strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.


Ron Kramer
 

I'm a proud new owner of a Mach1.  I had an issue that seems impossible.


I have a dome, and I power everything via one AC outlet on my gate near the dome.  The GF was bad on it so I replaced the receptible. The GFI "text" works... but I'm no electrician.  (could I have goofed?)


Installing the Mach1 and doing some initial testing was all good. I started playing with APCC and was working out kinks and getting SGP all set up.  With some initial problems with wifi,  I found I had to reboot the CP4 often during various configuration tweaks and the easiest way to do that was to remove and replace the 12v power plug on the CP4. 


HERES THE WEIRD PART.  Laptop was running and doing fine, when I removed the 12v from CP4 and waited, then plugged it back in - upon plugging it into the CP4 the laptop went black as if all power was cut.

(if AC power is cut normally it will just continue via it's battery). But no...  dead. 


It didn't really hit me that plugging in the 12V cp4 power caused it... I rebooted the laptop and continued. 

a bit later I did a power off/on of the CP4 and once again the laptop went black.  This time I thought 'weird was that due to the 12v Cp4 power plug?  so I rebooted the laptop and TRIED IT AGAIN on purpose to see if that caused the laptop to die.  YES upon putting the plug in a 3rd time, laptop died and this time, would not reboot. (it's been sent in order warranty repair).  = ( 


Assuming it a fluke... bad laptop?  or maybe by using a 2 prong extension cord from the AC outlet to my setup instead of a 3 prong with ground, I swapped out the extension cord to 3 prong and ground. 


I dig out my OLD laptop to get by... and spend a full day installing software and drivers and getting it ready to take over.  thinking it may have been some sort of ground short/loop? (I dunno I'm no electrician)... I figure the ground solved the issue.  


Everything was working and I left the laptop and set up running as I left to have dinner. Upon my return, the laptop was depowered. And would not boot.  It acts like my other laptop that died, in that it powers on with just a fan and power light - but no screen and no bios or booting or error. 


MY FEAR...  I wait a month or more for my laptop to be repaired only to set it up and have this happen again.

Or worse, the CP4 dies?  Or is it the new CP4 causing this?  Not only am I out of commission until I get another laptop but I have nothing to do but stress over the WIERD situation? 


ideas?


The AC power goes from AC outlet to dome, to a power strip. Another power strip is plugged into one of those outlets and powers all the scope electronics.  The first power strip runs things like LED lights in the dome, fan etc.  (nothing else has had an issue).  I have a 10amp AC/DC box that runs up to a rigrunner to delegate power to focuser, heater, filters, mount cameras etc. nothing else has had an issue (yet?)


I do not suspect that powering up the Cp4 would have anything to do with the laptop via AC power... so I'm wondering.   Could it be the ethernet?  and/Or the USB connection?  Both of which were running from cp4 to the laptops.  These would be the only direct link between the Cp4 and the laptops to cause any problem.


Laptop has it's own AC/DC converter and it's own outlet on the power strip.  I am thinking it has to be related to the CP4 to laptop connection?  


Ron in MI.




Joe Zeglinski
 

Ron,
 
    Could it be that you have flakey power from the AC outlet at the “gate”?
 
    Unexpected glitches could cause Windows to crash – without a formal shutdown. That might be corrupting your Windows boot partition. When you try to reboot, the laptop can’t find a proper boot record, so it stays black ... usually a text message says to insert a bootable device.
 
    I would suggest installing even an inexpensive small UPS in the dome, so that the unexpected power dropouts are carried through for upto 10 minutes. Some,  even small UPS (like from TrippLite), have a USB cable talking to Windows, and when it senses a switch over to its battery, it issues a formal Windows Hibernate or shutdown, when its battery nears being drained, or by your specified shutdown period.
 
    However, the battery in the laptop should have already handled this  – and the power option in Windows is normally set up to shut down Windows when its battery reaches 10%. Check your power option plan to confirm.  If for some reason, there is no grace percentage in your power plan, it would also crash Windows, possibly irrecoverably without user Win boot record repairs. So, this may still not account for your problem.
 
    Finally, very many, if not most telescope device electronics seem to be meant for battery operation, so the circuit board LOGIC ground wires are tied directly to Chassis (Earth) ground. Without that green ground wire, there is no place to dispel a short except the DC supply, via whatever other circuit boards traces “conveniently” share that common  Earth/Logic connection. Since you haven’t provided one in the power cable, everything else is at risk.
 
    I may be possibly overstating the latter case, but I wouldn’t chance not using at least a properly grounded power cord from the mains.
 
    In any case, you should have a UPS – fed by a proper 3-wire power cord, since UPS’s complain and probably won’t function without a safety Earth Ground connection to the main AC supply.
 
    Have you tried booting to laptop BIOS, to see if it is just a boot record damage or the laptop really is fried? The former can be fixed by yourself, with some time and effort. Worth investigating before returning more laptops for electronic repair. Possibly a software tech at the local PC store, can get the laptop booting again – quicker than shipping it to the manufacturer.
 
Good luck,
Joe


Roland Christen
 

I assume that both your laptop and your mount electronics are being operated with low voltage DC. That means that the power supplies are isolated from the 120 volt mains by isolation transformers. If the transformers are not faulty, then no 60 cycle current would be superimposed on the low voltage DC lines. However, I have seen many times that some of these power supplies are faulty and have substantial leakage currents that can elevate the low voltage circuits well above ground.

The mount CP4 has internal protection (transorbs) on every pin that goes in or out and is thus protected against stray leakage currents. That may not be the case for commercial laptops which are not meant to be used outdoors where you can have such leakage currents. If everything is plugged in and grounded, there may be a path to ground for these leakage currents, but unplugging the CP4 can eliminate the ground path and allow high voltage 60 cycle current to flow into your laptop input ports.

You may have to use an AC voltmeter to check your power supplies against the AC circuit ground to see if there is stray voltage on the low voltage DC side. I have heard of cases where the DC power supply had enough voltage due to a faulty power transformer that a person received a considerable shock when touching his telescope while standing on wet grass.

One other thing I would recommend is to ground all power supplies together to a common ground so that you don't have inadvertent ground currents running thru USB or other connectors.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto]
To: ap-gto
Sent: Wed, Oct 18, 2017 9:20 am
Subject: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



I'm a proud new owner of a Mach1.  I had an issue that seems impossible.

I have a dome, and I power everything via one AC outlet on my gate near the dome.  The GF was bad on it so I replaced the receptible. The GFI "text" works... but I'm no electrician.  (could I have goofed?)

Installing the Mach1 and doing some initial testing was all good. I started playing with APCC and was working out kinks and getting SGP all set up.  With some initial problems with wifi,  I found I had to reboot the CP4 often during various configuration tweaks and the easiest way to do that was to remove and replace the 12v power plug on the CP4. 

HERES THE WEIRD PART.  Laptop was running and doing fine, when I removed the 12v from CP4 and waited, then plugged it back in - upon plugging it into the CP4 the la ptop went black as if all power was cut.
(if AC power is cut normally it will just continue via it's battery). But no...  dead. 

It didn't really hit me that plugging in the 12V cp4 power caused it... I rebooted the laptop and continued. 
a bit later I did a power off/on of the CP4 and once again the laptop went black.  This time I thought 'weird was that due to the 12v Cp4 power plug?  so I rebooted the laptop and TRIED IT AGAIN on purpose to see if that caused the laptop to die.  YES upon putting the plug in a 3rd time, laptop died and this time, would not reboot. (it's been sent in order warranty repair).  = ( 

Assuming it a fluke... bad laptop?  or maybe by using a 2 prong extension cord from the AC outlet to my setup instead of a 3 prong with ground, I swapped out the extension cord to 3 prong and ground. 

I dig out my OLD laptop to get by... and spend a full day installing software and drivers and getting it ready to take over.  thinking it may have been some sort of ground short/loop? (I dunno I'm no electrician)... I figure the ground solved the issue.  

Everything was working and I left the laptop and set up running as I left to have dinner. Upon my return, the laptop was depowered. And would not boot.  It acts like my other laptop that died, in that it powers on with just a fan and power light - but no screen and no bios or booting or error. 

MY FEAR...  I wait a month or more for my laptop to be repaired only to set it up and have this happen again.
Or worse, the CP4 dies?  Or is it the new CP4 causing this?  Not only am I out of commission until I get a nother laptop but I have nothing to do but stress over the WIERD situation? 

ideas?

The AC power goes from AC outlet to dome, to a power strip. Another power strip is plugged into one of those outlets and powers all the scope electronics.  The first power strip runs things like LED lights in the dome, fan etc.  (nothing else has had an issue).  I have a 10amp AC/DC box that runs up to a rigrunner to delegate power to focuser, heater, filters, mount cameras etc. nothing else has had an issue (yet?)

I do not suspect that powering up the Cp4 would have anything to do with the laptop via AC power... so I'm wondering.   Could it be the ethernet?  and/Or the USB connection?  Both of which were running from cp4 to the laptops.  These would be the only direct link between the Cp4 and the laptops to cause any problem.

Laptop has it's own AC/DC converter and it's own outlet on the power strip.  I am thinking it has to be related to the CP4 to laptop connection?  

Ron in MI.





Ron Kramer
 

I have gone to 3 prong with ground, that actually was in use with the 2nd laptop. (before it died).
Laptops don't display anything or even beep. They just come up with power light and fan.  That's all.

Battery on the first new laptop was fully charged and if power is disrupted, the battery takes over.  (like if I pull the AC or turn off the power strip, the laptop would stay running). 
What puzzles me is why they go blank when the 12v connector is applied into the cp4? 

no bios message or anything else (ACER splash screen is ever seen, just black).
I'm quite good with computers... I've never seen one power up with fan and nothing else.  I don't know if I can wait - I think I might have to move a extra desktop out there
but the 1.5 days of software install and configuration is getting old. 

I'm more concerned with why power drops when plugging in the CP4. 
NOTHING else shuts down.  

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 11:03 AM, 'Joseph Zeglinski' J.Zeglinski@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 

Ron,
 
    Could it be that you have flakey power from the AC outlet at the “gate”?
 
    Unexpected glitches could cause Windows to crash – without a formal shutdown. That might be corrupting your Windows boot partition. When you try to reboot, the laptop can’t find a proper boot record, so it stays black ... usually a text message says to insert a bootable device.
 
    I would suggest installing even an inexpensive small UPS in the dome, so that the unexpected power dropouts are carried through for upto 10 minutes. Some,  even small UPS (like from TrippLite), have a USB cable talking to Windows, and when it senses a switch over to its battery, it issues a formal Windows Hibernate or shutdown, when its battery nears being drained, or by your specified shutdown period.
 
