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Pier time today


david_taurus83
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Finally stopped procrastinating and made a start on this. We've lived here at the new house only a couple of months but I'm fairly confident I've picked the best spot in the garden. Good view north, though bright as got the city that way, big tree to the east, good view south and the house to the west. Started with cutting a 600mm square out of the fake grass. A while later after much sweating and grunting, we have a 900mm deep hole.

 

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Thank you Steve! It took me bloody long enough! Thankfully, no stones or roots so fairly easy going!

Got my template all setup now. The hole in the middle is for some 2" ducting so I can feed cables up through the pier. Will be hand mixing the concrete tomorrow. 

 

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Well, one things for sure. I'm not 19 anymore! It was easier to dig the hole than mix the concrete! A couple of days and it should be ready to receive the pier and back fill. The ductile iron pipe I'm using for a pier is 1.4m tall. So it will sit 400mm below ground and 1m above. That way, the scope and mount shouldn't be taller than the fence and look too unsightly. 

 

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Not had much time in the evenings after work to do much more. Got pier fitted, fed a length of water pipe up through it which will act as a conduit for power cable and ethernet cable which will feed back to the shed where I have power. Had to level it up on some washers under the flange so filled in underneath the gap with some strong mortar as backup should the washers rust. Treated the holding down bolts to a bit of spray on hammerite for rust protection also. Need to source a brake disc next for drilling. 

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3 minutes ago, UKDiver said:

Well that's a use for flanged DI I'm not used to. ;)  Neat job all round. I'd have got some stainless washers though.

It was free! Left over from one of the sites I work at. So far I've only bought the ballast for the concrete and the threaded M16 bar. The perks of working in construction 🙂

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6 minutes ago, david_taurus83 said:

It was free! Left over from one of the sites I work at. So far I've only bought the ballast for the concrete and the threaded M16 bar. The perks of working in construction 🙂

Hmm, I wonder what part of the job is missing 1.2m of pipe? ;) Such bits are usually bespoke in my experience. Good to see upcycling occur though. :)

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7 minutes ago, UKDiver said:

Hmm, I wonder what part of the job is missing 1.2m of pipe? ;) Such bits are usually bespoke in my experience. Good to see upcycling occur though. :)

I did wonder why they left a double flanged bit behind but everything was fitted (foul water pump station) and there is even a few lengths of DN80 left behind but with single flange only though. I did ask if any of it was needed btw 🙂

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14 minutes ago, david_taurus83 said:

I did wonder why they left a double flanged bit behind but everything was fitted (foul water pump station) and there is even a few lengths of DN80 left behind but with single flange only though. I did ask if any of it was needed btw 🙂

Well at least everyone would know if that had gone wrong! :D

Now for some denso tape to wrap the bottom flange which might make future removal easier.

Edited by UKDiver
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It's as if it grew there! You'd never guess there was a hole lol. 12v and ethernet cable fed through the water pipe (that was easier said than done), buried along fence and fed into the shed. Mount should be on this week. I can't wait for all the clear nights that are going to follow!

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Brilliant job David.  I'm thinking of putting a pier in the front garden for a spare LXD-75 mount I now have, and leave it permanently attached, for some solar imaging, etc.  This is a very neat and tidy solution, thanks for sharing your workings.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 17/10/2021 at 21:55, Starflyer said:

Lovely job!

Did you / will you cut holes in the pier to let water out?  They tend to fill with water over time as they cool, draw in moist air and it then it condenses out.

Nope, didn't think of that buy its something to keep an eye on. Thanks for the tip!

Not had a chance to do anything after work as it's near dark and the weather has been rubbish but the clouds finally broke yesterday.

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Got everything wired up and running. It's not pretty but I made do with all the cables I have to hand. Will order some shorter ones and prob locate the Startech USB hub to the scope. All controlled by the mini PC in the shed and powered with the Nevada 12v PSU. I use a powerline adapter to give a hardwired Internet connection to the PC in the shed so no WiFi and great connection over VNC.

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Got everything up and running for some testing last night. Polar aligned with Sharpcap, was less than half a degree out with placement of the North peg! Then switched to PHD to have a go at drift aligning. Shortly lost patience with this so redone it in Sharpcap again! Will be left alone at that! Managed some test subs. First 1800s sub on Pacman looks well. I bit of tilt to sort out but guided very well. 

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One thing to look at though is condensation. I noticed this morning, after a few hours of heavy rain, when I took off the Telegizmo cover thwre was a small amount of condensation on the drawtube, guide camera, filter wheel, counterweight bar etc. Not soaking but enough to cause concern. I've put a spare dew strap round the Dec axis and left it on for now. Will see how it is tomorrow morning.  Some people mention they use pet heat pads? And links? Particular brands?

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  • 1 month later...

So it's been a bit quiet here lately due to the rubbish weather and too dark to get stuff done when I get back from work. The rats nest of cables I have installed won't do at all so needs tidying up.

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I had my Redcat on there a few weeks ago and I managed a good session on the California Nebula one night but I did have to supervise the mount while slewing and during the meridian flip as there was a high risk of all the cables snagging on the silly AZEQ6 latitude bolt. I have decided to move all the USB hubs and power adapters to a plate that sits on top of the scope and run shortest cables possible from camera and accessories. The only cables running up the mount should be the power cable and EQMod cable while all the others stay static above the Dec axis.

I ordered a small aluminium plate from Amazon for about a tenner I think. 200mm x 300mm.

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It came with quite sharp edges and corners, I'm guessing from being cut with a bandsaw. These needed rounding off and filed down. Also filed a bit of a bevel to all edges. Dont want this ruining the inside of my Telegizmo cover when it's on top.

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Whilst I'm at it, I'm mounting my DSD autofocuser to the plate so I don't need to mess about with the bahtinov mask on the Redcat. Done a rough fit last week and ordered a 304mm MXL belt from BearingShopUK. Quite cheap at £2.39 for the belt. The postage and packaging cost more!

Belt came the other day so tonight started fitting out. Holes drilled for mounting the plate to the Redcat handle with a couple of M6 bolts.

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Focuser bracket offered up for marking where to drill. This bit was critical as I have no mechanism to adjust tension on the belt apart from loosing the bracket screws or the plate bolts and adjusting position slightly. I threaded these 2 with an M4 tap.

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Perfect fit first time!

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Tension appears to be just right and the belt doesn't slip on the focus ring. Looking forward to see how well it works under the stars. Passed the indoor test anyway.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for putting together a great guide.  I'm in the very early planning stages for a pier myself and this information is very helpful.  I have the same mount as yourself - the AZEQ6.

 

What I can't quite get my head around at the moment is how exactly the mount is attached to the disc.    You mention a metal plate for underneath and an M12 bolt - does the metal plate act as a big washer for the bolt? 

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1 hour ago, malftobe said:

Thanks for putting together a great guide.  I'm in the very early planning stages for a pier myself and this information is very helpful.  I have the same mount as yourself - the AZEQ6.

 

What I can't quite get my head around at the moment is how exactly the mount is attached to the disc.    You mention a metal plate for underneath and an M12 bolt - does the metal plate act as a big washer for the bolt? 

Yes-the plate acts as infill for the hole in the middle of the disc so that the securing nut has something to bite against.

Purpose made adapter plates have M10 or M12 diameter holes in the middle so don't need this.

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Cheers Swoop, Yet another silly question!

Would the mount, disc and plate all be bolted together first so it is placed on the levelling bolts / nuts as one?

Or would we be using a spanner to get the  m12 bolt into the mount whilst the disc adaptor is already on the levelling bolts attached to the pier?

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