Off Topic-NUC Computer


Steve Reilly
 

Hey Gang,

 

In the process of setting up a 12’ Astro Haven dome and moving my 12.5” RC and AP1200 mount from the ROR to the dome. In the process I’m contemplating replacing the observatory computer with a NUC to both shorten the cabling and have a more compact unit. I counted the ports as the computer is now configured and have the following needs:

 

Serial ports=7 I have a StarTech ICUSB23241 4 Port Industrial USB to RS232 Serial Hub but that still leaves 3 needed ports (focuser, rotator, AP1200 backup, Dew Heater Controller, Flat Panel, Boltwood, and dome controls)

 

USB ports = 4 including the one for the Serial Hub, Guider camera, Main Camera, mouse and keyboard

 

Network minimum=1 then use the 8 port Gigabit switch I have ( 1 AP1200, 1 Computer network,  onsite pan cameras (3), etc.)

 

Display port=1 HDMI or DVI

 

Anticipating fiber optic internet connections in the next month or so I also ran Cat6 cabling for network switch and mount.

 

So with that in mind the ports, mainly serial are what have me second guessing the NUC. I have, almost ready to ship out, a OnLogic NUC for a friends SRO system but that’s way more then I care to spend although it has all the necessary ports to hook everything up directly with hubs and so on. So based on this what would be a reasonable budget for what I’m looking for in a quality, reliable NUC? Even if I use the existing desktop computer I have now it will be without all the extender cables I’m using now as the computer is in the warm room 20’ away but the idea of a sealed fanless computer really appeals to me for this type of usage. Hence I’m looking for ideas to explore while this project continues, in of course, the hottest time of the year.

 

Thanks,

 

Steve

 

 

 

 


Dale Ghent
 

Just to be clear, is this NUC going to ride on top of your telescope on the mount, or sit on/close to the pier?

On Jul 12, 2021, at 13:11, Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@gmail.com> wrote:

Hey Gang,

In the process of setting up a 12’ Astro Haven dome and moving my 12.5” RC and AP1200 mount from the ROR to the dome. In the process I’m contemplating replacing the observatory computer with a NUC to both shorten the cabling and have a more compact unit. I counted the ports as the computer is now configured and have the following needs:

Serial ports=7 I have a StarTech ICUSB23241 4 Port Industrial USB to RS232 Serial Hub but that still leaves 3 needed ports (focuser, rotator, AP1200 backup, Dew Heater Controller, Flat Panel, Boltwood, and dome controls)

USB ports = 4 including the one for the Serial Hub, Guider camera, Main Camera, mouse and keyboard

Network minimum=1 then use the 8 port Gigabit switch I have ( 1 AP1200, 1 Computer network, onsite pan cameras (3), etc.)

Display port=1 HDMI or DVI

Anticipating fiber optic internet connections in the next month or so I also ran Cat6 cabling for network switch and mount.

So with that in mind the ports, mainly serial are what have me second guessing the NUC. I have, almost ready to ship out, a OnLogic NUC for a friends SRO system but that’s way more then I care to spend although it has all the necessary ports to hook everything up directly with hubs and so on. So based on this what would be a reasonable budget for what I’m looking for in a quality, reliable NUC? Even if I use the existing desktop computer I have now it will be without all the extender cables I’m using now as the computer is in the warm room 20’ away but the idea of a sealed fanless computer really appeals to me for this type of usage. Hence I’m looking for ideas to explore while this project continues, in of course, the hottest time of the year.

Thanks,

Steve





Steve Reilly
 

I would guess sit on the pier.

-Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 1:26 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer


Just to be clear, is this NUC going to ride on top of your telescope on the mount, or sit on/close to the pier?

On Jul 12, 2021, at 13:11, Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@gmail.com> wrote:

Hey Gang,

In the process of setting up a 12’ Astro Haven dome and moving my 12.5” RC and AP1200 mount from the ROR to the dome. In the process I’m contemplating replacing the observatory computer with a NUC to both shorten the cabling and have a more compact unit. I counted the ports as the computer is now configured and have the following needs:

Serial ports=7 I have a StarTech ICUSB23241 4 Port Industrial USB to RS232 Serial Hub but that still leaves 3 needed ports (focuser, rotator, AP1200 backup, Dew Heater Controller, Flat Panel, Boltwood, and dome controls)

USB ports = 4 including the one for the Serial Hub, Guider camera, Main Camera, mouse and keyboard

Network minimum=1 then use the 8 port Gigabit switch I have ( 1 AP1200, 1 Computer network, onsite pan cameras (3), etc.)

