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astrophotography with Macbook and parallels

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#1 lantosque

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 02:35 AM

Is it possible to do serious astrophotography with a Macbook and Parallels?  Would this be a solid foundation for using Maxim DL, of FocusMax, or ACP or SGP?

Anyone with experience doing so?  Any suggestions (or warnings, or encouragement) would be most welcome!



#2 Cometeer

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 02:40 AM

I had some issues with accessories being detected with VmWare Fusion, but I’ve never tried Parallels. Why not Bootcamp? You can also access the Bootcamp partition through Parallels/Fusion on the OSX partition. 


Edited by Cometeer, 01 December 2020 - 02:41 AM.

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#3 mjgood

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 08:58 AM

I had some issues with accessories being detected with VmWare Fusion, but I’ve never tried Parallels. Why not Bootcamp? You can also access the Bootcamp partition through Parallels/Fusion on the OSX partition. 

+1 for bootcamp... It's what I'm using on my Macbook, I did a minimal partition and use an external 1TB SSD drive for all the data... also Trackpad++ makes better use of the trackpad with windows..


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#4 Marcelofig

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 09:29 AM

Just get a cheap pc laptop, any recent one will do.

 

And yes, a Mac with Parallels or bootcamp (only on intel chips) can work, but the thing is you have to leave your computer out all night doing the job and you can not / should not use it for anything else during that time. 

 

And of course, you can remotely control the pc from your Mac.


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#5 RonaldNC

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 10:14 AM

I'm using a MacBook Pro with Parallels.  I'm using both platforms, depending on what I'm doing.

 

I use the MacBook Pro for DSO imaging... KStars/EKOS for most everything, APP for stacking, and Nebulosity 4 for post processing.  Lately, I've started using a Raspberry Pi on the mount for KStars/EKOS, accessing it remotely with my Mac using Real VNC.  I'm currently taking a look at Star Tools for post processing.  Nebulosity does "okay", but I'm ready for a bit more functionality.

 

I use Windows under Parallels for planetary imaging... SharpCap for capture, AutoStakkert for stacking, and RegiStax for post processing.

 

Over the last couple of years I've tried a lot of products.  I would love to move everything to the Mac, but I don't see a lot of good choices for planetary work.

If you haven't already, take a look at Andrew's website at macobservatory.com.  It's excellent.

 

Ron


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#6 lantosque

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 02:02 PM

Many thanks to Cometeer, MJGood, Marcelgofig, RonaldNC for your helpful comments

 

It seems that I am not alone in using parallels, which is good

 

My No 1 concern is that my Diffraction Limited Aluma694 camera with Maxim DL seem to disconnect from time to time. Maybe I should say that they crash a little too often.  Could this be caused by Parallels not being a 100% perfect emulation of  the PC and WIndows.

 

My No 2 concern is that running the Mac with Parallels makes me a little bit of a nice user and that some equipement and software providers like Diffraction Limited or DC3 Dreams will finder it harder (or even too hard) to provide necessary tech support, of which I need a lot since I am marginally competent.

 

In response to Marcelofig, I had somebody make a 3 inch hole on the wall of my house so that my telescope cables come into my living room and the Mac never goes outside.  Also, I have a second older mac that I can use when my newer make is doing astronomy so I don't have to worry about loosing the use of my Max while imaging.  

Marcel, is it really important not to use the Mac for other applications when doing astronomy?



#7 idclimber

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 02:12 PM

You can do serious imaging straight in OSX. You can also do all of the post processing. This does require using Mac compatible software like TheSkyX and it isn't cheap or free. The cheaper solution would be to pickup one of the inexpensive Win 10 pro mini PC's and remote into that with your MacBook. 


Edited by idclimber, 01 December 2020 - 02:13 PM.

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#8 Marcelofig

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 07:46 PM

 

In response to Marcelofig, I had somebody make a 3 inch hole on the wall of my house so that my telescope cables come into my living room and the Mac never goes outside.  Also, I have a second older mac that I can use when my newer make is doing astronomy so I don't have to worry about loosing the use of my Max while imaging.  

Marcel, is it really important not to use the Mac for other applications when doing astronomy?

It's a good practice, the less stress on the acquisition computer, the better. For example, if you look at this website you will see that problems with the usb port are relatively common, so the less it is used for other things the better.


