Desperately trying (this is the correct one) ... (Happy) end...


Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 12/12/2007 10:01:20 PM Central Standard Time,
rdcrisp@... writes:


another suggestion is to abandon serial ports entirely, as has the pc
industry across the board largely, and just adopt USB or USB2.0 etc.
USB is not robust, according to our software engineer. It can result in
dropped bits that can cause problems.

Rolando


**************************************
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Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 12/13/2007 10:06:39 AM Central Standard Time,
rdcrisp@... writes:


someone ought to tell microsoft, intel and the rest of the PC industry as
well as all the camera and printer manufacturers that they have chosen an
unreliable interface: that's the most commonly used interface on the planet these
days for connecting peripherals to computers.

I am confident this will be news to them, Roland.
I think they are dealing with a completely different issue than we are.

Rolando


**************************************
See AOL's top rated recipes
(http://food.aol.com/top-rated-recipes?NCID=aoltop00030000000004)


Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 12/13/2007 10:59:55 AM Central Standard Time,
r.olson@... writes:


As Tom Carrico mentioned, Ethernet does sound attractive.
Yes, and as I said, we are looking into this for the future.

Rolando


**************************************
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Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 12/13/2007 12:45:09 PM Central Standard Time,
stuart.j.heggie@... writes:


Joe, these are good points. I did investigate the tolerance of the LCD
screen to cold and was advised that the HP machine I had was probably safe
to -20C and probably -25C (about as cold as it ever gets here).
I wrap my laptop in several layers of bubble wrap, back of the LCD screen
also. Stays nice and cozy in temperatures of -20C. Use the large bubbles and face
them inward so the internal cooling fan can still breathe.

Rolando


**************************************
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Richard Crisp
 

someone ought to tell microsoft, intel and the rest of the PC industry as well as all the camera and printer manufacturers that they have chosen an unreliable interface: that's the most commonly used interface on the planet these days for connecting peripherals to computers.

I am confident this will be news to them, Roland.





chris1011@... wrote:
In a message dated 12/12/2007 10:01:20 PM Central Standard Time,
rdcrisp@... writes:

another suggestion is to abandon serial ports entirely, as has the pc
industry across the board largely, and just adopt USB or USB2.0 etc.
USB is not robust, according to our software engineer. It can result in
dropped bits that can cause problems.

Rolando

**************************************
See AOL's top rated recipes
(http://food.aol.com/top-rated-recipes?NCID=aoltop00030000000004)


Richard Crisp
 

--- In ap-gto@..., chris1011@... wrote:

In a message dated 12/13/2007 10:06:39 AM Central Standard Time,
rdcrisp@... writes:


someone ought to tell microsoft, intel and the rest of the PC
industry as
well as all the camera and printer manufacturers that they have
chosen an
unreliable interface: that's the most commonly used interface on
the planet these
days for connecting peripherals to computers.

I am confident this will be news to them, Roland.
I think they are dealing with a completely different issue than we
are.

Rolando

really, what is different: Aren't both applications needing realtime
bidirectional data transfer?

I don't know, I am asking...

There must be a good reason why the PC industry has abandoned serial
and parallel ports in favor of USBx. I can't believe they would adopt
an error prone interface that has lower reliability. How is that
progress?

From a pure logistics perspective when you are fighting the trend in
the PC industry it can be difficult to get the simplest of items such
as cables for example. Ten years ago you could buy all sorts of
serial cables: 9 pin, 25 pin, super high grade, short ones, long ones
etc. Now you are doing good to find a serial cable in a computer
store.

If USB is unusable in your app (still don't understand why), how
about 1394 or ethernet? Both are widely supported by both hardware
and OS software and are likely to continue to be for some time now.

I haven't seen a serial port in a new computer in at least two years
now.


Salyer <salyer@...>
 

Since almost no computer today provides a serial interface we all need to use some type of serial converter. I suspect that the majority of people use a USB to serial converter. If there is a problem with USB (which I've never seen) then we've got the problem anyway.

