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Thread: Wireless Telescope and Camera Control for Astrophotography

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    Arrow Wireless Telescope and Camera Control for Astrophotography



    I have been reading into this for a long time, and have come to the conclusions that you may be easily able to wirelessly control your telescope via a usb to bluetooth dongle which has batteries.

    For more sophisticated control, and more ports to control a DSLR usb connection for example it seems that the USB wireless choices are few and not very promising

    The best reviewed USB wireless hub has been the Belkin Network USB Hub F5L009. I am not sure if anyone has tried a wireless hub for imaging, but for CCD devices I am sure that there is not enough bandwidth to be able to image on the fly across the network.

    Wait until USB 3.0. For now I may try to wait save up some money and eventually try a hub like the Belkin Network USB Hub F5L009 to automate imaging with the DSLR and control of the scope, and hopefully autoguiding data (PHD)!

    Unfortunately my patio has no holes where I can stick a wired cable to connect to a usb hub (wired method). This would be the best method for me.
    Any more ideas?

    clear skies
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Gus,

    It's a little more complex it the setup process but I connect my mount, autoguider, imager, and gamepad to my laptop outside. Then use "Ultra VNC" to connect wirelessly to my desktop inside. I can run everything on the laptop remotely (stellarium, Nebulosity, PHD). It works great on those cold nights. I haven't invested in an autofocuser so that would be the only thing missing that I can't do from the inside.

    I do use a wired powered hub as I only have 3 USB ports on my laptop. It took a bit to figure it out as plugging the autoguider or imager into the powered hub didn't work (crashes). It's a cheap hub but since I now use it to power the mouse, gamepad and scope and plug the autoguider and imager into dedicated USB directly on the laptop everything seems to work ok.

    Issue is it takes two computers instead of the bluetooth and just one. I'm not sure the bluetooth could handle the bandwidth as you mention.
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    Gordon
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    Thanks Gordon, I will think of your post (i didnt think too much about remote desktops or even heard of VNC!) when I get the money to get an obs

    My main issue now is:

    - no connection (no hole to run wires - i rent so i cant drill anything into the place) from the patio door to the outside
    - no power outside so I need low consumption (ideally just a powered wireless hub no laptop)

    I am sure others are in similar situations, and hopefully can find a decent solution. I didn't realize how much energy goes into powering a laptop when you try to power it from batteries.
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Oh ya! Lot of power!

    I used a power tank for a while and gave that up (bummer when you loose power during the middle of an imaging session!)

    I run an extension cord out to my back yard and then power the mount, laptop and powered hub with house current. My laptop battery is only good for about 20 to 30 mins when I get everything fired up so house current is necessary.

    Again the idea for me was to get everything setup then start the imaging and go inside to monitor it. It's not unusual to run images for an hour or two. Not much to do while it's running.
    Gordon
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    Yeah!, right now I use a 21Ah battery and it only lasts about 1-11/2 hours and then i have an hour until the laptop battery dies.
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Just a thought??

    Do you have a porch light on your patio?
    Gordon
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    yes I do that is clever of you Gordon!, but my wife would kill me if I try to become an electrician too!

    Is there are a safe way to use that outlet?
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    They make an adapter that screws into the light socket so you could plug in a power cord. Nice thing is it's only a "temporary" so when you move you can just remove it.

    Would fix your problem and it wouldn't be much more complicated than "screwing in a light bulb"....
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    Some items out there that may help which I use.

    I have a wireless usb server.

    Other items I have used included Ethernet to usb cable which is 100ft long.
    If you are creative you can always find a way to run a temporary power cord.

    When I have no source of power I resort to a marine deep cycle gel cell battery with 110Ah rating........This could power and keep the beer cold in the refridge all night in the field

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    The suggestion of using a laptop + vnc is good. Laptop battery life varies hugely - if you buy a big, high-powered 'desktop replacement' one you'll only get an hour or so, but a netbook should give you perhaps 3-4. Then again a netbook might not handle the load, and if it's running at 100% it's going to kill the battery pretty fast anyway. You can get laptops with oversized batteries, or something like a macbook would give you 3-4 hours of serious use.

    Hmm.. if you're using windows, if you use remote desktop (it's built in!) you can probably turn the laptop screen off completely. That should give you quite a bit more time.

    Another option: you can get small ARM based computer boards with USB, serial, wireless, and a lightweight linux install. It comes as just a circuit board I think, with no display, but they're very small, cheap, and power efficient. Put one of those in a box with a decent sized battery, and you can configure it as a wireless hub. It would run all night, and you could plug pretty much whatever you wanted into it. A guy on cloudy nights has done just that - I think it cost around $100 or so, plus the time to get it running.

 

 
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