Display port=1 HDMI or DVI

Anticipating fiber optic internet connections in the next month or so I also ran Cat6 cabling for network switch and mount.

So with that in mind the ports, mainly serial are what have me second guessing the NUC. I have, almost ready to ship out, a OnLogic NUC for a friends SRO system but that’s way more then I care to spend although it has all the necessary ports to hook everything up directly with hubs and so on. So based on this what would be a reasonable budget for what I’m looking for in a quality, reliable NUC? Even if I use the existing desktop computer I have now it will be without all the extender cables I’m using now as the computer is in the warm room 20’ away but the idea of a sealed fanless computer really appeals to me for this type of usage. Hence I’m looking for ideas to explore while this project continues, in of course, the hottest time of the year.

Thanks,

Steve





 

Hi Steve

I pretty much only use nuc-style computers (and by this I mean headless computers that I access remotely). 

i have a few here that work just fine: Intel NUC, Lenovo has some good ones. They are reasonably priced, though most have fans. I have also picked up many of them coming off lease, well equipped and with windows 10 pro for around $200-250. 

When we looked at NUCs for our remote obs in chile, the main reason we went with fanless was not better cooling, but minimizing points of failure. The technicians there said if and when something on the computer fails, it's almost always the fan (environment, dust, etc.) so fanless was a way to eliminate that. 

If you feel your environment and risk factors would lead you to a fanless design, I do like OnLogic. They have added some smaller NUC style computers more recently, so you might either message them or browse their catalog. They were a little tricky for me to find



On Mon, Jul 12, 2021 at 10:33 AM Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...> wrote:
I would guess sit on the pier.

-Steve


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 1:26 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer


Just to be clear, is this NUC going to ride on top of your telescope on the mount, or sit on/close to the pier?

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














--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Eric Weiner
 

Just a different possible solution. I was just able to pick up an ICRON Ranger 3104 for a good price. It works fantastically over 100’ of cat6 and is rated for ~300’. It took some troubleshooting to get it working (USB controller resets and serial port configs), but I’m running the following through a single cat6 over 100’ now with zero bottlenecks or upsests:

-QHY268M into UPBv2
-QHY5III guide camera into UPBv2
-Flip Flat into UPBv2
-MBox into UPBv2
-Optec focuser into UPBv2
-UPBv2 through my Mach2 to the 3104 Rex
-2x serial to USB from CP5 to 3104 Rex
3104 Rex to 3104 Lex over cat6 to my home office PC. 

It has LAN pass through as well. 

I’m not certain about your HDMI link, but the 3104 is designed to pass teleconferencing data. 

I’m fairly confident that several serial over USB devices connected to a hub will work through a singe USB 3 port on the 3104. I can test this with mine if you like. 

In the process I was able to optimize USB speed settings in the ASCOM drivers such that my download speeds are faster now than they were using a local laptop for data acquisition. Each box is 24VDC which works out nice for Mach2 owners. 

Just thought I’d share my recent experience as a potential option. 

Cheers,
Eric 



On Jul 12, 2021, at 11:43, Brian Valente <bvalente@...> wrote:


Hi Steve

I pretty much only use nuc-style computers (and by this I mean headless computers that I access remotely). 

i have a few here that work just fine: Intel NUC, Lenovo has some good ones. They are reasonably priced, though most have fans. I have also picked up many of them coming off lease, well equipped and with windows 10 pro for around $200-250. 

When we looked at NUCs for our remote obs in chile, the main reason we went with fanless was not better cooling, but minimizing points of failure. The technicians there said if and when something on the computer fails, it's almost always the fan (environment, dust, etc.) so fanless was a way to eliminate that. 

If you feel your environment and risk factors would lead you to a fanless design, I do like OnLogic. They have added some smaller NUC style computers more recently, so you might either message them or browse their catalog. They were a little tricky for me to find



On Mon, Jul 12, 2021 at 10:33 AM Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...> wrote:
I would guess sit on the pier.

-Steve


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 1:26 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer


Just to be clear, is this NUC going to ride on top of your telescope on the mount, or sit on/close to the pier?

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














--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Dale Ghent
 

Two things pop out at me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Jul 12, 2021, at 13:33, Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@gmail.com> wrote:

I would guess sit on the pier.

