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Raspberry Pi or Mini PC?


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I’m now torn, I had planned on using a RP4 with a copy of Astroberry on it to run Firecapture for my foray into imaging some planets.

They seem to be hard to get hold of at the moment however, and my reading seems to indicate that Astroberry is going to limit me to 4GB on the Pi - not that the RAM should be an issue. I’ve also seen some comments from people struggling to get good frame rates on anything above quite small image sizes which makes me wonder if I’d actually be better off doing something else?

I’ve seen the Beelink PC’s FLO have, these seem pretty good and I guess would have a bit more power to allow for higher capture rates - however I did want to keep the cost of this little project quite low so looking at spending 2/300 over ~50 is making me question if I really need that extra power or not?

I’d like to try and get some images out of my scope (Skymax 127) at a reasonable size if I can, but aware that the frame rate is going to drop if I up the image size.

Is anyone running a Pi with Astroberry that can offer any thoughts on that, or does anyone have any advice on what they’ve tried?

 

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It works alright if you like taking a pc out with you or connected nearby. For convenience I find an Asiair better for general ap. For planetary and solar though I use the astroberry but it has a habit of crashing an awful lot (oacapture and Firecapture), can be particularly annoying when doing solar. With my 224mc and 290mm I generally get around 25fps full image resolution capture, this can be sped up if you do region of interest and lower the capture resolution (it's a bit of a misrepresentation by the manufacturers regarding max FPS capabilities). You can use it for setting up autoguiding later on if you want to do that via kstars and ekos.

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It’s certainly true that Raspberry Pi 4s are in short supply at the present. I’ve been running two Astroberrys on 4GB versions I bought just after they were released in 2019. With your SkyMax127, you are unlikely to be tackling long periods of capture, and at this time of year, remote working is not so essential. Working locally close to the mount using SharpCap or other Windows software on a laptop would be an option, although it’s always convenient to be wirelessly connected via an RPi or other device.
While waiting for the planets to arrive in the evening skies, I have been using a my SkyMax127 guided on an AZ-EQ5, with short (15 seconds) exposures to improve the guiding statistics in blustery conditions. Here’s the result of 30 minutes of captures (120 subframes) processed only in AstroPixelProcessor. The KStars/Ekos/Indi package on Astroberry is now (v3.5.9) pretty stable. I used it to capture Lights, Darks, Flats and (automatically) matching DarkFlats.

B2AC741B-6E72-49D4-9410-70790CF76262.jpeg

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am.thumb.JPG.414c173c0c8c9f1e523c230cfe257730.JPGHi

Pis are great, but seem recently to have become €silly.

We use these. i5 8Gb +256Gb ssd under Ubuntu. About half the cost of a pi, faster and you can have as many as you wish. Tomorrow.

Various badges depending on the supplier. We think the original is Fujitsu. Search ebay or tech site in your country.

Easily capable of indi-kstars-ekos and everything else including fits storage, all on the same box and responsive vnc, especially over 5G via a decent wifi adapter.

Cheers and HTH
 

Edited by alacant
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Last winter I used my RPI-4 with Astroberry and got some decent images but it did crash at least once. So given the rarity of clear night in the UK I feel loath to rely on it try and take several hours of imaging and so have been considering the NUC windows 10 pro route.

I am unsure of how good/fast a processor I need. The remote computer would not need to do any image processing just mount control, PHD2, and image acquisition with Sharpcap pro. I look at the i3 but see there have been so many different versions, the same true for the i5 or maybe I should use an J4125. At the end of the day I just want a reliable and cheap PC that can sit outside. Any thoughts?

Cheers

Ian

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My money would go towards a windows 10 mini-pc. Even the cheapest versions will be more capable than the PI4, and you have all the options for software to use since its a windows platform. Not that the PI4 doesn't have good options for software, but more is more.

I run my WIN10 mini-pc off USB-C "fast charge port" hooked to a powerbank and connect to the thing with remote desktop using a tablet. If i want the highest framerates i plug the camera into a built-in USB3 port and not one from a USB hub. I get 120fps with my IMX571 in a 500x500 ROI in 8-bit raw mode when imaging the planets, so the PC is definitely not holding me back. The cheapest beelink one sold at FLO looks about equivalent in specs to what i have, perhaps even a bit better so that will definitely work great.

