A Dew Heater Controller

I have had a problem observing here in Hawai’i. The skies can be gorgeous, there is little to no light pollution, and you have access to much more of the southern sky. What could go wrong? …Dew!

Dew Heater Electronics
A view of the interior of the handwired dew heater controller
This is a tropical island, this means tropical humidity and moisture. Dew is a feature of observing that I have not had much problem with in the past. In Arizona it was rarely an issue, but here it can quickly shut down a night’s observing. My last time out on Mauna Kea dew was a problem, it didn’t shut me down, but it was a constant hassle. I had to be quite careful about breathing on the eyepiece. One mis-aimed exhalation and that eyepiece needed to be put in the back of the vehicle to dry out!

I had one dew strap available, given to me by a friend and fellow observer, a small one just right for wrapping around an eyepiece. So I just needed a controller to get started. There are several of these available on the market. But I had some issue with the cost, it seemed a bit high for what was essentially a very simple device. Some of the commercial units offered features like temperature sensing and regulation. Simple overkill for most users actual needs, just warm the optic slightly until the dew goes away. Sounds like an excuse for another evening project to me… Build it!

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