Date   

Re: AP1100 voltage

M. Collins
 

  There's not much to fear from good switching supplies. I've tested many under load, and rarely see more than a few millivolts of AC measured either with a meter or on an oscilloscope. Some cameras, particularly older designs, may couple noise of that amplitude through to the images they produce, but a GTOCPx will not be adversely affected in the slightest.


Re: Off Topic-NUC Computer

Mark Striebeck
 



On Tue, Jul 13, 2021 at 9:38 PM W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:

I like to keep my configuration as similar as possible between running at home and running in the field.


Agreed on that one. I had way too many instances where something works perfectly at home and then not at all in the field - and all you need is to download something...

I actually use an ethernet switch and a separate access point to connect to our wifi (plus static IP addresses). At home, I can connect through the wifi. In the field, I connect my laptop via ethernet to the switch and everything works exactly the same. One thing I had to remember is to turn off wifi on the NUC's just to make sure that all connection is only through ethernet. 

 

What I didn’t mention earlier is that the only things that change between the two methods are the power supply and the actual router.  I actually have two routers, one that stays in extender mode and one that stays in router mode.  I use the extender one at home and the router one in the field.  I do not care about bandwidth considerations for extender mode.  There is (far) more than enough bandwidth to run Remote Desktop in this configuration, which is how I connect to the observatory computer.  Also, assuming that I have the automation software started, the system will continue to image through the entire session, even if the wireless connection completely fails.  In a worst case scenario, I can completely skip the wireless and use my “emergency” monitor and keyboard to control the automation.

 

Regarding Ethernet vs USB, I have several decades of professional software development experience, with most of it involving low level networking.  I have no problem with “possible glitches” in the network stack.  Not much beats USB for convenience, but honestly, it is nowhere near as robust as Ethernet.  That said, lots of people do fine with USB, so if that works better for you, that’s great.  In the same vein, I prefer wired over wireless.  My priority is reliability.

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Jeffc
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 1:57 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

I would suggest using a static IP for the Ethernet connection at least when remote.  

 

While the CP5 supports Ethernet , it just seems to me USB (serial) is less problematic when it comes to possible glitches with DNS, ARP, DHCP etc. 

TBH , I’m probably missing something but I don’t see the advantage of Ethernet for the single connection to/from the controlling computer. 

I’ve used CP5 WiFi a bit with SkySafariPro and for sure it works , but likewise , unless there’s a compelling reason the simple USB seems reliable. 

 

Also, fwiw the I’ve never been a fan of “wifi extender” mode.   I suppose you are using wifi to bridge from the home wired net to the mount wired net , so the wifi is perhaps not “repeating”, which results in 50% bandwidth hit.   And the “bridge” is just needed to get from the RD client to the mount computer. 

 

Hopefully the computer <-> CP5 mount packets are routed locally (at the mount router) and are not sent over wifi to the main house router, then back to the mount “router”.   That’s one thing I’d also verify. 

 



On Jul 13, 2021, at 3:37 PM, W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:



For clarity, I use wired Ethernet over WiFi anywhere that I can.

 

For my setup, I have a “normal” home WiFi router with 4 Ethernet ports.  I use Ethernet wire to connect the mount to the router, and also to connect the NUC to the router.  At home, the router is configured to be an extender and joins my home WiFi.  In the field, the router is configured as a hot spot and runs the DHCP server and such.  This works fine, even with no internet connection.

 

There are two classes of problems that have needed the “emergency” monitor and keyboard.  The first case, is where the computer fails to boot and needs user interaction to either repair Windows or make a bios configuration change.  This is fairly rare, and there is usually follow up to determine the reason for the failure.  The second problem is that if Windows, for some reason, thinks that you are connecting to a new network for the first time, it will pop up a dialog asking the nature of the network.  Until you resolve the dialog box, the computer is not available on the network.

 

Again, it’s really rare, but it’s a complete show stopper when the machine doesn’t join the network and you don’t have a monitor and keyboard.  Most of my dark sky sites are remote enough, that a round trip to the nearest town that could provide spare computer parts are between 80 and 150 miles.  I also run several different rigs.  I do tend to bring spares and tools to handle most of the problems that might come up.

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Jeffc
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 12:21 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

I’ve seen this problem where Remote Desktop can’t find the windows 10 machine. 

I think it may be a windows bug (but could also be related to my home WAN router.)   

 

When I’m “in the field” I use Ethernet from the pier computer to a small WiFi router.  

I have not seen any problem there. 

 

At home I connect the pier computer via WiFi (there’s a UniFi setup with WiFi coverage over the whole backyard.).   And sometimes in that scenario win10 is not reachable.  

 

However I have a simple solution: I log into the web UI for UniFi (which I can do from anywhere) and issue a “reconnect” for the win10 machine WiFi.   This always fixes the issue.  

I used to bring a small HDMI monitor in the field  as a backup… but I never needed it.  I suppose headless is a bit of risk tho. 

 




On Jul 13, 2021, at 3:13 PM, W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:



“you can also just bring a laptop and remote in while next to the NUC. that's why I do all the time

 

i don't have extra keyboards and HDMI monitors laying around :)”

 

It’s rare, but I have had the occasional problem where my imaging computer fails to connect to the network properly.  In that case, having a laptop doesn’t help.  For use when I am set up in the field, I bought a small (10”) HDMI display that runs from 12v and a keyboard with integrated track pad.  I keep them in my star party travel kit.

 

As I said, it’s rare, but it has saved me on a couple of occasions.

