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My Compute Stick setup for EAA & BII

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#1 Tom M

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 09:39 PM

After seeing the possibilities of doing remote imaging using an Intel Compute Stick located at the scope I got the bug to do an update to my EAA setup. This was prompted by the approach of Winter and also the desire to avoid mosquitoes in the Summer. As such I decided to acquire a compute stick and put a remote controlled EAA/Imaging system together. I shopped around during Black Friday week and scored a compute stick from Amazon for a decent price while continuing to do additional research on the subject. The Intel Compute Stick - Interm Review thread was a wealth of help in solving USB 3.0/WiFi issues as well as just seeing what others were doing.

 

I also verified I could control my NexStar Evolution mount remotely via WiFi while set up in Access Point mode instead of direct connect. This proved to be a bit of a challenge but relocating the network access point for better signal coverage at the scope seemed to have solved that issue. For connecting to the compute stick I use RDP and RDPWrap, which is needed for Windows 10 Home, and is readily available with a quick internet search. This permits me to use either my laptop while sitting on the sofa and in sight of the scope or be downstairs using my desktop and its 27" monitor.

 

zOsavArh.jpg

 

Once I had most of the details clear I began to lay out the mounting options. I was originally going to power the compute stick using one of the cell phone powerbanks - which worked nicely. However after I began to acquire devices that also needed 12V I opted to power everything using a single TalentCell Li-Ion battery pack. After getting all the key bits assembled I began to test fit things and then designed & 3D printed a couple of mounting brackets to hold the battery along with one to hold the compute stick, USB hub and the 12v-5V converter. The brackets, along with the StarSense, are mounted to a Losmandy D plate on the top (side) of the scope.

 

nFUq4HZl.jpg

 

The biggest issue is that since getting the ASI1600MC-C there is a need for additional clearance and so there's less room for balancing as I'll soon be adding nStep focus capability. At the moment the scope can only get to about 80 degrees vertical but by adding some 90 degree connectors I can probably get vertical without too much effort.

1PAUk7zl.jpg

 

Here's a view of the brackets and how things are mounted so far. The bracket dimensions were made snug enough that the USB hub and the compute stick are friction fit while the 12V to 5V converter has a bit of double sided tape holding it in place.

3lAFC8sl.jpg

 

These are the prototype brackets and the final versions differ very little from these. If anybody is interested I'll be happy to make the STL files available.

gySwDHIl.jpg

 

I'm currently waiting on delivery of a Rigel Systems nStep system to permit remote focusing, but other than that the installation is pretty much complete and I managed to get first light on the setup the other night. I'm still tweaking things here and there but feel as though I successfully met my design goals of no AC power while running.


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#2 A. Viegas

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 11:38 PM

Wow Tom. Very thorough write up. Thanks for sharing

Al

#3 rml63

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 04:56 PM

NASA, I believe we are clear for lift off in T - 10, wow that is some setup.

 

Mike



#4 Censustaker

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 09:57 PM

Very cool!

#5 nother

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 12:56 AM

What happend to the pictures? Or is it only me who cannot see them?



#6 Tom M

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 08:21 AM

What happend to the pictures? Or is it only me who cannot see them?

The pictures are hosted on imgur if that makes any difference. I just confirmed they still show up for me using a different browser while not logged in to CN.



#7 Astrojedi

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 01:25 PM

Tom,

Very creative setup. Are you able to align using Starsense and then connect via wifi to SkySafari to issue gotos? Also which version of SkySafari are you using (iOS or Android or Mac)?

 

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#8 Censustaker

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 01:33 PM

I think I need to look into something similar because it's taking far too long to drag my setup outside these days!

#9 Tom M

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 01:47 PM

Tom,

Very creative setup. Are you able to align using Starsense and then connect via wifi to SkySafari to issue gotos? Also which version of SkySafari are you using (iOS or Android or Mac)?

 

Hiten

I'm running SkySafari 5 Pro on android.

 

Once the mount is powered on all that's needed is to do a Connect and Align via SkySafari and the automated StarSense alignment procedure starts. Once that's done I can fully control the scope and issue a goto for any object.



#10 nother

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 03:14 PM

What happend to the pictures? Or is it only me who cannot see them?

The pictures are hosted on imgur if that makes any difference. I just confirmed they still show up for me using a different browser while not logged in to CN.


I have kids at home so imgur is blocked by the content filter ;) ... I had to read your article on my mobile.
Really nice idea and geekish setup!

Another setup could be that your stick just saves files to a NAS and your local computer monitors this folder with Astrotoaster.

