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russ

Dark damp sheds don’t make good storage

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So in 2014 I fell out of love with astronomy. Various factors, mainly to do with the local group I started here on SGL. So much bickering and falling out. In the end it turned me off astronomy. So as a result of that I threw all my gear (except the best eyepieces thank god) in the shed at the bottom of the garden. 

Two years passed and I lost my job, things got desperate and I decided to get the Astro gear out and flog it. I didn’t want to because at the back of my mind I knew I would find my way back to the hobby. So I trudged down to the shed, dragged it all out. Laid it all on the lawn for a clean and assembly, then photograph for EBay. 

First thing I noticed was the mount would not budge in either axis. It was knackered. Heart now pounding as I knew there was likely to be a much worse problem. Grabbed the C6 ota, took off the dust cap and all my worst fears were realised. Primary and secondary mirrors and the corrector were riddled with fungus. Next I opened the eyepiece case, the entire lot were borked. What I hadn’t realised was the shed roof had been leaking making the shed incredibly damp in the winter.

On the upside, I do at least have a telescope, all be it somewhat knackered. 

So the moral of the story is never leave your gear in a dark and damp location. Will spell almost certain doom.

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Posted (edited)

Hi Russ, 

Sorry to hear of your discovery. With nothing now to lose you could dismantle your mount and see if it can be saved; look on it as a spring clean, service and tune up all in one. Your post made me think, luckily the only equipment I store in the shed is a 12 year old CG-5 tripod and that is stored covered by a black bin liner and is still fine with no rust showing. I would never contemplate storing electronics or optical gear outside in a shed. Do hope you can salvage some more of your equipment. Your warning may help others.

Best regards,
Steve

Edited by SteveNickolls
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Posted (edited)

 

Well well. You have had a bad few years. I am glad to say the chaps I have met from the SGL members, I have always found to be have been incredibly nice and helpful chaps 😀

As for the shed , I do keep my scopes in my shed , but it is well ventilated and therefore with the air flow going through does not seem to get that damp at all. I should imagine your shed roof leaking was the major problem with the dampness you suffered.

My eyepiece collection is always stored inside in a well ventilated and warm room. And I am happy to say no problems at all with these. 👍

Hope your luck turns around and at least you may be able to salvage some of your gear.

 

 

Edited by Timebandit
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Bad =Yes!. But your bouncing back now Russ. I feel you pain on the kit situation, but you may recall one observing evening we had many moons ago at toothill Observatory.

We dug out the old OO 250PX which was in a horrid state!. The mirror was a disaster with so much muck on it, but we browsed the skies and got a really good view of Auriga DSO's.

That was a fun evening. Sometimes all looks lost, but can surprise you. Strip that C6 down and clean the best you can (marking everywhere for reassembly).

Best

Rob

 

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That's a sad story Russ. I think if at all possible, telescopes should be kept inside the house, like pets. Obviously with larger instruments this isnt always possible. If a shed or observatory is water tight and has good ventilation, mounts should be fine for decades, so it's just the scope that needs to be treated with TCL.

The trouble with amateur astronomers is that they are often deeply passionate about their hobby, and whatever it is that floats their boat. As a consequence, the debates can sometimes seem like members are bickering, where as in reality its usually more to do with poorly expressed view points. On top of that, there's the difficulty of interpreting differences in sense of humour. There's nowt as funny as folk! But in general, those on SGL are a pretty good bunch. They are just passionate about their thing! I think the problem lies with communication via the internet, as when face to face the majority of astronomers, although a little odd, are thoroughly nice guys. I think you should give SGL another go! :icon_biggrin:

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Sorry to hear about the gear.  I always feel a bit guilty about storing my 200P Dob in the porch behind the door with a strong cover over it.  It is a bit in the way, but it isn't a bad environment for it - the porch stays around the temperature of the outside world, and it is nice and dry and I always wait for the consensation to dry off before I cover it.  The rest of the kit - electronics, EP's ect. I keep in my lounge under my desk.  It's not ideal as I have to shift out/unpack gear, then put it all away again and I have considered somewhere outside, but, reading above, perhaps what I do is best for my gear.  

As the others above have said, there is nothing to be lost in having a bit of a dismantle, clean and rebuild and seeing what you can resurrect - at the very least you'll learn a lot about how it all works in some detail!

 
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38 minutes ago, mikeDnight said:

That's a sad story Russ. I think if at all possible, telescopes should be kept inside the house, like pets. Obviously with larger instruments this isnt always possible. If a shed or observatory is water tight and has good ventilation, mounts should be fine for decades, so it's just the scope that needs to be treated with TCL.

