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MINIX NEO Z83-4 mini PC is In The House

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#76 Coolwataz

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 04:06 PM

I got my Minix yesterday.  I downloaded SGP, PHD2, Polemaster, ASCOM, all the drivers of my equipment, etc.  Says I have like 12GBs left.  I have a 64GB microSD card that I'll be using.  Having never used TeamViewer before, and way too basic skilled for creating some adhoc connection, I hooked up a cheap travel router for use in the field.  I set up TeamViewer to accept LAN connections and I used the IP address of the Minix and was able to connect at home via my laptop (on travel router network with no internet).  Worked like a charm too.  

 

I'm just trying to figure out how I'm going to mount this stuff.  I have a 14" Losmandy dovetail which has a bunch of screw holes to be used.  Need to mount my RigRunner 4008, StarTech 7-port USB3 hub, the Minix, and my little travel router.  Is velcro an option considering these are electrical components and I definitely don't want any melting/spontaneous combustion, or wild fires on my telescope going on.  

 

Are there other mounting options instead of a dovetail that anyone is using?  The other issue I have is that both of my refractor setups I'm using the 80mm Orion short tube which comes with the scope rings that have the screws that end up suspending the scope within the rings.  Should I get sort of the same 'clamp with hinge' rings I use for my 80mm imaging scope so that I could fit another dovetail on top?  Might be my best bet as am thinking as I write this.



#77 gundark

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 04:51 PM

I got my Minix yesterday.  I downloaded SGP, PHD2, Polemaster, ASCOM, all the drivers of my equipment, etc.  Says I have like 12GBs left.  I have a 64GB microSD card that I'll be using.  Having never used TeamViewer before, and way too basic skilled for creating some adhoc connection, I hooked up a cheap travel router for use in the field.  I set up TeamViewer to accept LAN connections and I used the IP address of the Minix and was able to connect at home via my laptop (on travel router network with no internet).  Worked like a charm too.  

 

I'm just trying to figure out how I'm going to mount this stuff.  I have a 14" Losmandy dovetail which has a bunch of screw holes to be used.  Need to mount my RigRunner 4008, StarTech 7-port USB3 hub, the Minix, and my little travel router.  Is velcro an option considering these are electrical components and I definitely don't want any melting/spontaneous combustion, or wild fires on my telescope going on.  

 

Are there other mounting options instead of a dovetail that anyone is using?  The other issue I have is that both of my refractor setups I'm using the 80mm Orion short tube which comes with the scope rings that have the screws that end up suspending the scope within the rings.  Should I get sort of the same 'clamp with hinge' rings I use for my 80mm imaging scope so that I could fit another dovetail on top?  Might be my best bet as am thinking as I write this.

 

I'm working on a similar set-up based on a Minix and RIGrunner 4005. I made a wood platform in lieu of a Losmandy plate to mount the equipment on. 

 

IMG_0696.jpg

 

All equipment is mounted on two rows of velcro, which seems to be very stable. 

 

IMG_0702.jpg

 

I'm going to secure the platform to one of my mount's legs with velcro straps. Nothing is wired yet. Sorry this pic is kind of messy—I was trying to optimize the component layout. 

 

IMG_0706.jpg


Edited by gundark, 11 March 2017 - 04:53 PM.

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#78 NetGuru

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 09:48 AM

For those who use a Remote PC and not Tablets and such to control their telescopes should look in to using your Intel Stick or Minix as a USB Device Server. That way your Remote PC can use the USB Devices on your Intel Stick or Minix locally. No need for an RDP session and low overhead on the Intel Stick or Minix.


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#79 FiremanDan

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 11:14 AM

I am thinking for us iPad users, the best option is going to be to bring a WIFI router out to the field. Which I wanted to avoid. That's one more thing to forget, or break or power! 


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#80 NetGuru

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 11:27 AM

For iPads and Andriod Tablets you can buy the Twomonair app its like $10 bucks. You can then remote control your PC.



