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Skyshed Pod Painting ? retro-fitting Foam insulation ?


Astro-Geek
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I'm really keen on getting one of these now, so please excuse me starting another of my researching threads on the subject. 🤓

Does anyone know of anyone that has retro-fitted closed cell insulating foam into the hollow panels ?

Methinks it could either be quite successful, or maybe a total disaster.....

Also, has anyone tried to paint the outside of a dark green pod's dome white, to reduce UV penetration and add UV protection to the outer HDPE skin ?

I've read quite a lot of info about the bare polythene being very resistant to UV degradation, but I'm thinking that a good coat of opaque paint wouldn't do any harm and may help protect the inside from UV  and high temps in the Summer sunlight.  I guess it may flake off after time, but should be easy to re-coat each year.

 

 

Edited by Astro-Geek
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Total disaster!  I tried it, the spray foam, sticks to anything but the material the SkyshedPod is made of - it ended up falling out and expanding over the floor of the pod bays.  I suppose if you were very careful and patient, you could build it up in layers, but then I find the foam spray dries up/blocks after a couple of days.  In short, don't bother!

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should be easy to re-coat each year.

I don't find it very easy to wash mine down every year (it gets coated in protococcus and looks really dirty.  I normally use a long handled broom and long handled kitchen mop to wash it with, but I have not been able to reach the apex.  Guess I could with a stable ladder, but not risking balancing on a ladder to do so. 

I have a white dome, and I guess it does get hot in the summer. 

Personally I don't think the material the dome is made of is meant to be painted, and probably won't stick/stay on and you'll just end up with a mess to remove.

Carole 

 

Edited by carastro
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Thanks for the replies.

All comments and experiences gratefully received....

Blinky:   I wondered if that might be the case, thanks for the confirmation of someone who has actually tried it.  The gap between the inner and outer moldings does seem to be very in places.  I know what you mean about layers, when its expanding/curing, it does seem to need a large air surface contact to aerate and expand properly.

IanC11:   That's food for thought...  It would be less risky and the insulation and light blocking would be improved, but I guess it wouldn't achieve any additional strength because the beads would remain "loose" inside, and not bonded into a single sandwich with the HDPE skins.

Carole:   Yes, all of my previous experience with HDPE has shown me that it can't be glued at all and painting is very problematic.  It's a marvelous material for resilience and lack of maintenance required, and even handles abuse and weather better than almost any other material.  My experience with blow molded kayaks and canoes has shown me that.  I was just thinking of ways to protect the dome from the admittedly short periods of extreme Sun that we now get in the UK in the height of Summer.  I guess I may just end up with some sort of fitted external cover.  That would have the advantage of solving the rain leakage that some users experience unless the rubber wipers and silicon seals are perfectly fitted.

Dave:  Yes, I guess that would insulate the side storage pods very effectively, from the inside.
I had also considered the flexible multi-layer foil/plastic/foil/plastic/foil insulation which could also be applied to the curved surfaces as well, (though still very tricky for the compound curves of the dome.

 

Thanks for all the feedback, I'll drop the foam insulation idea, but there still might be possibilities with painting the dome white, if I can get it reasonably leak-proof, as many users seem to have been able to. It will then be so much quicker and easier to use in between the cloud cover periods !!

I appreciate the paint will need regular re-coating, but I'm fairly confident that it will not harm the HDPE, and will probably even give some protection from the brief annual periods of fierce extreme sunlight.  Although I've never found any feedback regarding anyone painting the Pod, there's quite a bit about painting roto molded kayaks, with reasonable success, and they suffer much harsher treatment.  I probably wouldn't bother if it was a white one already, but I'm worried the dark green one will act like a solar oven !

 

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Hi this is Wayne, owner of SkyShed. We want to be here for you 24/7 to provide support. Not only here in North America, but for you owners there as well. Email me any time with questions at info@skyshed.com. Don't IM me thru the forum because I may not check IMs here that often. 

