Re: AP1200 on Permanent Pier sans Observatory


Jim - not sure how much help this will be to you... I have a C14 mounted on an
AP1200/portable pier. Its been here in my back yard (in Ireland) for close to
18 months now and not been broken down and removed to indoors at all.

The pier sits on three flagstones and to be honest, I thought shifts in the soil
etc would be a nightmare but I can’t even remember the last time I needed to
polar align. I get minimum 90 sec exposure with no trailing whatsoever - in all
areas of the sky. I guess the soil is very heavy clay and with the weight of
the mount/OTA and imager etc, its settled in quite nicely. It really hasn't
budged since I put it there back in 2006.

As for weather protection, I throw a basic tarp (nothing special) over the whole
lot (though the base of the 42" pier is not covered). So far, no sign of any
corrosion on the mount or any of the stainless steel bits (counterweights etc).
The stainless steel tension rods are showing a little discolouration but I don’t
sweat that.

Covering the whole lot, I have a rolling shed. At first this was a 6 month
temporary affair during the summer/autumn. But its actually turned out to be
absolutely fine and in good nick 18 months later. The shed has one open end, is
totally waterproof and held down with bungee cords when the wind picks up a
little. It moves very easily and I can be up and running in less than 10
minutes and packed away again in 10 minutes.

We don't get the varying conditions you see (temp swings) though we get plenty
of rain and humidity does creep into the high 90's quite often. All I really
have to do is wipe down the mount every few months with a damp cloth, turf out
all the bugs who have squatted there and then give the main surfaces a very
light rub-down with a cloth sprayed very lightly with WD40.

On a night with lots of dew, if rain isn’t forecast, I leave the whole rig
outside in the early morning sun to dry out au naturel. Otherwise, I roll back
the shed but leave off the tarp. By the next day, any condensation has
evaporated. I've not come back to the rig the next day with it still dripping.
On the other hand, I did have the whole rig exposed to a flash shower a year or
so ago. I just mopped up with a dry towel, let it air dry for the next few
hours and all was well.

That's really all I can offer you. It works well for me and the mount, OTA,
imager et al all look great - bar the tension rods on the pier.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim S." <blues_rule_solomon_1999@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 5:46 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] AP1200 on Permanent Pier sans Observatory

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?


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