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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Peter L.
super member


Reged: 04/19/08

Loc: PEI, Canada
Snow in my ExploraDome! new
      #5672913 - 02/10/13 07:30 PM

Has this happened to any other ExploraDome owners out there? The big storm blew through on Sat and Sun. The wind howled a consistent 70 km/h for two days with gusts to 90 km/h. The wind was dead out of the north. My dome is pointed due south, so the wind was hitting the back side of the dome.

I checked things tonight, and this is what I found:



There was quite a bit of snow sitting on top of my scope and its equipment. I didn't get a picture of that because I didn't waste any time brushing all of the snow off and onto the floor. From what I can tell, a bit of snow blew up through the wheel channel, but the vast majority of the snow came in through the shutter - in from all sides, but quite a bit from the very top of the shutter. Here's a pic:



Although I removed most of the snow, you can still see a bit of it caked on. Looks like I'm going to need a scope cover to prevent this from happening again. We're supposed to get some warn weather Tuesday, so the snow is going to melt. The room is well ventilated, so hopefully it will dry out quickly.

I have to say, I was disappointed with the ExploraDome right from day 1. With the 10x10 metal frame, the motor control kit, and the roof skirting, I spent nearly $6K on it, but it's been a lot of trouble. This issue is just the latest. I knew I should have sent it back when the 10x10 metal frame was out of square by over 1 1/2". That led to the skirting not fitting properly, etc. However, when you wait for 3 months with a half built building and no roof, the last thing you want to do is send it back and wait another 3 months or more...

Anyway, enough whining... Has anyone else experienced this? Is there anything I can do besides get a scope cover for my equipment? I hate to even think this, but I can see myself ripping the ExploraDome off in a year or two and replacing it with a custom built dome.

Thanks,
Peter


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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: Peter L.]
      #5673070 - 02/10/13 09:03 PM

Peter,

You could just sling a tarp or any waterproof material over your equipment. No reason to have a Telegizmo 365 cover or something ridiculous.

Otherwise, that is frustrating. Hopefully you're able to figure out where the seal is leaking and fix it. I'm guessing that was some serious sustained winds though and might not be 'normal'.

Good luck!


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wolfman_4_ever
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: Raginar]
      #5673369 - 02/11/13 12:30 AM

Your probably better off covering the dome... If it's the 8ft dome, a pod dome cover should work.. 10ft or larger, one of the blue tarps or the newer pod max covers may work (when and if they come out)

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JJK
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/28/08

Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: Raginar]
      #5673459 - 02/11/13 03:39 AM

Quote:

Peter,

You could just sling a tarp or any waterproof material over your equipment. No reason to have a Telegizmo 365 cover or something ridiculous.

Otherwise, that is frustrating. Hopefully you're able to figure out where the seal is leaking and fix it. I'm guessing that was some serious sustained winds though and might not be 'normal'.

Good luck!




If you cover the scope with something that doesn't breathe, first put a towel or two on it to allow condensate to wick away from the scope and mount.


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Peter L.
super member


Reged: 04/19/08

Loc: PEI, Canada
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: wolfman_4_ever]
      #5673591 - 02/11/13 07:57 AM

Quote:

Your probably better off covering the dome... If it's the 8ft dome, a pod dome cover should work.. 10ft or larger, one of the blue tarps or the newer pod max covers may work (when and if they come out)



Thanks Dave, but a dome cover would not be all that practical in my case:

As you can see, I'd need a boom truck to put in on/off. I think I'll go with a tarp over the equipment with some bungee cords as others have suggested.

Thanks again,
Peter


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Tim Gilliland
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/28/09

Loc: Sand Springs Okla.
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: JJK]
      #5673627 - 02/11/13 08:36 AM

I have an elevated Exploradome and have never had this issue. And we have had some pretty severe storms. However I do cover my Scope and mount with a simple outdoor furniture cover. It is open enough to allow air circulation and yet keeps dust off of the scope. Of coarse I see your concern with the snow getting on electrical outlets. But I am somewhat suprised to see that it enterd through the slot.

Wow! Is that a cool obs or what?

Edited by Tim Gilliland (02/11/13 08:41 AM)


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Mirzam
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/01/08

Loc: Lovettsville, VA
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: Tim Gilliland]
      #5673692 - 02/11/13 09:37 AM

Unless the dome is airtight it is going to be difficult to exclude tiny blowing snow crystals during a storm like the one just experienced. I don't know how well other dome types would perform, but this does not seem all that bad.

Do you have a wet dry vacuum cleaner?

JimC


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: Peter L.]
      #5673715 - 02/11/13 09:53 AM

Peter, is this the first time you've gotten snow inside?