You can't paint the dome. No paint known to man will stick, as the material expands and contracts in changing temps.  In places like Arizona and Florida, owners will sometimes install a tower A.C. unit in Bay, and cut a hole in the Bay hole for the exhaust port. This way you can keep the internal temps dewn at 20 C. during the day.  

If you do add A.C. you also use 3/4" backer rod (normally used when fitting windows into houses, you don't see it when the window is installed) and temp. stuff the rod in between the wall and dome gap. This way you're not trying to cool down the whole neighbourhood.

We use it up here in Canada to keep high velocity snow out of the POD. I keep a drawstring laundry-type bag in a Bay with the foam in it. At the end of the night I have 3,  2 meter long lengths of the 3/4" thick foam backer rods, and I walk around in a circle inside the POD and stuff the foam into the gap between the wall and dome. Takes 30 secs to install, and the same to take away. Keeps high velocity snow out, and will keep cool temps in when you're using A.C.

When we designed POD , we never dreamed that astronomers in Australia would use it as well. It was only after a few dozen astronomers asked, and we found a dealer to distrubute there, that it became possible.  St the same time we don't want the distance to take you think that we're not "here" for you.  We work 7 days a week to support our thousands of owners around the world. If you have a question or a problem, there's a goof chance I'll have an answer. Email me directly.

Join the new groups.io POD group that we've just formed. We're migrating over from Yahoo groups.  All the photo albums files and topics from yahoo should show up shortly. To join, email SkyShedPOD+subscribe@groups.io

We know you guys pay a lot more to get your PODs there. We don't want your support experince to be any less than those owning PODs in N.A. if we can help it.

CS!
Wayne Parker

Owner - SkyShed

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Wayne, where did you pop up from?

As you can see I am still using my POD since 2010.  Still in good condition, home made PZT added.  Only problems with it are my own doing when I shifted the dome and didn't realise with the dome in place that I needed to recircularise it.  Too late now with the PZT attached (bolted on).  

Quote

I have 3,  2 meter long lengths of the 3/4" thick foam backer rods, and I walk around in a circle inside the POD and stuff the foam into the gap between the wall and dome. Takes 30 secs to install, and the same to take away.

I do something similar in the winter, using cut up the length pipe lagging, but mine is to stop me dehumidifying the whole district.

Carole 

Edited by carastro
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Thanks for the reply and kind offer to help with any questions Wayne.

The incredible number of user blogs and YouTube vids on the Pod has given me quite a clear appreciation of its pluses and minuses, both in assembly and use.

Here in the UK our Summer temperature peaks do seem to be increasing, but they last for only a few days at a time and are nothing compared to Aussie temps.  I think rather than Aircon, I'd maybe fit a simple thermostatically controlled extractor fan in one of the base panels to lower the internal temps when we (very occasionally 🤓) rise above 30 degrees C.

I found the Yahoo user group and joined it, to view the existing posts, and will join the new IO group.  I saw the facebook one too, but that didn't seem very active.

My impression so far of the Pod, (only from reading about it, no practical experience), is that most users are very pleased with it, and any negatives about water leakage can be overcome with careful placement and enhancement of the sealing around the pivots and panel sections.

Edited by Astro-Geek
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Hi Astro Geek,

I have been very pleased with my POD, but it does have one disadvantage if you are an imager, and that is the area around the Zenith is unusable due to the Clamshell dome.  This can be overcome by adding a POD Zenith table and sliding the dome onto the table as required.  If you don't have room for a PZT then you won't be able to image the Zenith when targets pass over head.  

Mine leaks at one of the pivots,  but I think this is partly down to my own error of shifting the dome after installing and not realising I needed to re-circularise it afterwards (I assumed it would still be circular having the dome on top, but it's approx 1/2 - 1" out.  This means it can be difficult sometimes to rotate the dome, and getting the dome back onto the PZT is also difficult because the dome springs back into shape once it is off the walls and I have a struggle to clip it back on again.  But as I say this is my error.   I leave a bucket under this one pivot to catch any rain that comes in and occasional splashes anywhere else are rare, but I use my dehumidifier to dry the POD out if I do get any.  No leaks in 9 years over the centre where the kit is, only around the edges of the POD.