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I am seeing quite a few mini pc’s by Gigabyte are these ok? They appear to have 4x usb3 though the processors are i3 5th generation so not as fast as some but I am presuming this is fast enough for simple acquisition, plate solving and phd2?

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Mini PCs are so good now that I run one as my main PC, lots of good deals on those with older gen processors too but bear in mind that if you ever intend to upgrade to win 11 at some point you will need an 8th gen or newer.

Alan

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On 30/07/2022 at 14:51, Matt S said:

They seem to be hard to get hold of at the moment however, and my reading seems to indicate that Astroberry is going to limit me to 4GB on the Pi - not that the RAM should be an issue. I’ve also seen some comments from people struggling to get good frame rates on anything above quite small image sizes which makes me wonder if I’d actually be better off doing something else?

Is anyone running a Pi with Astroberry that can offer any thoughts on that, or does anyone have any advice on what they’ve tried?

 

The Pi 4 with 8GB of RAM will limit you to 4 GB per application, maximum. I think it has something to do with Raspbian being a 32 bit OS, but Astroberry is not limiting you and you could probably run two instances of it with 8 GB of RAM, though I'm not sure why you would want to.

If you do go with a Pi, make sure it is properly cooled with large heatsinks and possibly a fan. Mine get very hot, especially when working hard.

Pi_3.jpg

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On 31/07/2022 at 12:42, alacant said:

Pis are great, but seem recently to have become €silly.

More like out of stock entirely 😞 hence the guys with any stock are making hay while sun shines.

1 hour ago, Mandy D said:

I think it has something to do with Raspbian being a 32 bit OS,

No longer. Check this out https://www.raspberrypi.com/software/operating-systems/#raspberry-pi-os-64-bit

Edited by AstroMuni
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8 minutes ago, AstroMuni said:

More like out of stock entirely 😞 hence the guys with any stock are making hay while sun shines.

No longer. Check this out https://www.raspberrypi.com/software/operating-systems/#raspberry-pi-os-64-bit

Oh, OK. Does that mean Raspbian can now allocate more than 4 GB to a 64 bit application? So, if that is the case, I guess Astroberry is still stuck in 32 bit land.

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20 minutes ago, Mandy D said:

Oh, OK. Does that mean Raspbian can now allocate more than 4 GB to a 64 bit application? So, if that is the case, I guess Astroberry is still stuck in 32 bit land.

Yes it can allocate more than 4gb per app. The author @RadekK is aiming to release 64bit version later in summer is my understanding.

Edited by AstroMuni
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  • 2 months later...
On 31/07/2022 at 11:57, Avocette said:

It’s certainly true that Raspberry Pi 4s are in short supply at the present. I’ve been running two Astroberrys on 4GB versions I bought just after they were released in 2019. With your SkyMax127, you are unlikely to be tackling long periods of capture, and at this time of year, remote working is not so essential. Working locally close to the mount using SharpCap or other Windows software on a laptop would be an option, although it’s always convenient to be wirelessly connected via an RPi or other device.
While waiting for the planets to arrive in the evening skies, I have been using a my SkyMax127 guided on an AZ-EQ5, with short (15 seconds) exposures to improve the guiding statistics in blustery conditions. Here’s the result of 30 minutes of captures (120 subframes) processed only in AstroPixelProcessor. The KStars/Ekos/Indi package on Astroberry is now (v3.5.9) pretty stable. I used it to capture Lights, Darks, Flats and (automatically) matching DarkFlats.

B2AC741B-6E72-49D4-9410-70790CF76262.jpeg

I’ve been slow replying to things - this is a lovely image! I’d be pretty excited to get anything like this.
 

My mount isn’t as good, but I’d love to know a bit more about your setup for this!

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  • 3 months later...
On 26/01/2023 at 14:38, jfrijhoff said:

To the mini-PC users, how are they holding up for you out in the (freezing) cold and/or humidity?

My RPi has no issues as its CPU warms up and keeps it frost & dew free

Edited by AstroMuni
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