Old 27-07-2018, 09:42 AM
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Stonius (Markus)
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Leaving Scope unattended

Hi all

I'm a bit paranoid about leaving my scope unattended, I guess. I'm getting to the point where I want to be able to both a) take advantage of an entire evening's worth of dark hours and b) get *some sleep if possible.

I should also mention that I must usually travel for astrophotography nights, so the following day often requires travel back home.

So in leaving a mount unattended for a few hours, what are the things that really need to be considered here?

The things that spring to mind are;
  • Security - where the environment is safe (up to personal judgement I guess).
  • Dew Management - need to make sure it doesn't all dew up while I'm making 'Z's
  • Cable tangles - wrangle the tangles before they happen
  • Mount self-mutilation - set the safety limits
  • Meridian flips - is it possible to automate the flip, focus check, platesolve and re-aquire?
  • Check Weather Forecast

It just freaks me way the hell out to leave many thousands of dollars worth of equipment standing in a field all by itself. Are there any special tricks or things people do to make sure their kit is okay when left by itself? For example no-one ever talks about how to avoid getting dew in mount control boxes, or USB hubs. Is this just never an issue? I was thinking of covering them with shower caps just in case.

Any ideas for 'making safe' gratefully received.


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Old 27-07-2018, 10:52 AM
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Atmos (Colin)
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I routinely leave equipment out in a field (I own the land so security isn’t a problem) but I’ve also left equipment kinda unattended at camping grounds but I’ve been sleeping next to the laptop in a swag.

Dew on much of the equipment isn’t an issue. USB hubs create enough heat to stave off a bit of dew and frost.
Devising a way of stopping cable tangles is very important. This is the same for both unattended and attended imaging.

Sequence Gen Pro can deal with slew limits, meridian flips and refocus.
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Old 27-07-2018, 01:37 PM
glend (Glen)
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Beware wildlife. I recall a young bull knocking over an EQ8 and damaging it at a certain dark site in NSW.
If your using a laptop to run things then you do need to ensure you have adequate power, not just the laptop battery. Use a good deep cycle battery and a DC-DC converter to run tge laptop. There is a nice little wifi box that can be used to run ASI cameras and filter wheel via wifi, but as mentioned SGP does it all. For dew protection of your workstation next to the mount, a plastic storage box, turned on its side, makes a good laptop cubby house. Some folks use pop up toilet cubicles as imaging gear shelters. Some mounts have inbuilt limit sensors and SGP can handle flips. I would suggest practicing your imaging run setup at home before you deploy it in the field, that way no surprises. Other options are to sleep there, or the ultimate accessory - your own observatory, complete with warm room , coffee machine, and remotely connected to your house.
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Old 27-07-2018, 02:27 PM
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I used to leave my rig do its thing on its own, I was in bed and it was in its own house so to speak, so security was fine and dew and frost was fine, it probably boils down to mechanical or electronic failure.
I sure as hell wouldn't leave my Tak imaging rig out in the wilderness so to speak.

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Old 28-07-2018, 09:48 AM
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Andy01 (Andy)
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If youíre in Melbourne you could consider joining the ASV and using their dark site, itís located at Heathcote and is secure. (And very dark)
Also has facilities, kitchen, bunks, camping etc.
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Old 28-07-2018, 02:17 PM
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Stonius (Markus)
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Oh, I do use the LMDSS, I'm just new to the idea of leaving my rig ticking away while I sleep.


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