    However, the battery in the laptop should have already handled this  – and the power option in Windows is normally set up to shut down Windows when its battery reaches 10%. Check your power option plan to confirm.  If for some reason, there is no grace percentage in your power plan, it would also crash Windows, possibly irrecoverably without user Win boot record repairs. So, this may still not account for your problem.
 
    Finally, very many, if not most telescope device electronics seem to be meant for battery operation, so the circuit board LOGIC ground wires are tied directly to Chassis (Earth) ground. Without that green ground wire, there is no place to dispel a short except the DC supply, via whatever other circuit boards traces “conveniently” share that common  Earth/Logic connection. Since you haven’t provided one in the power cable, everything else is at risk.
 
    I may be possibly overstating the latter case, but I wouldn’t chance not using at least a properly grounded power cord from the mains.
 
    In any case, you should have a UPS – fed by a proper 3-wire power cord, since UPS’s complain and probably won’t function without a safety Earth Ground connection to the main AC supply.
 
    Have you tried booting to laptop BIOS, to see if it is just a boot record damage or the laptop really is fried? The former can be fixed by yourself, with some time and effort. Worth investigating before returning more laptops for electronic repair. Possibly a software tech at the local PC store, can get the laptop booting again – quicker than shipping it to the manufacturer.
 
Good luck,
Joe



Roland Christen
 

Try running your CP4 off a 12 volt battery. That would confirm that something is flaky with your Dc power supplies.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Kramer ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto]
To: ap-gto
Sent: Wed, Oct 18, 2017 2:13 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



I have gone to 3 prong with ground, that actually was in use with the 2nd laptop. (before it died).
Laptops don't display anything or even beep. They just come up with power light and fan.  That's all.

Battery on the first new laptop was fully charged and if power is disrupted, the battery takes over.  (like if I pull the AC or turn off the power strip, the laptop would stay running). 
What puzzles me is why they go blank when the 12v connector is applied into the cp4? 

no bios message or anything else (ACER splash screen is ever seen, just black).
I'm quite good with computers... I've never seen one power up with fan and nothing else.  I don't know if I can wait - I think I might have to move a extra desktop out there
but the 1.5 days of software install and configuration is getting old. 

I'm more concerned with why power drops when plugging in the CP4. 
NOTHING else shuts down.  

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 11:03 AM, 'Joseph Zeglinski' J.Zeglinski@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 
Ron,
 
    Could it be that you have flakey power from the AC outlet at the “gate”?
 
    Unexpected glitches could cause Windows to crash – without a formal shutdown. That might be corrupting your Windows boot partition. When you try to reboot, the laptop can’t find a proper boot record, so it stays black ... usually a text message says to insert a bootable device.
 
    I would suggest installing even an inexpensive small UPS in the dome, so that the unexpected power dropouts are carried through for upto 10 minutes. Some,  even small UPS (like from TrippLite), have a USB cable talking to Windows, and when it senses a switch over to its battery, it issues a formal Windows Hibernate or shutdown, when its battery nears being drained, or by your specified shutdown period.
 
    However, the battery in the laptop should have already handled this  – and the power option in Windows is normally set up to shut down Windows when its battery reaches 10%. Check your power option plan to confirm.  If for some reason, there is no grace percentage in your power plan, it would also crash Windows, possibly irrecoverably without user Win boot record repairs. So, this may still not account for your problem.
 
    Finally, very many, if not most telescope device electronics seem to be meant for battery operation, so the circuit board LOGIC ground wires are tied directly to Chassis (Earth) ground. Without that green ground wire, there is no place to dispel a short except the DC supply, via whatever other circuit boards traces “conveniently” share that common  Earth/Logic connection. Since you haven’t provided one in the power cable, everything else is at risk.
 
    I may be possibly overstating the latter case, but I wouldn’t chance not using at least a properly grounded power cord from the mains.
 
    In any case, you should have a UPS – fed by a proper 3-wire power cord, since UPS’s complain and probably won’t function without a safety Earth Ground connection to the main AC supply.
 
    Have you tried booting to laptop BIOS, to see if it is just a boot record damage or the laptop really is fried? The former can be fixed by yourself, with some time and effort. Worth investigating before returning more laptops for electronic repair. Possibly a software tech at the local PC store, can get the laptop booting again – quicker than shipping it to the manufacturer.
 
Good luck,
Joe




Christopher Erickson
 

Speaking as an electrical engineer and journeyman electrician:
 
Spurious ground differentials.  Your mount power supply is the most likely culprit.
 
The communications ports on your laptops (USB, RS-232, HDMI, VGA, SDHC, etc.) are not protected in any way from spurious ground differentials and any other grounding problems that might exist in your mount power supply.  The CP4 has hardened ports so it will be the laptop that suffers.
 
You didn't mention what brand and model of dome you have.  Technical Innovations (home dome, pro dome) use horrible 12V power supplies with minimal/no filtration that can cause problems for any electronics mounted in them or on them.  Don't be tempted to run anything else from a TI dome power supply.  It will be a source of countless problems and damaged equipment.
 
Additionally, TI uses automotive windshield wiper motors to drive their domes.  The frame of those motors was designed to be grounded to the -12V side of a car's power system.  TI drives the windshield wiper motors bidirectionally, which is not how they were designed.  This means that when being driven in reverse, the frames of the motors are at +12V instead of -12V.  This can create a shorting hazard in the observatory, as well as being disruptive to electronics that could come in contact with those motors or anything conductive that those motors are attached to.
 
1. Have an electrician inspect your gate outlet to make sure you didn't swap the hot and neutral.
2. Make sure your extension from the gate outlet to the observatory is at least 12GA and not over 100'.
3. Make sure the insulation and protection on your power extension from the gate meets electrical code.
4. Ground everything in the observatory.  No more two-prong 120VAC power cords, power strips and stuff.
5. Get a modern, switching 2.5A 12VDC power supply with a three-prong power cord for your mount.  Get rid of the heavy, old school stuff.
6. Connect your pier to the electrical ground.
7. Add a quality surge suppressor/line filter to your observatory.
8. Add a UPS to your observatory.
9. If you have a TI dome, insulate its motors and electrical system from everything else in your observatory that isn't 120VAC or its single communications connection to your laptop.
 
I hope this helps.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 


From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 4:19 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

I'm a proud new owner of a Mach1.  I had an issue that seems impossible.


I have a dome, and I power everything via one AC outlet on my gate near the dome.  The GF was bad on it so I replaced the receptible. The GFI "text" works... but I'm no electrician.  (could I have goofed?)


Installing the Mach1 and doing some initial testing was all good. I started playing with APCC and was working out kinks and getting SGP all set up.  With some initial problems with wifi,  I found I had to reboot the CP4 often during various configuration tweaks and the easiest way to do that was to remove and replace the 12v power plug on the CP4. 


HERES THE WEIRD PART.  Laptop was running and doing fine, when I removed the 12v from CP4 and waited, then plugged it back in - upon plugging it into the CP4 the laptop went black as if all power was cut.

(if AC power is cut normally it will just continue via it's battery). But no...  dead. 


It didn't really hit me that plugging in the 12V cp4 power caused it... I rebooted the laptop and continued. 

a bit later I did a power off/on of the CP4 and once again the laptop went black.  This time I thought 'weird was that due to the 12v Cp4 power plug?  so I rebooted the laptop and TRIED IT AGAIN on purpose to see if that caused the laptop to die.  YES upon putting the plug in a 3rd time, laptop died and this time, would not reboot. (it's been sent in order warranty repair).  = ( 


Assuming it a fluke... bad laptop?  or maybe by using a 2 prong extension cord from the AC outlet to my setup instead of a 3 prong with ground, I swapped out the extension cord to 3 prong and ground. 


I dig out my OLD laptop to get by... and spend a full day installing software and drivers and getting it ready to take over.  thinking it may have been some sort of ground short/loop? (I dunno I'm no electrician)... I figure the ground solved the issue.  


Everything was working and I left the laptop and set up running as I left to have dinner. Upon my return, the laptop was depowered. And would not boot.  It acts like my other laptop that died, in that it powers on with just a fan and power light - but no screen and no bios or booting or error. 


MY FEAR...  I wait a month or more for my laptop to be repaired only to set it up and have this happen again.

Or worse, the CP4 dies?  Or is it the new CP4 causing this?  Not only am I out of commission until I get another laptop but I have nothing to do but stress over the WIERD situation? 


ideas?


The AC power goes from AC outlet to dome, to a power strip. Another power strip is plugged into one of those outlets and powers all the scope electronics.  The first power strip runs things like LED lights in the dome, fan etc.  (nothing else has had an issue).  I have a 10amp AC/DC box that runs up to a rigrunner to delegate power to focuser, heater, filters, mount cameras etc. nothing else has had an issue (yet?)


I do not suspect that powering up the Cp4 would have anything to do with the laptop via AC power... so I'm wondering.   Could it be the ethernet?  and/Or the USB connection?  Both of which were running from cp4 to the laptops.  These would be the only direct link between the Cp4 and the laptops to cause any problem.


Laptop has it's own AC/DC converter and it's own outlet on the power strip.  I am thinking it has to be related to the CP4 to laptop connection?  


Ron in MI.




Virus-free. www.avg.com


Christopher Erickson
 

And if all of this were being done absolutely correct and according to code, the observatory should probably have a sub-panel and its own connection to a good earth ground.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 


From: Christopher Erickson [mailto:christopher.k.erickson@...]
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 9:36 AM
To: 'ap-gto@...'
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

Speaking as an electrical engineer and journeyman electrician:
 
Spurious ground differentials.  Your mount power supply is the most likely culprit.
 
The communications ports on your laptops (USB, RS-232, HDMI, VGA, SDHC, etc.) are not protected in any way from spurious ground differentials and any other grounding problems that might exist in your mount power supply.  The CP4 has hardened ports so it will be the laptop that suffers.
 
You didn't mention what brand and model of dome you have.  Technical Innovations (home dome, pro dome) use horrible 12V power supplies with minimal/no filtration that can cause problems for any electronics mounted in them or on them.  Don't be tempted to run anything else from a TI dome power supply.  It will be a source of countless problems and damaged equipment.
 
Additionally, TI uses automotive windshield wiper motors to drive their domes.  The frame of those motors was designed to be grounded to the -12V side of a car's power system.  TI drives the windshield wiper motors bidirectionally, which is not how they were designed.  This means that when being driven in reverse, the frames of the motors are at +12V instead of -12V.  This can create a shorting hazard in the observatory, as well as being disruptive to electronics that could come in contact with those motors or anything conductive that those motors are attached to.
 
