleaning grease. It eats it for lunch. It is so thin to penetrate and will fix a squeaky hinge among other things. It has no real lubrication properties, especially for heavy use. I'm so glad that you got some proper lube in those wheels. Sounds like it is working beautifully.

Your observatory is absolutely beautiful. It's been fun watching your threads.

I have a question about your siding. Does it need to be painted or can it be left as is with maybe a sealer? I love the look of it as is.

Best,


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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Agatha]
      #6250797 - 12/13/13 12:01 PM

Thanks, Linda.

I have learned the error of my ways with WD-40 and "see the light" Thanks to Mary for that. (I do cling to my religious fervor when it come to duct tape though! )

The siding is pine. It will weather to a rather unsightly, dingy black in this climate. It looks pretty now but that will change with time. I could indeed seal it with a transparent stain although my experience is so-so with that stuff. It looks great for a year or three and then not so great. Of course it comes down to personal preference. My late wife would want it to match the colours she picked out for our garden shed. I like them too and plan to use an opaque stain on the siding and paint on the trim to match that shed. Those colours have stood up very well these past ten years.


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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
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Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6251038 - 12/13/13 02:34 PM

Duct tape is a must! I have rolls all over the place.

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jazle
super member


Reged: 05/20/10

Loc: California, USA
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Mary B]
      #6251139 - 12/13/13 03:24 PM

Waiting to see who creates the first duct tape dew shield on a SCT.

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Footbag
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Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: jazle]
      #6251145 - 12/13/13 03:25 PM

Quote:

Waiting to see who creates the first duct tape dew shield on a SCT.




My dew shield is reinforced with duct tape. Does that count?


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tim57064
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 08/23/12

Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Footbag]
      #6251180 - 12/13/13 03:43 PM

+1 for the Duct Tape Dew Shield, Red G. would be proud.

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Raginar
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Raginar]
      #6253243 - 12/14/13 07:15 PM

The slipping sound was indeed due to the carriage assembly being stripped out. It looked like the spring that holds it together had somehow cracked the plastic. I dunno if it was just general misuse or a cheap part. The new one is working flawlessly.

I might just have one sitting around in case it happens again.


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mikey cee
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6253720 - 12/15/13 01:03 AM

So, I think I have the problem licked. Just as long as you don't lick the rollers at 15°!

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Footbag
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Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: tim57064]
      #6254079 - 12/15/13 09:47 AM

Quote:

+1 for the Duct Tape Dew Shield, Red G. would be proud.




I'm already on Red G's goto list. I spent 10 years of my life using a duct tape wallet. I've built hundreds in my day.


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Raginar
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Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Footbag]
      #6254423 - 12/15/13 12:42 PM

You guys must be fans of Red Green.

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herrointment
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Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: Raginar]
      #6258852 - 12/17/13 07:44 PM

Quando omni flunkus moritati!

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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: herrointment]
      #6259043 - 12/17/13 09:49 PM

Ok, back to the subject of the thread now.

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jimbo728
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Reged: 11/05/13

Loc: Central NH
Re: ROR Tracks Stuck by Frost on First Night new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6262876 - 12/20/13 12:19 AM

Nickel Antiseize Paste.. Apply to rails,wheels and bearing surfaces with a small ,1" paint brush.. This kept my former clubs ROR from frost sticking for over 40 years in NH. We did it every 2-3 years.
GOOD LUCK, NICE OBSERVATORY.
Jim


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