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PrimaLuceLab Eagle Review


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PrimaLuceLab Eagle Review

 

Name: Christopher Corkill

Location: Italy (soon to relocate to USA)

Experience: 5 years

Number of Telescopes Owned: 3

Number of Eagles Owned: 3

 

Abstract

I am reviewing the PrimaLuceLab Eagle which helps simplify the astrophotography workflow and gets you imaging faster and more efficiently. I purchased a three models of the Eagle new and in this review I will be focusing specifically on the Eagle 2 (non-Pro edition). The current model range include the Eagle3, Q, S, and Pro.

What is the Eagle?

The Eagle, named after the Apollo lunar lander, is a super compact specialized computer that controls your astrophotography gear using mostly proprietary connectors, chips and design. This computer is designed with the astrophotographer in mind by making set up/tear down a snap and reducing those long, winding, snaggable wires to a more manageable option. The Eagle is a self contained system that has several power ports in the rear that distributes the appropriate amount of amps to connected devices, such as a CCD camera or focuser. Along the lengths of the computer you have typical ports that any computer would have: 3.0 and 2.0 USBs, HDMI, mini display, dew heater ports, and ethernet. In addition to the ethernet port, you have the option to use the internal WiFi system to join a network or broadcast it's own network. The latter option is very handy for when you are out in the field as it allows you to remote desktop into it without running internet. This can happen using virtually any device.

 

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My impressions of the Eagle

As with everything, there are many pros and cons of the system. I can't really pin point what the best selling point was for the Eagle because there were too many however my favorites would include the ease of setting up my telescope at night and tear down in the morning. The Eagle helps with fast assembly because the wires are all connected with shorter lengths and powered through the rear of the unit thus eliminating all power cables except the computer power cable. I am able to move my telescope (minus the counter weights) in three pieces: the telescope, the mount and pier/tripod. As you can imagine I can fully set up within about 15 minutes or so.

 

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Another one of my favorite features are how you 'set and forget.' With the Eagle I can power the entire astrophotography system on and start up Sequence Generator Pro with one button. Once it is all on, I just remote desktop into the Eagle and select my sequence that I had prepared earlier in the day and then press play. Once done, I can sleep inside where it is warm and not have to worry about wires snagging or having power issues. It really cannot get any easier than that.

 

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Lets talk power. Who likes carrying a second marine battery to power your laptop? Not me and neither does PrimaLuceLab. The small team of Italian designers have engineered the computer to have no onboard screen which makes power management very efficient. No LCD, no extra power draw. They've also designed the computer to use low power-consuming components to save the juice in that heavy battery you've been lugging around. An example of this is by using a lower power processor because most astrophotography software doesn't require a lot of horsepower (probably because most AP software is ancient). One last thing worth mentioning is the three silver ports labeled 5-6-7 that are used for controlling various accessories but most commonly used for dew band heaters. These ports can be automatically controlled by the Environmental Computerized Controller for Eagle (marketed as ECCO) which is a custom electronics board that has several sensors/algorithms for calculating the best power output for dew control. The ECCO is an expensive little guy but worth it for automation.

 

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When it comes to the interface and software of the Eagle it uses a full version of Windows 10 Enterprise so that it allows you the Remote Desktop function. Included and preinstalled is the Eagle Manager which is a PrimaLuceLab coded software that helps the user view and manage the system and view power consumptions. Another great feature that the Eagle Manager brings is your ability to connect and disconnect power to ports that you choose. This is especially handy for remote setups.

 

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This sounds great but what are the cons?

As I am attempting to write a unbiased review, I want to also touch on the cons and problems I have had in the past with the Eagle. I have owned the Eagle since the first model was released and I have to admit that I did have performance issues however this was quickly resolved once they had faster processors. That being said, there aren't any user serviceable parts that you can upgrade without voiding the warranty (the insides are intricate so it's best to leave that to PrimaLuceLab anyway). The Eagle has come a long way from the first model and the Eagle 2 is amazing. I've not had any problems with it ever.

