Anyone using a Fanless PC on their mount for camera/mount control?

Discussion in 'General' started by JoshuaHufford, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. JoshuaHufford

    JoshuaHufford Cyanogen Customer

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    I have not been imaging for some time now, my setup quit working at the observatory I share with a friend, and my life has been crazy lately, my wife and I have both had health problems along with my wife's family so fixing it has not been something I've had time for.

    Anyway last week I was finally able to spend a day at the observatory and I discovered that a mouse or mice got inside the conduit that connects my pier to our "control" room and my PC and destroyed the wiring. It also appears that somehow water was getting into the conduit as the wires were wet when we pulled them out. So this is going to require running new conduit, above ground but below the observatory floor.

    However this got me thinking about possibly mounting a fanless PC on top or next to my scope, this would reduce the cable run length, and the amount of wires that need to travel with the mount as it moves, I could also get by with only needing to run a network cable to the control room to the pier which can be done much more easily.

    Has anyone done this? Pros/cons?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    I use an Advantek fanless computer in my observatory. Works in all temperatures (as long as you select the right hard drive), has lots of USB and serial ports, and is compact enough to mount on the pier.

    Only downside is that it isn’t the fastest machine, but that’s not a big problem for image acquisition.
     
  3. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    I have a Zotac Nano PC riding around on top of my scope, with a RigRunner 4004USB 12V power box, a StarTech USB2.0 industrial hub, and some other goodies.
    Two issues:
    a) The BIOS (and possibly the hardware) is too stupid to allow auto-powerup. e.g. apply juice and have it start, or reboot it with a power controller. So if things go bad, I have to trot out to the backyard. Not bad for my small yard. Very bad if it was 10hours drive away.
    b) Main SSD is tiny 32gb, and the microsd port happily holds 128gb microSD card, BUT wont boot off it. Again, bios.

    At a truly remote site, I have an Intel i5 NUC, with a fan, and it has been good.

    Point-of-sale hardened fanless machines are a good idea as an option.

    Am aware of some folks using Intel Compute Sticks too.
     
  4. JoshuaHufford

    JoshuaHufford Cyanogen Customer

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    Yea not having the ability to boot up on power up would be a problem.

    Colin, do you have any pictures of your setup you could post? I'm considering the idea of letting the PC ride on top of the scope to reduce the amount of wires that have to move with the scope.
     
  5. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    I'm kinda busy but when I get a spare minute will post a few photos.
     
  6. JoshuaHufford

    JoshuaHufford Cyanogen Customer

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    No hurry at all.

    Thanks.
     

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