-Steve


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 1:26 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer


Just to be clear, is this NUC going to ride on top of your telescope on the mount, or sit on/close to the pier?

On Jul 12, 2021, at 13:11, Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@gmail.com> wrote:

Hey Gang,

In the process of setting up a 12’ Astro Haven dome and moving my 12.5” RC and AP1200 mount from the ROR to the dome. In the process I’m contemplating replacing the observatory computer with a NUC to both shorten the cabling and have a more compact unit. I counted the ports as the computer is now configured and have the following needs:

Serial ports=7 I have a StarTech ICUSB23241 4 Port Industrial USB to RS232 Serial Hub but that still leaves 3 needed ports (focuser, rotator, AP1200 backup, Dew Heater Controller, Flat Panel, Boltwood, and dome controls)

USB ports = 4 including the one for the Serial Hub, Guider camera, Main Camera, mouse and keyboard

Network minimum=1 then use the 8 port Gigabit switch I have ( 1 AP1200, 1 Computer network, onsite pan cameras (3), etc.)

Display port=1 HDMI or DVI

Anticipating fiber optic internet connections in the next month or so I also ran Cat6 cabling for network switch and mount.

So with that in mind the ports, mainly serial are what have me second guessing the NUC. I have, almost ready to ship out, a OnLogic NUC for a friends SRO system but that’s way more then I care to spend although it has all the necessary ports to hook everything up directly with hubs and so on. So based on this what would be a reasonable budget for what I’m looking for in a quality, reliable NUC? Even if I use the existing desktop computer I have now it will be without all the extender cables I’m using now as the computer is in the warm room 20’ away but the idea of a sealed fanless computer really appeals to me for this type of usage. Hence I’m looking for ideas to explore while this project continues, in of course, the hottest time of the year.

Thanks,

Steve















Frank Widmann
 

I have a side by side configuration mounted on an AP 1600 and the two main scopes each have a piggyback scope. All scopes have cameras and electronic focusers and there are two filter wheels. I have two USB 3.0 cables running through the mount and connected to two Startech 7-port hubs that work flawlessly. At the other end the USB cables connect to a fanless Kingdel mini computer in a waterproof cabinet near the pier. The Kingdel has serial ports, and I use one to connect a cable to the RS 232 port on the GTOCP4. I have a field monitor, keypad and mouse in the cabinet, but I normally run the Kingdel headless using Remote Desktop. Even my control and image processing computers are NUCs or mini computers. I have three 12 volt power lines running through the mount. One is on its own power supply and feeds the dew controller. Two go to Rigrunner 8-port power distribution units and are connected to a regulated power supply. The mount has its own power supply. All the power supplies are in the cabinet and main power is controlled by a Digital Loggers wireless switching unit also in the cabinet. I also built a USB controlled relay box installed on the mount to turn older devices like Apogee cameras on and off so they can be discovered. This approach allows for very short wire runs to the equipment and eliminates snagging. The through the mount cabling is simple and easy to manage, and connections to stationary devices like the mount controller and the monitor stay off the rotating system.

Frank


Mark Striebeck
 

Just a few comments from my experience;

I have been using NUC's on my telescopes for several years now. They sit at the pier/tripod and run one USB cable up to the scope where I have a powered USB hub to connect to all devices. I'm using Chrome Remote to login to the NUC's.
  • It's overall a very stable setup. Having a dedicated computer for each telescope means I only install stuff that that telescope needs and don't create any random dependencies or side effects of processing software or such.
  • My scopes are outside (covered during the day). That means that NUC's are exposed to the elements (not directly usually). But the wear (hot sunlight, dew/rain...) takes a toll. Once a year or so I have to take them apart to clean them - and every now and then I have to wait to power them on if they are too hot or too wet. Today, I would definitively buy fanless/rugged ones (NUC has a new line NUC Elements)
  • You want to have a keyboard/mouse/monitor at hand. Every now and then something breaks and any remoting doesn't work (network configuration, bios settings...) I bought a mini HDMI monitor that I always carry to start parties that I can just plug in to get remoting work again.
  • I use Google Drive for data transfer - my imaging directories are mapped to Google Drive directories. That way I a) automatically create backups, but b) have all the images on my local computer in the morning. It's super convenient!
  • Even though the NUC's are supposed to work with any voltage between 12 and 19V, I found that every now and then I seem to have issues that went away when I added a DC-to-DC converter that supplies 19V to the NUC's.
  • I use fixed IP addresses for the NUC's, so when I take the telescopes to a star party I don't have to worry about different addresses.
Overall, I find it totally worth having NUC's (or any such small computers) on the scopes.

