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Observatory Build Underway


malc-c

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There are many advantages of an observatory. No setting up in the dark, somewhere to keep your scope with no worries of the kids or wife bumping in to it and next to no cool down needed meaning more time under the stars. I'm sure you will soon reap the rewards of all your efforts and for many years to come with such a professional build. Has been a very interesting thread to follow and great job on the obsy Malcolm.

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There are many advantages of an observatory. No setting up in the dark, somewhere to keep your scope with no worries of the kids or wife bumping in to it and next to no cool down needed meaning more time under the stars. I'm sure you will soon reap the rewards of all your efforts and for many years to come with such a professional build. Has been a very interesting thread to follow and great job on the obsy Malcolm.

Thanks for the kind words... I must admit the support from the forum members has been fantastic.

I've had "fun" today... fighting a summer cold, I put together a desk and chair.. so the warm room is now looking really functional now... I've also pulled in the USB cable to the mount and a 12v line fed from a stabilized 13.8 volt PSU rated at 3A continuous 5A peak, so should have enough umph to drive everything :( I've still got to get the monitor for the SFF HP desktop I acquired ( one of the perks of working in IT.. I get to have my pick of any end of life equipment when it's due for disposal... a 3GH P4 with 4GB RAM - Ideal :) ) so I've used my netbook to test the connections and see if the EQDIR cable, webcam, focuser etc all works, which I'm pleased to say it does :)

So now need a few clear nights so I can sort out the alignment, purchase and install a few extra cupboard units and then the observatory is well and truly open :)

I'm really proud of what I've achieved in just over two months.. its been hard and hot grafting but I am really pleased with the end result. I'll post up a few pictures when the fitting out is finally completed, and when I've sorted out a nice tidy way of dealing with all the cables around the pier...

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Managed to do some basic alignment last night before the clouds rolled in at around midnight. It was the first real practice of putting the scope to bed and it took no time at all to secure the roof, turn the power off and lock the door behind me... as Spaceboy said, one of the advantages.

Here are a couple of images taken in the testing stage - so a bit of a birds nest with the wiring !

post-23388-133877627532_thumb.jpg

post-23388-133877627537_thumb.jpg

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Hi Malcolm, just been going back over this thread looking for ideas etc.

I did notice that I could not see any air bricks in the dwarf wall. Perhaps they are out of sight, or you have some other way of ventilating the cavity.

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Hi Malcolm, just been going back over this thread looking for ideas etc.

I did notice that I could not see any air bricks in the dwarf wall. Perhaps they are out of sight, or you have some other way of ventilating the cavity.

Good point. There are none !

I did mention this to my mentor, but nothing more was said so none have been fitted. I might remove a couple of bricks at the front and back and fit a couple of air bricks to aid venting...

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I think that would be a good idea. There is a very large cavity there, if it was mine I'd have three on the long sides and two at either end minimum. If anything is going to rot your joists it is no circulating ventilation.

Sorry if I sound like I'm trying to teach granny to suck eggs. :)

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Sorry if I sound like I'm trying to teach granny to suck eggs. :)

Not at all. I'm welcome to suggestions, and to be fair, although the chap next door has been in the building / engineering game for years, I'm sure some of his comments are a little off track (like using 7" x 3" oak joists... would of been nice but a bit overkill !)

I'll get a few airbricks and put them in soon. I'll probably opt for a couple in each wall apart from the one next to the patio, which has limited access

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there is another way to install ventilation without the mess and disruption of removing bricks, i`m no builder but what i`d do is grind out the perps, these are the vertical mortar joints, and fit weep vents, alot easier and less mess than removing the whole brick which could lossen other bricks, or just drill some holes in the mortar joints or even leave the perps with no joints.

here`s a link to a site that might help.

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there is another way to install ventilation without the mess and disruption of removing bricks, i`m no builder but what i`d do is grind out the perps, these are the vertical mortar joints, and fit weep vents, alot easier and less mess than removing the whole brick which could lossen other bricks, or just drill some holes in the mortar joints or even leave the perps with no joints.

here`s a link to a site that might help.

Thanks for the suggestions... can you check the link... there doesn't seem to be one :)

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Hi Malcolm, you'll need more than a couple of weep holes or drill holes. Most 3 bedroom houses have the equivalent of four air bricks per wall for the cavity. Most modern homes have cavity insulation so the cavity area is vastly reduced, but still have full lenght vents in the eaves.

