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Gina

Tutorial :- Setting up a Raspberry Pi for Astro Imaging and Hardware Control

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A short update, not too far off topic.

Raspberry Pi with INDI is a great way to set up a remote imaging rig, even if "remote" is from the garden to the living room. RPi is the server which connects to the hardware, and a laptop can act as a client (the control computer)

Until recently, the client software (Ekos/Kstars) had to be on a Linux machine, even if that machine was running in a virtual mode on a Windows computer. But now, Ekos/Kstars is also available for the Windows operating system:

https://edu.kde.org/kstars/

https://edu.kde.org/kstars/#download

I downloaded and tested played with it, and as far as I can tell, it works. Mount control and CCD/Camera control is as under Linux. The one thing that doesn't work yet is the astrometry.net offline plate solving tool. But it is possible to use the online tool (nova.astrometry.net).

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I am hoping to get my Pi to work as a cloud camera with my spare CCD. I'm waiting for the 0.5mm spacer to arrive to focus the wide lens.

I use Remote Desktop to talk from my PC in the living room to my i3 laptop controlling my rig in the garden. I have found Remote Desktop works even if my internet is down. As it was a couple of weeks ago. If I could have a Pi controlling the rig instead of the i3, it would be one less thing to worry about :)

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As long as the Pi and the desktop client are on the same network, you don't need internet, just your local network. With INDI installed, you eventually don't even need the remote desktop anymore. The Pi's INDI server will be talking directly to the INDI client on your laptop.

I found that installing INDI and PHD on a Raspberry Pi under Ubuntu Mate, was even easier than under Raspbian.

BTW, in my experience it is wise to have a few spare micro SD cards. You can change RPi configuration by just popping in another card. A short while back, my PHD configuration was acting weid. I just changed the SD card and switched over to Lin_guider, which I knew would work. The same applies should the RPi break down: just get another RPi, load the SD card, and you're good to go. Try to do that with a laptop.

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I have 3 Pi's laying around somewhere and numerous SD cards. Looks like another interesting project to be had :)

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I'm planning to take my RPi imaging session control a stage further and have my roll off roof control and rain/wind sensing included.  See my thread in the DIY Observatories forum.

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8 hours ago, wimvb said:

I found that installing INDI and PHD on a Raspberry Pi under Ubuntu Mate, was even easier than under Raspbian.

I'm thinking of trying that Wim, particularly with new parts of my automation as I develop INDI drivers for my particular setup.  I do like the idea of controlling everything from the one application :)  I'm already looking at developing INDI drivers in my Linux Mint desktop so I'm already using a fork of Ubuntu.

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Question from a Linux newbie to Gina or any other member who is following Gina's tutorial. I've got to Part 5. Para 2 reads '....... and view the Desktop' How do you get to the Desktop. I've entered a variety of code culled from internet searches without success. Thanks - John 

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There's an icon next to the menu "Show desktop".  Move your pointer to it and click it.

Screenshot from 2017-02-27 22-28-16.png

Edited by Gina

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Thank you Gina. I should have asked how do you get to the GUI not the Desktop as my Pi boots into text mode and when I sign in it simply goes to the command line. Nevertheless I'm  sure I will work it out as even my pea sized brain can read without the need of large yellow arrows!

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Looking at this again I think I was at fault in that my wording was not specific enough.  By "Linux machine" I was referring to my Linux Mint tower machine and the Desktop display.  My apologies.  And I wasn't "trying to teach grandma to suck eggs" and I also apologise if I gave that impression.  The arrow wasn't meant to be that large but I couldn't find how to make a thinner one in GIMP which was the editor I used.

Desktop 01.png

Edited by Gina

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The first time I boot a RPi, I use an hdmi cable attached to a tv. Once wifi is set, I use windows remote desktop to access the RPi desktop. To connect in command line mode, I use PuTTY. On some Linux variations, I had to start the x-server, to be able to access the desktop remotely. I can never remember the exact command, and have needed the help of my dear friend G. Oogle on more than one occasion. The x-server can be started from ssh (PuTTY), btw.

