View Full Version here: : The doghouse observatory becomes a reality
04-01-2010, 09:56 PM
well guys there is a GOD - look and see what is beginning to take shape. SWMBO has reluctantly given approval, and whilst strict conditions are to be obeyed i am off and running.........................
04-01-2010, 09:59 PM
04-01-2010, 10:09 PM
Great stuff Dave. Looks like a good size floor area.
I've been up in my 'doghouse' tonight - never thought I'd get to go there with the westher lately.
04-01-2010, 10:10 PM
It's a very satisfying project to do!
BTW Al is looking rather experienced with that crowbar!
04-01-2010, 10:44 PM
yeah he dropped by for a look
04-01-2010, 10:44 PM
hope your enjoying it
04-01-2010, 11:03 PM
Good start David, nice to see your breaking ground at last.
Is it going to be 2 storey observatory? The holes look big enough to support it.:lol::thumbsup::lol:
You won't know yourself when it's up and running.
04-01-2010, 11:09 PM
04-01-2010, 11:16 PM
Terrific new Dave ! You won't know yourself. No more setup/pulldown.
04-01-2010, 11:44 PM
the tent up over the holes reminded me a little of "Palmdale" Dave ;)
(sorry folks - this could be regarded as a local joke) :D
A good start Dave and I like your choice of name for the Obs.
Your soil looks a lot easier to dig than mine, I've got solid rock after about 6 inches on my chosen site. Dynamite may yet be an option (LOL)
Looking forward to the progress reports.
05-01-2010, 06:04 AM
it was sun protection ;)
05-01-2010, 06:23 AM
On ya Huff, I too am procrastinating about one, mulling it around the mind over the Christmas break. I have looked at all manner of garden sheds with the view to modifying them, but keep returning to a completely DIY job.
I'll watch this with great interest.
05-01-2010, 07:28 AM
Good one Dave
Your soil looks a lot easier than my rock hard stuff to dig :lol:.
And green grass :eyepop:, whats that........
Looking forward to see how it comes together. :thumbsup:
05-01-2010, 07:52 AM
Great stuff David :) Finally!
What was SWMBO's objection that you had to overcome? Looks like an otherwise free corner of the yard?
05-01-2010, 08:04 AM
A man has got to do what he has to do.
I wanted to put a 5" guage railway around the new house. I had one around the old house. I had even sited the house on the block so I could do this. However I settled for an observatory in the back yard as long as I dug a garden.
05-01-2010, 09:09 AM
Ho yeah! :thumbsup: Exciting times! Puts a whole new meaning about being in the dog house. :lol: like: "honey, you look upset? I'll go in my observ... err.. dog house until you come down". ;)
05-01-2010, 10:17 AM
congrats houghy :thumbsup:
05-01-2010, 11:58 AM
Everything comes to he who waits – congratulations David, a mighty fine achievement indeed!
05-01-2010, 01:19 PM
I will watch this with interest, Dave, looks like a dream come true!
I was chatting with my SWMBO over the weekend about getting an observatory set-up in our backyard. It followed a statement from her to the effect, "I know you want to move to a place away from city lights, but I will be so lonely I will have to slit my wrists, so it just can't happen". I seized the moment, and rather kindly offered the following, "I completely understand. If I set up an observatory in the backyard, we will both be happy." Her concession, then, went along the lines of, "I guess when we get the garage makeover we can put a dome on top".
I sense she is softening......
05-01-2010, 01:41 PM
Close enough to a "Yes" to me Rod, go for it before anything changes, LOL.
05-01-2010, 02:23 PM
How will you get the SDM up the stairs?
We were looking at a small property near Tamworth. Altitude 500m at the house and 580m at the back fence. To put in a proper obs we'd only have to grade a track up the hill and run water and power about 300m. Shame there's no work for either of us nearby, and the current job has a "4 days a week in the office" policy.
05-01-2010, 03:32 PM
Nice one, Dave. Although I think I'll call mine a cat-house observatory, so I don't feel so hen-pecked.
(Makes more sense anyway, what with the red lights and all...)
05-01-2010, 04:58 PM
I look forward to your progress.
Cheers Petra d.
05-01-2010, 07:51 PM
Ha Ha! One needs to move slowly, Gary! In the end she will think it was her idea....;)
05-01-2010, 07:58 PM
I won't have the scope upstairs in the garage....too many thermal current issues.....I am not quite sure precisely what my wife had in mind, but it is getting closer to the Sirius Observatory I have in mind!
My issue is lights from neighbours. The other night while observing I had lights on in all directions. Some evenings I laugh at the absurdity of it, other nights I have been close to tears, especially if the seeing has been rock steady. Occasionally everyone's lights are off and I have some dark bliss. Having an observatory will mean I do not have to worry about blinding lights, and total loss of dark adaption at random. Nothing will make my skies intrinsically dark. Getting a really big scope has done the best I can to increase the depth of objects I can see from my place. An observatory will at least give me some consistency from night to night.
05-01-2010, 08:03 PM
so what did you do with the pier you bought David? clearly you are not using it. You dont think it is worth using for your obs?
I ask because I have a pier sitting in my garage for 6 months now.....still waiting for permission to do something with it but one day, maybe...
05-01-2010, 09:48 PM
well i am absolutely buggered. I had mega help today from my brother in law and Alan Meehan. A lot got done!!!! ran the Data cables, and the power cables, dug a few trenches and broke out a concrete path. A great way of using 2m3 of concrete LOL - the extra becomes instant roundup....
So - i have used 32MPa 10mm mix - the pier was done in a complete pour - thats why there are the retaining wall bricks on top to keep it from rising - forgot to tie it off to the reo - note must remember that if ever i get to do it again ;)
it was pretty hot work, but rewarding.
all that is left now is to run the floor supports and then start drilling and screwing the decking on.
05-01-2010, 09:56 PM
this is the aftermath of the concrete pour
06-01-2010, 06:35 AM
06-01-2010, 09:23 AM
i had probably 3-5mm slump on the pier, with some heat crazing near the centre - will top up with a mortar mix later. certainly looks like it wont move much
06-01-2010, 10:35 AM
Well done mate, gee youre not mucking around, taking shape nice and fast.
