Posted 17 May 2010 - 09:37 PM
Posted 17 May 2010 - 09:45 PM
Posted 18 May 2010 - 07:10 AM
It allows full remote operation of the connected computer as well as file transfers. As long as you have a second computer and internet, it's simple to use. It's like you are sitting at the remoter computer. You can also connect to a remote machine via your LAN network.
Posted 18 May 2010 - 08:47 AM
Like the others, I used mine at a distance, but I was home
to fix things.
Has anyone tried remote control with Temma2? I'm very close to NYC and have very bad skies, but I was thinking about putting my NJP in a dome on my dad's farm in Ohio. My NJP is the old kind without Temma, but Art could put it on for me if I want. Thanks!
Posted 18 May 2010 - 09:26 AM
Like the others, I used mine at a distance, but I was home
to fix things.
Yup. For truly remote operation a mount with "home" switches (Paramount, CGE, others) is good insurance against the possibility of unrecoverable pointing error.
Posted 18 May 2010 - 09:44 AM
First off let me say I know very little about the NJP mount’s features. I hear good thing s about them but I don't know a lot about them so some of this may or may not aplly to it.
When considering operating a mount remotely and I mean truly remote as you have in mind you need to carefully consider that operation. Like many others here I operate my backyard system remotely from less than 30 ft away 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time is operated truly remotely, 1000 ~ 3000 miles away or further. But the system has been designed to reduce the risk to a safe level for truly remote operation. Are there still single point failures? Yes. But I have a regular inspection and maintenance schedule help to mitigate these as much as possible. Below are just some of the things to consider. It is not meant to be a full list. It is just meant to get you thinking about what you are going to be faced with.
-The first thing you need to be sure of is that your mount has the ability to recover from any foreseeable operational issue. You need the ability to remotely, reliably and accurately home the mount to some known coordinates at anytime, regardless of where is it currently pointing. That includes after a power failure or an improper sync. You should also have the ability to correct or mitigate any pointing or tracking issues. Some form of plate solving is also highly recommend.
-Reliable connection: Broadband, lineland, cell phone whatever. You need a connection that will allow real-time control (when needed) and one that has the speed and capacity to allow video monitoring of key system areas when needed. If you plan to view or transfer astro-images during your connected session remember some of those pictures can be quite large and may overwhelm a slow connection.
-Cameras (video): This will allow you see why things are working and let you decide what to do to correct the issue. I use 3 cameras inside my dome. One looks at the mount only. It gives me some idea of where the mount is pointing inside the dome at any given time. There is another one attached to the mount with a wide angle lens. It gives me a perspective from the mount’s point of view. It allows me to see a what part of the sky the scopes are looking at. It will show me things almost as your naked eye would see them. I can see if the scope is pointed at clear sky or my neighbor’s trees. I can see aircraft passing by, and constellations. It will also allow me to see if the dome’s shutters are blocking the scope. The 3rd camera is attached to a 40mm finder and it just narrows down that wide angle view of the sky to a deep space. It is used just as you would use a finder on a visual scope.
-Observatory Control: You obviously need to control the observatory. If it’s a ROR you need to be able to remotely roll the roof on and off. If your scope doesn’t clear the roof you will need to park it in a position so it does, or be able to lower the mount via an adjustable pier or some other method. Don’t under estimate the importance of performing these tasks reliably. If will get real expensive, real quick if you don’t. If you go the route of a dome things get a bit more complicated. Domes need to be kept aligned to the scope’s aperture. There are few programs out there that will do this for you. Some work better than others. But in order for any of them to have a chance to work correctly you need to be sure you accurately define the position of your mount within your observatory as required by the software. You also need to be sure your dome will rotate smoothly and that your shutters will open and close reliable, in both warm and cold weather. No matter what type of structure you have you’ll want to be sure is sturdy enough to hold up to strong winds and is well sealed from the elements. You may also require some type of climate control to lower the humidly, dry the dew off the walls and prevent mold. If it’s really hot or cold where the structure will be A/C or heat may be needed.
Power Control: You need to ability to remote control power. A/C, DC or both. There are remote controlled power outlets that will allow you to accomplish this. If you need to control DC power supplies you can control the A/C outlets they are plugged into.
Computer Control: The computer needs to also be controlled. For remote access there are a number of programs Remote Desktop, VNC, Log-me-In etc., but you also need to be able to control the boot-up and shut-down of the PC. Don’t not just rely on the remote access program for boot and reboot control. If the computer hangs the remote access software will not be able to reboot it. You need a way to reboot it via a separate device not controlled by the PC. Remember If your power outlets are only controlled via the PC and the PC is hung you won’t be able control the outlets either. There are Ethernet controlled power outlet and PC reboot boards with their own web servers built in that will solve this problem.
Weather Monitoring: You need to be able to remotely, realtime, monitor the weather at the site your observatory sits on. Don’t rely on the just a local weather service. Put up a weather station on the site. Even the cheap ones are better than nothing. Obviously you’ll need one that will allow you to access the data remotely (and in real-time). You need to be able to monitor things like wind and rain. For rain the best device is a cloud sensor. You want to know before it starts raining and it doesn’t rain without clouds. The other really good thing about cloud sensors is you can rig them to close the roof or dome. This is pretty much a must do. If you lose your connection to the observatory because of an approaching storm, how are you going to know it is raining? More importantly how are you going to close the roof? The system also needs to be able to close the roof or dome if the power fails. While it’s always a good idea to have someone nearby to call if there is a problem that should never be to first solution, it should be the last resort. One of the other things I suggest is to build a webpage (even one that runs local on your personal PC) that pull your observatory’s and the local resources and displays the important stuff in one spot. This should be the first thing you look at before you even think about opening the dome or roof and start up a truly remote session. I have a page on my website that I created for just that purpose.
Software: This is a whole subject in itself. What you use to control the mount, dome, camera etc. That is something the user has to decide. But whatever you use be sure it has the ability to be scripted and or is flexible enough to allow user mods or tweaks. This is true of even the fully automated imaging software. Be sure you can adapt it to work with the equipment you own or plan to buy in the future. It will also help if you are familiar with writing scripts. If you haven’t done any programming I suggest you add it to your list of things to do. Buy some of those Visual Basic or scripting for dummies type books and spend some time understanding the basics. Having the ability to write even small custom scripts or software will save you time, money and headaches.
Hardware: There are tons of off the self equipment for astronomers, cameras, mounts, scopes focusers etc. But sometimes you are going to need things that just aren’t made by the astro community (yet) or maybe it’s not quite what you needed. So you going to have to build it or find it yourself. For electronic and motorized things the first place to look is robotics houses. Robotics has become a really fast going hobby and they have all kinds of stuff that can be adapted to solving remote controlled observatory issues. If you use some common sense and ingenuity and you’ll find solutions to some of those unique problems that are going to crop up and it won’t always cost you an arm and a leg.
Truly remote control is possible, but it must be well thought out in order to avoid heartache and expensive repairs.
Posted 18 May 2010 - 09:53 AM
Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:03 AM