#81 Coolwataz

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 11:47 AM

I am thinking for us iPad users, the best option is going to be to bring a WIFI router out to the field. Which I wanted to avoid. That's one more thing to forget, or break or power! 

Once you mount everything on a dovetail or whatever you end up using, you won't forget it (or hopefully break it) as long as you keep it mounted.  My little travel router is USB powered so its minimal.  I hooked up my Android tablet via TeamViewer and was able to connect to the Minix but I was having trouble with actions needing double clicks like opening folders or double clicking Polaris in the PoleMaster software, for example.  Using a laptop is the best option for me but it will be nice to not have all kinds of USB cables zig zagging across my mount and having to have a table that I have to move depending on where I slew to so that the laptop is close enough so the shortest cable doesn't snag.

 

Only issue I have is that I had to order new rings for my 80mm guidescope that I use with my 115mm so I can mount this Losmandy dovetail on top which will have all of my components mounted on.  I'm almost positive I'm going to have to use my 80mm guidescope with the new rings when I plan to use my 80mm imaging scope.  That isn't bad having a guide scope the same size as your imaging scope is it?  I was reading about size of guidescopes in relation to imaging scopes and of course people have things to say.  But I figure that those who use OAGs technically have their 'guidescope' the same focal length as their 'imaging scope' since its the same scope being used.  Not to go off topic or anything.

 

Using some strong velcro to mount everything on a dovetail isn't a risk due to emitted heat and electricity of the components even during summer nights?


Edited by Coolwataz, 12 March 2017 - 11:48 AM.

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#82 gundark

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 12:08 PM

Using some strong velcro to mount everything on a dovetail isn't a risk due to emitted heat and electricity of the components even during summer nights?

 

I will definitely post here if my equipment catches fire! grin.gif



#83 Coolwataz

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 01:20 PM

 

Using some strong velcro to mount everything on a dovetail isn't a risk due to emitted heat and electricity of the components even during summer nights?

 

I will definitely post here if my equipment catches fire! grin.gif

 

You will have to start a new post because the title 'Minix mini PC in the house' will no longer be appropriate, but "Minix mini PC nearly blew up my house' would...lol


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#84 dan_hm

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 11:44 PM



I am thinking for us iPad users, the best option is going to be to bring a WIFI router out to the field. Which I wanted to avoid. That's one more thing to forget, or break or power! 

This is very compact, fairly cheap, and powers over USB.  


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#85 james7ca

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 01:36 AM

This is very compact, fairly cheap, and powers over USB.  

I am thinking for us iPad users, the best option is going to be to bring a WIFI router out to the field. Which I wanted to avoid. That's one more thing to forget, or break o

 

It's too bad, however, that none of these inexpensive and small WiFi access points support the 5GHz band as that could be important if you are planning on using USB3. I've yet to have any really serious problems with the Minix when using my USB3 camera but I've found that the Wireless Display feature uses the 2.4GHz frequency band and thus I'm somewhat concerned about possible problems with interference.

 

And note, if you are using the Atom-powered Intel Compute Stick you pretty much have to use 5GHz WiFi if you also want to use a USB3 device. The only small WiFi router that I know of that supports 5GHz is Apple's Airport Express (but it's fairly expensive and requires A/C for power).

 

[UPDATE]

Here is a fairly small router that supports the 5GHz band, but it requires A/C power ($40 on Amazon):

 

TRENDnet TEW-817DTR AC750 Wireless simultaneous dual band Travel Router, 2.4/ 5 Ghz for Netflix, Comcast, Chromecast, Gaming, TV, PC, Smartphone, One-touch Network connection WPS for Security Plug and Play, Travel Size, WISP, Router, AP, Repeater Mode, North America/Euro/UK plugs included
by TRENDnet

 

Link: http://a.co/8DtFwW2

[/UPDATE]


Edited by james7ca, 13 March 2017 - 01:46 AM.