#11 Tom M

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 03:57 PM

 

Another setup could be that your stick just saves files to a NAS and your local computer monitors this folder with Astrotoaster.

 

NAS is certainly a possibility. The other choices for local storage include the SD card slot on the compute stick or using an external SSD drive. The latter has the highest bandwidth for storing images and could easily be set as a shared device across the network.



#12 Stargazer3236

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 11:01 PM

After seeing the possibilities of doing remote imaging using an Intel Compute Stick located at the scope I got the bug to do an update to my EAA setup. This was prompted by the approach of Winter and also the desire to avoid mosquitoes in the Summer. As such I decided to acquire a compute stick and put a remote controlled EAA/Imaging system together. I shopped around during Black Friday week and scored a compute stick from Amazon for a decent price while continuing to do additional research on the subject. The Intel Compute Stick - Interm Review thread was a wealth of help in solving USB 3.0/WiFi issues as well as just seeing what others were doing.

 

I also verified I could control my NexStar Evolution mount remotely via WiFi while set up in Access Point mode instead of direct connect. This proved to be a bit of a challenge but relocating the network access point for better signal coverage at the scope seemed to have solved that issue. For connecting to the compute stick I use RDP and RDPWrap, which is needed for Windows 10 Home, and is readily available with a quick internet search. This permits me to use either my laptop while sitting on the sofa and in sight of the scope or be downstairs using my desktop and its 27" monitor.

 

zOsavArh.jpg

 

Once I had most of the details clear I began to lay out the mounting options. I was originally going to power the compute stick using one of the cell phone powerbanks - which worked nicely. However after I began to acquire devices that also needed 12V I opted to power everything using a single TalentCell Li-Ion battery pack. After getting all the key bits assembled I began to test fit things and then designed & 3D printed a couple of mounting brackets to hold the battery along with one to hold the compute stick, USB hub and the 12v-5V converter. The brackets, along with the StarSense, are mounted to a Losmandy D plate on the top (side) of the scope.

 

nFUq4HZl.jpg

 

The biggest issue is that since getting the ASI1600MC-C there is a need for additional clearance and so there's less room for balancing as I'll soon be adding nStep focus capability. At the moment the scope can only get to about 80 degrees vertical but by adding some 90 degree connectors I can probably get vertical without too much effort.

1PAUk7zl.jpg

 

Here's a view of the brackets and how things are mounted so far. The bracket dimensions were made snug enough that the USB hub and the compute stick are friction fit while the 12V to 5V converter has a bit of double sided tape holding it in place.

3lAFC8sl.jpg

 

These are the prototype brackets and the final versions differ very little from these. If anybody is interested I'll be happy to make the STL files available.

gySwDHIl.jpg

 

I'm currently waiting on delivery of a Rigel Systems nStep system to permit remote focusing, but other than that the installation is pretty much complete and I managed to get first light on the setup the other night. I'm still tweaking things here and there but feel as though I successfully met my design goals of no AC power while running.

Tom, on your setup, how do you actually capture frames from EAA?

 

I want to remotely control my Nexstar 8SE using just my iPad mini running the Skysafari 5 Plus app (and the Skyportal WIFI dongle)(Getting Starsense soon, too) and also remote access using my ASI224MC camera. Your CompuStick is attached to your scope outside, with the camera attached to it via USB 3.0. What can I install for Windows 8.1 that will access the Compustick and also load onto the Computstick for me to access from? What powers your CompuStick? Isn't it wired for AC power? I presume you load SharpCap onto the Compute stick and also on your remote laptop? I think I know how you can get the frames captured with the CompuStick via a remote desktop/laptop program. I am just confused as to how you get to see the images on your remote computer...

 

I don't have a 3D printer...yet. Would you sell your 3D made holders for a reasonable price? I also use the TalentCell Li-Ion batteries. In fact, I have three 8300 mah batteries. One for the Mount itself and one for the dew heater controller with one for backup.

 

What USB hub do you use and is it powered?

 

Where can I get a 12v to 5v converter? I assume the CompuStick can only take 5v?


Edited by Stargazer3236, 27 January 2017 - 11:03 PM.


#13 Tom M

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 09:33 AM

 

Tom, on your setup, how do you actually capture frames from EAA?

