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Dew, and leaving mounts outside

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#26 PaulEK

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 04:03 PM

Thanks for this; another thread to bookmark!



#27 dugpatrick

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 04:19 PM

I've had good success with the following recipe:  (1) Eva-dry E-500 hanging on the mount, (2) cover the mount with a black plastic garbage bag wrapped tightly around the pier, and then (3) cover with a Telegizmo365.  I also keep a wireless humidstat next to the mount so I can track moisture issues before they happen.  I have not had a problem since using this recipe.

 

Doug


Edited by dugpatrick, 23 December 2014 - 04:43 PM.

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#28 hottr6

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 02:08 PM

Update.  We've had a fair bit of precipitation this winter.  I dried out the E-500 again when it was showing "full".  This took about 24 hours and it was back in service.  During the 24 hours the E-500 was not protecting the mount, the mount picked up a fair bit of condensation.

 

IMG_5757.JPG

 

This was just one storm.  We got another 12" later that same night.  As I write, we picked up another 8" since last night.    :coldday:

 

The large E-500 unit will be going under the TG365 cover that will protect my G11 when this snow eases up.  I have bought a smaller E-300 unit for the smaller mount.


Edited by hottr6, 22 January 2015 - 02:12 PM.

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#29 rmollise

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 02:15 PM

I don't leave mounts outside 24/7. However, I will often leave them outside for a week or a little more. And, given our conditions vis-à-vis humidity and dew on the Gulf Coast, that might be equivalent to WEEKS in other areas. Never a problem. I cover the mount/scope with a Desert Storm Cover I got from Pocono Mountain Optics way back when. It's aluminized Mylar like the 'Gizmos covers. I have one large enough to cover scope and mount both, down to the last foot or so of tripod legs. No dessicant, no nothing. No problem

However, the difference is that when I am doing this, I am using the scope frequently. I only set it up for a clear stretch of multiple days or a week. The scope gets aired out because I use it (almost) every night, and maybe that is the diff. and what I would recommend rather than 24/7/365...it is still very convenient and impels me to do a lot of observing vice dragging the gear out every night during a clear period.   :FarmerRon:


Edited by rmollise, 22 January 2015 - 02:40 PM.

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#30 jerryyyyy

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 08:38 PM

I've had good success with the following recipe:  (1) Eva-dry E-500 hanging on the mount, (2) cover the mount with a black plastic garbage bag wrapped tightly around the pier, and then (3) cover with a Telegizmo365.  I also keep a wireless humidstat next to the mount so I can track moisture issues before they happen.  I have not had a problem since using this recipe.

 

Doug

Using similar operation, but I take my camera in!  That has been damaged by dew in the past, just regular nighttime dew. 



#31 hottr6

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 05:50 PM

Just updating this thread on progress so far.

 

I have had the G11 under a TG365 for 6 months now.  It has been quite wet here in central-West NM, with early rains that are continuing their summer pattern.  We are 400% above our annual rainfall, and still another 6 weeks of monsoons.. The daily dew point has consistently been around 10 degrees higher than daily average for this time of year, so we have been getting heavy dews as well.  Weeds that are normally rarely higher than 18" are nearly 6' high.  Yeah, its been wet, but makes for a deliciously green landscape.  :)

 

The G11 has stayed dry through all of this, even though I have checked the mount under worst possible conditions when the cover was dripping water from rain or dew.  I have been "recharging" the Eva-Dry when indicated, every 3 weeks or so.

 

IMG_6386.JPG

 

In the photo you can see a wireless humidity and temperature sensor, as well as a plastic "hat" over the sharp bits of the Losmandy saddle because I don't want the sharp bits ripping up the lining of the TG365 cover.


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#32 TestnDoc

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 09:05 PM

What a great thread hottr6!! I am ordering the E500 tonight! I live in very high humidity area and will be leaving my mount, but not OTA, outside 24/7.