Will have to have a Grand Opening Night to celebrate First Light Will have to give the new observatory a name too "Doghouse Observatory" sounds great :)
06-01-2010, 10:59 AM
Great progress ! - even better when you have extra pairs of hands.
Do you have a reactive soils in your area (I guess Alan knows all about this?) or have you spudded the pier into bedrock?
Are you going to automate the observatory? Garage door motor systems work a treat. 'Bert' just installed an ASCOM compatible observatory board in my observatory yesterday - which I will link to CCDautopliot in my case.
06-01-2010, 11:35 AM
Congrats to you David!...it'll be grand not having to set up each time..don't forget to make room for a chilly bin!!!
06-01-2010, 01:34 PM
i have reactive soils, its a bummer no rock. probably later down the track i might look at full automation, but for now it will have to be turned by hand
06-01-2010, 04:00 PM
Great to see you have started your observatory Dave!
Shall have to keep a eye out on your progress!
The pier looks real solid!
06-01-2010, 09:01 PM
yeah i hope it is real stable there is about 1m3 in that pier and base.
Just finished nailing 500 clouts and 100 screws - and i only 3 beams installed, need to buy some more tomorrow to finish the rest
Oh my Goodness !!!!!
I can't believe my eyes. :scared2:
Is this really happening?
Ever since I joined the forum I've been waiting to see this moment come true !
Congrats mate, I can't wait to see it complete.
LOL I'll be coming up for the opening ceremony.
Are you sure it's big enough to fit all your equipment. :lol:
LOL Geoff that's the funniest thing I've read on here this week.
06-01-2010, 09:58 PM
yes mate you are seeing the real deal!!!:rofl: as for palmdale - must be a central coast thing:shrug:
your most welcome mate:D i can say its a hell of a lot of work - i am hoping my choice of pier method will work and be stable. 32mpa set real hard;)
So mate when do we see the hard boiled observatory:rofl:
LOL Palmdale is the local cemetery and they provide tents like the one in your photos for when it's hot or raining.
I can just imagine how much work is involved but it will all be worth it in the end mate it's going to be fantastic and you won't know yourself.
LOL my observatory is on hold atm......I'm saving for a bargain 5D MkII from you know who. :lol:
06-01-2010, 11:27 PM
when you do come up - bring that prissy 47DD of yours;)
you know watching the observatories being built - it all looked so easy and effortlessly managed, whith a sparkling and remarkable result - sorta like a garden makeover - oh how that is not true:P
as a builder i make a good garden knome - useless - i think i have found out that i have some muscle groups in my lower back and swollen disks - LOL the brufen is my friend ATM:lol: as for my forearms - they just throb and ache - boy what a whinger i am
the dog has chewed two pair of gloves, and deficcated right next to the observatory - a swear my wife is secretly training her to do that!!:help:
so far i have easily spent around $900 on hardware including the timber framing, $550 for the hardwood decking boards and $410 for the concrete. my poor MC has been hit hard, though i can think of other occasions where it may have had a hiding;)
Probably get some decking oil and some more pines and treated pine sleepers for a garden bed border. so ther goes another couple of hundred - and the A$ is going up;) . I might have to have a garage sale to consolidate the collection for the observatory and then travelling:help:
07-01-2010, 01:58 PM
It is a lot of hard work and money David. It is also the best thing you ever did for yourself and your astronomy.
To walk in and have everything setup and connected and polar aligned, then just turn on the power computers etc, roll off the roof. The hardest thing is removing the dust caps from the scopes and finder.
The best thing of the lot. If the weather changes suddenly you are ready to go or able to shut the roof.
It is all looking good from down here in Melbourne.
07-01-2010, 08:20 PM
yes i do look forward to the quick setup:thumbsup:
07-01-2010, 08:24 PM
ok finished nailing up the base this afternoon - rain and showers on and off all day. 1400 clouts, 350 screws and 50 100mm nails LOL
07-01-2010, 08:49 PM
Oh My God!!!!! Hell has just frozen over. :eyepop:
07-01-2010, 09:56 PM
LOL i am trying to catch up to you Paul;)
07-01-2010, 10:15 PM
You had better hurry, I've already had first light :lol:
07-01-2010, 10:22 PM
hopefully i will be in full operation within the next month. i have the decking to put on, then get the electrical connected, install the dome and put in astroturf, get the data networking going and then set up the pier. Oh and get the landscaping done before i see first light or i see nothing at all if yhou know what i mean......
Dave you forgot one thing !!!
You didn't get council approval.
I know someone in Newcastle Council if you need it. :rofl:
You two are way ahead of me, stop tormenting me with all these construction threads......unsubscribing to both threads. :mad2:
08-01-2010, 10:50 AM
I have to disagree! That's exactly how yours looks to me!:P:D
It's good to see an obs develop.;)
08-01-2010, 03:14 PM
LOL the deck is below the 10m2 limit and is development exempt;) :lol:
08-01-2010, 03:15 PM
Al Al Al - its taken me 5 hours to get on 5 rows of timber decking and surrounds. at this rate it wont be ready before christmas
08-01-2010, 03:23 PM
Wow that's looking fantastic, Dave! I'm very jealous.
09-01-2010, 10:06 AM
Great stuff there David, looks like it's coming along nicely.;)
It's a huge job but the reward at the end will be nice when your sitting nice and cozy in there imaging away with no major setting up to do and if the mrs ever kicks you out for the night you will be more than happy to be in the doghouse.:lol:
09-01-2010, 03:39 PM
By hand or nail gun? One man put up 130m of hardwood paling fence here in about 8 hours with a compressed air nail gun.
09-01-2010, 10:02 PM
Hey Dave!! Great stuff mate - looking good! :thumbsup: It's great to watch a new obs taking shape. And even though, when it's finished, you'll be dooming us all to more months of cloudy nights - I'm happy for you!! :) :question:
09-01-2010, 10:05 PM
09-01-2010, 10:11 PM
'Course you will! I haven't seen anything in the fine print about which Christmas!:P;)
Don't worry about how long it takes... if you're slow, you'll get quicker... if your fussy, you'll do a great job... if you're banging your thumb all the time, you'll expand your vocabulary! It's all good!!!:D:lol:
09-01-2010, 10:24 PM
well today i had some great help from Al Meehan. The good news it that the deck is finished, all bar the decking oil. Boy it was hot - reached 41 in the shade.
