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Mini-computer for mount

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#1 carolinaskies

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Posted 13 December 2019 - 08:24 PM

I saw this mini-computer on Amazon and was wondering if anyone had tried one of these or another slimline similar to it.  

https://www.amazon.c...37230_459740940

It's got a celeron processor, but I'm not worried about video, just controlling mount/cameras and such.  

The NUC are more pricey for a complete system.  

I also saw this industrial PC and with the COM port could make it work with my NEQ6 or LX200 GPS scopes.  

https://www.amazon.c...11&s=pc&sr=1-13


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#2 Xeroid

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Posted 13 December 2019 - 09:31 PM

Hmmm...that's a very interesting mini PC with good storage upgrade...thanks for sharing!



#3 TikiTom

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Posted 13 December 2019 - 10:00 PM

Also there is the Primaluce Eagle series of mount computers:

https://www.primaluc...hotography.html



#4 D_talley

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Posted 13 December 2019 - 10:17 PM

I use the industrial one with 4 serial ports with my LX200R scope.  Works great and comes with Windows 10 Pro fully licensed. 



#5 james7ca

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Posted 13 December 2019 - 11:08 PM

I saw this mini-computer on Amazon and was wondering if anyone had tried one of these or another slimline similar to it.  

https://www.amazon.c...37230_459740940

It's got a celeron processor, but I'm not worried about video, just controlling mount/cameras and such...

That's a relatively old processor and you can probably do better today.

 

You may want to review the following thread on CN that covers many of the current mini computers (thread started in 2018 but continually updated, last entry just a few weeks ago):

 

  https://www.cloudyni...s/#entry8665020

 

Basically, there is a lot to choose from and my only quick guide would be that you need to be careful about whether the "installed" version of Windows is fully licensed or just a trial copy. Some of the lesser known and cheaper models don't really include a true Windows license (YMMV).


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#6 santafe retiree

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Posted 13 December 2019 - 11:17 PM

Full scale Dell desktop power (i3, 4GB RAM with 16GB Optane, 500GB HDD)

 

in a micro case (7" x 7" x 1.5")

 

for $433

 

with a 3 year warranty

 

https://tinyurl.com/ve34o9y

 

Regards,

 

Tom



#7 santafe retiree

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Posted 13 December 2019 - 11:20 PM

Another good choice with the new Pentium J5005 processor -- add 4GB RAM and swap out the  64GB EMC card for a 256GB M2 drive -- still under $400

 

https://www.amazon.c...y/dp/B07WWDBM83



#8 Akwilliams

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 12:52 PM

I use a PC which is almost identical... the only difference is mine is 6GB not 8.  Its worked flawlessly on my scopes for the past 9 months.  Small form factor, can set the bios to automatically boot when power is supplied.  I have hook/loop tape on the base of mine to allow moving between scopes (i mount mine on top of the scope opposed the mount itself)  

 

one of the best non dedicatated astro additions i've bought for my rig.    I'm in the UK, so it gets quite dewy at night and its never had a problem contending with that.

 

I did look at the more industrial PC's available.. In fact we use them at work and i tested one.. They certainly can do the job, but i found them too bulky and heavy for how i want things to be on my rig.


Edited by Akwilliams, 15 December 2019 - 12:53 PM.

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#9 carolinaskies

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 06:27 PM

Given my current equipment I'm going to be loading Windows 7 vs Win 10 as I have legacy cameras that don't have the newest drivers.  I've been able to get them working with my older Win 7 laptop which is an i5.  I don't think there's an advantage for Win10 for what I'll be doing and since it will be dedicated to astro use rather than surfing the web I won't need to worry about updates and such.  

I was looking for reference at the Primeluce Eagles and I see their power consumption for the newest models is up to 2x the earlier models up to 1.6aH.  Can anyone speak to how much power they see their computers pulling down and how you're handing that?  



 



#10 OldManSky

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 06:38 PM

I bought a similar model a few weeks ago.  Very pleased with it so far.

 

https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Better processor than the one you linked to, and costs a bit less, too.  Came with a legal Win10 Pro.


Edited by OldManSky, 15 December 2019 - 06:40 PM.

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#11 santafe retiree

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 06:53 PM

I bought a similar model a few weeks ago.  Very pleased with it so far.

 

https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Better processor than the one you linked to, and costs a bit less, too.  Came with a legal Win10 Pro.

