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Powering an Astrophotography rig from home - how?


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Hi,


Background:

There will probably be too much information below, but my level of knowledge in electronics is unfortunately low.

I own a EQ-5 - upgraded to pro with synscan, a SW 150pds and a SSAG guidecam on a 9x50. I bought this with the purpose of AP. I have my telescope on the porch, so i can sit inside with the PC (5m distance) and power everything from the socket in the wall inside.

I live in Norway where there is 230V 50hz AC in the wall.

I have understood most telescope equipment (?) is powered by 12v DC.

The mount came with a 12V "car-connector" which im sure people are familiar with. But i didnt wish to use this, so instead i bought a plug (European), which the picture below shows. It is like a multipurpose plug where i can choose 12V and also choose different "pc-style" connectors in the other end. 

I am currently powering the mount via this plug to a 20m extension cord with 4 sockets. It's labeled "250V AC 50HZ". (picture below)

I plug the USB3-powered SSAG straight to the computer. I plug the synscan controller to the computer with an adaptor to make it USB in the other end.


So to the core of this post:

I now have an ZWO ASI1600MM PRO (DC 12V 3A), with a 8 slot ZWO filter-wheel (USB2.0 powered - guess this connects to the camera). On its way.
I also have a NEQ6 PRO on its way (12V 2A) - so no more EQ5 - but same power requirements.
And lastly i have a HitecAstro 4 channel dew controller on its way (12V DC) - which i plan to use with a Omegon secondary mirror heating strap, SMALL (https://www.astroshop.eu/heater-bands-controls/omegon-secondary-mirror-heating-strip-small/p,56529#tab_bar_1_select), and maybe something else down the line. The strap uses 0,18amps the product specifications says.

 

 


So....... With this setup, and from home like described: 

1.
-Plan is to use the 12v 2.25A adaptor-plug from the EQ5 on the NEQ6. 
-Buy another one just like it, for the dew-controller. I dont know what Ampere it needs, but the dew-strap is only 0,18A.
-Buy a upgraded 12V 3A (or 5A) for the ZWO ASI1600 and 5m USB3.0 to PC. 
-Plug filterwheel to ZWO.
-Plug guidecamera to PC as before - Or can this go straight to the ZWO? 
-Plug the EQ6 via the Synscan ST4(?) to USB 5m to the PC. 

So the mount, the ZWO and the dew-controller will go to the extension cord-cable drum outside which goes to the wall inside.
The PC will go to the wall inside ofcourse.


Can i do this?

2.  If no: How should i do this?





 

20191013_142351.jpg

20191013_142701.jpg

Edited by masjstovel
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I do not think there is anything you intend to do that will not work as such.

The Dew controller is fairly passive in that it will not take much more than the rating of all the dew bands attached to it., just a few mA extra due to losses and the LEDs.

My thoughts for improvement would perhaps be some sort of at least splash proof enclosure for the 240V, similar to this (I know this is a UK style but there must be ones that suit your mains connectors):-

Outdoor-Enclosure

And you may find using one good quality 5A 12V supply for camera cooling and dew band controller better than the two supplies. I have 12V at 5A going to the dew controller and there are 2 12V auxiliary outputs on the controller (if the same as mine anyway) and I have a good quality lead from the controller to the camera. 

And with 5A you have plenty in reserve for future dew bands or maybe an auto focuser later.

I dare say you could plug guide camera into the 1600 USB2 hub but I prefer to run this back with a seperate USB cable, I do not know for sure but a camera could could impact on the transfer rate of the 1600 but the filter wheel is fine going through the hub it will have almost zero impact on the 1600.

Assuming you do use a seperate cable for the guide camera do you intend then to have 3 x 5M uSB cables back to your computer inside or are you going to use a hub?

I hate to give any advice here as I had a nightmare with USB cables and hubs. I think USB 3 are more difficult than USB 2 to transfer over any distance. I have seen recommendations that maximum recommended for USB 3 is 3M. I know longer cables are available and will work but it may affect transfer rates which can be important due to amount of data you are transferring with the 1600.

I think active USB cables are a no no and never got one to work properly with astro stuff but others have so maybe that is me !

However you end up make sure you get good quality cables. Most of the time my rig is on my patio only 10M or so from my computer but after trying all sorts of ways with the USB extensions I have ended up with a mini computer on the mount and I use remote desktop from my Laptop or my desktop inside the house.

