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Remote operation of telescope from in the house.

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#26 gmartin02

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 01:14 AM

Any one have a wireless solution for when out on the field and there is no internet... laptop at the scope and the remote one in your vehicle or tent 10' - 30' away... Running Maxim, Stellarium... ccd, guide camera, electronic focus, filter wheel....

 

Thanx!

I think the way to do this would be to set the wireless NICs in the laptops to "ad hoc" mode instead of "infrastructure" mode, and make sure they are both set to the same SSID and channel #.

 

Once you establish the "ad hoc" network, you can do things such as remote control (with a VNC client/server application) and file transfer.

 

P.S. Here is a link that shows pictures of how to do it (on Windows XP): http://www.tp-link.us/article/?id=219


Edited by gmartin02, 02 October 2014 - 01:24 AM.


#27 wrecks

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 04:09 PM

 

Any one have a wireless solution for when out on the field and there is no internet... laptop at the scope and the remote one in your vehicle or tent 10' - 30' away... Running Maxim, Stellarium... ccd, guide camera, electronic focus, filter wheel....

 

Thanx!

I think the way to do this would be to set the wireless NICs in the laptops to "ad hoc" mode instead of "infrastructure" mode, and make sure they are both set to the same SSID and channel #.

 

Once you establish the "ad hoc" network, you can do things such as remote control (with a VNC client/server application) and file transfer.

 

P.S. Here is a link that shows pictures of how to do it (on Windows XP): http://www.tp-link.us/article/?id=219

 

I have been trying out DSLRController with my camera and they have a remote control program that connects the camera to a TP-Link MR3040 (Amazon ~$35).  I figured that it should be able to do more than just control my camera since the underlying device is linux (OpenWRT). I compiled a few utilities for it and created my own firmware. I'm pretty sure I can forward both USB and Serial devices over TCP. The MR3040 already has a WiFi device that can act as an AP. So I think I can control my camera and mount over WiFi. Oh and the MR3040 has a battery and is ultra portable (size of a cell phone). I haven't tried it all set up yet so I can let you know how it goes. My goal is to not have a laptop at the telescope but instead just a small embedded device that I can communicate with over WiFi.



#28 gmartin02

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 02:22 PM

 

 

Any one have a wireless solution for when out on the field and there is no internet... laptop at the scope and the remote one in your vehicle or tent 10' - 30' away... Running Maxim, Stellarium... ccd, guide camera, electronic focus, filter wheel....

 

Thanx!

I think the way to do this would be to set the wireless NICs in the laptops to "ad hoc" mode instead of "infrastructure" mode, and make sure they are both set to the same SSID and channel #.

 

Once you establish the "ad hoc" network, you can do things such as remote control (with a VNC client/server application) and file transfer.

 

P.S. Here is a link that shows pictures of how to do it (on Windows XP): http://www.tp-link.us/article/?id=219

 

I have been trying out DSLRController with my camera and they have a remote control program that connects the camera to a TP-Link MR3040 (Amazon ~$35).  I figured that it should be able to do more than just control my camera since the underlying device is linux (OpenWRT). I compiled a few utilities for it and created my own firmware. I'm pretty sure I can forward both USB and Serial devices over TCP. The MR3040 already has a WiFi device that can act as an AP. So I think I can control my camera and mount over WiFi. Oh and the MR3040 has a battery and is ultra portable (size of a cell phone). I haven't tried it all set up yet so I can let you know how it goes. My goal is to not have a laptop at the telescope but instead just a small embedded device that I can communicate with over WiFi.

 

Hi Jeff,

 

That is a very interesting and creative solution. 

 

One question: Are you also going to use this solution for downloading the pictures from the camera during image capture? If so, I wonder if the MR3040 WiFi link will work OK downloading the large image files to the remote vehicle laptop at the same time that the remote vehicle laptop is sending commands back to the MR3040 for telescope/camera/guiding control (mainly guiding commands at the same time as the image downloads).

 

I have read that WiFi connections tend to have very high latency (180ms+) for the first packet sent in a transmission (and variable latency thereafter), particularly when there is a lot of traffic on the WiFi connection (the image downloads), not to mention a high packet loss on "congested" WiFi networks.

