Got rained on... Seeking advice on what to do in the aftermath.


Chris White
 
Edited

Last night was one of those 0% chance of rain nights that turned out to be... well... not that. 

All my gear got rained on and hoping for some advice on the best way to deal with it.  When I woke this morning the computer was still functioning.  APCC had lost connection with the mount, so I assume that my power supply burped or the CP4 shorted.  The mount was still powered on.  Basically, this morning, I powered everything down and removed everything (Except the mount) from my observatory and put in my basement where I have a dehumidifier running and maintain 40%RH. 

I put the CP4 upside down above the dehumidifier along with the PC just in case. 

I removed the focuser from my 130GTX and there was water into the baffles.   This evening when I got home there was moisture on the glass elements, and it looks like both sides. It does not appear that there is any moisture in the QTCC or the camera, so thats good.  I'll test these out later.

So what should I be concerned about with the mount?  The CP4 on the 900GTO faces up to the sky, so all the plug ports got rained on.  The red LED was still on this morning so I assume it's ok.  Anything I need to be concerned with about he CP4 or the mount itself?  Should I bring the mount in as well or is that pretty well sealed up from rain?  How long should I let things dry out before powering up to test out?

And how do I take care of the GTX?  Where water has dried it is obviously leaving behind spots so I need to clean the glass. Is there a way that I can safely disassemble the scope to clean the glass on both sides or is this something that needs to be performed at the factory?  

Finally, I'm pretty bummed about this and realize that after 6 years of getting lucky... I need to invest in something that will wake my butt up if it starts to rain.  My Observatory has a manual roof, so I cant automate anything there.  Literally I would need something to just wake me up so I can run screaming in my PJ's into the backyard to pull the roof shut.  Any suggestions here?

Thanks in advance for your help.


Jay Freeman
 

Chris's unfortunate experience got me wondering about alternative ways to think about the problem. 

To begin with, I cannot help but note that there are scads of electromechanical devices that can and do survive downpours unassisted without even noticing them -- think of the automobiles parked in our driveways, the outdoor parts of air-conditioning systems, electrical power meters, railroad crossing guards, and so on -- the list is endless. Thus I am sure there is no problem designing a telescope mount or a back-end mounted camera system, or after-market weather-protection boxes for either, that could get sprayed with a hose and not allow a drop of water to touch vital parts. (As remote imaging becomes common, perhaps Astro-Physics itself will upgrade mounts and components to such standards ... Roland?)

The glassy end of the tube is a more difficult problem, the more so because it points up. An extra-long dewcap, perhaps with drain holes at the bottom to let water run out, would help a little but I fear not enough. Once rain has started falling, you are -- pardon me -- hosed.

Rain detectors do exist -- the irrigation system for my garden has one that turns it off when it is raining, and it communicates by WiFi, too. There are also gadgets that measure and telemeter relative humidity, wind speed and direction, and perhaps even cloud cover. (I think low clouds are typically warmer -- radiate more in the infra-red -- than the open sky above.) The electronics hobbyist in me is now thinking about Arduino microcontrollers and XBee WiFi systems and control logic that goes "IF it is raining OR relative humidity is high OR it is cloudy OR wind speed is high OR wind speed suddenly increases OR steady wind direction suddenly changes OR raccoons have found the chocolate chip cookies THEN drop a pre-loaded water balloon on Chris White's sleeping head." (Note that raccoon detection is fundamental to remote astronomy; I have friends at Lick Observatory who know that all too well.)

There is another approach. The best warning of nearby rain I know of is from weather radar -- I will try to attach a screen shot from a piloting application that shows a weather system now active in south Florida, via weather radar superimposed on an aeronautical chart -- if it does not post, send me a private email and will get you a copy. I can imagine a more sophisticated application that reads the radar data sounds an alarm when any such activity is detected within a given distance of a given location.

Screen shot, I hope:


Clear sky,
-- Jay Reynolds Freeman
---------------------
Jay_Reynolds_Freeman@...
http://JayReynoldsFreeman.com
(personal web site)

On Sep 8, 2021, at 3:13 PM, Chris White <chris.white@...> wrote:

Last night was one of those 0% chance of rain nights that turned out to be... well... not that.  [...]


Mark Marfoglia
 

Of course we all feel your pain Chris.

Diffraction Limited makes, or at least used to make, a small cloud sensor that emits an audible noise when the clouds roll in. Great for mobile use.

Good luck with the repairs. If it makes you feel better, I had my roof close on my scope once tipping it over damaging the scope, camera, rotator, the whole Monty.

Mark


On Sep 8, 2021, at 4:13 PM, Chris White <chris.white@...> wrote:



[Edited Message Follows]

Last night was one of those 0% chance of rain nights that turned out to be... well... not that. 

