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Grierson

Laptop recommendations

20 posts in this topic

I continue to have problems running PHD2 on my Lenovo laptop. It is currently with their service centre having been sent there by John Lewis. They may be able to sort it but I have to face the likelyhood that the issues will continue. I would appreciate any recommendations for an alternative from those running PHD2 on a modern laptop as it seems from Mikey2000's post modern Dell's have similar problems. Thanks - John

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I use an Asus with no problems...  and would you consider using a Linux powered Pi, I'm in the process of moving over to it, & remotely driving from a windows pc\laptop..... (See Gina's excellent guide)

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Don't know what specs would be needed for PHD.  All I can say is I recently got an HP Pavilion 15.6" specifically to run Stellarium in the shed when I'm observing, and it handles it (and everything else I use it for) a treat.

Doug.

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I use a basic HP laptop running Windows 10 and PHD works fine.

Got it from Argos for about £300 last year.

One thing to check before committing to a new laptop is that you are running the latest version of PHD I think its now at 2.6.3.

Your laptop ideally needs to have 3 or more USB ports of which at least one is USB3 to handle the newer CCD cameras, otherwise you risk getting something that will be out of date pretty quickly.

 

 

Edited by wornish
typo

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Thanks Doug, it does seem that there is a problem with some laptops and although I am not yet ready to guide with my new rig I am keen to get everything sorted. I don't want to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. :hmh:

I have a home brew desktop running Ubuntu Julian so I have a peripheral knowledge of Linux Julian and I would like to have a go at Gina's project. However I would also like to have short term solution.

John  

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1 hour ago, cloudsweeper said:

 

Thanks Dave that sounds ideal. Do you have a model number? I have downloaded the latest version of PHD2 but no matter what I tried the Lenovo would not retain connection with the camera. As just one exmple it would 'hang' during the production of a Dark Library.

John

Edit: Apologies for the wrong quote. I can't seem to correct it!

Edited by Grierson
Wrong quote!

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2 hours ago, Grierson said:

Thanks Dave that sounds ideal. Do you have a model number? I have downloaded the latest version of PHD2 but no matter what I tried the Lenovo would not retain connection with the camera. As just one exmple it would 'hang' during the production of a Dark Library.

John

Edit: Apologies for the wrong quote. I can't seem to correct it!

 Model 503/7009 15.6" HP Laptop on the Argos receipt.

 

On the back of the actual laptop  it says Model 15-ac123na.   Just typed this into Google and there are a few available from Amazon.co.uk, but no longer on Argos.

 

 

Edited by wornish

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Thanks Dave I'll have a look - John

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I use a refurbished Dell E6420 and Win7 x64 pro. No problems at all with PHD. The camera is a Starshoot Autoguider.

 

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5 hours ago, wornish said:

I use a basic HP laptop running Windows 10 and PHD works fine.

Got it from Argos for about £300 last year.

One thing to check before committing to a new laptop is that you are running the latest version of PHD I think its now at 2.6.3.

Your laptop ideally needs to have 3 or more USB ports of which at least one is USB3 to handle the newer CCD cameras, otherwise you risk getting something that will be out of date pretty quickly.

 

 

Dave, I have belatedly read all the way through the excellent PHD2 tutorial and I see towards the end of the responses that you experienced problems with your Toupcam. Did you come up with an answer? - John

Edited by Grierson

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I got a HP Pavillion I5 with SSD specifically for PHD2, seems to work without any issues for my starlight express superstar.  (windows 10)

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Have youu checked the usb cable?  I had a similar problem and assumed it was either the camera or the pc but it turned out to be the cable.

If you do decide on a new laptop I bought a refurbished HP Envy with an i7 processor and 1Tb disc for £450.  It came with full HP warranty.

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I use a run down lenovo t410 and its works fine even when left out in the elements. Have you checked the usb lead?

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Thanks for the advice and suggestions gentlemen. I have indeed changed the lead a number of times and used all the ports on the laptop. Removed and downloaded PHD2 countless times. With the camera connected DIRECTLY to the laptop I can not even build a Darks library without the PHD2 'hanging' with the time out and disconnection message. I have tried the camera (a Toupcam) with a variety of other computers (three desk tops, an elderly Toshba laptop and a small notebook (a Lenovo 100s)) all of which allowed PHD2 to perform as it should. I just needed some comfort level that I would not be faced with a similar issue if I invested in a replacement for the Levono 300. - John

Edited by Grierson
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Grierson - I read this with interest and I feel your pain.  Why will my new (2016) dell laptop not play nicely with PHD2 but my old (2010) dell laptop seems to be rather successful (still not tried 'real' guiding due to the ***ing clouds that seem to be permanently installed directly over my telescope)

 

I've posted with PHD support and they have convinced me that their software is not at fault.  It seems the QHY driver is hanging for some reason on the newer computer.  I have posted on the QHY help site and seem to have caught their eye. 

 

I will keep you posted with any good news :-)

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15 hours ago, Grierson said:

Dave, I have belatedly read all the way through the excellent PHD2 tutorial and I see towards the end of the responses that you experienced problems with your Toupcam. Did you come up with an answer? - John

Yes I did initially have problems with the Toupcam and PHD2. Similar too what you described now I think about it.    It worked initially and then stopped working the second time out after I had  updated the PHD2 version and at the same time windows 10 did a big automatic update.  It really was frustrating hence my posts on here looking for help.

In the end it was two things .

First the settings I was using in PHD2.

Make sure the camera selected is Windows WDM-style webcam camera with the specific camera set to Toupcam Astro. ( Make sure you have installed the Toupcam drivers supplied with the camera)

Make sure the camera settings in the Advanced Settings (Brain) are correct for your guide scope.

Set the analogue gain to around 80% of max, and the exposure time to just over 1 sec.

Then when you put PHD in loop mode adjust the screen gamma display to see stars.  This then showed me the second issue :- make sure you have good viewing, i.e stars are visible and in reasonable focus when viewed in PHD.  If the PHD screen when its looping doesn't show many stars then thats a warning sign.   I was struggling because I had high cloud cover that was blocking all but the brightest stars so PHD couldn't find any.  When I finally got a clear night it worked.

The latest version of phd2 actually says in the release notes that there have been some issues with WDM cameras and they have been updated in this release.

I assume you are driving your mount via EQASCOM and that it works fine if you use the buttons  to manually move the scope.  

Bottom line - It might not be your laptop thats the issue.  Hope this helps.

 

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Thanks Dave. Last things first, I am controlling the mount by EQASCOM which I now have working fine with Cartes du Ciel. I will check all the points you make once I have the machine back. I did look for updated drivers for the camera but the only ones I could find did not work so I reverted to the ones on the CD which came with the camera.

It may turn out that the problem is not with the laptop but if that is to be the case I find difficulty in understanding why the camera/software combination works on a host of other computers. - John

 

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You may have an ASCOM problem with W10.

A new ASCOM update ( V 6.3)  is available at their website which should cure that kind of problem.

Edited by Waldemar

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Forgot to mention that, but a good friend (fellow atrsphotographer) of mine had problems with his Lenovo PC and PHD as well. He ran W10, anniversary upgrade on it.

When he changed to ASCOM 6.3  his problems were gone...

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Thanks Waldemar, I did update ASCOM to ver. 6.3 but with no success but in the light of your comment I will recheck it again when I get the laptop back from Lenovo as it seems John Lewis have sent it to them for repair! - John

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