Jump to content

Banner.jpg.b83b14cd4142fe10848741bb2a14c66b.jpg

RPi3B ... new mb for lappy ... what to do? ...


Demonperformer

Recommended Posts

I am very rapidly coming around to the idea of using a RPi3B to control all my imaging. A quick search on Amazon has suggested I could get a motherboard, case, power supply & 32GB micro sdcard for under £50 - might be able to do better than that with more research, but £50 seems quite reasonable to me.

What I like about it:
* It is small (13.6*8.4*4cm) and could be attached directly onto the (currently) blank side of the NEQ6 mount (velcro or better).
* All the cables would then be in the same place, rather than trailed across from mount to table - less of a hazard.
* The 4*USB2.0 sockets would be enough to plug everything in (mount, camera, guidecam, FW), particularly with the extra sockets provided on the 1600MM camera USB hub.
* I would guess that the write-time to the SD card would be pretty quick & my desktop (which I use for processing) has a card-reader, so no fiddling around with laptop>flashdrive & then flashdrive>desktop, just plug-and-go.
* I am also presuming that all the software (CdC, EQMOD, hardware drivers, APT, AT, Sharpcap, etc) would run on the RPi3.

What I don't like about it (i.e. what I will need to solve before proceeding - i.e. any thoughts/comments/suggestions on this bit will be particularly welcome!):
* A lack on input/output facilities, by which I mean, I would still need to attach a screen, a mouse and a keyboard - which rather undermines the principle of having it all attached to the mount without trailing cables.

However, I do have an old Toshiba Satellite S1800-712 laptop (if something that is built like a tank can still be described as a laptop in 2016 - personally I like the "solid" feel it gives). This contains all the missing features, so, if I could connect the RPi3B to this laptop for I/O purposes, with a single cable, this would solve the problem. Now my first thought is using a 10/100 Ethernet cable - both laptop and RPi3B have a socket for such a cable. I/O does not need to be rapid, so the (relatively) slow nature of this laptop would not be a problem.

Therefore the main crux of my post is: would I be able to connect the laptop & RPi3B in this way for I/O (keyboard, mouse & screen)? I genuinely have no idea.

This laptop has an express card slot, so I could even add a USB3.0 card to it if I wanted to use the high speed planetary option on the camera (which, admittedly, adds another cable going from mount to table, but this would be a relatively infrequent activity, I suspect, as the camera is b/w & most of my planetary stuff is done with the QHY5Lii color and would go directly into the RPi3B). I would envision Polemaster running from the laptop as well, but this is only plugged in for the first few minutes of the session and the camera/cable are then removed back into the house, so no major hazard.

Other thoughts have included upgrading the motherboard on this laptop to give me a good dedicated 'astroimaging' machine, but I am limited by the number of USB ports that the case has (2) which would not be enough, so I would still be stuck having to include a hub, and I do not know even if there would be a suitable motherboard for the case [Will be passing my local Maplins later today, so might pop in and enquire].

I do not have a permanent obsy and so have to setup every time I start. [Due to my circumstances here, a permanent setup is not really an option - I have explored this in the past.]

I am in the very early stages of considering this, so any thoughts (including suggestions of alternatives) are welcome. I am just fed up with having to use a hub (which keeps unplugging) and cables trailing everywhere (even under the streetlights I have tripped over them more than once) and feel that now would be a good time to start getting it all sorted out - and, if I am going to spend out doing it, I'd like to do it right.

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 198
  • Created
  • Last Reply

First thought - can the Rpi run Windows as a standalone pc? I didn't think it could. Unless you're planning on using Linux - do all the programs above have a Linux alternative?

I have a Rpi 2 and 3, both just used for XBMC (or Kodi as it's now called). Great for that!

Unfortunately USB is inherently unreliable, not much can be done about it unless you spend big - even then it's no guarantee.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your reply.

My thought was to run Ubuntu (which I'm pretty sure will run on RPi3B - I HATE windows with a passion!), and had assumed that all the software would run on that system ... should never assume. I will have to do a little bit of research on each of these progs.

I take your point about USB, but (with everything using it) I am rather at a loss of what I could do differently.

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah as far as I researched, precisely none of the programs you list will work on a raspberrypi/ubuntu, there are some alternatives and works in progress but they all look like a nightmare to me when what I have works perfectly well and reliably.

 

Ultimately SGP and APT are pretty essential and they don't work so for me the idea is dead in the water.  Which is why I started looking at Linx windows tablets and a USB hub.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

USB3 camera connected with other devices to USB2 with limited throughput on "old" ARM board is asking for trouble ;) And you loose Windows apps.

