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Advice Requested on Deck ‘Box’ Observatory

DIY Observatory Mount
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#1 GaryShaw

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 09:23 AM

Good Morning!

 

I came across the observatory photo below which is pretty much what I’ve been thinking of building. I just received my CEM70G and need to create a home for it outside on my front deck. This is the only portion of our lot where I can get south - northwest sky. I plan to mount it on a permanent pier attached to its own foundation below the deck. 

 

I’m hoping that those of you who have your observing gear in small enclosures, can offer me some insights into how you control temperature, humidity and prevent dew formation within the closed box with the scope, mount and electronics.

 

I’ve had the mount and my 8” Newtonian OTA under a Telegizmos 365 cover for two weeks and have been completely unsuccessful in preventing dew on the OTA despite having a goldenrod heater and a Eva-dry 500 silica dehumidifier under the cover. I guess the airflow from below overwhelms these devices.

 

I’m assuming the closed ‘box’ will have all the same humidity problems as the TG cover while providing more protection and security to the gear. Hearing of your experiences with these problems and your suggestions regarding optimizing the design for my gear will be much-appreciated. 
Gary

 

A few specific questions :

1. Should the ‘box’ have an enclosed bottom and be vented out through a louver with a small fan or be left open and vented through the spaces between the deck board?

2. Any opinions on the merits of providing a bit of heat? Temps here can vary from 100 down to 0F. 
3. Any thoughts on power and data? I use wifi for observing control.
 

 

Photo of Similar Concept as found online:

4E9D5269-E3DB-475F-908C-D3934B9C743A.jpeg



#2 Cfreerksen

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Posted 07 May 2021 - 08:37 PM

I think the key is ventilation. Granted I live in a dry climate for the most part but do have occasions of heavy dew, rain, snow and temperatures over 100F. I am currently using a plastic shed for my semi permanent setup. I have a goldenrod under a TeleGizmos solar cover (custom, love that guy) and have a gable fan that are controlled depending on temperature.

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

I have had zero issues with condensation. All of my equipment has faired well over years of usage.

 

You can see what I did here. https://www.cloudyni...-run/?p=9790970

https://www.cloudyni...run/?p=10795229

https://www.cloudyni...-run/?p=9663230

 

The shed was absolutely the best "gear" I have purchased to date. I give my back a break and has do doubt increased my imaging time by hundreds of hours. I have had a few different mounts and scopes inside.

 

I am doing some drawings for a ROR about 10' x 8' for 2 scopes at present to replace it.

 

I am using wireless gateways from Ubiquiti networks. The ones I use are no longer available but they have new models that I am sure perform well. I get about 450Mb transfers and they never have had a hiccup unlike when I tried to use my wifi network. I can transfer an entire night's imaging from a ASI2600 in a few minutes.

 

Chris


Edited by Cfreerksen, 07 May 2021 - 08:46 PM.


#3 GaryShaw

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Posted 07 May 2021 - 11:06 PM

Thanks Chris

A few quick questions:

 

1. So, do I understand that you have your scope under aTG cover and inside a shed? 

2. Do you have a high limit switch the turns on the gable fan when inside shed temperature ( or under cover temp?) reaches a preset maximum..? Is there a intake air louver that opens when the fan turns on ?

3. Similarly, I’d there a preset low temp that turns on the Goldenrod when temp drops to that level!

4. I followed your link and realize you’re using the small shed, smaller than I realized when the ota is rotated horizontal. Saves a lot of height. I’ll have a fixed pier and need the CEM70G to be high enough to see NCP over my front porch roof so scope box needs to be tall. 
 

Thank you for the response and links Chris. I’ll comb through that linked thread this weekend. 
cheers

Gary



#4 gonzothegreat

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Posted 08 May 2021 - 03:58 AM

Here's my "box", it has a passive ventilation system (ie: no de-humidifier no air/con no insulation or anything like this) and I have zero humidity issues what-so-ever. Box is located in Germany, all kind of weather conditions from snow/rain/heat etc... full monty.

The KEY is to not insulate your box and let the ambient air within be constantly moving, from the pictures you can see the bottom silver mesh. This is the air input (no fan, just holes behind) and on the top you can see a solar assisted fan and this is the extractor.

 

My box has been running for a few years with ZERO dew, ZERO humidity inside !!!

I can open the box on the dampest cold night ever and everything within will be bone dry.


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#5 GaryShaw

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Posted 08 May 2021 - 08:15 AM

Thanks Gonzo!

Do you have humidity or temperature monitoring inside the box controlling the fan?