#33 Michael Covington

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 12:10 AM

I was very pleased to see Al's post as his thinking is precisely the same as my own. So many people seem not to feel this way.

Use the gear!!!! Do whatever you must and can afford to protect it but whatever must be done to maximize its use should be done.

My goal has always been to get as many photons down to the sensor as possible. If the aluminum  gets wet, even frequently, so be it! There is nothing ferrous in most of these mounts. They do not "rust."

 

 

 

I seem to recall that the Victorian British approach was to build reflecting telescopes very sturdy and just leave them outside with tight caps over the ends.  That's in England, where it drizzles all the time!



#34 Michael Covington

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 12:11 AM

How about an enclosure -- a sort of little building on wheels that can roll up to the mount and then lock tight around it?



#35 Per Frejvall

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 01:53 AM

Interesting thread, this!

 

I leave my balcony rig as it stands with a cover all season. I live right by the Baltic (75 m away) and autumn is usually very dewy. The rig is covered with a custom made hood of boat canvas. I have found that it is imperative to leave the bottom partly open so that there is some natural air circulation, and professional observatory builders that I have talked to have also expressed the same opinion: the air must circulate.

 

As we all know from the use of dew-bands on our scopes, dew condensation is temperature driven. Under my cover, the dew-band is always on 25-75% power and the mount is powered and parked. I have had it like that for two years running now with no issues whatsoever.

 

During winter, having the mount powered at all times is important for temperature reasons as well. The grease may be good but it can't work perfectly in all temperatures, especially when the mercury creeps down to -25°C.

 

Here's a picture with my old cover (just to counter the New Mexico winter image above)

 

Snowbalcony2.jpg

 

/per


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#36 hottr6

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 09:08 AM

Interesting thread, this!

 

I leave my balcony rig as it stands with a cover all season. I live right by the Baltic (75 m away) and autumn is usually very dewy. The rig is covered with a custom made hood of boat canvas. I have found that it is imperative to leave the bottom partly open so that there is some natural air circulation, and professional observatory builders that I have talked to have also expressed the same opinion: the air must circulate.

 

As we all know from the use of dew-bands on our scopes, dew condensation is temperature driven. Under my cover, the dew-band is always on 25-75% power and the mount is powered and parked. I have had it like that for two years running now with no issues whatsoever.

 

During winter, having the mount powered at all times is important for temperature reasons as well. The grease may be good but it can't work perfectly in all temperatures, especially when the mercury creeps down to -25°C.

 

Here's a picture with my old cover (just to counter the New Mexico winter image above)

 

attachicon.gifSnowbalcony2.jpg

 

/per

Leaving the dew strips powered is an excellent idea!   :waytogo:

 

Alas for myself, I have no permanent power to my mount(s) and I have to use a battery.  Hence my use of desiccant.

 

I did experiment with closing/opening the bottom of the cover.  I found that if I left the bottom of the TG365 completely open, even with the desiccant the mount would dew over.  If I partly or completely close the drawstring at the bottom of the TG365, problem solved!  

 

Some other observations:

- I was concerned that bugs would like to make a nest under the TG365 cover, but that is not the case.  The inside of the cover has been 100% bug free.

- The maximum temperatures that I record under the cover have never exceeded 22F above ambient, even during our hottest sunny days.  I think the hottest I have recorded was 116F.


Edited by hottr6, 25 July 2015 - 09:09 AM.


#37 TestnDoc

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 10:04 AM

Interesting thread, this!
 
I leave my balcony rig as it stands with a cover all season. I live right by the Baltic (75 m away) and autumn is usually very dewy. The rig is covered with a custom made hood of boat canvas. I have found that it is imperative to leave the bottom partly open so that there is some natural air circulation, and professional observatory builders that I have talked to have also expressed the same opinion: the air must circulate.
 