Lastly remember if you do not have an auto focuser you are going to need some way to easily focus, both the main scope (precise focus) and the guidescope (some say if a bit blurry it is better but whatever you need to be able to focus), so you need to see the screen close up whilst being able to manipulate the focus knob.

 

Please note I am no expert and only been doing this just under 2 years but having just gone through all this these are just some thoughts which may help.

Steve

Edited by teoria_del_big_bang
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Thanks alot @teoria_del_big_bang, this is very informative and helpful for me, so i appreciate it alot!

5 hours ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

My thoughts for improvement would perhaps be some sort of at least splash proof enclosure for the 240V, similar to this (I know this is a UK style but there must be ones that suit your mains connectors):-


You mean splash-proof extension-cord or 12adaptor? The extension-cord is IP44 standard, so thats splash-proof with lids on it. 

I will definately look into the 12V 5A. plug size is 5.5mm x 2.1mm right? I've found several of these.

5 hours ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

and I have a good quality lead from the controller to the camera. 


What do you mean by this? I'm sorry, my english isnt 100% :)
 

5 hours ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

Assuming you do use a seperate cable for the guide camera do you intend then to have 3 x 5M uSB cables back to your computer inside or are you going to use a hub?

This was my intention yes. I dont understand the sollution with the HUB - can you explain how this would be? Wouldn't the HUB need to be connected back to the computer inside, and the cable-length still be a problem? Or you mean something like the ASIAIR? 
 

5 hours ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

Lastly remember if you do not have an auto focuser you are going to need some way to easily focus, both the main scope (precise focus) and the guidescope (some say if a bit blurry it is better but whatever you need to be able to focus), so you need to see the screen close up whilst being able to manipulate the focus knob.

The current plan is to use a Bahtinov (my friend is 3D-printing one as there are so few astrogear-suppliers in Norway), and just go back and forth between scope and computer until i'm satisfied. Further down the line i will maybe go for an auto-focuser with software, but for now i feel i must start up with the equipment i have provided. The need for more gear never stops in this business I've learned :D
 

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When I am at astro camp I have electric hook up which is RCD protected.  This runs everything, so you could say similar to what you get from the house.  However outside I like to protect my electrics and I put them all inside a plastic box which keeps the electrics off the ground, and reasonably protected from dew.  

From the hook up electricity, I run a 4 socket extension lead mainly as a splitter, and run the laptop and my mount from this (But my mount has a cable with a 12v adapter in it, so the mount is actually running on 12V).  Into another socket I plug a 12V adapter to run everything else (with a 12V splitter).  Cameras, dew heaters and filter wheel.  

I hope this helps with your planning.  

When I am at home I access the laptop from indoors via Teamviewer.  But at camp I have to operate it next to the mount as I don't have wifi.

Carole 

 

Edited by carastro
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5 minutes ago, carastro said:

When I am at astro camp I have electric hook up which is RCD protected.  This runs everything, so you could say similar to what you get from the house.  However outside I like to protect my electrics and I put them all inside a plastic box which keeps the electrics off the ground, and reasonably protected from dew.  

Thans alot @carastro! I like the plastic-box tip, i will arrange something like that as the plugs connecting to the cabledrum is fairly exposed as of now. 
 

 

9 minutes ago, carastro said:

When I am at home I access the laptop from indoors via Teamviewer.  But at camp I have to operate it next to the mount as I don't have wifi.

I am not familiar with Teamviewer, but i see its some kind of app/program. What do you have connected to the scope to "talk" to the computer inside via Teamviewer?

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6 minutes ago, masjstovel said:

Thans alot @carastro! I like the plastic-box tip, i will arrange something like that as the plugs connecting to the cabledrum is fairly exposed as of now. 
 

 

I am not familiar with Teamviewer, but i see its some kind of app/program. What do you have connected to the scope to "talk" to the computer inside via Teamviewer?

Both computers will need connected to the internet. I use teamviewer, and find it invaluable 

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9 hours ago, masjstovel said:
15 hours ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

My thoughts for improvement would perhaps be some sort of at least splash proof enclosure for the 240V, similar to this (I know this is a UK style but there must be ones that suit your mains connectors):-


You mean splash-proof extension-cord or 12adaptor? The extension-cord is IP44 standard, so thats splash-proof with lids on it. 