Actually, the J4205 processor in the model you cite is slower than the J5005 than the model I quoted:

 

https://www.amazon.c...y/dp/B07WWDBM83

 

see here:

 

https://cpu.userbenc...487063vsm221469


Edited by santafe retiree, 15 December 2019 - 06:54 PM.

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#12 OldManSky

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 07:43 PM

Odd, I could have sworn when I saw your link it had a Celeron (and older model).  
Oh, wait, it did -- I was responding to the OP, not your post!  

Sorry for the confusion...

 

:)


Edited by OldManSky, 15 December 2019 - 07:45 PM.


#13 james7ca

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 08:35 PM

...Can anyone speak to how much power they see their computers pulling down and how you're handing that?

There are some power consumption samples in the link I provided earlier, and here is one example from that thread:

 

  https://www.cloudyni...11#entry9756728

 

Since you appear to want to install your own copy of Windows 7 you can probably find a unit that will be cheaper than buying a fully equipped bundle that includes the cost of Windows 10. That said, you MAY have issues finding usable drivers for such an old OS, depending upon what features of the hardware you plan on using. The CPU will certainly run, but you may have problems with some of the input/output devices.

 

So, if you want to run Windows 7 you may do better with older hardware that will probably consume more power or run a bit slower than a more recent device.

 

Frankly, you're going to find more information in the existing threads that cover mini PCs than what will be repeated here in your own topic. There are dozens and dozens of different systems that would likely meet your requirements and many of them have already been covered HERE and elsewhere on CN.


Edited by james7ca, 15 December 2019 - 09:15 PM.

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#14 mclewis1

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 10:47 AM

I have basically the second unit mentioned (the industrial one) ... i5, 8GB, 128GB SSD, 2 RS232. It's been running for two years in my observatory without a hiccup under really nasty environmentals (heat, humidity, real cold). I'm still running Win7 (and will be for a little while) in this configuration.

 

Going entirely fanless is IMHO important for real reliability, especially when really cold conditions are expected. A real RS232 serial port has been very valuable as well (bullet proof connectivity in all software configurations).

 

If folks are worrying about slight benchmark differences in one CPU choice vs. another then IMHO they are asking the wrong questions. The general class of CPUs (and support chips) will tell you whether or not you have enough horsepower for the tasks you need. 

 

My requirements in order were ...

 

Budget - under $500 (so none of the purpose built industrial gear)

Reliability - fanless, no open ventilation ports

Compatibility - must run Win7 (drivers for older hardware)

Connectivity - RS232, USB3

Performance - i3 or better, generation 6 video or better



#15 AF7JQ

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 02:58 PM

There is something else to consider with a small computer to run the telescope...temperature! I have a really nice Minix with WIN10 that runs everything...scope, camera, focuser ect. It's fast enough to handle everything at once. But in colder temps it sometimes acts erratic. I have confirmed with the manufacturer that the low operating temperature is 0 degrees C (32F).I now keep it a small insulated lunch bag when it is cold out, and for really cold temps I throw a disposable handwarmer in as well. No troubles since I started using the lunch bag even down to 0 degrees F. My  friend down the road has a different brand of small computer that has similar issues with his but at lower temps than mine. He's going to start using the lunch bag trick as well.

John



#16 Pauls72

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 03:33 PM

Mine has a Celeron N2930 and it is more than enough processing power to handle everything.

You can get by with a 128GB SSD, but I would go for 240GB or greater.



#17 SonnyE

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 01:34 AM

I tried one of the mount computers a while back, Intel Compute stick.

I sure got my steps in for the day with that thing!

I realized I really needed a display at the mount for my Astrophotography.

A little while later we were at Sam's Club and I stopped to look at what I now call my Baby Dell, 2 in 1, laptop/tablet. The wife said, "Would that replace your dead laptop?" "Yes" "Lets get it." Dell Inspiron 3000

I guess she could see my frustration with wearing a pathway in the floor to the backyard.

For a dedicated mount use WiFi computer to my indoor computer... Well, it's the cats meow.

I put a 120 gig micro SD card in it for my storage, and other stuff like programs. (outside the 32 gig main drive.)

I remove the Micro SD, put it in a sleeve and process my images off the card in my desk computer.

So I like a display at my table out back. Makes alignment easier, and is rather nice on a nice summer night.

I WiFi it to my inside computer with Tight Vnc and run everything from inside when it's chilly.




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