Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. #1

    Default Joyce Observatory 2

    Hi Bob,
    I am building a new home and, of course, an upgraded attached observatory. The setup will be house in a 14.5 ft pier tech dome. The scopes will be a new 20" planewave and my existing 14 " Celestron hyperstar (for Mallicam), Stellarvue 105mm and Lunt 80mm solar scope which currently are controlled with ACP and Starry Night.. All will be mounted on an ASA DDM 160 mount. I am contemplating the computer systems and wanted your opinion on this. I currently run everything on a Dell XPS desktop i7. Sometimes I overwhelm this computer with all of the usb inputs from the cameras, devices and video. I have been thinking of adding a Mac and use it to run the cameras, the Sky and ACP expert. I would appreciate any input regarding the observatory configuration.
    Thanks,
    Doug
    Last edited by Douglas Joyce; Feb 25, 2015 at 15:03.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Mesa, AZ
    Posts
    26,060

    Default

    Wow, I'm not the right person to help you design the instruments and mounts, etc. What I can say is that ACP cannot control four telescope/camera packages on a single mount and switch back and forth between them on a given night. You will need to configure each separately, save the configurations, then when you switch you'll have to load the proper configuration for ACP, MaxIm, and FocusMax. I can also say that it's common for people to run VMWare (or other virtual machine under OS-X) or BootCamp (which runs Windows directly on the Apple hardware as a PC) and run an ACP directed observatory that way.
    -- Bob

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default

    Doug:

    I have a lot going on in my observatory, and am running everything on a Lenovo K330B: dual core, only 2.7 GHz, 8GB RAM. It's typically running the following simultaneously:

    -SkyX with Paramount ME
    -STL-11000M Camera
    -ACP with Scheduler
    -FocusMax
    -RoboFocus
    -MaximDL
    -AAG CloudWatcher
    -Davis Weather Station with Ambient Virtual Weather (to create real-time updates to web page)
    -Moonlight AllSky Cam
    -WatchDirectory (a requirement of a science project I'm working on to zip files and FTP files and folders in real time)
    -NoIPDUC (to update the web page for My-Sky.com)
    -A program to update the computer clock in real time.
    -RealVNC (to do remote connections throughout the night, while everything else is going on).

    The computer handles this with ease. But there are a number of things you can do to help. First and Foremost, SkyX consumes tremendous resources if you use the standard settings because the SkyX is updating the screen so rapidly, and that's very compute-intensive. (If you're running SkyX as a service to ACP, you won't be watching the SkyX screen as a planetarium program.) With the SkyX default setting, my CPU usage was about 50% all the time. When I dropped the frame rate to 3 times per minute, the usage fell to around 5%. (See SkyX, Preferences, Scroll Down to "Target Frame Rate" and set it to 10 or less, 3 works fine for me.)

    The second suggestion is to use RS232 rather than USB wherever possible. I use RS232 for DigitalDomeworks, two robofocusers, the Paramount ME, and the weather station. I do use USB for the SBIG cameras and an All-Sky cam, but I keep USB to a minimum.

    I do have a second computer (the identical Lenovo machine) for my SBIG seeing monitor because it uses an ST-4 camera and makes something like 7000 observations per night. Several people advised me that it would be too heavy a load for my ACP computer, so that's a separate machine.

    Now, you may ask, why don't I have a newer/faster computer? Great question. First, I'm afraid to upgrade to Windows 8. Second, I have everything working and don't want to stop and reinstall everything on a new computer. Third, the older machines are very inexpensive and that's great for maintaining spares. Not long ago, the computer got fried in an electrical storm, but the HD was OK. I bought a replacement computer on EBay, swapped in the hard drive, AND EVERYTHING WORKED!!!!!! (It seemed like a small miracle at the time--I couldn't believe it.) So now, I've got two of these machines running and bought two spares on EBay (I bought the last one for $100 plus shipping--old computers are cheap). I also run image backups of the drive regularly. If the drive fails, I can restore a replacement drive. If the machine fails, I can swap in a replacement with the existing drive.

    So my general advice is to use the Ctrl-Alt-Del performance monitor to look at your CPU performance. Check each program's effect on the CPU as you open up each program. I think you'll find that you can optimize your programs to reduce the CPU load, and that even a 2-year old, $100 EBay machine at 2.7 GHz can run everything you need, if you make careful decisions to optimize your setup.

    All best,

    Rob
    Rob Capon
    (Self-appointed) "Executive Director"
    Stillhouse Mountain Observatory
    Charlottesville, VA
    ----------------------------------
    RCOS 12.5 with SBIG STL11000M
    Televue NP101is with SBIG ST8300
    Paramount ME with SkyX
    Techn. Innovations PD10 with Digital Domeworks
    Robofocuser
    ACP with MaximDL and FocusMax

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Mesa, AZ
    Posts
    26,060

    Default

    Once again, THANK YOU!!!
    -- Bob

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks Rob,
    I am going to go over my system tomorrow.

    Regards,
    Doug

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default

    Doug-

    Sounds good. Please let me know if I can be helpful. By far the biggest consumer of CPU resources has been SkyX, and that's amazingly easy to fix!

    Rob

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Mesa, AZ
    Posts
    26,060

    Default

    Note that the ASA mount does not need TheSky so at the Observatory you can do without it completely. At home, it is of course a great planning tool.
    -- Bob

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default

    Doug-

    This thread on the Bisque forum has some contrasting views on this topic that you might find helpful and interesting:

    http://www.bisque.com/sc/forums/t/24013.aspx

    Best,

    Rob

  9. #9

    Default

    Thanks Bob. I'll check it out


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Mesa, AZ
    Posts
    26,060

    Default

    Thanks for the help Rob!
    -- Bob

 

 

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •