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what would you folks recommend for a lightbox to hold your 'dimmed' monitor in the field while imaging?

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#1 drmedjools



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Posted 15 September 2019 - 12:16 AM

I'm looking to make or buy some kind of light box to keep PC laptop monitor light from annoying too many people in the field when I image.  Any ideas or concepts people are using?  A friend of mine took  a mailing box from USPS and covered it with black tape.  It's fits a laptop inside to minimize stray light from a dimmed monitor.  Any ideas?  Or products?  I do a lot of EAA for classes and events I hold in remote, dark sites.


Allen Schiano

#2 scadvice


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Posted 15 September 2019 - 12:41 AM

I have a Olens Lap Dome and I've used for about a year now. Works well. A little bit of a pain to get back in the stow bag (included) until you get use to it. The stow bag also works good as a cover for a mouse (remote type) and mouse pad. I've had dew covering everything and dripping, both the PC and mouse are nice and dry. It has a zippered front that makes it easy to just open slightly once things are running and peek at for LT status.


I got it as a Christmas gift. It's one of those things I may never have gotten for myself but now that I have it I'm glad I do have it. 




A lot of people just use a plastic storage bin with a hole cut in the side for wires.

Edited by scadvice, 15 September 2019 - 11:10 AM.

#3 mikefulb


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Posted 15 September 2019 - 03:40 AM

I just put a big Rubbermaid on it's side. I use it to carry stuff to the field and put a towel over it to keep out moisture and hold in stray light when I'm not looking at the screen.
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#4 Joe F Gafford

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 06:47 AM

I put my computer on a steel tube step ladder on the paint tray. A dark nylon cloth that was used as a flap door on my old dome is Velcro to the back and sides of the tray and draped over the top loop of the ladder and down the front. I fold up the flap over the top to see the screen. My own dome also helps. I seen cardboard setups to doggy igloos for this. 


A picture of my setup with the old computer. The cloth drape used is folded on the ladder rung. Helps keep the light off of the gauzy telescope shroud. That shroud on the scope was replaced later for a really black ripstop one. 




#5 Alex McConahay

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 09:06 AM

I'm getting a mixed message here......


Are you trying to do EAA for the public? Then you need to have your monitor exposed.


Are you trying to image and keep your light away from everybody else? Then I highly recommend you spend $75 or so and get yourself a hunting blind. Sit inside it and watch television for all anybody cares. YOur are lightproof. (Don't open the doors.) You are also warmer in the winter, and free from bugs. 


I suggest you get a red plastic overlay for your computer. It will still be bright, but at least it will be red. 


Here is a link to an article I did some time ago on ways to shield one's computer from others. 


 http://alexastro.com...t Pollution.pdf


And below is a pic of some hunting blinds:

 (from  https://www.amazon.c..._2jlw37ikaa_e) 





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#6 neaptide



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Posted 15 September 2019 - 11:01 AM

I also use the Rubbermaid storage bin I use to haul some of my gear in. Turn it on it’s side, put the laptop inside and drape a towel over it when I’m not looking at the monitor. I used a drill to make an opening for the usb cable in the side of the bin. I try to face it away from anyone that is in my vicinity. A red screen cover would be a good addition as well. 

Edited by neaptide, 15 September 2019 - 11:02 AM.

#7 jdupton



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Posted 15 September 2019 - 11:30 AM



   Many folks use something like this for dual purposes. The want to both block stray light and keep dew off their computer equipment. A search of CloudyNights for laptop dew shields will turn up a number of threads with ideas similar to those you have already gotten here.


   A couple of members of a local club use storage containers (like RubberMade units) turned on their side with strategic holes cut for cable access. The advantage of those is is that they can double up as carrying totes for equipment when imaging away from home (so long as you don't go too crazy cutting big holes in them). I found them too bulky to easily pack with the rest of my equipment so built a DIY Dew / Light Shield out of lightweight waterproof black Coroplast sign board that folds up flat for transport and storage for my use. It is pictured below.



Folded Laptop Dew / Light Shield




Laptop Dew / Light Shield In use at Star Party


More photos and discussion appeared in a prior thread here which might be worth your reviewing.




Good luck with whatever path you take.




Edited by jdupton, 15 September 2019 - 11:39 AM.

#8 Alex McConahay

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 11:37 AM

Remember that no matter what you do, if you have a bright monitor, and you are sitting in front of it, you will glow......putting off a lot of reflected light. 



#9 Alex McConahay

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 11:37 AM

I think it helpful to have a black cloth that falls in front of the monitor. Lots of the time, you do not need to have the monitor showing at all while you are imaging. 


#10 BlueGrass



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Posted 15 September 2019 - 04:12 PM

What I've used in the past on an older laptop was a privacy filter cut to fit the LCD of the laptop. It helps to block stray light off to the sides. Once you're up and running, I dimmed the LCD to its lowest setting and closed the lid just to the point of not triggering the laptop sensor. Red overlays used with dimmed displays also seem acceptable ... just depends on the mixture of folks around you; all imagers etc.  A recent article,  in S&T I believe?, discussed the various colors and their impact on night vision acuity. If I remember, the final consensus was dim orange was the least damaging to the eye's sensitivity? Anyone else read this article? .. 

#11 kathyastro


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Posted 15 September 2019 - 05:09 PM

In addition to the plastic tote or other light-blocking device, make sure the screen is covered by a red gel. 


A couple of years ago, an imager at the local star party had his laptop protected from the dew in a tote, but he left the screen white.  He thoughtfully had the screen facing away from the majority of people, but the reflection off his body killed everyone's night vision anyway.


In contrast, this year, someone else had their laptop exposed but covered with a red gel, and there were no problems at all.

Edited by kathyastro, 15 September 2019 - 05:09 PM.

#12 rhart426


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Posted 15 September 2019 - 06:27 PM

I can offer a number of recommendations on this topic.


First, I use one of these:




It comes with a shroud that prevents light from escaping even when you're using it.  You can see light coming out of it if you look directly at it, but it shouldn't bother anyone.  I keep one of those light-blocking curtains with me as well and drape that over the whole thing if there's a lot of visual observers around.


As for the screen itself, you can use Windows Night Light to darken your screen and red cast it.  BYE/BYN also has a program that can tint your whole screen red, and I'm sure there are other versions out there too.


Check out this thread as well:




This intrepid poster worked out a whole suite of settings for Windows that optimizes the entire system for a dark red screen.


I also use an iPad to control things while I'm at the mount, and there are some really great settings for those.  Fair warning, make sure you're in a very dark room before you program these settings:


Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations


From there,


> Reduce White Point > set to 100%


> Color Filters > On > Select [Color Tint] > Set Intensity bar all the way to the right > Set Hue bar all the way to the left.


Now, go back to the Accessibility menu, scroll all the way down, and click on [Accessibility Shortcut].  Check [Color Filters] and [Reduce White Point].  That's it!


Now, triple-click the home button from any screen and a small menu will pop up that allows you to toggle those settings on and off.  If you turn these on, and set your phone's brightness setting to the minimum, it becomes difficult to read even at a dark site.


Hope these suggestions help!

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#13 PhotonHunter1


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Posted 16 September 2019 - 07:52 PM

+1 to the Olens Laptop Dome. I have one and love it!

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