 

I guess there is only one way to find out - experiment :)

 

The reason I ask this is that I have had issues with image downloads interfering with camera/guiding commands even when using a single wired (USB) connection between the telescope/camera/guiding components and the imaging laptop (through a powered USB hub at the scope, and  Keyspan USB-Serial adapter at the scope for scope control).

I don't have this problem with my T2i, but when I started using my 6D I would get crashes in both BackyardEOS and PHD guiding when routing everything through a single USB cable. As soon as I started using a separate USB cable for the camera control to the laptop from the guiding/mount control USB cable, everything now works great with the 6D.

 

Let me know how it works out - again, your idea is a really great one and it will be totally cool if it works like you want it to.



#29 wrecks

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 11:34 PM

 

 

 

Any one have a wireless solution for when out on the field and there is no internet... laptop at the scope and the remote one in your vehicle or tent 10' - 30' away... Running Maxim, Stellarium... ccd, guide camera, electronic focus, filter wheel....

 

Thanx!

I think the way to do this would be to set the wireless NICs in the laptops to "ad hoc" mode instead of "infrastructure" mode, and make sure they are both set to the same SSID and channel #.

 

Once you establish the "ad hoc" network, you can do things such as remote control (with a VNC client/server application) and file transfer.

 

P.S. Here is a link that shows pictures of how to do it (on Windows XP): http://www.tp-link.us/article/?id=219

 

I have been trying out DSLRController with my camera and they have a remote control program that connects the camera to a TP-Link MR3040 (Amazon ~$35).  I figured that it should be able to do more than just control my camera since the underlying device is linux (OpenWRT). I compiled a few utilities for it and created my own firmware. I'm pretty sure I can forward both USB and Serial devices over TCP. The MR3040 already has a WiFi device that can act as an AP. So I think I can control my camera and mount over WiFi. Oh and the MR3040 has a battery and is ultra portable (size of a cell phone). I haven't tried it all set up yet so I can let you know how it goes. My goal is to not have a laptop at the telescope but instead just a small embedded device that I can communicate with over WiFi.

 

Hi Jeff,

 

That is a very interesting and creative solution. 

 

One question: Are you also going to use this solution for downloading the pictures from the camera during image capture? If so, I wonder if the MR3040 WiFi link will work OK downloading the large image files to the remote vehicle laptop at the same time that the remote vehicle laptop is sending commands back to the MR3040 for telescope/camera/guiding control (mainly guiding commands at the same time as the image downloads).

 

I have read that WiFi connections tend to have very high latency (180ms+) for the first packet sent in a transmission (and variable latency thereafter), particularly when there is a lot of traffic on the WiFi connection (the image downloads), not to mention a high packet loss on "congested" WiFi networks.

 

I guess there is only one way to find out - experiment :)

 

The reason I ask this is that I have had issues with image downloads interfering with camera/guiding commands even when using a single wired (USB) connection between the telescope/camera/guiding components and the imaging laptop (through a powered USB hub at the scope, and  Keyspan USB-Serial adapter at the scope for scope control).

I don't have this problem with my T2i, but when I started using my 6D I would get crashes in both BackyardEOS and PHD guiding when routing everything through a single USB cable. As soon as I started using a separate USB cable for the camera control to the laptop from the guiding/mount control USB cable, everything now works great with the 6D.

 

Let me know how it works out - again, your idea is a really great one and it will be totally cool if it works like you want it to.

 

I hadn't thought of that so I'll have to watch out for that. Right now I only transfer images to focus. I haven't integrated as many functions into the process yet. I'm just beginning and finding that there are some people that have automated almost everything, similar to large observatories. I imagine the most critical part would be when you use a guiding camera and need to send signals to adjust the mount while you are continually monitoring the images from the guide scope.



#30 mclewis1

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 09:24 AM

You can certainly intermix various connections (cameras, focuser control, mount control, etc.) on a single USB channel but you are probably better off splitting things up a little bit. I think it helps to sit down and think about the volume of data each connection is going to generate and any power requirements a connected device might require.

