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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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PWP
member
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: gastargazer01]
      #5715034 - 03/05/13 06:18 PM

It is tight on the pier...I cut the U in the floor tight for that very reason and also to cut down on possiblity of wasp coming in from underneath and setting up shop while it is in the stored position. Of course having it tight (about 1/3 inch on each side) also means being careful when you roll it forward as you don't want to hit the pier as even though I have it on tracks there still is some play. Total weight I would guess to be around 500-600 lbs. You will also notice the U channel has vertical slots all along the length. It hasn't moved back on me yet since it is tight but I could always slide a long bolt or some kind of metal dowel rod in one of the slots just behind any of the machine skates and that should hold it steady and keep it from moving.

Quote:

Nice, I may do something similar shed wise with my deck OBS that I am planning.
http://bufordexchange.com/members/mikesastro/CameraOBSplacement.html
Do you lock it down when closed up any way to the foundation or is the shed heavy enough with it also tight on the pier?




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PWP
member
*****

Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: gastargazer01]
      #5715483 - 03/05/13 10:12 PM

Got a chance to check out your scope setup. Looks like a C11 on CG5? Looks like you have plenty of room for your additional deck and shed. Post your build as you go. Would really like to see it take shape. Email me or post if you have questions if you want to mirror my build. I can tell you where I got the supplies etc.

Best regards,

Perry

Quote:

Nice, I may do something similar shed wise with my deck OBS that I am planning.
http://bufordexchange.com/members/mikesastro/CameraOBSplacement.html





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Patrick
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5777888 - 04/04/13 02:53 PM

Hi Perry,

I like your roll off shed idea and I'm thinking of ways I might incorporate it on my deck. I have a 10' x 14' deck with a wood pier in the middle of it.

I have a couple of questions...

1) Have you found the Keter 4x6 to be weather tight or have you needed to do additional sealing to make it so?

2) Did you order the Northern Machine Skates with the dogs or were those obtained somewhere else?

I think I know the answer to this, but the black flooring I see in your pictures looks like the floor that comes with the shed. Did you lay down an additional subfloor?

3) Did you block some of your horizon out because of the proximity of the shed to your mount?

4) What is the height of the door frame? I have a fairly tall mount and telescope setup and I'm wondering if it will clear the door when it's in home position.

My main concern with my possible implementation would be that I won't be able to move the 4x6 shed back far enough to amply clear the mount and telescope. In your research did you come across any sheds that were 4x4' and similar to the 4x6?

Thanks! I really like your setup!

Patrick


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PWP
member
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Patrick]
      #5780666 - 04/05/13 09:47 PM

Quote:

Hi Perry,

I like your roll off shed idea and I'm thinking of ways I might incorporate it on my deck. I have a 10' x 14' deck with a wood pier in the middle of it.

I have a couple of questions...

1) Have you found the Keter 4x6 to be weather tight or have you needed to do additional sealing to make it so?

2) Did you order the Northern Machine Skates with the dogs or were those obtained somewhere else?

I think I know the answer to this, but the black flooring I see in your pictures looks like the floor that comes with the shed. Did you lay down an additional subfloor?

3) Did you block some of your horizon out because of the proximity of the shed to your mount?

4) What is the height of the door frame? I have a fairly tall mount and telescope setup and I'm wondering if it will clear the door when it's in home position.

My main concern with my possible implementation would be that I won't be able to move the 4x6 shed back far enough to amply clear the mount and telescope. In your research did you come across any sheds that were 4x4' and similar to the 4x6?

Thanks! I really like your setup!

Patrick




See my answers below:

Hi Perry,

I like your roll off shed idea and I'm thinking of ways I might incorporate it
on my deck. I have a 10' x 14' deck with a wood pier in the middle of it.

I have a couple of questions...

1) Have you found the Keter 4x6 to be weather tight or have you needed to do
additional sealing to make it so?