Greg

At 11:13 AM 12/13/2007, you wrote:

In a message dated 12/13/2007 10:06:39 AM Central Standard Time,
<mailto:rdcrisp%40sbcglobal.net>rdcrisp@... writes:

someone ought to tell microsoft, intel and the rest of the PC industry as
well as all the camera and printer manufacturers that they have chosen an
unreliable interface: that's the most commonly used interface on
the planet these
days for connecting peripherals to computers.

I am confident this will be news to them, Roland.
I think they are dealing with a completely different issue than we are.

Rolando


Tom Carrico
 

There are issues with USB that have bit me in this hobby. The first is the length limitation. I image while sitting in my house and that is too far for USB, but no problem for serial (or ethernet). I have used a number of USB extenders and they seem to work okay if all I have connected at the remote end is the SBIG camera. If I also connect a USB to serial convertor at the remote end I occasionally get system hang ups. I have tried numerous brands of USB extenders and USB-Serial converters and different computers. Every single one has at least once caused a system hang up when using a USB-serial converter, which is solved by removing the USB extender. Now, I have a USB extender for the camera only and directly attach the USB-Serial converter to a port on the laptop and run long serial cables to my mount and focuser. That setup has never, ever hung.
The other thing I don't like about USB is that there is no positive connection at the camera, it is a friction fit. Perhaps there is a solution for this, but I have not run across it.
My wish would be for the astronomy community to dump USB all together and go to an ethernet solution. I am okay with serial for now, but would like to see all interfaces migrate to one standard..
Tom Carrico
http://www.ccdargo.com


Salyer wrote:

Since almost no computer today provides a serial interface we all need to use some type of serial converter. I suspect that the majority of people use a USB to serial converter. If there is a problem with USB (which I've never seen) then we've got the problem anyway.

Greg

At 11:13 AM 12/13/2007, you wrote:


In a message dated 12/13/2007 10:06:39 AM Central Standard Time,
<mailto:rdcrisp%40sbcglobal.net>rdcrisp@... writes:


someone ought to tell microsoft, intel and the rest of the PC industry as
well as all the camera and printer manufacturers that they have chosen an
unreliable interface: that's the most commonly used interface on
the planet these

days for connecting peripherals to computers.

I am confident this will be news to them, Roland.

I think they are dealing with a completely different issue than we are.

Rolando


To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto Yahoo! Groups Links






ayiomamitis
 

--- In ap-gto@..., "Richard Crisp" <rdcrisp@...> wrote:

I haven't seen a serial port in a new computer in at least two years
now.
You should see the problems I had 15 months ago when my AP1200GTO
arrived and I wanted a serial cable so as to use PoleAlignMax for
finetuning my polar alignment.

Not only where these cables hard to find but my challenge was
compounded by the fact that any cable I could find was female and I
needed a male serial cable in order to interface my computer to the mount.

To add insult to injury, the cable cost me 1 euro (less than $1) when
I finally did manage to locate such a cable locally.

As for USB1.1 vs USB2.0 vs IEEE, I would prefer to see IEEE used since
it is available on every "older" desktop and laptop whereas USB2.0 is
more of a recent "technology".

Anthony.


Ray Gralak <rgr@...>
 

Unfortunately USB is designed for short connections to devices, because said
devices are usually close to the PC. However, a growing number of telescopes
require much longer connection distances.

A MUCH better choice for telescopes would be Ethernet. It is just as cheap
to implement, is more ubiquitous than USB, and has very well known
programming interfaces built into the O/S core of every significant
operating system on the planet.

And Ethernet, unlike serial ports and USB, has the advantage of being an
inherent "hub". That is multiple applications on multiple PCs can talk to it
without having to have a one to one link to the device. PCs, MACs, Linux,
Unix, etc.. can all talk to the mount without having to worry about a
dedicated connection. Ethernet thus would obsolete the issue of operating
system.

-Ray

--- In ap-gto@...
<mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> , chris1011@... wrote:

In a message dated 12/13/2007 10:06:39 AM Central Standard Time,
rdcrisp@... writes:


someone ought to tell microsoft, intel and the rest of the PC
industry as
well as all the camera and printer manufacturers that they have
chosen an
unreliable interface: that's the most commonly used interface on
the planet these
days for connecting peripherals to computers.

I am confident this will be news to them, Roland.
I think they are dealing with a completely different issue than we
are.

