Re: USB (or Serial) vs Ethernet: Which is better or more reliable?

Joe Zeglinski

(Pictures available on request).
    If I may suggest an alternative for you – I keep my “telescope control” laptop permanently inside a “LAPDOME” cover. This is a backyard open field setup. The heat generated by the laptop fans, even when it is far below zero, winter freezing temperatures is never a problem. Nice and cozy place to keep eyepieces, etc. warmed up inside by the laptop. Never saw any frost, or even a flake of blown snow off the backyard field.  It is two-layered heavy nylon, completely sealed top and bottom,  with four steel stays to keep its shape, when not folded down like a tennis racquet cover, for travel. If there are even VERY strong winds, the Lapdome being flexible, handles the buffeting with ease, so long as you have its corners tied down to the table. The Lapdome even zippers up completely, like a full-sized camping tent – so you do everything from the client PC in-house, if you don’t want to ALSO do that simultaneously,  right at the scope laptop. There is a Velcro’d slot cut in the nylon fully sealed floor to route incoming PC cables, and it is double lined with a pitch black inner nylon lining to keep the LCD brightness limited to the inside while imaging. You can even keep a reading lamp lit inside, to read maps if you stick your head inside.
    Very portable – I tied its corner D-Rings to  the wood slats of a beverage table top, and carry the whole thing out from the kitchen to the scope, completely powered (Battery), before plugging it into the scope power cable. Nothing would fall out or over even if I stumled and drop the table during the carry. Easy to carry in and out, keep it fully set up at all times ready to carry as a complete table/laptop unit, no disassembly needed, and use TEAMVIEWER from the kitchen laptop to view everything on its screen and run the scope apps. The carry out and setup takes about 30 seconds – just plug in the AC power to the laptop battery and one USB cable to the scope’s outdoor resident 7-port hub. I usually start the two laptops interlink in the kitchen even before taking it outside – then just “two plug-ins” ... and it the scope is imaging.
    So, no need for a cold and drafty “doggie-door” with mosquitoes getting indoors, no long cables across the lawn, and the wireless WIFI  link (between laptops), using an ASUS-56 USB dual band antenna stick inside the Lapdome beside the laptop,  transmits right through the house back wall to the scope -  has never been a problem (CP3 or CP4). I use an old DIGIPORT  USB-Serial 8-port hub (inside the scope power & accessories box) to communicate with the “old reliable” CP3/4 serial RS-232  I/O port, so even more reliable than using CP4’s  WIFI antenna, or Ethernet, or USB.
    The self-heated Lapdome’s carry-out portability makes astronomy so much easier, and inviting, when you are too tired to go through the motions of setting up everything,  or shutting down for the night. The LAPDOME is perfect for the lazy man’s astronomy.

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