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NenoVento

A little observatory at home

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Hi all,

Although the observatory is still a work in progress, this weekend I decided move in the telescope and see how everything looked like (and worked) in place.

Here you have a picture showing how the observatory it looks like form the outside:

image.png.2e7e2c1e645d4bded7e7337287318571.png

Here you have the telescope already placed in the observatory:

PANO_20201023_184141.jpg.095c0bba2a968382b8e44f89da65a7ce.jpg

And here are the electronics I've placed so far. Notice the mini-pc that serves the telescope and the little webcam at the corner, which allowes me to monitor it from "the control room" (actually a small office space that I have at home):

IMG_20201023_184246.jpg.cf958cbdbf009e7678d2ec3bcd8ab41a.jpg

This is how the setup looks from the webcam at the control room:

IMG_20201024_002115.jpg.9afd0c8aaff89cecc13a6c1ccc2034e2.jpg

Although I'm quite happy about the results, the  roll-off roof, which I ordered made specially by ECS, is not as weather tight as I hoped it to be. So, while I figure out ways to improve it, I've decided to add a cover, at least for the telescope:

IMG_20201025_095538.jpg.21b4d3640035b719a6cda0ea3cd7c85f.jpg

 If you'd like further information about my little observatory, please do let me know. Thanks for looking :-).

 

NV

Edited by NenoVento
Issues with the pictures
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Weird because I can see them... Tomorrow I'll edit the post and upload the pics instead of copy&paste them. Sorry mates and thanks for noticing.

NV

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17 minutes ago, NenoVento said:

Hi all,

Can you see the pictures now?.

Regards,

NV

Hi NV, yes I can see the images.

A nice little set up you have there.

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To me your installation looks electrically dangerous, particularly as you say the roof is currently leaking:

The Power Supply needs a waterproof enclosure.

Dew or rain will run down your cables into the mini-PC. 

The mains outlets are for indoor use only.

Michael

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If running cables where they might be affected by condensation they should ideally be run into the bottom of whatever they are going into - whether that's a device or a partition of some kind.  If that can't be done then go in the side but position the cable with a 'swan neck' bend so that any condensation will run away from the termination.  Providing a drip point lets you control where the water will end up.

dump.png.ffb0f554c686c936c30d18272ab06bad.png

Michael

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13 minutes ago, michael8554 said:

To me your installation looks electrically dangerous, particularly as you say the roof is currently leaking:

The Power Supply needs a waterproof enclosure.

Dew or rain will run down your cables into the mini-PC. 

The mains outlets are for indoor use only.

Michael

Thanks for your concern Michael,

You are absolutely right and rest assure that I'm working on this. To be honest, living at the South side of Tenerife and by the sea, I'm more concerned with salty haze, wind and dust than with rain (although last week we had a rare episode with quite a lot of it, by Canary Islands standards, that is, and I got some water leaking where the roll-off roof meets with the other roof, fortunately that was away from the electric stuff). While I find a way to add rubber bands to the closing surfaces and brushes (or something like that) to the roof rails, I'll add a little roof (or better a full cover) for the electric components as soon as I can. Initially, I was considering to install a Gewiss IP56 enclosure with a transparent lid, but they were way too bulky and troublesome to get opened and closed... 

Regards,

NV

 

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7 minutes ago, Synchronicity said:

If running cables where they might be affected by condensation they should ideally be run into the bottom of whatever they are going into - whether that's a device or a partition of some kind.  If that can't be done then go in the side but position the cable with a 'swan neck' bend so that any condensation will run away from the termination.  Providing a drip point lets you control where the water will end up.

dump.png.ffb0f554c686c936c30d18272ab06bad.png

Michael

Thanks @Synchronicity, yes, that is the way I've been told by a electrician friend of mine I should do when cabling electric wires outdoors. But this is not the case, I won't open the roof if it is raining. Or do you expect that I'd have that much condensation around here?.  I placed all connections on top because what I do expect is for the cables to get wrapped arround the mount sooner or later, so that they will come out and disconnect before producing further damage. Does this make sense?.

Regards,

NV

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Hi all,

Since nothing but clouds (or dust or wind) have been coming my way, I decided to make some improvements, starting by following @Synchronicity suggestion to wire the power source from behind. Also, I added a red led strip controlled by a potentiometer, as you can see below. 

 

1644333409_WhatsAppImage2020-11-11at20_05_39.thumb.jpeg.6780d7a98b3f6ae5aaad0ab4796df35b.jpeg

Thanks for looking.