The shed is pretty straight forward to put together and honestly 1 person can put it together until you get to the roof which can be a little tricky only because it is awkward. Once finished, I got inside and did notice daylight near the front left side where the roof gutter met the A frame there was about a 1/8 in gap. It didn't appear to be at an angle that would leak, but it was a west facing wall so I was more worried about blown wet winds...so I went ahead and put some clear silicone in the gap. I think I didn't make sure the shed was completely square before I put on that section of gutter so I think the gap was my fault. I haven't had torrential rains yet but I have had decent rain and up to 45 mph winds and all remained dry so far.

2) Did you order the Northern Machine Skates with the dogs or were those obtained somewhere else?

The dogs you see on the side in my pictures are welded to the side of the machine skate although Northern Tool doesn't show this. The real use for them
is to join two machine skates together side by side in a slide and lock type setup. When I bought these it was because they were the cheapest thing I could find that would be low profile and support the weight of a building with me in it as I am a pretty big guy. I thought about casters but the ones that support any weight are way too tall and I didn't want the shed to be a skyscraper. The dogs welded to the side turned out to solve my main problem was how to keep the shed from tipping over in high winds. I didn't even know they were there until I went to northern tool to pick up the machine skates and saw
them sticking out on one side which gave me the idea to pick up some C channel and let them glide inside which would keep it on the ground. I was very
happy to solve that as it was gnawing at my mind.

Here is the link: http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200356891_200356891

You will also need the link to HEAVY DUTY C CHANNEL which is nothing more than industrial gauge track lighting rails they use for commercial use. I
found these at LOWES and I stumbled upon them. When I looked in the normal C and U channel section of hardware at LOWES I found nothing heavy
enough or large enough to use. These come in 10 foot length which is perfect and work very well. Make sure you keep these rails about a quarter inch away from the skates on each side and use lithium grease on them to help the skate slide easier...otherwise you will find way too much friction.

Remember, these are found in the Electrical isle, not the hardware Isle as one would think. I just stumbled on them while looking for 12/2 wire to run power to the observatory.
Here is that link: http://www.lowes.com/pd_43878-53911-ZA1200HS+10_4294722472__?productId=312875...


I think I know the answer to this, but the black flooring I see in your pictures
looks like the floor that comes with the shed. Did you lay down an additional
subfloor?

The black flooring does come with the shed and it is one piece. I do have subfloor under it as it is 3/4 weather treated plywood. Word to the wise though...since I have been using it I have a chair with rollers and I am a pretty big guy. The black floor is made to support weight of a foot...evenly distributed. I have noticed the rollers
of my chair while sitting in the observatory for some time now while I broadcast on NSN begin to put dents in the black flooring and the other day it finally broke
through on one point of contact because of my weight bearing down on one wheel when I shifted my weight. So...as to not have this issue continue to happen I
went ahead and put some 1/2 inch plywood on top of the black flooring just under my seating area to more evenly distribute my weight.




3) Did you block some of your horizon out because of the proximity of the shed
to your mount?

Yes....northern sky...but I have large trees that were in the way anyway so not a loss over what I was already dealing with when I was observing out in the driveway which is in the rear of our home.


4) What is the height of the door frame? I have a fairly tall mount and
telescope setup and I'm wondering if it will clear the door when it's in home
position.

Good question and that one was the most challenging for me. How tall do I make the darn pier? Too high, and I would have to park the scope in a horizontal home position to get it through the door instead of it sitting upright facing Polaris. Too low, and when I look through my polar scope won't see over the top of the shed which is directly in the path of sight to polar align with Polaris.

The height from my concrete pad is like this:
1. Skate = roughly 4 inches
2. 4x4 = roughly 3.75 inches
3. 3/4 inch plywood = 3/4 inches
4. Black floor that came with shed = 3/4 inches
TOTAL = 9.25 inches from ground to door bottom. Door on shed bottom to top = 72 inches. So from your deck floor to top of the door frame should be looking at about 81.25 inches.


