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Best way to connect Mini PC and laptop in the field?

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#1 fielderda

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:30 AM

I have a Minix N42C-4 mini PC attached to my Celestron EDGE HD 8 in my backyard.

Using CPWI, I can control my CGEM mount  and PoleMaster,  while SGPro controls my ASI1600MM, guidecamera,  pHD2 and my new Celestron motorized focuser  - all via RDC in the house.

 

For out at Star parties, I would like to have the laptop within 25' or so of the telescope so I can monitor it from time to time, as well as at home, since my RDC connection drops a lot and the telescope is never more than 20' from the house.

 

Has anyone used a LAN cable to connect a Mini PC to a laptop and control the Mini PC?  I would like the RDC version but hardwired since WIFI at remote locations is problamatic.

I also read one can use a cross-over (bridge) USB cable but I thought a LAN line might work?

 

Any suggestions are most welcome!



#2 cfosterstars

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:57 AM

I am interested in the same question. I use AnyDesk to connect to my miniPC from my laptop. My mini-PC is connected to the home network by an Ethernet direct cable connection. If you are away from you home network, how would would connect the two computers. BTY, what is RDC?



#3 rgsalinger

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 12:47 PM

If you are using Windows 10 a direct connection is still possible but requires some setup. I don't bother. I carry a tiny wireless router with me and attach both computers to it. Since I run the Pro versions of Windows 10, I just use the remote desktop feature and I'm good to go. Teamviewer will also work in LAN mode if you don't have pro. I just found the tiny router (30 bucks) the easiest path since both my mobile computers already have wireless capabilities.

 

Rgrds-Ross



#4 einarin

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 01:15 PM

Yeah I use my NUC  in balcony and use ethernet. And use TeamViewer or Windows RD.

For field use I just tested solution where used my mobile phone as hotspot and both laptop and NUC used it and then again used TeamViewer.

Would be nice if could use direct connect for it but haven't investigated/tested that.



#5 S.Boerner

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 01:20 PM

I've used an ethernet cable at Green Bank StarQuest star parties since wireless is frowned on there.  My mini is an Intel StickPC.  I assigned IP addresses on the network to both the StickPC and my laptop and use TightVNC on the StickPC.  The stick doesn't have an ethernet port so I got a three port hub with ethernet on Amazon to use.

 

It works well but there is that cable waiting to be tripped over.  I think I'd throw a piece of old carpet over it if I were to do it for outreach.

 

My laptop has the ability to create a mobile hotspot so I usually use that when I'm away from home. 



#6 roelb

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 02:23 PM

I use Connectify on the inside laptop to establish a mobile Hotspot. Then using Windows Remote Desktop to connect with mini PC at scope. To extend the Wi-Fi signal I place an extender in between laptop and mini PC.

#7 einarin

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 03:18 PM

I use Connectify on the inside laptop to establish a mobile Hotspot. Then using Windows Remote Desktop to connect with mini PC at scope. To extend the Wi-Fi signal I place an extender in between laptop and mini PC.

If you have internet connection then why do you need Connectify to make a hotspot ?

 

How long distance do you have if you need extender ?



#8 S.Boerner

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 03:36 PM

Or would this work for you with your hardware?

https://support.micr...-mobile-hotspot



#9 fielderda

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 05:01 PM

Great ideas from everyone!

 

I didn't consider the hotspot idea because I thought it would use a lot of data. However, since I'm only using it to check the status of SGPro every so often or to move to a new object, the amount should be large.  A LAN cable should work, but as S. Boerner indicates, it's a great tripping hazard!

I bought the Minix N42C-4 mini PC because it's fully upgrade-able (RAM and and SSD stick) as well as coming with Windows 10 Pro. The later feature is so that the Mini PC won't decide to do a lengthy update in the middle of imaging!

 

RDC : Remote Desktop Connection (Microsoft)

 

Ill be checking out Connectify and possible an extender between the laptop and MiniPC  as Roelb suggested.



#10 fielderda

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 05:14 PM

Ross - what's the tiny router that you use?

I might just explore this route.  Thanks  - David



#11 roelb

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 05:58 PM

If you have internet connection then why do you need Connectify to make a hotspot ?

How long distance do you have if you need extender ?



#12 roelb

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 06:04 PM

In the field their is no internet so Wi-Fi must be setup.
With an extender a distance of 10 m is mangeable.

