Jump to content


Photo

What wiring on the pier post?

  • Please log in to reply
29 replies to this topic

#1 Ron Walker

Ron Walker

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 98
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 15 February 2013 - 02:45 PM

I am in the process of building an observatory and am now running conduit from the pier to a corner where I will have a computer set up. While this subject has been touched upon, I haven't found anything really definitive on the subject. Basically, what wiring and connections would you want at the pier. I have put in a 3/4 and 1 1/4 inch conduits to contain the required wires. I have found with other projects that once there are wires in a conduit it is next to impossible to shove more in. It is better to put them all in at once even though a use is not apparent at the time. I was planning on running 120vac through the 3/4 tube but then wonder if a hefty 12vdc might not be better. Or perhaps both. What other lines, USB for sure, but is one enough. Video, composite, S video. Cat5.

The basic question to those out there, what wiring is essential (and what is that) and what do you wish you had added? Is 120vac useful at the pier, or is it better to have the 12vdc power supply off to the side and out of the way? I'm hoping to be able to capture live video for projection in a planetarium I'm also building. The two domes will be connected with both cat5 and video lines. That should make it possible to control the observatory from the planetarium.

So basically, what is the wish list for wiring to the pier, both for now and for the future?

#2 YetAnotherHobby

YetAnotherHobby

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 284
  • Joined: 02 Sep 2009
  • Loc: Central CT

Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:10 PM

I have four 120VAC outlets at my pier, and a 6 outlet strip plugged into that for a total of 9 outlets right at the pier.
I have a 12VDC supply at the pier to run my dew heater, and the a separate AC supply for the mount.
My only reservation on your plan to locate your DC source remotely is that 12V loads typically draw quite a bit of current, and long wire runs can result in voltage drop between the source and load.
I found that the assortment of plugs and "wall warts" quickly consumed the available outlets, but I have not run out, even with every electronic gadget up and connected.

HTH

Geoff

#3 Ron Walker

Ron Walker

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 98
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:54 PM

Thanks for the reply Geoff. The only reason I was thinking of 12vdc to the pier is it would keep it clear of the various individual power supplies. As I get older I notice that I knock into things more often then not. :tonofbricks: It would be fairly easy to add a small shelf to the pier on which to mount the various supplies. I also like the idea of a power strip for all of the wall warts. Thanks again for the input.

#4 Mary B

Mary B

    Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 3070
  • Joined: 21 May 2010
  • Loc: Minnesota

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:59 PM

I only ran 12 volts to my pier. I use a West Mountain Radio 5 outlet RigRunner to distribute the 12 volts on the pier.

#5 Ron Walker

Ron Walker

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 98
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 15 February 2013 - 07:45 PM

Thanks for the reply Mary. This is a hard call. I'm actually thinking of running both 120vac as well as 12vdc to the pier. That way I can run the basic scope with basic accessories off of a large 12vdc supply. My OB will only be 8X8 feet so the wire run will be under 10 feet.

#6 Jeff in Austin

Jeff in Austin

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1540
  • Joined: 26 Feb 2007
  • Loc: TEXAS

Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:38 PM

I used something completely different. Looks like a speed bump from the pier to the wall. Bright yellow, low profile. Lots of ideas on this page -

Cable protectors

#7 Alex McConahay

Alex McConahay

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2432
  • Joined: 11 Aug 2008
  • Loc: Moreno Valley, CA

Posted 16 February 2013 - 12:45 AM

Ron, be careful of the fact that wires no only have to go across, but they have to go down the pier (6-10 feet from camera on a focuser to the ground, at least. Then across (in an 8 x 8 this is only maybe 5.6 feet) then back up four or so feet into the back of the computer. So.....it may be more than ten feet.

Do not send the USB cords any further than fifteen feet if you can at all help it. (You can use repeaters, but......).

And just get the USB cables in partucular under the floor----no further down. They do not need to be buried 18 inches down like 110 volt. and that 18 extra inches is three feet more travel when all is said and done.

Alex

#8 Ron Walker

Ron Walker

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 98
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:27 AM

Thanks Alex, I actually did take that into consideration. The "control" conduit runs about nine feet from back of computer to plug box on pier. I'm guessing another three feet or so to whatever accessory it will be connected to. All in all, certainly well within the 15 foot safe limit.

I'm still looking for suggestions for how many of each type and what different types. I could put a USB hub on the pier but think it would be better to have individual lines. I'm trying to think of everything I might want eventually. If I eventually want a star guide with video capture, that would be two USB lines, but will I ever need more? An auto guider cat5 cable for the mount (Atlas EQ-G) and perhaps a line for the hand controller. Then at least one s-video and one composite video. Since I'm not at ll sure how far I will go with this project, I want to make sure I have enough of each kind of wire. Wire is basically cheap to put in at this stage and infinitely easier to put in all at once. I will want to control the scope (and perhaps the dome as well) from a second location, but from what I understand about computers (and that's not much) that kind of control is available via a cat5 cable and "simple" networking.

