Updating Cabling


Bill Gardner
 

After having the CP4 upgrade sitting for longer than I wish to admit, I am finally installing it.  At the same time, I figured I'd do a full overhaul of the wiring, since when it was originally done, serial was still normal and only a couple components were USB.  Now they all are.  So my question is what would be your suggestion to minimize the wiring.  I figure a good USB hub at the mount and only one going back to the computer.  Any other suggestions?  This is for a permanent setup.

Bill
_____________

Pictor Observatory
http://www.pictorobservatory.ca

Twitter: @pictorobs

Minor Planet 21350 - billgardner


M Hambrick
 

Icron Ranger. A-P has them on their website 


On Sep 18, 2020, at 6:17 PM, Bill Gardner <pictorobservatory@...> wrote:


After having the CP4 upgrade sitting for longer than I wish to admit, I am finally installing it.  At the same time, I figured I'd do a full overhaul of the wiring, since when it was originally done, serial was still normal and only a couple components were USB.  Now they all are.  So my question is what would be your suggestion to minimize the wiring.  I figure a good USB hub at the mount and only one going back to the computer.  Any other suggestions?  This is for a permanent setup.

Bill
_____________

Pictor Observatory
http://www.pictorobservatory.ca

Twitter: @pictorobs

Minor Planet 21350 - billgardner


Mike Dodd
 

On 9/18/2020 7:16 PM, Bill Gardner wrote:
...serial was
still normal and only a couple components were USB. Now they all are.
So my question is what would be your suggestion to minimize the wiring.
I figure a good USB hub at the mount and only one going back to the
computer. Any other suggestions?
Some questions:

1. Do you plan on imaging? Does your camera have a USB 3.0 port?

If so, I recommend a dedicated USB 3.0 cable from the PC to the camera.

2. Does your PC have a real RS-232 serial port?

If so, I see no reason not to use it. Serial ports are rock-solid, and you'll never have a problem like you might have with USB.

3. How long will your cables be from the PC to the mount and other equipment at the pier?

If longer than 5 meters, you'll need a powered USB extension cable for the USB 2 hub, plus one for USB 3.0 if you have a USB 3.0 camera or other equipment.

4. Why do you want to use a USB hub? Is there a reason you don't want to run dedicated cables from the USB ports on the PC to the various equipments?

I'm not a fan of USB hubs. I've used some that worked well, then didn't after a few months. Maybe the temperature dropped to low for them.

I am, however, a fan of the Icron Ranger that allows USB 2 (only; no USB 3.0) connections over a CAT5 cable up to 100 meters long. <http://www.icron.com/products/icron-brand/legacy/usb-2-0-ranger-2204/>

I use one of these in my observatory to avoid USB extension cables that would make the total run to the equipment just a bit longer than 5 meters. The local box (LEX) plugs into a USB 2 port, and the remote box (REX) at the pier has its own power supply and four USB 2 ports. I operate my guide camera, focuser, and camera rotator (3 USB ports) through the Ranger.


Summary of my suggestions:

1. Use an RS-232 serial cable to the mount if your PC has a serial port.

2. Use an Icron Ranger instead of a USB hub if you don't want to run dedicated USB cables to the pier.

3. If you have a USB 3.0 camera, run a dedicated powered USB 3.0 extension cable to it.

Hope this helps.

--
Mike

Mike Dodd
Louisa County, Virginia USA
http://astronomy.mdodd.com


Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri
 

I currently run a semi-permanent system (the AP1100 stays outside covered In a Telegizmo cover) and I mount the OTA when I’m going to image. I have a NUC mounted on the side of my pier with a single Cat5 cable going to my house. All the equipment attaches to the NUC. Cables run from the camera thru the mount head to the NUC. I have a hub from Starizona that I also use. I remote login to access the mount and scope. I can send more details and a few pics of you like. Works great.

On Sep 18, 2020, at 7:43 PM, Mike Dodd <mike@mdodd.com> wrote:

On 9/18/2020 7:16 PM, Bill Gardner wrote:
...serial was
still normal and only a couple components were USB. Now they all are.
So my question is what would be your suggestion to minimize the wiring.
I figure a good USB hub at the mount and only one going back to the
computer. Any other suggestions?
Some questions:

1. Do you plan on imaging? Does your camera have a USB 3.0 port?

If so, I recommend a dedicated USB 3.0 cable from the PC to the camera.

2. Does your PC have a real RS-232 serial port?

If so, I see no reason not to use it. Serial ports are rock-solid, and you'll never have a problem like you might have with USB.

3. How long will your cables be from the PC to the mount and other equipment at the pier?

If longer than 5 meters, you'll need a powered USB extension cable for the USB 2 hub, plus one for USB 3.0 if you have a USB 3.0 camera or other equipment.

4. Why do you want to use a USB hub? Is there a reason you don't want to run dedicated cables from the USB ports on the PC to the various equipments?