 

If you never travel, and have the option of borrowing a monitor or keyboard from another machine at home, then you wouldn’t need this.

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Valente
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 1:19 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

>>> ***The only reason for keyboard and mouse would be needed tests while at the mount, monitor as well. Most all other needs can indeed be done remotely with Remote Desktop or Team Viewer****

 

you can also just bring a laptop and remote in while next to the NUC. that's why I do all the time

 

i don't have extra keyboards and HDMI monitors laying around :)

 

On Mon, Jul 12, 2021 at 1:10 PM Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...> wrote:

Thanks for the reply Dale. Replies in between the message below:

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 2:14 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer


Two things pop out at me:

1) You have a 1200GTO which lacks the through-mount cabling, which means any cables coming off your telescope will be suspended in air for some portion and would present snag hazards and each be subjected to repeated flexing and wear for some portion of their length.

****I have eliminated the clutch knobs and most of what could cause a snag, usually not an issue. Wires have been enclosed in a mesh material used for vehicle wiring bundles.*****

2) Gosh, that's a lot of POS (plain old serial)

My own instinct and from working with mounts that have both thru-mount cableways and not, is to minimize that run of cables to the telescope and not run individual cables for each device up there.

****My concern about mounting the NUC on the telescope is balancing. While it does help a good deal on the length of run and the rotation, it still may limit the use of say a piggyback scope, think my Stowaway, on the RC. My wiring solution was to wrap the wires in several bundles depending on where they needed to go. The USB and Serial cables are in conduit to the control room now, at the mount they are in smaller bundles depending is they rotate or are stationary.*****

On top of the scope, I would place a power pole hub and USB hub such as a StarTech 7-port model. I would run only one 12V and one USB cable from the NUC up to those devices. The powerpole hub would distribute power, and the USB hub would connect your USB devices and, for your devices which have only RS232 interfaces, USB to serial adapters for each. This the lightens the cable harness that comes off the telescope. Because you would use discrete USB to serial adaptors for your RS232 devices, you don't need to worry about having enough RS232 ports.

****Not sure about those USB to Serial adapters as I've heard of many causing issues or simply not working. For power I've been using an IP addressable power switch which allows me to power only those devices as needed. For instance I don't keep power on the flat panel unless it's being used. With the STL-11000 I've had issues where I needed to cycle power to the camera due to a filter wheel issue. If I start the camera and get the error message usually just a disconnect and reconnect or power cycle will clear it. Never found the cause of that issue but easily resolved.****

With all data devices on your telescope occupying only one USB port on your NUC, you can use a second USB port for the 4-port StarTech ICUSB23241. That can connect the dome, boltwood, CP backup, and flat panel. You'll then have USB ports to spare.

*****With the 1 USB and all data....these new CMOS chips send a ton of data for each frame so I'd be concerned with a single USB port handling all the USB traffic. What keeps it from bottlenecking? I haven't tested the serial  device for multiple devices at this pint so not sure how that will handle the traffic as well****

I would not bother with trying to pipe the NUC's keyboard+mouse and HDMI video over to your warm room. It's already on a 1Gb network, so just use MS Remote Desktop to remote in from a laptop of desktop PC on the network. Your wired LAN and also have a WAP so you don't even need a hardwire network connection for your latop and can also use tablet PCs or iPads to remote into your NUC to run sessions.

***The only reason for keyboard and mouse would be needed tests while at the mount, monitor as well. Most all other needs can indeed be done remotely with Remote Desktop or Team Viewer****


If you want to at the pier, you can keep a small keyboard and mouse to plug in to the NUC when you need to. Keep a small and cheap HDMI monitor on hand to use with them.


> On Jul 12, 2021, at 13:33, Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...> wrote:
>
> I would guess sit on the pier.
>
> -Steve
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
> Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 1:26 PM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer
>
>
> Just to be clear, is this NUC going to ride on top of your telescope on the mount, or sit on/close to the pier?
>
>> On Jul 12, 2021, at 13:11, Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...> wrote:
>>
>> Hey Gang,
>>
>> In the process of setting up a 12’ Astro Haven dome and moving my 12.5” RC and AP1200 mount from the ROR to the dome. In the process I’m contemplating replacing the observatory computer with a NUC to both shorten the cabling and have a more compact unit. I counted the ports as the computer is now configured and have the following needs:
>>
>> Serial ports=7 I have a StarTech ICUSB23241 4 Port Industrial USB to RS232 Serial Hub but that still leaves 3 needed ports (focuser, rotator, AP1200 backup, Dew Heater Controller, Flat Panel, Boltwood, and dome controls)
>>
>> USB ports = 4 including the one for the Serial Hub, Guider camera, Main Camera, mouse and keyboard
>>
>> Network minimum=1 then use the 8 port Gigabit switch I have ( 1 AP1200, 1 Computer network,  onsite pan cameras (3), etc.)
>>
>> Display port=1 HDMI or DVI
>>
>> Anticipating fiber optic internet connections in the next month or so I also ran Cat6 cabling for network switch and mount.
>>
>> So with that in mind the ports, mainly serial are what have me second guessing the NUC. I have, almost ready to ship out, a OnLogic NUC for a friends SRO system but that’s way more then I care to spend although it has all the necessary ports to hook everything up directly with hubs and so on. So based on this what would be a reasonable budget for what I’m looking for in a quality, reliable NUC? Even if I use the existing desktop computer I have now it will be without all the extender cables I’m using now as the computer is in the warm room 20’ away but the idea of a sealed fanless computer really appeals to me for this type of usage. Hence I’m looking for ideas to explore while this project continues, in of course, the hottest time of the year.
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> Steve
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>














