Re: AP1200 on Permanent Pier sans Observatory

Joe Zeglinski


One thing that Marj once recommended to me was to at least remove the CP3
controller, and bring it inside. The concern was for condensation getting into
the electronics, causing corrosion. Air pollution and dew make a good battery
acid solution.

It's quite easy to do if you have replaced the set screws holding it to
the mount, with the optional thumb screws that came with the mount, in a small
envelope (unless it got pitched with the packing peanuts).

It would have been nice if the CP3 controller were designed to be mounted
using "ball bearing spring latches". That way, a simple press of a lever - or
just a tug on the CP3, if it is held in place by additional "ball bearings in
spring sockets" - would release the unit to slide off the mount, without the
hassles of possibly losing the small thumb screws. I mean, you ARE going to
take the Hand Pad indoors for the same reason, so why not the controller as
I say "additional", in case there should be a problem with the springs
approach, and you need to use the old screw retainer method.

Still, I wonder if condensation affects the servo motors as well - the
rest is just stainless steel and aluminum. At least protecting the CP and hand
pad is easy.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Murray Hammick" <mphammick@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 12:21 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1200 on Permanent Pier sans Observatory

There is a often bit of misunderstanding about condensation etc. and
equipment. The military has this sort of problem and uses environmental
covers and spray treatments for a wide range of equipment that is left
outside for long periods with few problems.

If you have a good seal around the cover (such as a velcro and neoprene
collar around the pier) the mount can heat and cool all it likes - but there
will be little change in the amount of water inside the cover per-se. What
is in the bag to start with is what you tend to end up with. You might move
it around by allowing the equipment to get very hot and then cold - thermal
stability will help reduce ingress of water into the equipment itself.

If you want to help reduce humidity levels simply remove the cover for an
hour or two on sunny or breezy and dry day and replace whilst everything is
still relatively warm/dry and no condensation has formed. There are also a
lot of good water repellent compounds around these days and many are tuned
for specifics such as cabling, seals, electronics etc. Many of these would
in any case be good for a mount in the normal course of events - if you are
going to get moisture into a joint etc - unless you treat it, its going to
start getting in there during a dingle night's viewing let alone a season

All the other methods mentioned such as silica-gel etc are going to assist.
But the best thing is to wipe off any moisture you can after use (or even
blow it down with a hair dryer to warm the surfaces and remove water in
those tiny cracks etc), make a good seal around the pier and give it a good
airing when you can between use.


Rick Thurmond <yahoogroups@...> wrote:
I haven't seen condensation inside yet, but a bag of dessicant sitting
on the base of the mount might be a good idea. I think hardware
stores sell them to dry musty closets. Some of them might be
rechargeable in the oven.


On Oct 29, 2007, at 2:46 20PM, Jim S. wrote:

Thanks Ian. And thanks much Rick for your help here and off-line as

Ok, you both have me seriously wanting to install a permanent pier for
my new AP1200. But an observatory is out of the question with the
Aesthetics Committee. So, I worry about protecting the mount from the
elements, even with something like the Telegizmo 356/24/7 cover.

Isn't condensation an issue with any cover like this? In my climate,
we can easily have >30deg swings between day and night, with the
relative humidity going from nearly nonexistent to dripping wet,
respectively. It doesn't get terribly cold here though. It's VERY
rare for the low to dip below 30degF on the coldest nights.

Anyone else have their AP1200 mounted permanently, sans observatory?
How do you protect it (and the pier), and how do you mitigate
condensation if at all?


--- In ap-gto@..., "Ian Underhill" <astro1ds@...> wrote:

But I would have to say in the long run you should
consider what Rick said. Having your setup ready and aligned every
night just makes life sooo much easier and more enjoyable. I still
can't believe I went for a year before learning that lesson. Hope
this helps.


--- In ap-gto@..., Rick Thurmond <yahoogroups@> wrote:

I'm also observatory-less at present, at least compared to my last
place where I had an Astro-Haven dome. But I would never go pier-
less. I have a Astro-Pier from LeSeur bolted to a few hundred
of concrete in the one spot in my yard where I can see the whole

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