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Planning a fixed outdoor site in the garden


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I have been moving my mount around the garden and think I have found a suitable location. Unfortunately it is towards the middle of the back lawn and so not ideally suitable for a permanent observatory.

The two issues I wanted to resolve were to have a permanent location available:

  1. Having a fixed and stable location to stand my EQ6-R Pro mount (reliable and stable location for the tripod legs);
  2.  Delivering 230V power safely to my scope power box (eliminating an extension lead and plug near the scope).

I'm planning to have three paving blocks (160mm x 160mm x 50mm) flush with the top of the lawn, sitting on a circular concrete "pad" to a depth of about 200mm. I was planning to set the concrete  about 100mm below the surface of the lawn and set the paving blocks in mortar so that their tops were level and flush with the lawn. The lawn can be reinstated and have a reasonable chance to recover. Alternatively, I could use pairs of hollow concrete blocks (on their sides) to build three unconnected separate bases (440mm x 440mm x 215mm deep) as an alternative to the single concrete "pad". Previously I had three 450mm round pavers on (and later sunk) into the ground, to stand the tripod on whilst I was evaluating the site and position of trees etc. I'm on sandy soil, should blocks or concrete be placed on either sand or gravel and not just on mortar in the ground?

I was using an extension reel to an external RCD protected sockets on my patio. I now have a drybox (IP54) for my collection of 12V PSUs and plan to run a new extension lead back to the RCD sockets. I was uncomfortable having the extension reel out on the lawn in a plastic bag. So I'm using a new extension reel as an extension lead, but I will terminate the cable inside the drybox. I'm using the reel just for wind up storage (but no longer using the four unconnected sockets). To put the cable away, I only have to unplug the extension from the patio socket, plug it into one of the unused sockets on the reel, and wind up the cable on the reel, until I reach my power box. In this way, I avoid having an exposed 230V plug/socket near the mount.

Simon

Edited by SimM
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If this is to be used for visual work, be aware of the battering that the grass will take. As you stand on a patch or walk around, following observing objects, the lawn will be subject to wear. You could end up with a circular bare patch that would take some explaining. 😬

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On 08/12/2020 at 18:58, pete_l said:

If this is to be used for visual work, be aware of the battering that the grass will take. As you stand on a patch or walk around, following observing objects, the lawn will be subject to wear. You could end up with a circular bare patch that would take some explaining. 😬

Good point, but it isn't the world's finest lawn. I'm even envious of the field behind my garden and it is more for imaging than visual astronomy, so a bit less footfall. 😀

For simplicity, I not a building DIYer so I avoided laying a small "slab". Another "rethink" and it's going to be 3x block paving (240mm x 160mm * 50mm), with MOT sub-base underneath and see how it goes.

Simon

Edited by SimM
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On 11/12/2020 at 11:24, RichardHurst said:

Why not install a pier instead of using the tripod. The tripod will need to be polar aligned every time and is prone to movement and accidental knocks

I would like a pier and even an observatory in the future. For now it's a (more) stable base than just the lawn and a repeatable position (like on a decent patio). I'm probably not going to want to leave the mount outside, so it's inevitable that polar alignment will have to be redone. I can do a Polemaster + 1 star alignment quite quickly. MOT is good "stuff" and I just want a firm base and a location to do a quick alignment tweak. At least if I did eventually go down the pier route, then I will have verified the location. An observatory is also a longshot e.g. unlikely.

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