     Mark

On Mon, Jul 12, 2021 at 11:13 AM Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:

Two things pop out at me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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







Steve Reilly
 

Thanks for the reply Brian. The OnLogic computer for SRO, a NUVO-7002LP, has 4 RS232 ports and 8 USB along with 2 LAN. That will work fine with that system but it also cost just over $3K with taxes, like $2,800. I did add a secondary drive. Not being familiar with these units I’m not sure what I can add on my own. I’ve built desktop systems for observatories for quit a few years and usually add StarTech expansion cards for the serial and USB if needed. I avoided adapters as much as possible. The SRO unit hasn’t gone out yet as I have a number of projects going on and wanted to test here at home prior to sending it out.

 

-Steve

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Valente
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 1:43 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

Hi Steve

 

I pretty much only use nuc-style computers (and by this I mean headless computers that I access remotely). 

 

i have a few here that work just fine: Intel NUC, Lenovo has some good ones. They are reasonably priced, though most have fans. I have also picked up many of them coming off lease, well equipped and with windows 10 pro for around $200-250. 

 

When we looked at NUCs for our remote obs in chile, the main reason we went with fanless was not better cooling, but minimizing points of failure. The technicians there said if and when something on the computer fails, it's almost always the fan (environment, dust, etc.) so fanless was a way to eliminate that. 

 

If you feel your environment and risk factors would lead you to a fanless design, I do like OnLogic. They have added some smaller NUC style computers more recently, so you might either message them or browse their catalog. They were a little tricky for me to find

 

 

 

On Mon, Jul 12, 2021 at 10:33 AM Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...> wrote:

I would guess sit on the pier.

-Steve


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 1:26 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer


Just to be clear, is this NUC going to ride on top of your telescope on the mount, or sit on/close to the pier?

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












 

--

Brian 

 

 

 

Brian Valente


Steve Reilly
 

Interesting option Eric but I like the NUC idea as it isn’t that much more, I think, then the ICRON Ranger. But it’s good to have options.

 

-Steve

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Eric Weiner
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 2:04 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

Just a different possible solution. I was just able to pick up an ICRON Ranger 3104 for a good price. It works fantastically over 100’ of cat6 and is rated for ~300’. It took some troubleshooting to get it working (USB controller resets and serial port configs), but I’m running the following through a single cat6 over 100’ now with zero bottlenecks or upsests:

 

-QHY268M into UPBv2

-QHY5III guide camera into UPBv2

-Flip Flat into UPBv2

-MBox into UPBv2

-Optec focuser into UPBv2

-UPBv2 through my Mach2 to the 3104 Rex

-2x serial to USB from CP5 to 3104 Rex

3104 Rex to 3104 Lex over cat6 to my home office PC. 

 

It has LAN pass through as well. 

 

I’m not certain about your HDMI link, but the 3104 is designed to pass teleconferencing data. 

 

I’m fairly confident that several serial over USB devices connected to a hub will work through a singe USB 3 port on the 3104. I can test this with mine if you like. 

 

In the process I was able to optimize USB speed settings in the ASCOM drivers such that my download speeds are faster now than they were using a local laptop for data acquisition. Each box is 24VDC which works out nice for Mach2 owners. 

 

Just thought I’d share my recent experience as a potential option. 

 

Cheers,

Eric 

 

 



On Jul 12, 2021, at 11:43, Brian Valente <bvalente@...> wrote:



Hi Steve

 

I pretty much only use nuc-style computers (and by this I mean headless computers that I access remotely). 

 

i have a few here that work just fine: Intel NUC, Lenovo has some good ones. They are reasonably priced, though most have fans. I have also picked up many of them coming off lease, well equipped and with windows 10 pro for around $200-250. 

 

When we looked at NUCs for our remote obs in chile, the main reason we went with fanless was not better cooling, but minimizing points of failure. The technicians there said if and when something on the computer fails, it's almost always the fan (environment, dust, etc.) so fanless was a way to eliminate that. 

 

If you feel your environment and risk factors would lead you to a fanless design, I do like OnLogic. They have added some smaller NUC style computers more recently, so you might either message them or browse their catalog. They were a little tricky for me to find

 

 

 

On Mon, Jul 12, 2021 at 10:33 AM Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...> wrote:

I would guess sit on the pier.