The trouble with amateur astronomers is that they are often deeply passionate about their hobby, and whatever it is that floats their boat. As a consequence, the debates can sometimes seem like members are bickering, where as in reality its usually more to do with poorly expressed view points. On top of that, there's the difficulty of interpreting differences in sense of humour. There's nowt as funny as folk! But in general, those on SGL are a pretty good bunch. They are just passionate about their thing! I think the problem lies with communication via the internet, as when face to face the majority of astronomers, although a little odd, are thoroughly nice guys. I think you should give SGL another go! :icon_biggrin:

Don’t worry, it wasn’t SGL’s fault. The local group had some very strong characters with very strong opinions. They were great guys and for a while it worked. We built up a decent group of people, met regularly in the New Forest. And then the egos got in the way. And then people didn’t like the way I run it. And so it went on. I think it’s still going although not on SGL but is a shadow of what I created. Anyway, all water under the bridge. 

Im just back for a simple life now on SGL. No pressure, just enjoying the astronomy and browsing the forum. 

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1 hour ago, SteveNickolls said:

Hi Russ, 

Sorry to hear of your discovery. With nothing now to lose you could dismantle your mount and see if it can be saved; look on it as a spring clean, service and tune up all in one. Your post made me think, luckily the only equipment I store in the shed is a 12 year old CG-5 tripod and that is stored covered by a black bin liner and is still fine with no rust showing. I would never contemplate storing electronics or optical gear outside in a shed. Do hope you can salvage some more of your equipment. Your warning may help others.

Best regards,
Steve

Hi Steve,  exactly what I was thinking. I have nothing to lose. Will pull the mount and the scope apart. Give them a right going over. At least they will be nice clean.

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53 minutes ago, Rob said:

Bad =Yes!. But your bouncing back now Russ. I feel you pain on the kit situation, but you may recall one observing evening we had many moons ago at toothill Observatory.

We dug out the old OO 250PX which was in a horrid state!. The mirror was a disaster with so much muck on it, but we browsed the skies and got a really good view of Auriga DSO's.

That was a fun evening. Sometimes all looks lost, but can surprise you. Strip that C6 down and clean the best you can (marking everywhere for reassembly).

Best

Rob

 

I remember that observing session well. 👍  I took the scope and mount out last week in the morning and the views of Jupiter were actually pretty good. I spent the previous weekend freeing the mount, trying to get the grease more evenly spread. It helped but a full strip down is essential. 

The scope I stripped down 5 years ago to add a black felt lining inside the tube. The damp has caused that to peel away in places. So will get the scope striped this coming weekend. Fungus isn’t a great situation but like that old OO 250, A’s long as it’s still useable I’m happy.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, russ said:

I remember that observing session well. 👍  I took the scope and mount out last week in the morning and the views of Jupiter were actually pretty good. I spent the previous weekend freeing the mount, trying to get the grease more evenly spread. It helped but a full strip down is essential. 

The scope I stripped down 5 years ago to add a black felt lining inside the tube. The damp has caused that to peel away in places. So will get the scope striped this coming weekend. Fungus isn’t a great situation but like that old OO 250, A’s long as it’s still useable I’m happy.

Good stuff!. Yeah fungus isn't great, but it can be worked around indeed!. You may recall the Vixen 102 I had that also had fungus. I took apart the lens cell fully (as in separated the two lenses to clean it out). Baader optical fluid did wonders!.. it beat it back by 50/60%, and never really increased after that.

Good Luck.. I know you shall make a grand job of it.

Edited by Rob
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2 hours ago, Rob said:

Good stuff!. Yeah fungus isn't great, but it can be worked around indeed!. You may recall the Vixen 102 I had that also had fungus. I took apart the lens cell fully (as in separated the two lenses to clean it out). Baader optical fluid did wonders!.. it beat it back by 50/60%, and never really increased after that.

Good Luck.. I know you shall make a grand job of it.

Yeah i have some vintage camera lenses that bought cheap as a bundle in a boot sale. At first i was going to bin them but they work just fine. I'm sure there's image quality issues but not major. I thought i had hit the jackpot when i got all four £10. Then got home, shone a torch through and reality bites back. That said the Olympus OM 85mm f2 only has the most tiny amount fungus and never got worse, gives some wonderful images. I think the C6 will be okay.

