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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Sidereus Nuncius
sage
*****

Reged: 03/27/05

Loc: Chester County, PA
Observatory Climate Control new
      #4091643 - 10/04/10 10:57 AM

Scott and company completed my observatory in late Spring. During Summer I did nothing to regulate the temperature inside however I do run a de-humidifier (rather like swimming upstream, I think).

Now that Autumn is here and Winter is close behind, are there any things I need to keep in mind to protect my gear? I have purchased one of those 'cabin' heaters (oil filled radiator-looking type) that could keep the building at least above freezing.

Or, should I even worry? What do you 'guys' do?


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: Sidereus Nuncius]
      #4091659 - 10/04/10 11:05 AM

Montana has very cold Winters, and I've never done anything to heat the observatory. I have a heater to use, while observing; but have yet to use it.

Summer heat is what to be concerned about. I had an "attic" fan with shutters installed, that automatically kicks on when it hits 80 inside the observatory. Other than that, I do nothing, & leave all my equipment in there, year around.


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jbattleson
Happily Retired
*****

Reged: 03/02/09

Loc: Nebraska
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: Sidereus Nuncius]
      #4091770 - 10/04/10 11:51 AM

Hi,
I'm in Nebraska where we get a range of -15F to 105F. I leave all my equipment in the obs year around. Vents in the roof let out the worst of the heat in summer. I do not use any heaters.
As long as you keep things dry there should be no problems.
My only problem is my LCD computer screen gets a little slow to respond in the winter.


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Sidereus Nuncius
sage
*****

Reged: 03/27/05

Loc: Chester County, PA
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: csa/montana]
      #4091774 - 10/04/10 11:52 AM

What kind of equipment do you have in there? I guess I'm mostly concerned about the electronics, especially my camera(s). The mount is an A-P and I've seen pictures of those in Antarctica so I probably don't need to worry about that

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Spoonsize
DURHAM 157494
*****

Reged: 08/27/04

Loc: Stuck in a Time Warp.
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: Sidereus Nuncius]
      #4091789 - 10/04/10 11:57 AM

"Now that Autumn is here and Winter is close behind, are there any things I need to keep in mind to protect my gear?"

Drain the de-humidifier?


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: Sidereus Nuncius]
      #4091855 - 10/04/10 12:22 PM

Quote:

What kind of equipment do you have in there? I guess I'm mostly concerned about the electronics, especially my camera(s). The mount is an A-P and I've seen pictures of those in Antarctica so I probably don't need to worry about that




I have no electronics in the observatory; but there's many that do, and leave them in their observatories, year around.


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jbattleson
Happily Retired
*****

Reged: 03/02/09

Loc: Nebraska
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: Sidereus Nuncius]
      #4091918 - 10/04/10 12:44 PM

Besides my CGE and C11 I have a desk top computer with LCD monitor. I also have 2 DSI CCD's, dew control, focus control and wireless router. All these items have electronics in them. They have been out there for two years with no problems.

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Sidereus Nuncius
sage
*****

Reged: 03/27/05

Loc: Chester County, PA
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: Spoonsize]
      #4092203 - 10/04/10 02:28 PM

Quote:

"Now that Autumn is here and Winter is close behind, are there any things I need to keep in mind to protect my gear?"

Drain the de-humidifier?






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Sidereus Nuncius
sage
*****

Reged: 03/27/05

Loc: Chester County, PA
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: Sidereus Nuncius]
      #4092205 - 10/04/10 02:30 PM

Seems I might be a touch paranoid (no shock there).

One of the reasons I was thinking of the cabin heater is that in the cold the dehumidifier won't work, but if I raise the temperature a smidgen the humidity will be lowered.


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Sidereus Nuncius
sage
*****

Reged: 03/27/05

Loc: Chester County, PA
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: csa/montana]
      #4092210 - 10/04/10 02:31 PM

Quote:

I had an "attic" fan with shutters installed, that automatically kicks on when it hits 80 inside the observatory.




Maybe for Spring I'll look into a small air conditioner.


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powerstroke01
sage


Reged: 06/19/07

Loc: Western Sierra Nevada Foothill...
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: Sidereus Nuncius]
      #4092372 - 10/04/10 03:49 PM

Ive got a small AC unit for the summer time. But im not worried about the cold.. We rarely get into the low 20s here.

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Bob Griffiths
Getting Grouchy
*****

Reged: 10/10/05

Loc: Frederick Maryland
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: Sidereus Nuncius]
      #4092396 - 10/04/10 03:58 PM

Louis:

I'm a little South of you (not much btw) I do not worry about anything in the winter... but I sure worry about HEAT and HUMIDITY in the summer...

Dr Clay recommends keeping the interior below 105 degrees for prolonged periods of time...whixh in my case with an non insulated observatory is easily accomplished even if my obs runs 2 degrees over the outside ambient temps...I just do not get that many days of 103 degree temps..and a simple box fan on a thermostat controlled on/off switch takes care of those days with ease..

