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Thread: Remote Control of your Observatory Wirelessly

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    Default Remote Control of your Observatory Wirelessly



    I am going to eventually try to control my observatory from my house, hopefully via a wireless system. I've considered a wired system, but I don't think I want to do all that trenching and cable running.

    Being a non techie type, I've not a clue as to how to go about this. I've tried Googling how to connect two computers wirelessly, and it has gone right over my head.

    My observatory has a Celestron CGEM DX mount. I will be using a Canon 600D DSLR camera. My auto guider is an Orion 80mm with an SSAG camera attached. My telescope will be a TPO 8" RC. I have two computers, a Compaq Windows 7 type with 2.2 GHz processor, and 3 GB of RAM. The other is a Toshiba Windows 8.1 type, with an i7 processor setup, with 8GB RAM, which I believe has 2.4GHz speed.

    I guess the first question is what type of basic equipment to allow my I need to allow the computer in my house to access the computer out at the observatory, allowing me to remotely control the mount, and the camera?

    Also, will I need additional software other than my BYEOS, PHD2 and SSAG drivers?

    Would it be prudent to have a remote focus capability installed on my RC telescope. It has a Crayford 2 inch type focuser, though it looks more robust than that. I imagine that being able to remotely control the focus would solve a lot of headaches, one having to go out and refocus things manually, when temperatures change the focus. I think I have hear of a focuser that keeps things focused automatically, though I doubt such a thing is financially feasible for me.

    Since my observatory is not enclosed, I am not sure this remote control thing is even practical. That's why I am asking the experts who do have established observatories with remote systems installed. Caley
    Caley Ann
    Explore Scientific ES102ES and TPO RC 8 inch; Celestron AVX and Celestron CGEM DX mounts; Canon 3Ti, and 7D mkII, and ZWO ASI 174MC and 1600MM cooled; Orion Stratus (68*) 21, 17, 13, 8, 5, 3.5MM, Q70 26, 32, 38MM ; Orion 80mm ST and MMAG; ATIK EFW 1.25

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    Default Re: Remote Control of your Observatory Wirelessly

    You need a computer in the observatory that will handle wireless communication. Most modern laptops will come with wireless capability built-in. Some computers might need a plug-in USB wireless module.

    You need a wireless router in the house.

    You need a second computer in the house, at which you will sit. This computer can be wireless, but you will get better performance if you connect it to the router with a cable.

    Then you need remote desktop software. Depending on your software versions, you may be able to use Windows Remote Desktop, which comes included with Windows on some versions. The remote (observatory) computer needs to be a Pro level of Windows. The local (home) computer han be a Home version. Or if that is a hassle (it is), you can use other remote desktop software like TeamViewer, which is free nagware.

    Basically, you have to go outside for any function that is not remote controlled. If you want to be able to focus without going out, a remote focuser is essential. It is particularly important if you experience large temperature swings that require refocusing during a session. Automatic focusing uses software to periodically interrupt the imaging run to refocus. It can work with fairly economical focusers. You tell it when to stop and refocus.

    Any amount of automation is possible. There are devices and software that will remove a dust cover, install a Bahtinov mask, open and close domes and roofs, and synchronize the shutter of a dome to the telescope position. It becomes a tradeoff of cost versus convenience. I still have to go outside to remove the dust cover from the scope.

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    Default Re: Remote Control of your Observatory Wirelessly

    Keith, Thanks so much. My Windows 7 computer has remote desktop. It's a Home Premium Edition, so I don't know if this version will work. Actually, I think both of my operating systems are Home Premium, which I imagine is not Pro. Caley
    Caley Ann
    Explore Scientific ES102ES and TPO RC 8 inch; Celestron AVX and Celestron CGEM DX mounts; Canon 3Ti, and 7D mkII, and ZWO ASI 174MC and 1600MM cooled; Orion Stratus (68*) 21, 17, 13, 8, 5, 3.5MM, Q70 26, 32, 38MM ; Orion 80mm ST and MMAG; ATIK EFW 1.25

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    Default Re: Remote Control of your Observatory Wirelessly

    You can't remote desktop into a home premium but you can connect to another computer with it, I have premium on my laptop that I connect to the computer in my Ob which is running pro.
    Celestron Advanced VX 6” Newtonian, Celestron 114mm powerseeker, Meade 90mm refractor.
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    Default Re: Remote Control of your Observatory Wirelessly

    Don't worry about remote desktop not working (though I don't know why it would not), you can always use VNC instead.
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    ... Henk. Telescopes: 6" Mak-Newt (Comet Hunter), ES ED127CF, ES ED80, Zhumell Z12, Coulter Odyssey 10, AT6RC, Venture RX-7, Celestron Skymaster 20x80, Mounts and tripod: Losmandy G11S, AVX, LXD55, Tiltall, Cameras: Fuji X-a1, Canon SX40, Xt, XSi, T6, ELPH 100HS, DIY: Dob and camera barndoor trackers, afocal adapter, Dob with foldable base and Az/Alt setting circles, Accessories: SSAG, Plossls, Barlows, Telrad, laser collimators (Seben LK1, Z12, Howie Glatter), Cheshire, 2 Orion RACIs 8x50, Software: DSS, ImageMagick, PHD, Nebulosity, Photo Gallery, Gimp, CHDK

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    Default Re: Remote Control of your Observatory Wirelessly

    Looks like, for now, I won't be considering computer-to-computer control since I don't have anything but Home Premium.