I'm not a fan of USB hubs. I've used some that worked well, then didn't after a few months. Maybe the temperature dropped to low for them.

I am, however, a fan of the Icron Ranger that allows USB 2 (only; no USB 3.0) connections over a CAT5 cable up to 100 meters long. <http://www.icron.com/products/icron-brand/legacy/usb-2-0-ranger-2204/>

I use one of these in my observatory to avoid USB extension cables that would make the total run to the equipment just a bit longer than 5 meters. The local box (LEX) plugs into a USB 2 port, and the remote box (REX) at the pier has its own power supply and four USB 2 ports. I operate my guide camera, focuser, and camera rotator (3 USB ports) through the Ranger.


Summary of my suggestions:

1. Use an RS-232 serial cable to the mount if your PC has a serial port.

2. Use an Icron Ranger instead of a USB hub if you don't want to run dedicated USB cables to the pier.

3. If you have a USB 3.0 camera, run a dedicated powered USB 3.0 extension cable to it.

Hope this helps.

--
Mike

Mike Dodd
Louisa County, Virginia USA
http://astronomy.mdodd.com





Bill Long
 

My Mach 1's CP4 upgrade arrived via FedEx today (thanks AP!) and it was on the mount and tested within minutes of its arrival. 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Bill Gardner <pictorobservatory@...>
Sent: Friday, September 18, 2020 4:16 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: [ap-gto] Updating Cabling
 
After having the CP4 upgrade sitting for longer than I wish to admit, I am finally installing it.  At the same time, I figured I'd do a full overhaul of the wiring, since when it was originally done, serial was still normal and only a couple components were USB.  Now they all are.  So my question is what would be your suggestion to minimize the wiring.  I figure a good USB hub at the mount and only one going back to the computer.  Any other suggestions?  This is for a permanent setup.

Bill
_____________

Pictor Observatory
http://www.pictorobservatory.ca

Twitter: @pictorobs

Minor Planet 21350 - billgardner


CurtisC
 

On Fri, Sep 18, 2020 at 06:42 PM, Mike Dodd wrote:
1. Use an RS-232 serial cable to the mount if your PC has a serial port.
I have CP3, which requires a serial connection to the mount.  I use the Keyspan serial-USB adapter, which works well for me.  I know some people hate them.  I had an FTDI adapter, but it died after six months.


Mike Dodd
 

On 9/18/2020 9:17 PM, CurtisC via groups.io wrote:
On Fri, Sep 18, 2020 at 06:42 PM, Mike Dodd wrote:

1. Use an RS-232 serial cable to the mount if your PC has a serial port.

I have CP3, which requires a serial connection to the mount. I use the
Keyspan serial-USB adapter, which works well for me.
To keep my reply simple, I didn't mention that I have an Edgeport USB-to-serial box with two RS-232 ports. It continues to work perfectly after more than 15 years.

--- Mike


Dale Ghent
 

On Sep 18, 2020, at 7:16 PM, Bill Gardner <pictorobservatory@gmail.com> wrote:

After having the CP4 upgrade sitting for longer than I wish to admit, I am finally installing it. At the same time, I figured I'd do a full overhaul of the wiring, since when it was originally done, serial was still normal and only a couple components were USB. Now they all are. So my question is what would be your suggestion to minimize the wiring. I figure a good USB hub at the mount and only one going back to the computer. Any other suggestions? This is for a permanent setup.
I've been through a few iterations with my setups over the years because I'm a mobile imager who sets up and tears down every time, and I have two setups - my large one based around a 130GTX/Mach1/Eagle tripod and small one based around a CFF 92mm/RST-135/Supermount CYG48 tripod. If anything, reduction in cabling and components is critical to getting set up and torn down quickly so I've aimed to keep things simple and modular.

First, if you can, keep all you can on the telescope, or at least somewhere on the dec axis as possible. Critically, this includes the PC itself. Mini PCs have come a long way and are more than adequate for the rigors of imaging (I stuff frames from a 61mp camera through mine, a variant of the Intel NUC). They ride on top of your telescope or somewhere conveniently placed and often have enough USB ports on themselves to service your camera, focuser/rotator, mount, guide camera, and anything else with short USB cables. If you need more ports, adding a small powered hub is no big deal.

For power distribution, a powerpole hub with cables to the requisite components to juice them also sits next to the PC. In the end, you have just 2 cables dangling down from the scope: a short USB cable to the mount control box, and a 12V DC power main from your power supply up to the powerpole distribution hub. Using the CP4's wireless, you can even eliminate the USB cable, leaving you with a single 12V DC cable coming off the top.