All my gear got rained on and hoping for some advice on the best way to deal with it.  When I woke this morning the computer was still functioning.  APCC had lost connection with the mount, so I assume that my power supply burped or the CP4 shorted.  The mount was still powered on.  Basically, this morning, I powered everything down and removed everything (Except the mount) from my observatory and put in my basement where I have a dehumidifier running and maintain 40%RH. 

I put the CP4 upside down above the dehumidifier along with the PC just in case. 

I removed the focuser from my 130GTX and there was water into the baffles.   This evening when I got home there was moisture on the glass elements, and it looks like both sides. It does not appear that there is any moisture in the QTCC or the camera, so thats good.  I'll test these out later.

So what should I be concerned about with the mount?  The CP4 on the 900GTO faces up to the sky, so all the plug ports got rained on.  The red LED was still on this morning so I assume it's ok.  Anything I need to be concerned with about he CP4 or the mount itself?  Should I bring the mount in as well or is that pretty well sealed up from rain?  How long should I let things dry out before powering up to test out?

And how do I take care of the GTX?  Where water has dried it is obviously leaving behind spots so I need to clean the glass. Is there a way that I can safely disassemble the scope to clean the glass on both sides or is this something that needs to be performed at the factory?  

Finally, I'm pretty bummed about this and realize that after 6 years of getting lucky... I need to invest in something that will wake my butt up if it starts to rain.  My Observatory has a manual roof, so I cant automate anything there.  Literally I would need something to just wake me up so I can run screaming in my PJ's into the backyard to pull the roof shut.  Any suggestions here?

Thanks in advance for your help.


Bill Long
 

AAG Cloud Watcher or the AAG Pocket Cloud Watcher PC edition would do the trick.


From: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io> on behalf of Mark Marfoglia <Mark@...>
Sent: Wednesday, September 8, 2021 4:10 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Got rained on... Seeking advice on what to do in the aftermath.
 
Of course we all feel your pain Chris.

Diffraction Limited makes, or at least used to make, a small cloud sensor that emits an audible noise when the clouds roll in. Great for mobile use.

Good luck with the repairs. If it makes you feel better, I had my roof close on my scope once tipping it over damaging the scope, camera, rotator, the whole Monty.

Mark


On Sep 8, 2021, at 4:13 PM, Chris White <chris.white@...> wrote:



[Edited Message Follows]

Last night was one of those 0% chance of rain nights that turned out to be... well... not that. 

All my gear got rained on and hoping for some advice on the best way to deal with it.  When I woke this morning the computer was still functioning.  APCC had lost connection with the mount, so I assume that my power supply burped or the CP4 shorted.  The mount was still powered on.  Basically, this morning, I powered everything down and removed everything (Except the mount) from my observatory and put in my basement where I have a dehumidifier running and maintain 40%RH. 

I put the CP4 upside down above the dehumidifier along with the PC just in case. 

I removed the focuser from my 130GTX and there was water into the baffles.   This evening when I got home there was moisture on the glass elements, and it looks like both sides. It does not appear that there is any moisture in the QTCC or the camera, so thats good.  I'll test these out later.

So what should I be concerned about with the mount?  The CP4 on the 900GTO faces up to the sky, so all the plug ports got rained on.  The red LED was still on this morning so I assume it's ok.  Anything I need to be concerned with about he CP4 or the mount itself?  Should I bring the mount in as well or is that pretty well sealed up from rain?  How long should I let things dry out before powering up to test out?

And how do I take care of the GTX?  Where water has dried it is obviously leaving behind spots so I need to clean the glass. Is there a way that I can safely disassemble the scope to clean the glass on both sides or is this something that needs to be performed at the factory?  

Finally, I'm pretty bummed about this and realize that after 6 years of getting lucky... I need to invest in something that will wake my butt up if it starts to rain.  My Observatory has a manual roof, so I cant automate anything there.  Literally I would need something to just wake me up so I can run screaming in my PJ's into the backyard to pull the roof shut.  Any suggestions here?

Thanks in advance for your help.


James Stone
 

There’s also this ad-on to CW that directly senses rain: https://shop.lunaticoastro.com/?product=hydreon-rg-9-rain-sensor-adapted-for-cw

 

 

From: <main@ap-ug.groups.io> on behalf of Bill Long <bill@...>
Reply-To: "main@ap-ug.groups.io" <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021 at 7:18 PM
To: "main@ap-ug.groups.io" <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Got rained on... Seeking advice on what to do in the aftermath.

 

AAG Cloud Watcher or the AAG Pocket Cloud Watcher PC edition would do the trick.

 


From: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io> on behalf of Mark Marfoglia <Mark@...>
Sent: Wednesday, September 8, 2021 4:10 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Got rained on... Seeking advice on what to do in the aftermath.

 

Of course we all feel your pain Chris.

 

Diffraction Limited makes, or at least used to make, a small cloud sensor that emits an audible noise when the clouds roll in. Great for mobile use.

 

Good luck with the repairs. If it makes you feel better, I had my roof close on my scope once tipping it over damaging the scope, camera, rotator, the whole Monty.