The area under your obsy is vast in comparison, unless you have filled it. Lack of air is the fastest way by far to inducing rot. :)

Drilling a few holes in the brick will soon loosen it, the cement will still be "greenish" so you wont have to bash it just chisel out gently.

Your friend sounds like he's been into a few barn conversions. That's where you will find oak joists.

Edited by Freff
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I'll get some air bricks this weekend and weather permitting chisel out the mortar around some of the existing bricks and replace them with air bricks. Probably two on either end walls, and three or four down the exposed long side, and at least one on the side next to the patio

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Sorry to have dumped that on you Malcolm, but better now than in 6 months when your obsy starts sagging.

You have done a lot since we chatted at SGL6. Did you have this build in mind then.

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Tony, trust me I'm glad you did.. it's not that much of a problem, and as you mentioned better now than when it's too late.

To be honest, at SGL6 this was far from my mind. In fact, having just got my scope I wasn't sure if this was going to be another one of those flash in the pan hobbies where it ends up gathering dust in the corner. I had two wonderful inspiration moments, one being SGL6 where the enthusiasm of fellow members inspired me so much (as did the clear skies), and then spending two wonderful nights in succession at Easter when I captured my first galaxy with my Canon 400D. It was being nagged at on the 3rd day for waking everyone up at 3am when I was bringing the scope in each night... that then prompted the suggestion to build an observatory. At that point though I never envisaged something quite like what I've ended up with. Yes it's cost me best part of £1700 in materials and around a further £300 in extras, but then it's a fraction of what it would of cost to have a builder take on the job or to purchase something from Alexanders that matched the same specifications. Above all I've had (and still am having) fun putting this together, and I am proud at what I've done considering I've never undertaken something like this before. So I would be rather miffed if it all went pear shaped through my ignorance of not fitting a few air bricks, so thanks for the advice.

Edited by malc-c
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In fact, having just got my scope I wasn't sure if this was going to be another one of those flash in the pan hobbies where it ends up gathering dust in the corner.
Same with me. Bought a cheap scope to see how much interest it would give. A fuzzy little image of Saturn with its rings, some reasonable moon pics and sun spots, encouraged me to spend an exorbitant amount of a posh mount. Also all the enthusiasm and encouragement from members here helped immensely ;)

I found carting gear outdoors, setting it all up and getting frozen even before I started, followed by bringing it all indoors afterwards, rather a pain and a bit discouraging. Crawling around on the ground with one eye to an awkwardly placed polar scope was far from ideal!! So I decided I wanted an observatory. I think if I knew what I know now I might not have started. It's an immense project though very interesting. Or at least I might not have been so ambitious - but that's me, I go over the top :) It's the biggest project I've ever tackled! But I'm not giving up! :(

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Same with me. Bought a cheap scope to see how much interest it would give. A fuzzy little image of Saturn with its rings, some reasonable moon pics and sun spots, encouraged me to spend an exorbitant amount of a posh mount. Also all the enthusiasm and encouragement from members here helped immensely ;)

I found carting gear outdoors, setting it all up and getting frozen even before I started, followed by bringing it all indoors afterwards, rather a pain and a bit discouraging. Crawling around on the ground with one eye to an awkwardly placed polar scope was far from ideal!! So I decided I wanted an observatory. I think if I knew what I know now I might not have started. It's an immense project though very interesting. Or at least I might not have been so ambitious - but that's me, I go over the top :) It's the biggest project I've ever tackled! But I'm not giving up! :(

It will be worth it!

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Tony, thanks

Gina, I was the same... whilst we may have six or eight hours of darkness, it always seems an annoyance that you loose time setting it up and breaking kit down... trust me having the ability to unlock a door, roll the roof back and then power up a PC and start observing is something that we will both enjoy. I'm just wondering what your thread post count will be when you finally cut the ribbon on your observatory's official opening day :)

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Gina, I was the same... whilst we may have six or eight hours of darkness, it always seems an annoyance that you loose time setting it up and breaking kit down... trust me having the ability to unlock a door, roll the roof back and then power up a PC and start observing is something that we will both enjoy.
Yes, I'm looking forward to it :) I'm also planning to use the warm room as a workshop instead of the living room table!
I'm just wondering what your thread post count will be when you finally cut the ribbon on your observatory's official opening day ;)
Yes, I'm wondering that too :(
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