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Gonzo

a remote unmanned pico observatory

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Great progress and skills!

This is probably a daft question, but you can fit that box through the door, can't you? :eek:

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To be honest, it is a lot harder to plan and put in place than I thought it was going to be. But I'm always up for challenges....

You really really really need to think about all possibilities :)

I am definitely thinking medium term for this as to make it worth while I need to get a decent scope and a CCD with wheel :)

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Great progress and skills!

 

This is probably a daft question, but you can fit that box through the door, can't you? :eek:

Thanks.

No it doesn't fit through the door as it is. I have built the box so that it can be easily "flat packed"... to fit in the car.

It can be dismantled as follow:

the floor | the lid | two side panels in one piece each | the other two are fully dismantled

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More progress...

As previously mentioned, there is a design flaw in the dimensions of the lid (rookie mistake...).

Came up with the following to tackle it and stop the rain coming in at the same time.

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It's only stapled to the lid ;) (and I will do the other two sides...)

I need to buy a couple of bathroom style extractor fans to create an air flow in the box.

Edited by Gonzo

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Excellent progress Gonzo, love the way you are working round problems.

Jimmy

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Excellent progress Gonzo, love the way you are working round problems.

Jimmy

Thanks Jimmy.

On issue that came up lately (well, almost from the start... lol) is cable management.

I use cable ties for the wires from the AstroEQ to the motors, it works ok but it's not perfect and has limits (limits that can cause disaster if reached...) in the way the wires are routed.

While browsing the Cloudynight website, I've found the following article 10MICRON GM2000HPS and was looking at the following picture for the cable management which I think it's rather neat and I will copy:

image005.jpg

(we all know where that picture was taken and the owner of this amazing setup ;) )
(depending how well my observatory goes, I will look into a "real" mount...)

I need to buy some extra long USB cables and some sleeve to wrap them in = cable management sorted.

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I have today finished installing the skirt around the lid.

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And now for the ultimate test:  will it fit in the car (I have a BMW 120D coupe) ....

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From that angle... it looks quite big, however...

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Not much gap between the shock towers and the lid :)

It's a success.

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One thing that I was concerned about right from the start is the weight of it (the box).

The entire box is 56Kg in total. I have yet to weight the entire scope (scope+imaging rig+tripod).

I don't think it's going to be much of an issue on the balcony :)

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Hi Gonzo, I like the idea of your remote pico observatory and found your progress very interesting. I have a small garden and would like an obsy but can't go for the usual roll off roof type or dome, so your design looks to be exactly what I'm looking for, although slightly bigger for a C8 SCT mounted on a CG5-GT. Cheers, Bob

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Pretty much made to fit the car :D  Great project - very interesting :)

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Hi Gonzo, I like the idea of your remote pico observatory and found your progress very interesting. I have a small garden and would like an obsy but can't go for the usual roll off roof type or dome, so your design looks to be exactly what I'm looking for, although slightly bigger for a C8 SCT mounted on a CG5-GT. Cheers, Bob

The lid on my box doesn't fully open, ie: not going 90 degree. This is on purpose as I don't need to have the lid fully open.

You can buy longer stroke actuators and mount them differently. I got my actuators from Gimson Robotics, highly recommended.

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I have finally arrived in Germany for my two weeks holidays.

Already been doing some work.

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And as expected, the weather is Rubbish. I really do need some dry days to build the box, ie: I could do without the rain ....

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Ì know the feeling. The last week I have doing small hings on the obsy on and off during the evenings dry spells. But I could also do with some dry days, especially since I need do to some painting of my metal bits and after that test fitting the mount and scope to see how much clearance I have left in the back wall, so I can design and construct this. The balcony roofing is soaking wet each day I have been working up there, so I have to mind my steps in order to avoid wet feet. I will put in a water barrier in the floor to prevent moisture from the balcony roofing to come up into the observatory structure.

God luck with your build.

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While I'm in Germany, taking advantage of this and buying a few things from Teleskope Service to save on shipping costs.

Got myself a pier to replace the tripod (after a few scare and a few collisions...) a motor for the focuser and a MiniGiro with accessories for my Skywatcher 130p Heritage. 

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Called them this morning to double check I could use my paypal account despite the registered address not being in Germany, they said: ok.

They cancelled my order this afternoon due to the paypal registered address not being in Germany, had to place it again with my visa card instead of using paypal.

oh well, they've lost €300 in the order now, halved it. Just bought what I needed for now, will get the rest from a UK seller when I'm back home ;)

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So I have received my order, the pier is nice, however I've found the following issues with it:

The centre bolt which hold the EQ3 to the pier adapter is too short (had to use my original bolt for the time being)

There is no way of doing a proper polar alignment, I will have to make a opening in the pier tube to be able to use a spanner to tight down the bolt once it's polar aligned.

It's a design flaw in my eyes.

The motor for the focuser, the adapter is not the right size. It's off by about 2 to 3 mm. The motor sticks out too much, the belt is not properly aligned.

Something I will have to amend once back home.

The box is not setup on the balcony, pictures will follow soon.

Still have TONS to do on it to make sure it's OK to be used.

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Finally uploaded the pictures to my server.

Updates from Germany...

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Didn't even come with a how to assemble it instructions... lol

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fast forward... and here's the box build:

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There was however an issue on the first night out, it rained and I didn't close the lid correctly.

The little black skirt around the lid got trapped and you guess what.... some water entered the box.

Well, there was another design flaw with I did fix with more wood.

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Here's a picture of the 350mm high pier from Teleskop Service.

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I will be fixing the pier legs to the bottom of the box, 3 holes, through bolts ....

I've made the bottom quite slippery with that Ronseal :(

Also going to have the box on little round anti-slippery adjustable feet, as the balcony is not quite 100% level and the box rocks a bit.

And the tiles are mega slippery....

Edited by Gonzo
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Some pictures with the scope and mount in the box.

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The flower box will be moved ;)

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The box needs more Ronseal.... It's a work in progress.

Also, I need to order one of those solar ventilation system to create an airflow in the box to avoid mould.

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Got to admire the perseverance on this.. been following since the start.. what.. almost a year ago? Glad you've had some break in this really naff August weather & really looking forward to First Light :smiley:

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Got to admire the perseverance on this.. been following since the start.. what.. almost a year ago? Glad you've had some break in this really naff August weather & really looking forward to First Light :smiley:

Thanks for the kind words.

I started the thread "Posted 27 October 2013 - 09:30 PM", so yes almost one year ago.

Sure I could have done it in less time, but as you know life doesn't always go according to plans...

I still have quite a lot of things to do before my first light with it.

Ventilation

Adjustable feet

More wood protection (ie: Ronseal it)

Wiring

Network

and other bits/challenges I might find on the way.

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