1. Have an electrician inspect your gate outlet to make sure you didn't swap the hot and neutral.
2. Make sure your extension from the gate outlet to the observatory is at least 12GA and not over 100'.
3. Make sure the insulation and protection on your power extension from the gate meets electrical code.
4. Ground everything in the observatory.  No more two-prong 120VAC power cords, power strips and stuff.
5. Get a modern, switching 2.5A 12VDC power supply with a three-prong power cord for your mount.  Get rid of the heavy, old school stuff.
6. Connect your pier to the electrical ground.
7. Add a quality surge suppressor/line filter to your observatory.
8. Add a UPS to your observatory.
9. If you have a TI dome, insulate its motors and electrical system from everything else in your observatory that isn't 120VAC or its single communications connection to your laptop.
 
I hope this helps.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 


From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 4:19 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

I'm a proud new owner of a Mach1.  I had an issue that seems impossible.


I have a dome, and I power everything via one AC outlet on my gate near the dome.  The GF was bad on it so I replaced the receptible. The GFI "text" works... but I'm no electrician.  (could I have goofed?)


Installing the Mach1 and doing some initial testing was all good. I started playing with APCC and was working out kinks and getting SGP all set up.  With some initial problems with wifi,  I found I had to reboot the CP4 often during various configuration tweaks and the easiest way to do that was to remove and replace the 12v power plug on the CP4. 


HERES THE WEIRD PART.  Laptop was running and doing fine, when I removed the 12v from CP4 and waited, then plugged it back in - upon plugging it into the CP4 the laptop went black as if all power was cut.

(if AC power is cut normally it will just continue via it's battery). But no...  dead. 


It didn't really hit me that plugging in the 12V cp4 power caused it... I rebooted the laptop and continued. 

a bit later I did a power off/on of the CP4 and once again the laptop went black.  This time I thought 'weird was that due to the 12v Cp4 power plug?  so I rebooted the laptop and TRIED IT AGAIN on purpose to see if that caused the laptop to die.  YES upon putting the plug in a 3rd time, laptop died and this time, would not reboot. (it's been sent in order warranty repair).  = ( 


Assuming it a fluke... bad laptop?  or maybe by using a 2 prong extension cord from the AC outlet to my setup instead of a 3 prong with ground, I swapped out the extension cord to 3 prong and ground. 


I dig out my OLD laptop to get by... and spend a full day installing software and drivers and getting it ready to take over.  thinking it may have been some sort of ground short/loop? (I dunno I'm no electrician)... I figure the ground solved the issue.  


Everything was working and I left the laptop and set up running as I left to have dinner. Upon my return, the laptop was depowered. And would not boot.  It acts like my other laptop that died, in that it powers on with just a fan and power light - but no screen and no bios or booting or error. 


MY FEAR...  I wait a month or more for my laptop to be repaired only to set it up and have this happen again.

Or worse, the CP4 dies?  Or is it the new CP4 causing this?  Not only am I out of commission until I get another laptop but I have nothing to do but stress over the WIERD situation? 


ideas?


The AC power goes from AC outlet to dome, to a power strip. Another power strip is plugged into one of those outlets and powers all the scope electronics.  The first power strip runs things like LED lights in the dome, fan etc.  (nothing else has had an issue).  I have a 10amp AC/DC box that runs up to a rigrunner to delegate power to focuser, heater, filters, mount cameras etc. nothing else has had an issue (yet?)


I do not suspect that powering up the Cp4 would have anything to do with the laptop via AC power... so I'm wondering.   Could it be the ethernet?  and/Or the USB connection?  Both of which were running from cp4 to the laptops.  These would be the only direct link between the Cp4 and the laptops to cause any problem.


Laptop has it's own AC/DC converter and it's own outlet on the power strip.  I am thinking it has to be related to the CP4 to laptop connection?  


Ron in MI.




Virus-free. www.avg.com


Ron Kramer
 

Let me clarify. Cp4 is powered by AC/DC power supply.   The rig runner has a 10amp AC/DC power supply. 
the laptop has it's own  AC/DC power supply.  All 3 are plugged into the same AC main. 

I suspect it's coming from USB or ethernet.  CP4 to laptops.  (is there any sort of way to put a surge protector in line?  Or I'll try to refrain from havine those connections in the laptop when I need to reboot the cp4.

I'm about to move a desktop out to the dome.  (NEXDOME) doesn't have a power supply.  Well, I added the rotator yesterday that has a 5amp AC/DC but that wasn't an issue. 

I'll go back up and read your replies. I only scanned one real quick to make this reply.




On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 3:39 PM, 'Christopher Erickson' christopher.k.erickson@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:

 

And if all of this were being done absolutely correct and according to code, the observatory should probably have a sub-panel and its own connection to a good earth ground.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 


From: Christopher Erickson [mailto:christopher.k.erickson@...]
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 9:36 AM
To: 'ap-gto@...'
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

Speaking as an electrical engineer and journeyman electrician:
 
Spurious ground differentials.  Your mount power supply is the most likely culprit.
 
The communications ports on your laptops (USB, RS-232, HDMI, VGA, SDHC, etc.) are not protected in any way from spurious ground differentials and any other grounding problems that might exist in your mount power supply.  The CP4 has hardened ports so it will be the laptop that suffers.
 
You didn't mention what brand and model of dome you have.  Technical Innovations (home dome, pro dome) use horrible 12V power supplies with minimal/no filtration that can cause problems for any electronics mounted in them or on them.  Don't be tempted to run anything else from a TI dome power supply.  It will be a source of countless problems and damaged equipment.
 
Additionally, TI uses automotive windshield wiper motors to drive their domes.  The frame of those motors was designed to be grounded to the -12V side of a car's power system.  TI drives the windshield wiper motors bidirectionally, which is not how they were designed.  This means that when being driven in reverse, the frames of the motors are at +12V instead of -12V.  This can create a shorting hazard in the observatory, as well as being disruptive to electronics that could come in contact with those motors or anything conductive that those motors are attached to.
 
1. Have an electrician inspect your gate outlet to make sure you didn't swap the hot and neutral.
2. Make sure your extension from the gate outlet to the observatory is at least 12GA and not over 100'.
3. Make sure the insulation and protection on your power extension from the gate meets electrical code.
4. Ground everything in the observatory.  No more two-prong 120VAC power cords, power strips and stuff.
5. Get a modern, switching 2.5A 12VDC power supply with a three-prong power cord for your mount.  Get rid of the heavy, old school stuff.
6. Connect your pier to the electrical ground.
7. Add a quality surge suppressor/line filter to your observatory.
8. Add a UPS to your observatory.
9. If you have a TI dome, insulate its motors and electrical system from everything else in your observatory that isn't 120VAC or its single communications connection to your laptop.
 
I hope this helps.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 


From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 4:19 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

I'm a proud new owner of a Mach1.  I had an issue that seems impossible.


I have a dome, and I power everything via one AC outlet on my gate near the dome.  The GF was bad on it so I replaced the receptible. The GFI "text" works... but I'm no electrician.  (could I have goofed?)


Installing the Mach1 and doing some initial testing was all good. I started playing with APCC and was working out kinks and getting SGP all set up.  With some initial problems with wifi,  I found I had to reboot the CP4 often during various configuration tweaks and the easiest way to do that was to remove and replace the 12v power plug on the CP4. 


HERES THE WEIRD PART.  Laptop was running and doing fine, when I removed the 12v from CP4 and waited, then plugged it back in - upon plugging it into the CP4 the laptop went black as if all power was cut.

(if AC power is cut normally it will just continue via it's battery). But no...  dead. 


It didn't really hit me that plugging in the 12V cp4 power caused it... I rebooted the laptop and continued. 

a bit later I did a power off/on of the CP4 and once again the laptop went black.  This time I thought 'weird was that due to the 12v Cp4 power plug?  so I rebooted the laptop and TRIED IT AGAIN on purpose to see if that caused the laptop to die.  YES upon putting the plug in a 3rd time, laptop died and this time, would not reboot. (it's been sent in order warranty repair).  = ( 


Assuming it a fluke... bad laptop?  or maybe by using a 2 prong extension cord from the AC outlet to my setup instead of a 3 prong with ground, I swapped out the extension cord to 3 prong and ground. 


I dig out my OLD laptop to get by... and spend a full day installing software and drivers and getting it ready to take over.  thinking it may have been some sort of ground short/loop? (I dunno I'm no electrician)... I figure the ground solved the issue.  


Everything was working and I left the laptop and set up running as I left to have dinner. Upon my return, the laptop was depowered. And would not boot.  It acts like my other laptop that died, in that it powers on with just a fan and power light - but no screen and no bios or booting or error. 


MY FEAR...  I wait a month or more for my laptop to be repaired only to set it up and have this happen again.

Or worse, the CP4 dies?  Or is it the new CP4 causing this?  Not only am I out of commission until I get another laptop but I have nothing to do but stress over the WIERD situation? 


ideas?


The AC power goes from AC outlet to dome, to a power strip. Another power strip is plugged into one of those outlets and powers all the scope electronics.  The first power strip runs things like LED lights in the dome, fan etc.  (nothing else has had an issue).  I have a 10amp AC/DC box that runs up to a rigrunner to delegate power to focuser, heater, filters, mount cameras etc. nothing else has had an issue (yet?)


I do not suspect that powering up the Cp4 would have anything to do with the laptop via AC power... so I'm wondering.   Could it be the ethernet?  and/Or the USB connection?  Both of which were running from cp4 to the laptops.  These would be the only direct link between the Cp4 and the laptops to cause any problem.


Laptop has it's own AC/DC converter and it's own outlet on the power strip.  I am thinking it has to be related to the CP4 to laptop connection?  


Ron in MI.




Virus-free. www.avg.com



Roland Christen
 

I will re-iterate. For now put the CP4 on a 12 volt battery. That will eliminate any possibility of stray 60 cycle AC voltage from entering your laptop from a possible bad AC/DC power supply. If this fixes the problem, then you know that you need to check all your AC/DC power supplies for stray leakage currents.

Meanwhile you can ask the guy who is repairing your laptops what exactly caused them to fail.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Kramer ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto]
To: ap-gto
Sent: Thu, Oct 19, 2017 1:07 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



Let me clarify. Cp4 is powered by AC/DC power supply.   The rig runner has a 10amp AC/DC power supply. 
the laptop has it's own  AC/DC power supply.  All 3 are plugged into the same AC main. 