Mark

 



On Sep 8, 2021, at 4:13 PM, Chris White <chris.white@...> wrote:

[Edited Message Follows]

Last night was one of those 0% chance of rain nights that turned out to be... well... not that. 

All my gear got rained on and hoping for some advice on the best way to deal with it.  When I woke this morning the computer was still functioning.  APCC had lost connection with the mount, so I assume that my power supply burped or the CP4 shorted.  The mount was still powered on.  Basically, this morning, I powered everything down and removed everything (Except the mount) from my observatory and put in my basement where I have a dehumidifier running and maintain 40%RH. 

I put the CP4 upside down above the dehumidifier along with the PC just in case. 

I removed the focuser from my 130GTX and there was water into the baffles.   This evening when I got home there was moisture on the glass elements, and it looks like both sides. It does not appear that there is any moisture in the QTCC or the camera, so thats good.  I'll test these out later.

So what should I be concerned about with the mount?  The CP4 on the 900GTO faces up to the sky, so all the plug ports got rained on.  The red LED was still on this morning so I assume it's ok.  Anything I need to be concerned with about he CP4 or the mount itself?  Should I bring the mount in as well or is that pretty well sealed up from rain?  How long should I let things dry out before powering up to test out?

And how do I take care of the GTX?  Where water has dried it is obviously leaving behind spots so I need to clean the glass. Is there a way that I can safely disassemble the scope to clean the glass on both sides or is this something that needs to be performed at the factory?  

Finally, I'm pretty bummed about this and realize that after 6 years of getting lucky... I need to invest in something that will wake my butt up if it starts to rain.  My Observatory has a manual roof, so I cant automate anything there.  Literally I would need something to just wake me up so I can run screaming in my PJ's into the backyard to pull the roof shut.  Any suggestions here?

Thanks in advance for your help.


Bill Long
 

Yeah that's probably the most bullet proof solution. 

Chris the AAG CW is directly supported in Voyager as well, and can take actions while you're running outside like parking, etc.


From: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io> on behalf of James Stone <jrs7r@...>
Sent: Wednesday, September 8, 2021 4:23 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Got rained on... Seeking advice on what to do in the aftermath.
 

There’s also this ad-on to CW that directly senses rain: https://shop.lunaticoastro.com/?product=hydreon-rg-9-rain-sensor-adapted-for-cw

 

 

From: <main@ap-ug.groups.io> on behalf of Bill Long <bill@...>
Reply-To: "main@ap-ug.groups.io" <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021 at 7:18 PM
To: "main@ap-ug.groups.io" <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Got rained on... Seeking advice on what to do in the aftermath.

 

AAG Cloud Watcher or the AAG Pocket Cloud Watcher PC edition would do the trick.

 


From: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io> on behalf of Mark Marfoglia <Mark@...>
Sent: Wednesday, September 8, 2021 4:10 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Got rained on... Seeking advice on what to do in the aftermath.

 

Of course we all feel your pain Chris.

 

Diffraction Limited makes, or at least used to make, a small cloud sensor that emits an audible noise when the clouds roll in. Great for mobile use.

 

Good luck with the repairs. If it makes you feel better, I had my roof close on my scope once tipping it over damaging the scope, camera, rotator, the whole Monty.

Mark

 



On Sep 8, 2021, at 4:13 PM, Chris White <chris.white@...> wrote:

[Edited Message Follows]

Last night was one of those 0% chance of rain nights that turned out to be... well... not that. 

All my gear got rained on and hoping for some advice on the best way to deal with it.  When I woke this morning the computer was still functioning.  APCC had lost connection with the mount, so I assume that my power supply burped or the CP4 shorted.  The mount was still powered on.  Basically, this morning, I powered everything down and removed everything (Except the mount) from my observatory and put in my basement where I have a dehumidifier running and maintain 40%RH. 

I put the CP4 upside down above the dehumidifier along with the PC just in case. 

I removed the focuser from my 130GTX and there was water into the baffles.   This evening when I got home there was moisture on the glass elements, and it looks like both sides. It does not appear that there is any moisture in the QTCC or the camera, so thats good.  I'll test these out later.

So what should I be concerned about with the mount?  The CP4 on the 900GTO faces up to the sky, so all the plug ports got rained on.  The red LED was still on this morning so I assume it's ok.  Anything I need to be concerned with about he CP4 or the mount itself?  Should I bring the mount in as well or is that pretty well sealed up from rain?  How long should I let things dry out before powering up to test out?

And how do I take care of the GTX?  Where water has dried it is obviously leaving behind spots so I need to clean the glass. Is there a way that I can safely disassemble the scope to clean the glass on both sides or is this something that needs to be performed at the factory?  

Finally, I'm pretty bummed about this and realize that after 6 years of getting lucky... I need to invest in something that will wake my butt up if it starts to rain.  My Observatory has a manual roof, so I cant automate anything there.  Literally I would need something to just wake me up so I can run screaming in my PJ's into the backyard to pull the roof shut.  Any suggestions here?

