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Raspberry Pi 3 Model 2, Astroberry Server and...

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#1 astro-foto


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Posted 25 June 2019 - 04:53 PM

Hi all!

Anyone successfully using Rasberry Pi 3 Model 2, Astroberry Server, and/or other open source software for controlling their scopes, mounts, guiding and imaging endeavors?

With regards and clear skies,


#2 phillipsrs


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Posted 25 June 2019 - 06:40 PM

I see a little bit of interest in the Raspi platform for astronomy. Not over talked about though.  I would suggest that if you are considering a Raspi,  hang tight for a bit until the Pi Version 4 comes out.  It brings with it a pair of USB3 ports. 64 Bit quad core processor with a choice of 1, 2, or 4 Gig of ram on board at $35, $45, and $55 price points.  


I suspect folks might start doing a bit more development on this platform with the USB 3 and Gigabyte ethernet coming to play. It's got built in 5G WiFi as well.


I've been waiting for the USB 3 version to come out for Auto guiding with a USB3 Zwo.  This guy suggests that it may have enough power to handle the guiding and the primary capture piece as well.   Should get interesting. 



#3 rkinnett


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Posted 25 June 2019 - 06:52 PM

Hi Juan,


I used a scope-side Pi 3B for awhile, running kstars/ekos in Ubuntu-Mate.  I used VNC to control the pi remotely, which is definitely not the most efficient way to do it in terms of bandwidth - it's much more efficient to run indiserver on the pi and connect from an indi client running on your master control PC. 


It was frustrating trying to manually operate the scope over VNC in real time because the stream would get bogged down to 1 FPS or much worse, due to 1) the pi wifi controller is on the USB bus and reaches bandwidth limitations when you're transferring images over USB, and 2) the file write speed is limited by either the SD bus or by USB if you use an SSD over USB.  Moving the OS over to a fast SSD helped a little, but the system was still prone to long VNC dropouts, on the order of 10-30 seconds - basically unusable when there's a lot going on.  Also, the Pi doesn't have USB-3 ports, so you can't take advantage of modern transfer speeds that many dedicated astro imagers provide these days.


I eventually scrapped the Pi in favor of a mini PC and never looked back.  Image transfer rates and VNC frame rates are much more reliable.  Not to mention, Ubuntu is much happier running on a multi-core 64-bit intel processor rather than ARM.


You can definitely control your scope through a Pi, and it is quite liberating the first time you don't have to sit out there in the cold, babysitting the scope.  If you have a pi, do it.  It may take a day or so to set up, but it's worth it if you want to get a feel for what's possible.  Expect frustrations with software compatibility and bandwidth issues.  If you're thinking longer term, invest in a Mini PC or laptop.


To be fair, I didn't exactly give it a fair shake.  I never tried running server-client configuration.


Jurgen Kobierczynski has some great videos showing how to install ekos/indi, and has some full imaging sessions.  His youtube channel was my inspiration to go headless.  He also has this video showing how to run indi server with EKOS for Windows.

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