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#9 tboss70

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 09:18 PM

I use Parallels  to run Windows 10 without issue.  Plug something in (USB camera) with Parallels running and it will ask you if you want to use it for the Mac or Win10.  I have successfully run my ASI224mc and guided my mount with Win10 running as a VM using Parallels. I have not tried running some things in Win10 and some things in Mac at the same time.  I think it would likely work but you may need to ensure the VM doesn't get paused it you switch over to Mac for several minutes.

 

One issue I did have when I first installed FireCaputre on the Win10 VM was the text was really really tiny. I couldn't even read the text to try and click a menu item to make a change.  The fix was change Win 10 settings to enlarge text, then I found the settings in FireCapture to make things readable. Otherwise I've had good success running PHD2, FireCapture, ASIStudio on the Win10 VM.


Edited by tboss70, 01 December 2020 - 09:26 PM.

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#10 amdizack

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Posted 02 December 2020 - 03:46 PM

Bootcamp for sure. I had a post several weeks ago where dove into a bunch of testing as I had issues with keeping my devices connected. Switched to Bootcamp and all issues went away.



#11 jkcolli

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 12:14 PM

I use Parallels [Version 15.1.4 (47270)] with a Macbook Pro(late 2016) with 4 USB C ports and  Mojave 10.14.6

 

Sometimes I have problems with Windows locking up and I am forced to use Activity Monitor on the Mac to get Windows and Parallels to quit.

In Activity Monitor select Windows 10 and then select the X at the top left of the Activity Monitor window.  Then select Force Quit in the dialog box that pops up.

Do the same for the following Parallels processes:
  Parallels Desktop
  prl_disp_service
  prl_event_tap
  prl_naptd
  prl_naptd  (there are two of these processes

When I force Parallels to quit this way sometimes upon restart of Parallels and subsequently Windows 10, Windows 10 starts a disk check which can take many minutes(>10 sometimes).  To stop this disk check, I followed the directions below that I found on the internet.  This stops Windows 10 from doing a disk check after what it calls and improper shutdown.

 

Instructions to prevent Windows 10 disk check at startup:

Press your Windows logo Key + R to launch your Run app and then type regedit and press Return.
Click Yes.
Go to this exact location and double click on BootExecute (you can copy and paste this directory at the top and then press Enter to go to it):
   Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager

 

Now delete all the lines in Value data and paste this then press Ok:
   autocheck autochk *   <---Erase this line.

 

Another solution not using the Registry
There is a solution on many websites advising you to run this command in your CMD to exclude a certain drive from disk check at startup (it’s the C drive in this example):
    chkntfs /x C:

 

 

Jack

 

Lens: Canon EF 400mm f/2.8l IS II USM , Canon Extender EF 1.4x III, Canon Extender EF 2.0x III

Mount: iOptron iEQ30 Pro

Imaging Cameras: Canon EOS 90D, QHY 268C

Guide Camera/Scope:  QHY5LII-M with MiniGuide Scope

Lens Controller:  Astromechanics ASCOM Canon Lens Controller Mark II  (when using QHY 268C)

Control SW:  Astrophotography Tool(APT)

Processing SW:  PixInsight



#12 fewayne

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 12:27 PM

Your mileage may vary, but I use my Mac and rarely -- if ever -- have to drop into VMWare to use Windows. I use KStars and Ekos, which is free. It also has the advantage of supporting remote operation if you like; I have a Raspberry Pi on the scope to which I can either remote-desktop into with Screen Sharing, or I can run the device drivers on the Pi headless and run the user interface stuff directly on the Mac. But I can plug the USB straight into the Mac too; it's just that the Pi will run forever in the field off battery, not so much my MacBook Pro.

 

And if "free" is really your jam, as Teh Youngz say, you can do it soup to nuts on the Mac with KStars/Ekos for acquisition, PHD2 for guiding, SiriL for processing, and The GIMP for final image editing.



#13 FiveByEagle

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 12:28 PM

I am 100% Mac based here - 

 

Due to the rougher colder nights here, I do not like leaving my Mac outside - so I bought a $200 Win10 PC - (pos but it runs NINA and PHD2 and SharpCap) and Teamviewer from the Mac inside.

 

For processing, Parallels is great especially for planetary and lunar 




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