AP1600 Down


W Hilmo
 

I've been keeping my AP1600-AE set up outdoors under a cover almost since I got it in 2012.

I lived in Western Washington most of that time.  Our property was surrounded by forest and we never got the full force of the wind at ground level.  I've been on the east side of the mountains for the last year, in an area with high winds.  50 mph winds are pretty common.

The wind over here often continues all night long, and it can wreak havoc on imaging (to say the least).  For the last couple of months, I've had it surrounded by a wind break, comprised of a 6' high square metal frame, 10 feet on a side, with tarps to break the wind.  This has been remarkably effective at allowing me to image in the wind.

I was sitting in my home office today and heard the wind howling (not unusual).  The house made kind of a groaning sound with a particularly large gust.  I looked out my window just in time to see my wind break pull up the anchors and move across the ground.  When it got to the mount, the mount stopped it momentarily until the wind break climbed up and over the mount.  As it went over, it pulled the mount over.  Fortunately, I removed the scope and accessories from the mount last week, when it became obvious that we'd not have any imaging weather for a while (and even if the scope were still mounted, I've been doing wide field stuff, so it would have been my SV80 and not the AP130).  We have a couple of clear nights forecast this week, so I was thinking about putting the scope back on.  Now I'm glad that I didn't.

The wind break was completely destroyed.  I live in a good sized chunk of property, but the wind was taking the structure towards the road (a few hundred feet from the mount's site), so I went out and cut the tarps loose so that it would (hopefully) stay on my property.

It's still far too windy to attempt any clean up.  It was dangerous enough getting the wind break broken up so that it's not still heading across the state to the east.  The mount was tipped over to the west, so I'm hoping that the dovetail saddle, or any part of the declination axis made contact with the ground.  It's still under the cover, so I need to investigate that once the wind calms.  My neighbor has his own weather station that is connected to Weather Underground.  It claims that the winds is 34 mph, gusting 38.  I don't think that's remotely correct.  The gust that took everything down was much stronger than the sustained wind.

I have my fingers crossed that there is no damage to the mount...

-Wade



Karen Christen
 

😲

 

In contention for bummer of the week, Wade!

Karen

AP

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of W Hilmo
Sent: Monday, November 15, 2021 5:47 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] AP1600 Down

 

I've been keeping my AP1600-AE set up outdoors under a cover almost since I got it in 2012.

I lived in Western Washington most of that time.  Our property was surrounded by forest and we never got the full force of the wind at ground level.  I've been on the east side of the mountains for the last year, in an area with high winds.  50 mph winds are pretty common.

The wind over here often continues all night long, and it can wreak havoc on imaging (to say the least).  For the last couple of months, I've had it surrounded by a wind break, comprised of a 6' high square metal frame, 10 feet on a side, with tarps to break the wind.  This has been remarkably effective at allowing me to image in the wind.

I was sitting in my home office today and heard the wind howling (not unusual).  The house made kind of a groaning sound with a particularly large gust.  I looked out my window just in time to see my wind break pull up the anchors and move across the ground.  When it got to the mount, the mount stopped it momentarily until the wind break climbed up and over the mount.  As it went over, it pulled the mount over.  Fortunately, I removed the scope and accessories from the mount last week, when it became obvious that we'd not have any imaging weather for a while (and even if the scope were still mounted, I've been doing wide field stuff, so it would have been my SV80 and not the AP130).  We have a couple of clear nights forecast this week, so I was thinking about putting the scope back on.  Now I'm glad that I didn't.

The wind break was completely destroyed.  I live in a good sized chunk of property, but the wind was taking the structure towards the road (a few hundred feet from the mount's site), so I went out and cut the tarps loose so that it would (hopefully) stay on my property.

It's still far too windy to attempt any clean up.  It was dangerous enough getting the wind break broken up so that it's not still heading across the state to the east.  The mount was tipped over to the west, so I'm hoping that the dovetail saddle, or any part of the declination axis made contact with the ground.  It's still under the cover, so I need to investigate that once the wind calms.  My neighbor has his own weather station that is connected to Weather Underground.  It claims that the winds is 34 mph, gusting 38.  I don't think that's remotely correct.  The gust that took everything down was much stronger than the sustained wind.

I have my fingers crossed that there is no damage to the mount...

-Wade


--
Karen Christen
Astro-Physics


Roland Christen
 

The mount will survive a fall.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: W Hilmo <y.groups@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Mon, Nov 15, 2021 5:47 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] AP1600 Down

I've been keeping my AP1600-AE set up outdoors under a cover almost since I got it in 2012.

