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Jkulin

Domes - Whats out there that is good and won't break the bank?

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I am at the stage where I keep whispering to my wife that I want a dome, it has to be that as my pier is smack in the middle of the garden.

The criteria has to be that it must be automated for rotation, not too worried about a sliding cover as that doesn't bother me closing it at the end of a session.

My favourite so far is this, but at £7K I will need more than a good bonus dividend to pay for it: - http://astrograph.net/epages/www_astrograph_net.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/www_astrograph_net/Products/AGSD2MCOM#

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I hear various comments about the Pulsars and the little experience I had from them wasn't the most favourable and that they are prone to condensation.

I've looked at the Skyshed Pod and that has mixed reviews http://www.skyshedpod.com/

I'm not worried if it is based in Canada or the USA as that is what I do for a living...shipping, so I can organise the shipment fairly easily.

As I say it has to go in the middle of the garden as that is where my pier is so that it avoids the trees and gives me a clear view.

I don't need anything extra for controlling it as I will still do that remotely and only need a shelf for my laptop.

I have thought about a RoR but that might push my luck with wife.

The Astrograph is available in a whole multitude of colours which really appeals.

So am open to suggestions really, it might be some way off yet for me to get the money together but would welcome your thoughts.

Many Thanks..

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I have also thought about this for it's portability, especially as I could put it down in the summer and use the decking area (That's my secret weapon to persuade her to let me have one), but it is still very expensive: -

http://astrograph.net/epages/www_astrograph_net.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/www_astrograph_net/Products/AGOAIGLOO

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It needs to be in the middle of the garden, why not go for dual purpose structure? Something that your wife will enjoy as well (not sure what are her interests, but something that will enrich the space)?

For my future observatory, I'm thinking along the lines - "two story" structure. Top would be observatory and warm room. At ground level it can be storage space for garden tools and such, with a bit of open space beneath observatory with table and chairs.

I think that every bit of elevation from ground helps with any moisture and fog.

Here is example of obsy that can blend in garden very nicely:

image.png.a2a35ebb1117337b27e20bca85e90706.png

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54 minutes ago, Jkulin said:

I hear various comments about the Pulsars and the little experience I had from them wasn't the most favourable and that they are prone to condensation.

I have a pulsar dome and youre quite right they do suffer from condensation but for me this was easly remedid with a dehumid. 

However, don't be mislead that its just a pulsar issue. I would hazard a guess ANY fibre glass housing will suffer the same thing.

Looking forward to seeing what you decide and end up with 👍😁

By the way.....I LOVE my dome 😍 lol

 

Edited by LeeRich
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51 minutes ago, vlaiv said:

It needs to be in the middle of the garden, why not go for dual purpose structure? Something that your wife will enjoy as well (not sure what are her interests, but something that will enrich the space)?

For my future observatory, I'm thinking along the lines - "two story" structure. Top would be observatory and warm room. At ground level it can be storage space for garden tools and such, with a bit of open space beneath observatory with table and chairs.

I think that every bit of elevation from ground helps with any moisture and fog.

Here is example of obsy that can blend in garden very nicely:

image.png.a2a35ebb1117337b27e20bca85e90706.png

Thanks Vlaiv, I saw those Skysheds and they do look lovely, but we have a square garden of about 50ft by 60ft, so it would stick out right in the middle like an eye sore, when we moved into our new home 20 years ago, I planted loads of trees around including two beautiful willows, which to be fair do blot out some of the street light a 100yrds away.

She's just come home and I said, "Would n't that look lovely in the Garden?" I can't repeat her reply!!

29 minutes ago, LeeRich said:

I have a pulsar dome and youre quite right they do suffer from condensation but for me this was easly remedid with a dehumid. 

However, don't be mislead that its just a pulsar issue. ANY fibre glass housing will suffer the same thing.

Looking forward to seeing what you decide and end up with 👍😁

By the way.....I LOVE my dome 😍 lol

Yep I love your dome Lee, it is truly beautiful and you really have done a superb job, but it won't work in the middle of the garden as I really do need to keep the foot print down.

Have you worked out what it is costing to keep the dehumidifier on all the time Lee?

I reckon a dome would fit nicely on an attractive decking with a decking pathway, I don't have a very clear photo but you can get an idea as to how a big Obsy would blot the garden, and we both like to see our grandchildren playing in the garden with our Dog(s😞 )

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Edited by Jkulin
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The Scope Dome is much better value at seven grand plus : than the Pulsar at three plus. My advice is go for it

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2 minutes ago, DAVE AMENDALL said:

The Scope Dome is much better value at seven grand plus : than the Pulsar at three plus. My advice is go for it

Just the little matter of £7K to find🤔🙄

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3 minutes ago, DAVE AMENDALL said:

The Scope Dome is much better value at seven grand plus : than the Pulsar at three plus. My advice is go for it

I priced up a pulsar. With all the gizmos it’s £6k+

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6 minutes ago, DAVE AMENDALL said:

The Scope Dome is much better value at seven grand plus : than the Pulsar at three plus. My advice is go for it

Could you explain why?  I've had my 2.7m pulsar for about 9 years now without a problem. 