I've ran with that for a few years, but now I'm further simplifying things. The top of my 130GTX is hairy. Powerpole hub, USB hub, NUC Mini-PC, Starlight FocusBoss controller, and a 2-channel dew controller, all stuck to the 14" losmandy D-plate with 3M Dual-Lock. I'm currently renovating this mess and replacing all of it with a Ultimate Power Box v2 from Pegasus Astro. 6-port USB hub, 6 12V outputs (1 is variable voltage from 3V to 12V), a stepper motor focuser controller (works with the HSM35), and 3-channel dew controller... in just 1 box. The 12V outputs are controlled via ASCOM switches, as are the dew controller outputs. The USB ports can have their power cycled on and off, and it also has a temperature and humidity probe that can be set to control the dew controller, and its data is available via ASCOM as well.

Here's a photo. All the boxes on top of the 130 GTX will be replaced by that single blue box:
https://i.imgur.com/10n3qXr.jpg

As for running the mini-PC on the mount, it has its advantages. You don't need to stress over expensive and balky USB extension cables, or deal with the occasional gremlins that crop up with that punt their traffic over them. It completely eliminates the waterfall of cables coming off or going through your mount and all the critical traffic goes short distances. I use remote desktop to access the mini PC from any of my Macs, Windows PC, iPad, or a Dell tablet PC that I have, and it works seamlessly. I highly suggest RDP over TeamViewer or VNC due to how RDP works. You just need either Windows Pro or use a script that is available on the interwebs to unlock the RDP service on the mini PC if you don't run Windows Pro.

With the mini PC on your wired or wireless network, you can access it from anywhere in your house... no need to camp out in the observatory or hunch over a laptop in the cold. For getting data off of the mini PC, you just share out the folder where all your images get deposited and copy them over to your processing PC like you would with any network-connected drive.

/dale


Sébastien Doré
 

Hello Dale,

I’m also a mobile imager and agree the on-mount mini-PC should relieve a lot of the cable management burden while setting up / tearing down. I do not have any yet (besides a raspberry pi project I’m working on that will definitely not work below freezing temp next winter - I’m at 47 deg latitude and much of the 6-month winter season here is between -15 and -25C) so I was wondering if yours is an industrial type of mini-PC and if so what model it is.

BTW that PAUPBv2 will definitely help reducing the weight AND look slick on top of your rig. I wonder if AP could integrate those functions in a « Ultimate CP-X » eventually as electronics tend to require less and less power these days, just saying... 🤔

Sébastien

Le 19 sept. 2020 à 01:09, Dale Ghent <daleg@elemental.org> a écrit :


On Sep 18, 2020, at 7:16 PM, Bill Gardner <pictorobservatory@gmail.com> wrote:

After having the CP4 upgrade sitting for longer than I wish to admit, I am finally installing it. At the same time, I figured I'd do a full overhaul of the wiring, since when it was originally done, serial was still normal and only a couple components were USB. Now they all are. So my question is what would be your suggestion to minimize the wiring. I figure a good USB hub at the mount and only one going back to the computer. Any other suggestions? This is for a permanent setup.
I've been through a few iterations with my setups over the years because I'm a mobile imager who sets up and tears down every time, and I have two setups - my large one based around a 130GTX/Mach1/Eagle tripod and small one based around a CFF 92mm/RST-135/Supermount CYG48 tripod. If anything, reduction in cabling and components is critical to getting set up and torn down quickly so I've aimed to keep things simple and modular.

First, if you can, keep all you can on the telescope, or at least somewhere on the dec axis as possible. Critically, this includes the PC itself. Mini PCs have come a long way and are more than adequate for the rigors of imaging (I stuff frames from a 61mp camera through mine, a variant of the Intel NUC). They ride on top of your telescope or somewhere conveniently placed and often have enough USB ports on themselves to service your camera, focuser/rotator, mount, guide camera, and anything else with short USB cables. If you need more ports, adding a small powered hub is no big deal.

For power distribution, a powerpole hub with cables to the requisite components to juice them also sits next to the PC. In the end, you have just 2 cables dangling down from the scope: a short USB cable to the mount control box, and a 12V DC power main from your power supply up to the powerpole distribution hub. Using the CP4's wireless, you can even eliminate the USB cable, leaving you with a single 12V DC cable coming off the top.

I've ran with that for a few years, but now I'm further simplifying things. The top of my 130GTX is hairy. Powerpole hub, USB hub, NUC Mini-PC, Starlight FocusBoss controller, and a 2-channel dew controller, all stuck to the 14" losmandy D-plate with 3M Dual-Lock. I'm currently renovating this mess and replacing all of it with a Ultimate Power Box v2 from Pegasus Astro. 6-port USB hub, 6 12V outputs (1 is variable voltage from 3V to 12V), a stepper motor focuser controller (works with the HSM35), and 3-channel dew controller... in just 1 box. The 12V outputs are controlled via ASCOM switches, as are the dew controller outputs. The USB ports can have their power cycled on and off, and it also has a temperature and humidity probe that can be set to control the dew controller, and its data is available via ASCOM as well.

