Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_lunar_landings.thumb.jpg.b50378d0845690d8a03305a49923eb40.jpg

Macavity

Thoughts on Remote Controlled Observatory

Recommended Posts

Decided to have a "stock take" so have moved most of contents of observatory indoors for the weekend.

Today (prompted by another thread) I was in receipt of a Startech 4 Port Industrial USB 2.0 Hub. It works!

http://www.amazon.co...pd_sim_sbs_ce_1

A bit cheaper than the 7-Ports version and no locking cable facility. Just about to crack it open and try it

out on external power only. There's supposed to be a (undocumented) jumper to do just that inside...

Having fun playing with TeamViewer too. The main problem is that my observatory "Laptop" is a Samsung

NC10, and despite being game for most things, is beginning to struggle with EQMod + CdC + Teamviewer.

Ironically, the *Bluetooth Mouse" on the Sammy moves slower than the remote cursor on the Desktop PC.

I was pleasantly surprised that Latency between button pushing and mount movement was not bad... :p

But I think, overall, I might try for USB2.0 over Cat6 rather than having computers at both ends. The NC10

is also limited screenwise, and I would love to run all these apps on a bigger screen! Right now, looking for

decent transmitter / receivers for USB2.0 over 30m (90'). Any opinions / experiences welcome!

Being guided by: http://www.bisque.co...trol/remote.asp

Quite a useful snapshot of available options, I reckon. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a similar Dell netbook. You can set the screen resolution much higher and scroll around it - if you remote in with VNC you get to see a normal large screen on your desktop monitor (may be the same with teamviewer).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a cheap second hand monitor I bought from Morgans in my obsy - 1280x1024 res - with my netbook.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Gina :) Yes I do extend the screen onto a second desktop, but only an 800x600 one. Thanks though.

Dmahon reminds me: Win XP option to <R-click > Display Properties > Settings > Advanced > Monitor

Uncheck: "Hide modes this monitor cannot display" and Samsung moves into scrolling desktop mode!

Of course we happily ignore the warnings about damaging hardware etc. :p

Dunno what happens over TeamViewer yet...

But ... WAHEY, we have a nice expanded desktop in the TeamViewer window... :D

Edited by Macavity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why use teamviewer? Remote desktop is built into XP and has far better functionality. My concern with running everything over a long length of USB/Cat6 would be connection reliability. If you drop a TeamViewer / RDP connection your apps continue to run until you pick up the connection again. If you're running over extended USB and the connection drops all of your apps die. App connection to hardware is a point of failure and as such should be kept as short and as reliable as possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well the question posed is "Thoughts on Remote Controlled Observatory". For me it worked, sometimes there was a dropout but all in all it worked well but to answer the question I would rather be with the equipment, to look throught the eyepiece and be there to swop and change as necessary. Remoring works but hands on is better :).

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No pedantry, I seem to recall Remote Desktop is a feature of Win XP "Pro" rather than "Home" (whatever). :)

For FREE software, I am impressed re. TeamViewer. A useful thing to have around anyway?

I sense the "American chap" (Website above) is right re. the heirarchy. If you can connect via reliable hardware, do so! Of course, once you introduce USB cables (connecters) of whatever length, 100% relibility becomes significantly lower! But really, EQMod to an HEQ5 - Maybe a focusser, is basically "RS232" rates, even if interfaced via USB 2.0. Noone cares if things degrade smoothly to USB 1.0 rates? One can be come bemused at USB "extender" advertising claims tho'. Priced anything from 2.50 to £250+! ALL (most) with success / horror stories? But surely if these "mains plug" things (notorious source of TVI / RFI) work, CAT6 must be somewhat better and basic connectivity not "beyond the wit" of wo/man? :p

Visual observation has a LOT going for it? LOL. This is a "money pit" however one looks at it...

But random / non-ordered comments (of similar ilk to this) from fellow "diggers" are welcome! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On cold nights I simply use windows remote desktop connection to remote into the observatory PC and do all my imaging etc from the lounge. The observatory PC is connected to the network via cat 5 cable.