    CamelHat, I had to look up VNC since I am not familiar with that acronym. I found one place that sells a license of their product for $30. I'm not sure how it works though. Will have to study this system to see if it will actually work through a wireless router. I have a router that I have not been using because I thought it was having trouble keeping up with streaming video. Never reinstalled it when I found out that my telephone company was deliberately causing the stream to run slow because they wanted money from the video streaming company.

    If VNC is too complex, I guess it will be back to running very long USB2 cables to the camera and mount, which probably is the cheaper way to go about things. Caley
    Caley Ann
    Explore Scientific ES102ES and TPO RC 8 inch; Celestron AVX and Celestron CGEM DX mounts; Canon 3Ti, and 7D mkII, and ZWO ASI 174MC and 1600MM cooled; Orion Stratus (68*) 21, 17, 13, 8, 5, 3.5MM, Q70 26, 32, 38MM ; Orion 80mm ST and MMAG; ATIK EFW 1.25

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    Default Re: Remote Control of your Observatory Wirelessly

    Quote Originally Posted by astronomynut View Post
    Looks like, for now, I won't be considering computer-to-computer control since I don't have anything but Home Premium.

    CamelHat, I had to look up VNC since I am not familiar with that acronym. I found one place that sells a license of their product for $30. I'm not sure how it works though. Will have to study this system to see if it will actually work through a wireless router. I have a router that I have not been using because I thought it was having trouble keeping up with streaming video. Never reinstalled it when I found out that my telephone company was deliberately causing the stream to run slow because they wanted money from the video streaming company.

    If VNC is too complex, I guess it will be back to running very long USB2 cables to the camera and mount, which probably is the cheaper way to go about things. Caley
    Any VNC version I ever used was free and it worked well. Maybe the licensing has changed but so long as you don't need special features such as encryption, I think it is still free: VNC® - Access your computers when you need to
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    ... Henk. Telescopes: 6" Mak-Newt (Comet Hunter), ES ED127CF, ES ED80, Zhumell Z12, Coulter Odyssey 10, AT6RC, Venture RX-7, Celestron Skymaster 20x80, Mounts and tripod: Losmandy G11S, AVX, LXD55, Tiltall, Cameras: Fuji X-a1, Canon SX40, Xt, XSi, T6, ELPH 100HS, DIY: Dob and camera barndoor trackers, afocal adapter, Dob with foldable base and Az/Alt setting circles, Accessories: SSAG, Plossls, Barlows, Telrad, laser collimators (Seben LK1, Z12, Howie Glatter), Cheshire, 2 Orion RACIs 8x50, Software: DSS, ImageMagick, PHD, Nebulosity, Photo Gallery, Gimp, CHDK

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    Default Re: Remote Control of your Observatory Wirelessly

    Quote Originally Posted by astronomynut View Post
    Looks like, for now, I won't be considering computer-to-computer control since I don't have anything but Home Premium.
    WRD won't work in Home Premium, but TeamViewer will and it is free.

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    Default Re: Remote Control of your Observatory Wirelessly

    Keith, Thanks, I download Teamviewer. Since I am an insomniac sometimes, like tonight, I tried to resurrect my router. It's been quite some time since I used it, and misplaced the instructions. But I finally got it up, but couldn't figure out why my computers weren't connecting to it. I finally got the computer diagnostics program on one computer to tell me that my computer transmitter wasn't on. Once I pressed the button to enable that transmitter, things worked.

    I had a bit of difficulty setting up Teamviewer, but finally discovered you need a internet connection, and the wireless router network to get things to work. I'm not sure if my remote computer sends the information through the internet to the Teamviewer website, and then back to my Master computer, or whether the data transfer is direct through my router. Anyway, I did finally get my remote computer screen on my master computer, and brought up BYEOS, and it came up fine. Thanks again.

    Once I get my observatory building cleared out of the way, and I can again, access my mount, I will give this software a try. Still have about a month before I finally can move in to the observatory. Weather has been lousy, making work on it difficult. Caley
    Caley Ann
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    Default Re: Remote Control of your Observatory Wirelessly

    Yay! I am glad you got it working. With both computers connected to the same router, the signals between them won't go out over the Internet. However, it does log its availability on the Internet, so you can actually control the computer from a remote site.

    I used that capability when I set up my father-in-law's computer. I installed Teamviewer on it, and made sure I recorded his ID number and password. Now, if he needs tech support, he just emails me, I log onto his computer and fix whatever needs fixing.
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