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Cheap 2nd Laptop Running ASCOM, APCC and PhD

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#1 JMW

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 09:48 PM

I have a nice MacPro 17 inch laptop. I have been booting it for running Windows so I can have ASCOM software running. I have been thinking about getting a 2nd cheap windows laptop. I would run ASCOM stuff, APCC for my AP900GTO when it's finally released and PHD for auto guiding via pulsemode. I may also run Wifi Scope so I can use Sky Safari to talk to ASCOM via wifi. I really prefer Sky Safari over anything that runs under Windows.

I would run Nebulosity on my MacPro and Sky Safari on my iPad. Photoshop and PixInsight on my MacPro laptop. Two laptop screens would allow me to spread out my application windows a bit more.

So this laptop doesn't need to be powerful, have a huge screen or great battery life. Do they still sell laptops with Windows 7 or do I need to back rev the OS? Does ASCOM and most astronomy stuff work well on Windows 8? A laptop with a decent size multitouch trackpad would be nice also. Reliable is a bonus.

Any suggestions?

#2 rboe

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 11:12 PM

Check the outlet stores for the various brands. You should still find Windows 7 machines there.

For a little bit anyway. :)

#3 Raginar

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 11:31 PM

Look on Craigslist.

#4 JMW

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 03:55 PM

I bought an i5 processor laptop with Win8. Has 8 gig ram, SSD and spinning drives for storage. Should last me a while. This is only the 3rd window and/or dos computer I have ever purchased for personal use. I figure if I can get all the ASCOM, FocusMax, Maxim DL, APCC, camera drivers working on it, I will use it for several years. I decided to bite the bullet and do Windows 8 with a touch screen. I need to get a 12 volt DC power adapter for it. I decided if I was going to spend my labor getting a laptop setup the way I want for imaging and mount control, it should be a platform that will last me a several years. I will try using WifiScope so I can use Sky Safari for mount control via ASCOM on the Win8 laptop.

All generic computing, PixInsight, Photoshop, etc. will still happen on my 3 year old 17 inch Macbook pro or my 5 year old Mac Pro desktop. Two laptop will allow me to spread my applications around two screens.

#5 rboe

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:37 PM

http://www.lindelectronics.com

These are the bees knees for power adaptors. You use it instead of the AC adaptor that comes with the laptop. Takes the DC voltage coming off your auto battery and makes it fit the voltage the laptop needs without making it AC which is very wasteful.

#6 JMW

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:29 PM

Thanks for the link. I will wait until I get the AC power adapter to exactly what the DC voltage and amperage are required. I don't need the air adapter. I think I can get the straight 12 volt DC to 19 volt or whatever is required for much less.

I have a pair of DC power adapters for my and my wife's Macbook pros. We only use the inverter in our trailer for running the blender and vacuum. I have 110 A/C power in my home observatory so I only will need the 12 volt solution for summer multi-night star parties when I bring my imaging gear.

#7 rmollise

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:58 AM

http://www.lindelectronics.com

These are the bees knees for power adaptors. You use it instead of the AC adaptor that comes with the laptop. Takes the DC voltage coming off your auto battery and makes it fit the voltage the laptop needs without making it AC which is very wasteful.


Just be sure one has sufficient current output for you. I had one a while back. Worked fine to run the computer, but everytime I plugged my Meade DSI into a USB port, it tripped offline. The DSI consumed a fair amount of current from the USB buss and sent the converter to na-na land. :lol:

#8 JMW

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:05 PM

I am aware that the 12 amp power adapter have at least the same wattage rating, and 12 volt output amperage rating as the AC adapter. I assume the AC power adapter has the wattage headroom to power all USB devices at their rated load.

#9 fetoma

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 08:57 PM

http://www.lindelectronics.com

These are the bees knees for power adaptors. You use it instead of the AC adaptor that comes with the laptop. Takes the DC voltage coming off your auto battery and makes it fit the voltage the laptop needs without making it AC which is very wasteful.


I find these way too expensive for my wallet. :money:

#10 JMW

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 10:29 AM

I just bought a 19.5volt, 4.63 amp 12 volt adapter from Amazon for $19.90 shipped. I just searched on Amazon for:

DC CAR CHARGER Inspiron 1570

I got the laptop yesterday. Started the process of installing ASCOM, MaximDL, AlignMaster, mount and camera drivers. Nebulosity, Phd, WifiScope and a bunch of other stuff. I am using Chrome to sync my browser world with my Macs. The touch screen is pretty nice. A lot of the gestures that you would expect to work like zooming and shrinking the doc in Acrobat Reader work as expected. Took me about an hour to find my way around Windows 8. Still have a lot to figure out about keeping a bunch of apps and windows going at once.







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