Rolando
really, what is different: Aren't both applications needing realtime
bidirectional data transfer?

I don't know, I am asking...

There must be a good reason why the PC industry has abandoned serial
and parallel ports in favor of USBx. I can't believe they would adopt
an error prone interface that has lower reliability. How is that
progress?

From a pure logistics perspective when you are fighting the trend in
the PC industry it can be difficult to get the simplest of items such
as cables for example. Ten years ago you could buy all sorts of
serial cables: 9 pin, 25 pin, super high grade, short ones, long ones
etc. Now you are doing good to find a serial cable in a computer
store.

If USB is unusable in your app (still don't understand why), how
about 1394 or ethernet? Both are widely supported by both hardware
and OS software and are likely to continue to be for some time now.

I haven't seen a serial port in a new computer in at least two years
now.





Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 12/13/2007 2:48:53 PM Central Standard Time,
winfij@... writes:


Presumably he's aware of the (lack of) robust error checking on an
RS232 serial line?
We don't do error checking in our software. The code is very simple.

Rolando


**************************************
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S HEGGIE <stuart.j.heggie@...>
 

Tom, for the trip between house and observatory, what about wireless? That is what I do and it seems to work like a charm. I use a program called UltraVNC. The old laptop in the observatory runs the server version and the house computer runs the client/viewer version. I use USB and USB->Serial converters to talk to my AP900GTO, SBIG camera and Robofocus. Seems stable enough. The house is about 80 feet from the observatory. I'm running CCDSoft5, TheSky6 and Focusmax on the laptop btw.

Stuart

From: Tom Carrico <tom@...>
Reply-To: ap-gto@...
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: Desperately trying (this is the correct one) ... (Happy) end...
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 08:43:08 -0800

There are issues with USB that have bit me in this hobby. The first is
the length limitation. I image while sitting in my house and that is too
far for USB, but no problem for serial (or ethernet). I have used a
number of USB extenders and they seem to work okay if all I have
connected at the remote end is the SBIG camera. If I also connect a USB
to serial convertor at the remote end I occasionally get system hang
ups. I have tried numerous brands of USB extenders and USB-Serial
converters and different computers. Every single one has at least once
caused a system hang up when using a USB-serial converter, which is
solved by removing the USB extender. Now, I have a USB extender for the
camera only and directly attach the USB-Serial converter to a port on
the laptop and run long serial cables to my mount and focuser. That
setup has never, ever hung.
The other thing I don't like about USB is that there is no positive
connection at the camera, it is a friction fit. Perhaps there is a
solution for this, but I have not run across it.
My wish would be for the astronomy community to dump USB all together
and go to an ethernet solution. I am okay with serial for now, but would
like to see all interfaces migrate to one standard..
Tom Carrico
http://www.ccdargo.com


Salyer wrote:
Since almost no computer today provides a serial interface we all
need to use some type of serial converter. I suspect that the
majority of people use a USB to serial converter. If there is a
problem with USB (which I've never seen) then we've got the problem
anyway.

Greg

At 11:13 AM 12/13/2007, you wrote:


In a message dated 12/13/2007 10:06:39 AM Central Standard Time,
<mailto:rdcrisp%40sbcglobal.net>rdcrisp@... writes:


someone ought to tell microsoft, intel and the rest of the PC industry
as
well as all the camera and printer manufacturers that they have chosen
an
unreliable interface: that's the most commonly used interface on
the planet these

days for connecting peripherals to computers.

I am confident this will be news to them, Roland.

I think they are dealing with a completely different issue than we are.

Rolando


To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto
Yahoo! Groups Links






Bob Olson <r.olson@...>
 

Hi Roland,

The problem many of us have is that we are using USB to serial converters so any problems that USB has, we have anyway. Add this to the flaky nature of converters, the short (15 foot) length of USB cables and we are all hoping for some other solution.

As Tom Carrico mentioned, Ethernet does sound attractive.

