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HD Wireless Video Set Up?


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Hi, does anyone know  of a high resolution (HD?) astro video camera that can feed its signal wirelessly?   I am also looking to do the same (wireless control) for the focus mechanism on a SCT telescope.  I have a Celestron 925CPC with Celestrons own SkyPortal WiFi module.  So I can control everything apart from the focus and receive the video feed.   How nice would it be to have a completely wire free set up!  Any thoughts, tips or opinions welcome. Thanks...

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I have a 12V powered i5 Mini PC hub on my mount which runs my focuser and imaging etc. and then connects via Wifi to my my network (or LAN).  I use RDP to connect to it either from my Mac, Laptop or Surface Pro, so technically I guess doing what you are after.

I suspect there are many others here who have very similar set-ups, although most I think use Team Viewer rather than RDP, but this is my preference.

Edited by RayD
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Thank you for that, but it sounds like you are using an Mac set up, whereas I use Android and Windows. I don't know what RDP or Team Viewer is and certainly have no idea how your "hub" allows you to control focus etc. I will do some background digging on your information but if anyone can offer more hand holding on this topic it would be appreciated. 

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27 minutes ago, SkySpy said:

Thank you for that, but it sounds like you are using an Mac set up, whereas I use Android and Windows. I don't know what RDP or Team Viewer is and certainly have no idea how your "hub" allows you to control focus etc. I will do some background digging on your information but if anyone can offer more hand holding on this topic it would be appreciated. 

No it's all windows, and RDP is just a means of using one PC from another (remote desktop).  Basically the Mini PC is a tiny little PC running W10 Pro with 8 x USB ports etc. which hosts all the software needed to run the imaging and focusing bits, and you then just log on to that via Wifi from any other device using remote destop, and control it all like you were sitting in front of your main imaging computer, just it is now actually bolted to the side of your mount. 

Edited by RayD
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Thank you RayD. I understand now what we are talking about. I have just done some digging on these devices called NUC's and realise the there are many versions of them but they are all essentially stripped down PC's with ports but no peripherals (I only mention this RayD for those like me who had never heard of them before). I also understand that RDP and Team Viewer are remote desktop software applications that enable the NUC to be controlled with the link to the NUC coming over Wifi.   My only remaining question is over the telecope control.  I can see how a digital output video camera would link into one of the NUC's USB ports but what is used to control focus?  Is there some kind of USB linked servo driven motor adapter available on the market that physically attaches to the focus knob? I am still unclear how this is set up. 

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23 minutes ago, SkySpy said:

Thank you RayD. I understand now what we are talking about. I have just done some digging on these devices called NUC's and realise the there are many versions of them but they are all essentially stripped down PC's with ports but no peripherals (I only mention this RayD for those like me who had never heard of them before). I also understand that RDP and Team Viewer are remote desktop software applications that enable the NUC to be controlled with the link to the NUC coming over Wifi.   My only remaining question is over the telecope control.  I can see how a digital output video camera would link into one of the NUC's USB ports but what is used to control focus?  Is there some kind of USB linked servo driven motor adapter available on the market that physically attaches to the focus knob? I am still unclear how this is set up. 

Yes exactly that.  There are many options to motorise your focuser.  I personally use some Moonlite focusers with their high resolution stepper motors, and these have ASCOM drivers that get installed on the Mini PC, and this is then controlled by your imaging software, which is also installed on your Mini PC (this in turn plugs in to your mount assuming it has the ability).

The link below is the one I use, and to date it has been flawless.  

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B015W4OOO6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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To be honest the Telescope control and the Ascom drivers for Focusing/Filter wheel are not resource hungry applications. There are a number of simple well written Focus controllers written for Ardunio devices which have Ascom drivers. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPd7bXRv2QGeMAKHZvG1PsA 

The Remote controll software area is well supported with RDP,Team viewer and VNC(real ,tiny etc) all of which allow the "Graphics" of the remote to be shown on a remote desktop as well as full remote control. As most camera's(DSLR/CCD) use USB connections the most beneficial aspect of using RAYD's approach is that the USB cables are short and should(!) run reliably at full capacity.

Its a pity that Ascom (and EQmod) dont run ,as far as I know, as distributed applications which would enable software to run on separate mini pc's as RAYD's one is relatively expensive but is a powerful set up - get what you pay for !

The bottom end of the mini pc market quite happily runs Ascom/EQmod/Focus controller/Filter wheel but starts to falter when running APT/BYEOS/Sharpcap etc with Stellarium/CDC as well.

Mini PC's also have the advantage of having a DC (normally 12v) power input which means that you could also use the set up at a remote site by just adding bluetooth keyb/mouse and a HDMI screen. 

