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  1. #1

    Default Web remote access & licence type

    Hi,
    I am building my remote observatory.
    I like to access the obs computer using the web, as my adsl bandwith can be too small for a remote desktop connection.

    Can you comment/advise on the following:
    - the acp application must be running before any web connection attempt?
    - scripts can be uploaded and launched using the web connection?
    - plans can be uploaded and launched using the web connection?
    -is that happening thanks to a "share your sky" session, with administrator grants?

    -what kind of licence do i need to buy to get thse functionalities?

    Thanks in advance for your help,
    Andrea

  2. #2

    Default

    Hi Andrea

    Bob will no doubt answer your questions more fully, however, I think I can give you some feedback:

    - the acp application must be running before any web connection attempt?
    Yes, ACP provides a console application which needs to be run on the observatory 'server' computer. The console app has to be running to allow web-based users to access ACP's functionality. The 'server' can be any type of Windows machine you like, although a decent desktop machine is preferrable to a low-spec laptop (although many people, including myself, do use laptops as the server). I know that Bob specifically does NOT recommend using 'Netbook' type computers.

    The ACP console application provides a built-in web server and FTP server - you DO NOT have to install Microsoft IIS, Apache, or other third-party web server. The ACP web/FTP servers seem very reliable, secure and robust. There are rarely any reports of issues - I've certainly never had any trouble at with them.

    - scripts can be uploaded and launched using the web connection?
    Yes, there are a number of ways of doing this. Personally I use FTP software to upload scripts. But you will rarely need to upload scripts - the standard ACP scripts will probably do everything you need.

    - plans can be uploaded and launched using the web connection?
    Yes, there are a number of ways of doing this. It's all well-documented in the ACP Help files, along with examples for both Windows and Mac users. It's very user-friendly and you don't need to understand the underlying mechanisms.

    -is that happening thanks to a "share your sky" session, with administrator grants?
    The 'Share Your Sky' thing relates to being able to access the ACP web server from another (remote) machine using a web browser. That's the normal usage pattern - an Administrator will setup preferences and accounts for non-Admin users of ACP. Then non-Admin user will simply access the URL for the ACP web server and use the nice (friendly) web interface. Even if you're an admin, once things are setup you can use the web interface. It's great! All you need is a web connection and a browser - I often monitor what ACP's doing via my iPad while eating dinner, etc.

    -what kind of licence do i need to buy to get thse functionalities?
    If you want to be able to access ACP via web browser from a remote machine you need the 'Personal Internet' license.

    The 'Basic' license will also allow you to access ACP via both the console and the web browser interface - but ONLY from the same machine (not remotely). I think most people seem to go for the Personal Internet license.

    Russ
    Russell Archer
    LX200 ACF 12in, SXVR-H9, SX AO-LF, SX Lodestar, SX FW

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Mesa, AZ
    Posts
    26,019

    Default

    Andrea --

    I was away for our national holiday.. and Russell answered your questions perfectly!!! Russ, thanks VERY much!!!
    -- Bob

  4. #4

    Default

    Bob, Russel,
    Very clear, many thanks.
    Just to confirm, the start up phase must be done launching the console.
    Then I could almost work Only using the web browser.
    My remote site is 250 km away, I will need to keep acp "always on".
    at the planned time acp commands the power switch to power up the mount, ccd, unpark mount and home, unpark home and open shutter dome.
    After that we enter in the imaging session, slewing, focusing, guide, take frames.
    At the end , the initial condition is re-established thanks to a shutdown script.
    Is that a process that could work in real life?
    If yes, I suppose I'd need to write new startup and shutdown scrpts.

    Are there any other standard/ widly adopted processes to manage a remote-unattended observatory using acp?

    I am still assembling the different parts and hope to start working with sw in one month from now.
    Many thanks again,
    Andrea

  5. #5

    Default

    Hi Andrea

    I think everything you describe can be acheived with ACP. However, ACP itself doesn't know how to turn on/off power supplies, etc. But I do know that quite a few ACP users have tackled that issue - there are 'web-enabled' power supplies available. I think Bob will be able to provide input here as this isn't something I've done.

    One of the great things about ACP is the open architecture, so it's it's easy to write scripts to handle custom scenarios (like automated power-up, etc.). I suspect somebody here will be able to provide an example script that you could modify for your specific needs. For example, I've seen several custom startup/shutdown scripts posted.

    To try and answer your specific question, yes, the ACP console app must be running on the server at the observatory before anybody can connect using the web interface. You could leave it running all the time or, alternatively, you could remote desktop to the server and star it (re-start it) if required. Once the console app is running you (and other users) would just access the observatory using any modern browser. The ACP browser interface provides everything you need - you don't need direct access to MaxIm DL, FocusMax, or anything else, you can control everything through ACP. You even get a handy preview of the latest image from the main camera and the guider

    Again, Bob has experience of this but I think that you'd need some kind of local support person as there are bound to be times when the server needs rebooting, something physically needs adjusting on the scope, etc. ACP itself seems very robust indeed. I can't recall it ever crashing on me. And there's a huge amount of logic in ACP devoted to handling errors, re-trying targets, failing gracefully, etc. Watching ACP take over the guiding process is like magic!

    Good luck - do let us know how you get on!

    Russ
    Russell Archer
    LX200 ACF 12in, SXVR-H9, SX AO-LF, SX Lodestar, SX FW

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Mesa, AZ
    Posts
    26,019

    Default

    Thank you Russ!!! A tour de force :-)
    -- Bob

 

 

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