-Steve


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 1:26 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer


Just to be clear, is this NUC going to ride on top of your telescope on the mount, or sit on/close to the pier?

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












 

--

Brian 

 

 

 

Brian Valente


Steve Reilly
 

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

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


Two things pop out at me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


On Jul 12, 2021, at 13:33, Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@gmail.com> wrote:

I would guess sit on the pier.

-Steve


-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 1:26 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer


Just to be clear, is this NUC going to ride on top of your telescope on the mount, or sit on/close to the pier?

On Jul 12, 2021, at 13:11, Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@gmail.com> wrote:

Hey Gang,

In the process of setting up a 12’ Astro Haven dome and moving my 12.5” RC and AP1200 mount from the ROR to the dome. In the process I’m contemplating replacing the observatory computer with a NUC to both shorten the cabling and have a more compact unit. I counted the ports as the computer is now configured and have the following needs:

Serial ports=7 I have a StarTech ICUSB23241 4 Port Industrial USB to RS232 Serial Hub but that still leaves 3 needed ports (focuser, rotator, AP1200 backup, Dew Heater Controller, Flat Panel, Boltwood, and dome controls)

USB ports = 4 including the one for the Serial Hub, Guider camera, Main Camera, mouse and keyboard

Network minimum=1 then use the 8 port Gigabit switch I have ( 1 AP1200, 1 Computer network, onsite pan cameras (3), etc.)

Display port=1 HDMI or DVI

Anticipating fiber optic internet connections in the next month or so I also ran Cat6 cabling for network switch and mount.

So with that in mind the ports, mainly serial are what have me second guessing the NUC. I have, almost ready to ship out, a OnLogic NUC for a friends SRO system but that’s way more then I care to spend although it has all the necessary ports to hook everything up directly with hubs and so on. So based on this what would be a reasonable budget for what I’m looking for in a quality, reliable NUC? Even if I use the existing desktop computer I have now it will be without all the extender cables I’m using now as the computer is in the warm room 20’ away but the idea of a sealed fanless computer really appeals to me for this type of usage. Hence I’m looking for ideas to explore while this project continues, in of course, the hottest time of the year.

Thanks,

Steve















 

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

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

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

On Mon, Jul 12, 2021 at 1:10 PM Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...> wrote:
Thanks for the reply Dale. Replies in between the message below:

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


Two things pop out at me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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














--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Dale Ghent
 

On Jul 12, 2021, at 16:09, Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@gmail.com> wrote:

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

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

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

****My concern about mounting the NUC on the telescope is balancing. While it does help a good deal on the length of run and the rotation, it still may limit the use of say a piggyback scope, think my Stowaway, on the RC. My wiring solution was to wrap the wires in several bundles depending on where they needed to go. The USB and Serial cables are in conduit to the control room now, at the mount they are in smaller bundles depending is they rotate or are stationary.*****
My suggestion still keeps the NUC on the pier. I presume you would mount it as far up the pier as you can on the south side of it so it doesn't pose as much of a collision hazard. You would just be running 1x 12V and 1x USB to hubs for each on the telescope. The powerpole and StarTech USB hubs are small enough in dimension that you can attach them pretty much anywhere on the RC12's primary box. 3M DualLoc works wonders here. If your 12.5" RC is the RCOS model, I think they have flanges you can get for mounting accessories on the rear of the primary box if you want to get fancy.


****Not sure about those USB to Serial adapters as I've heard of many causing issues or simply not working. For power I've been using an IP addressable power switch which allows me to power only those devices as needed. For instance I don't keep power on the flat panel unless it's being used. With the STL-11000 I've had issues where I needed to cycle power to the camera due to a filter wheel issue. If I start the camera and get the error message usually just a disconnect and reconnect or power cycle will clear it. Never found the cause of that issue but easily resolved.****
USB to serial had a bad rap in the early days, but adapters that use FTDI or Prolific PL23xx USB to serial bridge chips are quite fine and quite ubiquitous. Most astro vendors have used these as drop-in replacements for DB9 RS232 serial ports on their equipment to gain a USB connector. For example, the CP4's USB connector is just a USB port that directly feeds to a FTDI USB to serial bridge internally.