The observatory has twin 24" monitor set up, but this isn't a problem on the single 24" monitor in the lounge as when it's running an imaging session all I'm interested in is the PHP graph and APT

index.php?app=core&module=attach&section=attach&attach_rel_module=post&attach_id=49269

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also prefer to use XP Pro and RDP, looks just like Malcolm's setup but with single obsy monitor and twin monitors in the study, better than Teamviewer or extended USB.

Edited by nightvision

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very elegant looking setup, Malcolm. :) The idea of "remote desktop", or similar, is far from rejected yet!

Re. size / performance of my remote "laptop" - Samsung NC10, the following points. No point in trying Wireless comms - The WiFi unit is known to be (and is!) "weak" in that particular model. Cat 5/6 is much better / faster anyway. Lack of USB ports is no longer relevant, now I have the new HUB. Using a Bluetooth Mouse (with WiFi enabled) was certainly slowing the whole thing? The mouse (wireless Rumble Pad even?) can go back to hardware connections or local "wireless" if needed. :p

I think there is a definite benefit in being able to fine tune (even Video) images indoors. Somehow easier to concentrate, make notes, remember things, when you're not freezing to death. LOL. I still have to think about the necessity / possibility of Watec Camera remote control. Extension 10 metre, non-standard,16-way DIN cables are available from a certain Nuclear Physics Lab at 200+ Euro. <sigh> There is a dedicated Wifi unit too. That said, the Watec 120N+ camera is now (nominally) obsolete...

Sometimes I wonder whether there are any Planetarium programs / Mount control programs that can run as Networked "distributed applications". Such things once seemed beloved of Particle Physicists etc. You run data acquisition near to source and have your BIG graphics program(s) running in a nice (warm) "control" room! :)

Edited by Macavity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use an XP PC in the observatory and VNC to control it via a CAT5 network cable - this works extremely well. As the observatory is part of my home network, I can use any of the various PCs on the network to control what is happening in the observatory so it is a very flexible system.

A relatively cheap (older) XP PC in the observatory is an ideal machine for this sort of work - I used my old Fujitsu desktop that had succumbed to a virus attack (my fault - that'll teach me!) and simply re-installed XP from the original CD to give me a clean boot and a dedicated astro PC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...a dedicated astro PC
I think THAT is a good idea. Good work. :)

Both my circa 2000(!) PC's gave up the ghost, so I have just built a new one, based on:

http://www.overclock...d=43&catid=2502

My first INTEL box. And, with only a (temporary) Dual core £30 Celeron 2.5GHz, makes test running all the observatory systems a veritable breeze! I actually built the thing around an old WinXP hard disk - Overwriting all (even the Mobo) drivers etc. I recall it did ask me to re-verify XP, but gave no probs on that score. I do wish I'd saved the chassis from my OLD PC's though - They were far more substantial than this rather tinny effort. Also, I sense that, even though the *standard* for power supplies rails has changed by old (450W) PSU would have at least run this Celeron. :)

I think, when you can turn these out for under £200, such things do make a more attractive solution for an observatory, than a Laptop. You can readily exchange things that break. You could even fit a small green-house heater inside, to keep it warm? You can still upgrade the Power supply, buy a "core-I7", use it as your desktop machine, if you really must. Yes, I think I've almost convinced myself too! :D

Edited by Macavity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use an oldish laptop solely for astro work with XP loaded on it. I have a docking station for it that sits in the observatory and it's easy to take the laptop in and out between sessions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You don't need a super powerful PC for the observatory - I use an old HP 530 SFF machine. It has an AMD64 running at 3Ghz, 4GB of old PC3200 RAM, two 150GB SATA hard drives with on board Radion graphics. It's quite happy running Vista, and copes with having APT, PHD, EQAscom and CDC up and running at the same time, over the two 24" screens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use Teamviewer have done for about 2 years with no issues I have 2 setups for imaging each setup has its own desktop pc, if a friend wants to log in and run one of the setups he can with no problem using Ipad Iphone .

I only had one issue with the Pc's and that was Memory had to be increased as the Programs I use consumed alot and Pc would Crash over time

Les

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got a five year old laptop running W7 Pro in my Obsy being controlled / monitored over a Cat 5 gigabit network using Remote Desktop from a new W8 64bit laptop in the house.

Works a treat - the image folders on the two laptops sync using SyncToy 2.1 in less time than it takes the images to download from the camera.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.