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That's a cracking bit if kit you have there 😘 #envious 

My dehumid costs nothing in the grander scale of things, on full blast it uses 300watts but I never run it on full power so not sure what it costs but when on (anytime the humidity is above 50) the smart meter in the house doesnt even register it 👍

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38 minutes ago, tooth_dr said:

I priced up a pulsar. With all the gizmos it’s £6k+

That's really more than I want to pay Adam

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1 hour ago, LeeRich said:

That's a cracking bit if kit you have there 😘 #envious 

Thanks Lee, This is another consideration I need to take on board, the pier is 1.2m high, I'm just changing over to the 120EC which is bigger and as you can see when the 10" is on the mount I have got to allow for clearance as I normally park with weights down, so this would mean parking at 90 degrees. for clearance sake: -

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3 hours ago, Jkulin said:

I hear various comments about the Pulsars and the little experience I had from them wasn't the most favourable and that they are prone to condensation.

I think that to dismiss Pulsar on the grounds of condensation would be crazy - ALL glass fibre observatories will suffer from this! However, they are not, of course, the only players on the field.

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1 minute ago, steppenwolf said:

I think that to dismiss Pulsar on the grounds of condensation would be crazy - ALL glass fibre observatories will suffer from this! However, they are not, of course, the only players on the field.

Thanks Steve, I'm sure you are right and as Lee said perhaps to use a dehumidifier is the way forward.

I've been making suggestions to my wife this evening and her comments were "Why bother asking me you know that you will do it anyway!" hmmm that means I need to be super careful to plan and get the right one😉🤔

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I use my dehumid for 2 reasons Jkulin, mainly for combating moisture in the dome area but more importantly to protect all my tech I have in the obsy. Tv's, pc's, scopes, cameras etc etc all suffer in damp conditions including the timber of the buidling itself and I don't care how many poeple say they don't have condensation issues just by the nature of it being an out door structure humidity levels will always play a factor in product longevity, in my opinion of course lol 😁😋 humidity and visual condensation are 2 separate problems but there will always be one of them at work.

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Regarding condensation.

I insulated the roof of my Pulsar 2.2 fibreglass dome last summer and this reduced the level of condensation by ~90%.

Comparing this season’s environmental logging for the observatory against previous years the roof insulation not only prevents water condensing on the roof and running down the walls but you no longer see the huge spike in RH as the previously wet dome roof and walls warm up in the early morning heat from the rising sun that turns the inside of the observatory into a sauna.

Where I used to run a dessicant type dehumidifier pretty much all the time that the dome was shut It now only runs for a few hours after an imaging session ends before switching itself off via a humdistat when 60% RH is reached. 

The insulation I used was black, self adhesive, 6mm thick closed-cell neoprene, used for insulating caravans, motorhomes, vans, boats etc, unfortunately, the company I bought the 6ft x4ft sheets from no longer trades but there are several other suppliers. Eight sheets delivered was £110 and I bought enough for the entire observatory, including equipment bay, but I‘ve only done the dome roof and roof of the equipment bay so far and may not bother with the walls since condensation never seems to form on those, they just became wet with run-off from the roof.

Cool down time is not noticeably affected, the observatory has a full time solar powered extractor fan with internal battery backup and that, coupled with opening the shutter half an hour before the imaging session begins, is sufficient to prevent thermals forming or excessive focus drift.

A happy secondary benefit of insulation is that the noise level of the shutter opening/closing and dome rotating has been reduced by about a half, which was always a concern since the observatory is very close to my neighbours house and I worried that the sporadic noise of the drives would disturb them as ACP opened and closed the observatory while playing automated hide and seek with the clouds.

While internal RH levels now track pretty closely external RH levels there are never wet surfaces and I don’t see the point in attempting to get below 60% RH since the gaps around the dome walls and shutter are too large, you just end up trying to dehumidify the garden too. It would need some kind of close gap filling material around the dome/wall interface and shutter channels to stop damp external air entering the observatory before it makes sense to try and set lower than 60% RH, which after all, is what the inside of my house is most of the time.

William.

P.S. fixing large sheets of self adhesive neoprene to the inside of a curved surface is a bit like wrestling with an amorous Octopus and I wouldn’t want to attempt using anything thicker than 6mm, you need to cut several thin triangular ‘wedges’ from the sides of the sheets as you fix them in place on the dome to remove rucks and the really strong self adhesive wants to stick to the scissors/knife blade, yourself, bits of the dome that weren’t supposed to be stuck too...etc...but you get there in the end!