 

--

Brian 

 

 

 

Brian Valente


Re: Off Topic-NUC Computer

M. Collins
 

On Mon, Jul 12, 2021 at 11:13 AM, Dale Ghent wrote:

1) You have a 1200GTO which lacks the through-mount cabling, which means any cables coming off your telescope will be suspended in air for some portion and would present snag hazards and each be subjected to repeated flexing and wear for some portion of their length.
If you bundle all of the cables from the telescope and route them to a strut extending beyond the back plate 200 mm or so, then allow the bundle to form a loop to a point on the south side of the mount, it's quite easy to ensure that nothing will snag no matter how the telescope is oriented or moved from one position to another. This was described in an article I found on A-P's website several years ago. On my A-P 1200/RCOS system, I used a piece of 1/4 x 1 lattice to form the strut, so if a snag ever developed the strut would break before anything valuable was damaged. After at least a year of operation without a single issue, it was obvious that the precaution was unnecessary. A not-very-good picture (disregard the loose end on the left -- photo was taken during a camera swap):

  You can almost see that I used a Losmandy 'D' clamp to secure the strut to the back end of the dovetail. We chose the same same strategy to route cabling and optical fibers to a solar telescope on a G11 last year.

   Despite having far less free space to work with, we've had no issues with that configuration either. That mount has run pretty much all day, every day since October, so if anything was going to go wrong, it almost certainly would have by now.
   Perhaps not a good solution for folks who are setting up and breaking down between sessions, but it works well for fixed installations. As a counterpoint, we've seen issues with through-the-mount cabling on mounts which are in nightly operation, due to abrasion leading to shorts and opens.


Re: [ap-ug] Astronomy in the Islands

Jeff B
 

Looks and sounds great.  Marj and you deserve a break now and then....hopefully more of the now.

Yes, there can be moments of Heaven on Earth.  

Well done and enjoy!

Jeff

On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 5:48 AM Harley Davidson <astrocnc@...> wrote:
Beautiful images Roland.

tony

On 7/14/2021 4:44 AM, Roland Christen via groups.io wrote:
Hi Astronuts,

I haven't been as active on the groups because Marj and I took a short vacation to Hawaii Island just over a week ago. I will be back in the office early next week.

For those who have not visited Hawaii, there is much to see besides the clear dark skies. But if you're into astronomy, it's a great place to get re-acquainted with the night sky if you come from a light polluted city like I do. The Big Island of Hawaii is the least light polluted of the 5 major islands. At our location at 560 ft above the ocean on the side of Kohala Mountain we get over 300 clear nights per year, and it is so dark that you cannot see your hand in front of your face at night.

This evening, after enjoying a fabulous meal at Tommy Bahama's with friends of ours, we drove home to a beautiful sunset with sky colors ranging from dark red at the ocean horizon thru green to violet above. Sunsets last only a short time here in the tropics, and even while the western horizon was still glowing deep red, the Milky Way was already rising above Kohala Mountain. The air felt like velvet with a soft breeze coming down the mountain. The 4 day Moon followed Venus toward the ocean horizon, their light reflecting off the water, surrounded by stars in the deep twilight.

In the East above the mountain, the Summer Milky Way arched across the sky from far north to where it disappeared behind Hualalai mountain to the south of us. For me it was an opportunity to re-connect with some of my favorite deep sky objects along the southern Milky Way. I took my 92mm Stowaway out, popped it onto my old Televue Gibraltar mount and cruised the southern portion from Sagittarius thru Scorpius to Ara and Norma all the way down to Crux. Armed with my widefield 32mm eyepiece, M16, M17, Trifid and Lagoon all glowed brightly in that tiny aperture. The great globulars in the Teapot very nicely resolved with my 3.5mm Baader Hyperion ocular. Then an old friend that I have not seen for many years, the gorgeous Butterfly Nebula in Scorpius, as magnificent as I remember it before light pollution dimmed it away in my Illinois home. Onward and southward we wandered, my little Stowaway and me, checking out all the bright knots and star clusters along the way until I glimpsed the Pearl Cluster in Crux, just before it sank into the ocean in the south-west. By 10:30pm the Milky Way was literally blazing above, something I had not seen since attending the Texas Star Party near Big Bend National Park some 40 years ago.

Yes, it's darker on Mauna Kea at the 9000ft Visitor Center, and darker still at 11,000ft at the Hawaiian observatory site on Mauna Loa (and bitter cold), but here on the side of Kohala mountain it's balmy and there's a pineapple drink nearby.

See you all in a week,
Rolando

Moonset over the Pacific:




MilkyWay over Kohala Mountain:



Re: Off Topic-NUC Computer

Jeffc
 

On Jul 14, 2021, at 12:38 AM, W Hilmo <y.groups@hilmo.net> wrote:

Regarding Ethernet vs USB, I have several decades of professional software development experience, with most of it involving low level networking. I have no problem with “possible glitches” in the network stack.
Sure. Sounds good. Same here. Mostly enterprise datacenter work here. And over the years I have learned how flakey/buggy the consumer stuff can be (not to mention insecure).

If the stack is so reliable then why does your windows install complain about connecting “to a network for first time”?

Just sayin.

Btw, it’s not just bandwidth but also latency. Within the single router the latency should be negligible, but with multiple hops , over WiFi, etc there is going to be some latency — it would be interesting to measure the latency to see what it is, tho i wxpect negligible. USB otoh seems to me to be more isolated and appropriate for realtime applications. For this application it honestly probably doesn’t matter. USB to the mount works 100% for me at home or in the field. Windows networking is just not reliable enough FOR ME to depend on it for a critical link. YMMV.