I lived in Western Washington most of that time.  Our property was surrounded by forest and we never got the full force of the wind at ground level.  I've been on the east side of the mountains for the last year, in an area with high winds.  50 mph winds are pretty common.

The wind over here often continues all night long, and it can wreak havoc on imaging (to say the least).  For the last couple of months, I've had it surrounded by a wind break, comprised of a 6' high square metal frame, 10 feet on a side, with tarps to break the wind.  This has been remarkably effective at allowing me to image in the wind.

I was sitting in my home office today and heard the wind howling (not unusual).  The house made kind of a groaning sound with a particularly large gust.  I looked out my window just in time to see my wind break pull up the anchors and move across the ground.  When it got to the mount, the mount stopped it momentarily until the wind break climbed up and over the mount.  As it went over, it pulled the mount over.  Fortunately, I removed the scope and accessories from the mount last week, when it became obvious that we'd not have any imaging weather for a while (and even if the scope were still mounted, I've been doing wide field stuff, so it would have been my SV80 and not the AP130).  We have a couple of clear nights forecast this week, so I was thinking about putting the scope back on.  Now I'm glad that I didn't.

The wind break was completely destroyed.  I live in a good sized chunk of property, but the wind was taking the structure towards the road (a few hundred feet from the mount's site), so I went out and cut the tarps loose so that it would (hopefully) stay on my property.

It's still far too windy to attempt any clean up.  It was dangerous enough getting the wind break broken up so that it's not still heading across the state to the east.  The mount was tipped over to the west, so I'm hoping that the dovetail saddle, or any part of the declination axis made contact with the ground.  It's still under the cover, so I need to investigate that once the wind calms.  My neighbor has his own weather station that is connected to Weather Underground.  It claims that the winds is 34 mph, gusting 38.  I don't think that's remotely correct.  The gust that took everything down was much stronger than the sustained wind.

I have my fingers crossed that there is no damage to the mount...

-Wade



--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


W Hilmo
 

That's kind of my assumption.

I'm actually thinking now about what to do for wind mitigation.  I would either put up a very sturdy fence around the mount or set up a concrete pier set deep into the ground, except that it would be temporary, as I have plans to build an observatory next year.

I bought some sand bags a while ago, but the wind break has been working so well that I've not done anything with them.  I'm using an Astro-Physics portable field pier, and I think that my problem is that wind is vibrating the turnbuckles.  I'm thinking that if I fill the pier with sand bags, that it will dramatically change the resonance frequency of the entire thing.

Do you think it's worth trying the sand bags?

Thanks,
-Wade

On 11/15/21 4:41 PM, Roland Christen via groups.io wrote:
The mount will survive a fall.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: W Hilmo <y.groups@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Mon, Nov 15, 2021 5:47 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] AP1600 Down

I've been keeping my AP1600-AE set up outdoors under a cover almost since I got it in 2012.

I lived in Western Washington most of that time.  Our property was surrounded by forest and we never got the full force of the wind at ground level.  I've been on the east side of the mountains for the last year, in an area with high winds.  50 mph winds are pretty common.

The wind over here often continues all night long, and it can wreak havoc on imaging (to say the least).  For the last couple of months, I've had it surrounded by a wind break, comprised of a 6' high square metal frame, 10 feet on a side, with tarps to break the wind.  This has been remarkably effective at allowing me to image in the wind.

I was sitting in my home office today and heard the wind howling (not unusual).  The house made kind of a groaning sound with a particularly large gust.  I looked out my window just in time to see my wind break pull up the anchors and move across the ground.  When it got to the mount, the mount stopped it momentarily until the wind break climbed up and over the mount.  As it went over, it pulled the mount over.  Fortunately, I removed the scope and accessories from the mount last week, when it became obvious that we'd not have any imaging weather for a while (and even if the scope were still mounted, I've been doing wide field stuff, so it would have been my SV80 and not the AP130).  We have a couple of clear nights forecast this week, so I was thinking about putting the scope back on.  Now I'm glad that I didn't.

The wind break was completely destroyed.  I live in a good sized chunk of property, but the wind was taking the structure towards the road (a few hundred feet from the mount's site), so I went out and cut the tarps loose so that it would (hopefully) stay on my property.

It's still far too windy to attempt any clean up.  It was dangerous enough getting the wind break broken up so that it's not still heading across the state to the east.  The mount was tipped over to the west, so I'm hoping that the dovetail saddle, or any part of the declination axis made contact with the ground.  It's still under the cover, so I need to investigate that once the wind calms.  My neighbor has his own weather station that is connected to Weather Underground.  It claims that the winds is 34 mph, gusting 38.  I don't think that's remotely correct.  The gust that took everything down was much stronger than the sustained wind.

