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astrovirus

My Balcony Micro Observatory

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I have indeed seen and and are following your build with great interrest. Especially since your remote control adds some aditional challenges. As mine will be on my own balcony, I will offcourse have the oppertunity to do my trouble shooting on site.

Yes I do have quite some challenges, at the moment the box itself is pretty much done (bar some wood protection), I'm at the software phase now.

A 500+ miles across several countries will be very costly for me if something doesn't go according to plans, for you it's way simpler.... open balcony door, fix, close balcony door... lol

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A 500+ miles across several countries will be very costly for me if something doesn't go according to plans, for you it's way simpler.... open balcony door, fix, close balcony door... lol

So true.

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Small suprise awaited me when I got home from work today. The welder had dropped off the support frame for the observatory. So I decided to shoot some pics while test fitting the pier and NEQ6 brake disk pier adapter.

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The frame; very nice craftmanship.

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Fitting the pier, perfect fit, ready for bolting down.

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And also the brake disk is a perfect match on the pier.

Hopefully, after the final adjustments have been made, I'll be able to build the observatory in the last week of my holidays, which will be at the end off July.

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Yesterday afternoon, I spend an hour or two drilling the mounting holes in the brake disk, which is quite a hard job to do when you only have an everyday use home drill. But with some good drills is doable by hand. Just need to drill and tap the M12 threads in the pier top plate and also the 12 mm hole where the mounting/locking bolt for the NEQ6 will pass thry and then I can aply a hamerrite protection coat on the brake disk for nice finish.

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So, a short update of todays and yesterdays progress,

Yester, a good astro buddy of mine welded the side connection for the balcony wall to my pier, so I can now install it on site. This is what me and my dad did today. After that we also made a start with part of the frame of the observatory. Some images to illustrate all the work done.

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Pier and Alu frame placed and bolted in place, rock solid.

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Support frame on which the observatory will be placed, connected to the Alu frame.

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Bottom section of the observatory frame placed.

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During our work on the balcony I took the oppertunity to make a quick panorama of my views from the balcony from East/South/West.

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Good progress you're making there.

The other night I took the rig out to test my ccd and other bits, what a pain in the back side having to get everything out in time for the clouds to roll in.... doh

I cannot wait to have my observatory up and running and I'm sure you're the same.

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More progression to report, although pictures will have to follow later on due to rain forecasted for the coming days. Today I installed to top frame, and also the hinges to make the top flip over. Also put up the roof. Hopefully, there will be some dry periods during the evening so I can make a start in applying the shiplap.

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im getting very interested in this......keep it up

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So just managed to take some shots before Bertha's remains arrive with lots of rainfall forecasted.

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Ready for Bertha now.

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That's cool, nice work.

Now for the automated part ;).... 

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Made some excellent progress yesterday with applying the shiplap on the front and one of the top side walls. Hopefully I can continue tonight with the other side wall and the lower part. Then only the back wall remains to be build.

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Hello astrovirus,

this is a very interesting project with your balcony observatory. I hope you come well ahead and have then soon the telescope and the EQ-6 well from wind and weather protected.

Greetings to Holland
Hans

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Danke Hans,

I have seen your videos on your balcony observatory and really like your results. This gives me good hope on the quality of the images I can obtain when the observatory is finished.

Regards back to Germany

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So, more and more it is starting to look like an observatory (although a very small one).

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Made some small brackets to guide the top frame.

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Open view

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Shiplap nearly finished en attached a handle for opening, also constructed a foldable stand for when the observatory is opened.

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Finished the roof.

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Looks like you've closed off the top at the back - where does the rainwater drain out?

The roof is tipped back here, when upright the roof slopes the other way down to the front, letting rain run off.

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I've noticed that the guttering from the roof above seems to flow straight onto your balcony, is that going to be a problem?
There's some standing water round the alu frame in your pics:/

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I will seal off the observatory at the bottom with a damp proof barrier to prevent moisture from entering the observatory. In addition, I still plan to route the water from the roof to the nearest drain pipe, which is in the left backside of the balcony. But there will always be water running under the structure after a rainy period which has fallen on the balcony.

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Made some good progress again today, out on the balcony in the nice sunny weather. Installed the clips that will lock down the top frame and also the back frame when the observatory is closed. Also constructed the backframe and installed the rain gutter and drainpipe for the observatory and also a reroute from our drainpipe for the appartment roof that would empty on the balcony, which now follows a gutter to the drainpipe for the balcony itself. So most of the roof water will not have to pass beneath the obeservatory now. Still I will put up a damp barrier under the floor which I have to install over the coming days, to prevent moisture from entering the structure from below.

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Cip to lock down top

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Clip to lock down back

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Gutter/pipe on back panel

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Back panel in place after opening the observatory

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Back panel removed (with gutter/pipe in place

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Some nice progress, I do like the gutter idea. Thinking about it now, I should have maybe gone for a slanted lid to avoid having the water stagnating on top. Oh well, another design flaw... lol

I've packed all the gear as I'm heading back home in the next few days, and guess what, tonight it's a perfect clear night!!!! grrrrr ... typical.

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Had the same experience 2 nights ago, exceptional clear and transparant sky with the Milky Way well visible, and no place to put the scope up, except in the direct light of that anoying streetlight (for which I bought a load of PVC pipe and couplings to make me a nice lightshield).

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Some more progress to report. Over the last couple of days I have connected up the 230V ACpower to the observatory with 4 outlets in the observatory that will be utilized to power 2 13.8V DC regulated PSUs, and a frost protection device for the winter time, the final outlet will probably be used to power a modified AT/ATX computer PSU to provide additional 12VDC, 5VDC and maybe 3.3V DC if/where needed. I can cut the power to the observatory from the house with a single switch when it is not in use. The observatory control PC will be housed on the second floor, just behind the wall next to the observatory. Hopefully, I can install the pipes for the data cables from the observatory to the PC over the weekend, and put in the floor with moisture barrier, which leaves some minor things to be completed like installing 2 vents, isolation, which can also be done as I install the equipment, polar align and fine tune. I see first light approaching now (if weather will permit)

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Some images of this weeks progress.

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Made some finishes to the Alu-frame and als the sides of the shiplap.

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Placed extra handle for opening/closing observatory and also put some dops in the foldable stands.

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Put up a plank to prevent rain from entering on sloped sides and also serves as a alignment help when closing the observatory.

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Bracing pens on the closings

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Power lines, sockets and data pipe fitted.

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Nice progress, has it been raining lately? as in, proper downpour... for leaks ;)

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