NV

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Hello Neno.  Whereabouts are you in Tenerife?, I have an "Astro" apartment in Playa de la Arena with some telescopes.     🙂

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To repeat the earlier warnings on electricity:

You have live mains terminals on your "naked" PSU.

Which is specifically designed to be fully encased for user and public safety.

It is fitted in a dark and damp environment.

You put your hand out when the lights suddenly go out and .... 🎇

You become just another, sad statistic. :happy2:

After a few days somebody comes to see what the awful smell is.

They touch your live, dead body...  and .... 🎇

They become just another sad statistic. :happy2:

Then somebody else comes to see what the awful smell is and they touch both your live, dead bodies... 🎇

Can you see where this is going? 🔌

 

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Hi @Peter Drew, I live in El Médano. How is the weather like by the "farwest coast" (so to speak)?. I have an amateur astronomer (and amazing photographer) friend living in Arona and he always complains about the clouds falling from the mountains when he has all the gear set up  (he has pretty good views to La Gomera and the SW sky, though).

Hi @Rusted. Thanks for your concern. Maybe I should have said that, when wiring this room, a dedicated RCD (residual-current device) was installed in the electric panel. Anyhow, for the sake of safety, If I understand you well, what I need to do is either find a way to isolate the power supply's enclosure or replace it altogether by something like this (*):

IP67-SPS.png.639f092df0da93082cfe42f3e016814e.png

Or do you mean that I need to encase the entire rack?. This could be tricky, since hunging wires need to get out of it, and also both, the power source and the computer, need to be ventilated for them not to overheat.

Regards,

NV

 

(*) With 8.3A I think it is a quite oversized , but the step right below this one seems to be of 2.5A which, I think, is not enough for my telesscope (now I'm using a 6A one). 

Edited by NenoVento
typos

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As per rusted comments , it is not ideal to have your power supply mains connectors exposed , while RCD protected you are potentially in a wet environment so  there is still some shock risk. 

You may even get a startle jump if you touch it in the dark before the RCD trips out and knock over your telescope 😱

 

It would be fairly easy to get a sheet of aluminium , bend over the top edge to both prevent access to the live terminals and serve as a drip deflector for the power supply.

This could easily be fixed onto the perforated sheet to sit above the PSU with some long bolts , still allowing plenty ventilation.

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As a qualified electrical tester (PAT) I have to say the same.

Please do not use that power supply or those sockets in an outside environment.

Also, that white grill - is it metal? You should earth this and have the whole installation tested by a qualified person.

If you don't, you are at risk of electrocution and there may be a fire risk. I cannot be clearer than this!

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I would seriously consider remounting ALL your electrical installation into a large weather proof insulated box , cables can exit via cable glands to your mount.

You could use 12v low voltage connectors on the side for your astronomy equipment if you need the convenience of easy removal.

 

Mains cables can enter via the bottom section of the box  or the box can be mounted over where they come through the wall

(so they enter via the back of the box.)

 

A large box with a metal (earthed) backplate will provide adequate cooling.

Something like this would suit

Image result for meter box

Edited by fifeskies
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On 27/10/2020 at 11:11, NenoVento said:

Thanks for your concern Michael,

You are absolutely right and rest assure that I'm working on this. To be honest, living at the South side of Tenerife and by the sea, I'm more concerned with salty haze, wind and dust than with rain (although last week we had a rare episode with quite a lot of it, by Canary Islands standards, that is, and I got some water leaking where the roll-off roof meets with the other roof, fortunately that was away from the electric stuff).

Greetings from soggy, by Canary Islands standards, that is, La Palma.  I can confidently state that I have never seen condensation inside the dome. The scope is fitted with a dew heater but it has not been used in years, if ever.

Rain, OTOH, can be ... err ... interesting.  We sometimes get several centimetres in the course of an hour or two.

Paul

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Hi all,

I've added a little roof to the rack so no water can fall on it from above (or from its side) and I'm now looking into ways for connecting the aluminum grid to ground and to add a polycarbonate lid as well... So, definitely, this is a work in progress.

1666847816_WhatsAppImage2020-11-23at12_45_04.thumb.jpeg.3c9270b5a3cfce15a7ccc1499a750ca3.jpeg

Meantime I've been doing some tests on my setup and today, after replacing some dodgy connectors, everything was working like a charm :-). I also  took this gorg eous picture with the usb-monitoring camera from "the control room" ( aka my little office):

1738250081_WhatsAppImage2020-11-23at12_06_04.thumb.jpeg.2c62ca87b55d04a1fc5873f2bb36505b.jpeg

Thanks for looking,

Carlos

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