Off Topic-NUC Computer


Steve Reilly
 

I started this thread back in July and here it is September and I’ve finally built the deck and have the dome almost finished. I need to install the motors and controls but I’m back on the NUC again as the ROR computer seems to have an issue with the USB ports not keeping the SX guide camera active. I was headed this way anyhow so what I’ve found is listed below and could use some feedback from those using NUCs o run their systems.

 

Shared Product: Industrial Fanless Intel Whiskey Lake NUC With Dual LAN

Shared Configuration

Memory (Select QTY)
8 GB SO-DIMM DDR4 3200
Primary Storage Drive
256 GB M.2 22x60 MLC SSD
Wireless Connectivity or DIO Expansion (one USB will be depopulated if 4G or DIO is chosen)
Intel Wide-Temp Wireless-AC 9260 802.11ac Wi-Fi & BT 5.1 Card
Antennas for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or 4G LTE
2x Wi-Fi - Dual Band Terminal Antenna, 161mm (6.34")
Serial Port Expansion (Cannot be selected with 4G)
RS-232 COM Port Header Cable - AT/Everex
Auto Power On
None Selected
Port Blocking Kit
None Selected
Mounting
None Selected
AC Adapter
Power Adapter DC 60 W, 12 V, 5 A - North American Power Cord
Operating System (Primary Storage Req.)
Windows 10 Pro - 64-bit
Assembly & Validation
Standard Build (ships in 3-5 business days from parts availability)
Warranty
2 Year Standard Warranty

 

Does this look to be capable enough to do the job without being underpowered? The size of these M2.2260 drives are small and expensive but my thought was to use an external 1TB hard drive located in my ROR control room connected by an USB2 active extension cable. The NUC will be mounted on the pier close but not so close it could be in contact with the mount/telescope. Cabling would be minimized by using a powered USB hub on the telescope for cameras, focuser, dew controller, rotator, and whatever else comes up. It has guided well with the cables as is but this should minimize cabling substantially.

 

I’d appreciate and thoughts/concerns/comments you before I order. I’m way more use to building desktop systems for observatories and this will be the 1st NUC.

 

-Steve

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 


Richard Schiek
 

One feature you may want to look for is Windows 11 compatibility. 

Windows 10 will be supported to 2025 according to Microsoft and Windows 11 has security requirements at board and BIOS level.  Thus, not all systems that can run Windows 10 can also run Windows 11.   The NUC that I use for my telescope suffers from this issue, so I may been to get a new on in the next few years...

Good luck,
Rich


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Steve Reilly wrote:

 

I know you said you needed serial ports, but do you need an industrial strength solution?  A very nice genuine Intel NUC would be well under half that price; you would need USB to Serial adapter(s) then.

 

I also only see one serial port on that?  You said you needed 3?

 

The Whiskey Lake is an 8th generation NUC.  They are up to 11th now (oddly I don’t see a 9th listed).  That’s not necessarily bad, just a comment.  Mine was a bit older, many of the newer ones require 19v which then requires an additional power conversion (not all do).

 

The NUC’s themselves (https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000023017/intel-nuc.html) are rated for 50C operating temperature, the same as the OnLogic one (though I suspect most do it with a fan vs a monster heat sink).

 

Having a sealed unit without a fan does keep down dust, maybe moisture (but there’s a lot of connectors so it’s certainly not moisture proof).  But on the face of it, it looks more like you are paying double for a super durable case and lack of a fan.  If you need it, you need it.


If you don’t, you could buy two real NUC’s.  On a NUC and a nice NB filter. 
😊

 

Linwood


Steve Reilly
 

Thanks for the feedback Linwood. Yes this unit does have a cable that hooks up to the MB for a single RS232 port and the others will have to be via USB to Serial and for that I already have this StarTech unit. For a dome I would prefer a sealed unit just in case hence not building the desktop unit to sit next to the pier. What I haven’t seen is a site where you can configure an Intel NUC to your needs. Not saying such a site doesn’t exist but when I google Intel NUC I get Intel’s site and mostly Amazon. If a site exist where you can configure these units similar to OnLogic’s that would make life a bit easier. I haven’t found that yet.