My main concern with my possible implementation would be that I won't be able to move the 4x6 shed back far enough to amply clear the mount and telescope. In
your research did you come across any sheds that were 4x4' and similar to the
4x6?

Another great question and I think I know exactly what your talking about. I didn't research anything smaller than this shed. If you look at my pictures, I was faced with the same challenge. My pool is in the front of the shed and my fence for my property line was behind it. If I put the pier too close to the fence when I roll back the shed it would hit the fence and not give enough room for the door to open and close and remember not between the shed and the pier but between the shed and the front leading edge of the scope that is parked in the home position. If you allow 6 foot of travel from the back edge of the U that you cut in the floor you should have enough room
for it to roll back and the door still open and close.


**IMPORTANT** I cut the U in the floor by counting back 4 squares on the bottom side of the black flooring which is about 2.5 foot. It was enough for my scope to clear but I have an 8 inch Celestron SCT. This is also important as you obviously want your door to close and lock once you have the shed rolled over it but not waste room on the back part of the shed where you would want to set up your computer and you don't want to crowd yourself with a U cut in the floor more than you need. If you have a refractor scope...you will need a deeper U cut in the floor. My suggestion is when your measuring, measure from the front of your pier to the back of your scope eyepiece and that should tell you how deep to cut your U without cutting too much or too little.

Also, with your limited room you will face the same thing I did...is the polar scope high enough once the shed is rolled back for me to still look through it and see Polaris or will I be looking at the A section of my shed
roof? In my case, I couldn't see Polaris in the polar scope but I can see it in my main scope so I simply polar alight that way even though as long as your current pier and plate/scope is set up pretty much north now
you can simply align and use the hibernate feature on Nexremote like I do and when you wake it up and my gps pulls down current data it is still aligned with the sky even though it may be a week or two later. That is
the main reason I moved to an observatory. I got tired of aligning every time I wanted to use my scope not to mention rolling everything out of my garage and then back in again. That got old really quick.

Hope this helps you.

Would love to see pictures of your build as you do it. Feel free to post them on this thread.

Clear skies!

Perry


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Patrick
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5781022 - 04/06/13 01:51 AM

Hi Perry,

Thanks for all the great information~

Right now I'm focusing on the 6x3 version of the shed. That's all the room I need and the double doors would be perfect with the scope and mount horizontal. I'm pretty sure my setup is too tall for me to use a 6x4 with a single door.

I will be spending some time looking at my deck with measuring tape in hand. I'll let you know what I decide to do.

Thanks again!

Patrick


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RGWOOD
member


Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: Lake Jackson, Tx
Re: Observatory for under $500 [Re: gastargazer01]
      #5781395 - 04/06/13 10:08 AM

Perry, how do you plan on dealing with heat build up on those hot DFW summer days? I live south of Houston and would like to do something similar but the heat and humidity is a worry for me. Humidity can wreck havoc with the electronics.

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Patrick
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: RGWOOD]
      #5783313 - 04/07/13 08:38 AM

I'm not Perry, so he can reply for himself.

However, I'd try a Telegizmo 365 cover, or similar, with an ample supply of desiccant material placed inside (the cover).

Patrick


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Raginar
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Patrick]
      #5783329 - 04/07/13 08:57 AM

They make heat lamps to 'cook' the humidity out. They seem fairly popular with people dealing with that particular problem.

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

Loc: montana
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Raginar]
      #5783448 - 04/07/13 10:02 AM

I'd also suggest the TeleGizmos 365 cover with this from ScopeStuff, for the humidity:

Heat rod

For heat buildup; would it be possible to install one of those "whirly" fans on top of the shed? Along with a vent down low, this might suck enough heat out.