 

I want to remotely control my Nexstar 8SE using just my iPad mini running the Skysafari 5 Plus app (and the Skyportal WIFI dongle)(Getting Starsense soon, too) and also remote access using my ASI224MC camera. Your CompuStick is attached to your scope outside, with the camera attached to it via USB 3.0. What can I install for Windows 8.1 that will access the Compustick and also load onto the Computstick for me to access from? What powers your CompuStick? Isn't it wired for AC power? I presume you load SharpCap onto the Compute stick and also on your remote laptop? I think I know how you can get the frames captured with the CompuStick via a remote desktop/laptop program. I am just confused as to how you get to see the images on your remote computer...

 

I don't have a 3D printer...yet. Would you sell your 3D made holders for a reasonable price? I also use the TalentCell Li-Ion batteries. In fact, I have three 8300 mah batteries. One for the Mount itself and one for the dew heater controller with one for backup.

 

What USB hub do you use and is it powered?

 

Where can I get a 12v to 5v converter? I assume the CompuStick can only take 5v?

 

I run SharpCap (or any other capture software) on the compute stick for all camera control with RDPWrap installed. The remote computer can be any OS so long as it has the ability to RDP to the Win 10 compute stick. The issue with RDP on Win 10 Home is that it won't permit incoming connections and that's what RDPWrap fixes.

 

The USB 3.0 Hub is an Anker, optionally powered if you need it to be. The spacing is pretty close so it requires either a 90 degree connector for the power input or a very short straight in. Thinking about it now, I guess I could mod the bracket to provide some additional relief for the normal USB micro connector. At the moment I don't have anything which requires the hub to be powered but if I do I was planning on using the 5V USB output from the TalentCell.

 

For powering the compute stick I'm using the TalentCell and converting the 12V to 5V using this DC-DC converter. There's a place in the bracket to hold the converter but it uses double sided tape to keep it firmly in place. Although I didn't peel off the protective cover on one side so it's really just a press fit as the added with of the tape makes it snug enough. One could probably just add a few layers of tape around the outside of the converter and accomplish the same thing.

 

For capture, all the work is done on the compute stick and the remote PC is really just a very smart "dumb terminal" connected via WiFi to the compute stick.

 

If you'd like me to run some copies of the brackets drop me a PM and we can work out the details.



#14 Stargazer3236

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 12:10 PM

Tom, what do you wire to the leads on the converter? Can I use the 5v USB port on the TalentCell instead of using the converter?



#15 Rickster

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 12:13 PM

Are you sure that isn't some kind of a mad scientist ray gun for shooting down satellites?  :shocked:   But seriously, well done and thanks for the post.  This gives me some ideas.  :bow:



#16 Tom M

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 03:31 PM

Tom, what do you wire to the leads on the converter? Can I use the 5v USB port on the TalentCell instead of using the converter?

The 5V output from the TalentCell may not be able to supply sufficient current for reliable operation of the compute stick. If it's marginal then the stick will behave oddly such as fail to boot, boot but not start Windows, Windows run erratically. You get the idea. While the Compute Stick doesn't normally draw over 2 amps it does from time to time and with the camera and accessories plugged in it certainly more likely to do so.

 

I wired up the leads to a 5.5x2.1 female jack so then I simply plug it into the output from one of the TalentCell leads. I also bought 1x4 power supply splitter so that there are enough plugs for the equipment. Various other connectors are needed as well as the nStep requires a 5.5x2.5 plug so an adapter is required. What I did was draw up everything to plan it out. I may switch to a RigRunner style in the future but for now I'm good.



#17 Ain Soph Aur

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 10:05 PM

Hi Tom. I missed this thread until after seeing Hiten's thread and searching for the "EAA and BII" thread :). Thank you for bringing the Compute Sticks to the attention of EAA folks.  As I just posted on Hiten's thread, I am able to run TheSkyX Pro and all additional imaging software with the M3 chip version of the Compute Stick with no issue. The best thing, is that the "pc" rides on top of my scope next to two YKUSH port switchable usb hubs, dew controller and Power Pole DC distribution. Thanks!



#18 Stargazer3236

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 03:27 PM

I found a 1st Gen Compute Stick with Win 8.1, 2 gb mem, 32 gb storage, one USB 2.0, Micro SD slot and power port. Paid $81.81 on Jet.com. Got it the other day, plugged it in my 42" monitor, works great, I use it now for watching streaming TV from DirecTV Now. Gonna put SharpCap and Firecapture on it and the drivers for my ZWO ASI224MC camera as well. I also put a 32gb SD card in for extra storage.

 

Trying to get Remote Desktop to work. Having minor success. Got a 4 port USB 2.0 Hub for it. Need to work on the 12v-5v converter.


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#19 Susan H

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 03:37 PM

Awesome setup, Tom! I like it. 




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