 

-Steve

 

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of ap@...
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 12:46 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

Steve Reilly wrote:

 

I know you said you needed serial ports, but do you need an industrial strength solution?  A very nice genuine Intel NUC would be well under half that price; you would need USB to Serial adapter(s) then.

 

I also only see one serial port on that?  You said you needed 3?

 

The Whiskey Lake is an 8th generation NUC.  They are up to 11th now (oddly I don’t see a 9th listed).  That’s not necessarily bad, just a comment.  Mine was a bit older, many of the newer ones require 19v which then requires an additional power conversion (not all do).

 

The NUC’s themselves (https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000023017/intel-nuc.html) are rated for 50C operating temperature, the same as the OnLogic one (though I suspect most do it with a fan vs a monster heat sink).

 

Having a sealed unit without a fan does keep down dust, maybe moisture (but there’s a lot of connectors so it’s certainly not moisture proof).  But on the face of it, it looks more like you are paying double for a super durable case and lack of a fan.  If you need it, you need it.


If you don’t, you could buy two real NUC’s.  On a NUC and a nice NB filter. 
😊

 

Linwood


Renan
 

Running an Intel NUC for 2 years without  any problems.

NUC: I3, 8 Ram, 256 ssd, rated for 19V but, according to the manual, you could use 12V and that is what I am using. Win 10 Pro.

It is at my backyard and connected with Remote Desktop with my indoor NB.

I do not know if an I5 will allow to download the files faster, I doub it.

 

 

 

 

De: Steve Reilly
Enviado: sábado, 25 de septiembre de 2021 13:00
Para: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Asunto: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

I started this thread back in July and here it is September and I’ve finally built the deck and have the dome almost finished. I need to install the motors and controls but I’m back on the NUC again as the ROR computer seems to have an issue with the USB ports not keeping the SX guide camera active. I was headed this way anyhow so what I’ve found is listed below and could use some feedback from those using NUCs o run their systems.

 

Shared Product: Industrial Fanless Intel Whiskey Lake NUC With Dual LAN

Shared Configuration

Memory (Select QTY)
8 GB SO-DIMM DDR4 3200
Primary Storage Drive
256 GB M.2 22x60 MLC SSD
Wireless Connectivity or DIO Expansion (one USB will be depopulated if 4G or DIO is chosen)
Intel Wide-Temp Wireless-AC 9260 802.11ac Wi-Fi & BT 5.1 Card
Antennas for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or 4G LTE
2x Wi-Fi - Dual Band Terminal Antenna, 161mm (6.34")
Serial Port Expansion (Cannot be selected with 4G)
RS-232 COM Port Header Cable - AT/Everex
Auto Power On
None Selected
Port Blocking Kit
None Selected
Mounting
None Selected
AC Adapter
Power Adapter DC 60 W, 12 V, 5 A - North American Power Cord
Operating System (Primary Storage Req.)
Windows 10 Pro - 64-bit
Assembly & Validation
Standard Build (ships in 3-5 business days from parts availability)
Warranty
2 Year Standard Warranty

 

Does this look to be capable enough to do the job without being underpowered? The size of these M2.2260 drives are small and expensive but my thought was to use an external 1TB hard drive located in my ROR control room connected by an USB2 active extension cable. The NUC will be mounted on the pier close but not so close it could be in contact with the mount/telescope. Cabling would be minimized by using a powered USB hub on the telescope for cameras, focuser, dew controller, rotator, and whatever else comes up. It has guided well with the cables as is but this should minimize cabling substantially.

 

I’d appreciate and thoughts/concerns/comments you before I order. I’m way more use to building desktop systems for observatories and this will be the 1st NUC.

 

-Steve

 

 

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

 

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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ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Steve wrote:

 

  • Thanks for the feedback Linwood. Yes this unit does have a cable that hooks up to the MB for a single RS232 port and the others will have to be via USB to Serial and for that I already have this StarTech unit. For a dome I would prefer a sealed unit just in case hence not building the desktop unit to sit next to the pier. What I haven’t seen is a site where you can configure an Intel NUC to your needs. Not saying such a site doesn’t exist but when I google Intel NUC I get Intel’s site and mostly Amazon. If a site exist where you can configure these units similar to OnLogic’s that would make life a bit easier. I haven’t found that yet.

 

I just bought the kit version on Amazon and added memory and disk to it (maybe something else, been a while).  It was all from amazon proper not the marketplace, so I figured as long as buying brand name stuff I was good (re counterfeit stuff).  Intel I think makes it in both preconfigured systems, and kits which is basically a small or tall (your choice) box with most everything inside but disk and memory.  Now things like a header for serial not sure, haven’t noticed that, but individual USB adapters (or another Startech) are pretty easy to come by.  The Intel NUC site is pretty good for picking what you want to get a part number (top two items here lead to pre-built vs kit details: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/details/nuc.html).

 

I looked around briefly and did not see a configurable site, like (for example) if I were buying a Dell server.  I suspect they are out there, just didn’t see them.

 

A prior point to ensure Windows 11 compatible is a good idea, I haven’t checked mine yet either (not that I plan to upgrade for a long time – I like stability).

 

Linwood

 


 

Hi Steve

We have pretty much that exact model, except the i7 and 16gb ram

Personally I wish we would have gotten the 512gb for the main drive. The log files fill things up really fast, and we have to be on it otherwise it fills the drive.

Having a second 1tb drive saved our butts

We use dropbox for file transfer, so that way when we wake up in the morning, all the files are there on my home computer for processing






On Sat, Sep 25, 2021 at 10:03 AM Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...> wrote:

Thanks for the feedback Linwood. Yes this unit does have a cable that hooks up to the MB for a single RS232 port and the others will have to be via USB to Serial and for that I already have this StarTech unit. For a dome I would prefer a sealed unit just in case hence not building the desktop unit to sit next to the pier. What I haven’t seen is a site where you can configure an Intel NUC to your needs. Not saying such a site doesn’t exist but when I google Intel NUC I get Intel’s site and mostly Amazon. If a site exist where you can configure these units similar to OnLogic’s that would make life a bit easier. I haven’t found that yet.

 

-Steve

 

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of ap@...
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 12:46 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

Steve Reilly wrote:

 

I know you said you needed serial ports, but do you need an industrial strength solution?  A very nice genuine Intel NUC would be well under half that price; you would need USB to Serial adapter(s) then.

 

I also only see one serial port on that?  You said you needed 3?

 

The Whiskey Lake is an 8th generation NUC.  They are up to 11th now (oddly I don’t see a 9th listed).  That’s not necessarily bad, just a comment.  Mine was a bit older, many of the newer ones require 19v which then requires an additional power conversion (not all do).

 

The NUC’s themselves (https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000023017/intel-nuc.html) are rated for 50C operating temperature, the same as the OnLogic one (though I suspect most do it with a fan vs a monster heat sink).

 

Having a sealed unit without a fan does keep down dust, maybe moisture (but there’s a lot of connectors so it’s certainly not moisture proof).  But on the face of it, it looks more like you are paying double for a super durable case and lack of a fan.  If you need it, you need it.


If you don’t, you could buy two real NUC’s.  On a NUC and a nice NB filter. 
😊

 

Linwood



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Tom Blahovici
 

I have an 8th generation i5. It has quite a few USB 3 ports.  It also has a thunderbolt port which I think they all do now.  I use this with a Thunderbolt to 10GBe network adapter which is 10x faster than the usual Gigabit ethernet since my home network is 10GBe.
Really beneficial with large FIT files.
What I do notice is that your storage will quickly be filled up. You can manage but you will need to be diligent in cleaning up and removing plate solve files and so on.  1TB would be a better choice.

I run this off 12V with no issues.  Look into the specs to see what the voltage requirements are.  The power supplies are often 19V but all that is needed is 12V.
An i5 has plenty of power.


Joel Short
 

I have been using a "standard" NUC for about 6 years now, both in my roll off roof OBS and while traveling to dark sites.  Three years ago before going on a 6 week trip I bought a second NUC so that I could use the first one as a backup.  The first NUC has an i3 processor the second has an i5 processor.  You won't see much if any difference in download times, but things like plate solving that require more processing power will be significantly faster with the i5.  

