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noah4x4

4K UHD display - remote controlled EAA?

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A popular way to set up a remote controlled EAA rig is to use two computers with one at the scope controlled by another located  in warm 'mission control' typically by adopting TeamViewer or Windows Remote Desktop via wireless or cabled communication. 

Most current laptops have a 1080p 'HD' (high definition) display.  My astro camera is 16 megapixels (hence exceeding '4K UHD' ultra high definition). So the challenge I set myself was send its display output to a 4K UHD monitor located indoors.  Today, it's an expensive and extravant challenge which most EAA enthusiasts cannot justify as 1080p 'HD' remains excellent and the cost of upgrading to UHD is high. But with the advent of retail 8k display technologies launched by Samsung and Sony in August  I suspect 4K UHD may soon become far more mainstream, just as 1080p rapidly replaced 720p.  This thread explains how to embrace it. Sadly, the gulf between ever higher specification astro cameras and computing/display technology was far bigger than I ever anticipated.

Having succeeded, I can confirm that the combination of a large sensor, small pixel, high resolution, low read noise, CMOS camera combined with a telescope of short focal length (I use Hyperstar) works really well for EAA with the higher specification 'UHD' display. In particular, a larger screen creates an immersive feeling and <zoom>  is more effective as pixelation (images going blocky) doesn't occur until higher levels of magnification.  Here are some tips from my experience for anybody that wants to try this.

Any camera outputting the equivalent of 4K resolution (or higher) demands a lot of computing processing power. I have an i5 Intel NUC with Iris Plus 640 Graphics at the scope. Caution, if you buy a computer of any lower specification as the data demands of such high specification cameras are intensive. I am not convinced cheap 'compute sticks' or similar will suffice beyond 1080p. Some do claim '4k' but the small print confirms that is only achievable at 30hz. You really need around a 60hz refresh rate for 4K UHD EAA purposes e.g. 'near live' observing with a screen replacing eyepiece, which is not to be confused with AP/imaging. For EAA a fast on screen response to the data received is critical whereas with AP you will be accustomed to sit out all night capturing a single image (so data transmission delay is not important). I do EAA to overcome urban light pollution. I don't even save 'images'. 4K UHD is not that relevant to AP as whatever you capture typically gets post processed, cropped and resampled. With EAA it's about observing and pertinently observing now.

DC power then becomes a challenge as suitably powerful computers require 12v - 20v and demand 40+ watts at peak load.  Whilst a NUC in theory will run at 12v in my experience it won't tolerate any voltage drop. I found many 12v power units fast deplete to perhaps 11.7 volts and that can be problematic. My solution was a MaxOak K2 that offers 185 watt-hours and a 20v output (closer to 19.3v in truth) that will run for about seven hours and weighs about 1Kg.

If you pair the more powerful  graphics capable computer (outdoors) with a 1080p laptop (indoors) using TeamViewer or Windows Remote Desktop the display result will be mere 'HD' as the lesser computers display  will inevitably limit the resolution. The same is true if computer roles are reversed. The question then that nobody in any forum where I enquired could answer was if I ran two NUCs each with Iris Plus 640 graphics with the second connected to a 4K UHD monitor by Thunderbolt display cable would that ensure an 'end to end' 4K UHD result? The doubt was whether TeamViewer and/or Windows Remote Desktop might degrade the image and/or was any compression they impose likely to put a ceiling on display? I simply had to try. To my relief it works fine. I now have a satisfactory 'end to end' 4K UHD EAA system.

BUT......the downsides (beyond cost)....

I discovered the band width of even 802.11ac wireless struggled to handle the connection betwen the two computers, not helped by conflicts between USB3 and USB2 devices. I suffered a degree of lag and drop outs when adopting wireless (at 4K UHD). I then tried 'active' USB3 cable and beyond 10 Metres that too was flaky. The only solution that provided enough connectivity to deliver the 4k UHD experience over any reasonable distance was Cat 6 cable via a router/hub. 

