Old 09-04-2019, 01:19 PM
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Outcast (Carlton)
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The other issue of concern is what about the effects of UV exposure on plastic, rubber & painted components?

Most of those items don't respond well to UV exposure.. that is another consideration in my thought process...
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Old 09-04-2019, 01:52 PM
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UV definitelly affect plastic.. you have to chosse - kill moss or damage plastic (however I wouldn't be too concerned about it - plastic is much more resilient compared living tissue)
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Old 12-04-2019, 10:14 AM
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sil (Steve)
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Originally Posted by bojan View Post
UV definitelly affect plastic.. you have to chosse - kill moss or damage plastic (however I wouldn't be too concerned about it - plastic is much more resilient compared living tissue)
plus plastics and rubbers deteriorate over time anyway. there is no way to prevent the natural course of things going on.

For practical purposes to what you want to achieve, first step and you are doing it already is using desicants to just soak up humidity in and around your storage boxes and items. I use in my storage tubs at home a handful of kitty litter in an open bag taped inside up against the side. purely to absorb humidity and i doubt its doing any good. but the stuff is meant to absorb moisture. you could use rice too or feminine hygene products, whatever is meant to absorb moisture. I'd avoid the clay type stuff of cheap kitty litter that is very dusty. My garage is full of storage containers (since my stroke a ot of things at home are just in the way or i cant use unless i can raise money for treatment so I've packed away things I dont want to part with just yet and used this in each tub just to try help protect everything. Anything scented or has a strong smell is likely to have evaporating oils and additives that can effect things around it long term. this is not just my astro gear. There are dessicants that can be "rejuvinated" by heating in an oven, the ones i've tried I find give off water vapour because its hard to get the heating even throughout to drive out the water, instead its driven out of one pellet and into the neighbouring ones and so on, so unless you can heat for a week or more to be certain its all dry it may do more harm than good.

if you have your own tubs and happy to modify you can rig up something to use Damp Rid along the lines of a softdrink bottle with bottom cut off, upturned with a plastic sieve inside and the "cap" end poking through a grommit hole in the tub. that way as the damp rid works by absorbing moisture and turning to liquid it can drain out the bottom to say a bucket you empty periodically (basically expand the damp rid system as it comes to a larger volume so you can bulk fill and bulk empty once or twice a year.

Similarly of cource are dehumifiers, can be costly and problematic in other ways and still need regular emptying of water.

inside your equipment tubs we tend to have foam to protect the gear. this does absorb moisture and provide breeding grounds for microbials so first is to have replaceable foam, and probably minimal points of contact to reduce surface area for transference of micro stuff. Along with the foam padding I'd suggest some form of sheetin to gentle sit in the padded form that you can dispose and replace regularly. This is your sacrificial layer to try to keep the microbes off the inorganic gear and soak up condensation from your gear. say a cheap towel or the paper stuff hotels put on toilets for your safety. craft store can probably help with maybe absorbant packing paper to do the job. museums and archives must use something similar to protect the stored specimens so that could be worth looking into.

I would suggest working outside in.

- start with your clean empty tub, spray it inside and out with a good surface spray for killing insects.This is to kill anything that comes in from outside clinging to your gear plus to deter things from taking up residence on your tub. the more creepy crawlies there are the more bodily waste is adjacent to your gear and the more miro nasties are going to be present. This is a preventative barrier from physical transfer of bacteria from outside to inside by all the little carriers. You dont want roaches and spiders and frogs clinging on the back of the tub to dive inside when you lift the lid.

- next spray the inside of the tub with Glen 20 to actually kill whatever is there and prevent new stuff surviving. I use this myself everywhere at home, being physically disabled i can't scrub floors etc clean like i used to and I started with stuff i got from hospital in a spray bottle to eliminate odours and mould in troublesome areas, later i found glen20 to be perfectand means i can use what little time i get to focus on better cleaning where it is a must.