#13 gregj888

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 09:28 PM

A lot of modern ethernet interfaces will self "gender" (my just made up term).  In this case, you can connect 2 computers directly to each other without router.  You may have to assign an address for each, but there should be directions out there.  Like this maybe--

 https://www.youtube....?v=n-sTtjF2IjIĀ 

 

If they don't auto configure, you can buy ethernet cables with a twist (like the old gender benders for RS-232).  I have one of these for my Flea camera so I don't need a router for it.  My GigE cables are all yellow, the gender bender is orange so I don't get them confused.

 

Beyond that, look for a small inexpensive router or switch.



#14 tmaestro

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 07:32 AM

A lot of modern ethernet interfaces will self "gender" (my just made up term).  In this case, you can connect 2 computers directly to each other without router.  You may have to assign an address for each, but there should be directions out there.  Like this maybe--

 https://www.youtube....?v=n-sTtjF2IjIĀ 

 

If they don't auto configure, you can buy ethernet cables with a twist (like the old gender benders for RS-232).  I have one of these for my Flea camera so I don't need a router for it.  My GigE cables are all yellow, the gender bender is orange so I don't get them confused.

 

Beyond that, look for a small inexpensive router or switch.

That's officially called a "crossover" cable, if someone wants to search Amazon for it.


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#15 cmooney91

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 11:22 AM

I use  GL.iNet GL-AR300M mini router with external antennas.

It connects to the mini PC Via Ethernet, and is powered by USB from the mini PC.

 

I also bought a pair of high gain antennas. These focus the signal in a plane perpendicular to the antenna. 

 

I replaced one of the mini router's antennas with a high gain antenna, that way it has one omni-directional antenna that is good for close-in connection, and one high gain that is good for far away connection.

 

I also bought a  USB WiFi Adapter with an external antenna. I put the other high gain antenna on this. 

 

I plug the High gain USB wifi adapter into my Win10 Tablet to significantly improve the range, since each end of the communication is aligned high gain antennas.  I have had great signal quality about 100ft away through one wall.

 

The other benefit is while USB wifi adapter is connected to the mount's mini PC's network, my tablets internal wifi system can be connected to my home's wifi simultaneously, so I still have internet on the tablet.

 

At home once i'm set up, I use my desktop with the USB adapter on the second floor, so I tip the two high gain antennas so they are in-plane to achieve max signal quality. 

 

Even more range could be had by using a pair or higher gain directional antennas like Patch, Yeggi, or corner

 

 

What I like about this system is there is no configuration change between operating in the field and operating at home.


Edited by cmooney91, 19 August 2019 - 06:51 AM.


#16 rgsalinger

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 12:22 PM

https://www.amazon.c...=gateway&sr=8-4 and it's useful in travel situations in some cases. 

Never had a problem with mine and it's 3 years old and costs 30 bucks. Takes 5 volt USB power which is also helpful

 

Rgrds-Ross



#17 fielderda

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 06:09 PM

Thanks Ross,

 

I presume one just hooks the travel router into the mini pc and then using the appropriate IP address connect wirelessly from the laptop (i.e. setting up a LAN)?

 

David



#18 roelb

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 06:43 PM

If you have internet connection then why do you need Connectify to make a hotspot ?

 

How long distance do you have if you need extender ?

I use it also at a location without internet.

Distance: overall about 10 to 15 m.



#19 fielderda

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 11:08 AM

Hello Ross,

 

I purchased the TP-Link travel router as recommended.

Works like a charm from out in the garden and most places in the house!

 

Works at Star parties too without the need of Internet!

 

Thanks again!  David

 

 

 

https://www.amazon.c...,aps,196&sr=8-1



#20 ChrisMoses

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 12:11 PM

Fieldera,

One thing I do i to set the mount-top computer to connect to wifi sources in a specific order.  For example:

If it detects my belkin router (which I use at remote sites) connect to it

Then, if it detects my home wifi, connect to it

Then, is it detects my friends wifi network connect to it

 

So, I can control the order in which it connect to networks.

 

You can do this manually in Windows: 

http://ecross.mvps.o...-windows-10.htm

 

Or using freeware.  I'll have to find it's name



#21 fielderda

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 10:23 PM

Much appreciated ChrisMoses!

 

I wasn't aware of that connection ability - being mainly a Mac guy.

I'll check the settings.




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