Thanks in advance for your help.


Dale Ghent
 

On Sep 8, 2021, at 18:11, Chris White <chris.white@whitephotogallery.com> wrote:

Finally, I'm pretty bummed about this and realize that after 6 years of getting lucky... I need to invest in something that will wake my butt up if it starts to rain. My Observatory has a manual roof, so I cant automate anything there. Literally I would need something to just wake me up so I can run screaming in my PJ's into the backyard to pull the roof shut. Any suggestions here?
You're not the only one who tempts fate like this, and it sucks that the wheel of chance spun against you. I guess chances of this happens invisibly increase as time goes on. As for rain detection, there are a few options:

* The early warning software route: Rain Alarm
https://app.rain-alarm.com

Install the app and define an alert radius from your location, with other factors considered too. It's /fairly/ reliable, I've found. I'm not ruling out a false negative at some point only because my experience with it has been only a few months. It's also a remote service that has to be up and working. I don't know how reliable the site is in that regard. It's better than nothing. App cost is $8 to unlock all options and remove ads. Worth it considering what you're using it to protect.

* The commercial is-it-raining-in-my-yard route: Lunatico CloudWatcher + rain detection add-ons
https://shop.lunaticoastro.com/category-product/cloud-detection/

I haven't used it but it seems popular. You would need to get the unit with either the capacitance-based raindrop sensor and/or with the Hydreon RG-9 sensor. Normally one would use its ASCOM Safety Monitor driver to automate the shutting of a roof/dome. That isn't helpful in your manual dome case, but it might offer a general alarm kind of function. Perhaps it does via Lunatico's Good Night System (GNS) phone app. One would need to look into this. Cost will probably be ~$500 when all is said and done. There's a small, portable "pocket" version of the CloudWatcher but it doesn't detect rain, just clouds.

I've been getting the feeling that my luck will run out sooner or later and have been working on my own detection system, but it's stalled due to lack of parts. I've assembled an array of 3 of the Hydreon RG-9 rain sensors that are connected to a Raspberry Pi 3b. I'm using 3 of the RG-9 units so that there's some redundancy and any 2 that detect rain will trigger an alert. I'm using this as a project to lean how to code in Rust, and am putting together an ASCOM Alpaca ObservingConditions and SafetyMonior service for it. I also want to have it do INDI and emit "it's raining" payloads to a MQTT broker for home automation so I can blast a warning out over my Sonos speaker system. I'm going to modify the RG-9s with a small resistor array to heat them to ward off dew and frost from their domes, but the parts I need to optimize the system for this are on backorder. I'll probably post up a project how-to and the code once I'm done with it.


Samuel Khoddari
 

Hi Chris, 

I partnered with a friend to build a remote observatory. We installed a weather station that can be programmed to shut off the roof. The software that comes with it can text you or email you when the weather condition reaches a critical condition.  It was recommended to us by a subscription remote observatory. It really worked well for us and it has saved us a few times already. You may want to take a look  at it. Here is the link:

Best wishes

On Wed, Sep 8, 2021 at 4:35 PM Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:


> On Sep 8, 2021, at 18:11, Chris White <chris.white@...> wrote:
>
> Finally, I'm pretty bummed about this and realize that after 6 years of getting lucky... I need to invest in something that will wake my butt up if it starts to rain.  My Observatory has a manual roof, so I cant automate anything there.  Literally I would need something to just wake me up so I can run screaming in my PJ's into the backyard to pull the roof shut.  Any suggestions here?

You're not the only one who tempts fate like this, and it sucks that the wheel of chance spun against you. I guess chances of this happens invisibly increase as time goes on. As for rain detection, there are a few options:

* The early warning software route: Rain Alarm
https://app.rain-alarm.com

Install the app and define an alert radius from your location, with other factors considered too. It's /fairly/ reliable, I've found. I'm not ruling out a false negative at some point only because my experience with it has been only a few months. It's also a remote service that has to be up and working. I don't know how reliable the site is in that regard. It's better than nothing. App cost is $8 to unlock all options and remove ads. Worth it considering what you're using it to protect.

* The commercial is-it-raining-in-my-yard route: Lunatico CloudWatcher + rain detection add-ons
https://shop.lunaticoastro.com/category-product/cloud-detection/

I haven't used it but it seems popular. You would need to get the unit with either the capacitance-based raindrop sensor and/or with the Hydreon RG-9 sensor. Normally one would use its ASCOM Safety Monitor driver to automate the shutting of a roof/dome. That isn't helpful in your manual dome case, but it might offer a general alarm kind of function. Perhaps it does via Lunatico's Good Night System (GNS) phone app. One would need to look into this. Cost will probably be ~$500 when all is said and done. There's a small, portable "pocket" version of the CloudWatcher but it doesn't detect rain, just clouds.

