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Weather and condensation protection


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About a month ago I decided that the routine of setting up and packing my 120mm refractor and EQ6-R away each night was getting the better of me so I thought about how I could leave my setup outside between sessions without being affected by the elements. I decided on a TeleGizmos 365 cover to cover my whole setup. My refractor is 120mm (~4.7") and whilst TG offer sizes for 5" refractor or 5-6" EQ mounted refractor I decided on the latter as this would give me a bit more space for my extra equipment used for astrophotography.

I lift my power plugs off the ground and put them in the tripod accessory tray and reel the extension cord back into the shed, then pop the cover over the top. I fold the excess cover inwards and wrap the additional elastic cord around the cover and tighten underneath the counterbalance, just where the mount meets the tripod. This should hopefully prevent it from flapping in the wind. I also bought some silicone/rubber plugs to block off any unused ports on my camera/mini pc (eg USB, HDMI). 

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The images above were taken during the warm period we had a few weeks ago, but as I'm located in Wales it wouldn't be long until we get rain and humidity! Although this cover would protect from the rain I wanted to ensure that no condensation built up on my equipment underneath the cover. I bought some single use dessicant bags which I could hang on my mount under the cover. It's been on a week since I placed the first bag and it's been pretty dry up until yesterday where it started to rain. 

We had a bit of a downpour about lunch time today so I when I got home after work I went out to check if there has been any moisture build up. There was some water pooling on the cover (due to me folding the cover inwards) which ran off onto the floor around the tripod foot, but this isn't a problem. After removing the cover I saw that the dessicant bag has absorbed a lot of moisture! The inside cover was dry along with all my equipment so it looks like this is doing the trick. Whilst I don't intend on keeping my equipment outside over long periods of heavy rainfall it's good to know that I can trust the cover and dessicant bag for keeping my equipment dry. 

What do you use? Is there anything else to consider? 

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The dessicant bag isn't doing much because there is too much air flow inide the cover.  
Short term in summer it will be ok
I doubt it will protect your equipment for any length of time.  I have a wooden insulated obsy (good for condensation) but I have to heat it very slightly in winter months to prevent condensation.
Mother nature is harsh
Keep your eye on it would be my best advice and take the cover off the scopes to see if any condensation is forming.

Pete

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It might not help you with the rig outside, but in my obsy i find that a fan blowing cool air over my mount and gear keeps the condensation off.

 

Tim

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I am visual only so don’t use the electrics you do, though I do have a few items on my EQ6 R Pro that require power. I always pack these away but I leave my mount out, in all weathers for, sometimes, months at a time. I also use a TG 365 and have never had problems.

One extra measure I take is to coat the mount, including electrics and the tripod with ACF-50. This is great stuff that will protect metal and electrical parts from moisture and rust. Do not spray it on though, apply liberally with a cloth at least a couple of times a year…..not to any scopes 

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We've had rain for a number of days so I haven't had the chance to look until today. I took the cover off and there was a very light wetting of condensation on the counterbalance weights which has formed over about 3 days. The top area was nice and dry so that's fine with me! 

Good shout @Petrol, it makes sense to periodically uncover the scope and check.

1 hour ago, Jiggy 67 said:

I am visual only so don’t use the electrics you do, though I do have a few items on my EQ6 R Pro that require power. I always pack these away but I leave my mount out, in all weathers for, sometimes, months at a time. I also use a TG 365 and have never had problems.

One extra measure I take is to coat the mount, including electrics and the tripod with ACF-50. This is great stuff that will protect metal and electrical parts from moisture and rust. Do not spray it on though, apply liberally with a cloth at least a couple of times a year…..not to any scopes 

Does the ACF dry or does it remain wet after application? 

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1 hour ago, Richard_ said:

We've had rain for a number of days so I haven't had the chance to look until today. I took the cover off and there was a very light wetting of condensation on the counterbalance weights which has formed over about 3 days. The top area was nice and dry so that's fine with me! 

Good shout @Petrol, it makes sense to periodically uncover the scope and check.

Does the ACF dry or does it remain wet after application? 

It dries, just leaving a coat of protection behind that is invisible. For example the alt/az bolts are prone to rust. No rust on mine even after several weeks outside 

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You can buy pet warming pads (no, seriously, you can! 😁) which consume minimal current  but produce enough heat to raise a small volume's temperature above the dew point. I dare say a dewheater strip would do the same. Your cover is waterproof and insulated enough for this to be worth considering, I think.

Olly

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've a very similar setup, picture added below. I've left my setup outside over the last year, only bringing it in when I'm going away for long periods of time like a holiday. 

The telegizmos cover keeps it safe. I've had some condensation on and off, but I don't think it has affected my equipment ( see picture of guiding a 200p on eq6-r pro below) 

More experienced member maybe able to give you better advice (but as olly pointed out, on and off I leave my dew heater strip running through the night when the scope is covered). No problems whatsoever. 

Hope that helps. 

PS - I even leave my reel of extension hanging from the eyepiece holder. Plugged in, controlled by a smart switch inside the house. 

Also have left a normal Ethernet(UTP) cable plugged in 24x7 with no degradation whatsoever. 

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Edited by Realtimedoctor
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