I suspect it's coming from USB or ethernet.  CP4 to laptops.  (is there any sort of way to put a surge protector in line?  Or I'll try to refrain from havine those connections in the laptop when I need to reboot the cp4.

I'm about to move a desktop out to the dome.  (NEXDOME) doesn't have a power supply.  Well, I added the rotator yesterday that has a 5amp AC/DC but that wasn't an issue. 

I'll go back up and read your replies. I only scanned one real quick to make this reply.




On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 3:39 PM, 'Christopher Erickson' christopher.k.erickson@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 
And if all of this were being done absolutely correct and according to code, the observatory should probably have a sub-panel and its own connection to a good earth ground.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 


From: Christopher Erickson [mailto:christopher.k.erickson@...]
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 9:36 AM
To: 'ap-gto@...'
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

Speaking as an electrical engineer and journeyman electrician:
 
Spurious ground differentials.  Your mount power supply is the most likely culprit.
 
The communications ports on your laptops (USB, RS-232, HDMI, VGA, SDHC, etc.) are not protected in any way from spurious ground differentials and any other grounding problems that might exist in your mount power supply.  The CP4 has hardened ports so it will be the laptop that suffers.
 
You didn't mention what brand and model of dome you have.  Technical Innovations (home dome, pro dome) use horrible 12V power supplies with minimal/no filtration that can cause problems for any electronics mounted in them or on them.  Don't be tempted to run anything else from a TI dome power supply.  It will be a source of countless problems and damaged equipment.
 
Additionally, TI uses automotive windshield wiper motors to drive their domes.  The frame of those motors was designed to be grounded to the -12V side of a car's power system.  TI drives the windshield wiper motors bidirectionally, which is not how they were designed.  This means that when being driven in reverse, the frames of the motors are at +12V instead of -12V.  This can create a shorting hazard in the observatory, as well as being disruptive to electronics that could come in contact with those motors or anything conductive that those motors are attached to.
 
1. Have an electrician inspect your gate outlet to make sure you didn't swap the hot and neutral.
2. Make sure your extension from the gate outlet to the observatory is at least 12GA and not over 100'.
3. Make sure the insulation and protection on your power extension from the gate meets electrical code.
4. Ground everything in the observatory.  No more two-prong 120VAC power cords, power strips and stuff.
5. Get a modern, switching 2.5A 12VDC power supply with a three-prong power cord for your mount.  Get rid of the heavy, old school stuff.
6. Connect your pier to the electrical ground.
7. Add a quality surge suppressor/line filter to your observatory.
8. Add a UPS to your observatory.
9. If you have a TI dome, insulate its motors and electrical system from everything else in your observatory that isn't 120VAC or its single communications connection to your laptop.
 
I hope this helps.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 


From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 4:19 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

I'm a proud new owner of a Mach1.  I had an issue that seems impossible.

I have a dome, and I power everything via one AC outlet on my gate near the dome.  The GF was bad on it so I replaced the receptible. The GFI "text" works... but I'm no electrician.  (could I have goofed?)

Installing the Mach1 and doing some initial testing was all good. I started playing with APCC and was working out kinks and getting SGP all set up.  With some initial problems with wifi,  I found I had to reboot the CP4 often during various configuration tweaks and the easiest way to do that was to remove and replace the 12v power plug on the CP4. 

HERES THE WEIRD PART.  Laptop was running and doing fine, when I removed the 12v from CP4 and waited, then plugged it back in - upon plugging it into the CP4 the laptop went black as if all power was cut.
(if AC power is cut normally it will just continue via it's battery). But no...  dead. 

It didn't really hit me that plugging in the 12V cp4 power caused it... I rebooted the laptop and continued. 
a bit later I did a power off/on of the CP4 and once again the laptop went black.  This time I thought 'weird was that due to the 12v Cp4 power plug?  so I rebooted the laptop and TRIED IT AGAIN on purpose to see if that caused the laptop to die.  YES upon putting the plug in a 3rd time, laptop died and this time, would not reboot. (it's been sent in order warranty repair).  = ( 

Assuming it a fluke... bad laptop?  or maybe by using a 2 prong extension cord from the AC outlet to my setup instead of a 3 prong with ground, I swapped out the extension cord to 3 prong and ground. 

I dig out my OLD laptop to get by... and spend a full day installing software and drivers and getting it ready to take over.  thinking it may have been some sort of ground short/loop? (I dunno I'm no electrician)... I figure the ground solved the issue.  

Everything was working and I left the laptop and set up running as I left to have dinner. Upon my return, the laptop was depowered. And would not boot.  It acts like my other laptop that died, in that it powers on with just a fan and power light - but no screen and no bios or booting or error. 

MY FEAR...  I wait a month or more for my laptop to be repaired only to set it up and have this happen again.
Or worse, the CP4 dies?  Or is it the new CP4 causing this?  Not only am I out of commission until I get another laptop but I have nothing to do but stress over the WIERD situation? 

ideas?

The AC power goes from AC outlet to dome, to a power strip. Another power strip is plugged into one of those outlets and powers all the scope electronics.  The first power strip runs things like LED lights in the dome, fan etc.  (nothing else has had an issue).  I have a 10amp AC/DC box that runs up to a rigrunner to delegate power to focuser, heater, filters, mount cameras etc. nothing else has had an issue (yet?)

I do not suspect that powering up the Cp4 would have anything to do with the laptop via AC power... so I'm wondering.   Could it be the ethernet?  and/Or the USB connection?  Both of which were running from cp4 to the laptops.  These would be the only direct link between the Cp4 and the laptops to cause any problem.

Laptop has it's own AC/DC converter and it's own outlet on the power strip.  I am thinking it has to be related to the CP4 to laptop connection?  

Ron in MI.



Virus-free. www.avg.com




Ron Kramer
 

Thanks - the typical AC/DC power supplies as you are aware always seem to have only 2 prong. (no ground AC plugs)?  should I shelve these cheap units and get one larger (higher quality AC-DC unit?)  Powering all from it and making sure it has 3 prong AC cord?

With a volt meter - in AC mode? test the DC line out for AC?  

What do you guys use for power in a AC (home) situation? 


__________________________ quote

I assume that both your laptop and your mount electronics are being operated with low voltage DC. That means that the power supplies are isolated from the 120 volt mains by isolation transformers. If the transformers are not faulty, then no 60 cycle current would be superimposed on the low voltage DC lines. However, I have seen many times that some of these power supplies are faulty and have substantial leakage currents that can elevate the low voltage circuits well above ground. 

The mount CP4 has internal protection (transorbs) on every pin that goes in or out and is thus protected against stray leakage currents. That may not be the case for commercial laptops which are not meant to be used outdoors where you can have such leakage currents. If everything is plugged in and grounded, there may be a path to ground for these leakage currents, but unplugging the CP4 can eliminate the ground path and allow high voltage 60 cycle current to flow into your laptop input ports. 

You may have to use an AC voltmeter to check your power supplies against the AC circuit ground to see if there is stray voltage on the low voltage DC side. I have heard of cases where the DC power supply had enough voltage due to a faulty power transformer that a person received a considerable shock when touching his telescope while standing on wet grass.

One other thing I would recommend is to ground all power supplies together to a common ground so that you don't have inadvertent ground currents running thru USB or other connectors.

Rolando

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 12:33 PM, chris1011@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 

I assume that both your laptop and your mount electronics are being operated with low voltage DC. That means that the power supplies are isolated from the 120 volt mains by isolation transformers. If the transformers are not faulty, then no 60 cycle current would be superimposed on the low voltage DC lines. However, I have seen many times that some of these power supplies are faulty and have substantial leakage currents that can elevate the low voltage circuits well above ground.

The mount CP4 has internal protection (transorbs) on every pin that goes in or out and is thus protected against stray leakage currents. That may not be the case for commercial laptops which are not meant to be used outdoors where you can have such leakage currents. If everything is plugged in and grounded, there may be a path to ground for these leakage currents, but unplugging the CP4 can eliminate the ground path and allow high voltage 60 cycle current to flow into your laptop input ports.

You may have to use an AC voltmeter to check your power supplies against the AC circuit ground to see if there is stray voltage on the low voltage DC side. I have heard of cases where the DC power supply had enough voltage due to a faulty power transformer that a person received a considerable shock when touching his telescope while standing on wet grass.

One other thing I would recommend is to ground all power supplies together to a common ground so that you don't have inadvertent ground currents running thru USB or other connectors.

Rolando




-----Original Message-----
From: ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Wed, Oct 18, 2017 9:20 am
Subject: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



I'm a proud new owner of a Mach1.  I had an issue that seems impossible.

I have a dome, and I power everything via one AC outlet on my gate near the dome.  The GF was bad on it so I replaced the receptible. The GFI "text" works... but I'm no electrician.  (could I have goofed?)

Installing the Mach1 and doing some initial testing was all good. I started playing with APCC and was working out kinks and getting SGP all set up.  With some initial problems with wifi,  I found I had to reboot the CP4 often during various configuration tweaks and the easiest way to do that was to remove and replace the 12v power plug on the CP4. 

HERES THE WEIRD PART.  Laptop was running and doing fine, when I removed the 12v from CP4 and waited, then plugged it back in - upon plugging it into the CP4 the la ptop went black as if all power was cut.
(if AC power is cut normally it will just continue via it's battery). But no...  dead. 

It didn't really hit me that plugging in the 12V cp4 power caused it... I rebooted the laptop and continued. 
a bit later I did a power off/on of the CP4 and once again the laptop went black.  This time I thought 'weird was that due to the 12v Cp4 power plug?  so I rebooted the laptop and TRIED IT AGAIN on purpose to see if that caused the laptop to die.  YES upon putting the plug in a 3rd time, laptop died and this time, would not reboot. (it's been sent in order warranty repair).  = ( 

Assuming it a fluke... bad laptop?  or maybe by using a 2 prong extension cord from the AC outlet to my setup instead of a 3 prong with ground, I swapped out the extension cord to 3 prong and ground. 

I dig out my OLD laptop to get by... and spend a full day installing software and drivers and getting it ready to take over.  thinking it may have been some sort of ground short/loop? (I dunno I'm no electrician)... I figure the ground solved the issue.  

Everything was working and I left the laptop and set up running as I left to have dinner. Upon my return, the laptop was depowered. And would not boot.  It acts like my other laptop that died, in that it powers on with just a fan and power light - but no screen and no bios or booting or error. 

MY FEAR...  I wait a month or more for my laptop to be repaired only to set it up and have this happen again.
Or worse, the CP4 dies?  Or is it the new CP4 causing this?  Not only am I out of commission until I get a nother laptop but I have nothing to do but stress over the WIERD situation? 

ideas?