09-01-2010, 10:36 PM
thanks Marcus -
09-01-2010, 10:39 PM
thanks Mike, green is a wonderful colour
10-01-2010, 06:55 AM
wow houghy looking bloody fantastic and when its your own dome you dont mind working in that heat!!!!!!
congrats looking great
have you been given permission to put the dome on the deck by the financial adviser (wife) hahahah
10-01-2010, 07:31 AM
Won't get it finished by Christmas...phfft!:lol:
The momentum is up now Dave! Nearly there!;):thumbsup:
10-01-2010, 08:58 AM
well i have sold my soul to get this.............:help:
10-01-2010, 09:04 AM
to be honest - i couldn't have got the decking finished as soon as it was without the help of Alan. He is such a top bloke. I kept up the ginger beers and water and he worked like a trouper. I go back to work tomorrow:sadeyes: so i needed to get this complete to this stage.
i will have to get the dome prepared - have to clean it up and give the fibreglass a polish and remove the existing double sided tape. must remember to and get some more double sided tape - any suggestions as to the type required?
10-01-2010, 10:45 AM
LOL thanks for the reminder. I have to landscape the front section before i move on, i have to shift the soil i have near the fence.
10-01-2010, 05:01 PM
also houghy (with out your lady reading this) there a great place to retreat while your introuble;);)
10-01-2010, 09:46 PM
oiled the deck and made the garden box
13-01-2010, 08:52 PM
congratulations for your work; it's my dream to build one like this.
I have a garden but I've not the permission to build something in it : in my town the rules and laws are ... crazy.
Good luck and clear skies
13-01-2010, 09:01 PM
thanks Giorgio and i wish you luck. Generally it has been very hard - i have had to beg and suffer for this;) - or really how much the wife has suffered because of it:eyepop::P
13-01-2010, 10:47 PM
how did you attach the dome to the deck?
14-01-2010, 09:05 AM
Hi Dave. Bolts through the deck - 2 per panel (I can crawl under my deck). Then went around the outside with silicone sealant.
14-01-2010, 09:33 AM
thanks Marcus, as you know i can't er- um; crawl under for that now LOL. might have to think of another way.
14-01-2010, 11:41 AM
Some heavy gauge screws should do then. Better if your deck is a hardwood in that case though.
You can always Dynabolt it to my slab. :P :whistle:
14-01-2010, 12:02 PM
The deck is Merbou, the base is treated H4 pine
14-01-2010, 12:05 PM
SUre thing Andrew. I will even deliver it when i am finished with it
14-01-2010, 01:04 PM
OMG i just added up the hardware and the concrete - $2144.37
14-01-2010, 02:43 PM
still cheap :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
14-01-2010, 02:59 PM
Is that all. LOLOL
14-01-2010, 03:02 PM
i suppose - the dome was 2K plus the trip up to get it and trailer hire and fuel
16-01-2010, 05:19 PM
Following this thread with interest (especially since I have plenty of room in my backyard and a loving wife! :question: ).
Being new to this astronomy caper though, what on earth is that big tub full of concrete in the middle for?
The deck itself looks great! Well done.
16-01-2010, 06:22 PM
Nice work so far Dave, I like the pacifier, sorry I meant planter box.
I can just imagine the payback installment next year around Astrofest time...... "No David you don't need to go to Qld now you have an observatory." :poke:
Keep the pics coming.
16-01-2010, 06:40 PM
it is the base for my pier
16-01-2010, 08:50 PM
As you can see i had to clean up the garage a tad before i started to clean the panels of Caulking. I did that then bribed my daughter to help.
That didn't work as she gave up after i took the photo LOL. I scraped off the caulking from when it was at Rockhampton. Took a fair time to do that, hoping tomorrow to set up the walls and bolt together the dome section butthat depends on a number of family factors:D
16-01-2010, 11:10 PM
You will be pleased to hear that I ordered my Sirius Observatory on Thursday after a 10 year hint to SWMBO. I must be very subtle
16-01-2010, 11:28 PM
get as many bays as you can afford - one is simply not enough but i cant afford to get more - yet. get two or three bays.
you lucky sod. they putting it up or you?
17-01-2010, 12:00 AM
I got it with two bays as that was about my limit for several reasons. I hope to start the deck in the next week so Ill probably be a month behind you as the Obs is to be delivered some time in February and since Im going to retire near the end of this year its all coming together nicely. Pity I live in the CBD if BrisVegas but I feel a nice mono CCD with narrowband filters coming on.
Ill be putting it together myself with no doubt the help of a neighbour or two as they all think Im nuts but very intriguing.
17-01-2010, 12:22 AM
Fair enough. I hope it will be a work of art.:thumbsup:
17-01-2010, 12:35 AM
Just like yours - SHMBO even went to Bunnings today and hunted out some solar panels and lights for inside the observatory. Maybe she is showing an interest of glad to get me out of the house. :shrug:
17-01-2010, 12:38 AM
run 240V power - the only things you want solar are the exhuast fan so its running all the daylight hours.
did you get the motorised dome?
17-01-2010, 12:45 AM
David - agree with you on that. Im running power to it and Ill look at running a solar ehhaust fan. Any idea of where to get one in Aus?
17-01-2010, 07:58 AM
Phil who i bought it off said he used a marine one, which he sought out. maybe a PM to him, he may remember?
17-01-2010, 02:03 PM
guess what - assembling the observatory we now have thunderstorms approaching. i am also a few bolts and nuts short of the full quid, must have left them behind in rockhampton, need to get some more. have tied down the structures with trailer rope...
17-01-2010, 02:59 PM
If you need some nuts there are plenty around here! Mere teething problems h0ughy. Just keep at it and you will win in the end. The day we decided to put the insulated panels on the roof of my ROR obs the rain started just as we got the last panel in place. I still need to put more fixing screws in but I keep putting it off as it all works.