I maintain both units and both are still going strong despite not being "industrial strength".  
joel


Mark Striebeck
 

The best options to configure a NUC that I found are:
https://simplynuc.com/nuc-products/ (scroll down, you see some pre-configured NUC's but you can "build" them too)
NewEgg has a whole slew of barebones NUCs (e.g. https://www.newegg.com/asrock-4x4-box-4800u/p/N82E16856158069?Item=N82E16856158069) that you can customize

On Sat, Sep 25, 2021 at 10:31 AM Joel Short <buckeyestargazer@...> wrote:
I have been using a "standard" NUC for about 6 years now, both in my roll off roof OBS and while traveling to dark sites.  Three years ago before going on a 6 week trip I bought a second NUC so that I could use the first one as a backup.  The first NUC has an i3 processor the second has an i5 processor.  You won't see much if any difference in download times, but things like plate solving that require more processing power will be significantly faster with the i5.  

I maintain both units and both are still going strong despite not being "industrial strength".  
joel


Steve Reilly
 

Thanks for the feedback. Using the links below it seems a similar NUC built with about the same configuration is still in the original ballpark. Main difference I saw was the larger SSD choices being that the there is a spot for an additional 2.5” drive on some or an additional M2 drive. But being a dome and automated imaging I see value in a fanless system. I’ve been in a failed sate before with the ROR and the computer there is protected with the warm room. In the 12’ Astro Haven dome there is no protection other then what I provide. Even the less expensive units aren’t that less after figuring what you’ll need to make all your connections and added storage, at least that’s what I’m seeing. At least not a huge difference in cost. You need to remember the number of components and hardware connected. From mount, focuser, rotator, dew heaters/controller, flat panel, guide camera, main imaging camera, and I’m sure I missed something….there’s a good deal going on. The tip on the drive size was a great one and added another $200. Seems Transend is one of few that make  M2.2260 drives, most others are largerM2. Footprints.

 

I do use Dropbox for the telescope at SRO but for home I should be able to use and external drive on the network. As fiber internet is all but at out location, just waiting on connections, it will be fast.

 

-Steve

 

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Mark Striebeck
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 1:41 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

The best options to configure a NUC that I found are:

https://simplynuc.com/nuc-products/ (scroll down, you see some pre-configured NUC's but you can "build" them too)

NewEgg has a whole slew of barebones NUCs (e.g. https://www.newegg.com/asrock-4x4-box-4800u/p/N82E16856158069?Item=N82E16856158069) that you can customize

 

On Sat, Sep 25, 2021 at 10:31 AM Joel Short <buckeyestargazer@...> wrote:

I have been using a "standard" NUC for about 6 years now, both in my roll off roof OBS and while traveling to dark sites.  Three years ago before going on a 6 week trip I bought a second NUC so that I could use the first one as a backup.  The first NUC has an i3 processor the second has an i5 processor.  You won't see much if any difference in download times, but things like plate solving that require more processing power will be significantly faster with the i5.  

I maintain both units and both are still going strong despite not being "industrial strength".  
joel


Jeffc
 

I’ve been using a 2021 i5 Mac Mini (headless) mounted to the pier running windows 10 for some time. I think I paid like $250 (used price) a while back. It’s got a built in power supply but in theory it can be converted to 12v supply. Mainly chose this hardware cuz I had it in inventory.

But I digress… Anyhow I’m also looking for a decent but cheap (eg $200 or so) small form factor PC likely suitable for mounting on top of the OTA for use with a second mount. I’m just taken back by the lack of obvious choice when doing the market research such that I’ve kinda given up.
Perhaps when win11 drops there will be a glut of “not win11 compatible” hardware in clearance. And is there even any win11 compatible “small form factor” PCs out yet?

It makes me wonder if now the right time to buy?

Anyhow feel free to share what the sweet spot is for an economical 12v powered PC with adequate CPU , memory , and SSD, suitable for mounting on the OTA — I’ve got a technical background in the stuff, but the choices are crazy confusing.

-jeff


Bill Long
 

I use a MiniX Mini PC that works well. The specific model I use is no longer made, but they have a newer one:


Works really good, but the one thing to keep in mind is that it really wants a 12v regulated power input. If the voltage is too high, it wont turn on.

