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INDI Library v1.9.5 Released (08 Mar 2022)

Bi-monthly INDI Library released with new drivers and bug fixes.

KStars / EKOS on Mac Mini

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Hello all,
I'm currently running Astroberry on a mount attached RPi4 (with M.2 512Gb SSD) and remoting in from indoors.I have an extended aerial on the RPi for the WiFi so all is good with the connection. I have found recently however that the RPi/Astroberry is liable to crash whenever it is asked to do something out of the normal. For instance, cancel a plate solve or a mount solve routine. I then have to restart Astroberry and restart EKOS......
I was thinking of getting a refurbished Mac Mini (16Gb RAM and an SSD) and loading up KStars / EKOS / PHD2 and having that at the mount and then remoting in from a MacBook using something like Screens.
My current set up is an HEQ5 PRO guiding with a ZWO120MM/Mini and a Redcat51 plus Altair 26C Hypercam all running through a Pegasus Powerbox Advance 2. I'm thinking that the large image size of the Altair might be overloading the RPi and causing these crashes??
I'd be more than grateful to hear from anyone with any comments and thanks in advance.
Last edit: 4 months 2 weeks ago by JIm Frost.
4 months 2 weeks ago #78906

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I've been contemplating the same refurbished idea. One thing I'm uncertain about is the operating temperature range.
The RPi4 spec is  0 - 50C 
while the M1 2020 Mac mini  50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C).
  and the 2014  Mac mini is also  50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)

Here in Canada I've operated my Odroid-N2 down to at least -10C, but I wonder if a Mac mini would be up to cooler temperatures? The Mac mini certainly does have a more robust case which might extend it's temperature range beyond the specs a bit.
120 MM Skywatcher Esprit on Celestron CGX, ZWO ASI 224MC guiding, Pegasus FocusCube v2+PPBA
Nikon Z7 8256 x 5504, 35.9 x 23.9mm 4.34 um. Triad Ultra Quad NB Filter
1) Odroid-N2 Ubuntu-mate 20.04 2) StellarMate RPI4 8G
The good, the bad, the ugly at sciencedowneast.no-ip.ca/zenphoto/
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4 months 2 weeks ago #78913

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Replied by JIm Frost on topic KStars / EKOS on Mac Mini

Thanks Jerry, I hadn't thought about the temperature, mind you I'm over in Scotland so I'm only usually around 0C plus or minus in winter. Nowhere near what you guys are getting over in Canada.
I guess if the temperature isn't too extreme then it would just add to the cooling and be of some benefit.
4 months 2 weeks ago #78917

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Replied by Euripides on topic KStars / EKOS on Mac Mini

Hello Jim,

While you are able to reproduce the issue, had you take a look on those log files, or upload them here to try to figure out what is going on/ I wouldn’t go further before that.
RPI4 + M2 with the appropriate power supply is more than enough for Kstars and more simultaneously. 
4 months 2 weeks ago #78927

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Replied by JIm Frost on topic KStars / EKOS on Mac Mini

Many thanks for the reply.

I'm away from home at the moment so I don't have access to the Pi. I'll certainly have a look to see if I have the logs still when I return.
The PSU that I am running is the Official UK Raspberry Pi 4 PSU (5.1v, 3A) into the Argon One M2 case. I see that Argon do their own PSU which is rated at 5.2v and 3.5A which might be worth a try?
4 months 2 weeks ago #78936

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Replied by Euripides on topic KStars / EKOS on Mac Mini

If I were you I would certainly start first with the proper power/voltage PSU for the Argon. Many, many issues caused by insufficient power on RPI's.
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4 months 2 weeks ago #78937

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The RPi should be able to handle your setup well. The MacMini likely gives you a better overall user experience, at the cost of a more costly and bulkier setup that requires mains power. For a long time my go-to solution was a Fitlet 2 mini computer, which is a great compromise between the two and which I like more than the RPi solution. But recently I went your suggested route and bought a 2018 MacMini, which is now my go-to system, with the Fitlet 2 as backup for anything more portable. So far I’ve used it down to -5 degrees Celsius and the heat produced by the computer was sufficient to keep it all warm enough to be working fine. I’m using this cover for it, which gives a nice bit of protection and I’m telling myself it keeps it a bit warmer. The 2020 M1 Mac mini is so energy efficient that it does not produce any heat at all, so would probably get colder over night. But since it is different electronics altogether, not sure if that means it can handle the cold better or worse. 
If you connect from another Mac, you can simply use ‘Share screen’ from the finder, and if you connect from iPad/iPhone, you can use the free VNC viewer from RealVNC to connect. Mac’s come with an embedded VNC server installed. 
Willem Jan Drijfhout
astroworldcreations.com
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4 months 2 weeks ago #78938

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Replied by JIm Frost on topic KStars / EKOS on Mac Mini

I've just ordered the Argon PSU. Will report back! Thanks again.
4 months 2 weeks ago #78939

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Replied by JIm Frost on topic KStars / EKOS on Mac Mini

Thanks for this Willem. I'll give the Argon PSU a try and see how I get on first and hopefully that will resolve my issues. All very useful information!
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4 months 2 weeks ago #78940

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Replied by JIm Frost on topic KStars / EKOS on Mac Mini

Just a quick update on this one. I purchased the Argon PSU (from the PiHut in the UK) and have been using it for the last few weeks or so for 6 or 7 imaging sessions and not one crash encountered.
Thanks all again for the advice.
3 months 1 week ago #80415

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I know you've solved your issue, but I just waned to add that I ran my observatory on a late model 2012 Mac mini for a year without any trouble. Having two monitors attached was even viewable from my Mac at home. But the latest update to the Mac version of KStars had some issues that made mw switch back to Stellarmate. But now that is giving me trouble too (I posted that problem here last night). I may go back to the Mac and see if I cant fix the issues I had with that set up.

iOptron CEM120 EC2 and CEM25P
Celestron C11 EdgeHD
William Optics Star71
ASI 1600Mm Pro, ASI 462MC
Moonlight motorfocus & Esatto focuser
LodeStar X2 and ZWO OAG
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3 months 1 week ago #80416

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