I've been getting the feeling that my luck will run out sooner or later and have been working on my own detection system, but it's stalled due to lack of parts. I've assembled an array of 3 of the Hydreon RG-9 rain sensors that are connected to a Raspberry Pi 3b. I'm using 3 of the RG-9 units so that there's some redundancy and any 2 that detect rain will trigger an alert.  I'm using this as a project to lean how to code in Rust, and am putting together an ASCOM Alpaca ObservingConditions and SafetyMonior service for it. I also want to have it do INDI and emit "it's raining" payloads to a MQTT broker for home automation so I can blast a warning out over my Sonos speaker system. I'm going to modify the RG-9s with a small resistor array to heat them to ward off dew and frost from their domes, but the parts I need to optimize the system for this are on backorder. I'll probably post up a project how-to and the code once I'm done with it.




--

Samuel Khodari
Spectrum Fire Protection 
1330 E. Orangethorpe Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92831
(714) 213-8451
(714) 213-8759
(562) 650-2169 Direct


Pete Lardizabal
 


Sorry to hear of your plight Chris. 

Can’t speak to the mount or the GTX. 

I have had my AP130EDFGT caught out in the rain twice. Once while out at an air show and the second time in my backyard when an expected down pour occurred while i was taking a break in the house grabbing a quick bite to eat. Each soaking I simply toweled off water and kept the scope “open” (no caps) in my air conditioned home. The GT optic is oil spaced and was unaffected. I did clean the exterior element using usual methods. 

 My concern with the GTX is that it is partially airspaced. My AP Stowaway is an airspaced optic and I have had it out in light rain while pursuing wildlife; however, the optics did not get wet in that event. 

Pete

On Sep 8, 2021, at 6:11 PM, Chris White <chris.white@...> wrote:

Last night was one of those 0% chance of rain nights that turned out to be... well... not that. 

All my gear got rained on and hoping for some advice on the best way to deal with it.  When I woke this morning the computer was still functioning.  APCC had lost connection with the mount, so I assume that my power supply burped or the CP4 shorted.  The mount was still powered on.  Basically, this morning, I powered everything down and removed everything (Except the mount) from my observatory and put in my basement where I have a dehumidifier running and maintain 40%RH. 

I put the CP4 upside down above the dehumidifier along with the PC just in case. 

I removed the focuser from my 130GTX and there was water into the baffles.   This evening when I got home there was moisture on the glass elements, and it looks like both sides. It does not appear that there is any moisture in the QTCC or the camera, so thats good.  I'll test these out later.

So what should I be concerned about with the mount?  The CP4 on the 900GTO faces up to the sky, so all the plug ports got rained on.  The red LED was still on this morning so I assume it's ok.  Anything I need to be concerned with about he CP4 or the mount itself?

And how do I take care of the GTX?  Where water has dried it is obviously leaving behind spots so I need to clean the glass. Is there a way that I can safely disassemble the scope to clean the glass on both sides or is this something that needs to be performed at the factory?  

Finally, I'm pretty bummed about this and realize that after 6 years of getting lucky... I need to invest in something that will wake my butt up if it starts to rain.  My Observatory has a manual roof, so I cant automate anything there.  Literally I would need something to just wake me up so I can run screaming in my PJ's into the backyard to pull the roof shut.  Any suggestions here?

Thanks in advance for your help. 


Bill Long
 

Sky Alert is good, just very expensive and may be a bit overkill for Chris. Either way though, options are good to consider.

I believe DSW is using Sky Alert these days.


From: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io> on behalf of Samuel Khoddari <skhodari@...>
Sent: Wednesday, September 8, 2021 4:51 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Got rained on... Seeking advice on what to do in the aftermath.
 
Hi Chris, 

I partnered with a friend to build a remote observatory. We installed a weather station that can be programmed to shut off the roof. The software that comes with it can text you or email you when the weather condition reaches a critical condition.  It was recommended to us by a subscription remote observatory. It really worked well for us and it has saved us a few times already. You may want to take a look  at it. Here is the link:

Best wishes

On Wed, Sep 8, 2021 at 4:35 PM Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:


> On Sep 8, 2021, at 18:11, Chris White <chris.white@...> wrote:
>
> Finally, I'm pretty bummed about this and realize that after 6 years of getting lucky... I need to invest in something that will wake my butt up if it starts to rain.  My Observatory has a manual roof, so I cant automate anything there.  Literally I would need something to just wake me up so I can run screaming in my PJ's into the backyard to pull the roof shut.  Any suggestions here?

You're not the only one who tempts fate like this, and it sucks that the wheel of chance spun against you. I guess chances of this happens invisibly increase as time goes on. As for rain detection, there are a few options:

* The early warning software route: Rain Alarm
https://app.rain-alarm.com

Install the app and define an alert radius from your location, with other factors considered too. It's /fairly/ reliable, I've found. I'm not ruling out a false negative at some point only because my experience with it has been only a few months. It's also a remote service that has to be up and working. I don't know how reliable the site is in that regard. It's better than nothing. App cost is $8 to unlock all options and remove ads. Worth it considering what you're using it to protect.