Hope this may clarify some.

Ps

G. just provided me with this link

http://www.raspberrypiblog.com/2012/10/how-to-setup-remote-desktop-from.html?m=1

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Thank you Gina. I missed the Mint bit when copied the tutorial to paper. I've spent the afternoon building a Mint machine and have just finished Part 6 of your tutorial. - John

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You didn't miss it - I omitted to put it in and added it after your posts which showed me that I hadn't made things clear.  I would like to thank you for helping me to make my tutorial better and more easily understood :) I've had some practice in writing reports etc. but sometimes I omit things or don't explain them quite well enough.  I rely on feedback to correct these mistakes.

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On 27/02/2017 at 00:03, wimvb said:

But now, Ekos/Kstars is also available for the Windows operating system

Just had a look at the link and it seems that the win version is still only available for 64-bit systems?

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When I SSH into pi@raspberrypi and copy indiserver -m 100 -vv indi-asi_ccd indi_asi_wheel indi_equmod_telescope into the command line as per Part 7 'Testing'  a listing takes place and then 'hangs'. The listing does not end with the pi@raspberrypi $ command prompt. The only way I can close down is by typing 'sudo shut down .... ' directly in to the command line using the a keyboard and monitor plugged directly into the Pi ie. not using the main computer terminal.  I would guess that this version of INDI is the latest one and not the one used for the tutorial. Is this likely to make a difference Gina? 

So near and yet so far! :hmh:

INDI.jpg

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The listing is not actually hanging but waiting for calls from KStars/Ekos.  To close it use Crtl/C (press and hold the Ctrl key and press the "c" key, release Ctrl key).  You will then be returned to the command prompt.  With the listing left running you should be able to connect to the RPi from KStars.  Looks like you have the Profile set up correctly.

Edited by Gina

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2 hours ago, Gina said:

The listing is not actually hanging but waiting for calls from KStars/Ekos.  To close it use Crtl/C (press and hold the Ctrl key and press the "c" key, release Ctrl key).  You will then be returned to the command prompt.  With the listing left running you should be able to connect to the RPi from KStars.  Looks like you have the Profile set up correctly.

Thank you Gina. I can indeed connect to the mount with the listing running and I can take pictures :hello2: although I have not yet found how to slew the 'scope! Unfortunately there is nothing in the tutorial that tells a simpleton like me how the listing is set running again when the system is rebooted/powered up. I assume there is a way this can happen without the need to re-input the string in Part 7.

I thought I had got EQMod working nicely under Windows. EKos is going to be a whole new ball game! - John   

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You can use the history in the command list to select previous commands to use again.  In the Terminal click on the UpArrow (on keyboard) to scroll up the list.  If you have shut down, you need to log in again using SSH then enter password and finally the indiserver command for the set of drivers you're using.  This should be to first of these up the command list.  Hope that helps.

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That looks interesting - thanks Wim :)

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I've come here two years late :D Having looked at a skycam set up and Raspberry Pi 3 available on Amazon. I'm sure I didn't see anything in the hardware mentioned in this otherwise excellent tutorial - what's the minimum required for remote telescope/camera control - at less than £30 on Amazon, i'd like some ideas on what to get before making my usual mistakes :D

 

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1 hour ago, Altocumulus said:

what's the minimum required for remote telescope/camera control

A raspberry pi with micro sd card (go for 32 GB right from the start), power supply, and an enclosure for the Pi. Other goodies are a HDMI cable and a keyboard & mouse when setting up the Pi. And of course an INDI compatible camera. Everything else is freely available on line.

A basic working knowledge of Linux is recommended, but even that you can learn as you go. That's what I did.

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Thanks Wim - nothing too drastic! I've dabbled in Linux in the past so it'll be 'interesting' to get back into the mode!

Compatible cameras include the NexImage and ZWO range - so.....good!

 

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