The AC power goes from AC outlet to dome, to a power strip. Another power strip is plugged into one of those outlets and powers all the scope electronics.  The first power strip runs things like LED lights in the dome, fan etc.  (nothing else has had an issue).  I have a 10amp AC/DC box that runs up to a rigrunner to delegate power to focuser, heater, filters, mount cameras etc. nothing else has had an issue (yet?)

I do not suspect that powering up the Cp4 would have anything to do with the laptop via AC power... so I'm wondering.   Could it be the ethernet?  and/Or the USB connection?  Both of which were running from cp4 to the laptops.  These would be the only direct link between the Cp4 and the laptops to cause any problem.

Laptop has it's own AC/DC converter and it's own outlet on the power strip.  I am thinking it has to be related to the CP4 to laptop connection?  

Ron in MI.






Ron Kramer
 

But how to test it? My only test destorys laptops? 


Try running your CP4 off a 12 volt battery. That would confirm that something is flaky with your Dc power supplies.

Rolando

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 3:24 PM, chris1011@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 

Try running your CP4 off a 12 volt battery. That would confirm that something is flaky with your Dc power supplies.

Rolando




-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Kramer ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Wed, Oct 18, 2017 2:13 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



I have gone to 3 prong with ground, that actually was in use with the 2nd laptop. (before it died).
Laptops don't display anything or even beep. They just come up with power light and fan.  That's all.

Battery on the first new laptop was fully charged and if power is disrupted, the battery takes over.  (like if I pull the AC or turn off the power strip, the laptop would stay running). 
What puzzles me is why they go blank when the 12v connector is applied into the cp4? 

no bios message or anything else (ACER splash screen is ever seen, just black).
I'm quite good with computers... I've never seen one power up with fan and nothing else.  I don't know if I can wait - I think I might have to move a extra desktop out there
but the 1.5 days of software install and configuration is getting old. 

I'm more concerned with why power drops when plugging in the CP4. 
NOTHING else shuts down.  

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 11:03 AM, 'Joseph Zeglinski' J.Zeglinski@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 
Ron,
 
    Could it be that you have flakey power from the AC outlet at the “gate”?
 
    Unexpected glitches could cause Windows to crash – without a formal shutdown. That might be corrupting your Windows boot partition. When you try to reboot, the laptop can’t find a proper boot record, so it stays black ... usually a text message says to insert a bootable device.
 
    I would suggest installing even an inexpensive small UPS in the dome, so that the unexpected power dropouts are carried through for upto 10 minutes. Some,  even small UPS (like from TrippLite), have a USB cable talking to Windows, and when it senses a switch over to its battery, it issues a formal Windows Hibernate or shutdown, when its battery nears being drained, or by your specified shutdown period.
 
    However, the battery in the laptop should have already handled this  – and the power option in Windows is normally set up to shut down Windows when its battery reaches 10%. Check your power option plan to confirm.  If for some reason, there is no grace percentage in your power plan, it would also crash Windows, possibly irrecoverably without user Win boot record repairs. So, this may still not account for your problem.
 
    Finally, very many, if not most telescope device electronics seem to be meant for battery operation, so the circuit board LOGIC ground wires are tied directly to Chassis (Earth) ground. Without that green ground wire, there is no place to dispel a short except the DC supply, via whatever other circuit boards traces “conveniently” share that common  Earth/Logic connection. Since you haven’t provided one in the power cable, everything else is at risk.
 
    I may be possibly overstating the latter case, but I wouldn’t chance not using at least a properly grounded power cord from the mains.
 
    In any case, you should have a UPS – fed by a proper 3-wire power cord, since UPS’s complain and probably won’t function without a safety Earth Ground connection to the main AC supply.
 
    Have you tried booting to laptop BIOS, to see if it is just a boot record damage or the laptop really is fried? The former can be fixed by yourself, with some time and effort. Worth investigating before returning more laptops for electronic repair. Possibly a software tech at the local PC store, can get the laptop booting again – quicker than shipping it to the manufacturer.
 
Good luck,
Joe





Ron Kramer
 

Get this?


Put my ethernet into and out of this to laptop?  But what about 12v?  do I plug my 4 AC/DC (cheap 20.00) convertors into these ports? 


On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 3:35 PM, 'Christopher Erickson' christopher.k.erickson@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:

 

Speaking as an electrical engineer and journeyman electrician:
 
Spurious ground differentials.  Your mount power supply is the most likely culprit.
 
The communications ports on your laptops (USB, RS-232, HDMI, VGA, SDHC, etc.) are not protected in any way from spurious ground differentials and any other grounding problems that might exist in your mount power supply.  The CP4 has hardened ports so it will be the laptop that suffers.
 
You didn't mention what brand and model of dome you have.  Technical Innovations (home dome, pro dome) use horrible 12V power supplies with minimal/no filtration that can cause problems for any electronics mounted in them or on them.  Don't be tempted to run anything else from a TI dome power supply.  It will be a source of countless problems and damaged equipment.
 
Additionally, TI uses automotive windshield wiper motors to drive their domes.  The frame of those motors was designed to be grounded to the -12V side of a car's power system.  TI drives the windshield wiper motors bidirectionally, which is not how they were designed.  This means that when being driven in reverse, the frames of the motors are at +12V instead of -12V.  This can create a shorting hazard in the observatory, as well as being disruptive to electronics that could come in contact with those motors or anything conductive that those motors are attached to.
 
1. Have an electrician inspect your gate outlet to make sure you didn't swap the hot and neutral.
2. Make sure your extension from the gate outlet to the observatory is at least 12GA and not over 100'.
3. Make sure the insulation and protection on your power extension from the gate meets electrical code.
4. Ground everything in the observatory.  No more two-prong 120VAC power cords, power strips and stuff.
5. Get a modern, switching 2.5A 12VDC power supply with a three-prong power cord for your mount.  Get rid of the heavy, old school stuff.
6. Connect your pier to the electrical ground.
7. Add a quality surge suppressor/line filter to your observatory.
8. Add a UPS to your observatory.
9. If you have a TI dome, insulate its motors and electrical system from everything else in your observatory that isn't 120VAC or its single communications connection to your laptop.
 
I hope this helps.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 


From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 4:19 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

I'm a proud new owner of a Mach1.  I had an issue that seems impossible.


I have a dome, and I power everything via one AC outlet on my gate near the dome.  The GF was bad on it so I replaced the receptible. The GFI "text" works... but I'm no electrician.  (could I have goofed?)


Installing the Mach1 and doing some initial testing was all good. I started playing with APCC and was working out kinks and getting SGP all set up.  With some initial problems with wifi,  I found I had to reboot the CP4 often during various configuration tweaks and the easiest way to do that was to remove and replace the 12v power plug on the CP4. 


HERES THE WEIRD PART.  Laptop was running and doing fine, when I removed the 12v from CP4 and waited, then plugged it back in - upon plugging it into the CP4 the laptop went black as if all power was cut.

(if AC power is cut normally it will just continue via it's battery). But no...  dead. 


It didn't really hit me that plugging in the 12V cp4 power caused it... I rebooted the laptop and continued. 

a bit later I did a power off/on of the CP4 and once again the laptop went black.  This time I thought 'weird was that due to the 12v Cp4 power plug?  so I rebooted the laptop and TRIED IT AGAIN on purpose to see if that caused the laptop to die.  YES upon putting the plug in a 3rd time, laptop died and this time, would not reboot. (it's been sent in order warranty repair).  = ( 


Assuming it a fluke... bad laptop?  or maybe by using a 2 prong extension cord from the AC outlet to my setup instead of a 3 prong with ground, I swapped out the extension cord to 3 prong and ground. 


I dig out my OLD laptop to get by... and spend a full day installing software and drivers and getting it ready to take over.  thinking it may have been some sort of ground short/loop? (I dunno I'm no electrician)... I figure the ground solved the issue.  


Everything was working and I left the laptop and set up running as I left to have dinner. Upon my return, the laptop was depowered. And would not boot.  It acts like my other laptop that died, in that it powers on with just a fan and power light - but no screen and no bios or booting or error. 


MY FEAR...  I wait a month or more for my laptop to be repaired only to set it up and have this happen again.

Or worse, the CP4 dies?  Or is it the new CP4 causing this?  Not only am I out of commission until I get another laptop but I have nothing to do but stress over the WIERD situation? 


ideas?


The AC power goes from AC outlet to dome, to a power strip. Another power strip is plugged into one of those outlets and powers all the scope electronics.  The first power strip runs things like LED lights in the dome, fan etc.  (nothing else has had an issue).  I have a 10amp AC/DC box that runs up to a rigrunner to delegate power to focuser, heater, filters, mount cameras etc. nothing else has had an issue (yet?)


I do not suspect that powering up the Cp4 would have anything to do with the laptop via AC power... so I'm wondering.   Could it be the ethernet?  and/Or the USB connection?  Both of which were running from cp4 to the laptops.  These would be the only direct link between the Cp4 and the laptops to cause any problem.


Laptop has it's own AC/DC converter and it's own outlet on the power strip.  I am thinking it has to be related to the CP4 to laptop connection?  


Ron in MI.




Virus-free. www.avg.com



Roland Christen
 

Well, it could be any of your power supplies. As I said in my post, once you determine that isolating the mount from your laptop, you will have the first clue that it is a leakage current problem. That leakage current could be coming from any of your AC/DC power supplies. So your next step is to test the supplies with an AC voltmeter to ground. Find out which supply is creating an AC voltage on any of their DC output pins. Measure it to the AC ground pin.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Kramer ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto]
To: ap-gto
Sent: Thu, Oct 19, 2017 1:16 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



But how to test it? My only test destorys laptops? 


Try running your CP4 off a 12 volt battery. That would confirm that something is flaky with your Dc power supplies.

Rolando

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 3:24 PM, chris1011@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 
Try running your CP4 off a 12 volt battery. That would confirm that something is flaky with your Dc power supplies.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Kramer ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Wed, Oct 18, 2017 2:13 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



I have gone to 3 prong with ground, that actually was in use with the 2nd laptop. (before it died).
Laptops don't display anything or even beep. They just come up with power light and fan.  That's all.

Battery on the first new laptop was fully charged and if power is disrupted, the battery takes over.  (like if I pull the AC or turn off the power strip, the laptop would stay running). 
What puzzles me is why they go blank when the 12v connector is applied into the cp4? 

no bios message or anything else (ACER splash screen is ever seen, just black).
I'm quite good with computers... I've never seen one power up with fan and nothing else.  I don't know if I can wait - I think I might have to move a extra desktop out there
but the 1.5 days of software install and configuration is getting old. 