#9 Ron Walker

Ron Walker

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 98
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:36 AM

Thanks Jeff, yes I know what your talking about. I have used those many times to protect cables before. I am actually using a conduit run under the floor. Your suggestion is something to think about if I need to run extra cables at a later time but I'm trying to think of all the possible cable requirements now so I won't need to run something across the floor. The older I get, the more I tend to trip on things on the floor, especially in the dark or under red lighting.

#10 wirenut

wirenut

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1114
  • Joined: 21 Sep 2006
  • Loc: m'dale Pa

Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:59 AM

.

And just get the USB cables in partucular under the floor----no further down. They do not need to be buried 18 inches down like 110 volt. and that 18 extra inches is three feet more travel when all is said and done.

Alex [/quote] 110volt doesn't need to be 18" down if it's in a building like a observatory, unless that is your local code.

#11 Ron Walker

Ron Walker

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 98
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 16 February 2013 - 01:45 PM

Right on Alex. Since it is in or under a building in can be in the walls or under floors. Under a concrete slab, conduit only needs to be 10 inches down, but it can run within floor joists. If your using plastic conduit, it needs to be 18 inches down when run across open land. If in steel conduit it only needs to be 10 inches down. Or at least that is the code here.

#12 Alex McConahay

Alex McConahay

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2432
  • Joined: 11 Aug 2008
  • Loc: Moreno Valley, CA

Posted 16 February 2013 - 02:27 PM

You know. all things considered, put in an extra 1.5 inch piece of conduit from the control station to the floor just below the mount.......It will cost less than $10, and someday you will need it. If you never do, you are down $10.

(I think 1.5 inch conduit is the number you want to run 9 pin serial cables with the ends attached. ----but check before you sink it. )

And, by the way----I have actually not found it all that difficult to run an extra USB cable (actually three at one time) through an existing, already populated) conduit. Maybe I was lucky. I was surprised it was so easy.

If I ever get over my laziness, I will add a webpage to my site about what I found out about cabling when I built my two observatories.

Alex


Alex

Alex

#13 Midnight Dan

Midnight Dan

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11448
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortle 4.5)

Posted 16 February 2013 - 02:47 PM

I personally like to minimize the cables going to/from the mount to avoid clutter. I currently have the following setup on a tripod, but will be getting an observatory & pier this summer and plan to duplicate it there.

I have a USB hub on my mount, and when I get my observatory I intend to put one on the pier. I have a 4-port hub and didn't think I'd use them all, but guess what - all full! There's the imaging camera, the auto guider, a USB-to-Serial adapter to control the mount via serial, and I also bought a "Temper-Hum" USB temperature/humidity sensor so that BackyardEOS can record the temperature as meta-data with the images.

Since pretty much everything runs off 12V, I run a heavy gauge 12V line from a the power supply to the mount. On the mount, I have a power distribution box. For 12v, I use Anderson PowerPoles so in that sense it's similar to Mary's Rigrunner distribution box. But I also purchased a couple of cheap adjustable dc-to-dc voltage converter boards from an ebay electronics store (i.e. China). I have one set to 7.5volts and the other set to 5v and have jacks on the power distribution box. I use a 5v jack to power my USB hub, and a 7.5v jack to power my DSLR.

So bottom line, I have one USB cable and one 12V cable going to the mount. For the observatory, where the cable path will be longer than it is with the tripod, I'll probably go with 8 gauge wire to minimize any issues with voltage drop. I may also run an ethernet cable just in case, but don't currently have a need.

-Dan

#14 Ron Walker

Ron Walker

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 98
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 16 February 2013 - 02:59 PM

Thanks Dan, this is the kind of info I'm looking for.

#15 Tom and Beth

Tom and Beth

    Soyuz

  • -----
  • Posts: 3714
  • Joined: 08 Jan 2007
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 16 February 2013 - 03:58 PM

Just some more food for thought. It might not be your bag, but...

There are very small computers that would fit on the side of the pier and handle remote access, imaging, telescope tracking...etc. Having Ethernet and an HDMI cable MIGHT be warranted. It's likely these will have a wireless module, but that is more heat and a slower connection.

I've been looking at the NUC, which essensially is a computer in a 4 by 4 by 2.5 inch case. The current crop isn't enough for me to part with the cash, but the next round of CPUs will run in the 20-35 watt range. That would imply being able to use your pier as a heat sink.

Anyway, it's food for thought.

#16 Ron Walker

Ron Walker

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 98
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 16 February 2013 - 04:55 PM

Love this kind of information. Thank you Tom & Beth, keep it coming.

#17 piaras

piaras

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 820
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2009
  • Loc: Niagara Region

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:11 PM

Just some more food for thought. It might not be your bag, but...

There are very small computers that would fit on the side of the pier and handle remote access, imaging, telescope tracking...etc. Having Ethernet and an HDMI cable MIGHT be warranted. It's likely these will have a wireless module, but that is more heat and a slower connection.

I've been looking at the NUC, which essensially is a computer in a 4 by 4 by 2.5 inch case. The current crop isn't enough for me to part with the cash, but the next round of CPUs will run in the 20-35 watt range. That would imply being able to use your pier as a heat sink.