I left gaps between my decking so there was a natural air flow from the cool ground to the hot roof. There is no need for any active fans as the temperature differential looks after the ventilation automatically. This is why I went for the split ROR as the hottest air is at the gap between the roofs at the highest point. Melboune has a greater variabilty radiant heat problem than up your way. So this may not be relevant.
17-01-2010, 09:11 PM
as i said earlier the storms moved in stopping further progress and i had to tie down the structures. i really need to get these mounted and fixed, need to watch the video again ;)
have to see how i go but may need to enlist the help of a few people to life the dome on....
17-01-2010, 09:43 PM
Looking good, Dave!
17-01-2010, 10:58 PM
Yep good stuff Dave.
18-01-2010, 08:31 AM
That's looking mighty fine :thumbsup:
18-01-2010, 08:40 AM
hoping it will be
be even better when i get the dome on top
This is just too good to be true !
I'm so excited for your Dave, glad it's all coming together mate, it looks awesome.
When are you planning to lift the dome up onto the obs?
If it's towards the end of the week, I *may* be able to come up for a drive.
LOL at the pooch, it's already taken possession of the doghouse. :lol:
18-01-2010, 11:50 AM
lol, thanks for the offer but i will try to get some local talent
19-01-2010, 05:45 AM
wow no holding back know looks great
19-01-2010, 06:26 AM
gave the dome a quick polish last night as it will be hard to get to after its up. Also need to run some sealant on the outside joints.
19-01-2010, 10:04 AM
one question - should i have put in all the bolts (only finger tight) before i place the dome on the top, and how do i position the pier and the opening?
19-01-2010, 10:05 AM
The Doghouse is looking great Dave! :thumbsup: And seeing your progress report images brings back fond memories of sweaty days under the summer sun building Bells Obs (http://www.pbase.com/gailmarc/observatory). I'm warning you though, you'll reeeeeally miss setting up and tearing down!!! ;) Psssst ... something that no-one's told you yet - observatories attract clouds! :mad2:
19-01-2010, 10:27 AM
If you're talking about the wall panel bolts, yes. I made sure my walls formed as near a perfect circle as possible using a tape measure (with all bolts a bit loose) and nudging (with a bit of effort) the walls until it was right. Then I secured all wall bolts tightly and attached each panel to the deck before lifting the dome on. Bolt at least one pannel to the deck first so your "nudging" doesnt shift the whole structure. Oh and make sure all the walls are level at the top - some shimming underneath may be necessary.
Not sure what you mean about the pier and the opening(?)
19-01-2010, 10:37 AM
Was your pier centrally located or slightly offset? BTW thanks for the descriptions - have duly noted:thumbsup:
19-01-2010, 10:55 AM
yes storms on sunday when putting it up:lol:
19-01-2010, 02:23 PM
Dead center ... weeeell ... within 3 millimeters of center anyway :D. You would only need to offset if you were using a wedge. Will you be automating the dome rotation?
19-01-2010, 02:38 PM
ultimately i will do that but for now it will be manual.
19-01-2010, 02:39 PM
It is universally acknowledged among all shed - worshipping cultures that a man needs a place to call his own, to spread out, to take control of in his own style and manner. And seeing this in no way can be achieved in the family home, the shed/dome offers itself as the ideal answer to the primitive urge to be a proud homo sapiens - and hide. As a fellow traveller down the dome slope, I'd like to pass on some learnings from my own personal journey so far:
1. I found that obtaining equipment for a dome observatory is relatively easy. As is installing, callibrating, collimating and interfacing all the neccessary parts. So don't be discouraged by all those loose wires that don't have a home, nor the four Naglers that don't fit into your customised focusser - just put them in a box under the bed and buy four more! The real challenge, David, with respect to gear, is paying for the stuff and this requires some real serious "out of the square" thinking. For example, do I really need that operation? And while we're on the subject, who says the kids need an education - or shoes for that matter! We went barefoot everywhere in my day AND we walked to school, soccer practice, friends places and hitch hiked to the beach and it didn't hurt us! Our entertainment was a stick and an empty jam tin in the back yard! See, Dave, easy in the end!
2. Take full advantage of the amazing acoustic potential of your dome - install a sound system that can play atmospheric mood music while you explore the heavens - I find my son's Metallica collection helps to keep me on the ball at 3am, and judging by the lights that go on at my neighbours house 1km away across the fields, they, too seem to enjoy the music. Sound travels so well on a still night when fired out of a dome with a well - aimed opening.
3. ESSENTIAL!!!! Make sure your bar fridge has an uninterruptable power supply attached. I have personally seen the results of bar fridges failing at critical moments. And it's not justthe so-called "boozy" visual observers either. Astrophotograhpers can be hit just as hard by cooling failure so go for quality AND volume here. (NB. You may also like to plug the espresso machine into the UPS, just in case).
4. Good insulation is essential. Spousal noise can penetrate domestic acoustic screening fitted to a dome, so I recommend "Hear No Wife", available in 30m rolls from Bunnings - but get there early Friday as the truck only delivers on Fridays andthey are usually sold out by Monday morning.(Almost forgot! There is an extra outer layer you can add later called "Sorry dear, I didn't hear your mother banging her fists on the dome" - which I highly recommend).
Hope this helps,
19-01-2010, 02:41 PM
good news - I have enlisted the help of the worlds strongest man, Alan Meehan and his son and myself to lift the dome on tonight at 5.30pm......so if you feel a jolt and the earth moved for you then blame Mike Sidonio as he moved it to place the dome on the base........
19-01-2010, 02:43 PM
LOL well i have a lot to look forward to:lol:
19-01-2010, 02:45 PM
how did you achieve that - strings and plumbob? or just tape and good luck?
19-01-2010, 03:17 PM
Sheer, unadulterated skill :D ... and some patience.
19-01-2010, 10:41 PM
Marcus - what was the length and thickness of the rope used for the sliding shutter. i must have forgotten to pick it up after i pulled down the observatory in rockhampton? I cannot install the shutter without it.
19-01-2010, 10:49 PM
Well with some brilliant help from Alan Meehan and Mike Sidonio the dome has been installed.
20-01-2010, 12:22 AM
3mm nylon, Dunno the length ... I'll have a look.