Bob

USB is not robust, according to our software engineer. It can result in
dropped bits that can cause problems.
Rolando


Salyer <salyer@...>
 

I use 2 USB extenders in a long cable with a 4 port hub on the end driving 2 USB to serial converters. I have an ST-8XME, an ST-402, AP900, and robofocus. I've never seen a hang. The only problem I've had is that sometimes MaxIm switches the usage of the 2 cameras (image vs guide) so I have to verify the setup before I connect. I have no issue with either a USB or eithernet type interface. I actually prefer eithernet but it can run significantly slower that USB in some configurations. Obviously serial still works with an interface converter, but it's obsolete and shouldn't be required by any new product.

Greg

At 11:43 AM 12/13/2007, you wrote:

There are issues with USB that have bit me in this hobby. The first is
the length limitation. I image while sitting in my house and that is too
far for USB, but no problem for serial (or ethernet). I have used a
number of USB extenders and they seem to work okay if all I have
connected at the remote end is the SBIG camera. If I also connect a USB
to serial convertor at the remote end I occasionally get system hang
ups. I have tried numerous brands of USB extenders and USB-Serial
converters and different computers. Every single one has at least once
caused a system hang up when using a USB-serial converter, which is
solved by removing the USB extender. Now, I have a USB extender for the
camera only and directly attach the USB-Serial converter to a port on
the laptop and run long serial cables to my mount and focuser. That
setup has never, ever hung.
The other thing I don't like about USB is that there is no positive
connection at the camera, it is a friction fit. Perhaps there is a
solution for this, but I have not run across it.
My wish would be for the astronomy community to dump USB all together
and go to an ethernet solution. I am okay with serial for now, but would
like to see all interfaces migrate to one standard..
Tom Carrico
<http://www.ccdargo.com>http://www.ccdargo.com

Salyer wrote:
Since almost no computer today provides a serial interface we all
need to use some type of serial converter. I suspect that the
majority of people use a USB to serial converter. If there is a
problem with USB (which I've never seen) then we've got the problem anyway.

Greg

At 11:13 AM 12/13/2007, you wrote:


In a message dated 12/13/2007 10:06:39 AM Central Standard Time,
<mailto:rdcrisp%40sbcglobal.net><mailto:rdcrisp%40sbcglobal.net>rdcrisp@... writes:


someone ought to tell microsoft, intel and the rest of the PC industry as
well as all the camera and printer manufacturers that they have chosen an
unreliable interface: that's the most commonly used interface on
the planet these

days for connecting peripherals to computers.

I am confident this will be news to them, Roland.

I think they are dealing with a completely different issue than we are.

Rolando


To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto>http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto
Yahoo! Groups Links






Jim Janusz <jjanusz@...>
 

I can second Stuart's recommendation on this. I have used UltraVNC and Remote Desktop to operate from my office to the backyard. No USB problems at all.

Jim

----- Original Message -----
From: "S HEGGIE" <stuart.j.heggie@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 8:53 AM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: Desperately trying (this is the correct one) ... (Happy) end...



Tom, for the trip between house and observatory, what about wireless? That
is what I do and it seems to work like a charm. I use a program called
UltraVNC. The old laptop in the observatory runs the server version and the
house computer runs the client/viewer version. I use USB and USB->Serial
converters to talk to my AP900GTO, SBIG camera and Robofocus. Seems stable
enough. The house is about 80 feet from the observatory. I'm running
CCDSoft5, TheSky6 and Focusmax on the laptop btw.

Stuart

From: Tom Carrico <tom@...>
Reply-To: ap-gto@...
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: Desperately trying (this is the correct one) ...
(Happy) end...
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 08:43:08 -0800

There are issues with USB that have bit me in this hobby. The first is
the length limitation. I image while sitting in my house and that is too
far for USB, but no problem for serial (or ethernet). I have used a
number of USB extenders and they seem to work okay if all I have
connected at the remote end is the SBIG camera. If I also connect a USB
to serial convertor at the remote end I occasionally get system hang
ups. I have tried numerous brands of USB extenders and USB-Serial
converters and different computers. Every single one has at least once
caused a system hang up when using a USB-serial converter, which is
solved by removing the USB extender. Now, I have a USB extender for the
camera only and directly attach the USB-Serial converter to a port on
the laptop and run long serial cables to my mount and focuser. That
setup has never, ever hung.
The other thing I don't like about USB is that there is no positive
connection at the camera, it is a friction fit. Perhaps there is a
solution for this, but I have not run across it.
My wish would be for the astronomy community to dump USB all together
and go to an ethernet solution. I am okay with serial for now, but would
like to see all interfaces migrate to one standard..
Tom Carrico
http://www.ccdargo.com


Salyer wrote:
Since almost no computer today provides a serial interface we all
need to use some type of serial converter. I suspect that the
majority of people use a USB to serial converter. If there is a
problem with USB (which I've never seen) then we've got the problem
anyway.