If you really want something small you can get a "stick" PC or nettop with Intel/AMD x86 CPU capable of running Windows or Linux and with USB3 and 2.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another small option is an HTPC type system - small, lightweight, all solid state and windows / linux / possibly iOS compatible. Downside is cost.

Wake and control it via a network over VNC, no KVM needed after the initial setup.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, riklaunim said:

If you really want something small you can get a "stick" PC or nettop with Intel/AMD x86 CPU capable of running Windows or Linux and with USB3 and 2.

Looking at nettops, anything that has enough USB ports seems to come with Windows 10 - which is a non-starter. There would still be the question of could I control the I/O through an ethernet cable to the controlling laptop. As far as I can see, the "stick" PCs need to stick into something, which I can't see would make them suitable for being attached to the mount.

Unless I am missing something really obvious.

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Windows is not really an option on the RPi 3 though I think it can be done.  Linux is the way to go and use the Linux astro software which I gather has everything you need included but I haven't got this far as yet.  But I'm planning to.  You can run the RPi "headless" and connect to it with TeamViewer etc. or for setting up you can use an HDMI monitor or TV set and plug keyboard and mouse/trackball into the USB ports.  The RPI 3 has WiFi so no cable required.  With the user interface it makes a well usable PC with all the usual software included in Linux Mint or Ubuntu. viz. Browser - Firefox, email - Thunderbird, office - LibreOffice (MS Office compatible), calculator, notepad, etc. etc.

The Linux software is INDI for controlling all the equipment and capturing images on the RPi and Kstars/ekos (I think) to run on your client machine.

Unfortunately I would need to be twins or triplets to have time to do all I want to do and I'm always trying to catch up :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Gina. I was hoping you would "pitch in" :).

Wireless ... of course ... finally a "wireless" device that would actually be a benefit rather than a detriment (I've deactivated the wireless on my tablet as it keeps updating things automatically and draining resources).

I've found that CdC & EQMOD will both run on Linux (http://www.ap-i.net/skychart/en/documentation/installation_on_linux_ubuntu & https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/159512-ascom-and-eqmod-running-under-linux-and-wine/), although reading around the subject, I wonder if having CdC on the "control" machine might be better and just send instructions to the RPi from that.

Not familiar with Teamviewer, but will look into it.

So much to read-up on before I actually do anything.

Thanks.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"A lack on input/output facilities, by which I mean, I would still need to attach a screen, a mouse and a keyboard - which rather undermines the principle of having it all attached to the mount without trailing cables"

Use a remote desktop app and there are plenty.

 

"I am also presuming that all the software (CdC, EQMOD, hardware drivers, APT, AT, Sharpcap, etc) would run on the RPi3. "

Thats is a presumption too far. You will have to find alternatives


As for runnig Windows on a RaspPi - there is a version of Windows 10 IoT that can be installed - but its not Windows! (IoT - Internet of Things - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_things ) Its a very very stripped down version of the OS for embedded systems. This might be of use:

"Windows 10 on the Pi won't run traditional Windows desktop applications with a graphical interface, such as Microsoft Word or Internet Explorer, as these are incompatible with the Pi's ARM-based hardware.

What it will run are Universal Windows apps. These are apps that are written to run on many different types of devices - PCs, phones, tablets, Xboxes and IoT-related machines like the Pi. Universal Windows apps adapt their look and feel depending on which device they are running on - scaling back features where they are not supported by a particular platform but without breaking the app."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Demonperformer said:

Looking at nettops, anything that has enough USB ports seems to come with Windows 10 - which is a non-starter.

Then install Linux on it. There are many nettop barebones that' don't come with any OS.

I use Linux daily for work and everything. But astrophotography and some gaming is on Windows. Good software saved a lot of time and I won't trade it for less versatile and polished Linux counterparts (if available at all).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Been having a look at the "Universal Windows apps", but have not yet found anything that would be relevant to astroimaging - although, of course, there are no doubt still a lot to discover. Or is it that, if I were to install IoT on the pi, it would run programs like AT, APT & Sharpcap?

But we then come to the next issue ... should I be running those programs on the pi, or should I be running them all on the control machine (like kstars/cdc) and then just be sending instructions to the pi, using it as a means of communicating with my devices without cabling? That would turn this into a totally different (and maybe easier) project.

Powering devices ... good point, but the mount and camera both have external power supplies anyway, as does the filter wheel I have at the moment. I may at some point consider replacing the filter wheel with one that combines with OAG and some of them power through USB, but (if I've got this right) I would be able to connect it to the camera USB hub rather than directly to the pi, which would solve that issue. The other device will be the guidecam, which is (will be when I get it working) a QHY5L-ii which has no external power socket, so there I might be "attached to another object by means of a helical plane wrapped around an axis" as I am not sure if that would work on the camera hub if it was talking to PHD. May have to investigate.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

" if I were to install IoT on the pi, it would run programs like AT, APT & Sharpcap? "

Nope!