20-01-2010, 12:28 AM
thanks, can you provide a picture of the threading and the smaller door setup?
20-01-2010, 05:16 AM
It looks awesome from here Houghy!
I'm having deck ' n ' pier envy...
20-01-2010, 07:30 AM
it was a pearler of a night - absolutely teasing me. I cant lock it up yet as I have misplaced the key for the door lock and have to put the hatch covers on, then i will install the pier. mind you thought the mozzies are really bad, and angry!!!
That looks awesome mate !
LOL you've misplaced the key ? :doh:
20-01-2010, 12:13 PM
yeah i am really laughing at that one:doh::confuse3::o
20-01-2010, 12:54 PM
Nothing guarantees clear weather quite like a partly built observatory!:P
(Different effects will be noticed once its finished however;)):lol:
20-01-2010, 12:58 PM
yep you put yours up and we had your rain for months ;):P
20-01-2010, 01:03 PM
marc4darkskies provided me with the diameter of the cord that operated the hatch (3mm nylon) but what length of rope do i need?
20-01-2010, 01:09 PM
It all looks glorious...enjoy it!
20-01-2010, 01:13 PM
Don't just use any nylon rope, you want braided or a kernmantle type otherwise it will stretch/wear and break with exposure to U/V.
You may have to send an email to Sirius to get the length, doubt if anyone will pull it out just to measure it :lol:. Installation of the rope is in the manual.
20-01-2010, 01:29 PM
Just did a quick measure for you, you will need at least 7 meters of line.
20-01-2010, 01:31 PM
20-01-2010, 02:39 PM
I have just ordered one of these for the POD:
I have been looking for a while, and this price seems reasonable. I was also tossing up making a dome cover rather than buying and fitting one of these but once fitted this will be much more convenient than a dome cover...:)
Gee h0ughy has a big deck! Some deck humour here (http://www.zuckervati.com/missinglinks/archives/2009/07/big-deck---starring-drew-carey.html)....
20-01-2010, 10:11 PM
;):D:lol: lucky i dont pronounce that with a eastern tasman accent:D
20-01-2010, 10:33 PM
ok i put on the covers tonight, not really happy with the lower opening - the attachment screws dont seem right and basically just went straight through - need to put in some screws with locking nuts.
Also i have no idea how the linkages go together - any photos of some of yours fellas to show me?
also the bottom of the solar fan
20-01-2010, 10:56 PM
Awesome job Dave ,I'm sooooooo jealous. Strongmanmike looks buggered in the pic.:lol:
20-01-2010, 11:05 PM
I'm yet to convince God (she who holds purse strings)that this is a good idea.
AHHH!!! WELL!!! one day, LOL!!!!!!!!!:lol:
20-01-2010, 11:13 PM
he dropped in after a big day at work;)
20-01-2010, 11:14 PM
Mate i am living proof there is a GOD. there was no way i was ever going to have one of these - then it happened.;)
20-01-2010, 11:16 PM
AH!!!! So Sweet . Thanks Houghy there's hope for me yet,LOL:lol::lol::lol::rofl::rofl:: rofl::rofl::rofl:
21-01-2010, 10:20 AM
Can't help you with the linkage setup, mine is the old, light chain and rope method :), easy except in the wind, it jumps around a bit :lol:.
The screws holding the lower shutter are countersunk machine screws and are fitted with a flat washer and a nyloc nut, once tightened you wont need to touch them again.
22-01-2010, 07:42 AM
I am missing two of the lock nuts as that area must have been damaged? not sure how? i bought some of the same screws last night at bunnings with nuts but they are not lock nuts - more like flat nuts. Might try to go to a specialist nut and bolt place to get the right one
I am still yet to work out the linkage bar - its testing my feeble brain:help:
22-01-2010, 08:40 AM
May you have many happy hours of observing and just as many clear skies!
Cheers Petra d.
22-01-2010, 12:44 PM
This is how the lower shutter attachment should look.
22-01-2010, 12:53 PM
thanks John, i will be gettng some of those nuts today hopefully.
All i need do now is work out the bar mechinism for the hatch. And your a bugger for advertising that AO8 unit - cruel;)
22-01-2010, 12:54 PM
22-01-2010, 09:51 PM
David, John and anyone else that has a Sirius observatory. What is the recommended height of the pier in one of these observatories given that the wall height is 1.5 meters?
22-01-2010, 10:28 PM
23-01-2010, 12:00 AM
the pier is about 350 above the deck, then the pier height lowered is 700, so that makes just over the metre, then there is the actual mount, have to measure the G11 - but lets assume its another 350 so there is 1.4m, then i can raise the pier up to another 600 above that if needed LOL so i can place a camera very near to 2m from the deck, the top of the dome is the opening fully extended for some very wide field shots - guided, or leave it in the base position for rock solid performance.
but thats my problem, however Marcus drew this up - its a great guide (http://www.pbase.com/gailmarc/image/86418453)
23-01-2010, 10:21 AM
My pier is 1200mm, 1150 from the floor, that is based on using a refractor, NJP mount and my height, 183cm.
:bowdown: I wish I was able to construct such things of beauty! (nice 'den' as well!)
23-01-2010, 09:20 PM
Depends on your gear but I found my 42" ATS pier (1067mm) to be the perfect height for my EM 400 mount + refractor. When horizontal, my OTA points just above the bottom of the slit.
23-01-2010, 10:30 PM
your pier base was flush with the floor wasnt it Marcus?
23-01-2010, 11:20 PM
i finished the planter boxes tonight - while it was cool. so have planted 8 Morgan pines. Also i have added ties downs for the observatory and topped up the concrete top surface to make it smooth and level. will seal it up tomorrow with goop weather permitting
24-01-2010, 08:55 AM
Yep - pretty much. I actually made it just below the deck surface. The ATS pier sits on pretty large leveling nuts (on 3/4" bolts) and I wanted to cancel out some of the extra pier height that created. (you can kind of see that in this pic http://www.pbase.com/gailmarc/image/91115803/large). So the bottom of the pier actually sits fairly flush with the level of the false floor (9mm ply + carpet).
24-01-2010, 09:20 AM
ThNks for the information. Tomorrow Ill start digging for the pier foundations.