In fact, your StarTech 4 port USB to serial box uses 4x of the FTDI FT232RL chips inside of it, so it's essentially 4 USB to serial adapters inside 1 box. In fact you can use a second one of these boxes on top of your telescope if you don't want to do individual USB to serial adapters.


*****With the 1 USB and all data....these new CMOS chips send a ton of data for each frame so I'd be concerned with a single USB port handling all the USB traffic. What keeps it from bottlenecking? I haven't tested the serial device for multiple devices at this pint so not sure how that will handle the traffic as well****
It really doesn't work that way. You might be surprised to know that unless you're streaming data constantly (and I mean continuously like a video feed) off your main camera, you will find that our USB busses are relatively quiet places in terms of traffic. There are periodic bursts of traffic and small bulk chatter, but these things are by no means taxed. You can even do USB2 between your telescope-mounted USB hub and the NUC and still be fine.

I run a QHY600 and my guide cam is a ZWO ASI290MM-mini. Even with PHD2 looping 1s exposures on the guide cam and SharpCap streaming ~2 fps off the QHY600, with a Pegasus UPBv2 and Nitecrawler, my single USB 3 run that goes from the top of my telescope, through my Mach1, and into my OnLogic NUC on the pier is fine. Use quality cables, keep them no longer than is necessary, and secure cables near the connectors to keep them from wiggling, and you'll be fine.

***The only reason for keyboard and mouse would be needed tests while at the mount, monitor as well. Most all other needs can indeed be done remotely with Remote Desktop or Team Viewer****
Yep. I remote in to mine even if I'm standing right next to it. I only mention having the small keyboard/mouse/monitor handy in case you're having a problem with Windows or the box and you want to get on its console without having to disconnect everything from it and take it off your pier or something annoying like that.


Jeffc
 

Fwiw, the config described is what I have been doing...
On the OTA is a Pegasus UPBV2 which does usb 3 , usb 2, and 12v distribution.
I also use the UPBV2 for dew control and autofocus for one of my OTA configurations.
If I’m using the AP130 OTA, I’ll also put a SI-EFS on top.

A single USB and Powerpole come off the OTA , USB3 to the computer on the pier.
The computer has 4 USB ports ... and they are all used...
- UPBV2
- Polemaster
- AP control box
- astromi.ch MGPBox

TBH, adding a scope ontop of the main OTA is already a nonstarter as this other gear is already there.. my desire on adding a small computer to the OTA is to reduce the imaging cable runs even further. But I’ve yet to find a “reasonably” priced NUC-like computer for the OTA.

I also always “remote into” the pier computer, even if I take the setup to a remote site. For “remote” access I use an M1 MacBookAir which has incredible battery life, plus I can do post-acquisition image processing on the MBA (after simply copying the files from the pier computer). A small WiFi router also lives under the mount for access. No wires from the mount to the laptop has been very nice. At home I can also remote-in with the desktop machine which has a 27” 5k display.

-jeff

On Jul 12, 2021, at 6:05 PM, Dale Ghent <daleg@elemental.org> wrote:


On Jul 12, 2021, at 16:09, Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@gmail.com> wrote:

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

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

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

****My concern about mounting the NUC on the telescope is balancing. While it does help a good deal on the length of run and the rotation, it still may limit the use of say a piggyback scope, think my Stowaway, on the RC. My wiring solution was to wrap the wires in several bundles depending on where they needed to go. The USB and Serial cables are in conduit to the control room now, at the mount they are in smaller bundles depending is they rotate or are stationary.*****
My suggestion still keeps the NUC on the pier. I presume you would mount it as far up the pier as you can on the south side of it so it doesn't pose as much of a collision hazard. You would just be running 1x 12V and 1x USB to hubs for each on the telescope. The powerpole and StarTech USB hubs are small enough in dimension that you can attach them pretty much anywhere on the RC12's primary box. 3M DualLoc works wonders here. If your 12.5" RC is the RCOS model, I think they have flanges you can get for mounting accessories on the rear of the primary box if you want to get fancy.


****Not sure about those USB to Serial adapters as I've heard of many causing issues or simply not working. For power I've been using an IP addressable power switch which allows me to power only those devices as needed. For instance I don't keep power on the flat panel unless it's being used. With the STL-11000 I've had issues where I needed to cycle power to the camera due to a filter wheel issue. If I start the camera and get the error message usually just a disconnect and reconnect or power cycle will clear it. Never found the cause of that issue but easily resolved.****
USB to serial had a bad rap in the early days, but adapters that use FTDI or Prolific PL23xx USB to serial bridge chips are quite fine and quite ubiquitous. Most astro vendors have used these as drop-in replacements for DB9 RS232 serial ports on their equipment to gain a USB connector. For example, the CP4's USB connector is just a USB port that directly feeds to a FTDI USB to serial bridge internally.