Best of all RAYD's approach beats the hell out of having cold feet,hands and whatever else and lets you enjoy the hobby - armchair Astro :headbang: :icon_biggrin:

Edited by stash_old
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44 minutes ago, stash_old said:

Best of all RAYD's approach beats the hell out of having cold feet,hands and whatever else and lets you enjoy the hobby - armchair Astro :headbang: :icon_biggrin:

The very reason I did it :icon_biggrin:.  I love AP, and do spend a lot of time at the mount, but also love being warm and cosy when it suits me :thumbright:

Yes as you say my option isn't a cheap one, but I've been bitten too many times by the "buy cheap" monster, so thought I'd head middle ground.  A big seller for me on this was the fact that it's a 12v unit, but still i5, and also has the ability to vesa mount, which means it sits on a purpose made mount between 2 tripod legs.

As noted, none of the ASCOM stuff is very memory resident, but the imaging and associated files can start pushing things, this is why I went with the i5, and use a tiny little Samsung USB-C external SSD to store the images to so I can just unplug it after the session and take indoors to plug in for processing.

Full automation is relatively easy and my set up is tiny compared to many here who go far further than me with dome control, automated flat boxes and Bahtinov masks etc. 

It's a fun thing and AP wouldn't be AP without a good old fashioned challenge to deal with.

Edited by RayD
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Thanks for all the contributions so far.  I should have known that my aspiration for a completely wireless set up would give my wallet a bashing, but I can see the sense in going the extra mile financially.  It would be nice though to know of anyone who has managed to achieve this type of wireless functionality on a "starter" budget (say sub £500 as opposed to nearly £1k+ which is what it seems it could cost once you factor in Camera, Focuser, mini-PC etc)   Clearly I am going to have to create a staged and log term plan for all this, as I cant afford all the required kit at once... my first job will be to decide on the best camera to go for, which I know is whole other topic!.   I would be interested as a complete novice to this more sophisticated level of Video Astronomy to see images of peoples set ups.  Maybe those who are indulging in wireless remote Video Astronomy would like to post photos of their kit.  The greater the variety, type and cost the better. :)

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2 minutes ago, SkySpy said:

Thanks for all the contributions so far.  I should have known that my aspiration for a completely wireless set up would give my wallet a bashing, but I can see the sense in going the extra mile financially.  It would be nice though to know of anyone who has managed to achieve this type of wireless functionality on a "starter" budget (say sub £500 as opposed to nearly £1k+ which is what it seems it could cost once you factor in Camera, Focuser, mini-PC etc)   Clearly I am going to have to create a staged and log term plan for all this, as I cant afford all the required kit at once... my first job will be to decide on the best camera to go for, which I know is whole other topic!.   I would be interested as a complete novice to this more sophisticated level of Video Astronomy to see images of peoples set ups.  Maybe those who are indulging in wireless remote Video Astronomy would like to post photos of their kit.  The greater the variety, type and cost the better. :)

I think what would help initially is if you updated your signature to provide an idea of what kit you have, so people would be better armed to offer advice :thumbright:

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The thing to overcome is the introduction of Wireless connectivity.  Remote working is simple with wires and hubs etc.  However, "wireless video" brings with it it's own issues.  There are a couple of suppliers now of wireless video cameras, below is the Bresser one:

http://www.tringastro.co.uk/bresser-wifi-camera-125-11135-p.asp

I'm not sure how good these are, but they will give you wireless video, but not "imaging" for DSO stuff.

As for the focuser, if you don't want the associated costs then you would need to build your own little interface, which isn't that difficult if you are technically minded, but probably not going to be as reliable as a factory solution.

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19 minutes ago, RayD said:

I think what would help initially is if you updated your signature to provide an idea of what kit you have, so people would be better armed to offer advice :thumbright:

This info used to appear, but I have not used SGL for some time and it seems to have disappeared!   I have checked my profile options but the ability to input equipment/interests ect. does not appear. Maybe because I have been offline a while it may take a few more posts to appear (I read elsewhere on SGL that the option to include this information is only available after you post ten times??).   Anyway until I can resolve this I can at least here say I have a Celestron 925CPC (GPS enabled), using currently a Celestron Sky Portal wi-fi module for remote scope control  running through NexRemote and Stellarium software.  On the VA imaging side I am still using the equivalent of the box brownie!... which is an analogue output modified Samsung SCB2000, up axis controller, and SharpCap imaging software.  My main interests in VA is deep sky imaging and Comet hunting.