I run Voyager, SkyX, APCC Pro, PHD2, and my AGO Thermal Control software on it no problem. This one has a better processor than mine as well. The Win 10 Pro they include is authentic as well, which can be a challenge from some Amazon mini-PC products. 

If you decide you want more RAM or storage you can upgrade it. 8GB of memory and 240GB of storage should be plenty though, IMO.

-Bill



From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Jeffc <jeffcrilly@...>
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 2:58 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer
 
I’ve been using a 2021 i5 Mac Mini (headless) mounted to the pier running windows 10 for some time.   I think I paid like $250 (used price) a while back.   It’s got a built in power supply but in theory it can be converted to 12v supply.   Mainly chose this hardware cuz I had it in inventory. 

But I digress… Anyhow I’m also looking for a decent but cheap (eg $200 or so) small form factor PC likely suitable for mounting on top of the OTA for use with a second mount.   I’m just taken back by the lack of obvious choice when doing the market research such that I’ve kinda given up.
Perhaps when win11 drops there will be a glut of “not win11 compatible” hardware in clearance.   And is there even any win11 compatible “small form factor” PCs out yet?

It makes me wonder if now the right time to buy?

Anyhow feel free to share what the sweet spot is for an economical 12v powered PC with adequate CPU , memory , and SSD, suitable for mounting on the OTA — I’ve got a technical background in the stuff, but the choices are crazy confusing.

-jeff








ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Steve Reilly wrote: 

Using the links below it seems a similar NUC built with about the same configuration is still in the original ballpark. Main difference I saw was the larger SSD choices being that the there is a spot for an additional 2.5” drive on some or an additional M2 drive. 
It's been a year, but what I got was a NUC8i5BEH kit, 500gb Samsung 860EVO, and 32gb Crucial memory.  Total cost was $595 at the time, for all name brand stuff.  I know parts shortages have changed prices a lot, but that's why I was thinking the OnLogic was twice the price.  I would definitely lean toward NVMe instead of ever putting spinning disk in a computer used outside, all sorts of benefits from power to vibration to noise.


Steve Reilly
 

For me with APCC, ACP Expert, MaxIm, FocusMax, and the rest of the automation software/hardware and weather stuff that may be pushing it for me but then again I often over do the specs to be safe.

 

-Steve

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Bill Long
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 6:10 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

I use a MiniX Mini PC that works well. The specific model I use is no longer made, but they have a newer one:

 

 

Works really good, but the one thing to keep in mind is that it really wants a 12v regulated power input. If the voltage is too high, it wont turn on.

 

I run Voyager, SkyX, APCC Pro, PHD2, and my AGO Thermal Control software on it no problem. This one has a better processor than mine as well. The Win 10 Pro they include is authentic as well, which can be a challenge from some Amazon mini-PC products. 

 

If you decide you want more RAM or storage you can upgrade it. 8GB of memory and 240GB of storage should be plenty though, IMO.

 

-Bill

 

 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Jeffc <jeffcrilly@...>
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 2:58 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

I’ve been using a 2021 i5 Mac Mini (headless) mounted to the pier running windows 10 for some time.   I think I paid like $250 (used price) a while back.   It’s got a built in power supply but in theory it can be converted to 12v supply.   Mainly chose this hardware cuz I had it in inventory. 

But I digress… Anyhow I’m also looking for a decent but cheap (eg $200 or so) small form factor PC likely suitable for mounting on top of the OTA for use with a second mount.   I’m just taken back by the lack of obvious choice when doing the market research such that I’ve kinda given up.
Perhaps when win11 drops there will be a glut of “not win11 compatible” hardware in clearance.   And is there even any win11 compatible “small form factor” PCs out yet?

It makes me wonder if now the right time to buy?

Anyhow feel free to share what the sweet spot is for an economical 12v powered PC with adequate CPU , memory , and SSD, suitable for mounting on the OTA — I’ve got a technical background in the stuff, but the choices are crazy confusing.