 

As the Eagle has progressed in powerfulness, the price has been drastically lowered over each model. I don't necessarily consider the price a con compared to what I originally payed for my first Eagle however it still is a pricy bit of hardware. For what it's worth, all the conveniences it gives makes it worth it to me. One thing that I haven't noticed to lower in price is the accessories (i.e. power cables and ECCO). At the end of the day, the Eagle and it's components/accessories/cables are all custom made so the price can be justified.

As a disclaimer, I want to remind everyone that the PrimaLuceLab team are always there for their customers and respond/repair quickly. I've never had a bad experience with PrimaLuceLab's products that weren't immediately remedied. I also want to note that I've not been charged for any of the repairs to their products. Because I live down the road from PrimaLuceLab, interestingly anytime I had a problem they were so polite that they often dropped what they were working on to fix my issues that were often user error.

 

Verdict

After using the Eagle for about three years I can comfortably say I would purchase this product all over again. Seeing the product in person and being able to hold it in my hand really helped with my decision to make my purchases with PrimaLuceLab. With it's ease of use, safety, customer support and conveniences, I say that this is a winner in my book. I would give this product a 9/10 stars.

This is my first review so please don't be harsh. If anyone has any questions or comments please let me know as I am more than willing to answer them.

 

Pros                                             

Cons                                             

Ease of use

Cost (however this is going down)

Customer service

Not user upgradeable

Quicker assembly of gear

Not user upgradeable

Quicker assembly of gear

Expensive accessories

Shorter cables/No snagging

No built in espresso maker

One power cable

 

No extra batteries required

 

 


  • okiestarman56, Delta608, stephendej and 5 others like this


75 Comments

Dew is an issue. Living in Fl. I have had the Eagle serviced twice, once under warranty and once out of warranty that cost $400.00, for Dew related issues. When it was opened I was told the boards had water residue on it. It is a fantastic unit but if you live in an area with a  lot of dew I recommend using screws or tape to over all the open bolt holes.

thats interesting as I never had an issue and we live in a pretty damp place!

 

how is your Eagle mounted ??

 

I have mine on top of the tube with the guidescope on rings mounted to the top 

 

I don't turn off Eagle at the end of an imaging run till I am due to come in and usually its not wet or icy when when the rest of the scope is dripping 

 

keen to understand how you have it mounted and how its used as I'd like to avoid the dew issue!

 

maybe they should offer some rubber bungs for unused holes on the top when mounted like that 

Received it yesterday...To my surprise in the computer box was a power cable (Cigar Type)...SO I'm able to return the one I bought for fifty bucks !!

    • chriscorkill, gfstallin and ZL4PLM like this

1. You don't need to buy ready made cables - if you can handle a soldering iron the connectors are available on mouser and you can make up what you want 

 

2. You don't need a W10 PC to remote to it - thats the beauty - it can be a Mac, or Windows 7 or an Ipad or android tablet ... whatever you can get a remote desktop client for.

 

3. Eagle will run SGP so you can automate a full nights imaging, control the whole deal from your arm chair or check in on it during the middle of the night from bed 

 

Its a lot more than just a computer and cable manager.

 

I have found it speeds up my setup time - I can be running in 10 mins now now 40 and break down in faster - unhook power, undo the dovetail and lift off the whole scope/eagle setup 

 

When you own one you will wonder how you didnt get one earlier - I now have 2 and love them to bits 

Hi ZL4PLM

In regard to #1 above "You don't need to buy ready made cables - if you can handle a soldering iron the connectors are available on mouser and you can make up what you want," can you provide a part description that can be used to find the correct connectors on Mouser.com? I've tried to search for them using variations of "round 12 volt DC power connectors" but have not been able to locate them in the myriad search returns. I have an Eagle 2 and wanted to build my own cables for while now.

Thanks in advance.

Miker K

Received it yesterday...To my surprise in the computer box was a power cable (Cigar Type)...SO I'm able to return the one I bought for fifty bucks !!

ohh thats new 

 

I rechecked the Eagle 3 box I recently bought  and tucked in a corner was .. a power DC cord!