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#86 NetGuru

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:31 AM

There seems to be a lot of different configurations of equipment that people are using to remote control their telescope. So depending upon what you are using and how/where you will be using it will determine what options you have to do it.

 

For those using the equipment in the field at a remote location it would be best to setup an Ad-Hoc Network or Access Point on their Intel Compute Stick or Minix. Once done you can use your favorite remote software. Also, if you are using a Minix and going to right by your setup using a notebook computer and not iPad or Tablet just use a Cat6 cable and plugin directly.  

 

If you are at home just connect to your home network. As stated many times by others. 5GHz is the way to go. You may need a better antenna, something directional. I believe I read somewhere they even have them for the Intel compute stick. Someone with a compute stick can chime in verify that one.

 

There are limitless options. Cheap Access point for under $50. Remote control apps for iPad and Android. As I've said, all depends on what you want to accomplish and what you have. No configuration is wrong it's what works best for you. As they say "KISS"


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#87 FiremanDan

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 09:27 AM

For me, if I have to bring a computer out to the field, I might as well use that computer to control everything. The point of using a small scope mounted computer was less power, less gear to travel with, and fewer cables running down the scope. 
I might have an old airport express at home.... I'll have to look for it. 



#88 NetGuru

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 10:34 AM

FiremanDan,

 

I agree. If you are using an iPad or Android Tablet as I do you very easily can setup an Ad-hoc network on the scope mounted PC and use Twomonair. It cost under $10 and be done with it. 


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#89 D_talley

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 11:37 AM

Just as a side note, if you are using an iPad, you can use Microsoft remote desktop to control your headless pc.  Remote desktop is a free download from the app store.


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#90 NetGuru

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 12:20 PM

Remember, RDP is not included in Windows 10 Home Edition so you would need to install RDPWrap if you want ot use it.



#91 dan_hm

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 02:19 PM

 

This is very compact, fairly cheap, and powers over USB.  

I am thinking for us iPad users, the best option is going to be to bring a WIFI router out to the field. Which I wanted to avoid. That's one more thing to forget, or break o

 

It's too bad, however, that none of these inexpensive and small WiFi access points support the 5GHz band as that could be important if you are planning on using USB3. I've yet to have any really serious problems with the Minix when using my USB3 camera but I've found that the Wireless Display feature uses the 2.4GHz frequency band and thus I'm somewhat concerned about possible problems with interference.

 

And note, if you are using the Atom-powered Intel Compute Stick you pretty much have to use 5GHz WiFi if you also want to use a USB3 device. The only small WiFi router that I know of that supports 5GHz is Apple's Airport Express (but it's fairly expensive and requires A/C for power).

 

[UPDATE]

Here is a fairly small router that supports the 5GHz band, but it requires A/C power ($40 on Amazon):

 

TRENDnet TEW-817DTR AC750 Wireless simultaneous dual band Travel Router, 2.4/ 5 Ghz for Netflix, Comcast, Chromecast, Gaming, TV, PC, Smartphone, One-touch Network connection WPS for Security Plug and Play, Travel Size, WISP, Router, AP, Repeater Mode, North America/Euro/UK plugs included
by TRENDnet

 

Link: http://a.co/8DtFwW2

[/UPDATE]

 

Interesting. Seems like USB3 is just one big headache for us.


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#92 NetGuru

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 03:39 AM

This may do what you are looking for at remote locations and its under $25. And powers off USB.

 

TRENDnet Wireless AC Easy-Upgrader (TEW-820AP)

 

https://www.amazon.c...7M103S2FHHPHPJK


Edited by NetGuru, 14 March 2017 - 03:41 AM.

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#93 Coolwataz

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 10:23 AM

 

 

Nothing mounted officially yet, but this is what I'm thinking considering the equipment and space that I have.  In order to use my 80mm imaging scope, I'd have to use my 80mm guide scope in order to be able to use the guide scope rings to attach the dovetail with rig runner and Minix.  