Here's a photo. All the boxes on top of the 130 GTX will be replaced by that single blue box:
https://i.imgur.com/10n3qXr.jpg

As for running the mini-PC on the mount, it has its advantages. You don't need to stress over expensive and balky USB extension cables, or deal with the occasional gremlins that crop up with that punt their traffic over them. It completely eliminates the waterfall of cables coming off or going through your mount and all the critical traffic goes short distances. I use remote desktop to access the mini PC from any of my Macs, Windows PC, iPad, or a Dell tablet PC that I have, and it works seamlessly. I highly suggest RDP over TeamViewer or VNC due to how RDP works. You just need either Windows Pro or use a script that is available on the interwebs to unlock the RDP service on the mini PC if you don't run Windows Pro.

With the mini PC on your wired or wireless network, you can access it from anywhere in your house... no need to camp out in the observatory or hunch over a laptop in the cold. For getting data off of the mini PC, you just share out the folder where all your images get deposited and copy them over to your processing PC like you would with any network-connected drive.

/dale




Edward Beshore
 

Dale

Well you made my day!

 I am getting my AP1200/155EDF out of mothballs after 18 years and revamping the camera, mount, focuser control. One of the bugaboos from 2000 was the cabling mess getting everything over to my 486 running Win2K. Now I am going with INDI/Raspberry Pi and already things were looking up with the ability to put the PC directly on the side of the telescope. The Ultimate Power Box finishes off the problem completely. Running wireless to the computer and the upgraded AP1200 with the CP4 control box I should be able to keep the cable coming off the tube to the single power cable.

Thanks for chiming in on this topic

Ed Beshore


Dale Ghent
 

On Sep 19, 2020, at 9:20 AM, Seb@stro <sebastiendore1@hotmail.com> wrote:

Hello Dale,

I’m also a mobile imager and agree the on-mount mini-PC should relieve a lot of the cable management burden while setting up / tearing down. I do not have any yet (besides a raspberry pi project I’m working on that will definitely not work below freezing temp next winter - I’m at 47 deg latitude and much of the 6-month winter season here is between -15 and -25C) so I was wondering if yours is an industrial type of mini-PC and if so what model it is.
I use an industrial fanless mini PC from OnLogic, in their ML100 series, specifically the ML100G-51 model:
https://www.onlogic.com/computers/industrial/fanless/ml100-series/

The Whiskey Lake CPUs have a 15W TDP and so are very powerful but also very kind on battry-powered setups. However, I also run the Whiskey Lake CPUs because I run a 61mp QHY600 camera, and lower-powered Celerons (J series, N series) would have a tough time with that during autofocus and other image analysis operations. But if you went with a Celeron-based model, you would see even lower-powered usage.

The body of the case is a heat sink so it keeps itself clear of dew, and it doesn't have a fan to blow humid air through the inside, either. It also has external wifi antennas (vs. an intel NUC, which is internal) so when setting up at home, it has the reach to get good speeds on my home wireless network. When in the field I use a low power wifi router (repurposed Apple Airport Express) to make a small wireless network on the spot that the unit will auto-connect to. I am starting to experiment with the reliability of Windows' Mobile Hotspot/Hotspot On Demand feature, and if that works reliably I can remove the small wifi router from the setup. It's a shame that Windows 10 discontinued wireless ad-hoc mode, which was a bit more foolproof.

The only similar alternative to the OnLogic fanless models I found were SimplyNUC's Por-cool-pine line of fanless systems:
http://simplynuc.com/nuc-products/#fanless


Christopher Erickson
 

For me, most of the time a remote PC just simply won't work. I enjoy doing occultations with my two QHY174M-GPS cameras. Mini-PC's don't have the raw horsepower to do that and also tolerate the latency of a remote connection when capturing QHY174M full resolution, full depth FITS frames anywhere from 2 to 450 frames a second. I use a USB3 hub on the OTA to aggregate everything except the main camera, which gets its own dedicated USB3 cable to my occultation laptop. So there are two USB and one power cable through my AP mounts. I also have a PowerPole hub on the OTA. My laptop is usually a powerful gamer's model with a 2TB SSD drive.

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
   

On Sat, Sep 19, 2020, 9:32 AM Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:


> On Sep 19, 2020, at 9:20 AM, Seb@stro <sebastiendore1@...> wrote:
>
> Hello Dale,
>
> I’m also a mobile imager and agree the on-mount mini-PC should relieve a lot of the cable management burden while setting up / tearing down. I do not have any yet (besides a raspberry pi project I’m working on that will definitely not work below freezing temp next winter - I’m at 47 deg latitude and much of the 6-month winter season here is between -15 and -25C) so I was wondering if yours is an industrial type of mini-PC and if so what model it is.

