Topics

Mach 2 Best Practice with PC #Mach2GTO

Rick Socarras
 

I'm expecting to receive my Mach 2 shortly and I've been wondering about how best to implement PC control.  I will use a Windows based PC using an Intel i5 riding on the mount.  My plan was to then remote access that PC.  However, I assume I can probably also install required software on any other PC off the mount and establish control that way as well.  So, my question is which of these is best practice?  I did purchase the keypad should I go off to a remote site.  Most of the time my plan is to use it at home.  Any advice?

Frank Widmann
 

Rather than put a mini pc on the moving side of my AP 1600. I mount a Startech 7-port industrial USB and a Rig Runner power distribution and run two cables through the mount. I house an industrial mini PC and two power supplies, one for the mount and one for the accessories, in a waterproof cabinet. I use Belkin Wemo wireless switched outlets to turn power on and off. I run the mini PC headless from my office using Windows Remote Desktop.

Frank

Dean Jacobsen
 

On Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 08:03 PM, Rick Socarras wrote:
  I did purchase the keypad should I go off to a remote site. 
Has the keypad software upgrade for the Mach2 been released?
 
--
Dean Jacobsen
http://astrophoto.net/wp/ 
Image Gallery - http://astrophoto.net/wp/image-gallery/
Astrobin - https://www.astrobin.com/users/deanjacobsen/ 

W Hilmo
 

I have a small form factor PC (a Core i5) installed in an Apache case, along
with a RigRunner, an Ethernet hub and a wireless router. I also have a
Pegasus Astro Ultimate PowerBox V2 mounted to the top dovetail plate on my
OTA. The Ultimate PowerBox runs the focuser and dew heaters, and provides a
USB hub for the main and guide cameras. I have one power cable and one USB
3 cable that run through the AP1600.

I have no cable snags because most of the cabling rides on the OTA and I
have just the two cables running through the mount. For setup and take
down, I have just the above 4 connections to plug in. And when I want to go
portable, I can take the OTA and Apache case along with my AP1100 and use
the same setup.

When I want to image, I carry the Apache case out to the mount and attach
the two through-the-mount cables to the computer. I then attach the
Ethernet and power cables from the CP4. At home, I have the wireless router
configured as a bridge to my how wireless network. In the field, I have the
wireless router configured to run as a hotspot. I run the whole thing by
using Remote Desktop to connect to the computer from a laptop, a tablet, or
another PC, depending on whether I am home or in the field.

This would work great with a Mach2. The only difference would be that I
would use the Mach2's power and USB routing instead of running my own cables
through the mount. I was inspired to change my setup to work like above
after looking at the Mach2 at Advanced Imaging Conference. That was a neat
setup with two refractors mounted side-by-side with an Ultimate PowerBox
between them. Prior to doing it this way, I mounted the PC, the RigRunner,
the wireless router, etc. on a plywood board. I strapped the board to the
pier and ran all the cables through the mount. The way that I'm doing it
now is much cleaner and easier.

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Frank
Widmann via groups.io
Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2020 8:58 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach 2 Best Practice with PC #Mach2GTO

Rather than put a mini pc on the moving side of my AP 1600. I mount a
Startech 7-port industrial USB and a Rig Runner power distribution and run
two cables through the mount. I house an industrial mini PC and two power
supplies, one for the mount and one for the accessories, in a waterproof
cabinet. I use Belkin Wemo wireless switched outlets to turn power on and
off. I run the mini PC headless from my office using Windows Remote Desktop.


Frank

Rick Socarras
 

Frank,

Thankyou.  The Mach 2 has a USB and power running through it so I need to figure out if below the mount or the moving side is best.  I'm also running headless with an industrial PC that runs at 12V.  The moving part will have a PegasusAstro Powerbox with all the USBs and additional power breakouts.  I like the WEMO switch idea.  I also agree with Windows Remote Desktop as it just works.

Rick Socarras
 

The keypad was not shipped with my order.  I assume the final software has not been released.

Rick Socarras
 

This setup sounds really great.  Can you share a picture of your Apache case and it's contents.  I'm starting to really love that idea.  In fact, I think my plan is to copy your setup exactly!  

