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Protecting a new mount to leave outside.

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25 replies to this topic

#1 Spacedude4040

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:41 AM

Are people doing anything special to circuit boards, connections etc to a mount that will sit in an observatory that follows the outside temp, humidity etc for longevity? This would be for mass production mounts that I sure are not designed with longevity in mind. My observatory is powered by two 100 amp hour batteries so leaving a light bulb to generate a little heat is not an option to reduce humidity and dewing at the mount.

Mike



#2 Wildetelescope

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 08:58 AM

Are people doing anything special to circuit boards, connections etc to a mount that will sit in an observatory that follows the outside temp, humidity etc for longevity? This would be for mass production mounts that I sure are not designed with longevity in mind. My observatory is powered by two 100 amp hour batteries so leaving a light bulb to generate a little heat is not an option to reduce humidity and dewing at the mount.

Mike

Left my atlas mount on a pier under a 365 cover for 8 years with no issues.  I bring the hand controller and glass inside.  Occasionally spray some marine sealant for electronics on the exposed electrical parts.  Same for my g11 t.  Tuning up my atlas right now and the insides look fine, and the grease was not in bad shape.  I live on the Chesapeake so humidity is a real factor in the summer.  No issues.

 

jmd 


Edited by Wildetelescope, 23 May 2020 - 08:59 AM.

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#3 Wildetelescope

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 09:01 AM

Left my atlas mount on a pier under a 365 cover for 8 years with no issues.  I bring the hand controller and glass inside.  Occasionally spray some marine sealant for electronics on the exposed electrical parts.  Same for my g11 t.  Tuning up my atlas right now and the insides look fine, and the grease was not in bad shape.  I live on the Chesapeake so humidity is a real factor in the summer.  No issues.

 

jmd 

AP152
 
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AP127 Mm starfire
atlas

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#4 rmollise

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 10:24 AM

Whether this should be a concern or not depends on your local humidity. If that can be high at times, best bet is, yes, a low-wattage light burning. Sounds like a perfect situation for some inexpensive solar cells from Harbor Freight.


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#5 solarGain

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 11:45 AM

I use this

http://www.acf-50.co.uk/acf-50.htm

product on my Menu 200 mount as it is left outside all year round.

It is good for electronics and such and I have had no issues. It is also placed inside a rigid  <1m observatory. Which must help enormously.

All the best

John



#6 Wildetelescope

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 05:54 PM

I use this

http://www.acf-50.co.uk/acf-50.htm

product on my Menu 200 mount as it is left outside all year round.

It is good for electronics and such and I have had no issues. It is also placed inside a rigid  <1m observatory. Which must help enormously.

All the best

John

https://www.amazon.c...J7CBW8V3K412B83

 

What I have used.  

 

JMD



#7 gotak

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 06:36 PM

Large mattress bag tied up tight onto the pier and two rechargeable silica gel packs. Humidity goes to undetectable for the remote sensor I leave under the bag.
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#8 mich_al

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 09:40 PM

Large mattress bag tied up tight onto the pier and two rechargeable silica gel packs. Humidity goes to undetectable for the remote sensor I leave under the bag.

Is the detector right next to the desiccant ?  I've got a scope in storage in a closed box indoors with multiple large desiccant packs (5' x 8' x 1") and even with fresh desiccants I have never seen below 15%


Edited by mich_al, 23 May 2020 - 09:44 PM.


#9 Tom Masterson

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 10:42 PM

I've left my 12" LX200 set up in my observatory year round for years but cover it -  for dust - and run something similar to this under it.

 

https://www.westmari...20v-ac--7867518

 

If found condensation on things that have a high thermal mass was a problem in the mornings certain times of the year like the spring and fall. Quickly rising morning temperatures caused a lot of moisture to condense on surfaces. I was shocked to find the primary in my enclosed SCT dewed over on one of those mornings. After running the dryer fan under the cover, it never happened again. I run one under the engine of my motorcycle in it's unheated garage because the motor would be dripping wet some mornings, and I noticed some corrosion of the aluminum and chrome parts.

