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How do you handle your imaging sessions

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#1 msacco

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Posted 19 August 2021 - 04:04 PM

Hey, I'm moving to a new apartment soon, and I'll finally have a nearly 360° open skies so I could take advantage of every night which conditions allow.

This is not specifically related to observatories I think(as I don't have an observatory), so sorry about that, but I feel like since the principal is rather similar I might be able to get some help here.

 

So my vision is basically this:

Have my rig outside and connected all the time - will need to be able to handle pretty hot and sometimes humid environment in the summer, so basically just cover my scope to fully protect from the sun during the day, and probably have some desiccants to keep it humid free under it. Not sure if I'd want to leave my scope outside or only the mount, I'd prefer having it all connected so I could as fast as I can take advantage of any clear time I have.

 

Keep my rig safe while sleeping - while the obvious thing is just having all the settings set up correctly, including meridian flips, slew to home position after sequence is over, I don't have an actual way to monitor that, I'll be setting up a camera on the scope so that's great if I want to check everything is ok, but I'd want to have some alarm system that might be able to tell me if something goes wrong, I think I've seen something like that in the past.

I have no security issues with leaving the gear outside in general, the only option is someone actually breaking into my house, and against that I don't have much I can do.

 

Remote control - that shouldn't be much of an issue remote controlling everything as I have my mini PC always on the scope, so as long as it's connected to the home wifi I have no issues controlling over it remotely, but if I have my scope covered, I obviously won't be able to take that off remotely, that's the reason all of you use observatories(or at least one of them), but that's not really an option for me at the moment. Is there any way to make it possible while still keeping my gear safe outside?

 

So basically, I just want to hear your thoughts and experience about all the points above, how do you handle it, etc, etc.

 

Thanks! 


Edited by msacco, 19 August 2021 - 04:06 PM.


#2 GaryShaw

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Posted 19 August 2021 - 05:39 PM

Hi

You mentioned an apartment so should we presume you are in an urban or sort of dense suburban location?

If so, I would question the basic concept of leaving valuable, and portable, gear in a public, unsecured area.

 

Second, I would never leave my scope under a cover. The best 365 cover that telegizmos sells, leaks at the seams (my experience) and does allow summer temps inside it to reach 10-15F above ambient temperatures. Depending on where you live, the temperatures under the cover could easily reach or exceed the allowable temperature of your mount, scope, cameras, etc. Even if the temps only got 'close' to the rated temps of the gear, I would not trust the optics to withstand the thermal stress and movement caused by wide swings with rising and falling temps. Optical seals, gaskets, adhesives, mechanical connections, etc., can all break down under the above conditions.

 

I'm leaving my mount only outside under the leaky telegizmos cover - but only when decent weather is forecast. Under no circumstances would I leave the OTA and electronics outside under the leaky, hot and humid cover. Still, having the mount in place and polar-aligned saves setup time and is worth it if other factors (like security) are not a concern. So each observing session, I carefully remove the cover, which I cut around the cover bottom to allow water to drain out, then attach and balance the OTA and electronics and get under way.  I do what you do relative to remote controls, just be sure about the 'range' of your wifi  being adequate to connect to gear wherever it will be.

 

Bottom line in my experience is that  1) would never trust a cover to protect my gear and 2)  I would not trust the public to ignore my gear if I can provide no realistic security provisions, finally, 3) how would you protect your exposed and operational setup if bad weather moves in and you're not immediately available to deal with it?

 

You might want to check out the following link which shows you a semi-permanent, micro-observatory which might work for you if you'd be able to create permanent pier. Give it a look:

https://www.pierplates.com/motel.html

 

Good luck..

 



#3 msacco

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Posted 19 August 2021 - 06:18 PM

Hi

You mentioned an apartment so should we presume you are in an urban or sort of dense suburban location?

If so, I would question the basic concept of leaving valuable, and portable, gear in a public, unsecured area.