24-01-2010, 03:57 PM
yes i am spoilt by the fact i can select my own height and vary it accordingly - which is why i can select a refractor, CAT, or newt on the one pier.
I wish you well Allan
24-01-2010, 09:28 PM
Well i sealed up the base and the joints this morning, installed high wind secure mounts and installed a external lock. for all intensive purposes the dome is now complete. I need to get the power and data hooked up and install the pier and mount and scopes now the observatory is secure.
24-01-2010, 09:36 PM
Only two words for it!!!
24-01-2010, 10:15 PM
Nice one David, really looks the bee's knees
24-01-2010, 10:27 PM
Phil was the real genius - he designed and made the mounting brackets for strong wind - i just amplified his design slightly. the padlock was in my mind the whole time - i am glad it worked out well. I redid the top of the pier on saturday morning to make it level and even.
25-01-2010, 09:29 AM
That looks excellent David. Nice landscaping as well :thumbsup:
25-01-2010, 08:30 PM
:rofl: yes its original isnt it
25-01-2010, 08:38 PM
OK did a spot of basic rough concreting today, and got the gear together for tomorrow. I intent to install the pier.
25-01-2010, 09:25 PM
Looks fantastic David. :thumbsup: How are the neighbours with it - are they curious?
25-01-2010, 09:29 PM
I can't believe how quick that's coming together, David! Brilliant!
25-01-2010, 09:44 PM
yes had them over to have a look;)
25-01-2010, 09:45 PM
thanks mike - its a lot of work but worth it:thumbsup:
25-01-2010, 10:17 PM
Looking good, Dave.
I think Mike needs one... that'll spark up his motivation!:D
25-01-2010, 11:12 PM
:rofl: he is more motivated than me at the moment - at least he has imaged something - all i seem to be doing is building and spending more money for no gain ;)
26-01-2010, 01:02 AM
very impressive dave.
I get busy for a few months and you become a moderator and convince your darling wife to let you build this......
WOW, anything is possible.
26-01-2010, 01:17 AM
i don't remember when i was made moderator, but i do remember the wife saying she wanted the garage cleaned up. for me to do that i had , just had to put up the dome so i could clear the space in the garage:thumbsup:
26-01-2010, 01:32 AM
the Doghouse under fire;)
26-01-2010, 08:23 AM
My name is Al, and I have an observatory too. It's OK not to image while you are building or working on your observatory...:P:lol:
26-01-2010, 11:51 AM
thanks Al there are not a lot of us;)
26-01-2010, 12:03 PM
Try and turf the deck as well :) . It looks like a huge heat sink . Only one way for much of that heat out of the dome ..via the dome slit.
Geez that's looking fantastic Davo, love how it's all come together for you !!
Knowing you, you'll whack all three on there at once !
You've got enough cameras to do it !
26-01-2010, 03:52 PM
26-01-2010, 03:54 PM
mmmm just woke up from having a afternoon kip in aircon......was dreaming of doing something like that:lol:;)
As for the configuration - i am thinking that i will use the 10" R200 meade i have and ed80 on for guide scope, maybe try to fit on the R200SS on the side - see what i can fit through the 0.6m opening ;)
28-01-2010, 10:14 PM
the other storms that we have had have been really non rain events, until tonight. We had 28mm rain in 15minutes and that finally found the weak spots in the dome. it leaked over the door and at the lower hatch cover hinge connections. now for some reason i have water on the inside of the storage bay at the top underside? not sure how that happened. i was going to cover the floor but i might not do that now?
anyway i marked out the pier location on the pier footing - allowing for 12.5 degrees offset for magnetic north (Newcastle) - hopefully the weather will hold out so i can drill the holes - too wet to have the 240 cable out in the rain
28-01-2010, 10:29 PM
Loved the idea of your storm cleats. Can you tell me where you got the attachment pieces (those that attach to the dome)? Or did you make them and bolt them on. A close up photo would be much appreciated as Sirius Observatories notified me today that mine is being made at the moment and will be deliver within two weeks. Feels like Xmas all over again except that I have smashed both my thumbs doing the decking over the break.
28-01-2010, 10:34 PM
Credit where credit is due - Phil the original owner made those - i just improved on his design by beefing up the turnbuckles. He made them from aluminium and used one of the original bolts holes and drilled the other with longer bolts.
and come on post some images of your deck - and thumbs LOL
29-01-2010, 09:46 AM
Here you are - you sadist.
Sorry about the quality but photos taken with my phone camera
29-01-2010, 10:02 AM
You shouldn't be getting water in from the lower hinge connections, if it does leak there it should just go onto the lip where the dome rotating wheels run. Sounds to me like there is nothing sealing the join where the side pieces attach at the top, on the original kit there are a number of pieces of waterproof tape that go over the area of the upper lip where the dome wheels run and seal it., when I rebuilt mine I used a silicon sealer to completely fill in the gap and I extended it upward as well to fill in most of the remaining gap. To get at the area you will probably have to remove the inner ring and the join covering moulds. Other than that there should be no other way for the water to come in.
29-01-2010, 10:04 AM
lovely deck - could almost serve drinks ;) as for the thumb :rofl: - - sorry;)
29-01-2010, 10:09 AM
little bit confused as to exactly where you mean - do you have a photo John? i had waterproofing tape in all the joints of the segments and used a sealant for the outside - but i have nothing (no sealant) where the wheels run. the water came in through the bolt holes, and the lower hinge area.
as for the water in the storage space - dont know? the base was dry the walls were dry but the inside sloping surface was damp? the central pier area was bone dry:thumbsup:
29-01-2010, 10:46 AM
At the top of the walls there is a sloping lip with about a 2"-3" inner wall, the inner ring is attached to it. The dome wheels run on the lip. Where the walls join at the top, the waterproof sealing should actually cover the area of the lip but there is a gap (as shown on the attached photo) waterproof tape was supplied to cover that gap and extend across the join on the lip. I had to make sure that the gap (as shown) was covered otherwise water could seep in and down the walls, I ended up using a silicon sealer to fill in this gap. I appreciate that the rubber skirt on the dome is supposed to stop water from entering but water from the hinges should, if it comes in, run down the dome and onto the sloping lip and onto the outside.
