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Old 12-05-2019, 03:10 PM
legoman_iac (Daniel)
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Wine Barrel Observatory

Hey All,

So my dream of a permanent observatory is a long way off, but in the shorter term I've got a few great spots to setup camp. My current setup is a HEQ-5 mount, on wheels, which I take outside each time. This is not ideal.

I like the idea of a semi-permanent box, but it needs to have great street appeal, and not look anything like expensive equipment.

My current thoughts (if this is in fact a viable solution) is to have a pier, on wheels, disguised as a wine barrel (see rough sketch attached).


My thinking is, I could probably have this out the front driveway for a few weeks at a time in one spot, then occasionally move it.

I like the idea of an out door mount/pier, which only occasionally moves around, as opposed to setting up and polar aligning each time.

QUESTION: does anyone see any issues with using a wine barrel? I'd have to draw it up and check the mount doesn't collide with it, but could this work? Any major concerns people could forsee?

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Old 12-05-2019, 04:39 PM
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pmrid (Peter)
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Originally Posted by legoman_iac View Post

QUESTION: does anyone see any issues with using a wine barrel? I'd have to draw it up and check the mount doesn't collide with it, but could this work? Any major concerns people could forsee?

My first thought it that your latitude in Sydney of about 33-34 degrees south would mean your HEQ5 would have to be set for that (it's too much hassle to adjust every time you open the obs if you wanted to set it lower). I suspect this would make it difficult to leave a scope permanently mounted on the HEQ5 unless it is quite short (like a FSQ85 Tak for example).

It also begs the question - why not just put castors on the pier with some adjustable feet? You could then wrap the whole arrangement in a waterproof sheet. Of course humidity would be an issue - but it would in a wine barrel as well. Making the pier mobile would probably make it easier to put the mount close to polar alignment by having fixed positions on the ground for the feet of the pier. Another problem nearly solved.

The wine barrel idea is sexy but .....

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Old 12-05-2019, 08:08 PM
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billdan (Bill)
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Technical issues aside, I don't like the idea of having it sit on the front driveway, curious eyes will eventually cotton on to what you have inside the barrel and at 3-00am your barrel and mount will roll off into the sunrise.

In the backyard that's fenced off will be OK.
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Old 13-05-2019, 08:36 AM
Wavytone (Nick)

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+1 donít leave it out the front. Some lowlife will take whatís inside as soon as they realise they can pawn it for $50.
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Old 13-05-2019, 08:45 AM
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How about something like this one?
It is "temporary" for 7~8 years now...
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Old 14-05-2019, 10:09 AM
Sunfish (Ray)
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Hi Daniel,

Great sketch.

Not sure about leaving your mount inside it , outside the house ,but can not see why the pier would not be as good as a standard movable HEQ pier.

The barrel and the mount would attract a lot of condensation , cupfulls over time, from warm moist air trapped inside and from the cooling of metal at night unless it were air sealed , thermally isolated with insulation and desiccant.

Would it be simpler to bolt a pier or base plate to the driveway with an alignment plate and carry the mount out?
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Old 14-05-2019, 12:31 PM
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sil (Steve)
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I love the aesthetic of the idea, you could put floor bolts on it (those long steel pegs you put on doors and slide "bolt" them into holes in the ground) three of those at a polar aligned position would have you up and running pretty fast.
Though I love the elegance of Bojan's solution and thinking you could do same with a removable cover and sit a bird bath bowl on top for disguise, plant ground cover plants around it so you can walk on them and it just looks like a bird bath feature in your garden (works as one too ).

A "popup" collapsible dob inside a wine barrel would be cool and have some way to lock it to the ground securely. How about a giant "useless box" (check youtube if you havent seen these awesome gadgets, see you in a few hours). Now remember the move Creepshow with the thing in the box under the stairs....make a useless box like that with motion sensors instead of switches so anyone approachin the lid lifts an d giant hairy clawed hand takes a swipe and your scope stays safe inside for you to roll out to use...concrete the base of the crate and add wheels, sides fold down to reveal scope. maybe preattached stools on each inside too if short enough. Go wild!
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Old 16-05-2019, 08:04 AM
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After ensuring proper ventilation (the water tank rim is elevated ~30cm above ground) there is no problem with condensation any more.
(The water tank I used is not available any more from Bunnings.. it seems the closest alternative could be Gedye compost bin, not sure about the size - 200l should be OK Standard rubbish bin is also OK).

I am also wrapping the plastic bag around the mount (to minimize the amount of air from where the condensation may occur).
It was supposed to be a temporary solution.... Maybe this or early next year (depending on my retirement) I will start building the dome in our backyard in Ballarat property.. then I will simpy dismantle the pier from concrete slab and move it to new location (or make new concrete one).

Last edited by bojan; 16-05-2019 at 08:29 AM.
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