-jeff


Re: RJ45 connector

 

>>> Alternative: Deoxit Gold is a liquid in a tube not spray, and you could use a q-tip to apply (

i agree - i use only the spray on to a q-tip and then apply. 

On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 7:31 AM ap@... <ap@...> wrote:
  • I was considering that, but wanted to be sure there were no possible issues with the spray possibly entering the CP4.

 

Alternative: Deoxit Gold is a liquid in a tube not spray, and you could use a q-tip to apply (that’s not saying there would be an issue with the spray, just an alternative).  I’ve used the tube for camera contacts for years, good stuff.  

 

_



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Re: RJ45 connector

 

Howdy,

 

I second this. If the RJ-45 contacts need cleaning, it is best to use a q tip with DeOxit cleaner. The connector internals are potted, so you would have a very hard time getting the DeOxit through to any sensitive electronics.

 

Just turn off the CP4 first, and make sure it is dry before you turn it back on.   

 

Liam Plybon

Astro-Physics Inc

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of ap@...
Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2021 9:10 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] RJ45 connector

 

  • I was considering that, but wanted to be sure there were no possible issues with the spray possibly entering the CP4.

 

Alternative: Deoxit Gold is a liquid in a tube not spray, and you could use a q-tip to apply (that’s not saying there would be an issue with the spray, just an alternative).  I’ve used the tube for camera contacts for years, good stuff.  

 

_


Re: RJ45 connector

ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

  • I was considering that, but wanted to be sure there were no possible issues with the spray possibly entering the CP4.

 

Alternative: Deoxit Gold is a liquid in a tube not spray, and you could use a q-tip to apply (that’s not saying there would be an issue with the spray, just an alternative).  I’ve used the tube for camera contacts for years, good stuff.  

 

_


Re: AP1100 voltage

ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

  • You can use anywhere from 12.5 to 18 volts on the 1100 mount. So if you have a variable voltage supply, dial it in to about 14.5 volts. It will work at up to 24 volts but will get quite hot, so it's not recommended. The controller will not get fried unless you exceed about 28 volts on the input. Best to stay below 18 for long term health.

 

Thanks, Rolando, 14.5v.  Perfect, I was hoping for a dial-in number.   Though I am confused by the 18v,24v; the manual says not to exceed 16v (e.g. page 50 of the referenced document below).  But not an issue, 14.5 looks good. It’s not like I’m trying to overclock a PC.

 

So back to the second half – when on batteries, I’ll be closer to the 12.5, probably starting the night at a bit over 13 and dropping.  If I hit 50% capacity I will be more like 12.2v less resistance loss.  So do I need a buck converter to get back up?  Or is the difference for a few hours occasionally moot?

 

I am somewhat resisting the buck converter because since it will hold the voltage up it’s a switching device and introduces some noise.

 

  • There is a lot of great information in the GTOCP4 Servo Motor Drive System manual that is posted on the AP1100 product page.  Appendix B is titled Power Considerations and has a lot of useful information regarding power for the 1100 in different scenarios.

 

Dean, thanks for that pointer, I thought I had downloaded all the manuals but missed that one.  There’s a LOT of documentation, which is good, but it does make it easier to miss pieces.  Thank you.

Linwood

_._,_._,_


Re: [ap-ug] Astronomy in the Islands

Andrea Lucchetti
 

what a dream ... fantastic
you don't need much equipment , I wish I'll have the chance to get there one time.

Andrea


Re: [ap-ug] Astronomy in the Islands

Harley Davidson
 

Beautiful images Roland.

tony

On 7/14/2021 4:44 AM, Roland Christen via groups.io wrote:
Hi Astronuts,

I haven't been as active on the groups because Marj and I took a short vacation to Hawaii Island just over a week ago. I will be back in the office early next week.

For those who have not visited Hawaii, there is much to see besides the clear dark skies. But if you're into astronomy, it's a great place to get re-acquainted with the night sky if you come from a light polluted city like I do. The Big Island of Hawaii is the least light polluted of the 5 major islands. At our location at 560 ft above the ocean on the side of Kohala Mountain we get over 300 clear nights per year, and it is so dark that you cannot see your hand in front of your face at night.

This evening, after enjoying a fabulous meal at Tommy Bahama's with friends of ours, we drove home to a beautiful sunset with sky colors ranging from dark red at the ocean horizon thru green to violet above. Sunsets last only a short time here in the tropics, and even while the western horizon was still glowing deep red, the Milky Way was already rising above Kohala Mountain. The air felt like velvet with a soft breeze coming down the mountain. The 4 day Moon followed Venus toward the ocean horizon, their light reflecting off the water, surrounded by stars in the deep twilight.

In the East above the mountain, the Summer Milky Way arched across the sky from far north to where it disappeared behind Hualalai mountain to the south of us. For me it was an opportunity to re-connect with some of my favorite deep sky objects along the southern Milky Way. I took my 92mm Stowaway out, popped it onto my old Televue Gibraltar mount and cruised the southern portion from Sagittarius thru Scorpius to Ara and Norma all the way down to Crux. Armed with my widefield 32mm eyepiece, M16, M17, Trifid and Lagoon all glowed brightly in that tiny aperture. The great globulars in the Teapot very nicely resolved with my 3.5mm Baader Hyperion ocular. Then an old friend that I have not seen for many years, the gorgeous Butterfly Nebula in Scorpius, as magnificent as I remember it before light pollution dimmed it away in my Illinois home. Onward and southward we wandered, my little Stowaway and me, checking out all the bright knots and star clusters along the way until I glimpsed the Pearl Cluster in Crux, just before it sank into the ocean in the south-west. By 10:30pm the Milky Way was literally blazing above, something I had not seen since attending the Texas Star Party near Big Bend National Park some 40 years ago.

