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Evolution 8 + Intel Compute Stick... I think I am in EAA Heaven

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#26 Astrojedi

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 08:12 PM

Congratulations, good idea for nice portable setup.

Mine is still on USB repeater, 30ft/10m. Had to do something similar as You, till today wanted use second laptop or small box computer.

Question:
How do You operate Starsense? Is there anything than Skysafari/Skyportal can run this gadget?

Regards

Kuba

Thanks Kuba. Sorry I seem to have missed your question.

 

I kick off a StarSense align using the hand controller. Then I connect to the mount using Stellarium.

 

Unfortunately no other software except SkySafari for iPad supports StarSense at this time. I did not see the option even in the Mac version of SkySafari.


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#27 Stargazer3236

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 10:42 PM

I have SkySafari 5 Plus on my Android smartphone and it seems to connect and align with my Nexstar without Starsense, but I read it will work with Starsense. I also have it on my iPad mini. I wonder if it will work on my Samsung Galaxy Note 7 arriving soon?



#28 Stargazer3236

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 11:09 PM

It has been raining here for weeks now and we have had maybe 2 clear nights in the past month. Given all that extra time I decided to take the plunge and work on a fully wireless Intel Compute Stick + Evolution 8 setup.

 

A brief break in the clouds tonight allowed for a first light. Happy to report it worked like a charm. To put it simply... it is the most portable, powerful, easy to use and elegant (completely wire free) EAA setup yet for my needs. It really does not get easier than this.

 

The setup for the evening was Evolution 8", StarSense and ASI290 Mono. The mount and the camera were both connected to the compute stick using a USB 2.0 hub (not powered). The compute stick was powered by a 5V/2A outlet on my Lithium Ion battery pack which was also powering the dew heater. I also plan to test out my Lodestar X2 with a filter wheel next.

 

I used Microsoft Remote Desktop for the Mac and iPad to remotely control the compute stick (screen shots attached). Which means (1) No wires - not even a single cable coming off the mount (see image). Zero risk of wire tangles (2) All I need is a tablet now for EAA even when stacking. I can sit on the couch or sit in the yard without having to lug a computer around. Or I can just sit in my study and use a my Mac to remotely control and stack.

 

Microsoft has released official Remote Desktop Apps for both Mac and iPad which offer a very seamless experience when using Remote Desktop to log on to a Windows PC. The compute stick required some minor software tweaks but after that worked like a charm. See below.

 

Compute Stick Setup:

 

The compute stick was the basic model which retails for $150 - Quad core Atom with 2GB memory and 32GB flash drive. I added a 64GB MicroSD card. Based on my experience this spec is more than sufficient for EAA as well as Imaging. Even while view finding and stacking with ASI290 Mono, SharpCap and with Stellarium running in the background CPU utilization averaged ~50% and memory usage was about 1.3GB/2GB.

 

The Intel compute stick runs Windows 10 Home edition. I had no problems setting up all the Astro software and cameras. Encountered no compatibility issues with either ZWO or SX camera drivers or SharpCap/SLL. Also installed ASCOM platform and ASCOM drivers for the Evo mount. Worked seamlessly with Stellarium and StellariumScope.

 

The Intel Compute Stick did require some tweaking out of the box. First I let Windows update run and update the OS. It did a whole new installation of Win 10. I then had to delete the old OS folder which was taking up ~7GB. Once the update was complete I had to disable the Windows Update Service manually as there is no way to stop updates in Windows 10. This is very important as Windows 10 applies updates with complete disregard to time or workload. Given the resource constrained environment of the compute stick this could spell disaster for an evening's viewing should the update decide to start at an inopportune time.

 

Second I had to install RDPWrap (free open source SW) as Windows 10 Home does not include the Remote Desktop Server. Only Professional editions do. I did try other remote viewers like TeamViewer and various VNC apps but RDP proved to be the most resource efficient and reliable SW.

 

I also had to remove and/or disable a few other services/SW that come installed. A notable one is Intel Remote Keyboard which is a real resource hog.

 

After these optimizations the compute stick proved to be incredibly resource efficient and capable. It is amazing that I am able to run a full Windows 10 PC in just 10 watts of power.