* The commercial is-it-raining-in-my-yard route: Lunatico CloudWatcher + rain detection add-ons
https://shop.lunaticoastro.com/category-product/cloud-detection/

I haven't used it but it seems popular. You would need to get the unit with either the capacitance-based raindrop sensor and/or with the Hydreon RG-9 sensor. Normally one would use its ASCOM Safety Monitor driver to automate the shutting of a roof/dome. That isn't helpful in your manual dome case, but it might offer a general alarm kind of function. Perhaps it does via Lunatico's Good Night System (GNS) phone app. One would need to look into this. Cost will probably be ~$500 when all is said and done. There's a small, portable "pocket" version of the CloudWatcher but it doesn't detect rain, just clouds.

I've been getting the feeling that my luck will run out sooner or later and have been working on my own detection system, but it's stalled due to lack of parts. I've assembled an array of 3 of the Hydreon RG-9 rain sensors that are connected to a Raspberry Pi 3b. I'm using 3 of the RG-9 units so that there's some redundancy and any 2 that detect rain will trigger an alert.  I'm using this as a project to lean how to code in Rust, and am putting together an ASCOM Alpaca ObservingConditions and SafetyMonior service for it. I also want to have it do INDI and emit "it's raining" payloads to a MQTT broker for home automation so I can blast a warning out over my Sonos speaker system. I'm going to modify the RG-9s with a small resistor array to heat them to ward off dew and frost from their domes, but the parts I need to optimize the system for this are on backorder. I'll probably post up a project how-to and the code once I'm done with it.




--

Samuel Khodari
Spectrum Fire Protection 
1330 E. Orangethorpe Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92831
(714) 213-8451
(714) 213-8759
(562) 650-2169 Direct


J. Belden
 

Dale,

Thanks for jogging my memory on MQTT. I wanted to add interface to my home automation systems as well and that would be the easiest solution. Though, my personal hobby always takes a backseat to paying contracts. I code for a living so I typically use C,C#, Kotlin, Ruby, Perl, Python and Go but might dabble some more with Rust seems to be gaining some popularity.


Roland Christen
 

Once you dry out the CP4, it should work just fine. Probably no permanent damage. Give it a try, see if it controls the mount.

The lens can be cleaned, but if water got into the inside between the elements, then it needs to come here for disassembly, cleaning, re-assembly, re-collimation, etc. I just did that to a 175EDF lens for someone. Took a few hours but came out like new. So, don't worry, it didn't destroy your lens. Glass is pretty tough, and so are the coatings we use now.

If the water spots are only on front and rear, then it's easy to clean. You can remove the lens cell from the tube by loosening the stainless steel setscrews in the back of the cell and unscrewing it from the tube. Be extremely careful and don't drop the cell when it is fully unscrewed. Best done with the tube pointing straight up. Once off, you can clean the back surface. You won't change the collimation doing this.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris White <chris.white@...>
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io
Sent: Wed, Sep 8, 2021 5:11 pm
Subject: [ap-ug] Got rained on... Seeking advice on what to do in the aftermath.

[Edited Message Follows]
Last night was one of those 0% chance of rain nights that turned out to be... well... not that. 

All my gear got rained on and hoping for some advice on the best way to deal with it.  When I woke this morning the computer was still functioning.  APCC had lost connection with the mount, so I assume that my power supply burped or the CP4 shorted.  The mount was still powered on.  Basically, this morning, I powered everything down and removed everything (Except the mount) from my observatory and put in my basement where I have a dehumidifier running and maintain 40%RH. 

I put the CP4 upside down above the dehumidifier along with the PC just in case. 

I removed the focuser from my 130GTX and there was water into the baffles.   This evening when I got home there was moisture on the glass elements, and it looks like both sides. It does not appear that there is any moisture in the QTCC or the camera, so thats good.  I'll test these out later.

So what should I be concerned about with the mount?  The CP4 on the 900GTO faces up to the sky, so all the plug ports got rained on.  The red LED was still on this morning so I assume it's ok.  Anything I need to be concerned with about he CP4 or the mount itself?  Should I bring the mount in as well or is that pretty well sealed up from rain?  How long should I let things dry out before powering up to test out?


And how do I take care of the GTX?  Where water has dried it is obviously leaving behind spots so I need to clean the glass. Is there a way that I can safely disassemble the scope to clean the glass on both sides or is this something that needs to be performed at the factory?  

Finally, I'm pretty bummed about this and realize that after 6 years of getting lucky... I need to invest in something that will wake my butt up if it starts to rain.  My Observatory has a manual roof, so I cant automate anything there.  Literally I would need something to just wake me up so I can run screaming in my PJ's into the backyard to pull the roof shut.  Any suggestions here?

Thanks in advance for your help.


Christopher Erickson
 

The RG-11 is a cheap and effective rain sensor that has dry relay contacts that can control a simple ringer, bell, buzzer, strobe, etc.

