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What do you do with dewy equipment?

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19 replies to this topic

#1 GiantPlaidMonk

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 08:47 PM

Hi all,

 

The Canadian October is here, which in my region means relatively high humidity and sudden temperature drops. A few times now I've had to bring foggy eyepieces and a dewy 10" tube in at the end of the night. Should I be wiping this stuff down somehow? I'd hate to scratch the tube, or worse yet, ding up eyepieces in some way. How do you folks manage dewy equipment?

 

Thanks and clear skies!



#2 wrvond

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 08:52 PM

I leave everything open. Eyepiece cases on the dining table are open and eyepiece caps are removed. The scopes go in the telescope room without caps.

The next day I inspect everything for dryness and cleanliness, taking care of any discrepancies I might find. Then I seal it all up ‘til next time.



#3 Napp

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 08:54 PM

Wiping off the outside of the tube and other non-optical surfaces is good.  I deal with dew all year here in high dew point Florida.  I wipe down the tubes if very wet.  I lay out all the equipment uncapped and uncased under ac or heating depending on the season until thoroughly dry.  I lay equipment on its side to prevent dust settling on the glass surfaces.  Once dry I cap and case.  If I have to drive equipment home I put it in the cases for the trip for protection.  When I get home I air out the open cases until dry.


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#4 HasAnyoneSeenMyNebula

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 09:03 PM

I leave the caps off everything. Wiping down non optical parts here as well. Additionally, I had a dehumidifier I wasn’t using so I put that now in the same room to help the process.
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#5 Benschop

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 09:36 PM

Same - bring the kit into a warm room, wipe down the condensation, air it out.

Being near a lake, I experience extra heavy dew this time of year, as the lake (being warmer than the air), steams off ground fog and even small clouds every clear night.



#6 ram812

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 09:42 PM

Don't touch the optics but let them dry out open-air. My XT10 is EQ mounted and gets brought back in, set up and pointed at the floor so any moisture on the primary won't pool in the center. I use an automotive polishing cloth made of cotton (Super soft) for all external surfaces to dry up exterior dew. The cats get banished from the room ahead of all this😁!

CS, Ralph

#7 PJBilotta

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 10:45 PM

I keep my scopes and eyepieces in an unheated garage so they are almost always already equalized at a moment's notice when I want to observe. When I bring in heavily dewed equipment, I have a space heater I turn on low that gently evaporates the dew in about 5-10 minutes, though I'll usually leave the scope's optics and any affected accessories exposed until morning to make sure they are completely dried out.
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#8 EmeraldHills

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 06:09 AM

What do you call a giant tourist farm filled with tons of condensation?



#9 alphatripleplus

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 07:29 AM

+1 on the suggestions that if you have dew on optical surfaces, it's best to keep the optics uncapped in a warm (hopefully dry) room and let it sit. Never wipe down an optical surface covered in condensation.


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#10 maroubra_boy

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 07:53 AM

There is one thing that so far has not been brought to attention - capillary action.

This property of water to be drawn in through small gaps, spaces, nooks and crannies. This happens under dewshields, under corrector plates (these are not sealed into place), along finder scope shoes, screwheads, seams - seals. THIS is the water that causes the problems of corrosion and mould formation and is not easy to dry out because it has made its way inside in through these wee gaps.

Think that your scope, mounts eyepieces that were sodden with dew are truly dry, on the inside? Thinks again! This moisture requires much longer drying. Especially after repeated heavy dew exposure, the amount of water inside your precious gear is slowly building...

AC or dehumidifiers are what is required to dry out gear, and it takes much longer than what it takes to dry off surfaces skin.. Heat is a half measure for this situation as heat can drive water deep inside your gear deeper into cooler sections rather than out into the atmosphere.

Alex.


Edited by maroubra_boy, 22 October 2021 - 02:08 AM.

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#11 GiantPlaidMonk

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 12:48 PM

Insightful replies from the CN'ers as always. Much to learn.  Appreciate the comments everyone! 


Edited by GiantPlaidMonk, 21 October 2021 - 12:49 PM.


#12 EmeraldHills

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 01:41 PM

Back to my question: What do you call a giant tourist farm filled with tons of condensation?

 

Answer: A Dewed Ranch.