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As RAYD says you can be bitten by cheap kit. However there are alternatives. I have used these for 2 yrs now to make control of my Skywatcher mount AZEQ6 wireless using EQMOD/Ascom and it works great cost £9-25 http://www.usr.so/Product/27.html - so if it goes bang no big deal. I have also used PI to do rs232 over IP but liked the simple PC on a card the USR Module provides - it basically gives you a 5v Wireless AP. Unfortunately the USB links(DSLR/ASI120mm are still by long active USB repeater wires and powered hub but they work - so say £60 for 2 20m active USB cables and powered hub. I use an old Vista laptop(4gb memory and a fast SSD instead of old hard drive) works fine but being 32 bit has problems with the likes of Stellarium but CDC works 99.9% of the time. The laptop was free as the 17inch screen hinge is broken but works fine. I run this from my caravan which is near my newly finished Obsys which has 240v mains and a HEATER.

forgot to add my 3 scopes all have hand built Focuser's which work as good as the shop bought ones. Have just built but not done long term testing on a filter wheel (5 - ports) but as it uses nearly the same bits as the focuser should be ok. Hand built focuser costs from £5 - £40 depending on the Stepper motor and the focusing tube "stiffness"

So not quite in the house but then my wife doesn't bother me while I am "in the caravan" doing my Astro thing.:thumbsup:

Edited by stash_old
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3 minutes ago, stash_old said:

As RAYD says you can be bitten by cheap kit. However there are alternatives. I have used these for 2 yrs now to make control of my Skywatcher mount AZEQ6 wireless using EQMOD/Ascom and it works great cost £9-25 http://www.usr.so/Product/27.html - so if it goes bang no big deal. I have also used PI to do rs232 over IP but liked the simple PC on a card the USR Module provides - it basically gives you a 5v Wireless AP. Unfortunately the USB links(DSLR/ASI120mm are still by long active USB repeater wires and powered hub but they work - so say £60 for 2 20m active USB cables and powered hub. I use an old Vista laptop(4gb memory and a fast SSD instead of old hard drive) works fine but being 32 bit has problems with the likes of Stellarium but CDC works 99.9% of the time. The laptop was free as the 17inch screen hinge is broken but works fine. I run this from my caravan which is near my newly finished Obsys which has 240v mains and a HEATER.

So not quite in the house but then my wife doesn't bother me while I am "in the caravan" doing my Astro thing.:thumbsup:

Yes that's it, exactly the kind of kit I meant when mentioning building a little interface.  It's all doable and a great challenge, and of course satisfying when it works, but I do confess to now having taken the whimp's way out and put it all in one simple package which I connect to from my living room sofa with a cuppa soup :thumbright:

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12 minutes ago, SkySpy said:

This info used to appear, but I have not used SGL for some time and it seems to have disappeared!   I have checked my profile options but the ability to input equipment/interests ect. does not appear. Maybe because I have been offline a while it may take a few more posts to appear (I read elsewhere on SGL that the option to include this information is only available after you post ten times??).   Anyway until I can resolve this I can at least here say I have a Celestron 925CPC (GPS enabled), using currently a Celestron Sky Portal wi-fi module for remote scope control  running through NexRemote and Stellarium software.  On the VA imaging side I am still using the equivalent of the box brownie!... which is an analogue output modified Samsung SCB2000, up axis controller, and SharpCap imaging software.  My main interests in VA is deep sky imaging and Comet hunting.

I still have my SCB2000 which I used ok with shielded Cat5 baluns instead of coaxial cable - longer distance and seemed to be more reliable - IMO. Biggest problem with SCB2000 is the Windows video converter - mine was a real EZCAP - which worked with Sharpcap. Even used it via ISPY to catch meteors!

You appear to already have Wifi control of your mount so its the Video thats holding you back - unless you upgrade to Lodestar or something similar - which is my intended route subject to funds!! 

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12 minutes ago, SkySpy said:

This info used to appear, but I have not used SGL for some time and it seems to have disappeared!   I have checked my profile options but the ability to input equipment/interests ect. does not appear. Maybe because I have been offline a while it may take a few more posts to appear (I read elsewhere on SGL that the option to include this information is only available after you post ten times??).   Anyway until I can resolve this I can at least here say I have a Celestron 925CPC (GPS enabled), using currently a Celestron Sky Portal wi-fi module for remote scope control  running through NexRemote and Stellarium software.  On the VA imaging side I am still using the equivalent of the box brownie!... which is an analogue output modified Samsung SCB2000, up axis controller, and SharpCap imaging software.  My main interests in VA is deep sky imaging and Comet hunting.

I still have my SCB2000 which I used ok with shielded Cat5 baluns instead of coaxial cable - longer distance and seemed to be more reliable - IMO. Biggest problem with SCB2000 is the Windows video converter - mine was a real EZCAP - which worked with Sharpcap. Even used it via ISPY to catch meteors!

You appear to already have Wifi control of your mount so its the Video thats holding you back - unless you upgrade to Lodestar or something similar - which is my intended route subject to funds!! 

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