- next put your padding in and spray with glen 20. foam padding i think is really bad but for practical reasons we all use it. more sterile padding than a giant sponge is better. plus ever bought foam yourself? its always in a giant warehouse open to all sorts of dust and insects. So god knows whats already living in it even when you buy it "new". maybe the best thing is to use a frame for your gear and where is contacts the gear use a line of silastic or expander foam as sterile padding you can easily replace in the future. if the storage needs to travel then foam is probably most practical.

- drape on your sacrificial sheet to provide a physical transferrence barrier between your padding and your gear. this needs to be simple and easy toreplace as needed. maybe lightly spray with glen20.

- also the tub lid should have a replacable seal of some sort to avoid airbourne contamination.

All of the above is just my advice for everyone. its all about preventing microorganisms and spores etc from physically reaching your valuable gear. It can't be 100% certain but in my experience the above doesn't increase risk of harm. Use common sense, dont use desicannts that are dusty or any materials that flake or drop threads etc. and replace things periodically before they start to perish as by that time the little nasties you can't see with the eye are everwhere.

Another prevention area is the gear itself. use a good lubricant on moving and fitting parts. I use Super Lube exclusively for everything. Just has good consistent properties in all weather conditions I've used and so far hasn't changed over time. I have the grey tube. a little goes a very long way I find too. so a tiny dab can coat your focus tube for example. this is not just for keeping that parts from wearing out with use but fills in the air gap again where dust and airbourne stuff get find its way to the interior of your gear. One last one: rust. Ferrous metal parts can easily rust in the tropics or on the coast and spraying wd40 into a rag and just wiping these surface down where possible can help prolong parts before they rust. Be careful NOT to spray your gear as the wd40 will work its way into threaded areas and joins and can start to loosen the gear undesirably or even react/dissolve existing lubrications/greases and quickly ruin things for you. spray into a clean rag and gently wipe onto exterior metals where you can, it only takens a miniscule amount to cover a large surface, if the surface is one you handle or gets a lot of contact movement (eg between mount and its tripod) pay attention often and the surfaces shouldn't be slipery to handle (youve put way too much on). This is great for disused gear too in storage to just help protect them. same principle used during the war where barrells fille with oil would have vital metal parts dropped and stored in them, not suggestable for your nice 14" sct though. you can also look into upgrading some parts to annodized aluminium.

Again this is all my personal opinion ans some of what I do myself. I like to look after my gear but i dont baby it either. I have some nice cameras and while I see some people using stickon rubber feet all over their camera so its body can never touch a flat surface, I accept mine will get scratches and dings and develope character over time. I use screen protectors which now have cracks and chips because accidents will happen and they are doing their jobs, the screens underneath are fully functional and undamaged.

With that in mind I offer the above with some reasonings so anyone else interested can try to help prolong their gear for the best enjoyment and cost efficiency. Use common sense too and use/adapt/ignore my advice for your own reasons and circumstances. We can't all have climate controlled hermetically sealed observatories with gear stored by robots in a vacuum sealed airlocked storage room.

Notice the lack of UV lights too. But if you must, then be aware that most now are LED or energy saver style bulbs and these are all low energy and limited wavelengths so are not likely to actually kill off much bacteria (not sure they would even damage eggs or spores) I think glen20 is the better option. But with opticsa bulb is at least non contact. So look for the old 100W incandescent type or something from a scientific instrument supplier. Research though exactly what angstrom ranges are effective against microbials and also which are damagin to rubbers and plastics. it may be you can't have on without the other. Like fire, which kills microbials too, but will certainly damage your gear. I havent look for lights specifically as i dont think i need such a solution and dont need the negative effects in my life either. But there may be something thats been developed for non-contact sterilisation of equipment to 100% effectiveness (think biohazardous labs) not merely "hospital grade" which is alarmingly low. dont believe marketing hype, there are things out there that may be hard to find and possibly impossible to acquire but search for yourself and try to find something that suits your situation. the ebay stuff treat as placebo, it may work but probably not so long as you are aware of that and ok with it.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:31 PM
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Outcast (Carlton)
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Thanks Steve,

Plenty to digest & and consider

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