I'm more concerned with why power drops when plugging in the CP4. 
NOTHING else shuts down.  

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 11:03 AM, 'Joseph Zeglinski' J.Zeglinski@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 
Ron,
 
    Could it be that you have flakey power from the AC outlet at the “gate”?
 
    Unexpected glitches could cause Windows to crash – without a formal shutdown. That might be corrupting your Windows boot partition. When you try to reboot, the laptop can’t find a proper boot record, so it stays black ... usually a text message says to insert a bootable device.
 
    I would suggest installing even an inexpensive small UPS in the dome, so that the unexpected power dropouts are carried through for upto 10 minutes. Some,  even small UPS (like from TrippLite), have a USB cable talking to Windows, and when it senses a switch over to its battery, it issues a formal Windows Hibernate or shutdown, when its battery nears being drained, or by your specified shutdown period.
 
    However, the battery in the laptop should have already handled this  – and the power option in Windows is normally set up to shut down Windows when its battery reaches 10%. Check your power option plan to confirm.  If for some reason, there is no grace percentage in your power plan, it would also crash Windows, possibly irrecoverably without user Win boot record repairs. So, this may still not account for your problem.
 
    Finally, very many, if not most telescope device electronics seem to be meant for battery operation, so the circuit board LOGIC ground wires are tied directly to Chassis (Earth) ground. Without that green ground wire, there is no place to dispel a short except the DC supply, via whatever other circuit boards traces “conveniently” share that common  Earth/Logic connection. Since you haven’t provided one in the power cable, everything else is at risk.
 
    I may be possibly overstating the latter case, but I wouldn’t chance not using at least a properly grounded power cord from the mains.
 
    In any case, you should have a UPS – fed by a proper 3-wire power cord, since UPS’s complain and probably won’t function without a safety Earth Ground connection to the main AC supply.
 
    Have you tried booting to laptop BIOS, to see if it is just a boot record damage or the laptop really is fried? The former can be fixed by yourself, with some time and effort. Worth investigating before returning more laptops for electronic repair. Possibly a software tech at the local PC store, can get the laptop booting again – quicker than shipping it to the manufacturer.
 
Good luck,
Joe







Roland Christen
 

The other possibility for you is to send the CP4 here so we can fully test all of the ports.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Kramer ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto]
To: ap-gto
Sent: Thu, Oct 19, 2017 1:16 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



But how to test it? My only test destorys laptops? 


Try running your CP4 off a 12 volt battery. That would confirm that something is flaky with your Dc power supplies.

Rolando

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 3:24 PM, chris1011@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 
Try running your CP4 off a 12 volt battery. That would confirm that something is flaky with your Dc power supplies.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Kramer ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Wed, Oct 18, 2017 2:13 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



I have gone to 3 prong with ground, that actually was in use with the 2nd laptop. (before it died).
Laptops don't display anything or even beep. They just come up with power light and fan.  That's all.

Battery on the first new laptop was fully charged and if power is disrupted, the battery takes over.  (like if I pull the AC or turn off the power strip, the laptop would stay running). 
What puzzles me is why they go blank when the 12v connector is applied into the cp4? 

no bios message or anything else (ACER splash screen is ever seen, just black).
I'm quite good with computers... I've never seen one power up with fan and nothing else.  I don't know if I can wait - I think I might have to move a extra desktop out there
but the 1.5 days of software install and configuration is getting old. 

I'm more concerned with why power drops when plugging in the CP4. 
NOTHING else shuts down.  

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 11:03 AM, 'Joseph Zeglinski' J.Zeglinski@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 
Ron,
 
    Could it be that you have flakey power from the AC outlet at the “gate”?
 
    Unexpected glitches could cause Windows to crash – without a formal shutdown. That might be corrupting your Windows boot partition. When you try to reboot, the laptop can’t find a proper boot record, so it stays black ... usually a text message says to insert a bootable device.
 
    I would suggest installing even an inexpensive small UPS in the dome, so that the unexpected power dropouts are carried through for upto 10 minutes. Some,  even small UPS (like from TrippLite), have a USB cable talking to Windows, and when it senses a switch over to its battery, it issues a formal Windows Hibernate or shutdown, when its battery nears being drained, or by your specified shutdown period.
 
    However, the battery in the laptop should have already handled this  – and the power option in Windows is normally set up to shut down Windows when its battery reaches 10%. Check your power option plan to confirm.  If for some reason, there is no grace percentage in your power plan, it would also crash Windows, possibly irrecoverably without user Win boot record repairs. So, this may still not account for your problem.
 
    Finally, very many, if not most telescope device electronics seem to be meant for battery operation, so the circuit board LOGIC ground wires are tied directly to Chassis (Earth) ground. Without that green ground wire, there is no place to dispel a short except the DC supply, via whatever other circuit boards traces “conveniently” share that common  Earth/Logic connection. Since you haven’t provided one in the power cable, everything else is at risk.
 
    I may be possibly overstating the latter case, but I wouldn’t chance not using at least a properly grounded power cord from the mains.
 
    In any case, you should have a UPS – fed by a proper 3-wire power cord, since UPS’s complain and probably won’t function without a safety Earth Ground connection to the main AC supply.
 
    Have you tried booting to laptop BIOS, to see if it is just a boot record damage or the laptop really is fried? The former can be fixed by yourself, with some time and effort. Worth investigating before returning more laptops for electronic repair. Possibly a software tech at the local PC store, can get the laptop booting again – quicker than shipping it to the manufacturer.
 
Good luck,
Joe







Roland Christen
 

Could also be a flaky ethernet cable. Send that in also along with your AC/DC power supply. We can test all these parts to see if there are any problems with any of them.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Kramer ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto]
To: ap-gto
Sent: Thu, Oct 19, 2017 1:16 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



But how to test it? My only test destorys laptops? 


Try running your CP4 off a 12 volt battery. That would confirm that something is flaky with your Dc power supplies.

Rolando

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 3:24 PM, chris1011@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 
Try running your CP4 off a 12 volt battery. That would confirm that something is flaky with your Dc power supplies.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Kramer ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Wed, Oct 18, 2017 2:13 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



I have gone to 3 prong with ground, that actually was in use with the 2nd laptop. (before it died).
Laptops don't display anything or even beep. They just come up with power light and fan.  That's all.

Battery on the first new laptop was fully charged and if power is disrupted, the battery takes over.  (like if I pull the AC or turn off the power strip, the laptop would stay running). 
What puzzles me is why they go blank when the 12v connector is applied into the cp4? 

no bios message or anything else (ACER splash screen is ever seen, just black).
I'm quite good with computers... I've never seen one power up with fan and nothing else.  I don't know if I can wait - I think I might have to move a extra desktop out there
but the 1.5 days of software install and configuration is getting old. 

I'm more concerned with why power drops when plugging in the CP4. 
NOTHING else shuts down.  

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 11:03 AM, 'Joseph Zeglinski' J.Zeglinski@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 
Ron,
 
    Could it be that you have flakey power from the AC outlet at the “gate”?
 
    Unexpected glitches could cause Windows to crash – without a formal shutdown. That might be corrupting your Windows boot partition. When you try to reboot, the laptop can’t find a proper boot record, so it stays black ... usually a text message says to insert a bootable device.
 
    I would suggest installing even an inexpensive small UPS in the dome, so that the unexpected power dropouts are carried through for upto 10 minutes. Some,  even small UPS (like from TrippLite), have a USB cable talking to Windows, and when it senses a switch over to its battery, it issues a formal Windows Hibernate or shutdown, when its battery nears being drained, or by your specified shutdown period.
 
    However, the battery in the laptop should have already handled this  – and the power option in Windows is normally set up to shut down Windows when its battery reaches 10%. Check your power option plan to confirm.  If for some reason, there is no grace percentage in your power plan, it would also crash Windows, possibly irrecoverably without user Win boot record repairs. So, this may still not account for your problem.
 
    Finally, very many, if not most telescope device electronics seem to be meant for battery operation, so the circuit board LOGIC ground wires are tied directly to Chassis (Earth) ground. Without that green ground wire, there is no place to dispel a short except the DC supply, via whatever other circuit boards traces “conveniently” share that common  Earth/Logic connection. Since you haven’t provided one in the power cable, everything else is at risk.
 
    I may be possibly overstating the latter case, but I wouldn’t chance not using at least a properly grounded power cord from the mains.
 
    In any case, you should have a UPS – fed by a proper 3-wire power cord, since UPS’s complain and probably won’t function without a safety Earth Ground connection to the main AC supply.
 
    Have you tried booting to laptop BIOS, to see if it is just a boot record damage or the laptop really is fried? The former can be fixed by yourself, with some time and effort. Worth investigating before returning more laptops for electronic repair. Possibly a software tech at the local PC store, can get the laptop booting again – quicker than shipping it to the manufacturer.
 
Good luck,
Joe







Roland Christen
 

From our website:
25 Amp Variable Volt Power Supply (PSVPW25A)
It has a 3 prong power cord with ground plug.

Rolando


-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Kramer ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto]
To: ap-gto
Sent: Thu, Oct 19, 2017 3:12 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



Thanks - the typical AC/DC power supplies as you are aware always seem to have only 2 prong. (no ground AC plugs)?  should I shelve these cheap units and get one larger (higher quality AC-DC unit?)  Powering all from it and making sure it has 3 prong AC cord?

With a volt meter - in AC mode? test the DC line out for AC?  

What do you guys use for power in a AC (home) situation? 


__________________________ quote

I assume that both your laptop and your mount electronics are being operated with low voltage DC. That means that the power supplies are isolated from the 120 volt mains by isolation transformers. If the transformers are not faulty, then no 60 cycle current would be superimposed on the low voltage DC lines. However, I have seen many times that some of these power supplies are faulty and have substantial leakage currents that can elevate the low voltage circuits well above ground. 

The mount CP4 has internal protection (transorbs) on every pin that goes in or out and is thus protected against stray leakage currents. That may not be the case for commercial laptops which are not meant to be used outdoors where you can have such leakage currents. If everything is plugged in and grounded, there may be a path to ground for these leakage currents, but unplugging the CP4 can eliminate the ground path and allow high voltage 60 cycle current to flow into your laptop input ports. 

You may have to use an AC voltmeter to check your power supplies against the AC circuit ground to see if there is stray voltage on the low voltage DC side. I have heard of cases where the DC power supply had enough voltage due to a faulty power transformer that a person received a considerable shock when touching his telescope while standing on wet grass.

One other thing I would recommend is to ground all power supplies together to a common ground so that you don't have inadvertent ground currents running thru USB or other connectors.