 

attachicon.gifIMG_2568.jpg

Does RDPWrap work on Win 8.1? Since the CompuStick comes with Win 10, as you stated, it will work with that OS, but I am curious about Win 8.1...

 

Also, you use a Mac, but I would be using a Win 8.1 laptop. Will this work just as well? If I install MS Remote Desktop on my iPad, can I view and make changes to the CompuStick on my iPad mini?


Edited by Stargazer3236, 27 January 2017 - 11:19 PM.


#29 ChrisFC

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 12:08 AM

Remote desktop works on an ipad

#30 Robrj

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 10:18 AM

Does RDPWrap work on Win 8.1? Since the CompuStick comes with Win 10, as you stated, it will work with that OS, but I am curious about Win 8.1...
 
Also, you use a Mac, but I would be using a Win 8.1 laptop. Will this work just as well? If I install MS Remote Desktop on my iPad, can I view and make changes to the CompuStick on my iPad mini?

If this is the software, it looks like it will support 8.1.
https://github.com/stascorp/rdpwrap

Edited by Robrj, 28 January 2017 - 10:18 AM.


#31 Astrojedi

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 10:33 AM

 

 

 

Does RDPWrap work on Win 8.1? Since the CompuStick comes with Win 10, as you stated, it will work with that OS, but I am curious about Win 8.1...

 

Also, you use a Mac, but I would be using a Win 8.1 laptop. Will this work just as well? If I install MS Remote Desktop on my iPad, can I view and make changes to the CompuStick on my iPad mini?

 

Yes, RDPWrap should work with 8.1 but you may not need it depending which version of Windows you have.

 

RDP works with Mac, iPad and Windows computers pretty seamlessly. As I mentioned above I am using it quite successfully with my iPad (see second screenshot above - that is from RDP running on my iPad)


Edited by Astrojedi, 28 January 2017 - 10:34 AM.


#32 Astrojedi

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 11:47 AM

Excellent thread, Hiten! I wasn't really aware of the Compute Sticks, but after reading this thread and doing some web searches, I think this may be a good way for me to do remote EAA with my ASI224MC. Unfortunately, my current setup with a USB 2.0 over CAT extender will not work with the ASI224MC, and is solely an issue of the extender. I was kicking around the idea of moving to an extra expensive USB 3.0 over Fiber, but I believe this will work pretty well.

 

I went ahead and opted for the next level up CS325 Compute Stick with extra ram and processor power as I would like to run everything if possible via the stick and TheSkyX Pro as the mount control software which is a bit of a resource hog. I may end up having to do a hybrid setup with the Compute Stick just handling the capture software.

 

Fingers crossed this works well, there are some other ZWO USB 3.0 cameras that I am looking at that likely wouldn't work with my current remote setup.

Thanks Brandon. I think the compute stick will solve your issues. Let me know how it goes. One thing I would be interested in understanding better is the power consumption of the higher spec stick. One of the reasons I went with the base model is that atom power consumption (on paper) is lower than the m3.



#33 Ain Soph Aur

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 08:53 PM

Hi Hiten. I worked with the M3 Compute Stick today and everything looks great so far. I was even able to install TheSkyX Pro and it works perfectly. With TheSkyX, ASCOM/EQMOD, StarlightLive, SharpCap, and PHD2 running simultaneously I am seeing no issues. Both CPU and memory usage are running 50-60% when SharpCap is doing max fps capturing. More testing tomorrow if its not raining.

 

No idea on the power consumption, any advice on how I may be able to determine?


Edited by Ain Soph Aur, 04 February 2017 - 08:56 PM.


#34 SonnyE

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 06:20 PM

I'm looking at this as my next step. I'm all Windows 10 here. Plan to stay that way.

I've been using my laptop as my outside computer, to WiFi to my inside computer, via TightVnc.

And although I have my entire wiring in a harness, I want to get way from that, centralize at the mount, and only need power for the equipment.

Posts like yours are especially valuable to me, Astrojedi.

May I bounce my thoughts about this here?