 

Is using the same size guide scope as the imaging scope against conventional practices?  

 

Also, it doesn't add too much height to the top of the scope area but could it kinda be enough to throw things off? Does top heavy equipment affect guiding, even just a pound or two? I weighed it on my bathroom scale and it came in at like 14 lbs total.  My mount is rated at 40 lbs max.  Maybe it doesn't matter too much as long as the mount is properly balanced?


Edited by Coolwataz, 14 March 2017 - 10:37 AM.

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#94 FiremanDan

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 10:41 AM

Looks good. As long as you balance the mount well, I don't think you should have issues with the weight. People sometimes use like a 130mm refractor and an 80mm refractor. They will use one for guiding and one for imaging. Then switch depending on what FL they want to shoot at. So having 2 80mm refractors should be fine. 



#95 Coolwataz

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 11:00 AM

Looks good. As long as you balance the mount well, I don't think you should have issues with the weight. People sometimes use like a 130mm refractor and an 80mm refractor. They will use one for guiding and one for imaging. Then switch depending on what FL they want to shoot at. So having 2 80mm refractors should be fine. 

 

Not going off topic, but I was using the 80mm guide scope with my 115mm imaging scope and a 60mm guide scope with my 80mm imaging scope in the picture.  I have to use the 80mm guidescope rings to get the dovetail with the rig runner, etc. on top so I have no choice at the moment.  It would make sense that imaging an 80mm while guiding with an 80mm would be bad because if my guiding is poor any given night, and the pixel scales and focal lengths are similar, my subs would be of poor quality, in my inexperienced mind at least.  Less room to get away with bad guiding.

 

I have to have this thing mounted on top.  As I've envisioned this in my head between seeing your building a rig runner thread and this thread, I want short power and USB cables.  As you've mentioned, I don't mind bringing a laptop out to my remote site.  I attempted to use a tablet to control the Minix but I couldn't double click to open folders or double click on Polaris during the Polemaster process.  Plus, having my laptop there, just in case anything happens to the Minix and connectivity, all I have to do is move the main USB3 cord from my USB hub and plug into the laptop and I'm back in the game.



#96 gundark

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 01:03 PM

A word of caution to new Minix users. The TF (or micro SD) card can get stuck in the slot. My card is inserted all the way so that it is flush with the PC case, which I assume is correct because the card works, but there is no spring mechanism to eject it, or if there is one it is not working. There is no paper-clip-eject-hole, either. If I want to remove this card it looks like I'm going to have to remove the PC case.
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#97 Coolwataz

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 02:02 PM

A word of caution to new Minix users. The TF (or micro SD) card can get stuck in the slot. My card is inserted all the way so that it is flush with the PC case, which I assume is correct because the card works, but there is no spring mechanism to eject it, or if there is one it is not working. There is no paper-clip-eject-hole, either. If I want to remove this card it looks like I'm going to have to remove the PC case.

You have to put it in gently and slowly until you hear the click.  When you want to eject it, do the same.  First time I put it in I had the issue you spoke of.  Had to use thin tweezers to get it out.  Yesterday I was able to gently insert and eject without a real problem.  Not very confident about it though...and the card goes in upside down.



#98 gundark

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 02:58 PM

I'm going to try to extract it shortly. This is one aspect of the design that could be improved upon, for sure. 



#99 Coolwataz

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 03:06 PM

I'm going to try to extract it shortly. This is one aspect of the design that could be improved upon, for sure.

When you want to eject it, use your finger nail to gently push it in until you hear the click then pull your finger away quickly.  Do it fluidly and it pops right out.  Mine does at least.


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#100 Carl N

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 04:45 PM

James, in your setup can you shut down the controller PC after kicking off a SGP sequence, then restart and see where things are in the Morning? Or will shutting down the "monitor and keyboard", essentially all the controlling PC is, cause issues with running programs when you restart and reconnect?


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