Dean Jacobsen
 

Yes, it would be interesting to see a picture.  Sounds like a nice setup.
--
Dean Jacobsen
http://astrophoto.net/wp/ 
Image Gallery - http://astrophoto.net/wp/image-gallery/
Astrobin - https://www.astrobin.com/users/deanjacobsen/ 

W Hilmo
 

I just uploaded a picture of the setup to my Astrobin gallery:

 

https://www.astrobin.com/gtynd2/

 

-Wade

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dean Jacobsen
Sent: Friday, May 1, 2020 7:37 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach 2 Best Practice with PC #Mach2GTO

 

Yes, it would be interesting to see a picture.  Sounds like a nice setup.
--
Dean Jacobsen
http://astrophoto.net/wp/ 
Image Gallery - http://astrophoto.net/wp/image-gallery/
Astrobin - https://www.astrobin.com/users/deanjacobsen/ 

 

Wade how do you like that pegasus powerbox?

i've been curious about it, but it's a little pricey and i don't need the focus motor controller.

On Fri, May 1, 2020 at 6:18 AM W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:
I have a small form factor PC (a Core i5) installed in an Apache case, along
with a RigRunner, an Ethernet hub and a wireless router.  I also have a
Pegasus Astro Ultimate PowerBox V2 mounted to the top dovetail plate on my
OTA.  The Ultimate PowerBox runs the focuser and dew heaters, and provides a
USB hub for the main and guide cameras.  I have one power cable and one USB
3 cable that run through the AP1600.

I have no cable snags because most of the cabling rides on the OTA and I
have just the two cables running through the mount.  For setup and take
down, I have just the above 4 connections to plug in.  And when I want to go
portable, I can take the OTA and Apache case along with my AP1100 and use
the same setup.

When I want to image, I carry the Apache case out to the mount and attach
the two through-the-mount cables to the computer.  I then attach the
Ethernet and power cables from the CP4.  At home, I have the wireless router
configured as a bridge to my how wireless network.  In the field, I have the
wireless router configured to run as a hotspot.   I run the whole thing by
using Remote Desktop to connect to the computer from a laptop, a tablet, or
another PC, depending on whether I am home or in the field. 

This would work great with a Mach2.  The only difference would be that I
would use the Mach2's power and USB routing instead of running my own cables
through the mount.  I was inspired to change my setup to work like above
after looking at the Mach2 at Advanced Imaging Conference.  That was a neat
setup with two refractors mounted side-by-side with an Ultimate PowerBox
between them.  Prior to doing it this way, I mounted the PC, the RigRunner,
the wireless router, etc. on a plywood board.  I strapped the board to the
pier and ran all the cables through the mount.  The way that I'm doing it
now is much cleaner and easier.

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Frank
Widmann via groups.io
Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2020 8:58 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach 2 Best Practice with PC #Mach2GTO

Rather than put a mini pc on the moving side of my AP 1600. I mount a
Startech 7-port industrial USB and a Rig Runner power distribution and run
two cables through the mount. I house an industrial mini PC and two power
supplies, one for the mount and one for the accessories, in a waterproof
cabinet. I use Belkin Wemo wireless switched outlets to turn power on and
off. I run the mini PC headless from my office using Windows Remote Desktop.


Frank










--
Brian 



Brian Valente

Charles Thompson
 

Thanks for the picture!  Is that the 24" portable pier?





Thanks,
Charles

Sent from mobile device.


-------- Original message --------
From: W Hilmo <y.groups@...>
Date: 5/1/20 10:22 AM (GMT-06:00)
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach 2 Best Practice with PC #Mach2GTO

I just uploaded a picture of the setup to my Astrobin gallery:

 

https://www.astrobin.com/gtynd2/

 

-Wade

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dean Jacobsen
Sent: Friday, May 1, 2020 7:37 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach 2 Best Practice with PC #Mach2GTO

 

Yes, it would be interesting to see a picture.  Sounds like a nice setup.
--
Dean Jacobsen
http://astrophoto.net/wp/ 
Image Gallery - http://astrophoto.net/wp/image-gallery/
Astrobin - https://www.astrobin.com/users/deanjacobsen/ 

W Hilmo
 

I like it quite a lot.  It replaces three other pieces of gear:  an Optec FocusLynx, a DewBuster and a USB hub.  I also like that it’s easy to mount to the top rail on the scope.  It allows me to use software to turn the power ports and USB ports on and off from the computer.  It also reports the amount of current that is in use.

 

The one thing that I’ve run into is that it is pretty sensitive to how the cables are routed.  When I first set it up, and had all of the cable nicely bundled together on the side of the OTA.  When I had it all tidied up, the main imaging camera was pretty unstable.  That’s why the cables are all loose in the image.

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Valente
Sent: Friday, May 1, 2020 8:29 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach 2 Best Practice with PC #Mach2GTO

 

Wade how do you like that pegasus powerbox?

 

i've been curious about it, but it's a little pricey and i don't need the focus motor controller.

