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leaving a mount outside, cold weather

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#26 archer1960

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 08:05 PM

I really can't understand why anyone would wish to leave their equipment out under ANY circumstances no matter how well protected, except in an observatory setting and maybe not then.

Sheer idleness is maybe one reason and I would like to suffer from it, but I resist.

Manufacturers give us guide lines on storage, particularly of electronic components and if lucky will tell us what humidity and max and min temperatures to abide by.

I would not expect my computer to enjoy a life out on my balcony no matter how well protected and then bring it inside and hope it will perform well, in the winter at any rate!

For mechanical items it's not so severe. The worst we might experience is some rust or corrosion but you will still have to deal with it!

Electronic boards are a different matter. 

We have no idea how well the boards in our mounts have been treated with conformal coating (if at all!) against moisture.

Just the same; why risk it?

Maybe it's OK if your climate, Tommax (Benny Hill) is fairly benign but I guess WI is pretty harsh.

Upstate NY is equally tough for me on for the occasions that the weather allows me to get out in the winter (very few). I am very happy to tote out my equipment from a warm dry apartment knowing that the elements have not been a worry to my equipment.

I don't really "wish" to, but I don't really have enough room to bring it in, though I suppose I could figure something out. However, it still takes time to set it up and break it down, but the bigger advantage to leaving it out is that once I get it aligned, it mostly stays aligned and equilibrated, and I don't have to do it again. If I had a garage where I could keep it set up on a cart and just wheel it out when I wanted to use it, I would probably take that compromise, but given the choice between setting up and breaking my rig down every time I want to use it, and leaving it set up and aligned all the time, I'll leave it set up.


Edited by archer1960, 23 January 2019 - 08:06 PM.

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#27 Dynan

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 12:26 AM

I don't really "wish" to, but I don't really have enough room to bring it in, though I suppose I could figure something out. However, it still takes time to set it up and break it down, but the bigger advantage to leaving it out is that once I get it aligned, it mostly stays aligned and equilibrated, and I don't have to do it again. If I had a garage where I could keep it set up on a cart and just wheel it out when I wanted to use it, I would probably take that compromise, but given the choice between setting up and breaking my rig down every time I want to use it, and leaving it set up and aligned all the time, I'll leave it set up.

Agreed. I am in the hobby to enjoy imaging the heavens. Too much effort and time is needed to set up every time. Most mounts are made to be in known dew situations, so I am sure the reputable mounts won't corrode.

My mount won't last forever on the pier, covered, warmed, and dehumidified...but neither will I. Time is a limited commodity. A mount can be repaired/replaced... Life's experiences cannot.


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#28 tommax

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 04:22 PM

Well this is what I am going to try. An HD Lawn & Garden trash bag, fleece blanket, heavy duty cover and desiccant (both the plug in and rechargeable bags) with a 60w bulb under it all in the free air space under the weight bar.

 

so...

Trash Bag then Fleece then HD Cover... with
 

https://www.harborfr...light-3489.html
+

https://www.amazon.c...2?ie=UTF8&psc=1
&
https://www.amazon.c...4?ie=UTF8&psc=1

+
https://www.amazon.c...eywords=eva dry
 

AND one of these under there to see how it does from nice and warm house

 

https://www.amazon.c...1?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

 

That's the plan, we'll see how it goes.


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#29 skycamper

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 07:46 PM

Well this is what I am going to try. An HD Lawn & Garden trash bag, fleece blanket, heavy duty cover and desiccant (both the plug in and rechargeable bags) with a 60w bulb under it all in the free air space under the weight bar.

 

so...

Trash Bag then Fleece then HD Cover... with
 

https://www.harborfr...light-3489.html
+

https://www.amazon.c...2?ie=UTF8&psc=1
&
https://www.amazon.c...4?ie=UTF8&psc=1

+
https://www.amazon.c...eywords=eva dry
 

AND one of these under there to see how it does from nice and warm house

 

https://www.amazon.c...1?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

 

That's the plan, we'll see how it goes.

Id be happy with the $12 heating pad instead of a hot point source like a 60w bulb.   Youre hurting my heart here buddy. lol.

 

https://www.amazon.c...eam heating pad


Edited by skycamper, 25 January 2019 - 07:47 PM.


#30 tommax

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 07:53 PM

Id be happy with the $12 heating pad instead of a hot point source like a 60w bulb.   Youre hurting my heart here buddy. lol.

