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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Reged: 01/07/12

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5577261 - 12/18/12 12:47 PM

Hi Dan, I have had a Pod since March this year. I used interlocking foam tiles from Home Depot, they were placed directly on my deck. You can't have to much protection when it comes to expensive optics. A Pod is a tight environment and having a tendency towards mishaps, it has proven it's utility to me. The floor proper has never been wet, some dampness can be detected in the gaps at the wall base but nothing of significance I figure some gaps would help it breathe in the summer. I would recommend a fitted cover, I have the insulated model and while it works great the Mylar on the inside can tear quite easily. But it eliminates water infiltration completely so perhaps the cheaper one might be better especially if used often.

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professor emeritus

Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Lat. 39.143345, Long. -77.1748...
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5577362 - 12/18/12 01:59 PM

I have an XL3 on the ground. I leveled the ground before putting a vegetation barrier down & a fitting a 1/2" thick foam interlocking pads for cold, Dropped stuff protection, & to keep anything dropped from disappearing into the ground in the dark. I had a Losmandy G11 on a HD tripod sitting on a set of anti-vibration pads on top of the foam pads. The tripod does take up a lot of floor space, but since the G11 is so heavy & the pads acquried an imprint, even when bumped, the tripod itself didn't move. I've lost more gearboxes by catching them with my elbow as I walked around the mount & always the RA. I've since retired the G11, for a HGM-200 (the Losmandy Titan's older brother) on a tripod. Surprisingly the feet don't take up any additional space, but they are still "in the way". I haven't had any problem at all with the HGM moving, but it weighs 85# plus optics. You bump it, you know it, & it doesn't give. I'm spending this winter finding the optimum spot inside the POD for a pier offset. This upcoming spring I'll be pouring a base for the Pier & footers for an 18" raised deck.
If you're set on a using a a tripod on a slab, then putting a set anti-vibe pads down is a very good idea. I would recommend using a floor pads as well. EP's don't like being bounced off concrete, they get grumpy. Also the the pads will soften the concrete on your feet and back. Definitely worth the $15-20 investment. Cut them to fit inside the dome with a utility knife. Setup your tripod & do your polar alignment, then mark where the pads belong so if they get knocked out of place, it's easy to put them back. HTH

Clear Dark Skies
39.138274 -77.168898

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Reged: 01/26/06

Loc: Enfield, NS Canada
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: Startraffic]
      #5582397 - 12/21/12 12:20 PM

Yup, I agree, I use a CGEM and 45lbs on it with a custom side by side plate here is a few pictures and some lessons learned:

Here is my Flooring and the way its mounted to the ground:

20121202_131554 by AstroJeff, on Flickr

As you can see it's on Grass with a tarp for flooring and outdoor rubber backed carpets, one for scope and one for feet and chair.

Here are a few things I have learned:

1.) Grass and Tarp, not good
2.) Rain, hill, grass, tarp, really not good. 300mm of rain in the last two week has washed some of the ground beneath the tarp away.
3.) It being not perfectly level, causes gaps in the wall and water runoff the dome sits where domes separate, causes some leaking.

With saying all of this I must admit it keeps alignment and hibernated for 2 weeks through the odd weather. I only had to turn the scope on, start guiding and take shots!

Here is a picture with my scope:

Tracking the Horsehead by AstroJeff, on Flickr

I plan on doing a deck construction with a 12" pier and 8" Dan's pier plate. I will be using a BigFoot footing buried 4' under and maybe 3' above ground. I will be using interlocking foam tiles like the ones you use for kids, which are gray on the bottom side .

Thanks for reading my blurb,

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The Snarkster

Reged: 06/23/07

Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: Magellan]
      #5583360 - 12/21/12 11:08 PM

The grey foam tiles work well. Keep the floor warm and help cushion anything that falls. A little hard to roll a chair on if youre sitting on it but easy if you stand up to move it. I got mine from Harbor Freight, check their site, they usually have better prices than the Big Box stores.

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