 

Nice!!!

Hi ZL4PLM

In regard to #1 above "You don't need to buy ready made cables - if you can handle a soldering iron the connectors are available on mouser and you can make up what you want," can you provide a part description that can be used to find the correct connectors on Mouser.com? I've tried to search for them using variations of "round 12 volt DC power connectors" but have not been able to locate them in the myriad search returns. I have an Eagle 2 and wanted to build my own cables for while now.

Thanks in advance.

Miker K

12v in - TE T4110001031-000      m12 straight female 3p pg7

 

12v out - TE  4111001031-000 m12 male straight 3p pg7 

Hi ZL4PLM

In regard to #1 above "You don't need to buy ready made cables - if you can handle a soldering iron the connectors are available on mouser and you can make up what you want," can you provide a part description that can be used to find the correct connectors on Mouser.com? I've tried to search for them using variations of "round 12 volt DC power connectors" but have not been able to locate them in the myriad search returns. I have an Eagle 2 and wanted to build my own cables for while now.

Thanks in advance.

Miker K

 

  Highpoint Scientific sells the connectors, 15.00....Search for Prima Luce and all their stuff comes up including the connectors...

How much do the current models cost (my apologies if I missed this in the review)?  The one on sale at High Point is a DSLR control unit.  Does the Eagle also work on CCD Cameras?  

thats the Eagle Core not the full blown Eagle 

 

i think the base model is around 950$ just now and goes up depending on CPU/RAM/SSD sizes

How much do the current models cost (my apologies if I missed this in the review)?  The one on sale at High Point is a DSLR control unit.  Does the Eagle also work on CCD Cameras?  

The basic "Eagle Core" is only for DSLRs. It will not work on CCD cams and is controlled only by a mobile device. Priced under $500. 

About 1/2 the size of the 'full' Eagles, it has just 3 USBs, 3 12V outputs and 1 wireless antenna....

Which version of the Eagle3 would you recommend?  Choices are:  Eagle 3, Eagle3 Q, Eagle S, and Eagle3 Pro.  Is the basic version adequate or do you really need the Pro version or middle range versions?  The only software I'd have running all night would be Sequence Generator Pro, PhD2, Cartes du Ciel/Stellarium, and EQMod.  I don't need a lot of storage, since my images total less than 10GB in one night and I'd offload them the next day to free up space.  Just wondering what the better processors would help with.  Thanks.

For the Eagle 3 users in the field..What voltage stabilizer are you using, if any...??

 

 

Thanks

Photo
Ron in Michigan
Oct 09 2019 10:34 AM

I have a loaded nuc, powerpole strip and usb hub.  I am VERY interested in this all in one "clean" setup  BUT.  (cons?)

I see it has a small SSD.   And major difference in price for a later one and 4 8 or 16 gb

Here is a major con.  If I get a 4gb - what if I want 8gb later?  I have to send this thing back to Italy to get an upgrade?

 

Same for SSD?  what if ram or SSD goes bad?  I can't just swap another?  I have to send it to Italy for service? 

A major pro for me is that with the nuc I can open it out and swap M2 drives or SSD's (I do and have).  

Upgradability and service ability like my Intel Nuc is a MAJOR PRO for me.   This might be something they might consider in a future model.  If I lived in Italy then fine, but in the U.S. it's not at all attractive to me to ship the thing to Europe. 

You should be asking PrimaLuceLab ....They are also in California....https://primalucelabusa.com/

Ram you can sure it's basically a nuc anyway 

 

Ssd I'm not sure as there's some setup n config but it's a windows pc so primaluce would help

 

What I like is I dont have to worry as it doesn't upgrade as its embedded version. 

 

Adding another ssd or USB 3 drive is def easy

I have two and I love them... yes they are pricey but they look great and you can add equipement to them.  Screw it on top or below.  Can't do that with a plastic box. 

 

Also... I did crack one open and added more ram... popped right in. 

