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Nov 30, 2018

Rain Issues


As report under Shelving problems I have a question about draining the depression on the exterior of the dome of rain water. I was thinking of drilling a few small holes in the area but realized that it would drain into the interior of the dome.


Has anyone figured out how to remove the water? Its a special problem when opening the shutter which dumps onto the scope and mount.


Nov 30, 2018

I simply "push" it out with a towel. If you start at one end of each section and then run the towel along the depression, you can get most of the water out in one swipe - a chamois works even better. The big issue for me (and it looks like for you) is water freezing in the depression. I purchased a cover for the dome and have been very happy with it - simply throw it on before a storm; and water and ice are no longer a problem!

Nov 30, 2018Edited: Dec 1, 2018

I used my leaf blower but I was hoping someone might have engineered a solution.

A towel will work too and since I’ve already got dirty ones from cleaning up the floor from the door leak I’m not adding it to the laundry yet.

Dec 1, 2018

I thought about a small drain hole. You sure it would drain in side the walls? I can use a towell in the summer (and do) but winter that water turns to ice and really piles up. With a warm spell today I just knocked it all off. I do dislike that the shutter drips into the dome when opening it. (on the scope as well). Only thing I thought of would be to put something (foam swimmies?) in the track. (though it wouldn't be pretty. It tape a vinyl skirt around the lower diameter of the dome and have the skirt flow the water out and off the dome. also not an attractive edition.

Dec 1, 2018

The trough is located directly over the interior mounted wheels but if you think drilling a small hole near the bottom will miss the inside of the dome let us know how it works out. 😊

Dec 1, 2018

There are comments under the shelf topic about rain that I'm addressing in this thread.


I added some additional foam instillation to the door and gasket which has kept out last nights and this mornings rain, 😊. I would change one thing and that would be using thicker/deeper foam from Home Depot.


I applied the two strips on top of each other where had I purchased the thicker size one strip would have been sufficent.I applied the two strips on top of each other where had I purchased the thicker size one strip would have been sufficent.
Two Strips of Weatherproof Window/Door Seal


Smaller Section Covered a Very Small Gap


Dec 2, 2018

Looks good! Let us know how it works out. Seems the door can really leak if not sealed well, and from my experience, there is a small range of "locking" that keeps it sealed. We seem to have our strongest rain/wind from the south, so mine is on the north side (not my reason for putting it on that side, but realize now that it was smart!). My bays are on the windy side and I still need to close the gaps in the wall corners. I'll probably tape them for now if needed, I'll see if I get much snow creeping in there!


Dec 2, 2018

@Tom Gwilym Yea our rain mostly comes from the south and my door faces SSW. So far so good for keeping the rain out and inside dry. I've had the small piece on the gasket curl up so I'll be going back to the store for the larger foam sealer and redo it. We get snow about once every 10 years with annual freezing for 3-5 days in January from the Alaskan storms that come down our way. I did notice that with the water sitting in the trough the dome moved slower and when the joint between the two panels, that aren't level with each other, hit the wheels the rotator couldn't push until I gave it a boost. I've got to figure out something to span the gaps so the dome doesn't do the thump thump.

Dec 2, 2018

We are expecting about 5 inches by tomorrow night. I'll find out how mine works with a bunch of snow. I have found that the "thump thump" is minimal as long as the wheels stay in the middle of the track. I also have an issue where mine sometimes pulls away from the gear and doesn't rotate, so I have a slight issue with my dome roundness. I have the motor tension nearly maxed, but maybe I need so shim it a bit for even more pressure.

No matter what dome you have, these things are always a challenge compared to a roll off roof observatory! (I've done both with two different dome manufacturers).

Dec 2, 2018



Perhaps my experience with dome roundness and rotation problems can provide some direction.


When I assembled my dome, I scribed a circle on my deck per the published dimensions and was very careful to place the walls accordingly - which was made a bit tricky by the fact I have four bays which seem to have their own idea about how the would like to be placed. After some pushing and pulling, I managed to get all of the support columns secured on the circle. However, when I added the dome and the rotation kit, I had exactly the same issues as you.