 

But seriously, dew is a thing here in Louisville, Kentucky. I bet... 80% of the time, my equipment is soaking wet when I return at 2am or 3am or 4am in the morning. I have to haul it out of the truck into the house and open up all the cases, lense caps, and covers. I point all the gear (with a lense) downward and it sits that way for 3 days. In some cases, I pick up the gear after 24 hours and rotate its position in the case, just so the other side can become less sub-dewed too. True. All kidding aside. It's a hassle. 

 

Someday, maybe I'll have an observatory, in which case I *HOPE* that a dehumidifier in the observatory will help.


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#13 Signal2Noise

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 02:17 PM

I just wanted to chime in that I find this topic and responses very helpful.


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#14 unimatrix0

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 03:02 PM

If it's not gonna rain for sure during the day, it's staying outside and keep all dustcaps off and all electricity turned off.  It's usually good by the afternoon, when - if no imaging going to happen- I'll take them inside an unheated garage. My telescopes and my mount have never seen the inside of my house and they are always "climatized" ,any day. 


Edited by unimatrix0, 21 October 2021 - 03:02 PM.


#15 John1971

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 03:02 PM

Hi there, is anyone using a hairdryer to speed up the process (and then leaving the equipment uncapped overnight)?



#16 DSOGabe

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 03:43 PM

So what is the recommendation if the scope is permanently outside under a TG365 cover? Just got mine and its been out there for a about a week



#17 Napp

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 04:46 PM

Hi there, is anyone using a hairdryer to speed up the process (and then leaving the equipment uncapped overnight)?

I keep a 12 volt hairdryer handy just in case condensation occurs on the glass.  Always use low heat and low fan and point the dryer along the glass - not directly at it - as much as possible.  I'll dry glass with the hairdryer if I know it has condensation before casing it for the trip home.  I still uncase, uncap and the lay everything out under ac or heat to make sure everything dries thoroughly.


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#18 maroubra_boy

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 07:06 PM

Following on from my first post, drying out of optics should not be relied upon by desiccants!

 

Desiccants actually have very small moisture capture capacity.  These should not be used as an active drying system as they will saturate very quickly.  If moisture has been left trapped inside desiccants will do very little to nothing at all.  Desiccants should only be used as a stop-gap measure only after an item has been thoroughly dried to begin with.

 

Additional to this is ventilation & storage conditions.  Sticking an item down the back of a cabinet is a fantastic way to have mould take hold.  If there is no way for air to move about then this is the perfect situation for mould to take hold.  I have seen countless scopes and other optics be destroyed by mould because they were poorly stored.  And a box offers no protection especially if there was moisture trapped inside the item.

 

My man-cave is a converted garage.  It is well insulated but being a garage it isn't a great structure for ventilation or at keeping out the damp.  Being in Sydney doesn't help.  One day I noticed a musty smell.  I pulled back a cabinet and found there was mould growing behind it.  VERY BAD NEWS!  I first looked at desiccants for my gear and found out in just a couple of days that this stuff is not suited for storage even though the gear appeared "dry".  The next step was getting a dehumidifier.  I got a unit that also has a hose attachment to drain the water these units collect as a tank fills up quickly and if I don't empty the tank every two days the tank fills and the dehumidifier turns off - it is amazing how much water these units pull out!  Just with the first overnight use of this unit and straight away I noticed a difference in the air in the man-cave!  I have also noticed that some mild steel items I have in the cave have slowed in their rust development!  BIG BONUS too!  This little unit is doing a great job.  I also use a small fan to help move air around and improve the efficiency of the dehumidifier.  When I bring in my astro gear I leave it open without any plugs or caps to dry out at least overnight, covered with a cloth of course.  Only once thoroughly dried out do I squirrel away the gear.

 

I still through in silica gel in with my gear just as an added measure should the dehumidifier break down for a long period.  But these colour changing beads now last a lot, lot longer before needing recharging.

 

Too small a unit and it doesn't have enough grunt if the area is too large, too big a unit and it is a waste of power - another thing to consider when selecting a dehumidifier.

 

Alex.


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#19 maroubra_boy

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 07:09 PM

Oh, and heat alone won't do.  Yes it will dry out gear quickly, but it won't deal with the humidity with storage.  Air conditioning is excellent as it also draws out moisture as a dehumidifier does.


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#20 wrvond

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 09:21 AM

So what is the recommendation if the scope is permanently outside under a TG365 cover? Just got mine and its been out there for a about a week

https://smile.amazon...LG4E,B007P55HOW


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