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New laptop needed. Hub or not?


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Hi,

I think i need a new Windows astronomy laptop. I use a Mac day to day. I had used a naff old HP Windows 7 machine. But now, after the first clear night in months, the USB ports started playing up. Took an hour to get them all recognised. They are a bit loose too.

If I was going to buy a new laptop, what would people recommend? The one benefit of my current laptop is that it has 4 usb ports. I've had to dig out a powered usb hub to try and get things sorted tonight!!! 

Do people use laptops with powered hubs or laptops with several ports? Im thinking of spending £100-250 for a new one. I have (currently) 4 devices needing USB power, so a hub with 6 or 7 may well future proof me (for when I buy my ASCOM controllable observatory and motorised focusser :p ) 

Appreciate people's thoughts :)

 

Thanks

Joe

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Not sure if its good enought for your needs but i  have a macbook and didn't really want it sat outside in the cold and damp air when using my altair GPcam. So i got myself an old Lenovo Thinkpad off ebay. £60. Put a SSD drive in it which cost me nothing anyway. And have ordered a new battery for it. No problem with it so far and runs the Altair GPCam software, sharpcap, DSS and Registax just fine for my needs.

Plus if it packs up its only £60 down the drain. But they are supposed to be fairly robust from what i have read.

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You can also look at the refurbished market. I got a Dell 6420 with win 7 64 bit for a reasonable price.  4 usb ports on it. Swapped out the hard drive for an ssd. Really happy with it. 

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I use a cheap 11" I got from Tesco that I leave outside with the scope, and monitor everything from inside via Team Viewer. It only has 2 USB ports so I use a USB hub for everything except the auto-focuser, it didn't like the hub and needed it's own USB port on the laptop.

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Hi

Those people with a hub, where do you put / mount it? Do you mount it to the tripod and then have a single usb cable coming to the laptop ? 

Currently, with no hub I have 4 x 5m usb cables running to the laptop. All tidy/tied to the tripod, but still a chance for cable drag etc. 

I suppose a hub would make things neater. 

Yeah I monitor inside via team viewer too. Much much better. 

Thanks

Joe

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You might see if you can find a used business class machine which has a docking port. Here in the States, Dell equipment in particular is not too hard nor expensive to come by. The advantage of the dock is that you can leave it in your observatory and only one connection must be established/separated per session. The docking interface is made to be cycled multiple times per day in an office environment. We have hundreds of Dell machines at my workplace and I can't recall ever hearing of a related failure.

As for USB, I have a powered hub mounted on the pier under the telescope so that only one data cable has to run through the conduit under the floor for that interface. My dock has a pair each of USB2 and USB3 ports, leaving three open ports on that end. At present, I only use one of those for the mouse. There are four USB ports on the computer itself, but these are never used in the observatory.

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