Anyway, it's food for thought.


Yes the pico boards, Neo-itx APC-8750 or even the Raspberry might be the future for a local computer on a network mounted right on the pier or even on the mount itself. Then all you would need is the Ethernet, and power supply wires.
Pierre

#18 Alex McConahay

Alex McConahay

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2432
  • Joined: 11 Aug 2008
  • Loc: Moreno Valley, CA

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:55 PM

Here is what mine looks like.....(forgive me if I have posted this before.) I'm writing it up to put on my website, but it will be a few hours, probably.

Alex

Attached Files



#19 Alex McConahay

Alex McConahay

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2432
  • Joined: 11 Aug 2008
  • Loc: Moreno Valley, CA

Posted 16 February 2013 - 07:36 PM

Okay, try this link. Can't say that the writeup is very good, but at least it is there.

http://alexastro.com...ng/Cabling.html

Alex

#20 Tom and Beth

Tom and Beth

    Soyuz

  • -----
  • Posts: 3714
  • Joined: 08 Jan 2007
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:49 PM

Okay, try this link. Can't say that the writeup is very good, but at least it is there.

http://alexastro.com...ng/Cabling.html

Alex


Nice writeup, Alex. It does get the point across, especially the lessons learned.

One item I'm doing homework on now is how to get all the wires for the Camera and guider without them snagging or in any way interfering at any pointing position. Only in the last couple of weeks have I tried AP, but been visual for 5 decades. Best ones I've found so far are on Astro Physics Yahoo groups Page.

#21 Tom and Beth

Tom and Beth

    Soyuz

  • -----
  • Posts: 3714
  • Joined: 08 Jan 2007
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:57 PM

Just some more food for thought. It might not be your bag, but...

There are very small computers that would fit on the side of the pier and handle remote access, imaging, telescope tracking...etc. Having Ethernet and an HDMI cable MIGHT be warranted. It's likely these will have a wireless module, but that is more heat and a slower connection.

I've been looking at the NUC, which essensially is a computer in a 4 by 4 by 2.5 inch case. The current crop isn't enough for me to part with the cash, but the next round of CPUs will run in the 20-35 watt range. That would imply being able to use your pier as a heat sink.

Anyway, it's food for thought.


Yes the pico boards, Neo-itx APC-8750 or even the Raspberry might be the future for a local computer on a network mounted right on the pier or even on the mount itself. Then all you would need is the Ethernet, and power supply wires.
Pierre


It was the Rasberry PI that got me thinking on this, then found these "Pico ITX" systems that can be mounted right to the back of a LCD moniter (I also dabble in HTPC). HAving 4-6 USB outlets, HDMI and Ethernet would be perfect for me. Not sure what the Haswell designations will be, but a duel core CPU with anything over 2.4GHz is what I'm thinking.

#22 Christopher Erickson

Christopher Erickson

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 2262
  • Joined: 08 May 2006
  • Loc: Waikoloa Village, Hawaii

Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:25 AM

I generally-prefer metallic conduit for a fourplex electrical outlet in a waterproof electrical box and a raceway that can be opened-up and re-closed for data cables.

#23 Ron Walker

Ron Walker

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 98
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:27 AM

Okay, try this link. Can't say that the writeup is very good, but at least it is there.

http://alexastro.com...ng/Cabling.html

Alex


I agree. Alex this is just what the Doctor ordered. A great and informative write up. Also good info on the Keystone jacks. Thank you again! :bow:

#24 piaras

piaras

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 820
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2009
  • Loc: Niagara Region

Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:50 PM

It was the Rasberry PI that got me thinking on this, then found these "Pico ITX" systems that can be mounted right to the back of a LCD moniter (I also dabble in HTPC). HAving 4-6 USB outlets, HDMI and Ethernet would be perfect for me. Not sure what the Haswell designations will be, but a duel core CPU with anything over 2.4GHz is what I'm thinking.


I have been looking at the Zotac Zbox ID80 based systems. I have been running Mythtv for HT for at least 6 yrs. Started with the mini itx Epia boards but the new stuff has me thinking about pier mounted unit to handle scope and camera via network. Cables are our downfall currently and I hate it.
Pierre

#25 Ron Walker

Ron Walker

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 98
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:42 PM

Just some more food for thought. It might not be your bag, but...

There are very small computers that would fit on the side of the pier and handle remote access, imaging, telescope tracking...etc. Having Ethernet and an HDMI cable MIGHT be warranted. It's likely these will have a wireless module, but that is more heat and a slower connection.

I've been looking at the NUC, which essensially is a computer in a 4 by 4 by 2.5 inch case. The current crop isn't enough for me to part with the cash, but the next round of CPUs will run in the 20-35 watt range. That would imply being able to use your pier as a heat sink.

Anyway, it's food for thought.


Interesting. My problem is that with my retirement cash flow I can't experiment the way I used to. :bawling: I have a couple of older computers which will have to do me for now.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics