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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Midnight Dan
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Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Skyshed POD floor ideas new
      #5553627 - 12/04/12 09:31 AM Attachment (51 downloads)

I'm in the "thinking about it" stage of getting a Skyshed POD. At this point I'm looking at sites on my property, saving up for it, and planning construction details.

In reading about peoples' experiences with the Skyshed, it seem like there are issues with leakage around the base. Since I'm planning on building a deck platform for it (maybe 2' high), which will be over ground that is frequently damp/wet, I'm also concerned about excessive humidity rising off the ground and migrating through the spaces in the deck planking into the POD.

To try to reduce these problems, I was thinking about the following as a possible design. Basically, the idea is to us a layer of plywood as a base on top of the deck planks. I would put a plastic sheet over that, which would extend out onto the deck planks around the edge, and then be covered by some vinyl cove moulding like this stuff: http://tinyurl.com/cqkhe9r I'm thinking the plastic would be a humidity barrier, and raising the whole thing by the plywood thickness would keep water from migrating under the bottom of the POD wall because it would have to go uphill to get in.

For people with experience with the POD, what are your thoughts about this design? Are there things I'm not considering that could cause problems? Thanks!

-Dan

Edited by Midnight Dan (12/04/12 08:22 PM)


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Thomas Karpf
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5553656 - 12/04/12 09:54 AM

Although I do not have an observatory (let alone a SkyShed specifically), I think you might want to perforate the floor in a number of spots to let water within the observatory to drain on those occasions when driven rain (or heavy condensation) end up inside.

There is, of course, no way to guarantee that humid air does not end up inside.


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John P
sage


Reged: 01/27/04

Loc: Honeoye Falls, NY USA
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5553677 - 12/04/12 10:11 AM

Good thinking but you will find the vinyl base (cove base) tough to bend to the tight radius of the dome walls. Also you might consider not using plywood but incorporate insect screen somehow to allow for improved air circulation.

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SkyShed
Vendor (Sky Shed)


Reged: 05/23/05

Loc: Staffa , ON
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5554317 - 12/04/12 05:23 PM

Thanks Dan,

As John P wrote, leave out the plywood.

Use Lexel sealant around the outside and inside at the wall base.

Staple down 8 X 8' of window screening ($20) under your decking, on top of your decking supports, so that air can circulate but bugs can't get in.

Use rubber tiling (very popular) so you can take a tile up in the summer to circulate air when it's real hot outside.

CS!
Wayne
www.skyshedpod.com


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Starman27
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Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: SkyShed]
      #5554349 - 12/04/12 05:48 PM

My POD is on a deck. I used pet proof screening under the deck to prevent insects. and use rubber floor tiles cut to shape. I was one of the first or second shipments, so I have had my POD a long time. I see some evidence of water, but no serious problems. Water coming under a POD on a deck would need to be driven over all of the spaces in the deck surface. If you are on concrete or a surface where water can puddle you may have a problem. Also if you have the POD bays (I have three) the floors prevent any water from getting in, so the only exposure would be the wall panels that are not part of the bay wall extensions.

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mistyridge
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Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: Starman27]
      #5554527 - 12/04/12 07:45 PM

My POD is set on a raised concrete pad. We recently had a series of strong Pacfic storms with winds in exceeding 50mph and rain events of 5 inches an hour. My POD came through with just a small amount of seepage around the base even though I only caulked part of it. It will dry as soon as dry weather returns.

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Midnight Dan
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Reged: 01/23/08

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Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: mistyridge]
      #5554654 - 12/04/12 09:14 PM

Thanks for all the feedback! So it sounds like air circulation is more important that sealing the base, in terms of keeping humidity down? I suppose I can put a sheet of plastic on the ground itself and cover it with a layer of gravel to reduce humidity rising out of the damp ground.

One question - several people suggested bug screen *underneath* the floor decking to keep critters out. Since the decking usually has gaps between the boards for expansion and drainage, it would seem like bugs would just scoot down into those gaps, under the walls, and back up into the POD. Do you seal those gaps between the boards around the edge of the POD? Or would it be better to put bug screening on *top* of the boards, under the rubber tiles?

-Dan


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SkyShed
Vendor (Sky Shed)


Reged: 05/23/05

Loc: Staffa , ON
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: SkyShed]
      #5554751 - 12/04/12 10:16 PM

BTW If you're nailing down your decking, screw at least one board which will run from your pier to a Bay or the wall, so that you can run wiring and swap it out when you need to.

If you don't go as far as running conduit, find foam pipe insulators. They're 3' long or 4', and cost less than a dollar each at the hardware store.

They're split down the center so that you can wrap them around household water pipes. They close naturally around the pipe when in place.

Run your wiring under the deck in one or two of these insulating foam "pipes".

Mice and other small animals don't seem to like the foam much and will nibble but not usually eat through the foam. This protects the wires running under the deck and allows to you swap them out quickly if needed.

CS!
Wayne
www.skyshedpod.com


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Midnight Dan
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Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: SkyShed]
      #5555327 - 12/05/12 09:13 AM

Hi Wayne:

Great idea about leaving one board screwed in so it can be removed for access! I hadn't thought of that!