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
   

On Wed, Sep 8, 2021, 12:11 PM Chris White <chris.white@...> wrote:
Last night was one of those 0% chance of rain nights that turned out to be... well... not that. 

All my gear got rained on and hoping for some advice on the best way to deal with it.  When I woke this morning the computer was still functioning.  APCC had lost connection with the mount, so I assume that my power supply burped or the CP4 shorted.  The mount was still powered on.  Basically, this morning, I powered everything down and removed everything (Except the mount) from my observatory and put in my basement where I have a dehumidifier running and maintain 40%RH. 

I put the CP4 upside down above the dehumidifier along with the PC just in case. 

I removed the focuser from my 130GTX and there was water into the baffles.   This evening when I got home there was moisture on the glass elements, and it looks like both sides. It does not appear that there is any moisture in the QTCC or the camera, so thats good.  I'll test these out later.

So what should I be concerned about with the mount?  The CP4 on the 900GTO faces up to the sky, so all the plug ports got rained on.  The red LED was still on this morning so I assume it's ok.  Anything I need to be concerned with about he CP4 or the mount itself?

And how do I take care of the GTX?  Where water has dried it is obviously leaving behind spots so I need to clean the glass. Is there a way that I can safely disassemble the scope to clean the glass on both sides or is this something that needs to be performed at the factory?  

Finally, I'm pretty bummed about this and realize that after 6 years of getting lucky... I need to invest in something that will wake my butt up if it starts to rain.  My Observatory has a manual roof, so I cant automate anything there.  Literally I would need something to just wake me up so I can run screaming in my PJ's into the backyard to pull the roof shut.  Any suggestions here?

Thanks in advance for your help. 


Chris White
 

On Wed, Sep 8, 2021 at 09:51 PM, Roland Christen wrote:
Once you dry out the CP4, it should work just fine. Probably no permanent damage. Give it a try, see if it controls the mount.
 
The lens can be cleaned, but if water got into the inside between the elements, then it needs to come here for disassembly, cleaning, re-assembly, re-collimation, etc. I just did that to a 175EDF lens for someone. Took a few hours but came out like new. So, don't worry, it didn't destroy your lens. Glass is pretty tough, and so are the coatings we use now.
 
If the water spots are only on front and rear, then it's easy to clean. You can remove the lens cell from the tube by loosening the stainless steel setscrews in the back of the cell and unscrewing it from the tube. Be extremely careful and don't drop the cell when it is fully unscrewed. Best done with the tube pointing straight up. Once off, you can clean the back surface. You won't change the collimation doing this.
 
Rolando


Well,

I removed the lens cell as instructed, and the moisture definitely got between the elements. :-(

So I guess it will need a trip back to you Roland.  I don't relish the idea of shipping this, so whats the best way?  I imagine you dont need the entire scope, just the lens cell?  But is it safer to ship it while mounted in the scope body, minus the focuser? 

I'll reach out to the shop tomorrow to see about setting up the repair. 

In the meantime I will take this as a painful learning experience and put in some effort at preventing it again.  I don't have the heart to research it tonight but I'll read through all of these comments and suggestions and start doing some research.  Thanks everyone. 


Walter
 

I have used the Hydreon RG-11 Rain Sensor the only problem with it was dew set to off sometimes but I added a 390 ohm resistor inside
the plastic dome and if fixed the problem. It uses a simple relay to indicate it is raining.
https://rainsensors.com/

Walter


Roland Christen
 

You can send it either way. If you send just the lens, wrap tissue paper around it, put it in a Tupperware container and wrap it with heavy foam. Put that in a box and then put that into another box. Fill the space between the boxes with packing material.

If you send it with the tube, put the scope into its carrying case and put that into double cardboard boxes.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Chris White <chris.white@...>
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io
Sent: Wed, Sep 8, 2021 10:03 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Got rained on... Seeking advice on what to do in the aftermath.

On Wed, Sep 8, 2021 at 09:51 PM, Roland Christen wrote:
Once you dry out the CP4, it should work just fine. Probably no permanent damage. Give it a try, see if it controls the mount.
 
The lens can be cleaned, but if water got into the inside between the elements, then it needs to come here for disassembly, cleaning, re-assembly, re-collimation, etc. I just did that to a 175EDF lens for someone. Took a few hours but came out like new. So, don't worry, it didn't destroy your lens. Glass is pretty tough, and so are the coatings we use now.
 
If the water spots are only on front and rear, then it's easy to clean. You can remove the lens cell from the tube by loosening the stainless steel setscrews in the back of the cell and unscrewing it from the tube. Be extremely careful and don't drop the cell when it is fully unscrewed. Best done with the tube pointing straight up. Once off, you can clean the back surface. You won't change the collimation doing this.
 
Rolando


Well,

I removed the lens cell as instructed, and the moisture definitely got between the elements. :-(

So I guess it will need a trip back to you Roland.  I don't relish the idea of shipping this, so whats the best way?  I imagine you dont need the entire scope, just the lens cell?  But is it safer to ship it while mounted in the scope body, minus the focuser? 

I'll reach out to the shop tomorrow to see about setting up the repair. 

In the meantime I will take this as a painful learning experience and put in some effort at preventing it again.  I don't have the heart to research it tonight but I'll read through all of these comments and suggestions and start doing some research.  Thanks everyone. 


Peter Bresler
 

Someone with a little Arduino talent could fairly easily devise a warning or control device. Start with a sprinkler rain sensor. 


Chris White
 

Thanks everyone for chiming in.  I decided to go with the Cloudwatcher product and purchased the additional Atmospheric Pressure sensor as well as the Hydreon Rain Sensor.  I am NOT computer savvy when it comes to programming, coding, etc... so I wanted something that would already have ASCOM drivers, etc... ready to go.  As Bill knows, I use Voyager, and with ASCOM I will be able to setup dragscript commands to park the mount in the event of a rain event.  I also like that the Cloudwatcher can alert me on my phone if such an event happens. 

Since I live in a northern USA location, the Hydreon sensor which is most sensitive states that it is not designed for cold weather use.  So in this case, I could divert to the native Capacitive sensor which would alarm if it starts snowing. 

I also like that unit will allow for full automation of parking and closing roof.  While my observatory has a manual roof now, I may pursue a way to motorize it... but I also plan to build a slightly larger observatory with full automation within the next couple of years, so this will future proof for me. 

On another note... not sure if this is crazy or not, but I have been thinking of a way to build an "umbrella" for my gear.  This would be a simple 3D printed "half-pipe" (or similarly constructed) shell that could run the entire length of the OTA and another for the camera.  Basically this would always ride on the side of the equipment and in the event of Rain, when my mount parks to position 5 it would be positioned directly above the equipment to divert rain to run down and off the sides harmlessly to the obervatory floor.  This would not weigh much so balance would not be compromised, but it would keep water away from all seams and electronics in case I dont wake up and my system just parks in the rain. 

I'm planning a little "belt and suspenders" approach here as I really dont want this to happen again.  My Lens cell is en-route to AP for a cleaning right now.  A rain "attack" is not a fun experience to go through.  Will be testing out the mount and PC today to see if any additional damage happened. 


Chris White
 
Edited

On Sun, Sep 12, 2021 at 08:54 AM, Chris White wrote:
On another note... not sure if this is crazy or not, but I have been thinking of a way to build an "umbrella" for my gear.  This would be a simple 3D printed "half-pipe" (or similarly constructed) shell that could run the entire length of the OTA and another for the camera.  Basically this would always ride on the side of the equipment and in the event of Rain, when my mount parks to position 5 it would be positioned directly above the equipment to divert rain to run down and off the sides harmlessly to the obervatory floor.  This would not weigh much so balance would not be compromised, but it would keep water away from all seams and electronics in case I dont wake up and my system just parks in the rain. 
A question for Roland about this:  If the scope is parked in position 5, what is the water resistance of the scope?  Is rain just going to run off of the scope with little chance of problems, or is there still a significant risk of water getting into the lens cell?  I imagine that the hood does a nice job of protecting the cell, and the threaded connections on each end of the flattener or reducer as well. 

I might be seeking a solution to a problem that doesnt exist....

Camrea on the other hand has ports and plugs.  Also the CP4 could certainly use a shield as could the OTA mounted USB/power hub.


Roland Christen
 


If the scope is parked in position 5, what is the water resistance of the scope?
I don't know. I never tried testing for water resistance.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris White <chris.white@...>
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io
Sent: Sun, Sep 12, 2021 9:10 am
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Got rained on... Seeking advice on what to do in the aftermath.

On Sun, Sep 12, 2021 at 08:54 AM, Chris White wrote:
On another note... not sure if this is crazy or not, but I have been thinking of a way to build an "umbrella" for my gear.  This would be a simple 3D printed "half-pipe" (or similarly constructed) shell that could run the entire length of the OTA and another for the camera.  Basically this would always ride on the side of the equipment and in the event of Rain, when my mount parks to position 5 it would be positioned directly above the equipment to divert rain to run down and off the sides harmlessly to the obervatory floor.  This would not weigh much so balance would not be compromised, but it would keep water away from all seams and electronics in case I dont wake up and my system just parks in the rain. 
A question for Roland about this:  If the scope is parked in position 5, what is the water resistance of the scope?  Is rain just going to run off of the scope with little cause of problems, or is there still a significant risk of water getting into the lens cell?  I imagine that the hood does a nice job of protecting the cell, and the threaded connections on each end of the flattener or reducer as well. 

I might be seeking a solution to a problem that doesnt exist....

Camrea on the other hand has ports and plugs.  Also the CP4 could certainly use a shield as could the OTA mounted USB/power hub.