I use an industrial fanless mini PC from OnLogic, in their ML100 series, specifically the ML100G-51 model:
https://www.onlogic.com/computers/industrial/fanless/ml100-series/

The Whiskey Lake CPUs have a 15W TDP and so are very powerful but also very kind on battry-powered setups. However, I also run the Whiskey Lake CPUs because I run a 61mp QHY600 camera, and lower-powered Celerons (J series, N series) would have a tough time with that during autofocus and other image analysis operations. But if you went with a Celeron-based model, you would see even lower-powered usage.

The body of the case is a heat sink so it keeps itself clear of dew, and it doesn't have a fan to blow humid air through the inside, either. It also has external wifi antennas (vs. an intel NUC, which is internal) so when setting up at home, it has the reach to get good speeds on my home wireless network. When in the field I use a low power wifi router (repurposed Apple Airport Express) to make a small wireless network on the spot that the unit will auto-connect to. I am starting to experiment with the reliability of Windows' Mobile Hotspot/Hotspot On Demand feature, and if that works reliably I can remove the small wifi router from the setup. It's a shame that Windows 10 discontinued wireless ad-hoc mode, which was a bit more foolproof.

The only similar alternative to the OnLogic fanless models I found were SimplyNUC's Por-cool-pine line of fanless systems:
http://simplynuc.com/nuc-products/#fanless





DFisch
 

Dale, thanks for the suggestion of the OnLogic. Nice piece of electronics. Tom Fischer, INdy

On Sep 19, 2020, at 12:32 PM, Dale Ghent <daleg@elemental.org> wrote:



On Sep 19, 2020, at 9:20 AM, Seb@stro <sebastiendore1@hotmail.com> wrote:

Hello Dale,

I’m also a mobile imager and agree the on-mount mini-PC should relieve a lot of the cable management burden while setting up / tearing down. I do not have any yet (besides a raspberry pi project I’m working on that will definitely not work below freezing temp next winter - I’m at 47 deg latitude and much of the 6-month winter season here is between -15 and -25C) so I was wondering if yours is an industrial type of mini-PC and if so what model it is.
I use an industrial fanless mini PC from OnLogic, in their ML100 series, specifically the ML100G-51 model:
https://www.onlogic.com/computers/industrial/fanless/ml100-series/

The Whiskey Lake CPUs have a 15W TDP and so are very powerful but also very kind on battry-powered setups. However, I also run the Whiskey Lake CPUs because I run a 61mp QHY600 camera, and lower-powered Celerons (J series, N series) would have a tough time with that during autofocus and other image analysis operations. But if you went with a Celeron-based model, you would see even lower-powered usage.

The body of the case is a heat sink so it keeps itself clear of dew, and it doesn't have a fan to blow humid air through the inside, either. It also has external wifi antennas (vs. an intel NUC, which is internal) so when setting up at home, it has the reach to get good speeds on my home wireless network. When in the field I use a low power wifi router (repurposed Apple Airport Express) to make a small wireless network on the spot that the unit will auto-connect to. I am starting to experiment with the reliability of Windows' Mobile Hotspot/Hotspot On Demand feature, and if that works reliably I can remove the small wifi router from the setup. It's a shame that Windows 10 discontinued wireless ad-hoc mode, which was a bit more foolproof.

The only similar alternative to the OnLogic fanless models I found were SimplyNUC's Por-cool-pine line of fanless systems:
http://simplynuc.com/nuc-products/#fanless




Lee Dodge
 

Forgive my ignorance, but what is the reason for wanting a fan-less mini-PC.  Is it power consumption, vibration, air currents (but there will be thermal currents regardless), or something else?  

With winter approaching, and a relatively high altitude observatory (8600' and 13 miles from the Continental Divide), I usually shut down astrophotography for about five months out of the year.  I have a heated room about 150' from the observatory dome, so I would like to investigate the possibilities of operating from inside a comfortable space.  The winter skies are often clear and always dark, but very cold for doing nothing but leaning over the computer.   

Thanks,
Lee

On Sat, Sep 19, 2020 at 11:30 AM DFisch <manusfisch@...> wrote:
Dale, thanks for the suggestion of the OnLogic.  Nice piece of electronics.  Tom Fischer, INdy