In fact, your StarTech 4 port USB to serial box uses 4x of the FTDI FT232RL chips inside of it, so it's essentially 4 USB to serial adapters inside 1 box. In fact you can use a second one of these boxes on top of your telescope if you don't want to do individual USB to serial adapters.


*****With the 1 USB and all data....these new CMOS chips send a ton of data for each frame so I'd be concerned with a single USB port handling all the USB traffic. What keeps it from bottlenecking? I haven't tested the serial device for multiple devices at this pint so not sure how that will handle the traffic as well****
It really doesn't work that way. You might be surprised to know that unless you're streaming data constantly (and I mean continuously like a video feed) off your main camera, you will find that our USB busses are relatively quiet places in terms of traffic. There are periodic bursts of traffic and small bulk chatter, but these things are by no means taxed. You can even do USB2 between your telescope-mounted USB hub and the NUC and still be fine.

I run a QHY600 and my guide cam is a ZWO ASI290MM-mini. Even with PHD2 looping 1s exposures on the guide cam and SharpCap streaming ~2 fps off the QHY600, with a Pegasus UPBv2 and Nitecrawler, my single USB 3 run that goes from the top of my telescope, through my Mach1, and into my OnLogic NUC on the pier is fine. Use quality cables, keep them no longer than is necessary, and secure cables near the connectors to keep them from wiggling, and you'll be fine.

***The only reason for keyboard and mouse would be needed tests while at the mount, monitor as well. Most all other needs can indeed be done remotely with Remote Desktop or Team Viewer****
Yep. I remote in to mine even if I'm standing right next to it. I only mention having the small keyboard/mouse/monitor handy in case you're having a problem with Windows or the box and you want to get on its console without having to disconnect everything from it and take it off your pier or something annoying like that.






W Hilmo
 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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


Two things pop out at me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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












 

--

Brian 

 

 

 

Brian Valente


Jeffc
 

I’ve seen this problem where Remote Desktop can’t find the windows 10 machine. 
I think it may be a windows bug (but could also be related to my home WAN router.)   

When I’m “in the field” I use Ethernet from the pier computer to a small WiFi router.  
I have not seen any problem there. 

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

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

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


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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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


Two things pop out at me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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












 

--

Brian 

 

 

 

Brian Valente


W Hilmo
 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

I have not seen any problem there. 

 

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

 

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

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

 



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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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


Two things pop out at me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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













 

--

Brian 

 

 

 

Brian Valente


Jeffc
 

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

While the CP5 supports Ethernet , it just seems to me USB (serial) is less problematic when it comes to possible glitches with DNS, ARP, DHCP etc. 
TBH , I’m probably missing something but I don’t see the advantage of Ethernet for the single connection to/from the controlling computer. 
I’ve used CP5 WiFi a bit with SkySafariPro and for sure it works , but likewise , unless there’s a compelling reason the simple USB seems reliable. 

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

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


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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

I have not seen any problem there. 

 

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

 

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

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

 



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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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


Two things pop out at me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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













 

--

Brian 

 

 

 

Brian Valente


Michael 'Mikey' Mangieri
 

I have used the USB to NUC path with zero problems for at least a year and a half now. Nothing wrong with the USB solution. 


On Jul 13, 2021, at 4:56 PM, Jeffc <jeffcrilly@...> wrote:

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

While the CP5 supports Ethernet , it just seems to me USB (serial) is less problematic when it comes to possible glitches with DNS, ARP, DHCP etc. 
TBH , I’m probably missing something but I don’t see the advantage of Ethernet for the single connection to/from the controlling computer. 
I’ve used CP5 WiFi a bit with SkySafariPro and for sure it works , but likewise , unless there’s a compelling reason the simple USB seems reliable. 

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

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


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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

I have not seen any problem there. 

 

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

 

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

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

 



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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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


Two things pop out at me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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













 

--

Brian 

 

 

 

Brian Valente


W Hilmo
 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 



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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

I have not seen any problem there. 

 

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

 

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

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

 




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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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


Two things pop out at me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

Brian 

 

 

 

Brian Valente