    • Benrosen and ZL4PLM like this

I hate that I am not able to platesolve with the Eagle Core. Polar alignment utility should have also been included. But plate solving should have been standard.

 

If you can Plate Solve with Stellarmate and ASIair at almost have the price, why not Eagle Core. Such a shame. 

I hate that I am not able to platesolve with the Eagle Core. Polar alignment utility should have also been included. But plate solving should have been standard.

 

If you can Plate Solve with Stellarmate and ASIair at almost have the price, why not Eagle Core. Such a shame. 

Core was promised to be so much but delivered so little - a disappointing product and lacks development - better buying an ASIAIR these days 

Core was promised to be so much but delivered so little - a disappointing product and lacks development - better buying an ASIAIR these days 

 

  I returned my Eagle 3 and all its its accompanying proprietary  accessories last week...Was not happy, with the wifi dropping and occasional (once) rebooting...

  I returned my Eagle 3 and all its its accompanying proprietary  accessories last week...Was not happy, with the wifi dropping and occasional (once) rebooting...

The only good side the Eagle products have is cable management. They are actually overpriced cable management devices. Stellarmate and Asiair can do much more, except cable management and the price difference is breathtaking . 

The only good side the Eagle products have is cable management. They are actually overpriced cable management devices. Stellarmate and Asiair can do much more, except cable management and the price difference is breathtakin

thats somewhat incorrect!!

 

ASIAIR is very much a box aimed at different level both in price and capability - your stuck with a proprietary OS and use of a tablet to drive it and its not in any way as feature rich as say SGP

 

Stellarmate is stronger on the device app but weaker on the tablet side and again stuck with one system. I tried it and disliked it immensely 

 

Neither manage connectivity and indeed are limited in connectivity to them and you cannot integrate either in a scope system - they mount very differently 

 

eagle is a PC - its can run anything you want - from sharpcap to SGP and anything else combined with controllable USB hubs, power control and monitoring, dew control, mounting and integration.

 

When I remote in to my eagles I get a windows desktop - and the same SGP interface 

 

Stellarmate and ASIAIR are nothing like an Eagle or terms of monitoring a remote setup for example. If I want to try NINA for example I can just install it and use it - neither stellarmate or air can do that.

 

ASIAIR and Stellarmate fit a niche - and a price.

 

owning all 3 I can assure you that eagle is a much more capable system but yes a much bigger price and buy into a system such as rings.

 

I cured all my network issues by installing a mesh network at home around the house and obs 

 

Def wont be handing mine back!

    • Bigwalker likes this

thats somewhat incorrect!!

 

ASIAIR is very much a box aimed at different level both in price and capability - your stuck with a proprietary OS and use of a tablet to drive it and its not in any way as feature rich as say SGP

 

Stellarmate is stronger on the device app but weaker on the tablet side and again stuck with one system. I tried it and disliked it immensely 

 

Neither manage connectivity and indeed are limited in connectivity to them and you cannot integrate either in a scope system - they mount very differently 

 

eagle is a PC - its can run anything you want - from sharpcap to SGP and anything else combined with controllable USB hubs, power control and monitoring, dew control, mounting and integration.

 

When I remote in to my eagles I get a windows desktop - and the same SGP interface 

 

Stellarmate and ASIAIR are nothing like an Eagle or terms of monitoring a remote setup for example. If I want to try NINA for example I can just install it and use it - neither stellarmate or air can do that.

 

ASIAIR and Stellarmate fit a niche - and a price.

 

owning all 3 I can assure you that eagle is a much more capable system but yes a much bigger price and buy into a system such as rings.

 

I cured all my network issues by installing a mesh network at home around the house and obs 

 

Def wont be handing mine back!

 

I also have a StellarMate and an Eagle 3S.

 

I also now have a bucket full of excess cables, power supplies, etc. that I don't need any longer.  The Stellarmate is in that bucket.

 

I am a MAC user, and tried like crazy to get things working from the Mac. The Eagle was my solution, and boy was it a solution.

