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Hi, I’ve been looking at getting a Mak 127 or an 8” Dobsonian and I was think of leaving the scope in the conservatory. The conservatory is south facing and gets quite hot in the summer months. What is the maximum temperature scopes can be stored at without causing damage? Thanks for any advice.
Hello! I have been looking through the forums sections of this site and found that nichrome wire is a very popular material for dew heaters. I was using my DSLR a several weeks back, and the dew was horrible and it encouraged me to build a nichrome heater. My first heater prototype consisted of 22" of wire with a resistance of 4.08 ohm per foot connected directly into a 12V power supply (consisting of 8 AA batteries in parallel). It was wrapped in duck tape. It worked for a while, but then the batteries began to overheat and I had to pull the heater out to let them cool. When I used the same prototype heater on 6V (4 AA batteries) it didn't have this same overheating issue, but it produced less heat then when it was on 12V. I'm not using a pulse width modulator, but would that solve this issue? I'm worried as the heater is only really around 8 ohm, it may be short circuiting with such little resistance. The wire can't be terribly long as this is just to heat a DSLR lens. Any input on a solution would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
For the past couple of months I've been working on a project which I named Arduheater. Arduheater is a full open source intelligent heat strip controller for astronomy usage. Source code is available at: https://github.com/jbrazio/arduheater The main design goals were: Remotely controllable This was a very important part of the design, most heat controllers, specially the DIY ones, rely on the PWM signal for each channel being manually adjusted by means of a potentiometer. This either requires the user to be near the device tweeking it or to set it to a temperature that may be higher than the one really needed thus completely trashing efficiency. Arduheater uses a serial connection so you can use any USB-Serial-TTL dongle to adjust it's settings either you're 2 or 2000 meters away. Efficient energy usage Manual adjusted heater will either require the user to be tweeking it or they will wast more energy than necessary due to the general tendency to use a higher that required setpoint, this is valid for any PWM or bang-bang style controllers. Arduheater uses a temperature sensor (DHT22) to measure basic environmental properties such as temperature and humidity, knowing them both makes the calculation of the dew point possible. Arduheater also has a temperature sensor (NTC) for each heating strip, allowing the micro-controller to have a rough estimation of the temperature the equipment is at; it will be a rough estimation because we are really interested on the lenses surface temperature but we are actually measuring the heat strip temperature, to mitigate this, Arduheater allows the user to set specific offsets per heating strip. Arduheater uses a PID controller to efficiently manage the energy so only the required amount of energy to maintain a temperature setpoint is delivered to the heating strip. This is possible due the usage of a PWM signal while driving the outputs; the delta between the environmental dew point (plus offset, i.e. setpoint) and the heating strip temperature will make the micro-controller output a PID-calculated PWM signal until this delta reaches zero. In practical terms if a 12V heating strip full on consumes 12W of power (1A) it may be possible for it to use only 1W or even less to keep the equipment above dewpoint and the power usage will be automatically updated during the night as conditions vary, so the system will be always using the least amount of power to keep the dew away. Builder friendly Using off-the-shelf components such as the Arduino Nano and easily available parts Arduheater is aimed to be build by anyone with a soldering iron and some patience, no degree in electronics required. Allow up to four independent heat outputs Each of the four outputs have independent controls such as offset, min and max output power and of course the three main properties of the PID controller (Kp, Ki and Kd). Here are some shots of the bench prototype using a power resistor as the heating element and it's serial configuration interface: The "field" prototype on it's box: The heating strips (more build info will be provided further ahead): And of course all of this would not be possible without the usage of the force. ;-) I hope someone may find this project useful. I'll keep this thread updated as soon as I'm able to release the source code, schematics and build instructions.  Dew point is that dreadful threshold at which water condensation starts to happen on the lenses/equipment.  A proportional–integral–derivative controller (PID controller) is a control loop feedback mechanism (controller) commonly used in industrial control systems.
Ok, so i had my first run at planetary imaging yesterday evening, which was disappointing to say the least :/ I was trying mars. The setup went smooth, and imaging went ok as well, but the seeing was very bad and especially the heat of the atmosphere was high, which blurred the images to the point that mars' image was not even a sphere (see left image). There are , however, also other probable issues: + Short focal length (800mm) with an 8mm EP, resulting in only medium magnification + problems with focusing the blurred image + missing real astro darkness (24th of june) + days' high was around 28 deg c, although it had cooled down to 22c at imaging time... Have you guys & girls tips on how to improve? The resulting image from stacking 1600 out of 3800 images was a mess, but at least spherical