As we all know from the use of dew-bands on our scopes, dew condensation is temperature driven. Under my cover, the dew-band is always on 25-75% power and the mount is powered and parked. I have had it like that for two years running now with no issues whatsoever.
 
During winter, having the mount powered at all times is important for temperature reasons as well. The grease may be good but it can't work perfectly in all temperatures, especially when the mercury creeps down to -25°C.
 
Here's a picture with my old cover (just to counter the New Mexico winter image above)
 
attachicon.gifSnowbalcony2.jpg
 
/per

Leaving the dew strips powered is an excellent idea!   :waytogo:
 
Alas for myself, I have no permanent power to my mount(s) and I have to use a battery.  Hence my use of desiccant.
 
I did experiment with closing/opening the bottom of the cover.  I found that if I left the bottom of the TG365 completely open, even with the desiccant the mount would dew over.  If I partly or completely close the drawstring at the bottom of the TG365, problem solved!  
 
Some other observations:
- I was concerned that bugs would like to make a nest under the TG365 cover, but that is not the case.  The inside of the cover has been 100% bug free.
- The maximum temperatures that I record under the cover have never exceeded 22F above ambient, even during our hottest sunny days.  I think the hottest I have recorded was 116F.

So you would advise partly or completely closing the drawstring? It seem that leaving it open somewhat would allow for air flow, and help prevent corrosion and/or mildew? I have the E500 desiccant on order.

#38 Per Frejvall

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 10:18 AM

All professionals I have talked to recommend not closing it completely. The air needs to circulate.

 

/per



#39 TestnDoc

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 10:29 AM

All professionals I have talked to recommend not closing it completely. The air needs to circulate.
 
/per

That's Per. I plan on leaving my GM2000 outside.

#40 Per Frejvall

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 11:56 AM

It'll do fine :) Mine did for a full year before it moved to France.

 

/per



#41 hottr6

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Posted 26 July 2015 - 10:42 AM

All professionals I have talked to recommend not closing it completely. The air needs to circulate.

 

/per

I have 2 mounts under TG365 covers.... a Voyager alt-az on a pier (see message #28 above) with the bottom of the TG365 cover tied closely to the pier with a bungee cord.  My second is the G11.  Here is a photo taken from below the G11.  The counterweight shaft prevents a complete seal so the cover is partially open.

 

IMG_6391.JPG

 

In both cases, I have desiccant and wireless temp/humidity sensors, and as long as the desiccant is doing its job, I have never had any dewing problems under either cover.  In my environment, closing the bottom of the cover is acceptable.

 

I dried the desiccant (needs about 24 hours to do a thorough job) for the small mount yesterday so the mount was covered only by the TG365 cover.  We had a heavy dew in the morning, and when I checked the mount under the cover, it was damp, but not dripping like everything else.  In the following photo, you can see a finger mark on the pier where I wiped away some of the dew.

 

IMG_6388.JPG


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#42 Per Frejvall

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Posted 26 July 2015 - 01:12 PM

I am sure that it is OK under your conditions. Are you up on the plateau or in the mountains proper? I ask because I did my days as an exchange student in ABQ and know the area reasonably well :) Love the desert! When I do my south west astro toad trip I might stop by...

 

/per



#43 nitegeezer

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Posted 27 July 2015 - 07:18 PM

How about an enclosure -- a sort of little building on wheels that can roll up to the mount and then lock tight around it?

I did look at this, but any structure is going to have a lot more surface area and thus more prone to being a sail.  If I can figure out a good way to anchor it down strong enough to tolerate a good wind storm, I may still try it.  I really like the idea because with a 4' x 4' structure with a fold down seat and table could be added, maybe even a heater, so I could sit close to the scope in the winter and still be reasonably warm.  

 

This thread has been an eye opener, and I too am going to order the Eva-dry E-500 immediately.  