-Dan


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Midnight Dan
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Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: mistyridge]
      #5555361 - 12/05/12 09:43 AM

Quote:

My POD is set on a raised concrete pad. We recently had a series of strong Pacfic storms with winds in exceeding 50mph and rain events of 5 inches an hour. My POD came through with just a small amount of seepage around the base even though I only caulked part of it. It will dry as soon as dry weather returns.




Hi Mike:

Since yours is on raised concrete, it seems similar to my proposed design. The plywood in mine raises the floor, and the plastic seals it like the concrete does for you.

Since you obviously don't have any air circulation through the floor, do you have any problems with humidity?

-Dan


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Magellan
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/26/06

Loc: Enfield, NS Canada
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5555648 - 12/05/12 01:03 PM

Mine is sitting on grass on top of a Home Depot $6 blue Tarp thats water resistant. I am currently testing it and last night it was dry, but COLD, because of the ground temps and being winter. I also have two pieces of outdoor rubber mats that I will be setting in there so cold or heat doesn't radiate through footwear.

I just got my 2nd hand pod last weekend and I haven't even put my scope in it yet. making sure it doesn't leak first.


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Agatha
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/04/12

Loc: Coulee Region, Wisconsin
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5556009 - 12/05/12 05:03 PM

Dan,

This thread is of interest to me because I am also planning on a POD in the next year or so. I've been thinking concrete pad because I don't plan on a pier. Instead, various tripods. Anyway, I am grateful to follow this topic of yours. Thanks, and I'm excited for you in your plans.

Best, Linda B.


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Midnight Dan
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Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: Agatha]
      #5556322 - 12/05/12 08:02 PM

Hi Linda:

I was also considering a concrete pad for the same reason - more flexibility in using various tripods, and the ability to move the tripod for a better view of the zenith.

But one problem I have is that the spot I want to put it in is a bit lower than other areas on my property and there is frequently a mist that settles there in the evening near the ground. So I decided to build a deck a 2-3 feet off the ground and use a pier in the center of the POD. That would help keep things above the mists (most of the time anyway) and humidity.

Another advantage to a permanent pier is that if you have a GEM and want precise polar alignment, if you do it once, you're set and don't have to do it each time you go out. One of the big advantages of an observatory is very little setup time a permanently aligned mount on a pier is a big help in that regard.

-Dan


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ahopp
sage


Reged: 05/24/12

Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5557063 - 12/06/12 08:38 AM

If you are going to use tripods on slab, consider the following:

Create isolated round pads within the slab that the tripod feet can rest on, This will prevent walking and movement from affecting your stability. Make the pads are at least 12" diameter to accommodate different tripod sizes, I would do 18".

Tony


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Magellan
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/26/06

Loc: Enfield, NS Canada
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: ahopp]
      #5557129 - 12/06/12 09:26 AM

You should be able to keep alignment with a tripod too, right?

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Bob Griffiths
Getting Grouchy
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Reged: 10/10/05

Loc: Frederick Maryland
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: Magellan]
      #5557218 - 12/06/12 10:22 AM

Oh boy... Yes you can keep alignment with a tripod..

BUT baby Pods are small (and so is the inside of my 8' foot Exoploradome .. .a tripod takes up a heck of a lot of space (foot room room) ..

I'd put it on a slab..BUT I elevated my ED 8 foot off the ground (to be able to see Polaris over the trees to my North) ..just build a free standing 10x10 deck with solid flooring but used 2x12 joists placed 12 inches on center...

Bob G.


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Midnight Dan
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Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: Bob Griffiths]
      #5557279 - 12/06/12 10:55 AM

You can keep alignment with a tripod ... as long as you don't bump it. For a long term setup, you will certainly have to realign it from time to time, and you'll have to check it's alignment frequently.

-Dan


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mclewis1
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Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: New Brunswick, Canada
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5557502 - 12/06/12 12:57 PM

Another option for non permanent setups is a portable pier. Basically a steel column with 3 legs at the bottom. If sized correctly these can be very stable and offer more space to move around within the observatory.

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mistyridge
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Reged: 10/28/05

Loc: Loomis, CA
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5557539 - 12/06/12 01:21 PM

Humidity has not been a problem as air circulates under the dome flange and the concrete drys out in a day or two.

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Bob Griffiths
Getting Grouchy
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Reged: 10/10/05

Loc: Frederick Maryland
Re: Skyshed POD floor ideas new [Re: mclewis1]
      #5557846 - 12/06/12 04:41 PM

Quote:

Another option for non permanent setups is a portable pier. Basically a steel column with 3 legs at the bottom. If sized correctly these can be very stable and offer more space to move around within the observatory.




YOU bet...especially if the observatories floor is 2 o 3 foot off the ground...on a deck.. The portable pier sits on a small concrete pad on the ground..and comes up thru the floor completely isolated...and NO LEGS inside an observatory or above the deck ...

I used an Antares 4 inch Portable (I think 60 inches tall) with my 8i on my low level deck off my rear patio (deck was in 2 sections one 9 inches off the ground the upper level was 18 inches off the ground.. worked great for visual and I could do jumping jacks on the deck and the scope never felt a thing..

Bob G./


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