I will definately look into the 12V 5A. plug size is 5.5mm x 2.1mm right? I've found several of these.

I just meant to have a splashproof box with lid in which you have your 240V plugs like the UK one shown in the link. I think what Carole has suggested is perfect. It was just that a 240V reel as you showed is not good to leave out all night as in the morning it will be we through with dew forming on it so will be dangerous to you.

Yes the 12V socket for the camera cooling is 5.5mm x 2.1mm centre positive. The recommendation is actually to use a 3A to 5A supply but the camera specification states the cooling is 2A maximum at 12V so you should have plenty in hand to run a dew band or two and an auto-focus unit later with a 5A supply, Also do not forget not all will probably be running at the same time to the maximum current.

9 hours ago, masjstovel said:
15 hours ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

and I have a good quality lead from the controller to the camera. 


What do you mean by this? I'm sorry, my english isnt 100% :)

Never apologize for your English. Your English is excellent and if I had to carry out this conversation in Norwegian then I would be very embarrassed  .

I just meant that the camera cooling takes up to 2A so do not use a real cheap cable that sometimes have really thin cables, use a good quality cable. 

9 hours ago, masjstovel said:
15 hours ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

Assuming you do use a seperate cable for the guide camera do you intend then to have 3 x 5M uSB cables back to your computer inside or are you going to use a hub?

This was my intention yes. I don't understand the solution with the HUB - can you explain how this would be? Wouldn't the HUB need to be connected back to the computer inside, and the cable-length still be a problem? Or you mean something like the ASIAIR? 

Sorry I think I have just confused you here.

I was just really asking the question how you were going to get the 3 USB cables back to your computer indoors so I understood what you were intending to do.

9 hours ago, masjstovel said:
15 hours ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

Lastly remember if you do not have an auto focuser you are going to need some way to easily focus, both the main scope (precise focus) and the guidescope (some say if a bit blurry it is better but whatever you need to be able to focus), so you need to see the screen close up whilst being able to manipulate the focus knob.

The current plan is to use a Bahtinov (my friend is 3D-printing one as there are so few astrogear-suppliers in Norway), and just go back and forth between scope and computer until i'm satisfied. Further down the line i will maybe go for an auto-focuser with software, but for now i feel i must start up with the equipment i have provided. The need for more gear never stops in this business I've learned :D

All I can add is that this is how I stared off. I did have a little further to walk 10M usb cables used instead of 5 M but I found this method really frustrating and difficult to achieve good focus. I did manage better with 2 people and had my wife shouting out which way to go but it was no easy. But without an auto focuser the only other way is to have the screen next to you whilst you focus. If you have a laptop then this is easily done but if you only have a desktop or tower then this is probably not possible.

When I had a very similar setup using a tower computer I borrowed my wifes tablet and whilst focussing used team viewer that Carole mentioned to temporarily get a display that mimicked my desktop next to the mount. It worked like a treat. Took 5 minutes to focus with the Bahtinov then stopped teamviewer and went back to my tower, and the wife had her tablet back.

Also a good idea to just recheck the focus just before starting the imaging session as can change slightly in the minutes taken to get on target and frame your target etc with a few test shots and with the tablet it so quick and easy. But if you are walking back and forth then you probably will not bother as it is too much trouble just for a very fine adjustment.

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9 hours ago, carastro said:

When I am at home I access the laptop from indoors via Teamviewer. 

 

9 hours ago, tooth_dr said:

I use teamviewer, and find it invaluable 

Sorry @masjstovel I do not mean to hijack to thread but can I ask @carastro and @tooth_dr  if you find advantages to Teamviewer as opposed to the Windows built in Remote Desktop?

I have used Teamviewer in the past but had issues displaying on two screens of my desktop so reverted back to Remote Desktop.

Is is something to do with file transfer you found better?

Steve

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I ‘ve been using TeamViewer for the past ten years between the laptop in the observatory and the office PC.

what else can I say....works well for me, no issues, no drama.

 

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7 minutes ago, Merlin66 said:

I ‘ve been using TeamViewer for the past ten years between the laptop in the observatory and the office PC.

what else can I say....works well for me, no issues, no drama.