The only way to get good astro software on Linux is a ) wait a long time, b )  join in with whatever open source project is nearest to what you want or c ) just write your own. Thats the ground truth. 

 

My solution was to get an Intel NUC with memory, and SDD - stick Windows 7 on it, install drivers and then a pile of astro software. The NUC is bolted to the scope and runs the the USB devices withou cables trailing all  over the place. I do have a RaspPi doing the weather station data server for the NUC to use

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Didn't finish reading all the original post, or the replies but thought I'd wade in with my initial thoughts.

1. I think the RPI3 should be fast enough to do all of the stuff.  However, rather than writing images to the MicroSD, I'd have it write the images to a flash drive - then you can shutdown, unplug and plug into pc for post processing.  Less trouble and you won't have to content with the 100Mbps network connection which might prove slow for downloading images.

2. Not sure if all the software that you listed exists built for arm, if not I'm sure that there will be suitable alternatives.

3. For the screen, take a look a the official RPI touch screen.   I've got a couple of these and from the tests that I've been doing it work great.  You can make a good tablet using just that without the need for mouse or keyboard.

4. Mouse and keyboard - why not get a wireless keyboard and mouse comb, it'll use up one usb port, but there's no cables and you'll be comfortable using a full size keyboard and mouse.

5. VNC or something similar could be run to allow you to control the PI remotely, so there's no need to be at the scope to use it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Demonperformer said:

Been having a look at the "Universal Windows apps", but have not yet found anything that would be relevant to astroimaging - although, of course, there are no doubt still a lot to discover. Or is it that, if I were to install IoT on the pi, it would run programs like AT, APT & Sharpcap?

But we then come to the next issue ... should I be running those programs on the pi, or should I be running them all on the control machine (like kstars/cdc) and then just be sending instructions to the pi, using it as a means of communicating with my devices without cabling? That would turn this into a totally different (and maybe easier) project.

Powering devices ... good point, but the mount and camera both have external power supplies anyway, as does the filter wheel I have at the moment. I may at some point consider replacing the filter wheel with one that combines with OAG and some of them power through USB, but (if I've got this right) I would be able to connect it to the camera USB hub rather than directly to the pi, which would solve that issue. The other device will be the guidecam, which is (will be when I get it working) a QHY5L-ii which has no external power socket, so there I might be "attached to another object by means of a helical plane wrapped around an axis" as I am not sure if that would work on the camera hub if it was talking to PHD. May have to investigate.

 

For your application I wouldn't attempt to use Windows IoT.  Do not be fooled into thinking that it's the full windows desktop, it's not.  The point of windows IoT is to run a single programme so that the device can do something.   I'd be shocked if there were builds of software like SharpCap for windows IoT.  It just doesn't work like that.

Windows IoT is ment for developers to use, so that we can write applications specifically for the RPi.   For example, I've got a project on the go to build a Camera Slider that will be controlled by a RPi.   It's not really ment for someone wanting to control a telescope have it do imaging and other stuff all at the same time using lots of different programs.

 

For the USB power, I think you'll be fine - but be prepared to install a powered USB hub.  Just remember that in total the throughput of USB is about 400Mbps at best, so if you plug in lots of cameras (more than one) it might struggle to get the data through fast enough.

For that, I'd stick with Linux

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Demonperformer said:

Please, please do, Gina. Then we all (or at least, I) can just stand on your shoulders (like I'm going to be doing with the 1600MM).

Pretty please:D?

OK  I'll see what I can do tomorrow :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reading this thread (took a while!), found from here, it seems that the 'general' needs can be met fairly easily using things like Skysafari, Linguider and the astrometry plate solver.

As regards specific devices I use, according to http://indilib.org/devices/, both the ZWO & QHY cameras I use are supported, as is the Trutek FW, and EQMOD is also supported, to control the NEQ6.

Going to take me a while to wade through all the info on the indilib website, I think, but I think this could be looking promising [that's surely jinxed it!] ...

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have everything you need here:

DIscover INDI

I am running Ubuntu MATE on an RPI3, using INDI drivers / Ekos and Kstars (you will find a list of supported client here) . I run the PI at the mount and connect to it through WIFI (the PI act as WIFI hotspot) or an Ethernet cable. I run Ekos and Kstar on my laptop and let the PI run the devices.

INDI is roughly the equivalent of ASCOM and much more. Kstars is CdC and Ekos lets you manage the devices. You can platesolve, guide, plan imaging session, dome control, focus, etc, etc.

Pixinsight has now implemented some modules to run with INDI

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.