Rolando

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 12:33 PM, chris1011@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 
I assume that both your laptop and your mount electronics are being operated with low voltage DC. That means that the power supplies are isolated from the 120 volt mains by isolation transformers. If the transformers are not faulty, then no 60 cycle current would be superimposed on the low voltage DC lines. However, I have seen many times that some of these power supplies are faulty and have substantial leakage currents that can elevate the low voltage circuits well above ground.

The mount CP4 has internal protection (transorbs) on every pin that goes in or out and is thus protected against stray leakage currents. That may not be the case for commercial laptops which are not meant to be used outdoors where you can have such leakage currents. If everything is plugged in and grounded, there may be a path to ground for these leakage currents, but unplugging the CP4 can eliminate the ground path and allow high voltage 60 cycle current to flow into your laptop input ports.

You may have to use an AC voltmeter to check your power supplies against the AC circuit ground to see if there is stray voltage on the low voltage DC side. I have heard of cases where the DC power supply had enough voltage due to a faulty power transformer that a person received a considerable shock when touching his telescope while standing on wet grass.

One other thing I would recommend is to ground all power supplies together to a common ground so that you don't have inadvertent ground currents running thru USB or other connectors.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Wed, Oct 18, 2017 9:20 am
Subject: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



I'm a proud new owner of a Mach1.  I had an issue that seems impossible.

I have a dome, and I power everything via one AC outlet on my gate near the dome.  The GF was bad on it so I replaced the receptible. The GFI "text" works... but I'm no electrician.  (could I have goofed?)

Installing the Mach1 and doing some initial testing was all good. I started playing with APCC and was working out kinks and getting SGP all set up.  With some initial problems with wifi,  I found I had to reboot the CP4 often during various configuration tweaks and the easiest way to do that was to remove and replace the 12v power plug on the CP4. 

HERES THE WEIRD PART.  Laptop was running and doing fine, when I removed the 12v from CP4 and waited, then plugged it back in - upon plugging it into the CP4 the la ptop went black as if all power was cut.
(if AC power is cut normally it will just continue via it's battery). But no...  dead. 

It didn't really hit me that plugging in the 12V cp4 power caused it... I rebooted the laptop and continued. 
a bit later I did a power off/on of the CP4 and once again the laptop went black.  This time I thought 'weird was that due to the 12v Cp4 power plug?  so I rebooted the laptop and TRIED IT AGAIN on purpose to see if that caused the laptop to die.  YES upon putting the plug in a 3rd time, laptop died and this time, would not reboot. (it's been sent in order warranty repair).  = ( 

Assuming it a fluke... bad laptop?  or maybe by using a 2 prong extension cord from the AC outlet to my setup instead of a 3 prong with ground, I swapped out the extension cord to 3 prong and ground. 

I dig out my OLD laptop to get by... and spend a full day installing software and drivers and getting it ready to take over.  thinking it may have been some sort of ground short/loop? (I dunno I'm no electrician)... I figure the ground solved the issue.  

Everything was working and I left the laptop and set up running as I left to have dinner. Upon my return, the laptop was depowered. And would not boot.  It acts like my other laptop that died, in that it powers on with just a fan and power light - but no screen and no bios or booting or error. 

MY FEAR...  I wait a month or more for my laptop to be repaired only to set it up and have this happen again.
Or worse, the CP4 dies?  Or is it the new CP4 causing this?  Not only am I out of commission until I get a nother laptop but I have nothing to do but stress over the WIERD situation? 

ideas?

The AC power goes from AC outlet to dome, to a power strip. Another power strip is plugged into one of those outlets and powers all the scope electronics.  The first power strip runs things like LED lights in the dome, fan etc.  (nothing else has had an issue).  I have a 10amp AC/DC box that runs up to a rigrunner to delegate power to focuser, heater, filters, mount cameras etc. nothing else has had an issue (yet?)

I do not suspect that powering up the Cp4 would have anything to do with the laptop via AC power... so I'm wondering.   Could it be the ethernet?  and/Or the USB connection?  Both of which were running from cp4 to the laptops.  These would be the only direct link between the Cp4 and the laptops to cause any problem.

Laptop has it's own AC/DC converter and it's own outlet on the power strip.  I am thinking it has to be related to the CP4 to laptop connection?  

Ron in MI.








Christopher Erickson
 

Use a voltmeter to measure what voltage difference exists between the laptop's chassis ground and the CP4's chassis ground.  NOT the ground pins of the AC power cords.
 
However spurious ground differentials will only exist when the CP4's power is connected and disconnected.  They will probably be fast and only detectable by a O-scope, analog meter or a digital meter with an analog scale, like a Fluke model 77.
 
Running the CP4 from a battery will isolate the CP4 completely and guarantee that a spurious ground differential can't come from the CP4.
 
I still say the CP4's external power supply is the #1 culprit.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 


From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2017 8:16 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

But how to test it? My only test destorys laptops? 


Try running your CP4 off a 12 volt battery. That would confirm that something is flaky with your Dc power supplies.

Rolando

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 3:24 PM, chris1011@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 

Try running your CP4 off a 12 volt battery. That would confirm that something is flaky with your Dc power supplies.

Rolando




-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Kramer ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Wed, Oct 18, 2017 2:13 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



I have gone to 3 prong with ground, that actually was in use with the 2nd laptop. (before it died).
Laptops don't display anything or even beep. They just come up with power light and fan.  That's all.

Battery on the first new laptop was fully charged and if power is disrupted, the battery takes over.  (like if I pull the AC or turn off the power strip, the laptop would stay running). 
What puzzles me is why they go blank when the 12v connector is applied into the cp4? 

no bios message or anything else (ACER splash screen is ever seen, just black).
I'm quite good with computers... I've never seen one power up with fan and nothing else.  I don't know if I can wait - I think I might have to move a extra desktop out there
but the 1.5 days of software install and configuration is getting old. 

I'm more concerned with why power drops when plugging in the CP4. 
NOTHING else shuts down.  

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 11:03 AM, 'Joseph Zeglinski' J.Zeglinski@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 
Ron,
 
    Could it be that you have flakey power from the AC outlet at the “gate”?
 
    Unexpected glitches could cause Windows to crash – without a formal shutdown. That might be corrupting your Windows boot partition. When you try to reboot, the laptop can’t find a proper boot record, so it stays black ... usually a text message says to insert a bootable device.
 
    I would suggest installing even an inexpensive small UPS in the dome, so that the unexpected power dropouts are carried through for upto 10 minutes. Some,  even small UPS (like from TrippLite), have a USB cable talking to Windows, and when it senses a switch over to its battery, it issues a formal Windows Hibernate or shutdown, when its battery nears being drained, or by your specified shutdown period.
 
    However, the battery in the laptop should have already handled this  – and the power option in Windows is normally set up to shut down Windows when its battery reaches 10%. Check your power option plan to confirm.  If for some reason, there is no grace percentage in your power plan, it would also crash Windows, possibly irrecoverably without user Win boot record repairs. So, this may still not account for your problem.
 
    Finally, very many, if not most telescope device electronics seem to be meant for battery operation, so the circuit board LOGIC ground wires are tied directly to Chassis (Earth) ground. Without that green ground wire, there is no place to dispel a short except the DC supply, via whatever other circuit boards traces “conveniently” share that common  Earth/Logic connection. Since you haven’t provided one in the power cable, everything else is at risk.
 
    I may be possibly overstating the latter case, but I wouldn’t chance not using at least a properly grounded power cord from the mains.
 
    In any case, you should have a UPS – fed by a proper 3-wire power cord, since UPS’s complain and probably won’t function without a safety Earth Ground connection to the main AC supply.
 
    Have you tried booting to laptop BIOS, to see if it is just a boot record damage or the laptop really is fried? The former can be fixed by yourself, with some time and effort. Worth investigating before returning more laptops for electronic repair. Possibly a software tech at the local PC store, can get the laptop booting again – quicker than shipping it to the manufacturer.
 
Good luck,
Joe





Virus-free. www.avg.com


Christopher Erickson
 

I would get at least a 1000kva unit.
 
And replace that CP4 power supply.  That's way more important than a UPS.
 
And call an electrician to check out your AC system.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 


From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2017 8:32 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

Get this?


Put my ethernet into and out of this to laptop?  But what about 12v?  do I plug my 4 AC/DC (cheap 20.00) convertors into these ports? 


On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 3:35 PM, 'Christopher Erickson' christopher.k.erickson@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:

 

Speaking as an electrical engineer and journeyman electrician:
 
Spurious ground differentials.  Your mount power supply is the most likely culprit.
 
The communications ports on your laptops (USB, RS-232, HDMI, VGA, SDHC, etc.) are not protected in any way from spurious ground differentials and any other grounding problems that might exist in your mount power supply.  The CP4 has hardened ports so it will be the laptop that suffers.
 
You didn't mention what brand and model of dome you have.  Technical Innovations (home dome, pro dome) use horrible 12V power supplies with minimal/no filtration that can cause problems for any electronics mounted in them or on them.  Don't be tempted to run anything else from a TI dome power supply.  It will be a source of countless problems and damaged equipment.
 
Additionally, TI uses automotive windshield wiper motors to drive their domes.  The frame of those motors was designed to be grounded to the -12V side of a car's power system.  TI drives the windshield wiper motors bidirectionally, which is not how they were designed.  This means that when being driven in reverse, the frames of the motors are at +12V instead of -12V.  This can create a shorting hazard in the observatory, as well as being disruptive to electronics that could come in contact with those motors or anything conductive that those motors are attached to.
 
1. Have an electrician inspect your gate outlet to make sure you didn't swap the hot and neutral.
2. Make sure your extension from the gate outlet to the observatory is at least 12GA and not over 100'.
3. Make sure the insulation and protection on your power extension from the gate meets electrical code.
4. Ground everything in the observatory.  No more two-prong 120VAC power cords, power strips and stuff.
5. Get a modern, switching 2.5A 12VDC power supply with a three-prong power cord for your mount.  Get rid of the heavy, old school stuff.
6. Connect your pier to the electrical ground.
7. Add a quality surge suppressor/line filter to your observatory.
8. Add a UPS to your observatory.
9. If you have a TI dome, insulate its motors and electrical system from everything else in your observatory that isn't 120VAC or its single communications connection to your laptop.
 
I hope this helps.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 


From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 4:19 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

I'm a proud new owner of a Mach1.  I had an issue that seems impossible.


I have a dome, and I power everything via one AC outlet on my gate near the dome.  The GF was bad on it so I replaced the receptible. The GFI "text" works... but I'm no electrician.  (could I have goofed?)