#44 TestnDoc

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Posted 27 July 2015 - 09:53 PM

Got my E500 today!! Bigger than I thought it would be.
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#45 schmeah

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Posted 30 July 2015 - 06:02 PM

I got my Eva Dry last year as soon as I read this thread. I was so excited pulling it out of the package that it lept from my hands, landing on the pavers. It split open at the seams with all the little blue silica balls spilling out into the cracks between the pavers. Well it took a long time picking up all those little blue balls one by one, but I was able to get about 3/4 of the little blue balls back into the container. It works well but discharges quickly, every couple of days. Maybe I need more little blue balls.

 

Derek


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#46 schmeah

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 08:28 AM

For whatever it's worth, the last few days have been hot and remarkably humid in NJ. My EvaDry was discharged, so I plugged it in to an extension and hung it under the TG365 cover at the mount base level last night. This morning the inside of the cover was damp up to just below the EvaDry but not at or above it. Now I don't know if it was the desiccant or the heat from the charging unit that prevented further dewing. The unit does get pretty hot when charging. It raises the question: should you keep the EvaDry plugged in for the additional benefit on very humid days, kind of like using a lightbulb.

 

Derek



#47 TestnDoc

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 11:13 AM

For whatever it's worth, the last few days have been hot and remarkably humid in NJ. My EvaDry was discharged, so I plugged it in to an extension and hung it under the TG365 cover at the mount base level last night. This morning the inside of the cover was damp up to just below the EvaDry but not at or above it. Now I don't know if it was the desiccant or the heat from the charging unit that prevented further dewing. The unit does get pretty hot when charging. It raises the question: should you keep the EvaDry plugged in for the additional benefit on very humid days, kind of like using a lightbulb.
 
Derek

The E500 is not designed to remain plugged in. It's surprising that a portion of the inside of your cover was damp.....I would not have expected that.

#48 hottr6

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 11:33 AM

For whatever it's worth, the last few days have been hot and remarkably humid in NJ. My EvaDry was discharged, so I plugged it in to an extension and hung it under the TG365 cover at the mount base level last night. This morning the inside of the cover was damp up to just below the EvaDry but not at or above it. Now I don't know if it was the desiccant or the heat from the charging unit that prevented further dewing. The unit does get pretty hot when charging. It raises the question: should you keep the EvaDry plugged in for the additional benefit on very humid days, kind of like using a lightbulb.

 

Derek

Why did you plug in the EvaDry under the TG365?  When it dries out, where do you think the water will go?  It's not pixie dust.

 

It uses a desiccant.  It absorbs water.  The EvaDry unit applies heat to evaporate the water trapped by the desiccant, and should be done in the open.

 

Reading instructions helps, sometimes.



#49 TestnDoc

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 11:48 AM

For whatever it's worth, the last few days have been hot and remarkably humid in NJ. My EvaDry was discharged, so I plugged it in to an extension and hung it under the TG365 cover at the mount base level last night. This morning the inside of the cover was damp up to just below the EvaDry but not at or above it. Now I don't know if it was the desiccant or the heat from the charging unit that prevented further dewing. The unit does get pretty hot when charging. It raises the question: should you keep the EvaDry plugged in for the additional benefit on very humid days, kind of like using a lightbulb.
 
Derek

Why did you plug in the EvaDry under the TG365?  When it dries out, where do you think the water will go?  It's not pixie dust.
 
It uses a desiccant.  It absorbs water.  The EvaDry unit applies heat to evaporate the water trapped by the desiccant, and should be done in the open.
 
Reading instructions helps, sometimes.


Any updates hotrr?
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#50 gnowellsct

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 12:24 PM

The G11 has electronics and is built to last, particularly the stepper version (come to think of it I haven't yet heard of a stepper g11 that totally died--I did replace my circuit board after about 12 years though, one of the switches was failing). So cover it up and leave it out.  The hand controllers though, I would take those in....on G11, AP, any mount.  

 

I'm not sure I would expect the same durability from lower end mounts but I'll leave that to others.  

 

Greg N




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