I have my fingers crossed that there is no damage to the mount...

-Wade



--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Dale Ghent
 

If you know where you'll site your observatory, put your pier in now and then build the obsy around it when the time comes for that. Once you nail down what you want for pier height, it's never too early to put it in the ground. You'll be building the deck or concrete slab flooring around it anyhow. There's also the added bonus of it allowing you to figure out how you want to bring data and power to the pier without a floor or slab in the way in case you want to change things.

In the meantime, I would definitely lay sandbags over the field pier's legs to keep the whole thing from being pushed over. As for the aeolian vibration, would you actually be imaging if the wind is hitting your pier that much in the first place?

On Nov 15, 2021, at 20:15, W Hilmo <y.groups@hilmo.net> wrote:

That's kind of my assumption.

I'm actually thinking now about what to do for wind mitigation. I would either put up a very sturdy fence around the mount or set up a concrete pier set deep into the ground, except that it would be temporary, as I have plans to build an observatory next year.

I bought some sand bags a while ago, but the wind break has been working so well that I've not done anything with them. I'm using an Astro-Physics portable field pier, and I think that my problem is that wind is vibrating the turnbuckles. I'm thinking that if I fill the pier with sand bags, that it will dramatically change the resonance frequency of the entire thing.

Do you think it's worth trying the sand bags?

Thanks,
-Wade

On 11/15/21 4:41 PM, Roland Christen via groups.io wrote:
The mount will survive a fall.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: W Hilmo <y.groups@hilmo.net>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Mon, Nov 15, 2021 5:47 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] AP1600 Down

I've been keeping my AP1600-AE set up outdoors under a cover almost since I got it in 2012.

I lived in Western Washington most of that time. Our property was surrounded by forest and we never got the full force of the wind at ground level. I've been on the east side of the mountains for the last year, in an area with high winds. 50 mph winds are pretty common.

The wind over here often continues all night long, and it can wreak havoc on imaging (to say the least). For the last couple of months, I've had it surrounded by a wind break, comprised of a 6' high square metal frame, 10 feet on a side, with tarps to break the wind. This has been remarkably effective at allowing me to image in the wind.

I was sitting in my home office today and heard the wind howling (not unusual). The house made kind of a groaning sound with a particularly large gust. I looked out my window just in time to see my wind break pull up the anchors and move across the ground. When it got to the mount, the mount stopped it momentarily until the wind break climbed up and over the mount. As it went over, it pulled the mount over. Fortunately, I removed the scope and accessories from the mount last week, when it became obvious that we'd not have any imaging weather for a while (and even if the scope were still mounted, I've been doing wide field stuff, so it would have been my SV80 and not the AP130). We have a couple of clear nights forecast this week, so I was thinking about putting the scope back on. Now I'm glad that I didn't.

The wind break was completely destroyed. I live in a good sized chunk of property, but the wind was taking the structure towards the road (a few hundred feet from the mount's site), so I went out and cut the tarps loose so that it would (hopefully) stay on my property.

It's still far too windy to attempt any clean up. It was dangerous enough getting the wind break broken up so that it's not still heading across the state to the east. The mount was tipped over to the west, so I'm hoping that the dovetail saddle, or any part of the declination axis made contact with the ground. It's still under the cover, so I need to investigate that once the wind calms. My neighbor has his own weather station that is connected to Weather Underground. It claims that the winds is 34 mph, gusting 38. I don't think that's remotely correct. The gust that took everything down was much stronger than the sustained wind.

I have my fingers crossed that there is no damage to the mount...

-Wade



--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Mike Dodd
 

On 11/15/2021 8:15 PM, W Hilmo wrote:
...or set up a concrete pier set deep into the ground, except that it would be temporary, as I have plans to build an observatory next year.
I vote for building the pier now, then build the observatory around it next year.

I've built two observatories, and the concrete pier was the first thing constructed. Here's our latest observatory project if you're interested: <http://house.mdodd.com/project_obs.html> Scroll down for a table of links to the construction steps.
--
Mike

Mike Dodd
Louisa County, Virginia USA
http://astronomy.mdodd.com


W Hilmo
 

Thanks for the suggestions to build the pier now.

The issue is that I have the temporary site near the house.  The observatory is going to be further out in the property.  Right now, I can control it all over WiFi.  At the permanent location, it will be far enough off that I will want wired networking to it.