 

https://www.amazon.c...eam heating pad

actually I went with a 13 watt bulb which seemed to get plenty warm but I could still hold the cage in my hand... I ordered heating pads - the one you list has a fatal flaw that I quickly discovered when mine arrived -they have auto off after 2 hours - if my bulb plan don't work then I will try the heating pads but it's better to get something like this: https://www.amazon.c...=A3DFD6WJDRKTGF

 

no auto off.



#31 Dynan

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 10:18 PM

I'll be trying these in the sealed mount cover box I built for my pier:

 

https://smile.amazon...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

And a rechargeable dryer:

 

https://smile.amazon...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

It does say not to use in damp applications, but I'll assume the dryer will quickly dehumidify the 9ftbox.

 

I'll set the digital thermostat to just over highest internal dew point (I'm guessing ≈70°F here in the Deep South), but I'll use this to track the actual DP:

 

https://smile.amazon...e?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

I'll let you know how it goes.


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#32 tommax

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 10:47 PM

I'll be trying these in the sealed mount cover box I built for my pier:

 

https://smile.amazon...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

And a rechargeable dryer:

 

https://smile.amazon...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

It does say not to use in damp applications, but I'll assume the dryer will quickly dehumidify the 9ftbox.

 

I'll set the digital thermostat to just over highest internal dew point (I'm guessing ≈70°F here in the Deep South), but I'll use this to track the actual DP:

 

https://smile.amazon...e?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

I'll let you know how it goes.

I don't have the room to put a heater like that under my cover since I get it pretty tight around the mount - it might not matter as much so long as I can keep humidity out of the electronics because parts for my CGE Pro will be harder to come by now that it's discontinued but even the new CGX-L does not have a payload of 90lbs like this mount does so I can only keep my fingers crossed. I did have it covered this way all summer minus the dew and heat, just a clean cotton sheet and the heavy duty grill cover and there was not one spot of rust anywhere on it, I had already replaced every bolt and screw with stainless steel so I am sure that helped... right now it's -7F out there but with the 13w bulb under the cover it has been sitting at 5 degrees F and holding steady and humidity is at 10% under the cover but 69% outside according to accuweather.


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#33 Cfreerksen

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 10:51 PM

I use one of these under my scope cover in the shed for my scope.

 

https://www.amazon.c...r/dp/B00DBTCFGY

 

Better than a red hot bulb.

 

Chris


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#34 tommax

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 11:03 PM

I use one of these under my scope cover in the shed for my scope.

 

https://www.amazon.c...r/dp/B00DBTCFGY

 

Better than a red hot bulb.

 

Chris

Nice, never heard of them... the bulb I am using is not red hot - I can handle the cage just fine - it's one of those swirly looking 13watt bulbs... we shall see how it goes - if I have issue's maybe I'll try one of those rods but it says they can get to 120 to 150 degree's - that is pretty hot too but maybe I am missing something... I know in the non-auto off heating pad reviews from above on amazon many people were using them full time to keep seeds warm or under reptile pets tanks so they can apparently run 24/7 without issue and is another options for those looking to leave their stuff setup and covered but do not have the space or means to build a box or observatory around their mounts.


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#35 Cfreerksen

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 10:01 AM

I just think using something designed for a specific purpose is better than a bulb. My goldenrod gets warm but it's not like I it's so hot you can't touch it. 

 

As far as a way to keep the scope protected for leaving it set up I came up with a solution for me and it wasn't a bank breaker. The link is in my signature. 

 

https://www.cloudyni...e-shed-dry-run/

 

 

Chris


Edited by Cfreerksen, 26 January 2019 - 10:02 AM.


#36 tommax

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 10:52 AM

I just think using something designed for a specific purpose is better than a bulb. My goldenrod gets warm but it's not like I it's so hot you can't touch it. 

 

As far as a way to keep the scope protected for leaving it set up I came up with a solution for me and it wasn't a bank breaker. The link is in my signature. 

 

https://www.cloudyni...e-shed-dry-run/

 

 

Chris

probably right but the rod looks designed to be mounted to a flat surface if we are talking about design but nice idea on your cover / observatory, I wish I had room for something like that, but I don't at home anyways - at my cabin this summer I am going to build a pier w/roll off or perhaps something like you built there but at home it's either covering the mount or hauling it in every time and well hauling it in is not going to work for me. 

 

I did have a huge DUH moment though when you said purpose built - I make my own dew heater straps with resistance wire, shrink tubing and cloth... I think I will just make a dew strap about 6 feet long I can wrap around my mount and that should work great... I am in no hurry the bulb over night worked great and it seems to keep the temp about 10 above ambient so for now... so far, so good.