Greg

At 11:13 AM 12/13/2007, you wrote:


In a message dated 12/13/2007 10:06:39 AM Central Standard Time,
<mailto:rdcrisp%40sbcglobal.net>rdcrisp@... writes:


someone ought to tell microsoft, intel and the rest of the PC industry
as
well as all the camera and printer manufacturers that they have chosen
an
unreliable interface: that's the most commonly used interface on
the planet these

days for connecting peripherals to computers.

I am confident this will be news to them, Roland.

I think they are dealing with a completely different issue than we are.

Rolando


To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto
Yahoo! Groups Links








To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto
Yahoo! Groups Links




Tom Carrico
 

Hi Stuart,
I have used the wireless (and ethernet wired) route with a laptop local to the telescope. That has worked and my only real issue is that the screen updates are always slower than direct connecting a PC. I know I am whining a bit, as it is a minor quibble. Also, I do worry about wearing out the laptop at the telescope, as in the winter it often gets well below zero. I know I could put the laptop in a small box, but since my current solution does work, I have not gone any further on the wireless route. However, I do agree that it is a very good solution as it removes some of the extender and converter issues.

Tom C

S HEGGIE wrote:

Tom, for the trip between house and observatory, what about wireless? That is what I do and it seems to work like a charm. I use a program called UltraVNC. The old laptop in the observatory runs the server version and the house computer runs the client/viewer version. I use USB and USB->Serial converters to talk to my AP900GTO, SBIG camera and Robofocus. Seems stable enough. The house is about 80 feet from the observatory. I'm running CCDSoft5, TheSky6 and Focusmax on the laptop btw.

Stuart


From: Tom Carrico <tom@...>
Reply-To: ap-gto@...
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: Desperately trying (this is the correct one) ... (Happy) end...
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 08:43:08 -0800

There are issues with USB that have bit me in this hobby. The first is
the length limitation. I image while sitting in my house and that is too
far for USB, but no problem for serial (or ethernet). I have used a
number of USB extenders and they seem to work okay if all I have
connected at the remote end is the SBIG camera. If I also connect a USB
to serial convertor at the remote end I occasionally get system hang
ups. I have tried numerous brands of USB extenders and USB-Serial
converters and different computers. Every single one has at least once
caused a system hang up when using a USB-serial converter, which is
solved by removing the USB extender. Now, I have a USB extender for the
camera only and directly attach the USB-Serial converter to a port on
the laptop and run long serial cables to my mount and focuser. That
setup has never, ever hung.
The other thing I don't like about USB is that there is no positive
connection at the camera, it is a friction fit. Perhaps there is a
solution for this, but I have not run across it.
My wish would be for the astronomy community to dump USB all together
and go to an ethernet solution. I am okay with serial for now, but would
like to see all interfaces migrate to one standard..
Tom Carrico
http://www.ccdargo.com


Salyer wrote:

Since almost no computer today provides a serial interface we all
need to use some type of serial converter. I suspect that the
majority of people use a USB to serial converter. If there is a
problem with USB (which I've never seen) then we've got the problem
anyway.

Greg

At 11:13 AM 12/13/2007, you wrote:



In a message dated 12/13/2007 10:06:39 AM Central Standard Time,
<mailto:rdcrisp%40sbcglobal.net>rdcrisp@... writes:



someone ought to tell microsoft, intel and the rest of the PC industry
as

well as all the camera and printer manufacturers that they have chosen
an

unreliable interface: that's the most commonly used interface on

the planet these


days for connecting peripherals to computers.

I am confident this will be news to them, Roland.


I think they are dealing with a completely different issue than we are.