Those problems aside, it's a great obsy and the clamshell dome can act at a light shield and wind shield and it's quite cosy in there.

HTH

Carole 

 

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Thanks Carole,

Via my Googling on "skyshed pod" I've read all of the posts on SGL about them and followed your experiences with yours, thanks for the detailed explanations and photos.

I don't think the zenith obstruction would be a problem with mine because I'm going to have a compromise with the pier mounting anyway, (by not having it fixed). 

I realise there will then be vibrations if I move around on the same suspended deck, but I want to be able to use my EQ6 mounted 180 Mak and my 300p flextube goto dob, so both will be on casters with screw down feet.  The eq6 sits nicely on top of my wheeled pier, with or without a 15 inch extension.

The EQ6 setup is completely remote controlled, so if I'm doing any long exposure AP I'm thinking I'll vacate the Pod and control it from the (warm !)  conservatory, so there'll be no vibrations from me. If I still get vibration problems I can always punch a hole through the deck (it's 2 ft above ground level), and bring the pier up through that.

 

Edited by Astro-Geek
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remote controlled, so if I'm doing any long exposure AP I'm thinking I'll vacate the Pod and control it from the (warm !)  conservatory, so there'll be no vibrations from me. 

That's pretty much what I do, except I usually stay in the POD until I have everything up and running OK, then vacate and watch it all and can control most of it from indoors.  

I did on one occasion have a second mount inside the POD standing on the floor next to the pier (boy that was a tight squeeze for polar alignment LoL!  On that occasion of course there were vibrations from the floor, but it only affected the first sub before I vacated, so if you are remote controlled it's not the end of the world not to have a fixed pier.

Norfolk is quite a trek from me, but if you find yourself down this way (N Kent/SE London) you are welcome to pop in and take a look.

Carole 

 

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  • 4 months later...

I thought I'd resurrect my old thread now that my Pod is fully operational, to confirm the good advice I was given on here, (thanks again).  👍

It's March 2020, 5 months after setting up my secondhand Pod, and it has greatly exceeded my expectations and hopes.

I can now nip out for a quick session of minutes or hours (usually the latter 🤓), without any humping of heavy gear or setting up, and of even greater value, I can pack up and go back indoors in minutes, with everything protected and securely locked up.

As I had been sensibly advised, I abandoned all thoughts of injecting foam or painting the HDPE, but instead I stapled triple layer insulating material into the bays. This stopped the condensation that had previously formed inside the single skin "roofs" of the bays, and also stops all penetration of the sun's light and UV rays.  I haven't lined the dome itself, as the double (dark green) skin is far less translucent, and I haven't noticed any condensation in it either.

All drips and leaks have now been stopped by copying some of the methods explained on here and the POD owners forum.

I'm using it without a permanent central pier so far, (successfully too) to give me more versatility with my 300P flextube goto DOB and my other scopes on an EQ6 on a wheeled pier.  It's been quite stable for AP so far as long as I stay seated at the monitor.  Polar alignment is quick and simple with the EQ6 when wheeled into the centre by using the Polemaster software.

I have dimmable red and white LED lighting in the bays thanks to LED strips behind "pelmets" above each bay.

pod open.jpg

pod pc daylight.jpg

pod pc.jpg

pod storage.jpg

storage bays red.jpg

Edited by Astro-Geek
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🙂  It's surpising how stable the pier is, even without the jacks down, with the narrower supporting triangle of the castors, it still takes some force to tip it. 

I guess it's because allthough the centre of gravity is quite high, it's perfectly balanced over the mid point.

I did carefully set one of the pier's legs under the North of the EQ mount, so that when in the home-weights-down position, when the scopes are being changed, it has maximum outreach.

(I'm quite paranoid about these things ! 🤓 )

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  • 5 months later...

How did you fix that bubble insulation in the bays? Does it successfully keep the temp down. Coming into my first Aussie summer with my POD and frantically trying to get ready for the heat. POD is on stand alone 12V so AC not an option. 
 

 

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