Re: Powering Remote Imaging Systems


Steve Reilly
 

Thanks for the reply Dale. I probably should replace at least the SRO computer. Any particular brand or vendor you can recommend for getting these? Hopefully they can be well configured which is what I think kept me from using these early on.

-Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2021 11:08 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Powering Remote Imaging Systems


I wouldn't worry about computers needing a "rest" unless you have power availability considerations that would necessitate a complete shutdown of everything during idle periods. Computers are pretty resilient things. You can get fanless systems with SSDs and be completely free of any moving parts that could wear out from long periods of running. It's far better to have a fanless system that is designed to be fanless, than one that relies on a fan for cooling and is in trouble if that fan breaks or gets clogged up with the kind of dust and gunk that often floats around inside observatories.

I don't know what your current in-observatory system is, but I would just opt for a low power system instead of trying to come up with some power management/synchronization machination for a single remote PC. Something NUC-ish is suitable for almost any observatory's control and acquisition system. You can find small systems with 15W TDP Intel i3 or i5 CPUs that sip power are completely adequate for the task.

You can have it do stuff during the daytime, too. Run a weather station, monitor inside temperature/humidity sensors, or an all-sky or security cameras, for example.


On Apr 18, 2021, at 08:17, Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@centurylink.net> wrote:

While not directly mount related it does concern powering systems. For a system I run at SRO and one at home I have Web Power switches for the scripting the powering of equipment on/off through ACP Expert which works great but now years after just leaving the computers on 24/7 forever I wonder about the intelligence of that practice. I do have the computer’s BIOS set to restore to previous state should there be a power loss so that it turns back on and in turn opens the programs I have in the Start Menu which is fine for emergencies but I suspect I wouldn’t want to force stop/start it like that on a regular basis if not necessary. I’ve read a bit about Wake On LAN but that requires a computer that is on that network to access the computer you want woken which in this case is doable even with SRO as they have a VPN that sets the remote computer as part of your local network. I can Remote Desktop into that system using the IP address from home when the VPN is connected.

But of course I’m looking for more fool proofing such as not relaying on memory to connect and turn on each system every day as that will most certainly be forgotten from time to time and likely on the very best of nights. So the real question hidden deep in this post is if anyone knows of a mostly foolproof method to have remote computers turn on and off at predetermined times. I would expect you’d want to calculate the earliest time for On in your area considering DST and off by the latest morning time. Say you may want 4PM start for the winter when you could be imaging by 5:30pm in some areas and off at 9am in the morning which would/should allow time for sky flats should you take them both evening and morning. This at least gives the computer a rest of 15+ hours a day and in my case where I use a Starlight Xpress UltraStar guider t to would be powered down as it’s always on when connected to the computer’s USB.

Just think there should be a more reasonable way to run these system that would be easier on the computers as well as being more efficient. Anything obvious I’m missing? Suggestions?

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