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Anyone autoguide with a linux machine?

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As the topic implies, does anyone have any experience of autoguiding with a linux system? I currently have wxastrocapture installed on my laptop (opensuse OS) and I see that the UI at least hints that it can be used for guiding.

I'm thinking about modding my EQ3-2 handset for a shoestring GPUSB (possibly home made). I'd rather not have to go installing XP and definitely don't want to go reinstalling vista on my current machine as it works brilliantly with the current OS. I don't really want to dual boot either as dual booting with opensuse has always been painful for me.

I'll probably be getting a netbook at some point in the near future, so I could grab one with XP, but I'd much rather have one of the linux based systems if at all possible.

I look forward to any suggestions.


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I have often thought about nix for my astro stuff as all my machines were Linux builds of various distros... But too many of the apps I use now are win only. So I have opted for a dual boot ubuntu/xp for my imaging/ processing lappy.. Although would be good to hear of any alternatives..

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I've recently got a netbook (Asus 901) to use for astro purposes... It was an Xp based machine, so I used vmware converter to extract an image of the default install and then installed crunchbang linux. Now I use vmware server 2 to run up the WinXp virtual machine for PHD guiding etc. Not had a chance to test it out yet given the glorious weather we are currently enjoying, but everything seems to be working...

I'm certainly interested in getting a guiding solution for linux too, as that'd just be so much easier, but pretty much all the "good stuff" is for windows sadly. I've considered wxAstroCapture, but never tried it (for guiding). The trouble is that PHD is so easy, and it just plain works with it's autocalibration. It's tough to give up something that works so well...

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If you get the opportunity to try it out, I'd be grateful to hear about whatever results you get.

wxastro's release notes suggest it has shoestring GPUSB support for linux at least. I'm sure doing a bunch of testing is the last thing you'll want to be doing next time we get clear weather though, I'd be right out imaging asap with whatever works.

If things don't work out with linux, my plan is to use nlite to pare xp right down to the bone and use a vm.


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Amanda, I probably will go down that route if all else fails. When I first started with linux I installed it on my laptop's recovery partition and all went merrily. Could be a slight issue with the netbook I'm looking at though as it only has an 8gb ssd for storage. That would be fine for what I want it for providing I don't have to dual boot.

As for my current laptop, I'm nervous about taking it outside with me at night, especially with the really dewy nights at the moment. Killing a £200 netbook would be far less painful than killing my main laptop, even if it is a few years old now.

Messing around with opensuse's boot loader configs has proven painful in the past. I really don't like the idea of having to go debugging that one.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Time for an update methinks,

I had a shoestring GPUSB and a few other bits and bobs come earlier in the week and I got around to modding the hand controller this evening.

I've had a preliminary play around tonight.

For the guidescope I'm using an Antares 8x50 finder (thanks tmarkuk) with a quickcam pro 300 as the guide camera.

The good news is that wxastrocapture on Linux spots the gpusb straight out of the box. The bad news is I've not got much of a clue when it comes to using wxastro for guiding, so its a case of trial and error to get things going. My experience tonight was it would be nice and settled for a couple of minutes before going haywire and making wiggly and traily images. By best guess it that I've messed up with the calibration or missed some crucial setting.

I was cut short tonight by my laptops battery not being fully charged so I didn't get very far, especially after focusing the finder took such an age.

I've attached the last (and best) picture, the exposure time was 220s, I stopped after wx started going a bit bonkers on me.

Can't wait for another chance to get this working. I'm enjoying the challenge.



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  • 1 year later...
  • 9 months later...
  • 7 months later...

Just a quick tip for this old thread, in wxAstrocapture, to get the menu's, in a terminal type the command


then run wxastrocapture from the terminal aswell

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