 

A low wattage light bulb might do the same but I liked the fact the air dryer had a fan in it to circulate the air up under the cover.


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#10 Waldemar

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Posted 24 May 2020 - 07:55 AM

I spray all electronic/electrical parts with NanoProtec electric, cover my scope and mount with a TeleGizmo 365 cover and have a pair of ski-boot heaters underneath, to keep things just above dew point. A lightbulb works too of course, but the chances of braking the class and get a fire are not appealing to me. Never had any problems. In addition you may want to use reusable desiccant packages, or a small dehumidifier.
 



#11 Scoobs231

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Posted 24 May 2020 - 10:23 AM

I spray all electronic/electrical parts with NanoProtec electric, cover my scope and mount with a TeleGizmo 365 cover and have a pair of ski-boot heaters underneath, to keep things just above dew point. A lightbulb works too of course, but the chances of braking the class and get a fire are not appealing to me. Never had any problems. In addition you may want to use reusable desiccant packages, or a small dehumidifier.
 

Could you recommend desiccant packages?  Thanks.



#12 gotak

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Posted 24 May 2020 - 12:49 PM

Is the detector right next to the desiccant ? I've got a scope in storage in a closed box indoors with multiple large desiccant packs (5' x 8' x 1") and even with fresh desiccants I have never seen below 15%


No the sensors is placed on the scope while the packs are on the pier top.

It takes about 24-48 hour to drop it below sensing range. Not sure what the bottom limit for sensing is on that sensor.

#13 Peterson Engineering

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Posted 24 May 2020 - 12:59 PM

Hi Mike,

 

Here in RI my Home Dome is exposed to rain and snow, humid summers, sub freezing winters and the occasional hurricane.  There's actually a pretty good airflow around the base of the rotating dome section so the dome never turns into a sauna.  But in addition to dust the scope needs to be protected from wind driven rain and snow.

 

The solution I've been using: 56X60.jpg

 

This is a heavy industrial strength poly bag, and the key thing to note is that it's completely open at the bottom, allowing airflow while protecting the scope.  Been using this approach for 11 years and never had a problem.

 

The trade-off between protection is what makes it effective.

 

Pete Peterson


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#14 Waldemar

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 01:43 AM

Could you recommend desiccant packages?  Thanks.

I use these kind of cannisters in the cases of my telescopes and other equipment:  https://www.ebay.com...ck/172666775184


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#15 Spacedude4040

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 08:06 AM

Thanks for all the replies, a lot of great ideas.

I live in an area with high humidity and the dome ventilation works very good so that's my issue where the dome heats up fast when the sun come out and the scope and mount is cool and will condensate. I only have a limited 12 volt power supply so any 120 volt items are out of the question.

So it looks like a huge bag that ties at the mount with silica gel pack seems to be the best solution. This will stop the rapid temperature change and control the moisture left inside. I don't remember my scope ever being dripping wet when viewing in the dome and know that bagging a dripping scope would be a problem.

I will do the nanoprotec also, seems like a good idea for protection.

I'm I missing something about the bag or telegizmo with the open bottom? Would the cold mount cool the air around which of course would drop down and be replace with warm humid air and condensate.



#16 Spacedude4040

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 08:08 AM

Whether this should be a concern or not depends on your local humidity. If that can be high at times, best bet is, yes, a low-wattage light burning. Sounds like a perfect situation for some inexpensive solar cells from Harbor Freight.

Hey Rod can you please explain a little more on how this can be done.



#17 gotak

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 08:42 AM

Bag and silica gel is the best solution I think. I had planned on various ways to get a dehumidifier in the observatory but in the end that's just not needed now.

I drag out a cord to get main power when I am using it so I also keep a small space heater which I can use to drive off any small amount of condensation. I find the gel packs do a good enough job that they also sort out minor condensation.