Rolando

To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto
Yahoo! Groups Links









To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto Yahoo! Groups Links






S HEGGIE <stuart.j.heggie@...>
 

Tom, I agree that the laptop strains sometimes in the cold. Up here, 100 miles north of Toronto, I have had to bring the laptop into the house to boot it up (on really cold days) and then return it to the observatory. I don't like subjecting it to those rapid temp changes you can be sure. Since I have a manually rolled off roof, I need to go out there anyway to start a session so it gives me the flexibility to start things off as if I'm staying out and when it is all up and running I return to the house and operate it from there.

Stuart

From: Tom Carrico <tom@...>
Reply-To: ap-gto@...
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: Desperately trying (this is the correct one) ... (Happy) end...
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 09:34:27 -0800

Hi Stuart,
I have used the wireless (and ethernet wired) route with a laptop local
to the telescope. That has worked and my only real issue is that the
screen updates are always slower than direct connecting a PC. I know I
am whining a bit, as it is a minor quibble. Also, I do worry about
wearing out the laptop at the telescope, as in the winter it often gets
well below zero. I know I could put the laptop in a small box, but since
my current solution does work, I have not gone any further on the
wireless route. However, I do agree that it is a very good solution as
it removes some of the extender and converter issues.

Tom C

S HEGGIE wrote:
Tom, for the trip between house and observatory, what about wireless?
That
is what I do and it seems to work like a charm. I use a program called
UltraVNC. The old laptop in the observatory runs the server version and
the
house computer runs the client/viewer version. I use USB and USB->Serial
converters to talk to my AP900GTO, SBIG camera and Robofocus. Seems
stable
enough. The house is about 80 feet from the observatory. I'm running
CCDSoft5, TheSky6 and Focusmax on the laptop btw.

Stuart


From: Tom Carrico <tom@...>
Reply-To: ap-gto@...
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: Desperately trying (this is the correct one)
...
(Happy) end...
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 08:43:08 -0800

There are issues with USB that have bit me in this hobby. The first is
the length limitation. I image while sitting in my house and that is
too
far for USB, but no problem for serial (or ethernet). I have used a
number of USB extenders and they seem to work okay if all I have
connected at the remote end is the SBIG camera. If I also connect a
USB
to serial convertor at the remote end I occasionally get system hang
ups. I have tried numerous brands of USB extenders and USB-Serial
converters and different computers. Every single one has at least once
caused a system hang up when using a USB-serial converter, which is
solved by removing the USB extender. Now, I have a USB extender for the
camera only and directly attach the USB-Serial converter to a port on
the laptop and run long serial cables to my mount and focuser. That
setup has never, ever hung.
The other thing I don't like about USB is that there is no positive
connection at the camera, it is a friction fit. Perhaps there is a
solution for this, but I have not run across it.
My wish would be for the astronomy community to dump USB all together
and go to an ethernet solution. I am okay with serial for now, but
would
like to see all interfaces migrate to one standard..
Tom Carrico
http://www.ccdargo.com


Salyer wrote:

Since almost no computer today provides a serial interface we all
need to use some type of serial converter. I suspect that the
majority of people use a USB to serial converter. If there is a
problem with USB (which I've never seen) then we've got the problem
anyway.

Greg

At 11:13 AM 12/13/2007, you wrote:



In a message dated 12/13/2007 10:06:39 AM Central Standard Time,
<mailto:rdcrisp%40sbcglobal.net>rdcrisp@... writes:



someone ought to tell microsoft, intel and the rest of the PC
industry
as

well as all the camera and printer manufacturers that they have
chosen
an

unreliable interface: that's the most commonly used interface on

the planet these


days for connecting peripherals to computers.

I am confident this will be news to them, Roland.


I think they are dealing with a completely different issue than we
are.

Rolando

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Richard Crisp
 

has anyone considered using either a diskless node or using a solid state drive for the "cold" computer? the solid state drives are really coming down in price and I did see an adaptor offered some time back that will convert a USB FLASH thumb drive to a bootable ATA drive from the perspective of the computer.

it may be a way to avoid the problems that extreme cold can cause when it comes to rotating media.