Also, right now in our area, concrete pours are super expensive.  I was looking at a 240 square foot apron in front of our garage.  I got several bids that all came in around $10,000.  Seriously.  If the pier was going to be near the house, I'd do that now, but I'm not quite ready to deal with the observatory pad yet.

As for the wind and imaging (with regard to Dale's comment), wide field imaging in the wind works out fine, as long as I can block the wind.  If the wind hits the mount directly, it vibrates enough that the images are unusable.  My suspicion is that the turnbuckles have enough flex that they vibrate in the wind.  Maybe I can do something to the turnbuckles themselves to make them more stable.  I have some very stout, spring loaded turnbuckles for my slide in camper.  I thought about giving them a try on the mount, but the camper is set up over in the Seattle area for the winter, and those turnbuckles are with it.  I wonder if it would help to wrap the turnbuckles in weighted bags...

-Wade

On 11/15/21 6:16 PM, Mike Dodd wrote:
On 11/15/2021 8:15 PM, W Hilmo wrote:
...or set up a concrete pier set deep into the ground, except that it would be temporary, as I have plans to build an observatory next year.
I vote for building the pier now, then build the observatory around it next year.

I've built two observatories, and the concrete pier was the first thing constructed. Here's our latest observatory project if you're interested: <http://house.mdodd.com/project_obs.html> Scroll down for a table of links to the construction steps.


Mike Dodd
 

On 11/15/2021 10:22 PM, W Hilmo wrote:
Thanks for the suggestions to build the pier now.
At the permanent location, it will be
far enough off that I will want wired networking to it.
OK, rent a trencher and dig a trench to the observatory location, and lay direct-burial Ethernet cable. Bring it out of the ground with a short length of PVC conduit and a service (weather) head. Leave plenty of cable to run inside the observatory to an Ethernet switch or wi-fi router.

My observatory is 300 feet from the house, and I control everything via Windows Pro Remote Desktop over CAT5e cable. I also buried #8 underground feeder cable in the same trench for 120V house power. A switch in the basement turns the observatory power on and off, and I send commands via Ethernet to two DLI Ethernet power switches that switch power to individual pieces of equipment.
Also, right now in our area, concrete pours are super expensive.If the
pier was going to be near the house, I'd do that now, but I'm not
quite ready to deal with the observatory pad yet.
Pad? I definitely would not build an observatory on a concrete pad. I built both mine on 4x4 pressure-treated posts. My 10'x14'observatory has 12 of them spaced about 58" apart. Here's the plan: <http://house.mdodd.com/proj_obs_foundation.html>

You can dig holes for the foundation posts with a post hole digger or a rented power auger. We dumped 3" of crushed stone in each hole, set the post and plumbed it, then shoveled in dry concrete from an 80-pound bag. We added water, and let it soak into the dry concrete. No mixing needed, and very inexpensive.

The entire 12 foundation posts took 4-5 bags of concrete from Lowe's, and the 12" pier took 5-6, if I remember correctly.

I see absolutely no benefit to building an observatory on a concrete slab. It retains heat which radiates at night. A wood floor on posts allows air to circulate under it and up through the observatory when the roof is closed (I have gable vents and a clearance hole in the floor around the pier).

--- Mike


weems@...
 

Foam plumbing insulation tubes taped around the turnbuckles and rods may cut the vibrations. 

I second the recommendation of the wood platform. My observatory is on 4 concrete posts that go down below the frost line. I ran a pair of 4x6 beams across them, and then built a frame of 2x6 PT, held together and to the beams with hurricane ties and stainless decking screws. Covered with PT decking. It doesn’t move at all. Minimal heat retention, and when water gets in, it just goes through the floor. The one I built at school is on a pad, and it takes a while to cool down, but the worst is that when rain leaks in during the winter, it can freeze and make the floor hazardous. 

Chip


Roland Christen
 

That's a beautiful observatory. Very practical.

Roland

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Dodd <mike@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Mon, Nov 15, 2021 8:16 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1600 Down

On 11/15/2021 8:15 PM, W Hilmo wrote:
> ...or set up a concrete
> pier set deep into the ground, except that it would be temporary, as I
> have plans to build an observatory next year.

I vote for building the pier now, then build the observatory around it
next year.

