Laptops and dew

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The Bat
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Laptops and dew

Post by The Bat »

Hi all
I have just splashed out on my first piece of imaging equipment, an Imaging Source DFK firewire camera, hoping to make a start with some planetary imaging. Haven't had a chance to hook it up yet as I am still awaiting the right cables to connect it all up.
I am totally new to imaging and have no idea yet how I will fare with it, but only one way to find out. :)
What I would like to know is, what is the best way to protect one's new laptop from condensation in the garden (not having my own observatory or even a shed), and how does one prevent it dewing up when it's brought indoors again? I have seen what happens to my telescope lenses after a couple of hours outdoors, so I thought it best to ask the question before I kill my new computer on its first night out.
Any tips welcome.
Thanks, Rachel
Celestron C8-S XLT
CG5 mount, dual axis motor driven
Imaging Source DFK21AF04.AS camera
North Essex Astronomical Society
martinss
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Post by martinss »

Hi Rachel,

Welcome aboard!

I have been known to put my laptop into an empty beer bottle box with the top cut off and laid on it's side. I cut some holes in the back for cables and stuff too. Looked OK...not exactly swanky, but it did the trick. It would also work offsite too as it would help prevent the screen glare upsetting other observers.

You could also leave the top flap on the box for further protection (from dew and glare)and lift it up when you need to.

Having said that though, I was out the other night on top of a hill and scraped the ice off the (unprotected) laptop and it suffered no ill effects. Wouldn't recommend it though!

Looking forward to seeing your images in the gallery!

Martin
'I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people...'[/b] Sir Isaac Newton
Scope:LXD75 10" SNT, Laptop, UnModded Phillips SPC900NC, Canon EOS5D and associated bits and bobs; Also using a stolen 2.5" Skywatcher Refractor (my son's).
Websites: http://www.hantsastro.org - http://www.m109.co.uk - http://www.saban.co.uk - http://www.workingimage.co.uk . Wishlist - Moonlight Crayford[/size]
richardp
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Post by richardp »

Rachel, the cardboard box idea is a good one and I have done that myself sometimes when it has been very humid. A lot of the time however, I've found condensation is a lot less of a problem than you might imagine, less than on OTAs etc; the PC generates quite a lot of heat which discourages condensation. There's often a light film on the screen or the tops of the keys when I first bring it indoors but there have been no ill effects from this. Its probably a good idea to switch off before coming indoors if you anticipate a lot of condensation so that everything can dry out before you power up again.
Richard

C9.25; 127mm Maksutov; 120mm f5 refractor; 20x80 binos; ToUcam; DMK21; Canon Digital Rebel
richarpo
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Post by richarpo »

You could wrap it in a blanket for an hour or so when you bring it inside, so it will come up to ambient temperature slower.
gary1968
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Post by gary1968 »

Hi Rachel,

I have never had any problem with the lappy dewing over, I think it is due to the heat generated. I always bring it into the house pwered up and leave it it on for a hour or so so that any moisture is evaporated as quickly as possible.
Go for it, the DFK cameras seem to be good so I look forward to your images.

Gary
56N / 3.5W
HEQ5 Pro. Skywatcher ED80, William Optics Field Flattener III, Canon 1000d - Imaging Rig. Guided with Orion 8x50 & QHY5.
Control Via Ascom, EQMod, Cartes du Ciel and PHD.
Everything will be OK in the end, if its not OK, its not the end..............
The Bat
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Post by The Bat »

Thanks for the tips. I did wonder if the laptop's heat would prevent, or at least delay, the dew problem. Better to ask a silly question than to find out the hard way that I should have done something.

For now, though, I have circumvented the problem by buying a 5 metre firewire extension, which means I can have the scope out on the patio and the laptop on the dining room table. It was much easier trying out the software and getting my head round using the camera in relative comfort, but it will only last as long as my target is in the east or south (perfect for Saturn right now).

Enjoying the camera though. I have captured a picture of Saturn, which although not up to the standard of some on this site, I am pretty chuffed with as it's my first one (my non astro-minded friends find it impressive at any rate :) ). It's a bit fuzzy, but it was rather turbulent that night (not helped by planes out of Stansted flying right under the target), plus I was more interested in learning how to actually capture an image and less worried about what it would actually look like. My only disappointment with the camera is the fact that there is no manual for the software - seems geared up to someone experienced already in digital imaging. I am just going by trial and error right now, trying to find out what all the gadgets are. I had never heard the word codec before, for example. Also not entirely sure I am using Registax properly, but whether that is me or a poor video to begin with I don't know. :? Still, my imaging experience extends to all of 2 evenings so far, so I have a way to go yet.

Would post to the gallery but I don't have a website set up to put the images on yet.

Rachel
Celestron C8-S XLT
CG5 mount, dual axis motor driven
Imaging Source DFK21AF04.AS camera
North Essex Astronomical Society
Albut
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Laptop Potection

Post by Albut »

I've been wondering about the same thing and saw this:

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/05/13 ... aptop_bag/

The lapdome. If the link dont work just search google. Anyone any experience of this item. It seems american so I guess in the UK it woukld be twice the price.

Any info appreciated

Regards

AB
Robin Scagell
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Post by Robin Scagell »

I often use my laptop outside with, mostly, no ill effects. But on the odd occasion things can get worse. There was one night during the 2008 Kelling Heath sky camp when heavy dewing created havoc. My laptop suffered severe dewing up, and the next morning the display had a darker area all down one side.

Fortunately the effect slowly went away, though it took several days to get back to normal, and the machine still works. I think other people had equipment failure on the same night, so it's worth taking precautions.

Robin
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