 

Currently, I have a StarTech 7 port powered USB hub, it carries the 4 USB cables. (CCD, Autoguider, Focuser, and Mount) The single 3' cable (USB3) connects the hub to my laptop. (A filter wheel, USB controlled, is in the think tank)

Power wise, 12 volt to the mount, 12 volt to the CCD cooling, and a 5 volt to my Focuser, which I'm changing to 12 volt when the motor arrives. I run my 12 volt needs from one Group 24-AGM type lead/acid sealed battery. A bouncing 54 pound baby. I want not for power or capacity. (It's a long story)

 

1. I don't mind having a single 12 volt wire trailing from the mount to the battery. And branching it at the mount.

2. I'd like to have a smaller, WiFi enabled computer to connect the mount, via my homes WiFi router, to either or both computers. These 'stick' computers recently were brought to my attention. I have no need or intention to use it for an HDMI display, only as a mini (micro?) computer.

 

Where I am amiss is if one could handle my current and future needs, adding a motor to my filter wheel next. (A fifth USB load) Particularly if these little guys can WiFi as well as a regular old laptop can. I realize it is next to impossible to predict somebodies WiFi abilities, and if it doesn't work I'd just have to get a booster or cross that bridge when I come to it (Relocate my wireless router).

But I haven't seen any reference to the Stick Computers WiFi range abilities. Or I've missed it.

I typically use a Thumb drive (jump drive?) in my USB hub to save images to. That way I can simply move the drive to my other computer.

 

What should I be looking at? Is this one something workable for us star gazers? :confused:

And does anybody offer one in a 12 volt power supply?


Edited by SonnyE, 06 February 2017 - 06:21 PM.


#35 Astrojedi

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 08:35 PM

Hi Hiten. I worked with the M3 Compute Stick today and everything looks great so far. I was even able to install TheSkyX Pro and it works perfectly. With TheSkyX, ASCOM/EQMOD, StarlightLive, SharpCap, and PHD2 running simultaneously I am seeing no issues. Both CPU and memory usage are running 50-60% when SharpCap is doing max fps capturing. More testing tomorrow if its not raining.

 

No idea on the power consumption, any advice on how I may be able to determine?

Brandon,

I use a battery with a digital % readout. So I can calculate approximately how much energy was used. What power source are you using to run the compute stick?

 

Hiten



#36 Astrojedi

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 08:45 PM

I'm looking at this as my next step. I'm all Windows 10 here. Plan to stay that way.

I've been using my laptop as my outside computer, to WiFi to my inside computer, via TightVnc.

And although I have my entire wiring in a harness, I want to get way from that, centralize at the mount, and only need power for the equipment.

Posts like yours are especially valuable to me, Astrojedi.

May I bounce my thoughts about this here?

 

Currently, I have a StarTech 7 port powered USB hub, it carries the 4 USB cables. (CCD, Autoguider, Focuser, and Mount) The single 3' cable (USB3) connects the hub to my laptop. (A filter wheel, USB controlled, is in the think tank)

Power wise, 12 volt to the mount, 12 volt to the CCD cooling, and a 5 volt to my Focuser, which I'm changing to 12 volt when the motor arrives. I run my 12 volt needs from one Group 24-AGM type lead/acid sealed battery. A bouncing 54 pound baby. I want not for power or capacity. (It's a long story)

 

1. I don't mind having a single 12 volt wire trailing from the mount to the battery. And branching it at the mount.

2. I'd like to have a smaller, WiFi enabled computer to connect the mount, via my homes WiFi router, to either or both computers. These 'stick' computers recently were brought to my attention. I have no need or intention to use it for an HDMI display, only as a mini (micro?) computer.

 

Where I am amiss is if one could handle my current and future needs, adding a motor to my filter wheel next. (A fifth USB load) Particularly if these little guys can WiFi as well as a regular old laptop can. I realize it is next to impossible to predict somebodies WiFi abilities, and if it doesn't work I'd just have to get a booster or cross that bridge when I come to it (Relocate my wireless router).

But I haven't seen any reference to the Stick Computers WiFi range abilities. Or I've missed it.

I typically use a Thumb drive (jump drive?) in my USB hub to save images to. That way I can simply move the drive to my other computer.