 

Huge upgrade to my setup.

    • chriscorkill likes this

thats somewhat incorrect!!

 

ASIAIR is very much a box aimed at different level both in price and capability - your stuck with a proprietary OS and use of a tablet to drive it and its not in any way as feature rich as say SGP

 

Stellarmate is stronger on the device app but weaker on the tablet side and again stuck with one system. I tried it and disliked it immensely 

 

Neither manage connectivity and indeed are limited in connectivity to them and you cannot integrate either in a scope system - they mount very differently 

 

eagle is a PC - its can run anything you want - from sharpcap to SGP and anything else combined with controllable USB hubs, power control and monitoring, dew control, mounting and integration.

 

When I remote in to my eagles I get a windows desktop - and the same SGP interface 

 

Stellarmate and ASIAIR are nothing like an Eagle or terms of monitoring a remote setup for example. If I want to try NINA for example I can just install it and use it - neither stellarmate or air can do that.

 

ASIAIR and Stellarmate fit a niche - and a price.

 

owning all 3 I can assure you that eagle is a much more capable system but yes a much bigger price and buy into a system such as rings.

 

I cured all my network issues by installing a mesh network at home around the house and obs 

 

Def wont be handing mine back!

I think I should have particularly mentioned Eagle Core. It retails for $325 and all it does is acquisition from a DSLR camera and guiding, apart from basic cable management capabilities. No plate solving, no polar alignment, no CMOS or CCD camera capabilities, no autofocus capabilities, you are also stuck with proprietary software but it is almost twice as expensive as these other guys. 

Hi all -

I have a PrimaLuce Eagle2 computer that I've had since last year.  Just ran into my first major issue with this PC... the Windows 10 Enterprise 2015 LTSB edition has fallen behind times: there is no way to update to the latest .Net platform on it.  As a result, I can't install my new NexDome controller software on this PC, which requires a minimum of .Net 4.7 framework.  PrimaLuce has been very slow with responses/support to my enquiries and just told me that the only solution is to send the PC back to them to wipe the hard drive and install the new Windows 10 Enterprise.  They haven't quoted me the turnaround time or price or any other details yet (it's not free and I'd have to ship the PC to Italy, which seems like a total hassle with long turn-around times) so I'm exploring options to do the upgrade myself.

What I could use some help with is this:

  • Those of you with Eagle/Eagle2/Eagle3/Pro - could you please tell me which exact edition of Windows Enterprise 10 is installed on your PCs?
  • Looks like the latest build available from Microsoft is Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 (build 1809)... do any of you have this installed on your Eagle?

Thank you!

Can someone please tell me why I should buy an Eagle 3 over say, an industrial NUC with all the trimmings. I’m in a complete rut and can’t make a decision. The price difference is smaller than you’d think when you upgrade the NUC and add in accessories.

I have the Pl plus system so it would fit perfectly. But forgetting that, what’s the advantage? Many rave about it while others have had dropouts and rebooting problems.

I’m open minded on this one. Someone sell me one way or another.....please.

Happy Holidays!

Simon

Can someone please tell me why I should buy an Eagle 3 over say, an industrial NUC with all the trimmings. I’m in a complete rut and can’t make a decision. The price difference is smaller than you’d think when you upgrade the NUC and add in accessories.

I have the Pl plus system so it would fit perfectly. But forgetting that, what’s the advantage? Many rave about it while others have had dropouts and rebooting problems.

I’m open minded on this one. Someone sell me one way or another.....please.

Happy Holidays!

Simon

 

  We cant...Some think its the best since sliced bread, others dont...The faults, my opinion only...You dont own the software...It is made to run your scope, period...So no upgrading as it works as it suppose to in its present state...Any software issues, its off to Italy for repair...and its VERY proprietary...It has occasional wifi dropouts, but what windows machine doesn't...As far as cable management, none compare..Did I mention very proprietary...Just re-read this thread..It does what its advertised to do and very good at it, AS IS, to run your scope and buy Prima cabling ect..!
 



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