I've built two observatories, and the concrete pier was the first thing
constructed. Here's our latest observatory project if you're interested:
<http://house.mdodd.com/project_obs.html> Scroll down for a table of
links to the construction steps.
--
Mike

Mike Dodd
Louisa County, Virginia USA
http://astronomy.mdodd.com







--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Mike Dodd
 

On 11/16/2021 10:21 AM, Roland Christen via groups.io wrote:
That's a beautiful observatory. Very practical.
Thanks, Roland. We learned a lot from the first one, and Louise insisted on doing it right. My intent was to apply siding directly to the wall studs, but she required 5/8" sheathing and Tyvec house wrap under the siding. I wanted to use vinyl siding, but Louise wanted Hardieplank, just like on our house. Plus, she caulked everywhere the siding met the PVC trim.

I chose the blue color, and Louise called it "lovely." This fall we painted our house to match. :-)

The upside-down garage door opener for the roof works very well. <http://astronomy.mdodd.com/observatory.html#Opener> I couldn't ask for a better installation -- MUCH simpler than my original plan.
--
Mike

Mike Dodd
Louisa County, Virginia USA
http://astronomy.mdodd.com


Roland Christen
 


The upside-down garage door opener for the roof works very well.
<http://astronomy.mdodd.com/observatory.html#Opener>
Excellent idea.

Roland


-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Dodd <mike@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Tue, Nov 16, 2021 10:26 am
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1600 Down

On 11/16/2021 10:21 AM, Roland Christen via groups.io wrote:
> That's a beautiful observatory. Very practical.

Thanks, Roland. We learned a lot from the first one, and Louise insisted
on doing it right. My intent was to apply siding directly to the wall
studs, but she required 5/8" sheathing and Tyvec house wrap under the
siding. I wanted to use vinyl siding, but Louise wanted Hardieplank,
just like on our house. Plus,  she caulked everywhere the siding met the
PVC trim.

I chose the blue color, and Louise called it "lovely." This fall we
painted our house to match. :-)

The upside-down garage door opener for the roof works very well.
<http://astronomy.mdodd.com/observatory.html#Opener> I couldn't ask for
a better installation -- MUCH simpler than my original plan.
--
Mike

Mike Dodd
Louisa County, Virginia USA
http://astronomy.mdodd.com







--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


 

Really nice writeup Mike! 

i bookmarked it for future reference.

I noted your DIY telescope caps. Boy those are fast!

Brian


On Tue, Nov 16, 2021 at 8:26 AM Mike Dodd <mike@...> wrote:
On 11/16/2021 10:21 AM, Roland Christen via groups.io wrote:
> That's a beautiful observatory. Very practical.

Thanks, Roland. We learned a lot from the first one, and Louise insisted
on doing it right. My intent was to apply siding directly to the wall
studs, but she required 5/8" sheathing and Tyvec house wrap under the
siding. I wanted to use vinyl siding, but Louise wanted Hardieplank,
just like on our house. Plus,  she caulked everywhere the siding met the
PVC trim.

I chose the blue color, and Louise called it "lovely." This fall we
painted our house to match. :-)

The upside-down garage door opener for the roof works very well.
<http://astronomy.mdodd.com/observatory.html#Opener> I couldn't ask for
a better installation -- MUCH simpler than my original plan.
--
Mike

Mike Dodd
Louisa County, Virginia USA
http://astronomy.mdodd.com








--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Mike Dodd
 

On 11/16/2021 11:37 AM, Brian Valente wrote:
Really nice writeup Mike!
I noted your DIY telescope caps. Boy those are fast!
Model servos move really fast. My Arduino program introduces a 10-millisecond delay per degree over the 145-degree movement, so it takes 1.45 seconds to open or close a cap. The delay can be customized to accommodate caps of different sizes.

--
Mike

Mike Dodd
Louisa County, Virginia USA
http://astronomy.mdodd.com


Steven Panish
 

Wade-
I use a wifi bridge to simulate an ethernet connection to my observatory.  Costs about $90.  I use Ubiquite Nanostation M2 but TPLink has good products as well, both are cheap.  Mine works very well.   Actually the whole house is on this system as well with the base station about 1400 ft away.  No wires!  In my case the whole observatory is off-grid PV powered.

Steve

On Mon, Nov 15, 2021 at 6:47 PM W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:
I've been keeping my AP1600-AE set up outdoors under a cover almost since I got it in 2012.

I lived in Western Washington most of that time.  Our property was surrounded by forest and we never got the full force of the wind at ground level.  I've been on the east side of the mountains for the last year, in an area with high winds.  50 mph winds are pretty common.