 

Second, I would never leave my scope under a cover. The best 365 cover that telegizmos sells, leaks at the seams (my experience) and does allow summer temps inside it to reach 10-15F above ambient temperatures. Depending on where you live, the temperatures under the cover could easily reach or exceed the allowable temperature of your mount, scope, cameras, etc. Even if the temps only got 'close' to the rated temps of the gear, I would not trust the optics to withstand the thermal stress and movement caused by wide swings with rising and falling temps. Optical seals, gaskets, adhesives, mechanical connections, etc., can all break down under the above conditions.

 

I'm leaving my mount only outside under the leaky telegizmos cover - but only when decent weather is forecast. Under no circumstances would I leave the OTA and electronics outside under the leaky, hot and humid cover. Still, having the mount in place and polar-aligned saves setup time and is worth it if other factors (like security) are not a concern. So each observing session, I carefully remove the cover, which I cut around the cover bottom to allow water to drain out, then attach and balance the OTA and electronics and get under way.  I do what you do relative to remote controls, just be sure about the 'range' of your wifi  being adequate to connect to gear wherever it will be.

 

Bottom line in my experience is that  1) would never trust a cover to protect my gear and 2)  I would not trust the public to ignore my gear if I can provide no realistic security provisions, finally, 3) how would you protect your exposed and operational setup if bad weather moves in and you're not immediately available to deal with it?

 

You might want to check out the following link which shows you a semi-permanent, micro-observatory which might work for you if you'd be able to create permanent pier. Give it a look:

https://www.pierplates.com/motel.html

 

Good luck..

Thanks, yes it's sort of dense suburban I guess, around bortle 6/7 but as I said, I have no security issues with leaving the gear outside in general, the only option is someone actually breaking in INSIDE my house, and against that there's not much I can do besides making sure it's locked and the alarm is on :p

 

As for leaving the scope outside, I still don't really know about this, with heat I might be able to handle with active cooling under the cover, and for humid a good amount of desiccants should be able to handle. I've never actually seen anyone getting his equipment being ruined by that, but of course I didn't hear of anything, and even if it never happened, it still doesn't sound like something that's good for it either way.

 

The thing about leaving only the mount outside, is that once you put the scope back up I think you would still need to do some slight PA which eventually takes some time. I might need to maybe just try it first, as I never had the ability to leave things outside and only do slight PA tweaks, so maybe it's not that bad and I can do with that.

Of course that if forecast reports heavy rain or heavy heat, I'll obviously just get it inside before that, extreme weather changes are not common here, so I doubt I'll have a surprise rain or something like that.

 

I don't have the ability to install a permanent pier at the moment, but maybe I can have some semi similar solution, that really looks great.

 

Do you have any thoughts about the second point regarding the scope running safely at night while sleeping?

 

Thanks :)



#4 GaryShaw

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Posted 19 August 2021 - 06:24 PM

I don’t know your home environment but I can’t think of many situations where I’d be comfortable living in a Apt Building ( upper level?) while leaving my mount and scope functioning outside in a public area and exposed to weather while I slept. 



#5 archer1960

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Posted 19 August 2021 - 06:48 PM

My rig is on a 2nd floor balcony, with access only from inside my condo. I leave it up 24x7x365 under a TG365 cover unless winds over 60mph are forecast. It's going into its 3rd winter this year.



#6 msacco

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Posted 19 August 2021 - 06:54 PM

My rig is on a 2nd floor balcony, with access only from inside my condo. I leave it up 24x7x365 under a TG365 cover unless winds over 60mph are forecast. It's going into its 3rd winter this year.

Just watched a video of cuiv the lazy geek about the TG365 which he used for 2 years. Looks like he did a foolish mistake by not thinking about humidity as well.

Can you share some thoughts on this? How hot does it get? Do you see any degrade to your gear?

Thanks :)



#7 archer1960

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Posted 20 August 2021 - 10:42 AM

Just watched a video of cuiv the lazy geek about the TG365 which he used for 2 years. Looks like he did a foolish mistake by not thinking about humidity as well.

Can you share some thoughts on this? How hot does it get? Do you see any degrade to your gear?