 

On Fri, May 1, 2020 at 6:18 AM W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:

I have a small form factor PC (a Core i5) installed in an Apache case, along
with a RigRunner, an Ethernet hub and a wireless router.  I also have a
Pegasus Astro Ultimate PowerBox V2 mounted to the top dovetail plate on my
OTA.  The Ultimate PowerBox runs the focuser and dew heaters, and provides a
USB hub for the main and guide cameras.  I have one power cable and one USB
3 cable that run through the AP1600.

I have no cable snags because most of the cabling rides on the OTA and I
have just the two cables running through the mount.  For setup and take
down, I have just the above 4 connections to plug in.  And when I want to go
portable, I can take the OTA and Apache case along with my AP1100 and use
the same setup.

When I want to image, I carry the Apache case out to the mount and attach
the two through-the-mount cables to the computer.  I then attach the
Ethernet and power cables from the CP4.  At home, I have the wireless router
configured as a bridge to my how wireless network.  In the field, I have the
wireless router configured to run as a hotspot.   I run the whole thing by
using Remote Desktop to connect to the computer from a laptop, a tablet, or
another PC, depending on whether I am home or in the field. 

This would work great with a Mach2.  The only difference would be that I
would use the Mach2's power and USB routing instead of running my own cables
through the mount.  I was inspired to change my setup to work like above
after looking at the Mach2 at Advanced Imaging Conference.  That was a neat
setup with two refractors mounted side-by-side with an Ultimate PowerBox
between them.  Prior to doing it this way, I mounted the PC, the RigRunner,
the wireless router, etc. on a plywood board.  I strapped the board to the
pier and ran all the cables through the mount.  The way that I'm doing it
now is much cleaner and easier.

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Frank
Widmann via groups.io
Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2020 8:58 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach 2 Best Practice with PC #Mach2GTO

Rather than put a mini pc on the moving side of my AP 1600. I mount a
Startech 7-port industrial USB and a Rig Runner power distribution and run
two cables through the mount. I house an industrial mini PC and two power
supplies, one for the mount and one for the accessories, in a waterproof
cabinet. I use Belkin Wemo wireless switched outlets to turn power on and
off. I run the mini PC headless from my office using Windows Remote Desktop.


Frank








 

--

Brian 

 

 

 

Brian Valente

W Hilmo
 

I am pretty sure that it is.  I just went out and measured and the column is 24”.  The bottom of the AP1600 is about 32” above the ground.

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Charles Thompson via groups.io
Sent: Friday, May 1, 2020 8:32 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach 2 Best Practice with PC #Mach2GTO

 

Thanks for the picture!  Is that the 24" portable pier?

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks,

Charles

 

Sent from mobile device.

 

 

-------- Original message --------

From: W Hilmo <y.groups@...>

Date: 5/1/20 10:22 AM (GMT-06:00)

Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach 2 Best Practice with PC #Mach2GTO

 

I just uploaded a picture of the setup to my Astrobin gallery:

 

https://www.astrobin.com/gtynd2/

 

-Wade

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dean Jacobsen
Sent: Friday, May 1, 2020 7:37 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach 2 Best Practice with PC #Mach2GTO

 

Yes, it would be interesting to see a picture.  Sounds like a nice setup.
--
Dean Jacobsen
http://astrophoto.net/wp/ 
Image Gallery - http://astrophoto.net/wp/image-gallery/
Astrobin - https://www.astrobin.com/users/deanjacobsen/ 

Michael Hambrick
 

Nice Wade ! When you are set up at home what are you running off of the Powewerx power supply ?

Best Regards

Michael Hambrick
ARLANXEO
TSR Global Manufacturing Support
PO Box 2000
Orange, TX 77631-2000
Phone: +1 (409) 882-2799
email: mike.hambrick@...

W Hilmo
 

I assume that you are looking for each of the components that are running from that power supply.  If so, I have:

 

AP1600GTO CP4

Pegasus Ultimate PowerBox v2 (which supplies power to the dew heaters and Optec focus motor)

QSI 690wsg-8

Starlight Xpress Ultrastar

Ethernet hub and wireless router

 

The total power draw when imaging is between 3 and 4 amps.  I sometimes image with my C14 as well.  The larger dew heater on that scope pulls about an extra 1 amp over the 8”.

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Michael Hambrick via groups.io
Sent: Friday, May 1, 2020 8:51 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach 2 Best Practice with PC #Mach2GTO

 

Nice Wade ! When you are set up at home what are you running off of the Powewerx power supply ?

Best Regards

Michael Hambrick
ARLANXEO

TSR Global Manufacturing Support
PO Box 2000
Orange, TX 77631-2000
Phone: +1 (409) 882-2799
email: mike.hambrick@...