Yes, it's darker on Mauna Kea at the 9000ft Visitor Center, and darker still at 11,000ft at the Hawaiian observatory site on Mauna Loa (and bitter cold), but here on the side of Kohala mountain it's balmy and there's a pineapple drink nearby.

See you all in a week,
Rolando

Moonset over the Pacific:




MilkyWay over Kohala Mountain:



Re: [ap-ug] Astronomy in the Islands

Roland Christen
 

Forgot to include:

The images were shot this evening on our driveway and lanai with my little Sony NEX7 and an inexpensive 12mm wide angle Rokinon lens. Single exposure of 30 seconds at F2.8 for the Milky Way, 8 seconds for the Moonset image.

Rolando


-----Original Message-----
From: Roland Christen via groups.io <chris1011@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>; main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Sent: Wed, Jul 14, 2021 3:44 am
Subject: [ap-ug] Astronomy in the Islands

Hi Astronuts,

I haven't been as active on the groups because Marj and I took a short vacation to Hawaii Island just over a week ago. I will be back in the office early next week.

For those who have not visited Hawaii, there is much to see besides the clear dark skies. But if you're into astronomy, it's a great place to get re-acquainted with the night sky if you come from a light polluted city like I do. The Big Island of Hawaii is the least light polluted of the 5 major islands. At our location at 560 ft above the ocean on the side of Kohala Mountain we get over 300 clear nights per year, and it is so dark that you cannot see your hand in front of your face at night.

This evening, after enjoying a fabulous meal at Tommy Bahama's with friends of ours, we drove home to a beautiful sunset with sky colors ranging from dark red at the ocean horizon thru green to violet above. Sunsets last only a short time here in the tropics, and even while the western horizon was still glowing deep red, the Milky Way was already rising above Kohala Mountain. The air felt like velvet with a soft breeze coming down the mountain. The 4 day Moon followed Venus toward the ocean horizon, their light reflecting off the water, surrounded by stars in the deep twilight.

In the East above the mountain, the Summer Milky Way arched across the sky from far north to where it disappeared behind Hualalai mountain to the south of us. For me it was an opportunity to re-connect with some of my favorite deep sky objects along the southern Milky Way. I took my 92mm Stowaway out, popped it onto my old Televue Gibraltar mount and cruised the southern portion from Sagittarius thru Scorpius to Ara and Norma all the way down to Crux. Armed with my widefield 32mm eyepiece, M16, M17, Trifid and Lagoon all glowed brightly in that tiny aperture. The great globulars in the Teapot very nicely resolved with my 3.5mm Baader Hyperion ocular. Then an old friend that I have not seen for many years, the gorgeous Butterfly Nebula in Scorpius, as magnificent as I remember it before light pollution dimmed it away in my Illinois home. Onward and southward we wandered, my little Stowaway and me, checking out all the bright knots and star clusters along the way until I glimpsed the Pearl Cluster in Crux, just before it sank into the ocean in the south-west. By 10:30pm the Milky Way was literally blazing above, something I had not seen since attending the Texas Star Party near Big Bend National Park some 40 years ago.

Yes, it's darker on Mauna Kea at the 9000ft Visitor Center, and darker still at 11,000ft at the Hawaiian observatory site on Mauna Loa (and bitter cold), but here on the side of Kohala mountain it's balmy and there's a pineapple drink nearby.

See you all in a week,
Rolando

Moonset over the Pacific:



MilkyWay over Kohala Mountain:

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Astronomy in the Islands

Roland Christen
 

Hi Astronuts,

I haven't been as active on the groups because Marj and I took a short vacation to Hawaii Island just over a week ago. I will be back in the office early next week.

For those who have not visited Hawaii, there is much to see besides the clear dark skies. But if you're into astronomy, it's a great place to get re-acquainted with the night sky if you come from a light polluted city like I do. The Big Island of Hawaii is the least light polluted of the 5 major islands. At our location at 560 ft above the ocean on the side of Kohala Mountain we get over 300 clear nights per year, and it is so dark that you cannot see your hand in front of your face at night.

This evening, after enjoying a fabulous meal at Tommy Bahama's with friends of ours, we drove home to a beautiful sunset with sky colors ranging from dark red at the ocean horizon thru green to violet above. Sunsets last only a short time here in the tropics, and even while the western horizon was still glowing deep red, the Milky Way was already rising above Kohala Mountain. The air felt like velvet with a soft breeze coming down the mountain. The 4 day Moon followed Venus toward the ocean horizon, their light reflecting off the water, surrounded by stars in the deep twilight.

In the East above the mountain, the Summer Milky Way arched across the sky from far north to where it disappeared behind Hualalai mountain to the south of us. For me it was an opportunity to re-connect with some of my favorite deep sky objects along the southern Milky Way. I took my 92mm Stowaway out, popped it onto my old Televue Gibraltar mount and cruised the southern portion from Sagittarius thru Scorpius to Ara and Norma all the way down to Crux. Armed with my widefield 32mm eyepiece, M16, M17, Trifid and Lagoon all glowed brightly in that tiny aperture. The great globulars in the Teapot very nicely resolved with my 3.5mm Baader Hyperion ocular. Then an old friend that I have not seen for many years, the gorgeous Butterfly Nebula in Scorpius, as magnificent as I remember it before light pollution dimmed it away in my Illinois home. Onward and southward we wandered, my little Stowaway and me, checking out all the bright knots and star clusters along the way until I glimpsed the Pearl Cluster in Crux, just before it sank into the ocean in the south-west. By 10:30pm the Milky Way was literally blazing above, something I had not seen since attending the Texas Star Party near Big Bend National Park some 40 years ago.

