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laptop kerput, whats best new option?


Vega
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Very annoyinglý, my laptop screen completely died on me in November and theres been some fantastic skies this month. Ive discovered, my best option is to buy new. Im trying to decide my best option for astrophotography.

At the moment I was using the laptop for image capture using images plus and guiding with PHD. Here´s what im thinking...

1. Buy one of them small Notebooks (the ones with Intel Atom cpu) for portability.

2. Just go for another standard size laptop.

3. Find another elaborate way using these new portable guiding solutions that are coming on the market.

I guess my main questions are.., does anyone else use a small notebook for astro-photography/guiding ? is it up to the job and powerful enough?, is the small resolution a real problem?

Cheers

Matt

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I used to use a Samsung NC-10 netbook and although it was powerful enough to run the image capture and guiding software it was a bit 'slow' and managing the screen was a pain to see everything I was using. I've now updated to a Toshiba i7 laptop which, although OTT, handles everything I can throw at it :( I think the main thing is plenty of USB slots with a reasonably specced cpu and ram.

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dont know if this will help but i use an ibm thinkpad bought second user as they are very tough and reliable 14 inch screen with a celeron 1.5 meg processor, very fast for a low cost net book, you can get them for as little as £130

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I use an old Hp laptop which I remote into via my desktop PC...This is stop gap until I get the Itel Atom mini PC which has enough "grunt" to run what i need and small enough to be put under the HEQ5 lens tray...

Its the same price of a second hand lappy and if need can alwyas get one of thoese cheap 7.5 screens:headbang:

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thanks for the responses, very useful. Yes forgot about having enough USB ports. I had that problem with my current laptop because its so old, I only have 3. I wouldnt dream of using a laptop for processing, I leave that for my beast of a desktop :-P

Causerino, First I need to work out how to get at the hard drive and recover some stuff then wipe it. Im not positive its a dead screen, it might be the hard drive. Basically on power up, the fans go briefly then everything stops, no hard drive activity, no fans, just the power light and a completely white screen. I´ve tried using AC power, with and without the battery in the laptop with the same results. If I find that paying out on a screen repair is the only option, I will consider selling it off dirt cheap.

Cheers

Matt

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Causerino, First I need to work out how to get at the hard drive and recover some stuff then wipe it. Im not positive its a dead screen, it might be the hard drive. Basically on power up, the fans go briefly then everything stops, no hard drive activity, no fans, just the power light and a completely white screen. I´ve tried using AC power, with and without the battery in the laptop with the same results. If I find that paying out on a screen repair is the only option, I will consider selling it off dirt cheap.

Cheers

Matt

Does it have a VGA out option so you could plug in your desktop monitor to see if it does boot up still?

If it doesn't show the boot up sequence I would probably says its the BIOS which has been corrupted, or the motherboard has fried at some point on it.

You should still be able to get the harddrive out and into a USB caddy though to save everything you had on it.

If your after a netbook, this seems pretty good price at the moment:

SAMSUNG N150 Plus buy online | Currys

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It might be worth your while using another pc to install Ubuntu onto a usb memory stick, google Universal usb installer Universal USB Installer – Easy as 1 2 3 | USB Pen Drive Linux . If it is the operating system on the hard drive that is defective then you can run Ubuntu from the memory stick by changing the boot device in bios and copy your files on to the stick. If it is the screen that is dead then strip the hard drive out and piggy back it onto another pc to get your files off it.

Ubuntu is a Linux variant but visually is very similar to XP so you would have no trouble using it and installing the OS onto a memory stick is literally just a few clicks of the mouse. It is a very useful tool to have on a usb memory stick as it bypasses all the Windows security restrictions :(

Edited by Photosbykev
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I cant get to the BIOS because it doesnt even get to the POST stage. Have already tried using external VGA. It just gets no signal. Might have a play with ubuntu.

IMO if the external monitor does the same, your bios is corrupt, or the motherboard is fried.

Ubuntu wont help as that is just an operating system, and you need to boot past the bios to get to it, and as the laptop wont do that you cant use it.

Some local laptop repair places do some quick dianostics for free, they might be able to tell you if its just bios or hardware.

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thanks for the responses, very useful. Yes forgot about having enough USB ports. I had that problem with my current laptop because its so old, I only have 3. I wouldnt dream of using a laptop for processing, I leave that for my beast of a desktop :-P

Causerino, First I need to work out how to get at the hard drive and recover some stuff then wipe it. Im not positive its a dead screen, it might be the hard drive. Basically on power up, the fans go briefly then everything stops, no hard drive activity, no fans, just the power light and a completely white screen. I´ve tried using AC power, with and without the battery in the laptop with the same results. If I find that paying out on a screen repair is the only option, I will consider selling it off dirt cheap.

Cheers

Matt

I've seen this before on laptops. What happens is that the cooling ducts that direct air over the processor heatsink fins get blocked with dust. The result is that at switch on, the CPU is not getting adequate cooling, it overheats and then automatically shuts down to prevent damage. This takes about 5 or 10 seconds. Might be worth a look. Good luck!

Edited by Mikea
add info.
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re the number of USB ports, my laptop has 3 but I've now bought an active 5m usb lead and a powered 7 port hub which lives on the mount. I'm still controlling my dSLR directly via another active 5m usb lead but it does reduce the number of cables running between the laptop and mount system. Everything seems very happy running via the powered hub that includes the EQDIRECT module, Guidecam, Gamepad transmitter/receiver and dSLR usb>serial lead.

Edited by Photosbykev
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Hi

You don't say what type it is? It sounds like it's not getting as far as the POST so points directly to CPU or motherboard. Could be overheat and worth a look and a clean? It could be just a loose connection and worth dismantling and removing / replacing all the connections you can find, including re seating the CPU, it could be just a little bit of corrosion / dirt especially if it's been damp.

If you can disconnect the drive and the memory, it should still boot, so this is worth a go. It's unlikely to be the drive? It doesn't get that far.

There should be a key sequence to get you into the bios if the mobo and cpu are working. Remove the battery for at least an hour should reset CMOS (on Dells). If it is a Dell, watch the LEDs on numlock etc, there are boot error codes according to the flash sequence... below

Documentation

Has it got a CD drive? Simple but common problem, is it trying to boot from a CD thats corrupt or not there?

Regards Tom

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Again some great responses. I will definately look at the air ducts and connections. Its had years of use both indoors and out with no real clean out. Im on holiday in Romania at the mo so will update next week when i can try this.

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Bit late but I use a netbook, an Acer, in baby's bottom pink. It runs Astro Art for the guider and Artemis Capture for the CCD along with Takahashi's mount controlling GoTo software. It has given no problems. It will also do the preprocessing tasks qite happily.

The screen is small but I manage and it is easy to keep warm and dry and throws little light around. I quite like it.

Olly

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok, ducts, vents sprinkly clean, Hard drive tested on pc working fine, memory modules fine, power supply fine. Looks like its the screen. If anyone wanta to buy this off me its in Sale items

Matt

Edited by Vega
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Ok, ducts, vents sprinkly clean, Hard drive tested on pc working fine, memory modules fine, power supply fine. Looks like its the screen. If anyone wanta to buy this off me its in Sale items

Matt

Don't have access to that yet :)

Would the mods mind if Vega pm'd me the details?

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