-jeff







Bill Long
 

I dont think it would have any problems running all of that. I have a lot of devices on it. Powerbox, MGBoxV2, PL16803 camera, CFW5-7, Ultrastar, AG Thermal box, Nitecrawler, etc and mine is the older version with less power. 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...>
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 4:40 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer
 

For me with APCC, ACP Expert, MaxIm, FocusMax, and the rest of the automation software/hardware and weather stuff that may be pushing it for me but then again I often over do the specs to be safe.

 

-Steve

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Bill Long
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 6:10 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

I use a MiniX Mini PC that works well. The specific model I use is no longer made, but they have a newer one:

 

 

Works really good, but the one thing to keep in mind is that it really wants a 12v regulated power input. If the voltage is too high, it wont turn on.

 

I run Voyager, SkyX, APCC Pro, PHD2, and my AGO Thermal Control software on it no problem. This one has a better processor than mine as well. The Win 10 Pro they include is authentic as well, which can be a challenge from some Amazon mini-PC products. 

 

If you decide you want more RAM or storage you can upgrade it. 8GB of memory and 240GB of storage should be plenty though, IMO.

 

-Bill

 

 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Jeffc <jeffcrilly@...>
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 2:58 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

I’ve been using a 2021 i5 Mac Mini (headless) mounted to the pier running windows 10 for some time.   I think I paid like $250 (used price) a while back.   It’s got a built in power supply but in theory it can be converted to 12v supply.   Mainly chose this hardware cuz I had it in inventory. 

But I digress… Anyhow I’m also looking for a decent but cheap (eg $200 or so) small form factor PC likely suitable for mounting on top of the OTA for use with a second mount.   I’m just taken back by the lack of obvious choice when doing the market research such that I’ve kinda given up.
Perhaps when win11 drops there will be a glut of “not win11 compatible” hardware in clearance.   And is there even any win11 compatible “small form factor” PCs out yet?

It makes me wonder if now the right time to buy?

Anyhow feel free to share what the sweet spot is for an economical 12v powered PC with adequate CPU , memory , and SSD, suitable for mounting on the OTA — I’ve got a technical background in the stuff, but the choices are crazy confusing.

-jeff







Sébastien Doré
 

I can also vouch for this particular Minix model. I've been using the J50C-4 Max since last April with no issue whatsoever. I can indeed  run a powerbox advance client, Ascom OCH, APPC, NINA (Canon DSLR), PHD2 (QHY5III-174M guider), APT (ASI183MC Pro), and SharpCap Pro (Polemaster) all at once and I get a snappy user experience. 

Adding Stellarium to the mix shows the hardware's limit though (GPU is an onchip Intel UHD 605 with shared memory) and significantly impairs performance. So I just don't run it while imaging.I suspect it would be the same with other realtime planetarium software.

One thing to account for is the relatively short range of the internal WiFi patch antennas. These are perfect for indoor usage or if you have an outdoor signal booster in your backyard for example. But in my case, I just bought 2 of these (watch out for the U.Fl connector type on your wifi adapter if you go this route) : 


Monted them on a side panel and it almost quadrupled the orignial range around my house (about 70 feet radius now) with no other modifications. Enough to reliably connect to my home router from my backyard portable setup in most places.

Of course ethernet works just fine too for that matter. 

It is true the 12V input is protected and needs to be below about 13.V for it to power on but I found that to be a problem only with a freshly charged battery. My workaround is to connect and power up evey other equipment (mainly cameras through the PPBAv, heater bands and the Mach2) before hitting the power on button. Never had any issue after I started doing that routinely.

Sébastien


De : main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> de la part de Bill Long <bill@...>
Envoyé : 25 septembre 2021 19:43
À : main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Objet : Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer
 
I dont think it would have any problems running all of that. I have a lot of devices on it. Powerbox, MGBoxV2, PL16803 camera, CFW5-7, Ultrastar, AG Thermal box, Nitecrawler, etc and mine is the older version with less power. 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...>
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 4:40 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer
 

For me with APCC, ACP Expert, MaxIm, FocusMax, and the rest of the automation software/hardware and weather stuff that may be pushing it for me but then again I often over do the specs to be safe.

 

-Steve

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Bill Long
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 6:10 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

I use a MiniX Mini PC that works well. The specific model I use is no longer made, but they have a newer one:

 

 

Works really good, but the one thing to keep in mind is that it really wants a 12v regulated power input. If the voltage is too high, it wont turn on.

 

I run Voyager, SkyX, APCC Pro, PHD2, and my AGO Thermal Control software on it no problem. This one has a better processor than mine as well. The Win 10 Pro they include is authentic as well, which can be a challenge from some Amazon mini-PC products. 

 

If you decide you want more RAM or storage you can upgrade it. 8GB of memory and 240GB of storage should be plenty though, IMO.

 

-Bill

 

 


Bill Long
 

CDC and HNSKY Planetariums do not cause any problems on my current MiniX so they should work well on this one.

SkyX works fine as well, but I do not pan around SkyX looking at the planetarium directly, I only use it for object lookup which is instant. SkyX Image Link does delay on my MiniX a few seconds longer than a normal machine would. I have moved over to ASTAP for everything though, which is also practically instant.

-Bill 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Seb@stro <sebastiendore1@...>
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 6:58 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer
 
I can also vouch for this particular Minix model. I've been using the J50C-4 Max since last April with no issue whatsoever. I can indeed  run a powerbox advance client, Ascom OCH, APPC, NINA (Canon DSLR), PHD2 (QHY5III-174M guider), APT (ASI183MC Pro), and SharpCap Pro (Polemaster) all at once and I get a snappy user experience. 

Adding Stellarium to the mix shows the hardware's limit though (GPU is an onchip Intel UHD 605 with shared memory) and significantly impairs performance. So I just don't run it while imaging.I suspect it would be the same with other realtime planetarium software.

One thing to account for is the relatively short range of the internal WiFi patch antennas. These are perfect for indoor usage or if you have an outdoor signal booster in your backyard for example. But in my case, I just bought 2 of these (watch out for the U.Fl connector type on your wifi adapter if you go this route) : 


Monted them on a side panel and it almost quadrupled the orignial range around my house (about 70 feet radius now) with no other modifications. Enough to reliably connect to my home router from my backyard portable setup in most places.

Of course ethernet works just fine too for that matter. 

It is true the 12V input is protected and needs to be below about 13.V for it to power on but I found that to be a problem only with a freshly charged battery. My workaround is to connect and power up evey other equipment (mainly cameras through the PPBAv, heater bands and the Mach2) before hitting the power on button. Never had any issue after I started doing that routinely.

Sébastien


De : main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> de la part de Bill Long <bill@...>
Envoyé : 25 septembre 2021 19:43
À : main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Objet : Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer
 
I dont think it would have any problems running all of that. I have a lot of devices on it. Powerbox, MGBoxV2, PL16803 camera, CFW5-7, Ultrastar, AG Thermal box, Nitecrawler, etc and mine is the older version with less power. 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...>
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 4:40 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer
 

For me with APCC, ACP Expert, MaxIm, FocusMax, and the rest of the automation software/hardware and weather stuff that may be pushing it for me but then again I often over do the specs to be safe.

 

-Steve

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Bill Long
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 6:10 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

I use a MiniX Mini PC that works well. The specific model I use is no longer made, but they have a newer one:

 

 

Works really good, but the one thing to keep in mind is that it really wants a 12v regulated power input. If the voltage is too high, it wont turn on.

 

I run Voyager, SkyX, APCC Pro, PHD2, and my AGO Thermal Control software on it no problem. This one has a better processor than mine as well. The Win 10 Pro they include is authentic as well, which can be a challenge from some Amazon mini-PC products. 

 

If you decide you want more RAM or storage you can upgrade it. 8GB of memory and 240GB of storage should be plenty though, IMO.

 

-Bill

 

 


Jeffc
 

Thx for the pointer on minix.   I’ve seen these and wondered if they were underpowered.   Now that I think about it the minix might be appropriate for mount 2 which I’m thinking will initially be doing mostly solar ha imaging.  

As for the 2012 i5 Mac mini… I run SGP, APCC, ASTAP, TheSky5 (old school, I didn’t like X), MGBox, sharpcap (polar alignment) , UPBV2 , with a QHY-268m camera.