#18 Peterson Engineering

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 08:47 AM

Mike, when you're talking about is the dew point.  As you experience, a cold scope exposed to warm moist air will collect dew when the scope/mount temperature's below the air dewpoint.  Without having a 120 volt power source the only ways to inhibit condensation on the scope would be to seal it with desiccant or to somehow warm the scope with Rod's solar powered rig to keep it above the dew point.  Or to bring both the scope and the ambient air temperature to rise evenly and at the same time.  

 

If you're talking a large volume of air the desiccant may not be effective.  Rod's suggested heater route is known to be effective.

 

A simple experiment: try covering the setup with a see-through baggie or wrapping it with a blanket so that the setup and the air immediately next to the equipment warm at the same rate.  It's the easiest way if it works for you.



#19 astrohamp

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 09:35 AM

Spacedude4040:  Watts are watts and 12v heat sources (dew straps, silicone heat pads...) can be had at nearly whatever capacity one would want.  ~3.4btu/watt if you prefer that energy unit.

Since you are already using battery source for power solar panel charging or power could be added.  Either to recharge the battery bank through an MPPT charge controller, or to directly power only the heat source (and fan) when the sun is up.  Both the heater and (12v DC 'computer'?) fan will accept direct panel connect although at low output the fan may not start up.

The Harbor Freight solar kit is a starting point although Renogy offers more selection and probably longer lasting panels. 

My two panel system and Victron MPPT controller run at higher 'series' supply voltage to compensate for line losses in field. Panel placement is often 30-50' away from storage.

 



#20 Waldemar

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 02:23 PM

To be honest, I think it is a bad idea to use lightbulbs for heating underneath a telescope cover. They are made to produce light, not heat. The modern ones hardly produce heat, so you will need an old fashioned one, which is very energy insufficient just because it produces light and heat. A dedicated product like ski-boot heaters or pet place warmers or terrarium warmers are made to produce heat in a safe and sufficient way. The glas of a light bulb may be broken and the open wires may cause fire or other hazards to your equipment.



#21 gotak

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 02:46 PM

In general it's more efficient to just use a desiccant with a sealed environment. You can leave it like that for weeks without worrying about power going out, or the heater failing.

 

Anyhow to each their own but I have considered all the options and in the end this one works with the least fuss. The rechargeable gel packs I got are recharged by a built in heater, so when I use the scope I plug the packs in and over night they are recharged and ready to dry out the air under the bag next day. Easy.


Edited by gotak, 26 May 2020 - 02:46 PM.


#22 photoracer18

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 03:28 PM

With this setup:

AP900-mountedg-1024.gif

 

I plan to take the electronics and cables(AP QMD) in the house then put a Telegizmo cover on it and put a container of desiccant under the cover.

 



#23 Spacedude4040

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 06:08 AM

In general it's more efficient to just use a desiccant with a sealed environment. You can leave it like that for weeks without worrying about power going out, or the heater failing.

 

Anyhow to each their own but I have considered all the options and in the end this one works with the least fuss. The rechargeable gel packs I got are recharged by a built in heater, so when I use the scope I plug the packs in and over night they are recharged and ready to dry out the air under the bag next day. Easy.

Hi gotak,

Can you show a pic or link to the unit you use. I honestly like not using power to control this issue as my 12 volt system is hooked to a solar charger but I don't want to waste any power if I have too. It seems as time goes by I'm using more and more power. So hooking three dew strips and running  continuously would be a large draw of power I would think. Will have to figure that out. A 12 volt timer would help but still would need to be on from like 4am- 10am

Mike



#24 gotak

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 08:02 AM

https://www.eva-dry.com/

I use two of the larger units. One works too but two takes moisture out quicker and has larger spare capacity for if I am not using the scope for a while so can maintain the lower humidity for longer.

#25 Peterson Engineering

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 08:43 AM

That Eva-Dry model E-333 is indeed pretty neat.  Looks like a good and workable solution.


Edited by Peterson Engineering, 27 May 2020 - 08:43 AM.



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