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March 2016:  POD & pier

 After many years of doing astrophotography and having my scope setup under a Telegizmo 360 cover I opted to blow the budget and go for a POD observatory. I expect delivery some time end of May. In the mean time I am building a deck platform on which to place the POD and prepping things for the pier which will hold my Atlas EQ-G mount.

The deck will be framed out of 2x6 Pressure treated lumber. So far I he the perimeter frame in place to give me an idea where to dig the hole for the pier footing.

The footing will be 16" diameter and about 3 to 4 feet deep. Once the concrete has been poured I will place the  1/2 x 10" J-bolts in the wet cement. Once the cement is cured for a few days I'll mount the pier to the J-bolts.  To ensure that  the J-bolts line up with the hole in the pier I made a jig to hold the bolts in position.

I used 3/4 inch plywood 16" square. To find the center I drew a line across the board from one corner to the opposite corner. The center is marked where the two cross.

Since the pier has a hole in the center of the bottom plate  I placed one of the J-bolt in the hole I drilled in the center of the board and through the hole in the base plate. Using a couple of clamps I held the board tight to the base. Using the holes in the base plate as a guide I drilled 1/2 " holes at each of the four locations.

The finished product  is shown here :

As soon as the weather clears I'll be digging the hole for the footings.

OK the weather finally behaved and allowed me to dig the hole for the pier footings and start setting up the deck frame.. The hole is about 3 feet deep and I'm using a 16" tube form.

After filling the tube with 8 80lb bags for concrete I placed the template with the "J" bolts on top and leveled it some what.  I then placed a contractor trash bag over the tube and let it cure for a week.

I decided to put aluminum screening under the floor boards to help keep the little critters out of the POD. First I cut a 26x26 in piece of screen and placed it over the pier footing. I punched 4 hole in the screen to accommodate the pier mounting bolts and stapled it to the frame making sure that  it is pushed down flat over the footing so it won't interfere with mounting the pier. I followed this step with placing the first layer of 48" screen on the frame and staple it in place

Aster fastening the screen I began to lay the floor boards. I used pressure treated  5/4"x6"x12' boards attaching them to the frame with 1 5/8" coated screws.

Next I placed the second length of screen overlapping the first by about 1 1/2" . I went right over the pier footing and then cut a hole in the  screen to allow access to the mounting bolts..

 

The deck is done and the pier is in place  I added some HDPE strips to the top of the adaptor plate to allow for more easier movement when adjusting the Azimuth. I had to get a M12 bolt to attach the mount to the top plate.  Here is the completed setup.

June 1 2016:

I finally bit the bullet and upgrated my mount  again. I purchased an ORION HDX110 EQ-G. this mount has a 110 pound equipment carrying capacity where as the ATLAS EQ-G was rated for 40 pounds. Since I'm using the 10RC as the main scope and the ED80 as a guide scope I'm pushing the limit of the mount and I was having problems getting good guiding.

Here you can see the current setup. The ED80 on top with a DSI camera. The 10RC in the middle with the ZWO camera used for planetary imaging  mounted to it. And the 50mm Mini guide scope with another DSI on the bottom.  I like to use the 50mm scope as a finder scope since it has a nice wide field of view. Once I have the target centered in there if should be visible on the main scope.

 

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