Thanks smile.gif

The only degradation I've seen is to cheap USB cables (good ones hold up fine), and some of the non-stainless steel hardware getting a patina of rust. I don't do any explicit humidity control, but I do have a small (18W) golden rod heater under the cover to keep the temperature above the dewpoint of the surrounding air, and the cover extends to within 6" or so of the ground to allow some air circulation without allowing real moisture (rain or snow) in. We don't get all that hot in southern New England (I've never seen 100F where I am), just humid, so the extra heat isn't a big factor.



#8 GaryShaw

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Posted 20 August 2021 - 12:50 PM

Just watched a video of cuiv the lazy geek about the TG365 which he used for 2 years. Looks like he did a foolish mistake by not thinking about humidity as well.

Can you share some thoughts on this? How hot does it get? Do you see any degrade to your gear?

Thanks smile.gif

Under a cover that’s open to the atmosphere,  you cannot realistically control humidity. My telegizmo cover is an absolute failure. The seams leak, the humidity under it is always higher than in the air outside it. I keep a Bluetooth temperature and humidity sensor attached to the mount. I just checked it while reading this topic and found the temp under the cover was two degrees different than the dew point. I went out, removed the cover and the mount was covered with condensation. Once that happens, all you can do is wipe down the outside and allow the internal condensation to, hopefully, evaporate before it damages your mount’s electronics. I tried several times to contact the tg cover folks for help or ideas and never heard back from them. The protection of such covers is an utter myth in my experience. 
 

If you live in a humid environment, especially a cool and humid location, forget about keeping your gear dry under a tg cover. A ‘moteloscope’ ( link above) is the only real option I’m aware of that has a chance of protecting your optics and electronics from damaging condensation. 
 



#9 GaryShaw

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Posted 20 August 2021 - 12:55 PM

The only degradation I've seen is to cheap USB cables (good ones hold up fine), and some of the non-stainless steel hardware getting a patina of rust. I don't do any explicit humidity control, but I do have a small (18W) golden rod heater under the cover to keep the temperature above the dewpoint of the surrounding air, and the cover extends to within 6" or so of the ground to allow some air circulation without allowing real moisture (rain or snow) in. We don't get all that hot in southern New England (I've never seen 100F where I am), just humid, so the extra heat isn't a big factor.

Hi

I’m in the Boston area much of the year and the temperature and humidity sensor I keep on the mount under a tg cover, reads about 10-15F above ambient air temperature. Specifically, I’ve seen it at 115F this year. I’ve used a fan to try venting heat and humidity but it does not work. 



#10 msacco

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Posted 20 August 2021 - 01:17 PM

Under a cover that’s open to the atmosphere,  you cannot realistically control humidity. My telegizmo cover is an absolute failure. The seams leak, the humidity under it is always higher than in the air outside it. I keep a Bluetooth temperature and humidity sensor attached to the mount. I just checked it while reading this topic and found the temp under the cover was two degrees different than the dew point. I went out, removed the cover and the mount was covered with condensation. Once that happens, all you can do is wipe down the outside and allow the internal condensation to, hopefully, evaporate before it damages your mount’s electronics. I tried several times to contact the tg cover folks for help or ideas and never heard back from them. The protection of such covers is an utter myth in my experience. 
 

If you live in a humid environment, especially a cool and humid location, forget about keeping your gear dry under a tg cover. A ‘moteloscope’ ( link above) is the only real option I’m aware of that has a chance of protecting your optics and electronics from damaging condensation. 
 

This is very interesting, it seems like different people experience very different results, and I wonder if it's due to a defective product, bad product, different environment, different use with the product. As far as I've read in many places, it seems like desiccants greatly help with that, and it actually makes a lot of sense if you ask me. I've seen it countless of times that close and 'suffocating' environment leads to different 'climate'.

 

As you said, if you read 10-15F above ambient, it kinda means it has slightly different environment, and keeping something that absorbs all this humidity makes a lot of sense to me.

 

Again, it goes back to the beginning as it seems like many people experience different results. As far as cuiv's video, he said that once he put the desiccants he had no dew even once( https://www.youtube....h?v=Gk9I6yfZ0KU ).