S HEGGIE <stuart.j.heggie@...> wrote:

Tom, I agree that the laptop strains sometimes in the cold. Up here, 100
miles north of Toronto, I have had to bring the laptop into the house to
boot it up (on really cold days) and then return it to the observatory. I
don't like subjecting it to those rapid temp changes you can be sure. Since
I have a manually rolled off roof, I need to go out there anyway to start a
session so it gives me the flexibility to start things off as if I'm staying
out and when it is all up and running I return to the house and operate it
from there.

Stuart

From: Tom Carrico <tom@...>
Reply-To: ap-gto@...
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: Desperately trying (this is the correct one) ...
(Happy) end...
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 09:34:27 -0800

Hi Stuart,
I have used the wireless (and ethernet wired) route with a laptop local
to the telescope. That has worked and my only real issue is that the
screen updates are always slower than direct connecting a PC. I know I
am whining a bit, as it is a minor quibble. Also, I do worry about
wearing out the laptop at the telescope, as in the winter it often gets
well below zero. I know I could put the laptop in a small box, but since
my current solution does work, I have not gone any further on the
wireless route. However, I do agree that it is a very good solution as
it removes some of the extender and converter issues.

Tom C

S HEGGIE wrote:
Tom, for the trip between house and observatory, what about wireless?
That
is what I do and it seems to work like a charm. I use a program called
UltraVNC. The old laptop in the observatory runs the server version and
the
house computer runs the client/viewer version. I use USB and USB->Serial
converters to talk to my AP900GTO, SBIG camera and Robofocus. Seems
stable
enough. The house is about 80 feet from the observatory. I'm running
CCDSoft5, TheSky6 and Focusmax on the laptop btw.

Stuart


From: Tom Carrico <tom@...>
Reply-To: ap-gto@...
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: Desperately trying (this is the correct one)
...
(Happy) end...
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 08:43:08 -0800

There are issues with USB that have bit me in this hobby. The first is
the length limitation. I image while sitting in my house and that is
too
far for USB, but no problem for serial (or ethernet). I have used a
number of USB extenders and they seem to work okay if all I have
connected at the remote end is the SBIG camera. If I also connect a
USB
to serial convertor at the remote end I occasionally get system hang
ups. I have tried numerous brands of USB extenders and USB-Serial
converters and different computers. Every single one has at least once
caused a system hang up when using a USB-serial converter, which is
solved by removing the USB extender. Now, I have a USB extender for the
camera only and directly attach the USB-Serial converter to a port on
the laptop and run long serial cables to my mount and focuser. That
setup has never, ever hung.
The other thing I don't like about USB is that there is no positive
connection at the camera, it is a friction fit. Perhaps there is a
solution for this, but I have not run across it.
My wish would be for the astronomy community to dump USB all together
and go to an ethernet solution. I am okay with serial for now, but
would
like to see all interfaces migrate to one standard..
Tom Carrico
http://www.ccdargo.com


Salyer wrote:

Since almost no computer today provides a serial interface we all
need to use some type of serial converter. I suspect that the
majority of people use a USB to serial converter. If there is a
problem with USB (which I've never seen) then we've got the problem
anyway.

Greg

At 11:13 AM 12/13/2007, you wrote:



In a message dated 12/13/2007 10:06:39 AM Central Standard Time,
<mailto:rdcrisp%40sbcglobal.net>rdcrisp@... writes:



someone ought to tell microsoft, intel and the rest of the PC
industry
as

well as all the camera and printer manufacturers that they have
chosen
an

unreliable interface: that's the most commonly used interface on

the planet these


days for connecting peripherals to computers.

I am confident this will be news to them, Roland.


I think they are dealing with a completely different issue than we
are.

Rolando

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Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi Stuart,

Straying a bit OT, I just wanted to comment about using an old "portable"
laptop in the cold.

Last year I decided to run a series of cold soak test of an old IBM laptop
in my garage, at about the freezing mark. I eventually destroyed the laptop
because the LCD screen hinges broke away from the body. Laptop plastic is
really meant for benign California weather conditions, and is not made of
tough thermo plastic. The springs that hold the screen raised up, are VERY
strong (I had them apart, eventually), and they are typically held to the body
by two tiny screws into a press fitted brass screw socket. There is also an
intentional TENSION or friction brake system to prevent the LCD from slamming
shut, and also to let you adjust the screen tilt angle - more work for the
hinges against that brake pressure. As you open or close the LCD, the springs
really stress these screw connections, on the two barrel tortion springs.

