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INDI Library v1.9.5 Released (08 Mar 2022)

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

Alternatives to Raspberry Pi4?

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The point of two RPi4's is that I am running everything from inside my travel trailer - too cold to sit outside.

jmh
1 year 5 months ago #64220

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The only issue I have with the Pi4 is that under Ubuntu 20.04 the network periodically disconnects. Note that this has nothing to do with the internal Wifi, since the same thing happens when I use an external dongle. All my peripherals are connected to a powered USB3 hub, to prevent any excessive power drain on the USB bus. All devices are fed to the Pi through a single USB3 connection from the hub.

Strangely, the disconnects happen only when I am connecting to a Wifi network, NOT when I am using the internal (or external) Wifi to create a Hotspot. So to avoid being locked out of the Pi, I am now routinely running it using the internal Wifi to create a Hotspot and the external Wifi to connect to my Wifi router. Also strangely, I cannot restart the Wifi connection once it has stopped working periodically and for unknown reasons when I enter the Pi through the Hotspot connection. It will never find the network again unless I restart.

That is my only concern with the Pi4, otherwise it just works like a dream machine. By now I have use 6 of them, 3 4 GB models and 3 8 GB models.

The only one that fatally failed on my was one that got doused when my sprinkler system came on one night and submerged the Pi. I could never resurrect it.

So yes, I am miffed! These Pis should really be water-proof. I mean, what were they thinking!? ;)

Jo
Atlas Pro AZ-EQ, ASI1600MM-Pro, ASI120MM-S, ES102ED, WO-Z61, Nikon D3300, ASI-EFW, ZWO LRGB,Ha,O3,S2 filter set
1 year 5 months ago #64240

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Thanks for all the replies!

I decided to see how things work using an old laptop, just to make sure that the problems were not potentially software related. With the Latest Mint Cinnamon, Kstars etc, everything works perfectly, connects first time and has no issues I can see. I can connect to this and run everything from a windows pc, and also via a VNC connection to the laptop.

I have upgraded the firmware on the Pi to no avail. A search shows that the problems I have had with USB 3 are not unusual, not common, but by no means unknown. I will try one more option and set up ubuntukstars on the Pi over the weekend and see if that makes any difference.

Thanks all
cheers
Gary
1 year 5 months ago #64255

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Ha-ha... Makes sense..
Max S.

RPI 4 B (4Gb) with SMate
Askar FRA400, TPO RC6, Nikon D5500 full spectrum (with IDAS clip-in filter).
ASI2600MC Pro
ZWO ASI120MM Mini on ZWO 30F4
ZWO ASI224MC-S on Orion 50 mm f/3.2
ZWO EAF x 2
SW AZ-GTi
SW HEQ5
RST-135
1 year 5 months ago #64320

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There is an x86 single board computer out now to compete with the Rpi for under $100. I also am using an Rpi 4 (new one with 8 GB Ram) and an Anker powered USB3.0 7 port hub to connect all the equipment to. I also have occasional drop outs to the Server (I am hard wired over ethernet to a laptop in the garage that I run the AStroberry server using a browser) but it almost always happens when I try to make some change during an imaging or guiding session, not just changing screens but click on something in the program. Not all things just some and it seems much less with the new Rpi. I imaged the other night for 4 hours with 2 dropouts. Each time I was able to just restart Kstars and pick right up where I left off as the Server kept all the equipment connected. The delay caused by the drop out was less than a minute, getting everything up and running again. Of course, it would have been a real pain if I had not been sitting at the laptop to see it happen, but then if it were running on its own it might not have dropped out in the first place. I have yet to try the sequencer, but should.

Ron
1 year 5 months ago #64343

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In my case, only the network drops out, not Kstars. In fact, if it happens during the night while Kstars is running my rig unattended, it always faithfully continues to work down the scheduler and parks the mount after the end of the session.
It is only for the rare cases where there is a problem, like lost guiding due to clouds or similar where intervention is required that this becomes a problem.
I may be able to fix it with a cron job that periodically checks the connection to the main router and if it is interrupted just restarts the network using ifupdown.
Does anyone have a script ready that will do just that?
Jo
Atlas Pro AZ-EQ, ASI1600MM-Pro, ASI120MM-S, ES102ED, WO-Z61, Nikon D3300, ASI-EFW, ZWO LRGB,Ha,O3,S2 filter set
1 year 5 months ago #64349

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My current rig employs a Lenovo ThinkCentre M93P 'Tiny' "desktop" machine, though it uses a laptop power connector.

