For info, the "System Active" durations underwent a step change on Sat 10th March 2012 as this was the day I implemented the use of a Theben SEL170 timeswitch to automatically switch the cameras on/off in alignment with sunrise / sunset times.
That's a very interesting piece of kit. I've been using a normal digital time switch which I tweak week to week. Having something that tracks twilight is most useful!
I've been looking at partially automating an enclosue so that the lens/camera is sheltered but there is no cover glass in the way to get dirty. I've been doing some tests with a servo driven shutter which is showing promise.
I was reading on the UFO forum about a piece of kit that is a cloud/rain/light level detector. This has an output that can control a relay for such applications. I built my own rain detector out of a couple of bits of fine wire and a small amplifier. I was thinking of incorporating this as an additional safety feature to close the enclosure. We'll see how it goes....!
No real issues with the glass getting dirty as its pointing at the sky and the rain cleans it off. I go up to it maybe once every couple of months to give it a wipe / polish but to be honest there's not much grime to remove.
The build in heater means I don't have any condensation issues.
Hi, I have tried them all, el cheapo un sealed jobs from China to the deluxe, heated and ventilated ones. Currently I have a total of four enclosures and 2 domes sitting in the cupboard. I also want to co-house either a ccd or a dslr camera for other stuff (mainly NLC observing in the summer). So I need something a touch larger. In reality the meteor camera is secondary to the others, it can be squeezed in somewhere. There are some interesting designs kicking around. Mind you I'll need to re-visit programming to control the motors on the roll off design I have in mind. The DIY is half the fun for me!
Yes, I too was somewhat nervous but the first one has now been running for 18 months with no problems whatsoever. There's a good weather-tight seal around the door and the cable entry points are easily blocked up. The only precaution I take is to only open the housing up when it warm and sunny (as opposed to damp and foggy ). No creepy crawlies calling it home either!
While I haven't taken any quantifiable measurements, I get the distinct impression that the window transmits IR as the system seems to preferentially show faint stars with spectral class K and beyond (ie the redder ones).
Not sure where in the uv / visible / ir spectrum meteors dump most of their energy
I do agree that building the kit is a lot of the fun ... I used to use laptops style power supplies to convert 230V AC mains to 12V DC but noticed that I occasionally got banding on the screen. Fiddling with the connectors helped but the situation was far from ideal. Now have a dedicated metal box with a proper switch mode psu, timeswitch and toggle switches (amazing what you can find in a skip!).