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Fork in the Road. ASIAir or MiniPC?

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#26 DevilJack

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 09:02 PM

I really enjoy my AsiAir Pro. It’s allowed me to quickly get going with EAA and AP again. I like not having to pay attention to Windows, drivers, patches and updates. As an IT professional, I could set up an Intel NUC and load all the software but I do too much of that at work and prefer to simply enjoy EAA. With the AsiAir Pro, I’m showing the wife and grandkids the universe+. I wish I could capture their faces when seeing M31 Andromeda  live!  Can’t wait for Winter and Orion!

 

As of now, I have three AsiAir Pro rigs, Samyang 85mm/135mm, AT60Ed and C5. I couldn’t  be happier!

I’ve been in and out of the hobby for almost 50 years and these rigs have been the best technology I have used. Much better that hypered Kodak Techpan 2415 and manual guiding. Best part is that I’m enjoying our hobby again!
 

Finally, I’d like to thank all the people on Cloudy Nights for their inspiration and assistance in getting me back in this wonderful hobby. Thanks davidparks, astrojedi, stargazer3236, and robrj!

 

 

JG


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#27 alphatripleplus

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Posted 09 October 2020 - 07:47 AM

I really enjoy my AsiAir Pro. It’s allowed me to quickly get going with EAA and AP again. I like not having to pay attention to Windows, drivers, patches and updates. As an IT professional, I could set up an Intel NUC and load all the software but I do too much of that at work and prefer to simply enjoy EAA. With the AsiAir Pro, I’m showing the wife and grandkids the universe+. I wish I could capture their faces when seeing M31 Andromeda  live!  Can’t wait for Winter and Orion!

 

 

I'm glad the ASAIR Pro is working out so well for you as you begin EAA. If it removes all or some of the frustration that people can have when starting out with EAA, then that is a pretty good recommendation for it. 



#28 Broglock

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Posted 09 October 2020 - 11:21 AM

As I'm in the process of answering this very question by actual hands on experience. I do believe that for home EAA, IMHO, that a mini/micro PC at the mount is the better choice, however there will be those that will be very happy with the ASIair/pro as with DevilJack. WIthout going into the pluses and minuses already stated there is a learning curve, again IMHO, with all software/hardware combos. I did state that for home EAA a PC is my choice and for remote EAA I may choose the ASI for many reasons and above all else I believe it will be less light as well easier to manage the light, so as not to intrude on the others at the same sight or even for Star Parties and Public Outreach. The latter especially during this time of COVID frown.gif . Although I have been playing around with the ideal of building a mobile EAA observatory on the Ol' V10 truck with a possible Large 4k viewing screen (just not sure what that may cost me on the matrimonial side of things lol.gif !). Dreams only cost me a little time, it's only when I start to put them into action that they cost me '$' shocked.gif !

 

To think I started with a 6" SCT less than a year ago just to eye the stars I'd been looking at for years with binoculars and a 4'' MAK. Eleven months latter and well just look at my signature belowlol.gif !  



#29 alphatripleplus

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Posted 09 October 2020 - 12:00 PM

 

To think I started with a 6" SCT less than a year ago just to eye the stars I'd been looking at for years with binoculars and a 4'' MAK. Eleven months latter and well just look at my signature belowlol.gif !  

Unfortunately, you are not the only that happens to.smile.gif



#30 donsinger

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Posted 12 October 2020 - 08:04 PM

One of my best astro purchases has been a Pegasus Astro Powerbox Advance - really helps tidy things up doing either EAA or taking photos.



#31 Tony Bonanno

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Posted 12 October 2020 - 09:17 PM

I've been using the ASIAIR Pro for a few months now.  It has made my EAA viewing a pleasure..  Very well integrated unit.  All the processing, stacking, autorun, darks and bias frames, etc. that you will need, plus the plate solving, target centering, etc, etc.  And watching the target rendering on an iPad or whatever is a real pleasure.  IMO, the best $299 I've spent on my EAA setup.  Easily moves from mount to mount also (including Alt-Az mounts).  Now that the weather is turned a bit chilly, I can run my scope and camera from my dining room table with the ASIAIR Pro's built in WiFi.

 

HIGHLY RECOMMEND the ASIAIR Pro and it's App.

 

 



#32 Terrybythe sea

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 01:10 PM

 

Easily moves from mount to mount also (including Alt-Az mounts).  

 

I'm still in the process of getting my ASIAir Pro up and running, and the new manual doesn't mention Alt-Az mounts at all. Have you noticed many limitations when using it in Alt-Az mode? 


Edited by Terrybythe sea, 13 October 2020 - 01:10 PM.


#33 Alien Observatory

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 01:55 PM

Searched the web for an hour and all ZWO manual and I see no indication ASIAIR Pro will support any Mount in ALT AZ mode.  Please correct me if I am wrong... Pat Utah :)



#34 Terrybythe sea

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 03:05 PM

In the ASIAir app, one of the selections for the Mount setting is "Celestron Nexstar GPS/SLT/SE", and the arrow buttons in it's 'Mount Control Panel' do move my SE mount, so it does seem there's some minimal level of control at least, but that's as far as I've gotten to date. I had it do a plate solve the other night, but it clouded over before I thought to try a GoTo, so I'm still wondering about that.


Edited by Terrybythe sea, 13 October 2020 - 03:08 PM.