The wind over here often continues all night long, and it can wreak havoc on imaging (to say the least).  For the last couple of months, I've had it surrounded by a wind break, comprised of a 6' high square metal frame, 10 feet on a side, with tarps to break the wind.  This has been remarkably effective at allowing me to image in the wind.

I was sitting in my home office today and heard the wind howling (not unusual).  The house made kind of a groaning sound with a particularly large gust.  I looked out my window just in time to see my wind break pull up the anchors and move across the ground.  When it got to the mount, the mount stopped it momentarily until the wind break climbed up and over the mount.  As it went over, it pulled the mount over.  Fortunately, I removed the scope and accessories from the mount last week, when it became obvious that we'd not have any imaging weather for a while (and even if the scope were still mounted, I've been doing wide field stuff, so it would have been my SV80 and not the AP130).  We have a couple of clear nights forecast this week, so I was thinking about putting the scope back on.  Now I'm glad that I didn't.

The wind break was completely destroyed.  I live in a good sized chunk of property, but the wind was taking the structure towards the road (a few hundred feet from the mount's site), so I went out and cut the tarps loose so that it would (hopefully) stay on my property.

It's still far too windy to attempt any clean up.  It was dangerous enough getting the wind break broken up so that it's not still heading across the state to the east.  The mount was tipped over to the west, so I'm hoping that the dovetail saddle, or any part of the declination axis made contact with the ground.  It's still under the cover, so I need to investigate that once the wind calms.  My neighbor has his own weather station that is connected to Weather Underground.  It claims that the winds is 34 mph, gusting 38.  I don't think that's remotely correct.  The gust that took everything down was much stronger than the sustained wind.

I have my fingers crossed that there is no damage to the mount...

-Wade



W Hilmo
 

I just wanted to post a follow-up on my mount.

I set it back up today and it seems to be almost completely undamaged.  One of the clutch screws on the right ascension axis is bent.  It looks like it might have been the contact point when it hit the ground, since there is no other evidence of damage anywhere, not even a scratch.  It helps that the mount was covered by a TG365 and that my property is mostly prairie grass and sage, so it didn't land on concrete or anything else really hard.  I've spoken with George over at Astro-Physics to arrange to replace it.  In the meantime, the screw still works; it's just that the head is bent.

To set it back up, I lifted it upright.  It had moved about 2 feet from the pads where I put the pier feet.  I then took everything apart to check for any signs of damage.  When I put it back together, I ran each axis through its range of motion.  I listened for anything unusual and watched the absolute encoder status lights.  All was well.

I noted that there was some play in each axis, which is not unexpected after a tumble like this.  I re-meshed each axis and everything is normal, with no play that I can feel and smooth motion.

Finally, I did a daytime polar alignment.  I must have gotten the mount back exactly where it was, because very minor tweaks were all that was necessary.  The sun was even in the field of view of my PST when the goto completed (there was a really nice loop prominence; if you have an Ha solar scope).

I really appreciate the advice and information regarding observatory design.  I'm going to need to make some decisions on how to move forward.  I'm a software guy and have never done a construction project like that before, so I was going to have it built for me. One of the other local astronomers around here has reached out to me to talk to him about it.  I believe that he's quite capable of this kind of project.

Oh, and to give an idea of how strong the wind really was, another local astronomer had the roof of his observatory take flight.  There were also multiple incidents with 30 miles of here, or so, where semi trucks were blown over on Interstate 90.  I feel like I came away from this completely unscathed, compared to some other folks.

Thanks,
-Wade

On 11/16/21 9:26 AM, Mike Dodd wrote:
On 11/16/2021 11:37 AM, Brian Valente wrote:
Really nice writeup Mike!

I noted your DIY telescope caps. Boy those are fast!
Model servos move really fast. My Arduino program introduces a 10-millisecond delay per degree over the 145-degree movement, so it takes 1.45 seconds to open or close a cap. The delay can be customized to accommodate caps of different sizes.


Jeff B
 

Excellent news!


On Tue, Nov 16, 2021 at 6:42 PM W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:
I just wanted to post a follow-up on my mount.

I set it back up today and it seems to be almost completely undamaged. 
One of the clutch screws on the right ascension axis is bent.  It looks
like it might have been the contact point when it hit the ground, since
there is no other evidence of damage anywhere, not even a scratch.  It
helps that the mount was covered by a TG365 and that my property is
mostly prairie grass and sage, so it didn't land on concrete or anything
else really hard.  I've spoken with George over at Astro-Physics to
arrange to replace it.  In the meantime, the screw still works; it's
just that the head is bent.