> On Sep 19, 2020, at 12:32 PM, Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:
>
>
>
>> On Sep 19, 2020, at 9:20 AM, Seb@stro <sebastiendore1@...> wrote:
>>
>> Hello Dale,
>>
>> I’m also a mobile imager and agree the on-mount mini-PC should relieve a lot of the cable management burden while setting up / tearing down. I do not have any yet (besides a raspberry pi project I’m working on that will definitely not work below freezing temp next winter - I’m at 47 deg latitude and much of the 6-month winter season here is between -15 and -25C) so I was wondering if yours is an industrial type of mini-PC and if so what model it is.
>
> I use an industrial fanless mini PC from OnLogic, in their ML100 series, specifically the ML100G-51 model:
> https://www.onlogic.com/computers/industrial/fanless/ml100-series/
>
> The Whiskey Lake CPUs have a 15W TDP and so are very powerful but also very kind on battry-powered setups. However, I also run the Whiskey Lake CPUs because I run a 61mp QHY600 camera, and lower-powered Celerons (J series, N series) would have a tough time with that during autofocus and other image analysis operations. But if you went with a Celeron-based model, you would see even lower-powered usage.
>
> The body of the case is a heat sink so it keeps itself clear of dew, and it doesn't have a fan to blow humid air through the inside, either. It also has external wifi antennas (vs. an intel NUC, which is internal) so when setting up at home, it has the reach to get good speeds on my home wireless network. When in the field I use a low power wifi router (repurposed Apple Airport Express) to make a small wireless network on the spot that the unit will auto-connect to. I am starting to experiment with the reliability of Windows' Mobile Hotspot/Hotspot On Demand feature, and if that works reliably I can remove the small wifi router from the setup. It's a shame that Windows 10 discontinued wireless ad-hoc mode, which was a bit more foolproof.
>
> The only similar alternative to the OnLogic fanless models I found were SimplyNUC's Por-cool-pine line of fanless systems:
> http://simplynuc.com/nuc-products/#fanless
>
>
>
>







CurtisC
 

I think the idea is that fans, especially the cheap little fans in typical laptops, are prone to failure.  I've never had one fail, but it seems logical to me that they would be the components most likely to fail other than hard drives.  These fan-less computers are -- hypothetically -- immutable bricks.


Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri
 

For me the mini-pc is relatively cheap, powerful enough to run my programs, and allows all my USB connections to be made close to the scope and mount. No need for USB extensions or having a notebook PC out in the damp air. And the small footprint is great. For about $250 you can now get a core i5 with WinPro 8GB ram 128GB SSD 2 USB2 and 2 USB 3 ports. I can power it from a 12v connection to my power station and run a single LAN cable to the house. 


On Sep 19, 2020, at 6:15 PM, Lee Dodge <ldodge12@...> wrote:


Forgive my ignorance, but what is the reason for wanting a fan-less mini-PC.  Is it power consumption, vibration, air currents (but there will be thermal currents regardless), or something else?  

With winter approaching, and a relatively high altitude observatory (8600' and 13 miles from the Continental Divide), I usually shut down astrophotography for about five months out of the year.  I have a heated room about 150' from the observatory dome, so I would like to investigate the possibilities of operating from inside a comfortable space.  The winter skies are often clear and always dark, but very cold for doing nothing but leaning over the computer.   

Thanks,
Lee

On Sat, Sep 19, 2020 at 11:30 AM DFisch <manusfisch@...> wrote:
Dale, thanks for the suggestion of the OnLogic.  Nice piece of electronics.  Tom Fischer, INdy

> On Sep 19, 2020, at 12:32 PM, Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:
>
>
>
>> On Sep 19, 2020, at 9:20 AM, Seb@stro <sebastiendore1@...> wrote:
>>
>> Hello Dale,
>>
>> I’m also a mobile imager and agree the on-mount mini-PC should relieve a lot of the cable management burden while setting up / tearing down. I do not have any yet (besides a raspberry pi project I’m working on that will definitely not work below freezing temp next winter - I’m at 47 deg latitude and much of the 6-month winter season here is between -15 and -25C) so I was wondering if yours is an industrial type of mini-PC and if so what model it is.
>
> I use an industrial fanless mini PC from OnLogic, in their ML100 series, specifically the ML100G-51 model:
> https://www.onlogic.com/computers/industrial/fanless/ml100-series/
>
> The Whiskey Lake CPUs have a 15W TDP and so are very powerful but also very kind on battry-powered setups. However, I also run the Whiskey Lake CPUs because I run a 61mp QHY600 camera, and lower-powered Celerons (J series, N series) would have a tough time with that during autofocus and other image analysis operations. But if you went with a Celeron-based model, you would see even lower-powered usage.
>
> The body of the case is a heat sink so it keeps itself clear of dew, and it doesn't have a fan to blow humid air through the inside, either. It also has external wifi antennas (vs. an intel NUC, which is internal) so when setting up at home, it has the reach to get good speeds on my home wireless network. When in the field I use a low power wifi router (repurposed Apple Airport Express) to make a small wireless network on the spot that the unit will auto-connect to. I am starting to experiment with the reliability of Windows' Mobile Hotspot/Hotspot On Demand feature, and if that works reliably I can remove the small wifi router from the setup. It's a shame that Windows 10 discontinued wireless ad-hoc mode, which was a bit more foolproof.
>
> The only similar alternative to the OnLogic fanless models I found were SimplyNUC's Por-cool-pine line of fanless systems:
> http://simplynuc.com/nuc-products/#fanless
>
>
>
>







 

>>>Forgive my ignorance, but what is the reason for wanting a fan-less mini-PC.  Is it power consumption, vibration, air currents (but there will be thermal currents regardless), or something else?  


curtis has it exactly right, fans are one of the main culprits to fail. and if you can remove that weak point, chances of PC failing are greatly reduced. we have a fairly robust OnLogic industrial fanless PC at atacama. it's great 

On Sat, Sep 19, 2020 at 4:06 PM CurtisC via groups.io <calypte=verizon.net@groups.io> wrote:
I think the idea is that fans, especially the cheap little fans in typical laptops, are prone to failure.  I've never had one fail, but it seems logical to me that they would be the components most likely to fail other than hard drives.  These fan-less computers are -- hypothetically -- immutable bricks.



