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8x12 80/20 Observatory Build

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#1 akulapanam

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Posted 17 April 2020 - 01:08 AM

I wanted to share my 8x12 80/20 observatory build so far.  Back in the in November I began looking for a better solution than my Skyshed POD.  The POD was fine but could not be automated, lost access to the zenith even with the PZT, only could fit one scope, and keeping the elements out was becoming more difficult.  I wanted something that could fit two scopes, allowed unobstructed views of the zenith, and could be moved in the future.  I'm particularly interested in setting up an iTelescope type business and have come close to purchasing a couple of dark sky sites (Coronavirus will delay this unfortunately because of workload and travel challenges). I researched and received quotes from Pier Tech, Aphelion (twin 7fts, or single larger), Astrohaven (twin 7fts, or single larger), and even considered going with multiple Nexdomes.  Long story short Astrohaven is ridiculously overpriced, Aphelion was more reasonable but was very difficult to communicate with, and Pier Tech had a very long lead time and has become very expensive over-time.  With those options, I reached out to 80/20 directly and was put in touch with Dan Fanolla who can only be described as an 80/20 expert.  He has now done several observatories and was able to come up with the exact design I was looking for including AC and sensor platform.  Dan also installed the unit in my backyard from the pieces which saves a considerable step vs. Pier Tech.  I highly recommend Dan he has been fantastic to work with in every step of the process! I don't want to give exact pricing here but the lead time was significantly shorter, the design is better, and the pricing + installation was much better than a smaller pier tech unit before shipping. So far the observatory has held up through several rain storms with zero water egress.  

 

The next steps are getting the piers installed (they arrived today) and getting the motor going.  The design was originally setup for the interactive astronomy motor before they switched to Aleko.  Dan has done some redesign work here and I hope to get that setup in the next few days as well.  I'm definitely going to want to test the Aleko setup extensively before I install it in a remote site.  

 

As always Tolga has been instrumental in helping me figure this stuff out!

 

parts.jpg

 

inprogress.jpg

 

complete.jpg

 

 

 


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#2 torsinadoc

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Posted 17 April 2020 - 05:04 AM

Awesome. I looked at 80/20 to build a ROR but was quickly overwhelmed. I can’t wait to see further images 😁


Edited by torsinadoc, 17 April 2020 - 05:57 AM.


#3 starbob1

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Posted 18 April 2020 - 07:19 AM

Really nice looking. Any pic of the interior. Thanks



#4 akulapanam

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Posted 18 April 2020 - 04:41 PM

Really nice looking. Any pic of the interior. Thanks

Not a lot yet.  This is the roof area where the rack and motor will go.  Also needs a couple more weathering panels that need to be cut down.

 

roof.jpg


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#5 akulapanam

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Posted 21 April 2020 - 11:59 PM

A couple of additional comments.  Very frustrated with SkyRoof / Aleko at the moment.  This is FAR from a plug'n play type of setup.  The Aleko unit is meant to be a gate opener and a very cheap one at that.  It doesn't even come with a power cord!!  It requires a lot of DIY + the limit switch position is not designed for any mounting except in the original upright one.  Based on build quality I would have serious reservations using this in the field over an extended period of time. How often is your neighborhood / apartment complex / office gate broken?

 

I'll get there eventually but this is not what I thought I was signing up for with the SkyRoof system.  Jim is VERY open to helping out (even called him on a Sunday night) BUT its got to be an easier / higher quality system for me to feel comfortable recommending it to others.

 

Best,

John



#6 eyeoftexas

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Posted 22 April 2020 - 02:05 PM

Thanks for the update, and I'm sorry for the troubles.  When you can, I would like to hear you elaborate on the SkyRoof system.  I had my eye on it as a potential to future plans.



#7 DeanS

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Posted 22 April 2020 - 03:36 PM

I use the SkyRoof to open and close my observatory with absolutely no problems.   My roof motor is from Backyard Observatories.  I previously used the m1 but it was too complicated and network dependent.  SkyRoof plugs in with USB and has been reliable.

 

Dean


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#8 f430

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 03:53 PM

I recently bought a SkyRoof, and after following the directions on wiring and connecting, it worked perfectly! 

Connection from SkyRoof to the Aleko gate closer is basically 2 wires.

I had a glitch with the SGP/SkyRoof interface, but it was a SGP issue. A call to Jim resulted in a suggestion of which box to check in SGP to rectify the issue. 

John


Edited by f430, 23 April 2020 - 04:01 PM.


#9 akulapanam

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 04:16 PM

The issue isn’t the SkyRoof itself but rather the Aleko unit. My apologies if that wasn’t clear. Aleko just wasn’t designed for this, isn’t great quality, and is very much a DIY setup.

#10 starbob1

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 09:08 AM

Your not leaving the inside white. That is not the best color for interior of a observatory. I would paint it a dark gray or black. 