Was It worth the technical challenges and expense? Now I have succeeded I think yes. However, I can think of many better astro projects to commit money too if I had not already completed them. Frankly, a 1080p display is great and today 4K UHD is an indulgent and extravagant luxury. However, if 4K UHD computers and display devices become more affordable (which is the pattern of past  advances in technology and "8k" is now retailing) I guess somebody will find the information in this thread valuable. My overriding advice; don't underestimate the computing power; or DC power or bandwidth required to embrace 4k UHD. 

Edited by noah4x4
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12 hours ago, noah4x4 said:

With EAA it's about observing and pertinently observing now.

Agree with 90% of what you say except the above statement - this is your view or aim of EAA (and others)  and this has been argued about before on SGL,Cloudy nights etc so I am not going to start that up again.

For Real Time Observing (no post images - as you say you don even keep the image) there is no solution to Remote real time viewing (i.e. see exactly the same in 2 places at the same time) - at the moment at least. 

However your title says "Remote Controlled EAA" which is of course totally possible and many do it very successfully but you are no defining "control" but "Remote Real Time High Definition Viewing" . So the former is perfectly possible the latter has problems as well documented in your  report. Yes you have it working for you but as you say "ignoring costs".

But your experience and report is a very good pointer,especially for someone who may be thinking of going that route, to what are the key issues with "Remote Real Time High Definition Viewing" and to some extent ANY EAA/Near Real Time ,AP or otherwise, set up. Thanks for that! 

P.S. There a lot of people who have been banging the drum about WiFi short comings for some time - it does not beat wired its just more convenient.

As the EAA doesn't has any sections on TIPS perhaps the "Mods" could pin your comments so others can benefit - Please.  

Thats my 5 pence worth ! ? 

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Thanks Stash-old. Flattered by your suggestion that my post should be pinned.

I was very careful to not mention 'real time' which I agree is not possible. I deliberately said "near live" which I think can be justified.  I can have a credible view on screen of a really bright DSO (like the Orion Nebula) in two seconds with Hyperstar. It probably then takes ten stacks to tease out the full detail so I might argue that the 'near live' delay is only 20 seconds. But it's not 'real time'. But even the two second image is more detailed  than an eyepiece  'faint fuzzy.'.  

However, other faint objects might require an exposure of 20 seconds and twenty stacks to bring out their detail, but that is still only a total of 6 + minutes. If not on Hyperstar the equivalent might take over two hours to replicate using long exposure AP at the focal length of most scopes.  I am not arguing that Hyperstar quality is better, just faster and more forgiving for a novice (e.g. no polar alignment, no wedge or autoguiding required).  But I always chuckle at any debate about time/delay and it's relevance to astro-cameras given that the photons might have taken 250 light years to reach your sensor. Is even a day of delay of relevance in that context?

I have to agree that WiFi is over rated and can be troublesome, but it seems today's generation can't be without phone or tablet. I can because (notwithstanding that I now view indoors) the tablet screen ruined my averted vision. After a while, I also couldn't see the merit of watching the cursor go blip, blip, blip across my screen. However, it has merit if it means cable free. That's where the grief starts and the money pit opens. It is possible with low specification astro cameras, but buy anything more serious and the best available consumer bandwidth may cause challenges. It's not impossible, but with each added device (focuser etc) the risk of failure increases. Cat 6 cable wins every time IMHO . 

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What a fantastic thread! Seeing the phrase "Having succeeded, I can confirm..." makes all the difference when looking for information ?

Did both Tea viewer an Windows remote work for 4k end to end?

I am amazed at some of the claims made about Wi-Fi and its uses. If I believed them all I'd have 16 or so data hungry bits of kit sharing the bandwidth - does anyone remember how slowwww 14k4 modem was ?

WiFi is for when you can't connect with wires - Powerline adapters are even worse!

Michael

 

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Thanks Synchronicity, sorry, I didn't try TeamViewer as there is an issue with current 'free' version. You must be connected to the Internet to use TeamViewer presumably so that they can check there is no commercial use. If you want 'peer to peer' you must pay with TeamViewer  (so don't upgrade from an older working version!).