Spring thru November I do run a dehumidifier normally 3 hours on and 3 hours off 24/7 ...BUT I do not know if it is really needed...

BTW...Dr Clays concern with heat is due to the glues and resins uasied internally on Telescopes and Eyepieces...NOT the electronics...

You will enjoy the winter skies this year much better then you ever enjoyed them before...

Bob G


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JAT Observatory
NOT a Wimp
*****

Reged: 02/20/05

Loc: In the Primordial Soup
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: Bob Griffiths]
      #4092963 - 10/04/10 07:55 PM

The biggest issue for me is humdity. I use a dog house AC & heating unit to control the humidity. As you stated most dehumidifiers don't work when the temp drops.

It's a small unit only 2500 BTU but it is just strong enough to add a little cooling or heat to the observatory. Also since it is a closed system it is very good at removing the mosture from the air in either heating or Ac mode. The other nice thing is it is made to be outside so it doesn't that up room in the obseratory.

Downside is they are pricey, and I am not sure where to find them now (they are made in China I think). I have had mine for a couple of years and it is still going strong. I bought a 2 so I have a spare when this one dies (years from now..I hope).



Here's a pic of the vents inside. The bottom vent is the intake and it filtered to keep the AC unt clean and operational.


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DeanS
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: JAT Observatory]
      #4093019 - 10/04/10 08:18 PM

In the dead of winter I have a small electric space heater on a timer to come on several times a day and night to just cut the chill when it is real cold. In the summer I do the same with a small AC unit. I do use one of the small oil filled ones in the warm room too, set on very low.

I also clamp a light bulb under each scope which is suppose to help reduce humidty around the mount and scope. If your mount is ice cold and the bulding is warmed quickly by the sun you might get condensation on the mount, pier, and scope. The only time I have ever noticed any condensation was when the light bulb burned out and we had a large temp swing.


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Sidereus Nuncius
sage
*****

Reged: 03/27/05

Loc: Chester County, PA
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: Bob Griffiths]
      #4093229 - 10/04/10 09:58 PM

Quote:



I'm a little South of you (not much btw)




Howdy, neighbor (we're only a couple miles from the Mason-Dixon line).

Quote:



You will enjoy the winter skies this year much better then you ever enjoyed them before...






A'int that the truth, well, clouds permitting. This past Friday, after work, I did some imaging. Now, if I'd had to set up the whole kit and kaboodle, no way.


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Sidereus Nuncius
sage
*****

Reged: 03/27/05

Loc: Chester County, PA
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: DeanS]
      #4093240 - 10/04/10 10:02 PM

Quote:

In the dead of winter I have a small electric space heater on a timer to come on several times a day and night to just cut the chill when it is real cold. In the summer I do the same with a small AC unit. I do use one of the small oil filled ones in the warm room too, set on very low.

I also clamp a light bulb under each scope which is suppose to help reduce humidty around the mount and scope. If your mount is ice cold and the bulding is warmed quickly by the sun you might get condensation on the mount, pier, and scope. The only time I have ever noticed any condensation was when the light bulb burned out and we had a large temp swing.




I have a heater with a setting that will trigger it on if the temperature falls below 42F. I'm worried that making it all toasty in there might seem like an invitation to the critters.

I wonder if I should just keep my dew heater on my objective and maybe one near the camera?


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Bob Griffiths
Getting Grouchy
*****

Reged: 10/10/05

Loc: Frederick Maryland
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: Sidereus Nuncius]
      #4093915 - 10/05/10 08:37 AM

Louis:

Your will learn just how much you appreciate your Observatory when you walk outside one morning ..say about 9 AM) to get the newspaper and you notice the moon is still up and plainly visible...so you walk over and enter your observatory instead of going down to the mailbox to get your paper...

About an hour later your wife starts yelling out the back door that you missed breakfast AGAIN !!!!!

Seriously it has happened to me more times then I care to admit...

Bob G


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: Sidereus Nuncius]
      #4094135 - 10/05/10 10:44 AM

Quote:

I have a heater with a setting that will trigger it on if the temperature falls below 42F.




42F? If I did that, it would be coming on almost year around! Seriously, I think Summer heat is worse than the Winter cold on equip.


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WirelessDude
sage
*****

Reged: 01/02/08

Loc: San Tan Valley, AZ, USA
Re: Observatory Climate Control new [Re: csa/montana]
      #4101808 - 10/08/10 05:25 PM

Have you seen the pictures of those AP1200 mounts used at one of those research stations in Antarctica? I'd have to say you have nothing to worry about, at least with that mount!

Clear skies!


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Jaxdialation
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/01/07

Loc: Northeast, FL
Re: Observatory Climate Control [Re: WirelessDude]
      #4105106 - 10/10/10 11:02 AM

Actually I think they are AP 3600GTOs

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