Edited by tommax, 26 January 2019 - 11:00 AM.


#37 daquad

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 11:17 AM

I keep my 28-year-old Losmandy GM-100 outside, but the electronics are kept inside when not in use.  I remove the scope saddle, counterweights and CW shaft.  I then cover the mount with a heavy duffle bag and over that is a Telegizmos 365 cover.  The duffle prevents tears on the inside lining of the Telegizmo cover.

 

Here is what happened a few days ago after torrential rains followed by sub-freezing cold (Teens F).  If it didn't freeze then the mount would have been covered with condensation.  This has happened on many occasions, but has not affected the mount operation.  Every component of the mount is either anodized aluminum or stainless steel.  Scott Losmandy designs his mounts to withstand the weather, at least southern New England weather.

 

DSCN2312.JPG


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#38 tommax

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 11:36 AM

I keep my 28-year-old Losmandy GM-100 outside, but the electronics are kept inside when not in use.  I remove the scope saddle, counterweights and CW shaft.  I then cover the mount with a heavy duffle bag and over that is a Telegizmos 365 cover.  The duffle prevents tears on the inside lining of the Telegizmo cover.

 

Here is what happened a few days ago after torrential rains followed by sub-freezing cold (Teens F).  If it didn't freeze then the mount would have been covered with condensation.  This has happened on many occasions, but has not affected the mount operation.  Every component of the mount is either anodized aluminum or stainless steel.  Scott Losmandy designs his mounts to withstand the weather, at least southern New England weather.

 

attachicon.gif DSCN2312.JPG

nice - I would just worry about the motors and those jacks showing - maybe go to a dollar store, get an old phone cable and cut the ends off and plug those when not in use? then again if it has lasted this long... I plug all my jacks like that with rubber plugs I have lying around from various camera's I have had over the years ST-4 ports.


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#39 daquad

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 11:42 AM

nice - I would just worry about the motors and those jacks showing - maybe go to a dollar store, get an old phone cable and cut the ends off and plug those when not in use? then again if it has lasted this long... I plug all my jacks like that with rubber plugs I have lying around from various camera's I have had over the years ST-4 ports.

Nice idea.  Wish I had thought of it.


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#40 Stephen Kennedy

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 09:43 PM

My GEM has a mass of 145kg and the OTA is another 23 kg so moving it is nearly impossible. I keep it under a DIY cover since Telegizmos did not have one that would fit. I have left this 30 year Pentax MS-5 GEM and Mikage 210 Newtonian reflector outside for years with no problems. Fortunately, dew is rare here in California and the climate is mild.

#41 Cfreerksen

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 11:38 PM

My GEM has a mass of 145kg and the OTA is another 23 kg so moving it is nearly impossible. I keep it under a DIY cover since Telegizmos did not have one that would fit. I have left this 30 year Pentax MS-5 GEM and Mikage 210 Newtonian reflector outside for years with no problems. Fortunately, dew is rare here in California and the climate is mild.

The folks at Telegizmos can make a cover for just about anything. They make covers and inserts for tent trailers. I am sure they could handle just about any scope.

 

Chris



#42 archer1960

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 02:38 PM

After much messing around, some of which I have documented in other threads here, I finally got a chance to actually get out and look at something last night. The temperature was about 15 - 18F (-8 to -9C) when I put my focuser and motor on my AT-10RC, which is mounted on a CGX-L, connected the hand controller and focus controller, and fired it all up. I never did a real alignment, just used a magnetic compass to point it approximately North (allowing for the deviation) when I first moved in back in November, and dialed my latitude on the mount scale. I threw on my hand-grenade sized 40mm eyepiece, did a quick balancing, and went for it.

 

I slewed it over to Orion, which was finally high enough to see over the roof of my house at a decent hour, and used a laser pointer to zero in on M42, and there it was in the center of the eyepiece. When I put the 26mm eyepiece (76 power), I was easily able to pick out the main 4 stars of the Trapezium. My GF wanted to see the Pleides too, so I slewed over there, again using the laser pointer to get there, and it was gorgeous too. I must have gotten my non-alignment fairly close, because neither target drifted noticeably in the few min I was looking at them.