#35 Alien Observatory

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 03:55 PM

My guess if the app connects with Sky Safari then ALT AZ should work (align and goto), who knows maybe plate solve will work also... This information would be useful if it can be confirmed..Pat Utah :)



#36 Tony Bonanno

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 04:29 PM

I'm still in the process of getting my ASIAir Pro up and running, and the new manual doesn't mention Alt-Az mounts at all. Have you noticed many limitations when using it in Alt-Az mode? 

I've used the ASIAIR PRO on both my 6SE and my CPC 9.25 EdgeHD, both Alt-AZ mounts.  The only difference I've noticed when using the ASIAIR PRO on one of my Alt Az mounts is that I have to do a 1 star alignment first.  On the GEM mount, that isn't done.. I just set the GEM to the "zero position", and slew to a target.  Assuming the GEM is polar aligned.  I haven't noticed any limitations as far as basic functionality when using the ASIAIR PRO on my ALT-AZ mounts.  Plate solving, GOTO, etc. all seem to work fine.  Admittedly, I use the my refractor setup on a GEM most of the time as I'm partial to the refractor's wide field, fast focal ratio, and triplet optics.


Edited by Tony Bonanno, 13 October 2020 - 04:34 PM.

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#37 Terrybythe sea

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 05:35 PM

 

 I haven't noticed any limitations as far as basic functionality when using the ASIAIR PRO on my ALT-AZ mounts.  Plate solving, GOTO, etc. all seem to work fine. 

 

Thanks Tony, that's so good to know (and as Pat said, info that doesn't seem to have been published anywhere -- till now wink.gif ). Having to do a one-star alignment first is nothing at all.

 

And yes, if I had a refractor on a GEM I'd probably be using that too. But for now, just getting my 6SE to do indoor EAA will be more than good enough.


Edited by Terrybythe sea, 13 October 2020 - 05:37 PM.

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#38 HSTeach

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 12:19 PM

I'm still in the process of getting my ASIAir Pro up and running, and the new manual doesn't mention Alt-Az mounts at all. Have you noticed many limitations when using it in Alt-Az mode? 

FYI.  I tried using the ASIair Pro with my Evolution 8" SCT and had mixed results.  I went to ZWO support forum and found that it can connect via handcontroller and that it has to be at 9000 Baud.  My handcontroller is old and has a telephone jack/port for connection.  I ended up using my Starsense handcontroller to connect because it has a Mini USB port for connection.  Anyhow, at one moment, the Alt-Az mount went haywire and slewed up to zenith and beyond.  I tried to get platesolving to work, however, it kept failing and I gave up...  Ultimately, I got the sense that it can connect to the mount but with snickers/jeers/whining.  

I can see how it would be best to pair the ASIair with a EQ mount.

 

So, at this point, I am hitting the books/manuals to learn sharpcap....

 

Cheers,

Phil



#39 lampcord

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 12:37 PM

I just got my mini PC yesterday. $268 delivered from Alibaba. Was able to install all of the software last night and get RDP working and most importantly disable automatic updates. I ran some plate solving tests with some old subs and my one issue is it takes about twice as long to plate solve as my laptop. My laptop is a bit of a monster (Dell XPS) that I originally got as basically a gaming computer so I guess it's not that surprising. Not too big of a deal as I generally only have to plate solve once at the beginning and a second time if I have a flip so maybe cost me a sub or two worst case.

 

Otherwise, very impressed with it. 4 USB 3.0 and 2 USB 2.0 so I have a spot to plug in everything. I also got a tiny 7" Raspberry Pi touch screen and a tiny little blue tooth keyboard which helped a lot in setup. My plan is to mount the screen in such a way that I can use it for iPolar alignment which should be very convenient then unplug it and just RDP in from my laptop after that.

 

Now all I need is a clear sky to see how it all works in real life!



#40 Terrybythe sea

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 03:12 PM

FYI.  I tried using the ASIair Pro with my Evolution 8" SCT and had mixed results.  I went to ZWO support forum and found that it can connect via handcontroller and that it has to be at 9000 Baud.  My handcontroller is old and has a telephone jack/port for connection.  I ended up using my Starsense handcontroller to connect because it has a Mini USB port for connection.  Anyhow, at one moment, the Alt-Az mount went haywire and slewed up to zenith and beyond.  I tried to get platesolving to work, however, it kept failing and I gave up...  Ultimately, I got the sense that it can connect to the mount but with snickers/jeers/whining.  

I can see how it would be best to pair the ASIair with a EQ mount.

 

So you went with the ASIAir Pro after all. I wonder if some of the problems you experienced might have to do with using the StarSense HC, and whether getting a telephone jack/port to USB cable for the Nexstar HC might be the answer?

 

As I mentioned I did get a plate solve the other night, and at ƒ10 at that. I have no idea what it solved, but it did report success, and told me my focal length was 1730 mm, rather than the 6SE's nominal 1500. This may have been due to the camera being inserted in the diagonal, I really don't know, but the 'Pro seemed to think all was well.

 

I also seem to have got it to do GoTo's and centring. I did a fake indoor alignment on Venus a few minutes ago, then told the HC to go to Jupiter, and took note of the Axes positions. I then told the HC to go to Saturn. Once there, I told the 'Pro to go Venus, which it did, and then to Jupiter. The Axes positions were virtually the same, and while I was checking that, the scope made some small movements, and a red error message appeared in the ASIAir app, something along the lines that it had failed to centre the target and was trying again. It again failed of course, as there were no stars to plate solve, and attempted another try before I cancelled the operation.

 

The mount didn't go haywire fortunately, but from what I've read here on CN, Celestron mounts sometimes do that -- no idea if it might be connected to the 'Pro or not.




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