Yes, it's darker on Mauna Kea at the 9000ft Visitor Center, and darker still at 11,000ft at the Hawaiian observatory site on Mauna Loa (and bitter cold), but here on the side of Kohala mountain it's balmy and there's a pineapple drink nearby.

See you all in a week,
Rolando

Moonset over the Pacific:



MilkyWay over Kohala Mountain:

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: 1800 Slew Speed with Mach2GTO, CP5, V5 hand controller, APCC-PRO

Roland Christen
 


So the more correct question is why is the button rate limited to 1200?
Many people have a slow eye-hand response time, so slewing around with the buttons can cause a crash at high rates.

Rolando


-----Original Message-----
From: Eric Weiner <weinere@...>
To: Reply To Group <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Sent: Tue, Jul 13, 2021 6:59 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] 1800 Slew Speed with Mach2GTO, CP5, V5 hand controller, APCC-PRO

Marj,
 
I really should proof read what I type before I hit send.  Atrocious.  
 
This is likely just my misunderstanding of how the slew rates work.  There is a Slew Rate setting in both APCC and the Hand controller which allows a setting of 1800, but the button rates for both are limited to 1200 (not 1600, that was my mistake in the first message).  So the more correct question is why is the button rate limited to 1200?
 
Sorry about the terrible typing and presentation of my first question.
 
v/r
Eric

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: AP1100 voltage

Roland Christen
 

You can use anywhere from 12.5 to 18 volts on the 1100 mount. So if you have a variable voltage supply, dial it in to about 14.5 volts. It will work at up to 24 volts but will get quite hot, so it's not recommended. The controller will not get fried unless you exceed about 28 volts on the input. Best to stay below 18 for long term health.

Rolando


-----Original Message-----
From: ap@... <ap@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Tue, Jul 13, 2021 8:11 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] AP1100 voltage

I have an AP1100 on the way.  Any moment now. 

I plan to use it in my back yard mostly, where AC power is available, but occasionally take it to a dark site with batteries.  I redid my batteries and wiring in prep, switching to powerpoles, and now have two set up, and the tripod has two 12V inputs; at home I will use two linear power supplies, and in the field two batteries on the same inputs; nice short wires, 10, 12 and 14AWG (in different parts). 

In recent notes I see indications that higher voltages are better (though that was a Mach 2).  I also recall George suggesting a dedicated power supply that is variable.  The manual says do not exceed 16v, and recommends higher for colder and heavier loads, which I will not have (50# or so max, S. Florida temps). 

Honestly I do not much care about faster slew speed, I just want reliability and stability. 

So my question is kind of a two-for: 

What voltage should I dial in on the adjustable power supply I am getting when using AC power?  Just normal batter voltage (let's say 13v)?

And depending on that answer, is there any point in my including a buck converter to get a bit more voltage from the battery scenario for occasional use?   (It's a group 24 deep cycle marine; it's plenty large that I should not even get to half capacity in a long winter night, so it should stay over 12.3v or so).

And yes, this is a minor detail but I have to DO SOMETHING while I wait.  :) 

Linwood

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


Re: Strange Mach2 RA oscillation.

 

You are quite right Jerome. This is a potential issue for any mount. It’s all physics.

 

Clear Skies,

Marj Christen

Astro-Physics

11250 Forest Hills Road

Machesney Park, IL 61115

Phone: 815-282-1513

www.astro-physics.com

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Jerome Allison
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 9:09 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Strange Mach2 RA oscillation.

 

This is so familiar.  Years ago, I wasn't able to balance a new heavier load on my Celestron CGEM with the stock counterweight bar and weights.  I had the facilities, so the "obvious" solution was to turn a 6" extension to the bar and move the weights out more.  The first (and last) time I used it I immediately noticed very wobbly and lengthy settling after any movement.  It needed more weights closer to the mount - not the same ones further away!


Jerome


Re: [Keypad-V5] [ap-gto] 1800 Slew Speed with Mach2GTO, CP5, V5 hand controller, APCC-PRO

Eric Weiner
 

I sent you a private response on this. Thanks. 


Re: PEMPro v.3.0031

Ray Gralak
 

Hi Curtis,

I'm just trying to find a log for PEMPro.
You should use the Log Zipper utility, which is available from PEMPro's Wizard's menu. Please include the debug logs, which is an option in the Log Zipper utility.

BTW, please make sure you have tried with version 3.00.43. You are using 3.00.31. You can get the updated version by clicking Check for Updates in PEMPro's help menu.

-Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of CurtisC via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 9:31 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] PEMPro v.3.0031

I'm just trying to find a log for PEMPro. But -- you're right -- I don't use MaxPoint, so I had a mistaken idea about
the publisher.


Re: USB 2 VS USB3 problems solved

Woody Schlom
 

Since they generate heat internally, I would think you could place or wrap them in some kind of insulating material when it gets really cold.

Woody

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of
Mike Dodd
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 9:09 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] USB 2 VS USB3 problems solved

On 7/13/2021 12:01 PM, Eric Weiner wrote:
Howdy Mike,

I also use the 3104. I’ve only had it for a little while, but I can
tell you they do run quite warm. The Rex more than the Lex (it draws
more current). I haven’t had them through a winter yet but I imagine
it would need to be quite cold to get them down to 0°.
Thanks, Eric; that's kind of what I expected at USB 3 speeds.
I can measure the Rex
ambient temperature under load if you like.
No, thanks; I'll go with my gut feeling.

Don’t pay $1k. Keep your eye on eBay. I got my set new in a sealed
ICRON box for half that.
Hmmm.... I found only one 3104 on eBay today, and it was $999.

Need to keep searching, I suppose.

--- Mike





Re: Off Topic-NUC Computer

W Hilmo
 

I like to keep my configuration as similar as possible between running at home and running in the field.

 

What I didn’t mention earlier is that the only things that change between the two methods are the power supply and the actual router.  I actually have two routers, one that stays in extender mode and one that stays in router mode.  I use the extender one at home and the router one in the field.  I do not care about bandwidth considerations for extender mode.  There is (far) more than enough bandwidth to run Remote Desktop in this configuration, which is how I connect to the observatory computer.  Also, assuming that I have the automation software started, the system will continue to image through the entire session, even if the wireless connection completely fails.  In a worst case scenario, I can completely skip the wireless and use my “emergency” monitor and keyboard to control the automation.

 

Regarding Ethernet vs USB, I have several decades of professional software development experience, with most of it involving low level networking.  I have no problem with “possible glitches” in the network stack.  Not much beats USB for convenience, but honestly, it is nowhere near as robust as Ethernet.  That said, lots of people do fine with USB, so if that works better for you, that’s great.  In the same vein, I prefer wired over wireless.  My priority is reliability.

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Jeffc
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 1:57 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

I would suggest using a static IP for the Ethernet connection at least when remote.  

 

While the CP5 supports Ethernet , it just seems to me USB (serial) is less problematic when it comes to possible glitches with DNS, ARP, DHCP etc. 

TBH , I’m probably missing something but I don’t see the advantage of Ethernet for the single connection to/from the controlling computer. 

I’ve used CP5 WiFi a bit with SkySafariPro and for sure it works , but likewise , unless there’s a compelling reason the simple USB seems reliable. 

 

Also, fwiw the I’ve never been a fan of “wifi extender” mode.   I suppose you are using wifi to bridge from the home wired net to the mount wired net , so the wifi is perhaps not “repeating”, which results in 50% bandwidth hit.   And the “bridge” is just needed to get from the RD client to the mount computer. 

 

Hopefully the computer <-> CP5 mount packets are routed locally (at the mount router) and are not sent over wifi to the main house router, then back to the mount “router”.   That’s one thing I’d also verify. 

 



On Jul 13, 2021, at 3:37 PM, W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:



For clarity, I use wired Ethernet over WiFi anywhere that I can.

 

For my setup, I have a “normal” home WiFi router with 4 Ethernet ports.  I use Ethernet wire to connect the mount to the router, and also to connect the NUC to the router.  At home, the router is configured to be an extender and joins my home WiFi.  In the field, the router is configured as a hot spot and runs the DHCP server and such.  This works fine, even with no internet connection.

 

There are two classes of problems that have needed the “emergency” monitor and keyboard.  The first case, is where the computer fails to boot and needs user interaction to either repair Windows or make a bios configuration change.  This is fairly rare, and there is usually follow up to determine the reason for the failure.  The second problem is that if Windows, for some reason, thinks that you are connecting to a new network for the first time, it will pop up a dialog asking the nature of the network.  Until you resolve the dialog box, the computer is not available on the network.

 

Again, it’s really rare, but it’s a complete show stopper when the machine doesn’t join the network and you don’t have a monitor and keyboard.  Most of my dark sky sites are remote enough, that a round trip to the nearest town that could provide spare computer parts are between 80 and 150 miles.  I also run several different rigs.  I do tend to bring spares and tools to handle most of the problems that might come up.

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Jeffc
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 12:21 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

I’ve seen this problem where Remote Desktop can’t find the windows 10 machine. 

I think it may be a windows bug (but could also be related to my home WAN router.)   

 

When I’m “in the field” I use Ethernet from the pier computer to a small WiFi router.  

I have not seen any problem there. 

 

At home I connect the pier computer via WiFi (there’s a UniFi setup with WiFi coverage over the whole backyard.).   And sometimes in that scenario win10 is not reachable.  

 

However I have a simple solution: I log into the web UI for UniFi (which I can do from anywhere) and issue a “reconnect” for the win10 machine WiFi.   This always fixes the issue.  

I used to bring a small HDMI monitor in the field  as a backup… but I never needed it.  I suppose headless is a bit of risk tho. 

 




On Jul 13, 2021, at 3:13 PM, W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:



“you can also just bring a laptop and remote in while next to the NUC. that's why I do all the time

 

i don't have extra keyboards and HDMI monitors laying around :)”

 

It’s rare, but I have had the occasional problem where my imaging computer fails to connect to the network properly.  In that case, having a laptop doesn’t help.  For use when I am set up in the field, I bought a small (10”) HDMI display that runs from 12v and a keyboard with integrated track pad.  I keep them in my star party travel kit.

 

As I said, it’s rare, but it has saved me on a couple of occasions.

 

If you never travel, and have the option of borrowing a monitor or keyboard from another machine at home, then you wouldn’t need this.