 

- Mount control is usually a serial protocol that requires very little USB bandwidth and very little power (it's the USB-RS232 serial adapter that uses a little bit of power). Even continuous autoguider move commands don't keep the USB channel busy at all.

- Focuser control is similar and only occasionally uses any bandwidth at all. The focuser control interface is often powered from the USB channel.

- Camera control, usually also serial connections and use very little bandwidth. Like the mount there will usually also be a USB-RS232 adapter drawing a little bit of power.

- Autoguider cameras, these use more bandwidth and those with higher frame rates and higher resolution sensors being the tougher combination. These cameras often also draw a substantial amount of power from the USB channel. The combination planetary imagers/autoguiders tend to be the higher resolution models with lower sensitivity sensors and probably put the most 

- Video cameras (useful for finders, or in some cases as the primary camera), the higher frame rate (25-30fps) use bandwidth continuously but generally these are not high resolution cameras so the combination isn't too bad. Video cameras are externally powered, but the USB frame grabber used to convert video to USB does draw a little power from the USB channel.

- Imaging cameras, these put real pressure on the bandwidth available but only for very short periods of time (the image download). Power is usually not an issue as they are usually externally powered. Because of the intermittent download it can appear that everything works well on a single channel but only every once and a while you get a "freeze" condition. This can often be caused by the occasional overlap of all the device on a USB channel transmitting together.

 

At the minimum I would consider using two USB 2 channels to separate the two biggest bandwidth users. One with the autoguiding camera and some of the low speed connections (focuser, etc.). The other with the primary imager or video and the mount control. This will also help when you need to troubleshoot problems (being able to swap things between the two channels). You should watch the power requirements if all the devices are USB powered. This is where a powered USB hub can be very useful. If the attached devices are externally powered (or draw minimal power) you can sometimes get away with using an un powered hub. The USB spec says that the maximum power supplied to a channel is 500ma. Some channels (particularly on laptops) can reduce this amount or completely shutdown the power to a channel to conserve battery life. Most of the time this won't affect operations (as the power should be available when the channel is active) but if you have intermittent problems with devices like cameras generating a lot of image noise it would be something to consider. USB channels or ports that are siamesed (mounted together) on a laptop can also sometimes share the 500ma power output. Putting the two USB connections on two separated connectors can help in this situation.

 

Another suggestion that doesn't affect bandwidth and such but will help when troubleshooting is labeling connections and keeping cables and devices on the same ports (unless you are troubleshooting a problem). Intermittent USB problems can be really difficult to find and keeping the connections consistent will really help the process and your sanity.



#31 Jim Meadows

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 12:02 AM

Do you have any close ups or more details on how you setup the MC Micro to the 50mm finder?
What frame grabbers are you using for the two video cameras?
What software are you using to control the JMI focuser (assuming it's remotely controlled)?


Mark,

Sorry it has taken me so long to get back with you on this. Here is a picture of my Micro on the 50mm finder.

8-12-2014 10-49-43 PM.jpg

I can use a single frame grabber to switch between the MallinCam X2 (S-Video) and the Micro (Composite Video) finder.

 

For remote focus I use the PC Focus Control HW and SW.  See http://www.jimsmobil...ftware_pcfc.htm

 

All my USB equipment plugs into the powered HUB at the telescope with a single active USB cable to inside (up to 100 feet).

 

I have more info on my website at http://RemoteVideoAstronomy.com


Jim


Edited by Jim Meadows, 03 December 2014 - 12:12 AM.


#32 mclewis1

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 12:59 PM

Jim,

 

That's a great website ... love the message too - Start simple, Learn more, Expand.



#33 Jeff Struve

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Posted 31 December 2014 - 09:42 AM

 

 

 

Any one have a wireless solution for when out on the field and there is no internet... laptop at the scope and the remote one in your vehicle or tent 10' - 30' away... Running Maxim, Stellarium... ccd, guide camera, electronic focus, filter wheel....

 

Thanx!

I think the way to do this would be to set the wireless NICs in the laptops to "ad hoc" mode instead of "infrastructure" mode, and make sure they are both set to the same SSID and channel #.

 

Once you establish the "ad hoc" network, you can do things such as remote control (with a VNC client/server application) and file transfer.