 

What should I be looking at? Is this one something workable for us star gazers? :confused:

And does anybody offer one in a 12 volt power supply?

I am not sure if I understand all your questions but let me describe the setups I have tested with the Compute Stick.

 

ASI290 mono and the mount USB control output connected to a unpowered USB 2 hub which is connected to the compute stick. Compute Stick powered by a 12V Lithium Ion battery

 

Filterwheel and Autoguider connected to the ASI1600 or SX825 (both have built in USB2.0 hubs). One USB cable from the camera to the compute stick. ASI1600 or SX825 connected to a 132Wh 12v Lithium Ion battery along with the compute stick (y splitter).


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#37 mclewis1

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 08:54 PM

One of the PC stick's real value to consumers comes from their exceptionally small form factor. That form factor necessitates a few compromises in their design (heat dissipation, wifi antenna, connectivity, etc.). Moving up in size just slightly (to a mini PC) removes many of those compromises. They generally have better wifi reception, choice of CPUs, and a number of USB ports.

 

Mini PCs range in size from a deck of cards up to a hard cover book. Many of them run off of 12v DC so are perfect for use with a battery and even those that run off of 19v can be easily setup to run off of 12v with an auto/air type of power adapter common in the laptop world. Depending on the models they can still be fan less too (helpful in 7 x 24 outdoor use as you might see in an observatory). While they are slightly larger than a stick they can still be very compact overall as you often won't need a USB hub.

 

Mini PCs have a long history of controlling telescopes, cameras and various accessories like focusers. 

 

Have a look at models from Zotec and Shuttle, there are plenty of other choices too as most of the major PC manufacturers have one or two in their line ups.


Edited by mclewis1, 06 February 2017 - 08:55 PM.

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#38 Astrojedi

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 11:41 PM

I have not had to make any compromises with the Compute Stick. It connects just like my laptop to my home wifi network. No difference in range. Also I am able to connect all peripherals, run live stacking and connect via Remote Desktop simultaneously with no issues. CPU utilization averages around 50%. In fact in practice I feel absolutely no difference vs. using my Surface Pro 3.


Edited by Astrojedi, 06 February 2017 - 11:57 PM.

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#39 ChrisFC

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 01:25 AM

+1. I've found no compromise with a compute stick. I'd almost be as bold to say it's better than my laptop which only has usb2. The usb3 on the stick seems to makes a big diff.
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#40 Stargazer3236

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 09:23 PM

I tried to  Remote Access my Compute Stick last night for quite a few hours and had no luck.

 

I bought the Intel Gen 1 Compute Stick with Win 8.1, 2gb Ram, 32gb Flash storage (added a 32gb Micro SDXC card), one USB 2.0 port, SD slot, mini USB power port. I connected a 4 port USB 2.0 Hub and using an all in one Keyboard/mouse mini keyboard. I paid $81.81 on Jet.com for the Compute Stick and it arrived two days later.

 

I tried to use my Toshiba Laptop to gain access and tried my desktop, but to no avail. I tried everything on how to get the RDP to work and I could not do it. I looked to the internet to get it working and still no luck. I clicked every box and adjusted to work in private mode and not public mode and still nothing.

 

The Compute Stick worked great for watching streaming TV. I loaded FireCapture and SharpCap onto the Compute Stick, just in case I got it working for RDP. I was thinking of using the CS to do remote imaging, but if I cannot get it to work, I will relegate it to work in the Living Room as a TV streamer on our cable cut home theater.

 

If I cannot get it run in remote mode, I guess I will have to wait until the  weather gets warmer for me to go out and enjoy imaging.


Edited by Stargazer3236, 09 February 2017 - 09:24 PM.


#41 Astrojedi

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 11:05 PM

I tried to  Remote Access my Compute Stick last night for quite a few hours and had no luck.

 

I bought the Intel Gen 1 Compute Stick with Win 8.1, 2gb Ram, 32gb Flash storage (added a 32gb Micro SDXC card), one USB 2.0 port, SD slot, mini USB power port. I connected a 4 port USB 2.0 Hub and using an all in one Keyboard/mouse mini keyboard. I paid $81.81 on Jet.com for the Compute Stick and it arrived two days later.

