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New PC: Am I missing anything?

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#1 Ryou

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 11:59 PM

I just got my new mini-pc in to augment/"replace" my ASIAir and I'm currently running through the initial setup and beginning to get everything talking to each other. I think right now I have everything setup driver/program wise right now, however it also never hurts to check and see what I may be missing before moving on.

 

From a more overall usage standpoint I've:

  1. Setup my network/router with a static IP for easier RDP access
  2. Setup RDP on my tablet + main processing computer
  3. Setup a shared network drive with file sync to auto transfer/backup the night's imaging
  4. Ensured power configuration is proper to never sleep/turn off
  5. Changed active hours in windows update
  6. Ran windows update
  7. Made sure things just generally ran/were usable

From the Astrophotography side of things I've downloaded and installed:

  1. ASCOM
  2. EQMOD (for telescope control)
  3. ZWO Camera Drivers and ASCOM Drivers just in case
  4. PHD2
  5. CDC
  6. Stellarium (as a backup)
  7. SCP
  8. NINA
  9. ASTAP

I've also done some base setup of various settings/preferences inside NINA for the sky atlas, image saving paths/naming, and telling NINA the location for PHD2/ASTAP. I haven't really setup my gear inside NINA yet due to it not being connected, however this should be fairly easy to do once it's connected.

 

Again I think this is a pretty complete initial setup ready to setup/connect the equipment, however I also wouldn't put it past me to have forgotten something because there are a "lot" of moving parts/steps/programs. E.G. when thinking about the programs initially (when thinking about the amount of PC power needed to run that is) I totally forgot about CDC/Stellarium for some reason



#2 kisstek

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 12:35 AM

Backups? It'd be a shame to lose all of that work due to an accident, HW failure, or infection. Speaking of which, maybe an antivirus program.



#3 Ryou

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 01:16 AM

Imaging data is being backed up over the network as mentioned, though admittedly a pc backup to help if having reinstall drivers and things may not go amiss. If both PCs fail hardware wise at the same time (plus not using the OS disk for storage on the main PC so now triple failure of a separate drive) it would suck, however that probably only would happen with something else major going on...
 

Torn on the AV as this mini-pc is just for imaging acquisition... technically it is connected to the network however I probably won’t ever use the web browser or similar and I did make sure the built in windows defender stuff is on. Base editing PC it syncs to has good AV so chances are even if something did sneak in it’d be stopped.



#4 TXDigiSLR

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 01:28 AM

Imaging data is being backed up over the network as mentioned, though admittedly a pc backup to help if having reinstall drivers and things may not go amiss. If both PCs fail hardware wise at the same time (plus not using the OS disk for storage on the main PC so now triple failure of a separate drive) it would suck, however that probably only would happen with something else major going on...
 

Torn on the AV as this mini-pc is just for imaging acquisition... technically it is connected to the network however I probably won’t ever use the web browser or similar and I did make sure the built in windows defender stuff is on. Base editing PC it syncs to has good AV so chances are even if something did sneak in it’d be stopped.

I'd recommend you use some Free AntiVirus software.  You will still probably be doing Windows updates and software updates.  Never hurts to be protected!

 

FYI... I use Avast, and every time I update NINA, I have to turn it off for a few minutes, otherwise it will scan NINA as an unknown file, and the NINA installer will fail in the time it takes to do a scan.  Otherwise, it works just fine.      

 

From experience, you'll also be imaging one night, logged into RDP, and get curious about something and pop open a web browser.   It won't be until later that you realize the browser you opened was on the Mini PC and not the main PC you were using to RDP into the Mini.   It's best to be safe... add SOME kind of AntiVirus!  (just my 2 cents)


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#5 TXDigiSLR

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 01:30 AM

Did you download the NINA skyAtlas images?  The ASTAP Database?  Astrotortilla?



#6 Ryou

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 10:10 AM

I'd recommend you use some Free AntiVirus software.  You will still probably be doing Windows updates and software updates.  Never hurts to be protected!

 

FYI... I use Avast, and every time I update NINA, I have to turn it off for a few minutes, otherwise it will scan NINA as an unknown file, and the NINA installer will fail in the time it takes to do a scan.  Otherwise, it works just fine.      

 

From experience, you'll also be imaging one night, logged into RDP, and get curious about something and pop open a web browser.   It won't be until later that you realize the browser you opened was on the Mini PC and not the main PC you were using to RDP into the Mini.   It's best to be safe... add SOME kind of AntiVirus!  (just my 2 cents)

Good point and it's not that much overhead so may as well just add it to be safe.

 

Did you download the NINA skyAtlas images?  The ASTAP Database?  Astrotortilla?

SkyAtlas yes. ASTAP database.... whoops

 

My understanding of Astrotortilla is that it's just for platesolving which is what I have ASTAP for... does this platesolve somewhere else like for CDC/Stellarium for that sync or am I missing something. 



#7 nimitz69

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 10:23 AM

With NINA just select ASTAP as your primary & blind solve plate solver & then make sure you’ve downloaded the databases and are pointing to the correct file location in NINA. NINA typically solves for me in about 5 secs ...
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#8 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 07:00 PM

I wouldn't install *anything* on it that doesn't involve AP. Keep it clean, be disciplined and don't use it for anything else. Just let the built-in Windows security software (eg the "Defender" antivirus that comes with) do its thing and resist the urge to let anything else muck around in your data sucking up cycles unnecessarily and wanting to update itself in the field.

 

I'd also keep copies of all of your driver & software installers on a USB stick in case you ever need it for some reason. For example, if the latest & greatest is broken, if it disappears at an inconvenient moment from the manufacturer's site or the manufacturer's site is taken over by pirates. Document any relevant serial numbers.

 

Finally, I'd stick a label with the IP address, password and anything else you need on the machine (yeah, I know, it's not necessary until you need it).



#9 jerahian

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 08:10 AM

I wouldn’t install anti-virus. For a PC with a specific use case such as this, an AV can cause more problems than solve; a good dose of common sense is all that’s required in lieu of one.

Other than that, you seem to have everything else covered.
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#10 TXDigiSLR

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 08:57 AM

Just my two cents about anti virus...    Many of these ASCOM programs are open source.  If one gets hacked and you install an "update" that is a virus, then you RDP into your infected Mini-PC, you'll be sorry...

 

I agree that it should be easy to keep the Scope mounted PC totally seperate and secure, but it's really not.  It WILL be on the internet, it WILL be connected to your Networked Drive or your home WiFi.



#11 lynnelkriver

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:44 AM

If using Stellarium you will also need the driver (Stellarium Scope).  Scott



#12 TXDigiSLR

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 10:36 AM

If using Stellarium you will also need the driver (Stellarium Scope).  Scott

Do you really need that with the latest version?  I thought you just had to enable the plug in now...




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