Re: Updating Cabling


Sébastien Doré
 

Hello Dale,

I’m also a mobile imager and agree the on-mount mini-PC should relieve a lot of the cable management burden while setting up / tearing down. I do not have any yet (besides a raspberry pi project I’m working on that will definitely not work below freezing temp next winter - I’m at 47 deg latitude and much of the 6-month winter season here is between -15 and -25C) so I was wondering if yours is an industrial type of mini-PC and if so what model it is.

BTW that PAUPBv2 will definitely help reducing the weight AND look slick on top of your rig. I wonder if AP could integrate those functions in a « Ultimate CP-X » eventually as electronics tend to require less and less power these days, just saying... 🤔

Sébastien

Le 19 sept. 2020 à 01:09, Dale Ghent <daleg@elemental.org> a écrit :


On Sep 18, 2020, at 7:16 PM, Bill Gardner <pictorobservatory@gmail.com> wrote:

After having the CP4 upgrade sitting for longer than I wish to admit, I am finally installing it. At the same time, I figured I'd do a full overhaul of the wiring, since when it was originally done, serial was still normal and only a couple components were USB. Now they all are. So my question is what would be your suggestion to minimize the wiring. I figure a good USB hub at the mount and only one going back to the computer. Any other suggestions? This is for a permanent setup.
I've been through a few iterations with my setups over the years because I'm a mobile imager who sets up and tears down every time, and I have two setups - my large one based around a 130GTX/Mach1/Eagle tripod and small one based around a CFF 92mm/RST-135/Supermount CYG48 tripod. If anything, reduction in cabling and components is critical to getting set up and torn down quickly so I've aimed to keep things simple and modular.

First, if you can, keep all you can on the telescope, or at least somewhere on the dec axis as possible. Critically, this includes the PC itself. Mini PCs have come a long way and are more than adequate for the rigors of imaging (I stuff frames from a 61mp camera through mine, a variant of the Intel NUC). They ride on top of your telescope or somewhere conveniently placed and often have enough USB ports on themselves to service your camera, focuser/rotator, mount, guide camera, and anything else with short USB cables. If you need more ports, adding a small powered hub is no big deal.

For power distribution, a powerpole hub with cables to the requisite components to juice them also sits next to the PC. In the end, you have just 2 cables dangling down from the scope: a short USB cable to the mount control box, and a 12V DC power main from your power supply up to the powerpole distribution hub. Using the CP4's wireless, you can even eliminate the USB cable, leaving you with a single 12V DC cable coming off the top.

I've ran with that for a few years, but now I'm further simplifying things. The top of my 130GTX is hairy. Powerpole hub, USB hub, NUC Mini-PC, Starlight FocusBoss controller, and a 2-channel dew controller, all stuck to the 14" losmandy D-plate with 3M Dual-Lock. I'm currently renovating this mess and replacing all of it with a Ultimate Power Box v2 from Pegasus Astro. 6-port USB hub, 6 12V outputs (1 is variable voltage from 3V to 12V), a stepper motor focuser controller (works with the HSM35), and 3-channel dew controller... in just 1 box. The 12V outputs are controlled via ASCOM switches, as are the dew controller outputs. The USB ports can have their power cycled on and off, and it also has a temperature and humidity probe that can be set to control the dew controller, and its data is available via ASCOM as well.

Here's a photo. All the boxes on top of the 130 GTX will be replaced by that single blue box:
https://i.imgur.com/10n3qXr.jpg

As for running the mini-PC on the mount, it has its advantages. You don't need to stress over expensive and balky USB extension cables, or deal with the occasional gremlins that crop up with that punt their traffic over them. It completely eliminates the waterfall of cables coming off or going through your mount and all the critical traffic goes short distances. I use remote desktop to access the mini PC from any of my Macs, Windows PC, iPad, or a Dell tablet PC that I have, and it works seamlessly. I highly suggest RDP over TeamViewer or VNC due to how RDP works. You just need either Windows Pro or use a script that is available on the interwebs to unlock the RDP service on the mini PC if you don't run Windows Pro.

With the mini PC on your wired or wireless network, you can access it from anywhere in your house... no need to camp out in the observatory or hunch over a laptop in the cold. For getting data off of the mini PC, you just share out the folder where all your images get deposited and copy them over to your processing PC like you would with any network-connected drive.

/dale



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