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Valente
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 1:19 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

>>> ***The only reason for keyboard and mouse would be needed tests while at the mount, monitor as well. Most all other needs can indeed be done remotely with Remote Desktop or Team Viewer****

 

you can also just bring a laptop and remote in while next to the NUC. that's why I do all the time

 

i don't have extra keyboards and HDMI monitors laying around :)

 

On Mon, Jul 12, 2021 at 1:10 PM Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...> wrote:

Thanks for the reply Dale. Replies in between the message below:

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 2:14 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer


Two things pop out at me:

1) You have a 1200GTO which lacks the through-mount cabling, which means any cables coming off your telescope will be suspended in air for some portion and would present snag hazards and each be subjected to repeated flexing and wear for some portion of their length.

****I have eliminated the clutch knobs and most of what could cause a snag, usually not an issue. Wires have been enclosed in a mesh material used for vehicle wiring bundles.*****

2) Gosh, that's a lot of POS (plain old serial)

My own instinct and from working with mounts that have both thru-mount cableways and not, is to minimize that run of cables to the telescope and not run individual cables for each device up there.

****My concern about mounting the NUC on the telescope is balancing. While it does help a good deal on the length of run and the rotation, it still may limit the use of say a piggyback scope, think my Stowaway, on the RC. My wiring solution was to wrap the wires in several bundles depending on where they needed to go. The USB and Serial cables are in conduit to the control room now, at the mount they are in smaller bundles depending is they rotate or are stationary.*****

On top of the scope, I would place a power pole hub and USB hub such as a StarTech 7-port model. I would run only one 12V and one USB cable from the NUC up to those devices. The powerpole hub would distribute power, and the USB hub would connect your USB devices and, for your devices which have only RS232 interfaces, USB to serial adapters for each. This the lightens the cable harness that comes off the telescope. Because you would use discrete USB to serial adaptors for your RS232 devices, you don't need to worry about having enough RS232 ports.

****Not sure about those USB to Serial adapters as I've heard of many causing issues or simply not working. For power I've been using an IP addressable power switch which allows me to power only those devices as needed. For instance I don't keep power on the flat panel unless it's being used. With the STL-11000 I've had issues where I needed to cycle power to the camera due to a filter wheel issue. If I start the camera and get the error message usually just a disconnect and reconnect or power cycle will clear it. Never found the cause of that issue but easily resolved.****

With all data devices on your telescope occupying only one USB port on your NUC, you can use a second USB port for the 4-port StarTech ICUSB23241. That can connect the dome, boltwood, CP backup, and flat panel. You'll then have USB ports to spare.

*****With the 1 USB and all data....these new CMOS chips send a ton of data for each frame so I'd be concerned with a single USB port handling all the USB traffic. What keeps it from bottlenecking? I haven't tested the serial  device for multiple devices at this pint so not sure how that will handle the traffic as well****

I would not bother with trying to pipe the NUC's keyboard+mouse and HDMI video over to your warm room. It's already on a 1Gb network, so just use MS Remote Desktop to remote in from a laptop of desktop PC on the network. Your wired LAN and also have a WAP so you don't even need a hardwire network connection for your latop and can also use tablet PCs or iPads to remote into your NUC to run sessions.

***The only reason for keyboard and mouse would be needed tests while at the mount, monitor as well. Most all other needs can indeed be done remotely with Remote Desktop or Team Viewer****


If you want to at the pier, you can keep a small keyboard and mouse to plug in to the NUC when you need to. Keep a small and cheap HDMI monitor on hand to use with them.


> On Jul 12, 2021, at 13:33, Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...> wrote:
>
> I would guess sit on the pier.
>
> -Steve
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
> Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 1:26 PM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer
>
>
> Just to be clear, is this NUC going to ride on top of your telescope on the mount, or sit on/close to the pier?
>
>> On Jul 12, 2021, at 13:11, Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...> wrote:
>>
>> Hey Gang,
>>
>> In the process of setting up a 12’ Astro Haven dome and moving my 12.5” RC and AP1200 mount from the ROR to the dome. In the process I’m contemplating replacing the observatory computer with a NUC to both shorten the cabling and have a more compact unit. I counted the ports as the computer is now configured and have the following needs:
>>
>> Serial ports=7 I have a StarTech ICUSB23241 4 Port Industrial USB to RS232 Serial Hub but that still leaves 3 needed ports (focuser, rotator, AP1200 backup, Dew Heater Controller, Flat Panel, Boltwood, and dome controls)
>>
>> USB ports = 4 including the one for the Serial Hub, Guider camera, Main Camera, mouse and keyboard
>>
>> Network minimum=1 then use the 8 port Gigabit switch I have ( 1 AP1200, 1 Computer network,  onsite pan cameras (3), etc.)
>>
>> Display port=1 HDMI or DVI
>>
>> Anticipating fiber optic internet connections in the next month or so I also ran Cat6 cabling for network switch and mount.
>>
>> So with that in mind the ports, mainly serial are what have me second guessing the NUC. I have, almost ready to ship out, a OnLogic NUC for a friends SRO system but that’s way more then I care to spend although it has all the necessary ports to hook everything up directly with hubs and so on. So based on this what would be a reasonable budget for what I’m looking for in a quality, reliable NUC? Even if I use the existing desktop computer I have now it will be without all the extender cables I’m using now as the computer is in the warm room 20’ away but the idea of a sealed fanless computer really appeals to me for this type of usage. Hence I’m looking for ideas to explore while this project continues, in of course, the hottest time of the year.
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> Steve
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
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--

Brian 

 

 

 

Brian Valente

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