Installing the Mach1 and doing some initial testing was all good. I started playing with APCC and was working out kinks and getting SGP all set up.  With some initial problems with wifi,  I found I had to reboot the CP4 often during various configuration tweaks and the easiest way to do that was to remove and replace the 12v power plug on the CP4. 


HERES THE WEIRD PART.  Laptop was running and doing fine, when I removed the 12v from CP4 and waited, then plugged it back in - upon plugging it into the CP4 the laptop went black as if all power was cut.

(if AC power is cut normally it will just continue via it's battery). But no...  dead. 


It didn't really hit me that plugging in the 12V cp4 power caused it... I rebooted the laptop and continued. 

a bit later I did a power off/on of the CP4 and once again the laptop went black.  This time I thought 'weird was that due to the 12v Cp4 power plug?  so I rebooted the laptop and TRIED IT AGAIN on purpose to see if that caused the laptop to die.  YES upon putting the plug in a 3rd time, laptop died and this time, would not reboot. (it's been sent in order warranty repair).  = ( 


Assuming it a fluke... bad laptop?  or maybe by using a 2 prong extension cord from the AC outlet to my setup instead of a 3 prong with ground, I swapped out the extension cord to 3 prong and ground. 


I dig out my OLD laptop to get by... and spend a full day installing software and drivers and getting it ready to take over.  thinking it may have been some sort of ground short/loop? (I dunno I'm no electrician)... I figure the ground solved the issue.  


Everything was working and I left the laptop and set up running as I left to have dinner. Upon my return, the laptop was depowered. And would not boot.  It acts like my other laptop that died, in that it powers on with just a fan and power light - but no screen and no bios or booting or error. 


MY FEAR...  I wait a month or more for my laptop to be repaired only to set it up and have this happen again.

Or worse, the CP4 dies?  Or is it the new CP4 causing this?  Not only am I out of commission until I get another laptop but I have nothing to do but stress over the WIERD situation? 


ideas?


The AC power goes from AC outlet to dome, to a power strip. Another power strip is plugged into one of those outlets and powers all the scope electronics.  The first power strip runs things like LED lights in the dome, fan etc.  (nothing else has had an issue).  I have a 10amp AC/DC box that runs up to a rigrunner to delegate power to focuser, heater, filters, mount cameras etc. nothing else has had an issue (yet?)


I do not suspect that powering up the Cp4 would have anything to do with the laptop via AC power... so I'm wondering.   Could it be the ethernet?  and/Or the USB connection?  Both of which were running from cp4 to the laptops.  These would be the only direct link between the Cp4 and the laptops to cause any problem.


Laptop has it's own AC/DC converter and it's own outlet on the power strip.  I am thinking it has to be related to the CP4 to laptop connection?  


Ron in MI.




Virus-free. www.avg.com



Christopher Erickson
 

Ethernet cables don't normally carry any ground connections.  Special PoE or high RFI applications are more complicated.  There are tiny isolation transformers behind every Ethernet port.  Ethernet communications is all inductively coupled specifically to avoid ground loops and other ground differential issues.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 


From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2017 8:53 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

Could also be a flaky ethernet cable. Send that in also along with your AC/DC power supply. We can test all these parts to see if there are any problems with any of them.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Kramer ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto] To: ap-gto
Sent: Thu, Oct 19, 2017 1:16 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



But how to test it? My only test destorys laptops? 


Try running your CP4 off a 12 volt battery. That would confirm that something is flaky with your Dc power supplies.

Rolando

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 3:24 PM, chris1011@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 
Try running your CP4 off a 12 volt battery. That would confirm that something is flaky with your Dc power supplies.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Kramer ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Wed, Oct 18, 2017 2:13 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



I have gone to 3 prong with ground, that actually was in use with the 2nd laptop. (before it died).
Laptops don't display anything or even beep. They just come up with power light and fan.  That's all.

Battery on the first new laptop was fully charged and if power is disrupted, the battery takes over.  (like if I pull the AC or turn off the power strip, the laptop would stay running). 
What puzzles me is why they go blank when the 12v connector is applied into the cp4? 

no bios message or anything else (ACER splash screen is ever seen, just black).
I'm quite good with computers... I've never seen one power up with fan and nothing else.  I don't know if I can wait - I think I might have to move a extra desktop out there
but the 1.5 days of software install and configuration is getting old. 

I'm more concerned with why power drops when plugging in the CP4. 
NOTHING else shuts down.  

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 11:03 AM, 'Joseph Zeglinski' J.Zeglinski@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 
Ron,
 
    Could it be that you have flakey power from the AC outlet at the “gate”?
 
    Unexpected glitches could cause Windows to crash – without a formal shutdown. That might be corrupting your Windows boot partition. When you try to reboot, the laptop can’t find a proper boot record, so it stays black ... usually a text message says to insert a bootable device.
 
    I would suggest installing even an inexpensive small UPS in the dome, so that the unexpected power dropouts are carried through for upto 10 minutes. Some,  even small UPS (like from TrippLite), have a USB cable talking to Windows, and when it senses a switch over to its battery, it issues a formal Windows Hibernate or shutdown, when its battery nears being drained, or by your specified shutdown period.
 
    However, the battery in the laptop should have already handled this  – and the power option in Windows is normally set up to shut down Windows when its battery reaches 10%. Check your power option plan to confirm.  If for some reason, there is no grace percentage in your power plan, it would also crash Windows, possibly irrecoverably without user Win boot record repairs. So, this may still not account for your problem.
 
    Finally, very many, if not most telescope device electronics seem to be meant for battery operation, so the circuit board LOGIC ground wires are tied directly to Chassis (Earth) ground. Without that green ground wire, there is no place to dispel a short except the DC supply, via whatever other circuit boards traces “conveniently” share that common  Earth/Logic connection. Since you haven’t provided one in the power cable, everything else is at risk.
 
    I may be possibly overstating the latter case, but I wouldn’t chance not using at least a properly grounded power cord from the mains.
 
    In any case, you should have a UPS – fed by a proper 3-wire power cord, since UPS’s complain and probably won’t function without a safety Earth Ground connection to the main AC supply.
 
    Have you tried booting to laptop BIOS, to see if it is just a boot record damage or the laptop really is fried? The former can be fixed by yourself, with some time and effort. Worth investigating before returning more laptops for electronic repair. Possibly a software tech at the local PC store, can get the laptop booting again – quicker than shipping it to the manufacturer.
 
Good luck,
Joe







Virus-free. www.avg.com


Roland Christen
 

Well, that is the only connection between the laptops and the CP4. On the other hand I cannot see any way that an ethernet connection fault can destroy and entire computer. I would really like to know from the technician that fixes these laptops what caused them to die.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: 'Christopher Erickson' christopher.k.erickson@... [ap-gto]
To: ap-gto
Sent: Thu, Oct 19, 2017 7:00 pm
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



Ethernet cables don't normally carry any ground connections.  Special PoE or high RFI applications are more complicated.  There are tiny isolation transformers behind every Ethernet port.  Ethernet communications is all inductively coupled specifically to avoid ground loops and other ground differential issues.
 
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
 


From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2017 8:53 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

Could also be a flaky ethernet cable. Send that in also along with your AC/DC power supply. We can test all these parts to see if there are any problems with any of them.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Kramer ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto] gto@...>
To: ap-gto gto@...>
Sent: Thu, Oct 19, 2017 1:16 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



But how to test it? My only test destorys laptops? 


Try running your CP4 off a 12 volt battery. That would confirm that something is flaky with your Dc power supplies.

Rolando

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 3:24 PM, chris1011@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 
Try running your CP4 off a 12 volt battery. That would confirm that something is flaky with your Dc power supplies.

Rolando



-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Kramer ronkramer1957@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Wed, Oct 18, 2017 2:13 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.



I have gone to 3 prong with ground, that actually was in use with the 2nd laptop. (before it died).
Laptops don't display anything or even beep. They just come up with power light and fan.  That's all.

Battery on the first new laptop was fully charged and if power is disrupted, the battery takes over.  (like if I pull the AC or turn off the power strip, the laptop would stay running). 
What puzzles me is why they go blank when the 12v connector is applied into the cp4? 

no bios message or anything else (ACER splash screen is ever seen, just black).
I'm quite good with computers... I've never seen one power up with fan and nothing else.  I don't know if I can wait - I think I might have to move a extra desktop out there
but the 1.5 days of software install and configuration is getting old. 

I'm more concerned with why power drops when plugging in the CP4. 
NOTHING else shuts down.  

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 11:03 AM, 'Joseph Zeglinski' J.Zeglinski@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:
 
Ron,
 
    Could it be that you have flakey power from the AC outlet at the “gate”?
 
    Unexpected glitches could cause Windows to crash – without a formal shutdown. That might be corrupting your Windows boot partition. When you try to reboot, the laptop can’t find a proper boot record, so it stays black ... usually a text message says to insert a bootable device.
 
    I would suggest installing even an inexpensive small UPS in the dome, so that the unexpected power dropouts are carried through for upto 10 minutes. Some,  even small UPS (like from TrippLite), have a USB cable talking to Windows, and when it senses a switch over to its battery, it issues a formal Windows Hibernate or shutdown, when its battery nears being drained, or by your specified shutdown period.
 
    However, the battery in the laptop should have already handled this  – and the power option in Windows is normally set up to shut down Windows when its battery reaches 10%. Check your power option plan to confirm.  If for some reason, there is no grace percentage in your power plan, it would also crash Windows, possibly irrecoverably without user Win boot record repairs. So, this may still not account for your problem.
 
    Finally, very many, if not most telescope device electronics seem to be meant for battery operation, so the circuit board LOGIC ground wires are tied directly to Chassis (Earth) ground. Without that green ground wire, there is no place to dispel a short except the DC supply, via whatever other circuit boards traces “conveniently” share that common  Earth/Logic connection. Since you haven’t provided one in the power cable, everything else is at risk.
 
    I may be possibly overstating the latter case, but I wouldn’t chance not using at least a properly grounded power cord from the mains.
 
    In any case, you should have a UPS – fed by a proper 3-wire power cord, since UPS’s complain and probably won’t function without a safety Earth Ground connection to the main AC supply.
 
    Have you tried booting to laptop BIOS, to see if it is just a boot record damage or the laptop really is fried? The former can be fixed by yourself, with some time and effort. Worth investigating before returning more laptops for electronic repair. Possibly a software tech at the local PC store, can get the laptop booting again – quicker than shipping it to the manufacturer.
 
Good luck,
Joe







Virus-free. www.avg.com