 

So, I confirmed that the Microtouch focus controller on a Feathertouch focuser and motor worked perfectly down to this temperature, and the mount was fine too. The display on the HC was a bit slow responding, but it wasn't a problem, and the buttons seemed to have no trouble with the cold. The slewing at max speed, and at speed 5 for centering both worked perfectly. I also discovered that at this temperature, the Telegizmo cover was stiff enough to hold its shape as I lifted it off and put it back on, which made it a LOT easier to put back on than it was when it was warm! I love being able to leave it all set up on the deck; it only takes about 5 min to get the electronics connected and start observing. I did find that I need to move things around on the deck a bit to give me a bit more room around the eyepiece; it was pretty cramped on that side of the tripod.

 

Next step is to get the camera and laptop connected up, but I'm going to wait for a warmer night for that...


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#43 gotak

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 03:43 PM

-9C is light winter jacket weather.

My setup was up and going for entire night in -18 to -21C conditions. No problems as usual other than the crappy seeing from this polar vortex.

I am sure it'll work fine when you do your entire setup. The worse part would be fingers where you need to have tactile feel so only thin or no gloves will do. And that is no fun when it's -35C with windchill. Still i haven't had frostbite yet!
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#44 tommax

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 03:52 PM

-9C is light winter jacket weather.

My setup was up and going for entire night in -18 to -21C conditions. No problems as usual other than the crappy seeing from this polar vortex.

I am sure it'll work fine when you do your entire setup. The worse part would be fingers where you need to have tactile feel so only thin or no gloves will do. And that is no fun when it's -35C with windchill. Still i haven't had frostbite yet!

I buy these camo gloves that are almost silk like, but provide enough protection when doing quick tasks. They are very thin and have like little rubber dots on the fingers, you can feel everything and a side bonus with the small rubber dots is they work with touch screens.

Attached Thumbnails

  • gloves2.jpg

Edited by tommax, 02 February 2019 - 03:55 PM.


#45 tommax

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 04:03 PM

An update so far - after over a week with record setting cold temps here in WI - my mount is fine - with the low energy 13w bulb it stays about 15 degree's warmer than the outside temp under the covering, the humidity stays around 15-30% give or take for example right now it's 42f with a humidity of 75%, my mounts readings are 55f and 40% humidity... it might be time to swap the desiccant which I have plenty of to swap as often as needed...

 

so far so good - everything nice and dry so far.


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#46 gotak

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 08:43 PM

I buy these camo gloves that are almost silk like, but provide enough protection when doing quick tasks. They are very thin and have like little rubber dots on the fingers, you can feel everything and a side bonus with the small rubber dots is they work with touch screens.


I wear gloves for most tasks. The thing that needs hands i find is working with the tiny touchpad and keyboard on my ThinkPad e11.

Now with the ROR built I don't even have to do that. The only thing left where gloves gets j the way is when i rubber band the plastic bag bottom to seal the mount with the silica gel packs.
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#47 tommax

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 11:37 PM

I wear gloves for most tasks. The thing that needs hands i find is working with the tiny touchpad and keyboard on my ThinkPad e11.

Now with the ROR built I don't even have to do that. The only thing left where gloves gets j the way is when i rubber band the plastic bag bottom to seal the mount with the silica gel packs.

well my fancy roll off roof man, not all of us have that liberty...   tongue2.gif



#48 gotak

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 11:35 AM

well my fancy roll off roof man, not all of us have that liberty... tongue2.gif

Understand. I was humping my setup out every clear night as well before.

In the end I couldn't due to work and kids have the time to tear down each morning. Do the solution was to build something so I don't have to.

The other benefit is it does improve guiding by a fair bit especially in the wind. Causing me to wonder if it's a better way to spend money than the old recommendation of getting more and more mount. I mean how many are essentially over mounting to compensate for wind. At which point is a building the correct solution vs more mechanics?

Edited by gotak, 03 February 2019 - 11:37 AM.

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#49 archer1960

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 11:44 AM

I buy these camo gloves that are almost silk like, but provide enough protection when doing quick tasks. They are very thin and have like little rubber dots on the fingers, you can feel everything and a side bonus with the small rubber dots is they work with touch screens.

When it gets cold (the 18F wasn't particularly cold in my book; I grew up in Iowa), I use a pair of gloves that have a shell and a liner. The liner is thin with rubber knobbies on it for grip and feel, and the shell goes on and off over them easily. The shell has a strap that goes around my wrist so I don't have to set them down or stuff them in a pocket and risk losing them in the dark. For the night above, I was using a pair of thin leather gloves, which gave me plenty of dexterity for purely visual set up.


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