Similarly with Remote Desktop one of the computers must be running Windows 10 Professional, so no option is 'free.  I did discover a Russian located 'free service' but my A/V and Firewall persuaded me not to try it!  Windows Remote Desktop works fine with 4K UHD if you have sufficiently powerful graphics computers and the necessary bandwidth.

Yes, I do remember the remarkably recent past. As recently as 2004 I was working with a Los Angeles company trying to implement 'emailVideo' which was basically a marketing email that played video over the Internet on <click>. We failed (run out of investment!) because the prevailing Internet bandwidth was 28k and we were lucky if we got a Flash animation down the wires let alone a human image.  Yet today, live 1080p 'HD' Internet video streaming  is routine and 4K UHD feasible (with buffering etc).  But domestic WiFi still has limits. But technology progresses so fast I envisage 4K UHD photography and computing might be mainstream in merely a few years. I decided I had to succeed today having bought a 16 megapixel camera as I like such challenges.

My original laptop offered only 802.11n, so I disabled that and replaced it with a 802.11ac wireless adapter and 5Ghz. It worked fine with 1080p HD, but wasn't 4K UHD enabled. My two NUCs with Iris Plus 640 Graphics can handle 4k UHD but the 802.11ac wireless suffered from occasional lag. Once I added autofocuser and other peripherals it got worse and that is when I decided Cat 6 cable was probably the only ideal solution today.  That works fine. 

BTW, if there is ever a world shortage of wireless adapters, USB3 cables, USB2 cables; HDMI cables, Thunderbolt display cables, hubs/routers and other assorted bits please call me.  I tried the lot before reverting to Cat 6.   But wireless WILL work with less demanding cameras. My Atik Horizon desires at least USB3, and that is only reliable under 15 Metres. 

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1 hour ago, noah4x4 said:

Thanks Stash-old. Flattered by your suggestion that my post should be pinned.

Not mean't to flatter more thinking of saving time for some poor soul having to search for info when someone has already been there done that and here's the result (as of Nov 2018 LOL).  Maybe SGL should start a WIKI for Astro might even save SGL some disk space ?

1 hour ago, noah4x4 said:

Hyperstar

Agreed - Already saving to fix to my c9.25 with a new camera.

 

41 minutes ago, Synchronicity said:

does anyone remember how slowwww 14k4 modem was

No but I do remember Acoustic couplers and how slow they were and the number of disconnects - some things have improved ?

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Have come across another solution that is a little cheaper than two computers. It involves this device.

.https://www.amazon.co.uk/Extender-Uncompressed-4K60Hz-Latency-Bi-directional-2-4k60Hz-HDMI-KVM-4KEX100-KVM/dp/B072DTHWV3/ref=sr_1_cc_3?s=aps&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1542392417&amp;sr=1-3-catcorr&amp;keywords=HDMI+kvm+extender

 You put the 'transmitter' component at the NUC at the scope and from NUC run a single Cat6 cable to the 'receiver' indoors. You then connect Keyboard and mouse to it by USB2 and Monitor by HDMI. Seemingly works over very long distances. 

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4 hours ago, noah4x4 said:

Have come across another solution that is a little cheaper than two computers. It involves this device.

.https://www.amazon.co.uk/Extender-Uncompressed-4K60Hz-Latency-Bi-directional-2-4k60Hz-HDMI-KVM-4KEX100-KVM/dp/B072DTHWV3/ref=sr_1_cc_3?s=aps&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1542392417&amp;sr=1-3-catcorr&amp;keywords=HDMI+kvm+extender

 You put the 'transmitter' component at the NUC at the scope and from NUC run a single Cat6 cable to the 'receiver' indoors. You then connect Keyboard and mouse to it by USB2 and Monitor by HDMI. Seemingly works over very long distances. 

Across CN: https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/639890-my-journey-into-‘ultra-high-definition’-eaa/?p=8952071

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