The specs of mine include 5 USB 3.0 ports (no 2.0), an Intel Dual-Core i5-4570T Processor up to 3.60 GHz, 8GB RAM and a 240GB SSD. I installed Kubuntu 20.10 alongside Win10Pro. I bought it refurbished so I didn't spend an enormous amount. It also came with a rather lame USB 2.0 2G wifi stick, a cheap keyboard and a mouse that rattles (for real). I upgraded the USB wifi to a USB 3.0 5G dongle with an antenna. I also made some changes to the BIOS to allow booting without a keyboard. I run krfb on it as a remote desktop server (it seems to default to 1024x768 when no monitors are plugged in).



It's about the size of a counterweight and weighs almost as much as well. To mount it I also bought a VESA bracket that holds the computer and which is usually intended to suspend the unit off the back of a monitor or television (obviously not one that's actually mounted to a VESA mount). I built a receiver for the VESA bracket out of plywood that attaches to the end of my EQ6's counterweight bar, so it acts as a counterweight.



It almost weighs enough to properly counterweight the rest of the rig (!), at least when the Evostar72 is on and would probably do so if the guidescope were omitted. I only have 10lb weights (the mount originally carried a 10" Newtonian which I still have) and if I add even one right at the top of the bar it dramatically overbalances the counterweight end, so I'll need to find a way to add some smaller weights to the rig but it is pretty close to balanced already.



As you can see I have a powered USB 3.0 hub velcroed to the backside of the EQ6, so all rig-related USB cables emerge from here. The hub itself uses 12v, so it can be powered from the same distribution centre as everything else, which I have velcroed onto the control panel side of the EQ6.



What's great about this is that the SSD is big enough for all the Astrometry.net FITS for plate solving and with fast processors aboard it solves in a second or two. The SSD also has legions of space for saving FITS from the camera.
1 year 4 months ago #64866

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Nice idea...BUT
One should never run an imaging rig with the counter weight that far down the shaft, it can cause huge loads on the motors when slewing, it’s much better to have much more weight and further up towards the mount head, there has been a lot of research done on this, the initial inertia with a weight that far down I’d bad for the mount.... :)
Stellarmate OS on Raspberry pi4b
Skywatcher EQ8 pro, on steel pier
Takahashi FSQ85, FS60cb & Meade 8” SCT (de-forked)
Starlight Xpress SXVR H18, SXVR M25c, Lodestar x2 Guide Camera
Pegasus Ultimate Hub V2 for all USB & Power
Pegasus focus motors on all scopes
1 year 4 months ago #64871

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I can see that would become an issue with larger loads and much longer extensions, but we're talking about a weight that's still less than that of a single counterweight that comes with the mount on a mount that's designed to take at least three of them (all told there's currently less total weight being carried in payload and computer combined than the mount carried in counterweights alone for its original payload).

For comparison, here's what the counterweight loading looks like when the mount is carrying the original 10" Newtonian with a mirrorless camera attached.



The moment of inertia of all that has to exceed that of the mini computer sitting another 2" further out. It's like 3½lbs vs 30lbs.
1 year 4 months ago #64873
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I use a NanoPC T4 running the Arambian (www.armbian.com) Focal.
KStars/EKOS runs perfectly.

The NanoPC T4 is faster then the Pi, is 64 bit, 4 GB RAM, 15gb eMMC, has USB3, and you can add a SSD drive to it (I added a 500GB drive).
www.friendlyarm.com/index.php?route=prod...oduct&product_id=225

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
DewBuster
NANO PC-T4
1 year 4 months ago #64940

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Another NanoPC-T4 user here, also using Armbian for almost two years now. I have a pi 3 and pi 4b but always use the NanoPC when imaging,
The T4 comes with nice external wifi bluetooth antennas and the wifi is better than the pi's. The standout feature for me of the T4 is an onboard m.2 nvme connector, I have a 240G nvme which runs all the software programs. 12v x 2 amp barrel jack for power.
-Brian

NanoPC-T4 - Armbian focal
iOptron CEM25P mount
Photoline 80mm triplet refractor
ZWO ASI294MC Pro Imaging camera
ZWO ASI290MM mini Guide camera
ZWO ASI EAF focuser

1 year 4 months ago #64949

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I just wish that the nanoPC T4 had an auto on. Once the power goes out, you have to physically press the on button to restart it.
Other that it - it's been a great imaging machine and runs all aspects of my observatory.

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
DewBuster
NANO PC-T4
1 year 4 months ago #64951

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