To set it back up, I lifted it upright.  It had moved about 2 feet from
the pads where I put the pier feet.  I then took everything apart to
check for any signs of damage.  When I put it back together, I ran each
axis through its range of motion.  I listened for anything unusual and
watched the absolute encoder status lights.  All was well.

I noted that there was some play in each axis, which is not unexpected
after a tumble like this.  I re-meshed each axis and everything is
normal, with no play that I can feel and smooth motion.

Finally, I did a daytime polar alignment.  I must have gotten the mount
back exactly where it was, because very minor tweaks were all that was
necessary.  The sun was even in the field of view of my PST when the
goto completed (there was a really nice loop prominence; if you have an
Ha solar scope).

I really appreciate the advice and information regarding observatory
design.  I'm going to need to make some decisions on how to move
forward.  I'm a software guy and have never done a construction project
like that before, so I was going to have it built for me. One of the
other local astronomers around here has reached out to me to talk to him
about it.  I believe that he's quite capable of this kind of project.

Oh, and to give an idea of how strong the wind really was, another local
astronomer had the roof of his observatory take flight.  There were also
multiple incidents with 30 miles of here, or so, where semi trucks were
blown over on Interstate 90.  I feel like I came away from this
completely unscathed, compared to some other folks.

Thanks,
-Wade

On 11/16/21 9:26 AM, Mike Dodd wrote:
> On 11/16/2021 11:37 AM, Brian Valente wrote:
>> Really nice writeup Mike!
>>
>> I noted your DIY telescope caps. Boy those are fast!
>
> Model servos move really fast. My Arduino program introduces a
> 10-millisecond delay per degree over the 145-degree movement, so it
> takes 1.45 seconds to open or close a cap. The delay can be customized
> to accommodate caps of different sizes.
>









W Hilmo
 

Hi Steve,

I'm currently using a regular router in bridge mode.  It's about 100' from the house, connecting to an access point inside the house.  It works, but the signal is such that I could not go much further.

I have considered a point-to-point, long range bridge and running the entire observatory on solar and batteries.  I've had very good success with solar and battery for my system when I am observing at remote sites, but I like the reliability of a wired connection.

Do you have a link to the specific WiFi bridge that you use?  I would be interested in trying it.

Thanks,
-Wade

On 11/16/21 10:09 AM, Steven Panish wrote:
Wade-
I use a wifi bridge to simulate an ethernet connection to my observatory.  Costs about $90.  I use Ubiquite Nanostation M2 but TPLink has good products as well, both are cheap.  Mine works very well.   Actually the whole house is on this system as well with the base station about 1400 ft away.  No wires!  In my case the whole observatory is off-grid PV powered.

Steve

On Mon, Nov 15, 2021 at 6:47 PM W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:
I've been keeping my AP1600-AE set up outdoors under a cover almost since I got it in 2012.

I lived in Western Washington most of that time.  Our property was surrounded by forest and we never got the full force of the wind at ground level.  I've been on the east side of the mountains for the last year, in an area with high winds.  50 mph winds are pretty common.

The wind over here often continues all night long, and it can wreak havoc on imaging (to say the least).  For the last couple of months, I've had it surrounded by a wind break, comprised of a 6' high square metal frame, 10 feet on a side, with tarps to break the wind.  This has been remarkably effective at allowing me to image in the wind.

I was sitting in my home office today and heard the wind howling (not unusual).  The house made kind of a groaning sound with a particularly large gust.  I looked out my window just in time to see my wind break pull up the anchors and move across the ground.  When it got to the mount, the mount stopped it momentarily until the wind break climbed up and over the mount.  As it went over, it pulled the mount over.  Fortunately, I removed the scope and accessories from the mount last week, when it became obvious that we'd not have any imaging weather for a while (and even if the scope were still mounted, I've been doing wide field stuff, so it would have been my SV80 and not the AP130).  We have a couple of clear nights forecast this week, so I was thinking about putting the scope back on.  Now I'm glad that I didn't.

The wind break was completely destroyed.  I live in a good sized chunk of property, but the wind was taking the structure towards the road (a few hundred feet from the mount's site), so I went out and cut the tarps loose so that it would (hopefully) stay on my property.

It's still far too windy to attempt any clean up.  It was dangerous enough getting the wind break broken up so that it's not still heading across the state to the east.  The mount was tipped over to the west, so I'm hoping that the dovetail saddle, or any part of the declination axis made contact with the ground.  It's still under the cover, so I need to investigate that once the wind calms.  My neighbor has his own weather station that is connected to Weather Underground.  It claims that the winds is 34 mph, gusting 38.  I don't think that's remotely correct.  The gust that took everything down was much stronger than the sustained wind.

I have my fingers crossed that there is no damage to the mount...

-Wade




Steven Panish
 

Here is the Amazon page for a pair:

Of course the price has nearly doubled since I bought mine 7 years ago!  There was another place off the amazon page for $135.  I think I paid $90/pair and bought an open box one for $40.  These have an integral narrow-band antenna and will go a long way if you have line of sight.  Very easy to set up and reliable.  I believe the speed is 150 Mbps.  We live off-grid and are 1200 ft from the road.  The observatory is about 1/2 way to the road.  We have a Nano base station with a cable drop just off the road on a neighbor's property with a TPLink ethernet router connected to the cable modem.  The bridge connects to the router.  Then there is a Nano each in the observatory and the house.  Each of those locations has an AP.  All our telecom goes through these links.  I remote console to the computer in the observatory for control (doing it now, in spite of the moon, just changed a filter and refocused).  We can both be on the internet and one person on the phone, works fine.  For the phone you need an AP capable of setting Quality of Service (QOS) to high priority or the voice quality will be degraded.

For a regular router with bridge capability, you would need to add external narrow band antennae to get any reach.  But with that you will get serious distance.

I have a TPLink router and AP and my feeling is that both are excellent.  They also sell bridge setups, and I bet they are good too.  The Ubiquiti is considered enterprise quality.  I have no complaints.  Any questions feel free to ping me.

Steve

On Tue, Nov 16, 2021 at 8:14 PM W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:
Hi Steve,

I'm currently using a regular router in bridge mode.  It's about 100' from the house, connecting to an access point inside the house.  It works, but the signal is such that I could not go much further.

I have considered a point-to-point, long range bridge and running the entire observatory on solar and batteries.  I've had very good success with solar and battery for my system when I am observing at remote sites, but I like the reliability of a wired connection.

Do you have a link to the specific WiFi bridge that you use?  I would be interested in trying it.

Thanks,
-Wade

On 11/16/21 10:09 AM, Steven Panish wrote:
Wade-
I use a wifi bridge to simulate an ethernet connection to my observatory.  Costs about $90.  I use Ubiquite Nanostation M2 but TPLink has good products as well, both are cheap.  Mine works very well.   Actually the whole house is on this system as well with the base station about 1400 ft away.  No wires!  In my case the whole observatory is off-grid PV powered.

Steve

On Mon, Nov 15, 2021 at 6:47 PM W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:
I've been keeping my AP1600-AE set up outdoors under a cover almost since I got it in 2012.

I lived in Western Washington most of that time.  Our property was surrounded by forest and we never got the full force of the wind at ground level.  I've been on the east side of the mountains for the last year, in an area with high winds.  50 mph winds are pretty common.

The wind over here often continues all night long, and it can wreak havoc on imaging (to say the least).  For the last couple of months, I've had it surrounded by a wind break, comprised of a 6' high square metal frame, 10 feet on a side, with tarps to break the wind.  This has been remarkably effective at allowing me to image in the wind.

I was sitting in my home office today and heard the wind howling (not unusual).  The house made kind of a groaning sound with a particularly large gust.  I looked out my window just in time to see my wind break pull up the anchors and move across the ground.  When it got to the mount, the mount stopped it momentarily until the wind break climbed up and over the mount.  As it went over, it pulled the mount over.  Fortunately, I removed the scope and accessories from the mount last week, when it became obvious that we'd not have any imaging weather for a while (and even if the scope were still mounted, I've been doing wide field stuff, so it would have been my SV80 and not the AP130).  We have a couple of clear nights forecast this week, so I was thinking about putting the scope back on.  Now I'm glad that I didn't.

The wind break was completely destroyed.  I live in a good sized chunk of property, but the wind was taking the structure towards the road (a few hundred feet from the mount's site), so I went out and cut the tarps loose so that it would (hopefully) stay on my property.

It's still far too windy to attempt any clean up.  It was dangerous enough getting the wind break broken up so that it's not still heading across the state to the east.  The mount was tipped over to the west, so I'm hoping that the dovetail saddle, or any part of the declination axis made contact with the ground.  It's still under the cover, so I need to investigate that once the wind calms.  My neighbor has his own weather station that is connected to Weather Underground.  It claims that the winds is 34 mph, gusting 38.  I don't think that's remotely correct.  The gust that took everything down was much stronger than the sustained wind.

I have my fingers crossed that there is no damage to the mount...

-Wade