I have never had any problems with the bays, sure it's not just condesation although that shouldn't happen with the wooden base.
Hope that explains things a bit better
29-01-2010, 11:34 AM
yes it does John - thanks
29-01-2010, 10:39 PM
going back to the pier height - i just installed the variable height pier and G11. at its lower level the pier measures 1520mm from the floor to the centre of the telescope mount locking knob on the g11. In the full up position it measures 2020mm. Oh it looks sexy....
30-01-2010, 09:45 AM
Here are some photos of the mount in place, but I was disheartened this morning that there was moisture over the mount. I can only assume that this is due to the gaps in the floor and water underneath the deck due to the gap in the boards. I am wondering do I seal this off completely or leave it so it can offer ventilation?
Allan I have taken some images of Philís bracket and the turnbuckle assembly. Hope it helps.
Also I have taken a shot of the lower hatch connections showing where they leak.
30-01-2010, 10:05 AM
The moisture on the mount...
Could you tell if it was:
Leakage from the dome?
Condensation from the dome?
Condensation on the mount itself?
I wouldn't have expected condensation on the mount inside the observatory, but I suppose if the ground is real wet underneath the deck its possible:shrug:.
A little bit of silastic on the leaking bolts should tidy them up.:thumbsup:
30-01-2010, 10:15 AM
do you think it might be from the rotting/ dying grass under
the deck ? See your earliest pics from the start of the thread.
You know how you get lots of moisture under a plastic dropsheet
when you put it over growing lawn?
It might dissipate once the lawn is completely dead?:shrug:
30-01-2010, 10:39 AM
Sounds like you had a night of extremely high humidity, my mount gets wet on those sort of nights here during winter.
I would not cover the gaps you have in the floor, just put in a false floor, I used 12mm C/D ply, butt joined across the middle, suitably undercoated and primed and put some outdoor carpet over the top, never had any water problems at all. Should the ply eventually rot, nice and cheap and easy to replace.
The lower hinge points look damaged for some reason, perhaps a strip of stick-on sealant under the hinge and wide flat washers may solve the water entry problem.
30-01-2010, 01:04 PM
the moisture was not from leaking and there was no condensation on the dome walls, only on the mount:shrug:
30-01-2010, 01:07 PM
dont know - we have had some quite heavy rain here the past few nights and possibly some water is still under the floor?
30-01-2010, 01:09 PM
thanks John i might just undo a few bolts and squirt in some sealent then do it back up and then add more sealent around the hinge and nuts just for good measure
30-01-2010, 08:15 PM
That's probably normal Dave. As John said, probably high humidity air
trapped inside and it condensed as the temp fell.
The first surface to cool to dew point would be metal, not a fibreglass
wall. That's why I get rust show on my lathe chuck/bed etc in the shed
and why you get droplets form under a metal verandah sheeting on a dewy
30-01-2010, 08:45 PM
i am beside myself -there are intermittent showers and its full moon, i have no power permanently until Monday evening, but i couldn't help myself. I put the Meade 10" on top the mount. note the positions of the mount and scope, lowered, mid and full height.
How old is the concrete pier? as concrete releases a lot of moisture as it cures.
30-01-2010, 10:11 PM
lets see it was poured on 5 January which makes it 25 days cured or old
30-01-2010, 10:15 PM
Hey Mr ponders - i have some new velcro
30-01-2010, 10:49 PM
Perhaps it's a leaky solar vent. Mine was not watertight and in heavy rain would let a little water in. Thankfully I had covered the telescope (and still do today) with a large plastic bin liner when I noticed the odd drop falling from the fan. Simple fix though - silicone sealant the clear plastic cover where it meets the metal housing.
30-01-2010, 11:00 PM
i sealed up everything else today and that was the only thing i did not do
31-01-2010, 01:07 PM
Nice pics Dave, its all your faut re. the bad weather!
31-01-2010, 02:11 PM
no its not my fault:D
31-01-2010, 08:37 PM
a job well done houghy be very proud of what youve built its a credit to you and the lads that helped:thumbsup::thumbsup:
31-01-2010, 09:25 PM
01-02-2010, 09:50 PM
i now have permanent power to the observatory
Good to hear David.
But a word of caution mate, after the near disastrous lightning strike I suffered this week (as you know), I'd seriously look at some way of protecting the gear in the dog house or at least have some way of physically isolating both the power and data cables from the mount itself.
Even a data cable alone can be very dangerous as I found out.
01-02-2010, 11:04 PM
i have a double power point with powerboards from it - easy to unplug:shrug:
02-02-2010, 02:47 PM
yet thats what i do after every use pull the plug out you just never know
02-02-2010, 03:01 PM
David, Mark and others
Sorry to bother you but I think my observatory is arriving next week and I wanted to ask specifically what was the method of fixing the panels to the deck. I have hardwood decking on a permapine (ie not hardwood) deck. The deck is very solid as its constructed from 200x50 sleepers al la JohnG's design. But I was wondering exactly what bolts/screws or what ever was used to afix the panels to the decking. Actual measurements of screws and washers would be of massive assistance. I affixed the actual merbu decking to the deck using spiral nails which I can garantee will never pull out, but want to make sure that the panels dont pull off the decking. Did you afix the panels to the decking or go through that to the actual supports below the decking ie the bearers?
Again many thanks
02-02-2010, 09:10 PM
I had made sure that my decking was at least 6"-8" above ground level, that way it allowed for air circulation and it also allowed me to reach underneath and use 3/8" bolts with flat washers top and bottom to secure the walls, I just drilled through the side wall lower lip and through the decking between the joists. I used two (2) bolts per wall panel.