#11 SteveGR

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 12:17 PM

I wanted to share my 8x12 80/20 observatory build so far.  Back in the in November I began looking for a better solution than my Skyshed POD.  The POD was fine but could not be automated, lost access to the zenith even with the PZT, only could fit one scope, and keeping the elements out was becoming more difficult.  I wanted something that could fit two scopes, allowed unobstructed views of the zenith, and could be moved in the future.  I'm particularly interested in setting up an iTelescope type business and have come close to purchasing a couple of dark sky sites (Coronavirus will delay this unfortunately because of workload and travel challenges). I researched and received quotes from Pier Tech, Aphelion (twin 7fts, or single larger), Astrohaven (twin 7fts, or single larger), and even considered going with multiple Nexdomes.  Long story short Astrohaven is ridiculously overpriced, Aphelion was more reasonable but was very difficult to communicate with, and Pier Tech had a very long lead time and has become very expensive over-time.  With those options, I reached out to 80/20 directly and was put in touch with Dan Fanolla who can only be described as an 80/20 expert.  He has now done several observatories and was able to come up with the exact design I was looking for including AC and sensor platform.  Dan also installed the unit in my backyard from the pieces which saves a considerable step vs. Pier Tech.  I highly recommend Dan he has been fantastic to work with in every step of the process! I don't want to give exact pricing here but the lead time was significantly shorter, the design is better, and the pricing + installation was much better than a smaller pier tech unit before shipping. So far the observatory has held up through several rain storms with zero water egress.  

 

The next steps are getting the piers installed (they arrived today) and getting the motor going.  The design was originally setup for the interactive astronomy motor before they switched to Aleko.  Dan has done some redesign work here and I hope to get that setup in the next few days as well.  I'm definitely going to want to test the Aleko setup extensively before I install it in a remote site.  

 

As always Tolga has been instrumental in helping me figure this stuff out!

 

attachicon.gifparts.jpg

 

attachicon.gifinprogress.jpg

 

attachicon.gifcomplete.jpg

Which style of side panel did you use?



#12 torsinadoc

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 02:59 PM

Any issues with door leaking in the rain? How heavy/difficult is it to manually move the roof?

Edited by torsinadoc, 24 April 2020 - 03:00 PM.


#13 akulapanam

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 05:09 PM

Any issues with door leaking in the rain? How heavy/difficult is it to manually move the roof?


No door has been fantastic! We have been through several heavy rains without a drop inside. Roof is heavy but moveable. It might move more easily if I used it a bit but I need to finish the install motor first and I have everything perfectly positioned at the moment.
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#14 akulapanam

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 07:57 PM

Your not leaving the inside white. That is not the best color for interior of a observatory. I would paint it a dark gray or black.


I’ll get there. Need to figure out flat panels and what might get mounted to walls first. One thing I don’t want to do is impact the temperature differential. Right now it’s staying a full 10-15 degrees cooler than outside with full southern exposure.

#15 akulapanam

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 08:01 PM

Which style of side panel did you use?


Poly aluminum is I believe what they are called.

#16 torsinadoc

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 06:44 AM

I’ll get there. Need to figure out flat panels and what might get mounted to walls first. One thing I don’t want to do is impact the temperature differential. Right now it’s staying a full 10-15 degrees cooler than outside with full southern exposure.

What is your climate?  Any dew formation on the inside or damp concrete?  How secure is the door?



#17 akulapanam

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 10:20 AM

What is your climate? Any dew formation on the inside or damp concrete? How secure is the door?


Desert but no dew formation even when it rained. Door has a locking mechanism and seal.
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#18 Simcal

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 10:45 AM

Couple of questions..

 

- are the wall panels located into the 80/20 slots, or do they sit flush with the 80/20? Wondering about water ingress dripping down the walls, into the slot, then flowing out the ends, sitting or flowing up into the inside.

 

- is the frame structure bolted down to a pad? Wondering about the weight of the roof, toppling the structure over, when opened.

 

cheers waytogo.gif



#19 akulapanam

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 01:38 PM

Couple of questions..

- are the wall panels located into the 80/20 slots, or do they sit flush with the 80/20? Wondering about water ingress dripping down the walls, into the slot, then flowing out the ends, sitting or flowing up into the inside.

- is the frame structure bolted down to a pad? Wondering about the weight of the roof, toppling the structure over, when opened.

cheers waytogo.gif


It’s a very robust structure and it is bolted down in several points. The roof compared to building also pretty light I would guess. There are actually a couple ones even larger than this one of the same design that are deployed at a university in the Southwest.

The panels sit slots and then there is rubber (the black outline in the photos) that takes up the gap.
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#20 aacc66

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Posted 28 April 2020 - 10:38 PM

John,

 

What would be the budget for this observatory? I assume that includes the design time from Dan Fanolla.

Is he open to be contacted from some one out of the blue like me?

 

I am looking a building one, but every time I start the process, the budget starts getting sky high and I shy away from the idea.

 

Thanks,

 

Alvaro


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#21 akulapanam

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 04:04 PM

Sure you can contact him here. xtrusnbldr@gmail.com

In terms of budget think 2/3rds of Pier Tech

#22 dhkaiser

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 04:56 PM

In terms of budget think 2/3rds of Pier Tech

Pier Tech does not have pricing on thier website.



#23 akulapanam

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 08:07 PM

I would suggest you contact Dan directly. I don’t want to give his pricing directly. It’s much more expensive then a nexdome or skyshed, in smaller sizes might be more comparable to the upper end fiberglass domes. Much cheaper than Astrohaven or Pier Tech.

Edited by akulapanam, 29 April 2020 - 08:08 PM.


#24 Raginar

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 04:16 PM

Can you take more pictures of the roof? That's an interesting setup compared to my pier tech roof.  

 

Chris



#25 akulapanam

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 11:04 PM

Can you take more pictures of the roof? That's an interesting setup compared to my pier tech roof.  

 

Chris

Will do.  What in particular do you want to see?




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