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri
 

Ah. I now see I tried to answer the wrong question. My bad. My current NUC is supposed to be fanless but I hear one inside!  I need to research the failure rate of these fans. My NUC has been running for at least 18 months with no issues - but of course not 24/7:)


On Sep 19, 2020, at 7:13 PM, Brian Valente <bvalente@...> wrote:


>>>Forgive my ignorance, but what is the reason for wanting a fan-less mini-PC.  Is it power consumption, vibration, air currents (but there will be thermal currents regardless), or something else?  


curtis has it exactly right, fans are one of the main culprits to fail. and if you can remove that weak point, chances of PC failing are greatly reduced. we have a fairly robust OnLogic industrial fanless PC at atacama. it's great 

On Sat, Sep 19, 2020 at 4:06 PM CurtisC via groups.io <calypte=verizon.net@groups.io> wrote:
I think the idea is that fans, especially the cheap little fans in typical laptops, are prone to failure.  I've never had one fail, but it seems logical to me that they would be the components most likely to fail other than hard drives.  These fan-less computers are -- hypothetically -- immutable bricks.



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Michael Freeberg <snopak@...>
 

Do you have any recommendations about a good mini pc...thanks Mike

On Sep 19, 2020 6:08 PM, Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri <mjmangieri@...> wrote:
For me the mini-pc is relatively cheap, powerful enough to run my programs, and allows all my USB connections to be made close to the scope and mount. No need for USB extensions or having a notebook PC out in the damp air. And the small footprint is great. For about $250 you can now get a core i5 with WinPro 8GB ram 128GB SSD 2 USB2 and 2 USB 3 ports. I can power it from a 12v connection to my power station and run a single LAN cable to the house. 


On Sep 19, 2020, at 6:15 PM, Lee Dodge <ldodge12@...> wrote:


Forgive my ignorance, but what is the reason for wanting a fan-less mini-PC.  Is it power consumption, vibration, air currents (but there will be thermal currents regardless), or something else?  

With winter approaching, and a relatively high altitude observatory (8600' and 13 miles from the Continental Divide), I usually shut down astrophotography for about five months out of the year.  I have a heated room about 150' from the observatory dome, so I would like to investigate the possibilities of operating from inside a comfortable space.  The winter skies are often clear and always dark, but very cold for doing nothing but leaning over the computer.   

Thanks,
Lee

On Sat, Sep 19, 2020 at 11:30 AM DFisch <manusfisch@...> wrote:
Dale, thanks for the suggestion of the OnLogic.  Nice piece of electronics.  Tom Fischer, INdy

> On Sep 19, 2020, at 12:32 PM, Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:
>
>
>
>> On Sep 19, 2020, at 9:20 AM, Seb@stro <sebastiendore1@...> wrote:
>>
>> Hello Dale,
>>
>> I’m also a mobile imager and agree the on-mount mini-PC should relieve a lot of the cable management burden while setting up / tearing down. I do not have any yet (besides a raspberry pi project I’m working on that will definitely not work below freezing temp next winter - I’m at 47 deg latitude and much of the 6-month winter season here is between -15 and -25C) so I was wondering if yours is an industrial type of mini-PC and if so what model it is.
>
> I use an industrial fanless mini PC from OnLogic, in their ML100 series, specifically the ML100G-51 model:
> https://www.onlogic.com/computers/industrial/fanless/ml100-series/
>
> The Whiskey Lake CPUs have a 15W TDP and so are very powerful but also very kind on battry-powered setups. However, I also run the Whiskey Lake CPUs because I run a 61mp QHY600 camera, and lower-powered Celerons (J series, N series) would have a tough time with that during autofocus and other image analysis operations. But if you went with a Celeron-based model, you would see even lower-powered usage.
>
> The body of the case is a heat sink so it keeps itself clear of dew, and it doesn't have a fan to blow humid air through the inside, either. It also has external wifi antennas (vs. an intel NUC, which is internal) so when setting up at home, it has the reach to get good speeds on my home wireless network. When in the field I use a low power wifi router (repurposed Apple Airport Express) to make a small wireless network on the spot that the unit will auto-connect to. I am starting to experiment with the reliability of Windows' Mobile Hotspot/Hotspot On Demand feature, and if that works reliably I can remove the small wifi router from the setup. It's a shame that Windows 10 discontinued wireless ad-hoc mode, which was a bit more foolproof.
>
> The only similar alternative to the OnLogic fanless models I found were SimplyNUC's Por-cool-pine line of fanless systems:
> http://simplynuc.com/nuc-products/#fanless
>
>
>
>








Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri
 

I’m currently running my rig with the following (apparently, no longer available on Amazon):

 

Mini PC, Intel Celeron Processor J3455 6 GB DDR4 / 64 GB eMMC Mini Desktop Computer with Windows 10, HDMI and VGA Connection, Dual Band WiFi, BT 4.2, 3 USB 3.0, VESA Holder

 

This winter I’m thinking of replacing it with the following (more RAM, faster processor):

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0872S365N/?coliid=I3MO5NETTGVHLO&colid=22DVXOEKTDSSN&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

 

I did have a problem with the Minis Forum NUC that I currently use: one of the USB 3.0 ports was acting flakey.  So I connected it to my powered hub using another port, ran my focuser and APCC via the hub and the ASI1600 on the other 3.0 port o the NUC. That fixed the problem.

 

There are so many mini-pcs out there it’s hard to tell which are better than others. And I think they’re all made in China.  But at $254 if it lasts a couple of years that’s great.

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Michael Freeberg
Sent: Saturday, September 19, 2020 7:17 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Updating Cabling

 

Do you have any recommendations about a good mini pc...thanks Mike

 

On Sep 19, 2020 6:08 PM, Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri <mjmangieri@...> wrote:

For me the mini-pc is relatively cheap, powerful enough to run my programs, and allows all my USB connections to be made close to the scope and mount. No need for USB extensions or having a notebook PC out in the damp air. And the small footprint is great. For about $250 you can now get a core i5 with WinPro 8GB ram 128GB SSD 2 USB2 and 2 USB 3 ports. I can power it from a 12v connection to my power station and run a single LAN cable to the house. 

 

 

On Sep 19, 2020, at 6:15 PM, Lee Dodge <ldodge12@...> wrote:



Forgive my ignorance, but what is the reason for wanting a fan-less mini-PC.  Is it power consumption, vibration, air currents (but there will be thermal currents regardless), or something else?  

 

With winter approaching, and a relatively high altitude observatory (8600' and 13 miles from the Continental Divide), I usually shut down astrophotography for about five months out of the year.  I have a heated room about 150' from the observatory dome, so I would like to investigate the possibilities of operating from inside a comfortable space.  The winter skies are often clear and always dark, but very cold for doing nothing but leaning over the computer.   

 

Thanks,

Lee

 

On Sat, Sep 19, 2020 at 11:30 AM DFisch <manusfisch@...> wrote:

Dale, thanks for the suggestion of the OnLogic.  Nice piece of electronics.  Tom Fischer, INdy

> On Sep 19, 2020, at 12:32 PM, Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:
>
>
>
>> On Sep 19, 2020, at 9:20 AM, Seb@stro <sebastiendore1@...> wrote:
>>
>> Hello Dale,
>>
>> I’m also a mobile imager and agree the on-mount mini-PC should relieve a lot of the cable management burden while setting up / tearing down. I do not have any yet (besides a raspberry pi project I’m working on that will definitely not work below freezing temp next winter - I’m at 47 deg latitude and much of the 6-month winter season here is between -15 and -25C) so I was wondering if yours is an industrial type of mini-PC and if so what model it is.
>
> I use an industrial fanless mini PC from OnLogic, in their ML100 series, specifically the ML100G-51 model:
> https://www.onlogic.com/computers/industrial/fanless/ml100-series/
>
> The Whiskey Lake CPUs have a 15W TDP and so are very powerful but also very kind on battry-powered setups. However, I also run the Whiskey Lake CPUs because I run a 61mp QHY600 camera, and lower-powered Celerons (J series, N series) would have a tough time with that during autofocus and other image analysis operations. But if you went with a Celeron-based model, you would see even lower-powered usage.
>
> The body of the case is a heat sink so it keeps itself clear of dew, and it doesn't have a fan to blow humid air through the inside, either. It also has external wifi antennas (vs. an intel NUC, which is internal) so when setting up at home, it has the reach to get good speeds on my home wireless network. When in the field I use a low power wifi router (repurposed Apple Airport Express) to make a small wireless network on the spot that the unit will auto-connect to. I am starting to experiment with the reliability of Windows' Mobile Hotspot/Hotspot On Demand feature, and if that works reliably I can remove the small wifi router from the setup. It's a shame that Windows 10 discontinued wireless ad-hoc mode, which was a bit more foolproof.
>
> The only similar alternative to the OnLogic fanless models I found were SimplyNUC's Por-cool-pine line of fanless systems:
> http://simplynuc.com/nuc-products/#fanless
>
>
>
>