02-02-2010, 09:44 PM
http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/attachment_browse.php?a=70701 if you see in this shot i have 3-4 roofing screws per panel note that everything is screwed on the deck not nailed
02-02-2010, 11:31 PM
David and John
Thanks to both of you for your replies. I'll be making sure I will screw the whole thing down as best as I can. Went to Bunnies and saw the lock down devices you made up and will be installing them too
03-02-2010, 07:43 AM
Allan to clarify I used just a tad over 700 screws on the decking board portion of the deck - I wanted to make sure that the hardwood deck would be securely fastened to the base - LOL which I used well over 1300 framing clouts on the brackets and 330 screws. Probably overkill but I didn’t want to chance it as I had every intention of screwing the base of the observatory to the deck with several roofing screws. I didn’t drill any holes in the base either - just self drilling tips right through. That was after I had levelled the observatory and had the dome on and rotating nicely.
another note i made sure that any screw i put in for the dome was in the middle of a board
03-02-2010, 08:18 AM
Dave congratulations on the achievement mate, sometimes bribery and corruption does go a long way. ;)
Now make sure you get to enjoy the fruits of your deception! :thumbsup:
03-02-2010, 08:51 AM
LOL and something I lack - patience
03-02-2010, 08:14 PM
Some shots of the finished pier a la JohnG and yourself and some of the pier from a design by Guido Pasi which is absolutely a joy to adjust and setup. Put 3 coats on the deck and 2 on the bearers.
03-02-2010, 09:32 PM
looking good Allan. i was extremely disappointed in the decking stain i chose but i am getting used to it
17-02-2010, 01:28 PM
Just had word that my observatory arrives Friday.
Beginning to feel a sickie coming on.
Been raining like crazy in Brisbane the last few days and the mount and pier have been sitting out in it protected by plastic bags etc. At least the dog hasn't decided to remove the plastic protective cover.
Have to get this finished off before my son's wedding - lucky me!
18-02-2010, 12:48 PM
Hi Dave, I have just read the whole of this thread and I am mighty impressed with your progress on your observatory :eyepop: I hope you get many hours of enjoyment out of it:D:D:D
Is the name "Doghouse Observatory" it's final name or do you have a more Grandiose name planned?
Fantastic job, from you and all who helped:thumbsup:
18-02-2010, 01:07 PM
Well since it is a sirius observatory and we have a new do i thought it might stay like that, after all Sirius is commonly known as 'the Dog Star'.
27-02-2010, 09:53 AM
OK this is the first post from within the doghouse observatory.
yes i have finally got my network cables done and have set up Internet connection to the observatory. this means now i can image and be on the net at the same time:D:D:)
27-02-2010, 09:57 AM
Sounds like you're gonna have to rename it to "Heaven Observatory". Starting to give a bad name to your standard average dog house. ;)
27-02-2010, 12:32 PM
LOL just wait until you see the next image with the setup LOL then reference that to Allan Goulds shot of his........and spot the difference (hint one has neat cables):rofl:
27-02-2010, 04:03 PM
well i have the computers in now - updating software and loading stuff but i thought i would now show some of the mess i have created
27-02-2010, 04:50 PM
27-02-2010, 05:28 PM
:eyepop: I am surprised you can move in there...........
27-02-2010, 05:28 PM
:rofl::rofl: oh the pain, the pain
27-02-2010, 05:30 PM
i do tend to spread a tad, but i think all i need now is some ND filter for the screens;)
28-02-2010, 09:57 PM
Good use of the new fisheye lens there David ;)
28-02-2010, 10:02 PM
LOL yep bought it just for that LOL;)
01-03-2010, 12:52 PM
David, Just a thought.
If you removed the scope from your observatory you could fit some really great gear in there.
The fisheye lens certainly gives you the feeling of more space - maybe you could rig that up to your head in place of the little red light to give you more room
01-03-2010, 12:55 PM
well Allan I am glad you brought up that fact. I have the R200SS i can use, or the ED127, not to mention a C8, a couple of ED80's......... and a useless operator:P
That's a wonderful looking setup Dave.
Looking back at all the previous pictures you really have done a fantastic job in a short space of time.
03-03-2010, 01:30 PM
thanks Ric - still heaps to go
03-03-2010, 04:35 PM
Are you guys in NSW copping any of this rain??????
If not you can have mine
03-03-2010, 06:21 PM
Nope. Not yet...
10-03-2010, 08:08 AM
I spent last night drift aligning the mount - still haven't got it right, took ages to get focus for the toucam through the 10" then aligning the scopes on a star, then to the task at hand..... I didn't start until after 9pm when I got back from guides with Stephanie, stopped myself at midnight so itís sitting there ready to go for later to do it again. I was way out LOL. I will say the seeing was terrible - the scintillation was atrocious.
10-03-2010, 09:57 AM
Don't know why you are bothering with drift aligning. As a final touch up maybe - but use alignmaster. I did 3 iterations and then went to do a drift align and didnt need to touch it at all. Took 20 mins total.
Guiding was perfect last night with perfectly round stars. First break in the clouds for ages and have attached a quick and dirty M65 (20x4min with DSI II)
10-03-2010, 05:54 PM
To be honest I was waiting very much on the seeing - it was all over the shop and the star sometimes was moving more than 1/2 star diameter in scintillation, so it was a challenge:P
10-03-2010, 07:37 PM
You'll get there David and it really is all it's cracked up to be.
14-12-2010, 01:10 PM
Well to resurrect this thread I thought I would announce that I have just now taken delivery of my dome rotation kit and Maxdome 2 controller in a big long box at my secret delivery facility! What a fabulous pre Christmas gift Santa – how did you know LOL:cool::xmas::xmas:
I opted for jus the rotation only as the full shutter control was a bit too much out of my reach, especially with my other purchases recently ;) LOL
Now i just need to fit it:question: and then get it working
Should you be opening your presents before Christmas Dave?
Oh that's right SHMBO will be there on Christmas day, right?
14-12-2010, 02:09 PM
you are cruel:P
18-12-2010, 09:04 PM
Have you started installation yet David? Can't wait to see you up and running with it. As I understand it there a small solar panel that recharges a battery and that the 12 volt battery is NOT supplied. Is that corect?
Anyway all the best with it Dave - keep us informed as you go.
18-12-2010, 09:41 PM
not true - you get the solar panel, mounting bracket and the battery - they are all in the photos above but in packaging look harder:thumbsup:
18-12-2010, 11:29 PM
Thanks David. Poor eyesight
Wow, this is looking like a serious boys shed you have in the backyard now David. Looking fantastic. Hope you get the odd clear night as a Chrissy present.
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