The i5 performance is more than adequate afaict.    (I use a separate laptop for processing - Apple Mackbook Air w/ the M1 processor.  The MBA is also used for RemoteDesktop to run SGP, etc, on the MacMini at night.)

-jeff

On Sep 25, 2021, at 7:05 PM, Bill Long <bill@...> wrote:


CDC and HNSKY Planetariums do not cause any problems on my current MiniX so they should work well on this one.

SkyX works fine as well, but I do not pan around SkyX looking at the planetarium directly, I only use it for object lookup which is instant. SkyX Image Link does delay on my MiniX a few seconds longer than a normal machine would. I have moved over to ASTAP for everything though, which is also practically instant.

-Bill 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Seb@stro <sebastiendore1@...>
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 6:58 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer
 
I can also vouch for this particular Minix model. I've been using the J50C-4 Max since last April with no issue whatsoever. I can indeed  run a powerbox advance client, Ascom OCH, APPC, NINA (Canon DSLR), PHD2 (QHY5III-174M guider), APT (ASI183MC Pro), and SharpCap Pro (Polemaster) all at once and I get a snappy user experience. 

Adding Stellarium to the mix shows the hardware's limit though (GPU is an onchip Intel UHD 605 with shared memory) and significantly impairs performance. So I just don't run it while imaging.I suspect it would be the same with other realtime planetarium software.

One thing to account for is the relatively short range of the internal WiFi patch antennas. These are perfect for indoor usage or if you have an outdoor signal booster in your backyard for example. But in my case, I just bought 2 of these (watch out for the U.Fl connector type on your wifi adapter if you go this route) : 


Monted them on a side panel and it almost quadrupled the orignial range around my house (about 70 feet radius now) with no other modifications. Enough to reliably connect to my home router from my backyard portable setup in most places.

Of course ethernet works just fine too for that matter. 

It is true the 12V input is protected and needs to be below about 13.V for it to power on but I found that to be a problem only with a freshly charged battery. My workaround is to connect and power up evey other equipment (mainly cameras through the PPBAv, heater bands and the Mach2) before hitting the power on button. Never had any issue after I started doing that routinely.

Sébastien


De : main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> de la part de Bill Long <bill@...>
Envoyé : 25 septembre 2021 19:43
À : main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Objet : Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer
 
I dont think it would have any problems running all of that. I have a lot of devices on it. Powerbox, MGBoxV2, PL16803 camera, CFW5-7, Ultrastar, AG Thermal box, Nitecrawler, etc and mine is the older version with less power. 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Steve Reilly <sreilly24590@...>
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 4:40 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer
 

For me with APCC, ACP Expert, MaxIm, FocusMax, and the rest of the automation software/hardware and weather stuff that may be pushing it for me but then again I often over do the specs to be safe.

 

-Steve

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Bill Long
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2021 6:10 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Off Topic-NUC Computer

 

I use a MiniX Mini PC that works well. The specific model I use is no longer made, but they have a newer one:

 

 

Works really good, but the one thing to keep in mind is that it really wants a 12v regulated power input. If the voltage is too high, it wont turn on.

 

I run Voyager, SkyX, APCC Pro, PHD2, and my AGO Thermal Control software on it no problem. This one has a better processor than mine as well. The Win 10 Pro they include is authentic as well, which can be a challenge from some Amazon mini-PC products. 

 

If you decide you want more RAM or storage you can upgrade it. 8GB of memory and 240GB of storage should be plenty though, IMO.

 

-Bill

 

 


Christopher M
 

In terms of processing power/processor selection, you do not need much for general astrophotography image capture and dome control.  You only really need faster processors when you get into image processing on-board and planetary video.  So if you plan to use the NUC just to capture images, control the mount, track the guide star, etc, then you can get away with something as simple as a Google Playbook.  If you are going to do CMOS with lots of sub frames, then you would want to put more money into the storage.  If you are going to do planetary video with concurrent processing, then you will want to invest more into the processing speed.  I don't have one of these, but Primaluce lab sum up the differences here:  https://www.primalucelab.com/blog/support/eagle4-s-or-pro-which-model-to-choose-quale-modello-scegliere/