 

P.S. Here is a link that shows pictures of how to do it (on Windows XP): http://www.tp-link.us/article/?id=219

 

I have been trying out DSLRController with my camera and they have a remote control program that connects the camera to a TP-Link MR3040 (Amazon ~$35).  I figured that it should be able to do more than just control my camera since the underlying device is linux (OpenWRT). I compiled a few utilities for it and created my own firmware. I'm pretty sure I can forward both USB and Serial devices over TCP. The MR3040 already has a WiFi device that can act as an AP. So I think I can control my camera and mount over WiFi. Oh and the MR3040 has a battery and is ultra portable (size of a cell phone). I haven't tried it all set up yet so I can let you know how it goes. My goal is to not have a laptop at the telescope but instead just a small embedded device that I can communicate with over WiFi.

 

Hi Jeff,

 

That is a very interesting and creative solution. 

 

One question: Are you also going to use this solution for downloading the pictures from the camera during image capture? If so, I wonder if the MR3040 WiFi link will work OK downloading the large image files to the remote vehicle laptop at the same time that the remote vehicle laptop is sending commands back to the MR3040 for telescope/camera/guiding control (mainly guiding commands at the same time as the image downloads).

 

I have read that WiFi connections tend to have very high latency (180ms+) for the first packet sent in a transmission (and variable latency thereafter), particularly when there is a lot of traffic on the WiFi connection (the image downloads), not to mention a high packet loss on "congested" WiFi networks.

 

I guess there is only one way to find out - experiment :)

 

The reason I ask this is that I have had issues with image downloads interfering with camera/guiding commands even when using a single wired (USB) connection between the telescope/camera/guiding components and the imaging laptop (through a powered USB hub at the scope, and  Keyspan USB-Serial adapter at the scope for scope control).

I don't have this problem with my T2i, but when I started using my 6D I would get crashes in both BackyardEOS and PHD guiding when routing everything through a single USB cable. As soon as I started using a separate USB cable for the camera control to the laptop from the guiding/mount control USB cable, everything now works great with the 6D.

 

Let me know how it works out - again, your idea is a really great one and it will be totally cool if it works like you want it to.

 

Nope... I want the PC at the scope directly connected to the camera to take and down load the pics... all I want to do is instead of my fingers touching the laptop at the mount... have my fingers on a remote lapto from the van...  gee... I wonder if I just get a bluetooth keyboard...



#34 budman1961

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 12:31 AM

Jim, what a fantastic website!  You have truly distilled it down to the basics, advanced, and expert level.

 

Site is bookmarked, very well done!

 

Andy



#35 Jim Meadows

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 02:59 PM

Thanks Andy and Mark! 

I plan to keep adding to RemoteVideoAstronomy.com as I continue to find things that work (and don't work).

 

 

Jeff and others,

I have a good portable Remote Video Astronomy setup that I use with my equipment with a powered hub at the telescope and a single active USB cable to inside (home or vehicle) to my laptop. I have run into problems trying to use a wireless usb with video due to the bandwidth required for video.  Adding autoguiding, which requires two way constant communications, seems to be even harder. 

 

The only setup I have found where I can use a wireless USB Hub for everything is a basic setup using my Canon DSLR.  I have used the IOGEAR Wireless 4-Port USB ($75) to connect to my Canon DLSR USB control cable and the Hand Control serial to a USB cable.  I use Starry Night to control the mount and Canon software to vary the Canon settings and take pictures.  The camera picture images are transferred over the USB Wi-Fi without any problems. 

wireless.png

 

For video cameras, I have found I can transmit the video separately over short distances to inside using a transmitter/receiver pair.  The receiver can either be connected directly to a display or a video capture device to your laptop. 

vidxmit.png

 

I think it will require various wireless combinations to distribute the bandwidth requirements to implement an advanced wireless setup.  I expect to post a combo solution on my website in a few days that shows using Bluetooth to control my video camera, WiFi to control my mount and a video transmitter/receiver to send the video signal inside.