Charles Thompson
 

I really enjoy using the Pocket Power box and the Ultimate Power box V2. However, when I got my Pocket Power box last year it lasted a month before two of the power outputs quit working and my Ultimate V2 that came a few months ago didn't work right it if the box. They were quick to replace them but I've heard many quality control issues from friends that also use them. I had to reflow the solder joints on the Pocket box because the solder joints were cold and loose.  I couldn't fix the UPBv2 because it was the USB3 controller. They sent me a replacement board quickly and it has worked for several months not without issue. 

Honestly, there isn't another all in one solution that I could find so I'm sticking with them! Initially I made all my money back from the purchase by selling 3 of my Moonlite focus motor controllers. 

Hope that helps!



Thanks,
Charles

Sent from mobile device.


-------- Original message --------
From: W Hilmo <y.groups@...>
Date: 5/1/20 10:35 AM (GMT-06:00)
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach 2 Best Practice with PC #Mach2GTO

I like it quite a lot.  It replaces three other pieces of gear:  an Optec FocusLynx, a DewBuster and a USB hub.  I also like that it’s easy to mount to the top rail on the scope.  It allows me to use software to turn the power ports and USB ports on and off from the computer.  It also reports the amount of current that is in use.

 

The one thing that I’ve run into is that it is pretty sensitive to how the cables are routed.  When I first set it up, and had all of the cable nicely bundled together on the side of the OTA.  When I had it all tidied up, the main imaging camera was pretty unstable.  That’s why the cables are all loose in the image.

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Valente
Sent: Friday, May 1, 2020 8:29 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach 2 Best Practice with PC #Mach2GTO

 

Wade how do you like that pegasus powerbox?

 

i've been curious about it, but it's a little pricey and i don't need the focus motor controller.

 

On Fri, May 1, 2020 at 6:18 AM W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:

I have a small form factor PC (a Core i5) installed in an Apache case, along
with a RigRunner, an Ethernet hub and a wireless router.  I also have a
Pegasus Astro Ultimate PowerBox V2 mounted to the top dovetail plate on my
OTA.  The Ultimate PowerBox runs the focuser and dew heaters, and provides a
USB hub for the main and guide cameras.  I have one power cable and one USB
3 cable that run through the AP1600.

I have no cable snags because most of the cabling rides on the OTA and I
have just the two cables running through the mount.  For setup and take
down, I have just the above 4 connections to plug in.  And when I want to go
portable, I can take the OTA and Apache case along with my AP1100 and use
the same setup.

When I want to image, I carry the Apache case out to the mount and attach
the two through-the-mount cables to the computer.  I then attach the
Ethernet and power cables from the CP4.  At home, I have the wireless router
configured as a bridge to my how wireless network.  In the field, I have the
wireless router configured to run as a hotspot.   I run the whole thing by
using Remote Desktop to connect to the computer from a laptop, a tablet, or
another PC, depending on whether I am home or in the field. 

This would work great with a Mach2.  The only difference would be that I
would use the Mach2's power and USB routing instead of running my own cables
through the mount.  I was inspired to change my setup to work like above
after looking at the Mach2 at Advanced Imaging Conference.  That was a neat
setup with two refractors mounted side-by-side with an Ultimate PowerBox
between them.  Prior to doing it this way, I mounted the PC, the RigRunner,
the wireless router, etc. on a plywood board.  I strapped the board to the
pier and ran all the cables through the mount.  The way that I'm doing it
now is much cleaner and easier.

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Frank
Widmann via groups.io
Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2020 8:58 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach 2 Best Practice with PC #Mach2GTO

Rather than put a mini pc on the moving side of my AP 1600. I mount a
Startech 7-port industrial USB and a Rig Runner power distribution and run
two cables through the mount. I house an industrial mini PC and two power
supplies, one for the mount and one for the accessories, in a waterproof
cabinet. I use Belkin Wemo wireless switched outlets to turn power on and
off. I run the mini PC headless from my office using Windows Remote Desktop.


Frank








 

--

Brian 

 

 

 

Brian Valente

Rick Socarras
 

Wade,

Thankyou.  Great Idea.  Although I'm still surprised by how many cables we need to deal with.  The Mach 2 will need to have 2 power connections...mount at 24V and all else at 12V.  I can't wait to figure out how all this comes together for me.  I just ordered the Rigriunner to help keep things as neat as possible.  Next stop is a case!  Thanks again for sharing.

Rick

Frank Widmann
 

Rick,

I elected to keep the mini PC on the stationary side because I connect it to the GTOCP4 via a serial cable. I also connect other stationary items like the Astromi.ch GPS/Environmental sensor, and a field monitor I keep in the cabinet with a wireless mouse and keypad for at the scope work for work at the scope.

Frank