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I can't stand the folks in the astro club associated with the local university (too many singles and academics), so I never joined theirs.  On the other hand, the group of astro buffs in the suburbs is much more laid back, being made up mostly of married, middle-aged parents.  Try to find like-minded folks to hang out with.  It was the same way with scouting.  Some troops were all gung-ho on fundraising and volunteering constantly while others were more content with writing checks to substitute for time.  I had my boy join the latter because I've got more money than spare time due to my career.

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hi Russ

Really sorry to hear of your plight on a number of fronts. Hopefully you can get things back to a working and relatively clean state. Sometimes with careful cleaning it's surprising how good a condition things can get back to. Hope things improve on the job front mainly. You can always buy more stuff in due course but being out of work (even for a short period as I was a few years ago) takes its toll.

Good luck buddy.

Shane

 

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Nice to see you back posting on SGL Russ, and best of luck with things.

Fingers crossed the gear cleans up ok,

-Niall

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2 hours ago, Moonshane said:

hi Russ

Really sorry to hear of your plight on a number of fronts. Hopefully you can get things back to a working and relatively clean state. Sometimes with careful cleaning it's surprising how good a condition things can get back to. Hope things improve on the job front mainly. You can always buy more stuff in due course but being out of work (even for a short period as I was a few years ago) takes its toll.

Good luck buddy.

Shane

 

Many thanks Shane. The job front is sorted now. But you are right, it's no fun at all. I had 18 months of it (apart from a couple of zero hour jobs which were useless). But like you said, just try and build it back up again. Have a great boss now who is an ace photographer and starting to dabble in astro. He's been pushing for me to get back into this.

Hopefully the kit will clean up okay but if not it doesn't matter. As long as its serviceable. 

Thanks

Russ

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34 minutes ago, niallk said:

Nice to see you back posting on SGL Russ, and best of luck with things.

Fingers crossed the gear cleans up ok,

-Niall

Many thanks Niall. It seemed a bit weird at first being back. But now feels like home again.

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That's some bad luck on a lot of fronts...I keep my mirror under my bed after the coating failed in out buildings. Good observing buddies can be hard to find, luckily I have several...clear skies and good luck 

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Best of luck with the spring clean!

I hope everything turns out for the best. :)

 

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Good to see you back Russ :)

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7 hours ago, russ said:

Im just back for a simple life now on SGL. No pressure, just enjoying the astronomy and browsing the forum. 

We are very pleased to see you posting again 🙂

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2 minutes ago, Steve said:

We are very pleased to see you posting again 🙂

Thanks Steve 😀

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My old Celestron 127 EQ lived for many months inside a tent, and  throughout most of the winter if I recall correctly. The tent took a battering, the external  metal work, zips, anchor points etc,  appeared to rust, and some of the structural webbing was permanently wet underneath the tent  but there was not a mark on the scope itself, or anything else, including cardboard boxes.
In-in-all, I think that everything was well protected inside the tent due to  the adequate ventilation. Ive seen worse in better sheds?
I also have one of those Keter plastic jobs, that would quite easily blow across the lawn if allowed, and was always informed that they 'sweat' inside, visible as water dripping inside, but again, good ventilation has kept everything dry.

The horse has already bolted, too late to shut the gate, and unfortunately, you have suffered some damage to some of your kit, but it can be replaced when the time is right.

I think its good that you have bought this situation to everyones attention, as no doubt, we can all learn from other folks mishaps!

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I've recently installed a dob in my garden as it is very sloped and perilous to walk about with a heavy dob. The potential sight of an OTA rolling off down a slope and down a 12 ft drop persuaded me to excavate a few tons of soil and make a terraced patio - the scope is stored in a wooden shed.

Reading about ventilation on here has made me think about adding a couple of grills to the sides of the shed. People have stored telescopes outside for years in observatories and sheds with few problems. I seriously don't think visual astronomy would be possible at home if I have to lug the scope in and out of the house.

Now to find the right sort of vent that keeps the air circulating and the rain out...recommendations gratefully received.  :)

 

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A plastic louvered vent should be ok, and on my plastic shed, the vents  also covered with stocking to keep some of the critters at bay?
The idea was sound, but the insects  can still get in? on the back of a garden spade perhaps, or other non air tight gap! so probably still a good idea to wrap the scope.
Also, fitting one vent higher than the other helps with the air flow management.

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7 hours ago, Beulah said:

Now to find the right sort of vent that keeps the air circulating and the rain out...recommendations gratefully received.  :)

Ridge vents are considered very good at letting hot air escape from the peak of attics.  I'm not sure where best to put the lower vents to allow cooler air to enter on a shed.  In an attic, the air enters from soffit vents under the eaves and exits through the ridge vent.

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