Jump to content


Photo

computers for telescope

  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 shadowpdiggity

shadowpdiggity

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 81
  • Joined: 23 Jul 2012
  • Loc: new haven, indiana

Posted 26 August 2013 - 07:38 PM

Just wanted to see if anyone would give me an ideal on what type of computer and software would be recommended for hooking up to my Meade lx80 mount. I have an old HP with windows xp and have the software that can with the scope, but thought maybe I should upgrade to get better use of the mount. I only use the mount for viewing, but hope Meade does something about the issues at some point. Any advise is welcome. Thanks

#2 shadowpdiggity

shadowpdiggity

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 81
  • Joined: 23 Jul 2012
  • Loc: new haven, indiana

Posted 29 August 2013 - 11:29 AM

Boy, didn't think this would be so tuff. Stumped the cn community or no body likes me. Oh well.

#3 mclewis1

mclewis1

    Thread Killer

  • ****-
  • Posts: 11006
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2006
  • Loc: New Brunswick, Canada

Posted 29 August 2013 - 03:24 PM

Unless you have some specific hardware (or rarely now software) that requires WinXP I would consider upping the RAM and adding Win7. That should give you a number of additional years of use for your PC. You really don't need much power or capability in a PC that's being used to control mounts, cameras, etc. Big powerful PCs are necessary only when you are processing big images.

What you need to talk to your mount is a serial interface. Older PCs often have a real RS232 serial port, and if not then you'll need a USB - serial adapter to create the serial port.

As for software, I'd look into one of the planetarium applications like The Sky, Cartes du Ciel, or Stellarium. With some software you may also need the ASCOM software platform and a Meade device driver, and with other software you'll have a built in Meade scope control option. Either way pay close attention to LX80 compatibility. There is certainly a lot of software commonality with the LX80 and other Meade mounts but there may be some "uniqueness" with some control packages.

#4 StarmanDan

StarmanDan

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3766
  • Joined: 27 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Deep in the heart of Texas

Posted 29 August 2013 - 10:39 PM

Up until recently, my entire setup was run using XP with Cartes du Ciel or the Meade Suite. I now use Win 7 with the same software and USB-Serial adapters with no issues.

#5 Mkofski

Mkofski

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
  • Joined: 19 Jul 2011
  • Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA

Posted 30 August 2013 - 11:45 PM

Pat,

For goto and a general star chart the software that comes with the mount looked pretty good for the price.

Mike

#6 shadowpdiggity

shadowpdiggity

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 81
  • Joined: 23 Jul 2012
  • Loc: new haven, indiana

Posted 31 August 2013 - 06:08 PM

Thanks for the information gentleman. The computer I have has some issues and just wanted to see if I could get some advise on what would be the best to buy as far as power and what software works the best for other people. Thanks again.

#7 kkokkolis

kkokkolis

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 2153
  • Joined: 23 Sep 2009
  • Loc: Piraeus, Greece

Posted 01 September 2013 - 04:33 AM

A small Netbook would be more convenient. First I used my 17" Vaio, then my 10" Acer (Netbook with XP). It did the same tricks with Nexremote and Cartes du Ciel. Only the screen was smaller. But it was much more convenient.
Now I just use an iPod or iPhone. Even better. An iPad might be the most balanced option (with Skywire and Skysafari). My mount is Nexstar SE and I hope this works with SW Flextube GOTO mount, when I get one.
If your setup is permanent, in an observatory of some kind, you can use whatever you like, even a desktop. But if it's portable, the lighter and less power hungry, the better.

#8 Mkofski

Mkofski

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
  • Joined: 19 Jul 2011
  • Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA

Posted 01 September 2013 - 05:45 PM

You can get a NetBook or a laptop at Walmart for $300 or less that would be a good "astro" computer. Not the fastest or most powerful but most applications don't need that much RAM, disk space or processor speed. If it is just for your astro software, you don't need a $1500 machine. I don't ever travel further than my yard but I like larger displays so a NetBook isn't what I would use. I use a Mac and My Mac laptop is only 13" and that's almost too small for me.

#9 HeyJP

HeyJP

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 533
  • Joined: 11 Dec 2010
  • Loc: Boulder, CO

Posted 04 September 2013 - 12:25 PM

Just re-read your original post. Since you are looking for a computer to supplement VISUAL observing... BOOM! No hesitation. I would (and did) get an iPad, SkySafari and SkyFi. The iPad is small, light and fits in your hand or you can get a bracket to hold it on your telescope support. SkySafari is a wonderfully interactive sky map. And you've never experienced a skymap the way you do when you touch and move the screen.

Also, this gives you complete wireless control over your telescope. No extra cords wrapping and cluttering your zone.

You can get either an iPad Mini or the full sized iPad. Both run wonderfully with SkySafari. SO much less hassle than messing with a computer for VISUAL astronomy.

Also, you can sit with your iPad and create an observing list and add to it from SkySafari directly, or read through CloudyNights and add any interesting things other people are viewing. Let's you easily get the most from your evening under the stars.

Jim in Boulder

#10 Mkofski

Mkofski

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
  • Joined: 19 Jul 2011
  • Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA

Posted 04 September 2013 - 03:39 PM

+1 on the iPad and SkySafari with SkyFi. I use an iPad but some of the Android devices will run their own version of SS. There is a Yahoo users group for Southern Stars that's very good except I find the thread format hard to read.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics