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Keeping the observatory PC warm and dry.

  • DaveGrennan
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Keeping the observatory PC warm and dry. was created by DaveGrennan

I went out tonight to collect some darks, flats and collimate the scope. However once again the observatory PC wont boot. It seems that in the last few months if the outside temp drops below about 2deg the damn thing wont start. I think its the memory sockets as if I poke around at them it will work eventually.

Anyway I have a second PC, my old office PC which I can use however as its a pretty decent spec PC I dont want to leave it to the elements to destroy that too so I'm looking for a way to keep it warm and dry while not in use. I could of course bring it inside after every session but since its a heavy PC I really dont want to do that if I can help it

Anyone got any ideas on how to keep it warm and dry. I thought of building a plywood cabinet for it with some lining inside, but I'm not sure if thats the way to go.

Input appreciated.

D.
Regards and Clear Skies,

Dave.
J41 - Raheny Observatory.
www.webtreatz.com
Equipment List here
12 years 2 weeks ago #87856

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Replied by dmcdona on topic Re: Keeping the observatory PC warm and dry.

Dave - I have a fairly old (maybe 5 years or so) HP PC literally out in the garden - and it has been for the last 2.5 years.

I wrapped it up in two layers of damp-proof membrane material (a heavy plastic sheeting) - sides, front and back. It is then covered with a tarp and then covered by the roll-off shed (which has one side completely open to the elements). There is a little ventilation to the front of the PC where I stick my arm to hit the power-on button if I need to. Though that's rare. It is left powered on permanently, 24/7. Though I used to power it up via WOL. Now I can't be bothered to even do that. Besides, I figured with the cold spell, it was best left powered up to provide a little warmth for the local fauna/flora...

So far it has run consistently and with no unusual issues for two and a half years. And that includes at significant sub-zero temps.

Other than that, I can only surmise that perhaps your MB has become a little damp and perhpas that least to ice and that leads to a non-booting PC....

Perhaps try the DPM route or get a sturdy cardboard box (I wouldn't bother with plywood) and wrap it in plastic then stick the PC in with a few holes for cables.

Maybe I just have a really well built PC with a very tight case...
12 years 2 weeks ago #87861

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Replied by albertw on topic Re: Keeping the observatory PC warm and dry.

I went out tonight to collect some darks, flats and collimate the scope. However once again the observatory PC wont boot. It seems that in the last few months if the outside temp drops below about 2deg the damn thing wont start. I think its the memory sockets as if I poke around at them it will work eventually.


Won't boot, but will power on? Sounds like some components have a minimum operating temperature of 0C which isn't that uncommon for consumer electronics.

If the power supply works then you could try leaving it at a bios screen for a few minutes until the box has heated up enough. This may be why it starts up after you have fiddled with it for a while.

Any insulation you can provide will help keep the temperature up. Though be careful in warm weather that the box can keep sufficiently cool, hard disks and memory running at high temperatures tend to fail a lot more quickly.

Cheers,
~Al
Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/
12 years 2 weeks ago #87865

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  • DaveGrennan
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Replied by DaveGrennan on topic Re: Keeping the observatory PC warm and dry.

Thanks for the feedback guys.

Actually it wont get to the bios screen. The PSU does fire up and the fans CPU etc are whirring I'm pretty sure its the RAM slots flexing as the temp drops.

I'm thinking the best solution might be to built that plywood housing with a hinged door at the front, that can be left open or removed in milder weather.
Regards and Clear Skies,

Dave.
J41 - Raheny Observatory.
www.webtreatz.com
Equipment List here
12 years 2 weeks ago #87873

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