Edited by Oddsocks
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Thanks William, some very valid points and useful information, glad about doing this research, my biggest concern so far is the wife 🙄😨

So apart from Pulsar and Astrograph are there any other manufacturers that I should consider?

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I understand that a ROR is perhaps unsuitable for your situation, but have you considered a roll-off hut, where the whole structure rolls away on tracks that can be hidden at ground level?

There are quite a few observatories of this design on the forum, some with tiny footprints.  The advantages - doesn't look like an observatory (may be more appealing to your other half) and will be hugely less expensive than a dome. 

Edited by Astrokev
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Thanks Kev, indeed I did think about that and would love the Tardis version which is just amazing.

I could build a RoR version but that would deffo not get passed my missus and to be truthful I would agree with her, now if there were a commercially available Tardis then I would go for that in an instance.

I'm toying with the idea of designing a popup version of a dome, but that is only at the concept stage for now, I need to wait until my mates and I are next together to see if it is feasible.

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45 minutes ago, Jkulin said:

Thanks William, some very valid points and useful information, glad about doing this research, my biggest concern so far is the wife 🙄😨

So apart from Pulsar and Astrograph are there any other manufacturers that I should consider?

I should imagine getting neoprene insulation offcuts stuck to your wife would be a bit of a problem.......😉

I don't have any answers re dome manufacturers but I do have my own question John, your pier looks to be on a paving slab. If that is the case, what is the slab bedded on? I ask as I am trying to wheedle my way into pier permisson from my wife.

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I think the Pulsar would look the best in your situation, but I would definitely get a "bay" to go with it, make it so it is on the opposite side of the house so it can't be seen until you get round the back.  As Steppenwolf says a dehumidifier will sort out the condensation and is half the price of the astrograph one.  

I use a SkyPOD and bought it before I knew about the Zenith problem (I was a beginning imager then), so have since had to build a Dome table, (that too could be pointed away from the house and over a single Bay.  It does leak at the pivots though and I have to keep a bucket to catch the drips.  Not a huge problem so long as I am around to empty the bucket after a really heavy downpour.  But normally don;t need to do that all that often.  A dehumidifier keeps it dry. 

HTH

Carole 

Edited by carastro
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7 minutes ago, Swoop1 said:

I should imagine getting neoprene insulation offcuts stuck to your wife would be a bit of a problem.......😉

You know what, that might be the solution, it would stop her moaning then 🙂

2 minutes ago, Swoop1 said:

John, your pier looks to be on a paving slab. If that is the case, what is the slab bedded on? I ask as I am trying to wheedle my way into pier permisson from my wife.

Hi Swoop, no the pier is on a 75cm x 75cm concrete block that was poured a couple of years ago, I wanted something really quite solid. The trick for the permanent pier was to paint it green, but now she moans when I leave the Telegizmo 365 (cream coloured)on all the time, you can't win 🙄

Seriously though, I do understand my wife and she knows me if I want something I do it and after 34 years of marriage we do try to solve things together, however our garden is not ideally suited to an obsy and it is never going to be an arboretum, but I would like something more permanent that appeases both of us.

Thanks Carole, I am fast coming to the conclusion that the Skypod might be the wrong one to opt for, the Pulsar looks like it has a large footprint, whereas the Astrograph version looks quite compact..

As Oddscoks said insulation will be worth applying and probably easier to do before putting together.

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Thanks Carole, I am fast coming to the conclusion that the Skypod might be the wrong one to opt for, the Pulsar looks like it has a large footprint, whereas the Astrograph version looks quite compact..

I agree, if I ever started again - whilst I love many aspects of it - I would go for a ROR.

Carole 

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Thanks for the info John. A lovely smooth finish to the concrete.

A lovely dog also. My parents had a boxer. Beautiful but mad as a box of frogs🤣

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Yep, totally agree Carole, a RoR would be great, but for me I can't destroy the trees I nurtured when we first moved here out of selfishness, so I have got to work on an alternative.

I still have in my mind what was discussed a little while ago about a portable version.

The other thing that is going through my mind is that the home is really too large for us now since the kids moved out, so we may move in 2-3 years time to a bungalow, especially if my back problems continue, although I am not worried about putting something up and taking it down in that period of time, it is another thing to think about.

5 minutes ago, Swoop1 said:

Thanks for the info John. A lovely smooth finish to the concrete.

A lovely dog also. My parents had a boxer. Beautiful but mad as a box of frogs🤣

Yes the labourer really did a good job.

Boxers...yep, we now only have rescue boxers and usually always pairs as no one wants two mad nutters in their home, Skye is on her own now after losing Storm in November, one of the saddest rawest days/weeks/months that I have ever experienced, it never gets easier when they have such big personalities 😞

Edited by Jkulin
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