 

Hi, I know it works but issue I had was that I was connecting my desktop with dual screen to my laptop with one screen and could only duplicate the laptops one screen whereas with remote desktop you can use multiple screens it is not just a mirror image of what can be seen on the laptop. So I was wondering what the reasons for not using remote desktop was, are there advantages to using TeamViewer, if it is better for some reason then I am very interested.

Thanks

Steve

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10 hours ago, tooth_dr said:

Both computers will need connected to the internet. I use teamviewer, and find it invaluable 

i have a 25 metre HDMI leads that goes from the mount outside and plug in to my 49 inch smart tv controlling with a wireless mouse, its like NASA in the back room when i am imaging, i can send sub images by wifi from the mount to Laptop inside but in order to platesolve and all sub are usually stored on the sd card(wireless as well)

kit

Eagle Control Software

Remote Dew Control

Roger

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 can I ask @carastro and @tooth_dr  if you find advantages to Teamviewer as opposed to the Windows built in Remote Desktop?

I have never managed to get Remote Desktop to work.  I am not the greatest Whizz with technical IT stuff, and the only time I tried using anything other than Teamviewer, which I think was VNC with a cable my imaging computer in the obsy kept defaulting to a different IP address, so I could never use it.  I think I had a quick try with Remote Desktop and did not manage to get that to work either.  It's such a long time since I tried it I can't even remember whether that needs a cable or Wifi. 

Then some-one told me about TV, I moved my hub so I got better Wifi and I have been using it ever since.

Carole 

 

 

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Congratulations, you have started down an astounding road of discovery.  You have been bitten by the AP bug......there is no cure (thank god!).  
 

For what it’s worth, I plus my guide cam into the USB on the ASI 1600 and haven’t had a problem with downloads

I use a powered hub taped to the tripod leg.  All cables from scope attach here, reducing cable issues.  The hub plugs into the computer, but the hub is below the mount so there is no impact

I also use a B-mask. Focus with the asi 1600 is easy in focus mode.  The camera keeps taking subs while you look at the computer screen and focus using an electric stepper focus motor. It’s the same motor and controller used by an auto focus routine but you control it manually.  I use the Boss II controller.  It has temperature compensation.  It helps in holding focus during temp changes

yes the filter wheel plugs into camera and is powered by the camera. If you also plug your guide cam into the camera it will reduce cable issues.

i leave my computer outside next to the scope through temperature changes from 0 F to 80F.  i like the idea of team viewer but I don’t have 2 computers.  
Good luck!  I am looking forward to seeing the results of your hard work (yes, it will be difficult, but you probably already know this)

Rodd

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On 14/10/2019 at 09:35, teoria_del_big_bang said:

All I can add is that this is how I stared off. I did have a little further to walk 10M usb cables used instead of 5 M but I found this method really frustrating and difficult to achieve good focus. I did manage better with 2 people and had my wife shouting out which way to go but it was no easy. But without an auto focuser the only other way is to have the screen next to you whilst you focus. If you have a laptop then this is easily done but if you only have a desktop or tower then this is probably not possible.

I have a laptop yes, so i will take it outdoors while doing this operation with the Bathinov! 
Well my girlfriend is shouting too, but that shouting is not related to focusing. Rather all this gear i've bought after i got her blessing for "buying a small telescope" 6 months ago 😮
 

 

On 14/10/2019 at 13:24, Rodd said:

I also use a B-mask. Focus with the asi 1600 is easy in focus mode.


Thanks for your reply. What do you mean by the above? focus mode? I'm sorry I havent recieved the camera yet so i dont know. 

I'll post my results when they are not too emberrasing :D

 

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2 hours ago, masjstovel said:

I have a laptop yes, so i will take it outdoors while doing this operation with the Bathinov! 
Well my girlfriend is shouting too, but that shouting is not related to focusing. Rather all this gear i've bought after i got her blessing for "buying a small telescope" 6 months ago 😮
 

 


Thanks for your reply. What do you mean by the above? focus mode? I'm sorry I havent recieved the camera yet so i dont know. 

I'll post my results when they are not too emberrasing :D

 

It’s not a camera setting but a setting in you acquisition software. Basically you set the camera to keep taking subs of whatever length you use to focus. Then you can look at the screen whole you adjust focus. In cm maxim for its called “continual” mode

Rodd

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