What is the box enclosure made from and is it 6 sided or open at the bottom?

Nice Job!

Gary



#6 Cfreerksen

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Posted 08 May 2021 - 12:03 PM

Thanks Chris

A few quick questions:

 

1. So, do I understand that you have your scope under aTG cover and inside a shed? 

2. Do you have a high limit switch the turns on the gable fan when inside shed temperature ( or under cover temp?) reaches a preset maximum..? Is there a intake air louver that opens when the fan turns on ?

3. Similarly, I’d there a preset low temp that turns on the Goldenrod when temp drops to that level!

4. I followed your link and realize you’re using the small shed, smaller than I realized when the ota is rotated horizontal. Saves a lot of height. I’ll have a fixed pier and need the CEM70G to be high enough to see NCP over my front porch roof so scope box needs to be tall. 
 

Thank you for the response and links Chris. I’ll comb through that linked thread this weekend. 
cheers

Gary

1. Yes, I had a custom cover made to keep dust off the scope and mount. It is a solar cover to help reduce heat to the rig. It was like $90

2,3 Yes, The Inkbird unit turns on the heater (Goldenrod attached to mount under the cover) when the temperature falls below 65F (the heater is just to raise the temp under the cover slightly above ambient, that will keep condensation from forming on the rig). It turns on the gable fan when it exceeds 90F, the gable fan came with louvers that open when the fan is on and close when off to keep critters out. I have a filtered inlet for the outside air.

 

When I build the ROR I will be using a fan that pushes filtered outside air in, to create a higher pressure in the ROR. This will keep dust from being drawn in around gaps in the structure as it is now with the gable (exhaust fan).

 

4. Yes, with the scope parked at about 90 I only needed a shorter structure. This worked for me but may not work for you with a higher pier. My current shed is a Astrophotography only design. There is no room for standing and viewing. It is really tight and has posed a few restrictions. But since it is in place and I never have to setup. Only have to polar align about once a month. I can be imaging whenever the skies permit. It is the best thing I have done. I rarely have to do flats and flat darks since the imaging train stays intact and undisturbed.

 

I can say that whatever you come up with that gets you imaging easily and more often will be better than any new camera or scope and increase the enjoyment of the hobby. With a static setup there are fewer "what the heck?" moments. No more "did I connect that right?" I just go out, pop the roof off and flip a few switches and wait for cooling and the sun to go down while I'm in my office monitoring. If the weather looks stable for the night, go to bed, wake up in the morning and close everything up in the morning in less than 5 minutes.

 

Chris


Edited by Cfreerksen, 08 May 2021 - 12:05 PM.


#7 GaryShaw

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Posted 08 May 2021 - 12:24 PM

Here's my "box", it has a passive ventilation system (ie: no de-humidifier no air/con no insulation or anything like this) and I have zero humidity issues what-so-ever. Box is located in Germany, all kind of weather conditions from snow/rain/heat etc... full monty.

The KEY is to not insulate your box and let the ambient air within be constantly moving, from the pictures you can see the bottom silver mesh. This is the air input (no fan, just holes behind) and on the top you can see a solar assisted fan and this is the extractor.

 

My box has been running for a few years with ZERO dew, ZERO humidity inside !!!

I can open the box on the dampest cold night ever and everything within will be bone dry.

Gonzo

Could you provide the name/model of the solar extractor? Do you know how much air it moves per hour? Is there a battery to store power to run the fan after sunset?

thank you

Gary


Edited by GaryShaw, 08 May 2021 - 12:24 PM.


#8 gonzothegreat

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Posted 08 May 2021 - 01:15 PM

Thanks Gonzo!

Do you have humidity or temperature monitoring inside the box controlling the fan?

What is the box enclosure made from and is it 6 sided or open at the bottom?

Nice Job!

Gary

No sensors inside the box, I do not need any.

I've built the box around a wooden frame base and the outside panels are Dibond Aluminium Composite Panel.

Each sides are held by a couple of wood screws, it's a flat pack designed... it's 4 sided.


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#9 gonzothegreat

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Posted 08 May 2021 - 01:18 PM

Gonzo

Could you provide the name/model of the solar extractor? Do you know how much air it moves per hour? Is there a battery to store power to run the fan after sunset?

thank you

Gary

Do a search on eBay for: "solar fan boat" and you will find them. Mine was a standard cheap one, no stats. There is a small battery inside to keep the fan going but really you could wire it up if you need.


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#10 gonzothegreat

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Posted 08 May 2021 - 01:19 PM

If you were to seal your box, as in make it air tight... you're going to have some serious condensation issues... you need to get the air moving...


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