In my ROR, which I've never had moisture of any kind find it's way inside, I still put a TeleGizmos cover over my scope; and my eyepieces are in a watertight case. Nothing is left out exposed. However, it's best also in your case to find some way to "plug" where the snow obviously came thru.


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Tim Gilliland
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/28/09

Loc: Sand Springs Okla.
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: Mirzam]
      #5673716 - 02/11/13 09:54 AM

Another thought coming to mind is, you might have less trouble with the dome facing north. Facing south in a north wind (which would be typical in wind driven snow) would expose the groove of the slot to the snow. Mine is always parked north.

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Peter L.
super member


Reged: 04/19/08

Loc: PEI, Canada
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: Tim Gilliland]
      #5673783 - 02/11/13 10:28 AM

Quote:

Another thought coming to mind is, you might have less trouble with the dome facing north. Facing south in a north wind (which would be typical in wind driven snow) would expose the groove of the slot to the snow. Mine is always parked north.



Yeah, I thought about that. I can park it north in winter because the worst snow storms blow out of the north/northeast. In summer and fall, the worst rain storms typically blow from the south, so I can park south then. That combined with a tarp of some sort should keep things safe. I'm not too worried about a little snow on the floor. It's a rubber floor, plus the subfloor is covered with Tyvek because the area below is insultaed while the dome is not.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

Peter


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stmguy
sage


Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Western NH
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: Peter L.]
      #5673954 - 02/11/13 12:20 PM

I wonder if you pressurize the dome with positive pressure if it would keep the fine stuff out...a box fan pulling air from another part of your structure might do it

Norm


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: Peter L.]
      #5674700 - 02/11/13 07:49 PM

Peter, let us know if parking it North helps, when another storm rolls in.

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mikey cee
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: Mirzam]
      #5674822 - 02/11/13 09:18 PM

Quote:

Unless the dome is airtight it is going to be difficult to exclude tiny blowing snow crystals during a storm like the one just experienced. I don't know how well other dome types would perform, but this does not seem all that bad.

Do you have a wet dry vacuum cleaner?

JimC


I'm 100% behind Jim on this one. With that kind of wind your lucky there wasn't more or worse yet no dome! Mike

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wolfman_4_ever
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! [Re: mikey cee]
      #5674943 - 02/11/13 10:46 PM

LOL!!!

Ok, nevermind


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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
*****

Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: wolfman_4_ever]
      #5676277 - 02/12/13 04:54 PM

maybe stuff some soft foam strips in the wheel channel when you know a bad storm is coming? Maybe some foam pipe insulation strips?

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MHamburg
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 06/21/06

Loc: Brooklyn, NY/Berkshires, MA
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5676365 - 02/12/13 05:57 PM

I had to cut 1" thick styrofoam "snowblockers" to fill the too large gaps between the walls of my octagon base and the skirt of my dome. I nailed them to the top plate of the walls and contoured them as best I could to close those gaps. The blizzard right after last Christmas left me with a lot of snow in the observatory. (I hate winter.)
Michael


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Peter L.
super member


Reged: 04/19/08

Loc: PEI, Canada
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5677208 - 02/13/13 08:35 AM

Quote:

maybe stuff some soft foam strips in the wheel channel when you know a bad storm is coming? Maybe some foam pipe insulation strips?



I've already got a foam strip all the way around the wheel channel where it meets the base (below). What I don't have is foam between the wheel channel and the dome (above). That would likely help. The tough part will be weather stripping for the shutter that won't interfere with the operation of the shutter. That's where most of the snow entered.

One issue I've had is the amount of expansion/contraction that's in the dome. It's really unbelievable. The foam strips will be nice and tight now in winter, but come summer, they'll be stretched so far, they'll start coming off. Makes it really hard to keep the weather out.

Peter


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Fish
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 10/13/07

Loc: Norridgewock, ME
Re: Snow in my ExploraDome! new [Re: Peter L.]
      #5682028 - 02/15/13 05:31 PM

Good afternoon,

This is an interesting discussion. Up here the recent blizzard had its moments and a lot of snow was being hurled about. Yet my Exploradome on its 10' X 10' outbuilding never had a flake get in, not this time or anytime in the 4 winters it has been there.

I do have a wide rubber skirt across the bottom of the dome to close up that gap and the motorized front hinged door is held tightly against the dome. So far, I have had few problems.

Looking at your building, I wonder if part of your problem was the lack of protection from nearby trees. I'll bet the winds in your case are considerably stronger than the ones I experience.

Looks like you have a quandary on your hands!

Good luck, Marc


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