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Raginar
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Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5784460 - 04/07/13 06:17 PM

Carol,

You totally could. That's a really good idea


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obin robinson
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/25/12

Loc: League City, TX
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5792141 - 04/11/13 11:16 AM

Neat idea! For what it's worth I have a workshop behind our house in Virginia. Because I have expensive equipment back there I put a motion sensor alarm in it that is tied into our home alarm. I would seriously consider an alarm for your observatory shed. All you would need is a simple motion sensor. We have never had a problem with any false alarms either.

obin


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rigelsys
Vendor (Rigel Systems)


Reged: 08/22/06

Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: RGWOOD]
      #5792689 - 04/11/13 04:08 PM

There are small 12V DC de-humidifiers, under $100 that might help with the humidity.

http://www.google.com/search?q=dc+de-humidifier&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&a...,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.45107431,d.cGE&fp=f4d8adb0047aa78e&biw=1638&bih=911

On my roll-out observatory I've stretched a white outdoors tarp over the roof to reduce insolation (considered it an easier and non-destructive solution vs painting the roof white) and added a muffin-fan - theromostat combination to pull air through. This combination works well at keeping the temperature inside the shed not too much higher than outside during the heat of the day.

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5769908/page...




Quote:

Perry, how do you plan on dealing with heat build up on those hot DFW summer days? I live south of Houston and would like to do something similar but the heat and humidity is a worry for me. Humidity can wreck havoc with the electronics.




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PWP
member
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: RGWOOD]
      #5795774 - 04/13/13 02:11 AM

Quote:

Perry, how do you plan on dealing with heat build up on those hot DFW summer days? I live south of Houston and would like to do something similar but the heat and humidity is a worry for me. Humidity can wreck havoc with the electronics.




Interesting you should ask that. I am already using a telegizmo cover...which I used for the last two years when the scope was in my garage and have had no problems and this Texas heat can really heat up my garage. To address the ventilation, I already have plans for it. Notice the two built in gable vents in the pictures..one front..one back. My plan to install a thermostatically controlled crawl space fan across the face of the back gable vent. I will most likely install a plug to the unit in instead of hard wire. This will keep the air moving sufficently by kicking on when it gets to hot in the shed and I won't have to cut holes in the shed anywhere which would only invite leaks. One fan handles a 20x20x4 area...plenty.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200327479_200327479?cm_mmc=Goo...


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snowcrow
sage


Reged: 10/21/12

Loc: Vermont
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5798835 - 04/14/13 04:48 PM

Great job, and it gives me a few ideas of my own.

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yonkrz
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/16/06

Loc: SW Minnesota
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5799494 - 04/14/13 09:38 PM

Thats pretty sweet,Perry.Not real big but big enough to do the job.

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PWP
member
*****

Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: yonkrz]
      #5805519 - 04/17/13 09:19 PM

Thanks all. Updated link on the crawl space fan to keep air moving on hot or moist days. I posted the wrong link before. This one has the built-in dehumidistat
and thermostat along with pigtail installed.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200327483_200327483


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Patrick
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5824418 - 04/26/13 01:23 PM

Well, I picked up the 6x3 model at Sears today. They had one for $379 and it looks nearly dentical to the Keter units. We will see how it goes!

Patrick


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rigelsys
Vendor (Rigel Systems)


Reged: 08/22/06

Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: gastargazer01]
      #5824617 - 04/26/13 03:04 PM

I believe I have the 6 x 5 version of that. Here's my commentary on it. Note, doors will probably be bowed, slightly.

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5769908/page...


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PWP
member
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Patrick]
      #5825976 - 04/27/13 10:15 AM

Quote:

Well, I picked up the 6x3 model at Sears today. They had one for $379 and it looks nearly dentical to the Keter units. We will see how it goes!

Patrick




Sounds good Patrick. Feel free to post your progress on this thread since it will be a roll away and it was under $500 so this thread makes a good fit for your posts if you want. Would love to see it in progress.

Perry


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Patrick
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5828277 - 04/28/13 12:49 PM

Hi Perry,

I'm looking for alternatives to the Northern Machinery Skates. Although it looks like they'd get the job done, $220 for 4 seems a little pricey. Are there any less expensive options out there? BTW, I will not be doing mine with rails because I will need to walk around the area and I don't want to be tripping over rails in the dark.

Patrick


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