As I examined the dome, it seemed to me that the bump-bump thing was caused by the wheels running well-toward the inside of the channel on the dome rather than in the outer, smooth area of the channel; which also meant the rotator gear was probably farther from the dome track that it needed to be. I also had a section where the rotator gear lost purchase with the teeth on the dome by just enough to cause it to slip two or three teeth before catching again. Additionally, I noticed that only a couple of the outer, angled wheels actually touched the dome.


After thinking about it a bit, I decided the published diameter must be a bit on the short side and figured the dome itself was probably the best standard for determining the optimal diameter for placing the walls. That said, I unscrewed all of the column supports and proceeded to push the columns outward (from the top) until all of the wheels ran in the smooth portion of the dome track, and all of the angled wheels touched the dome. Before starting this process, I removed the rotator gear so I could rotate the dome by hand to ensure it was not binding anywhere.


In the end, the diameter of the walls had increased about 6cm but the dome now rotated relatively smoothly (there is always going to be a little bumping), and outer, angled wheels, touched the dome all the way around. Also, the rotator gear now made full contact with the dome teeth with only minor tension on the adjustor. As a side note, I also removed the plastic rotator gear from its metal mount and discovered it was mounted off-center by about 2mm - which explained why it would slip a few teeth and then catch again as described above - and remounted it dead-center.


I have no idea if these steps will help with your problem but I am happy to report that, after finally solving the rotator/shutter firmware issues (thanks to Rodolphe Pineau), my dome is now operating smoothly in a fully automated setup. Something to think about.



Dec 2, 2018

The problem with mine is that I think the joint between the bays is pulling mine out of round a bit. I did mess with it a lot when building it and thought it would almost need a guy wire with a turnbuckle to pull the support out a little. :-)

I have 2 bays and to save on width of my deck (8 x 10 ft) I mounted them next to each other (yes, the table issue really shows up with this arrangement). Maybe with everything else bolted down, I can loosen the support between the bays and push it all out a little?


Dec 2, 2018

I've thought about filling the thump-bump gaps with a putty or clay. Something that could be warmed by hand - molded in place and then it would cool and harden a bit.

Dec 2, 2018

I'm sure that some of my thump thump has to do with roundness of the dome. I spent several hours loosening every bolt in the walls and drilling a stake into the center of the dome. I then used a wire, won't stretch, and walked the wire, different lengths for each position, around the bottom, middle and top of the walls until it was round. I also took the dome off and loosened all of the bolts and pushed and pulled until I felt the dome itself was round. And yet on one angled wheel on a bay never touches because the top slumps lower than the other bay, it's physically lower by 3/8" than the bay the rotator motor is attached to. Also the thump thump continues which got worse with the weight of the water in the trough over the wheels.


I know the dome is out of round because I can watch the track move in and out in the same spot over different wheels around the walls. I like Ron's idea about filling the gap with putty or clay to make the wheels move more smoothly over the gaps. I was thinking about using a very stiff duct tape to test it and if it works and stops the stalling or as Steve said "loose purchase". But then, I'd have to deal with residual stickiness from the tape. Maybe cork or rubber stoppers might work, now my head hurts.


Since this tread is about Rain Issues my findings so far are:

1. The door can be sealed with extra foam sealer,

2. The door slumps a little and I must pull up on the door as I'm latching it,

3. Extra weight of water or snow on the dome increases the the strain on the motor and more particularly on the nylon gear. I've had small chips fall off a few teeth.

4. The bottom of the walls on a solid surface, I'm on pavers with joints, can let water in under the foam flooring. When it dries out a bit, it's been raining on and off for 4 days, I'm going to seal the bottom of the walls with a putty sealers.


As a side note: I much appreciate this forum then Facebook.


Dec 6, 2018

I decided to redo the foam sealer strips which is much cleaner looking. Here is the story in Pictures.


XL Size Seal on Door



Placed Seal Just Above Door Edge


Light/Water Leak Area with Door Only Seal


Added Foam to Gasket


Light/Water Leak Sealed


Product I Used From Home Depot


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