 

I tried to use my Toshiba Laptop to gain access and tried my desktop, but to no avail. I tried everything on how to get the RDP to work and I could not do it. I looked to the internet to get it working and still no luck. I clicked every box and adjusted to work in private mode and not public mode and still nothing.

 

The Compute Stick worked great for watching streaming TV. I loaded FireCapture and SharpCap onto the Compute Stick, just in case I got it working for RDP. I was thinking of using the CS to do remote imaging, but if I cannot get it to work, I will relegate it to work in the Living Room as a TV streamer on our cable cut home theater.

 

If I cannot get it run in remote mode, I guess I will have to wait until the  weather gets warmer for me to go out and enjoy imaging.

 

 

I don't have direct experience with Compute stick gen 1 but based on experience of other users it does not seem to be well suited for this application.

 

You also need to install RDPWrap as out of the box Win 10 version that ships on the compute stick does not have the RDP feature. See my first post.



#42 mclewis1

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 04:17 PM

Hiten, That was my first thought but David's Intel compute stick is running Win8.1. Is there also a crippled (poor description) version of Win8.1 for these basic early version compute sticks?

 

 

David, What happens when you try to run the RDPWrap and RDP on your stick?



#43 nother

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 01:20 PM

Hi,

 

I also now switched from an USB-Ethernet-Extender to an Intel stick PC setup. It's now so configured that I could have a 4h session in the field just with a LiPo for the mount, a powerbank for the stick PC and a normal notebook. That is not much, but I could easily extend it by using some bigger car batteries.

 

The stick PC is an ASUS VivoStick TS10 with 2GB RAM, quad core cpu, 32GB storage, USB2.0 and USB 3.0.

I use a small USB 2.0 hub to connect the guiding cam and the mount hand controller to the PC.

My main cam ASI224MC is connected to the USB3.0 port. As long as I do not have any interefences with the WiFi signal it will stay like this.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Foto 11.02.17, 18 58 35 (768x1024).jpg

Edited by nother, 11 February 2017 - 01:21 PM.

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#44 Astrojedi

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 01:55 PM

You could also use something like a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter to connect the computer to a large screen TV using WIFI direct.  The receiver has to be fairly close (within 25 feet).  But it would give a big wireless repeater display for your guests.

Rob,

 

Somehow missed your post in the flurry of posts. 

 

In my opinion Wifi direct is redundant with this setup  as I can connect the controlling laptop or iPad to the TV/monitor. Another thing I am not sure of is how much power that would consume as it is a very high throughput gigahertz based tech.

 

Also RDP is more efficient for the remote computer because I believe the GUI rendering is done on the client side. So you save CPU and power on the compute stick.

 

Hiten


Edited by Astrojedi, 11 February 2017 - 01:55 PM.


#45 ChrisFC

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 11:16 PM

Been using a large sensor camera asi071. Found that for some processes in sharpcap you need 4GB memory on the stick - with just 2GB it runs out of memory when making flats with full size image and no binning.

Edited by ChrisFC, 11 February 2017 - 11:19 PM.


#46 Astrojedi

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 01:44 AM

Good to know. Have you tired Astrotoaster? Does that also have issues?


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#47 ChrisFC

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 05:34 AM

No haven't tried AT yet.
How are people mounting them on scope ? Some sort of clip on a bracket ??

#48 Tom M

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 08:29 AM

In my case I use a custom printed 3D bracket which holds the Compute Stick, powered hub and a 12v-5v converter. This is then mounted to the plate riding on top of the scope.

 

sml_gallery_9290_3810_26973.jpg


Edited by Tom M, 12 February 2017 - 11:31 AM.

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#49 Astrojedi

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 10:21 AM

Astronomer's best friend: Velcro


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#50 Robrj

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 10:50 AM

I use 3M fastener tape.  It's much stronger that velcro (and much more expensive):

https://www.amazon.c...r/dp/B007OXK1AK

 

I'm thinking of making a bracket for it though.  I originally fastened it to the OTA but I found the tube interferes with reception from my keyboard in certain positions.  I put some on the mount itself but there's not a lot of room.


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