 

Jim

 

 

 

 



#36 Jeff Struve

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 01:30 PM

Very cool... but I am looking to replace that hub you have at the scope with the main computer... I really don't want to be having all of the data flying back and fourth through the air... I'm thinking that the guiding and imaging camera's will do a better job if they are wired with short cables going right to the master computer.... all I want to do remotely is mess with the configuration changes... slew the scope... focus... set exposure times and quantities... keep the guide camera doing its job....  



#37 Jim Meadows

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 04:12 PM

If you use autoguiding you are definitely better off with a computer at the scope than using wireless.  I have heard of others using a laptop at the telescope and another laptop inside with both connected over WiFi using VPN /  remote desktop so you are using the computer at the scope, but doing it all form a laptop inside.

 

Jim



#38 D_talley

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 03:26 PM

I use a laptop at the scope and a desktop inside connected by fiber. I use Windows 7 Pro on each computer and use the built-in  program mstsc to control the laptop. Since mstsc comes with Win 7 pro it is free.  I have not had any problems using this system to enjoy imaging inside away from the cold. I have 23 inch monitors inside and move the windows around the screen to see everything, something I can't do on the laptop screen.



#39 Jim Meadows

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 04:50 PM

That is a great way to do it.  And having a 23" monitor makes it even better!

 

Jim



#40 Jeff Struve

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 06:06 PM

I use a laptop at the scope and a desktop inside connected by fiber. I use Windows 7 Pro on each computer and use the built-in  program mstsc to control the laptop. Since mstsc comes with Win 7 pro it is free.  I have not had any problems using this system to enjoy imaging inside away from the cold. I have 23 inch monitors inside and move the windows around the screen to see everything, something I can't do on the laptop screen.

Maybe I'll have to consider connecting via a cable... I just worry about other folks tripping over it...



#41 jollymonsa

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 05:11 PM

will be about 30 feet away on my patio and sidewalk to navigate thru.

 

You can get 16 ft USB cables. Then use a powered hub in the middle of that. Personally I'm designing a solution for a pier system that is driven by a RPI and low power usage so I can use a 12v battery and a solar charger to keep it topped up when not running. My goal is just bringing the lx90 out, mounting it to the pier, and resuming from parked. Im planning on running a conduit line, 2x cat5e cables, and an extension cord for backup. All total should be around 400 with materials and a smallish solar cell. I would be doing it this weekend but with the cold weather and rain, I am putting it off till its warmer.



#42 Jeff Struve

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Posted 10 January 2015 - 12:53 PM

 

will be about 30 feet away on my patio and sidewalk to navigate thru.

 

You can get 16 ft USB cables. Then use a powered hub in the middle of that. Personally I'm designing a solution for a pier system that is driven by a RPI and low power usage so I can use a 12v battery and a solar charger to keep it topped up when not running. My goal is just bringing the lx90 out, mounting it to the pier, and resuming from parked. Im planning on running a conduit line, 2x cat5e cables, and an extension cord for backup. All total should be around 400 with materials and a smallish solar cell. I would be doing it this weekend but with the cold weather and rain, I am putting it off till its warmer.

 

I like your ide for a permanent type of set up.... I'm thinking of a portable thing.... I have to drive about an hour to get to the club site... so I'd use it there from time to time.... then to take to star parties...



#43 CHAPSKINS

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 08:09 PM

I've found a computer to computer displaying on a 55" T.V connection via ethernet/ router combo the most reliable. I tried usb to ethernet boosters and usb servers, they turned out to be a real pain in the head. 

 

If I were to leave my entire setup outside and undercover pier mounted, I think I'd have to put a lot of effort into making some kind of enclosure to leave the computer in (Mac Mini.) I've found that the Mac acts a bit dodgy if left out in the cold - it constantly moans - beeps - that it's not happy. 

 

I'd like to have everything set up under a cover in the garden as it is a chore to break everything down after an evenings viewing :)

 

.

 

 



#44 jollymonsa

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 01:38 PM

I've found a computer to computer displaying on a 55" T.V connection via ethernet/ router combo the most reliable. I tried usb to ethernet boosters and usb servers, they turned out to be a real pain in the head. 

 

If I were to leave my entire setup outside and undercover pier mounted, I think I'd have to put a lot of effort into making some kind of enclosure to leave the computer in (Mac Mini.) I've found that the Mac acts a bit dodgy if left out in the cold - it constantly moans - beeps - that it's not happy. 

