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Getting observatory ready for winter , how about you?

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#1 Stevegeo

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 06:20 PM

Today with the weather being in the 50s here in upstate New York, it was a good opportunity  to take care of some maintenance  while I had the chance,  before it became an issue when it really was cold and I wanted to get out and observe. 

 . 

Everyone  who owns an observatory  has to do the basics to really get the most use of their hobby. It's a must,  so here's what I do to prepare for winters viewing without grief.

   Maintenance is a once a year clean of the shutter slide  tracks and a relube,  I use Mobile EP1 synthetic  grease ( it's nearly clear). Great stuff for extreme temps , plus and minus.. 

 

Next a check of weather seals, mine are garage door seals that when closed overlapped and provide a weather tight -RAIN tight seal .  I then use spray silicone on the outside of these seals which prevents water and ICE from sticking.  This makes my shutters smooth operating even in the coldest nights. Sealing tight all the time. This simple trick using silicone  spray works very well in hardest of winter conditions.

 

 I then clean and regrease the dome rotation wheels.  My dome turns with very little effort as I do this religiously every fall. I also keep the dome base ( steel plate) that the wheels ride on  rust free with a scuff pad and a brush of clear grease... EP1 again. Just a very thin layer , then wiped litely to remove excess .

 I check the seal around the pier, ( its foam, with a heavy rubber cover).  Making certain there are no gaps for mice to sneak in.

 I vacuum the rug inside, check the heater ( cheap pumphouse heater 1500 watt) . Reset my clock to my watch and check my battery level.

 

 I clean the solar array with windex, and a spray of silicone keeps the water and ice off .. 

 

 Then a walk around outside looking for gaps in the dome, the door .  And leave  a Chistmas tree air freshener ( new car smell) at the door, and pier base to keep out the mice...  so far in 5yrs I have had 1 field mouse..who made a small nest next to the battery charger ,this one got in through a bad pier seal... he ended up in the woods with a toss. Never to return

 

 

 Now everything is ready,  with anticipation of clear crisp nights...

 

So what do you do for prep for the winter.? 

  Stevegeo 

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 kopite

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 07:26 PM

Sounds like you're all set! Any photos? 



#3 Taosmath

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 07:29 PM

I read other people's suggestions since I only finished my observatory 2 months ago ! wink.gif

 

finished Small.jpeg

 

 


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#4 Peterson Engineering

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 09:39 AM

Since my TI Home Dome uses HDPC as a shutter bearing surface it never occurred to me to help things along with grease.  Thanks for the tip.  Gonna give it a try as the shutter movement does require some effort.

 

I've never seen a roll-off with an angle.  What's the story there?



#5 macdonjh

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 09:58 AM

Summer on the Third Coast?  Winter on the Third Coast?  There isn't much difference, so I don't have a seasonal ritual.  I do need to grease the bearings in my roll-off wheels, and my door needs replacing...



#6 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 10:08 AM

There's not that much to do on an older ExploraDome.   Keep the shutter slide tracks clean, and occasionally wipe them down with a very thin layer of silicone.  Vacuum the inside every few weeks, and wash the dome at least yearly.  It is very hard to get to the wheels, and their bearings are sealed anyway.  It's always been noisy when rotating.   There's not much snow or ice here to worry about. 



#7 Taosmath

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 11:02 AM

.......

 

I've never seen a roll-off with an angle.  What's the story there?

I don't want to hijack OP's thread, so I'll start a separate thread in case it might help someone else, but basically purpose is to shed snow with minimum visible impact, keep all the opening mechanism inside the structure and optimize my sky view.



#8 John Carlini

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 11:56 AM

I did my winter prep last month. I re-caulked outside seals, vacuumed, dusted and checked all rollers and roof. If it gets too cold and icy, I may suspend operations for a bit.




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