If the case doesn't crack, the brass sockets will break away and rip free
of the plastic base, as in my case. If you have an expensive "ruggedized"
laptop, with a case made of magnesium, then "maybe" those hinges would be
screwed into the metal frame, allowing it to be used "normally" in arctic
conditions in military or industrial applications. Consumer laptops are not
really meant for operation in outdoor winter conditions, without extra care.

My plan for laptop use is to leave the lid always open, and only to close
the laptop LCD screen after it has been warmed up for about 10 minutes in a
heated car, or in the house. It makes it clumsy to carry, screen raised, but
much better than wrecking an expensive laptop in the freezing cold. Then
again, it will likely get soaking wet inside, as it warms up while it is
open - perhaps having it running as it warms up externally, might keep the dew
inside at bay. Remember, the spec on laptops is for use "above freezing" -
perhaps because of this "case fragility"reason.

Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Carrico" <tom@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 12:34 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: Desperately trying (this is the correct one) ...
(Happy) end...


Hi Stuart,
I have used the wireless (and ethernet wired) route with a laptop local
to the telescope. That has worked and my only real issue is that the
screen updates are always slower than direct connecting a PC. I know I
am whining a bit, as it is a minor quibble. Also, I do worry about
wearing out the laptop at the telescope, as in the winter it often gets
well below zero. I know I could put the laptop in a small box, but since
my current solution does work, I have not gone any further on the
wireless route. However, I do agree that it is a very good solution as
it removes some of the extender and converter issues.

Tom C


S HEGGIE <stuart.j.heggie@...>
 

Joe, these are good points. I did investigate the tolerance of the LCD screen to cold and was advised that the HP machine I had was probably safe to -20C and probably -25C (about as cold as it ever gets here). Like you, I leave the lid open, cover the screen with a dark red film and then, when heading back to the house, cover the whole affair with a t-shirt to further block the light and to protect the rig from frost/dew. Seems to work since I have had it there for two years without a problem (knock on wood!).

I've been considering replacing it with an older XP desktop (my son's - he's due for an upgrade he says!). I'd have to add a wireless capability to that desktop but that isn't too much money.

Stuart

From: "Joseph Zeglinski" <J.Zeglinski@...>
Reply-To: ap-gto@...
To: <ap-gto@...>
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: Desperately trying (this is the correct one) ... (Happy) end...
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 13:14:21 -0500

Hi Stuart,

Straying a bit OT, I just wanted to comment about using an old "portable"
laptop in the cold.

Last year I decided to run a series of cold soak test of an old IBM laptop
in my garage, at about the freezing mark. I eventually destroyed the laptop
because the LCD screen hinges broke away from the body. Laptop plastic is
really meant for benign California weather conditions, and is not made of
tough thermo plastic. The springs that hold the screen raised up, are VERY
strong (I had them apart, eventually), and they are typically held to the body
by two tiny screws into a press fitted brass screw socket. There is also an
intentional TENSION or friction brake system to prevent the LCD from slamming
shut, and also to let you adjust the screen tilt angle - more work for the
hinges against that brake pressure. As you open or close the LCD, the springs
really stress these screw connections, on the two barrel tortion springs.

If the case doesn't crack, the brass sockets will break away and rip free
of the plastic base, as in my case. If you have an expensive "ruggedized"
laptop, with a case made of magnesium, then "maybe" those hinges would be
screwed into the metal frame, allowing it to be used "normally" in arctic
conditions in military or industrial applications. Consumer laptops are not
really meant for operation in outdoor winter conditions, without extra care.

My plan for laptop use is to leave the lid always open, and only to close
the laptop LCD screen after it has been warmed up for about 10 minutes in a
heated car, or in the house. It makes it clumsy to carry, screen raised, but
much better than wrecking an expensive laptop in the freezing cold. Then
again, it will likely get soaking wet inside, as it warms up while it is
open - perhaps having it running as it warms up externally, might keep the dew
inside at bay. Remember, the spec on laptops is for use "above freezing" -
perhaps because of this "case fragility"reason.

Joe