 

I'd like to have everything set up under a cover in the garden as it is a chore to break everything down after an evenings viewing :)

 

.

 

I would be concerned with humidity, if you value the mac mini over the scale of years. Thats why I am only interested in a RPI or 808 setup, it it gets broken its at least cheap. Humidity is nearly impossible to control over long term applications with microelectronics being pretty worse for the wear in a permanent deployment without serious gear behind it.

 

What if you built a enclosure area into the pier and had it prewired up into it. With the small size of the mini you could build a form box, knockout the connections/conduit, insert it into the tube, seal its edges well (that part im unsure about how to do) then pour the concrete. You could have a nice recessed area then to plop the mini into.



#45 JMW

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 06:59 PM

I run the laptop at the observatory shed desk on a heating pad set to low during the coldest months. Before I started doing this I had the laptop shutdown in sub-freezing weather. Added benefit is my hands complain less if I have to use the keyboard or mouse before I go inside to take it over remotely.



#46 CHAPSKINS

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 05:29 PM

I would be concerned with humidity, if you value the mac mini over the scale of years. Thats why I am only interested in a RPI or 808 setup, it it gets broken its at least cheap. Humidity is nearly impossible to control over long term applications with microelectronics being pretty worse for the wear in a permanent deployment without serious gear behind it.

 

What if you built a enclosure area into the pier and had it prewired up into it. With the small size of the mini you could build a form box, knockout the connections/conduit, insert it into the tube, seal its edges well (that part im unsure about how to do) then pour the concrete. You could have a nice recessed area then to plop the mini into.

 

 

The box idea sounds very interesting. Thank you for the tip :)

 

oh, I found out what the beeping was, it was the sound made by Miloslick every time Mallincam had finished an integration which I mistook as the Mini complaining :lol:

 

.



#47 PeteM

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 01:04 PM

Teamviewer can be put into a local LAN mode via the extras menu > options > General and then under the network settings change the "incoming LAN connections" to accept. Do this with both computers and then all you have to do is type in the hostname or ip address. What I do up at my camper is bring a small netgear wifi router and plug my imaging computer next to the scope into it via a cat5e cable and my laptop inside the camper connects to it via a cat5e cable. The netgear gives out the IP addresses via DHCP, so I look at what the imaging computer ip address is and type that into Teamviewer on the laptop inside. Super easy and a fast/reliable connection. I tried wifi and sometimes it would drop or the connection would not be really fast. No internet needed and you stay warm and bug free all night.



#48 Jeff Struve

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 01:57 PM

Teamviewer can be put into a local LAN mode via the extras menu > options > General and then under the network settings change the "incoming LAN connections" to accept. Do this with both computers and then all you have to do is type in the hostname or ip address. What I do up at my camper is bring a small netgear wifi router and plug my imaging computer next to the scope into it via a cat5e cable and my laptop inside the camper connects to it via a cat5e cable. The netgear gives out the IP addresses via DHCP, so I look at what the imaging computer ip address is and type that into Teamviewer on the laptop inside. Super easy and a fast/reliable connection. I tried wifi and sometimes it would drop or the connection would not be really fast. No internet needed and you stay warm and bug free all night.

I need to dogest this a bit.... do you have a cable that runs between the gear and camper?   I am thinking "No"... so it sounds like you are doing what I want... so... do I put the netgear at the gear or in the camper... or does it matter?



#49 PeteM

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 02:13 PM

I run a cable from the imaging computer to the netgear and then to the laptop. It doesnt matter if the netgear is near the scope or you. Or you can do this over wifi if both computers have wifi for a zero wire solution (besides power)



#50 Jeff Struve

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 03:45 PM

I run a cable from the imaging computer to the netgear and then to the laptop. It doesnt matter if the netgear is near the scope or you. Or you can do this over wifi if both computers have wifi for a zero wire solution (besides power)

Ok... laptop at the gear connects to the netgear... then i just wifi over to the laptop in my 'shelter'.... do you have a recomended model of Netgear?... and just install Teamviewer and make the required config settings... 

 

Thanx again!




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