Re: Recommendation for Observatory PC

Dale Ghent

OnLogic ML100G-50 or ML100G-51. Intel Whiskey Lake CPU that is quite powerful for its 15W TDP. Throw 16GB of RAM and a 1TB M.2 SSD in there and you have a good system that will handily run a DSO imaging system and suck down high framerates for solar/lunar/planetary photography and lucky imaging.

It's not rack-mount but, honestly, such small systems are so low-power and capable these days. Just get a 2U rack shelf and set this on it. One note of caution about the OnLogic systems, however: they absolutely do not accept anything but 12V DC. Don't even think of trying to juice it with anything higher. It's a design flaw, in my opinion, that they do not include a VRM on the DC power input. I had a ML100G-50 and I fried it by accidentally hooking it up to a 13.8V power source... so yeah a 1.8V overvoltage toasted it. That's my only real complaint about their units considering the cheaper Intel NUCs accept 12-19V input.


If you *must* go with a true rackmount unit, I would suggest the E300 series systems combined with their rackmount kit from SuperMicro which sport, Xeon-D CPUs. I use these at home for my NIC driver development and testing, and they're low power for what they are and compact. They come with both M.2 NMVe and mSATA and can take up to 128GB of RAM. Way overkill for running a observatory,


The basic gist is that embedded x86 CPUs are more than capable of running a Windows-based observatory software stack these days, but finding embedded x86 CPUs in rackmount form factors is rare.... the logic there being that racks live in data centers and data centers are expensive, so you would not be tossing low-power systems into those rack units. The embedded systems are more appropriate for running in non- or minimally-conditioned environments though.


On Feb 24, 2020, at 6:25 PM, Barry Megdal <> wrote:

Ethernet, USB and RS-232 is enough – no need for WiFi. Don’t need a high end CPU, but something midrange would likely make everything run a bit smoother – a lot of processes going between roof control, weather, APCC, Maxim, ACP, Focusmax, etc.

- Barry

Dr. Barry Megdal

Shb Instruments, Inc.
19215 Parthenia St. Suite A
Northridge, CA 91324
(818) 773-2000 (818)773-2005 fax

Faculty (retired)
Dept. of Electrical Engineering

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