 

It's good to hear all the different things people experience though, I don't live in the US, but I don't have extreme weathers at all(odds are I won't have a surprise rain or a sudden crazy wind which could cause any harm. So I think that as long as I can keep it not too hot and not too humid, I don't expect any issues.

 

At the moment, I lean towards giving it a shot at first, with proper preparations, maybe it would work, maybe it won't :)



#11 ayadai

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Posted 20 August 2021 - 01:32 PM

As you said, if you read 10-15F above ambient, it kinda means it has slightly different environment, and keeping something that absorbs all this humidity makes a lot of sense to me.

 

 I don't live in the US, but I don't have extreme weathers at all(odds are I won't have a surprise rain or a sudden crazy wind which could cause any harm. So I think that as long as I can keep it not too hot and not too humid, I don't expect any issues.

You have not indicated your specific environment, but if humidity is high, desiccants are only fully effective if the storage space is a) thermally controlled, b) relatively small ~and~ c) sealed. For larger storage spaces in high humidity environments, you'll need active drying, such as a dehumidifier or air conditioning.


Edited by ayadai, 20 August 2021 - 01:36 PM.


#12 msacco

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Posted 20 August 2021 - 02:28 PM

You have not indicated your specific environment, but if humidity is high, desiccants are only fully effective if the storage space is a) thermally controlled, b) relatively small ~and~ c) sealed. For larger storage spaces in high humidity environments, you'll need active drying, such as a dehumidifier or air conditioning.

I'd always want to consider everything at their worst, but the average humid is around 50-60%, 100% is not rare.

Average summer temps are like 25C(77F), give or take a degree above/below, latest summer maximum temps were like 32C(90F).

There is not much rain, like an average of 600ml/year which I think is very little compared to many other places, and as I said above, there is no crazy wind to worry about.

 

As for your points, I'm not an expert obviously, I have no idea about it, but according to the video I shared above(you can skip to like 5:30 for that part), it seems like it does work for him and I don't think it qualifies for any of your points?

 

Again as I said above, maybe there are different reasons that results in different outcomes(which kinda makes sense overall).

 

Thanks.


Edited by msacco, 20 August 2021 - 02:30 PM.


#13 ayadai

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Posted 20 August 2021 - 03:06 PM

I'd always want to consider everything at their worst, but the average humid is around 50-60%, 100% is not rare....it seems like it does work for him ...

I'd consider >=80% humidity to be high; yours (and likely that of the individual in the video) is more moderate; YMMV.



#14 msacco

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Posted 20 August 2021 - 03:31 PM

I'd consider >=80% humidity to be high; yours (and likely that of the individual in the video) is more moderate; YMMV.

Of course, what I mean is that I'd want to consider a system that can handle 100% humidity.

And actually the opposite I believe, average Tokyo(which is where cuiv lives) is 63.7% according to first result on google, can't tell exactly about the new place I'll move to(probably very similar environment), but average should be around 50-60% as I said.

Actively handling dew is obviously an option as well.


Edited by msacco, 20 August 2021 - 03:31 PM.


#15 GaryShaw

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Posted 20 August 2021 - 05:46 PM

As others have mentioned, desiccants will only work in a completely closed and sealed environment. A cover is completely open to the surrounding environment, so a desiccant pack under a cover will try to dehumidify the whole outside world…I tried for a week with over-sized Desiccant packs under the cover and I monitored humidity and found it to be ineffective. 
 

My Bride pointed out that the definition of insanity is ‘trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results’. Based on her wisdom and my own experience, I have given up desiccants under covers. Others can certainly feel free to test their own level of sanity. 


Edited by GaryShaw, 20 August 2021 - 05:47 PM.


#16 ClownFish

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Posted 21 August 2021 - 01:08 PM

I keep my equipment set up and running 24/7 -365 days a year.   The observatory sits at 7,000 feet and average handily is around 10 to 15% so no dew problems at all.  I keep positive pressure with filtered air inside the dome, which keeps outside dust from coming in.  All my gear is connected to an INDI server, which I connect to via Ethernet and long-distance wifi across 500 feet to my home.  I can wake up at 3AM and see a break in the clouds and be imaging in 5 minutes, without leaving my bed via KStars.

 

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