You may remember reading the article earlier about our pier failure.
After we decided to reuse refurbish and make the pier operational agian, a projcet idea developed to put a small scope on the pier and use an idea seen in some issue of Skynews, Sky&Telescope or Astronomy in thel ast 5 years, and that is a mini box observatory over the telescope.

The final idea worked out to putting the RASC-KC’s 20cm LX200GPS out there as a SC design has the smallest footprint, hence the smallest box. We plan on adding a CCD camera to it along with remote network access for centre members as well. There will be a manual portion of the process for us to work on… removing the box, powering up the scope and taking off the lens cap. Procedures will be worked on at a later date.
Right now we’ll look at the construction of the mini-observatory.
We start with the existing pier and decided that after removing the top two plates, that the pier is still too tall… so we shortened it by another 12″

Added the levels small base circle and supports and then added the main base, two sheets of 5/8″ plywood approx 24″x21″. This was varathaned three times to provide protection when exposed to dew at night.
This was measured to provide for a box cover that would slide off and clear the telescope (ie measure first!)

The next trick was to purchase a long enough 1/2″ bolt to screw up into the telescope base. Turns out the LX200GPS mounting threads are recessed a goodly amount inside and our first bolt was too short to reach it. The next was longer and worked. the trick is that the bolt comes in from underneath and how to attach the whole assemblt together with no under access?
the solution that presented itself was a smaller baseplate (again, two 5/8″ plywood), approx 2-3″ bigger than the actual telescope base itself. It was mounted to the scope with the recessed bolt. The plate was then attached to the base of the pier with top screws around the perimeter.

The box construciton came next. The sides are 3/8″ plywood and the top is a single 5/8″. 2×2 verticals are in the two back corners for support and two 1x2s verticals are at the front opening.

We used 1/2″ quarterround along the base to act as a sliding guide, up about 2″ from the bottom of the box, to provide an overhang.

Lastly we added a door, hinges and a latch, then gave it three coats of exterior white latex paint to waterproof it and to help keep it cooler.

The box is just lightweight enough to slide off and set down on the ground, but we added a couple of handles to help out.

More to follow:
setting up power feeds, serial and usb feeds, computer support, finding a ccd camera that will work, etc,etc. Another couple of weeks of free time should see it operational in some fashion.