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How to implement remote headless PC

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#1 HasAnyoneSeenMyNebula

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 12:31 AM

I picked up a refurbished Lenovo Thinkcentre M93p a few months ago as a pc to be at the mount and which I would remote into from my laptop. Distance is 30ish feet. I can get internet access from that same location with my laptop so WiFi reaches there (I have a pretty powerful range extender). I believe the headless unit has a wireless card and I bought a WiFi antenna that fits.

Truth be told I have not fired up the headless unit yet, wanted to wait until I was ready to use it. I’m there now.

The plan is to start with just running Stellarium and BackyardNikon.
I can run an extension cord to the headless unit.

How do I actually go about implementing this? Do the programs (Stellarium and BackyardNikon) need to be on the headless PC at the mount or can they be on my laptop in the house? Does it matter. I’ve heard RDP is good, any other good options? Just curious about what would be best.

Any other important things to consider?

Thank you!

#2 StephenW

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 03:20 PM

Whatever control s/w you are using needs to be running on the PC that is actually connected to and controlling your mount and camera. In this case that would be your headless PC.

You would then RDP into the headless PC from your laptop and run the apps on your headless PC as if you were directly logged into it.
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#3 HasAnyoneSeenMyNebula

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 03:24 PM

Whatever control s/w you are using needs to be running on the PC that is actually connected to and controlling your mount and camera. In this case that would be your headless PC.

You would then RDP into the headless PC from your laptop and run the apps on your headless PC as if you were directly logged into it.


Ok great. Thank you.

#4 OldManSky

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 05:59 PM

I picked up a refurbished Lenovo Thinkcentre M93p a few months ago as a pc to be at the mount and which I would remote into from my laptop. Distance is 30ish feet. I can get internet access from that same location with my laptop so WiFi reaches there (I have a pretty powerful range extender). I believe the headless unit has a wireless card and I bought a WiFi antenna that fits.

Truth be told I have not fired up the headless unit yet, wanted to wait until I was ready to use it. I’m there now.

The plan is to start with just running Stellarium and BackyardNikon.
I can run an extension cord to the headless unit.

How do I actually go about implementing this? Do the programs (Stellarium and BackyardNikon) need to be on the headless PC at the mount or can they be on my laptop in the house? Does it matter. I’ve heard RDP is good, any other good options? Just curious about what would be best.

Any other important things to consider?

Thank you!

All the software to run your mount/cameras/etc. need to be on the laptop/headless unit.  Hook up a display and keyboard/mouse to download the software and get it all set up.

Then install a remote access piece of software on both the "headless" computer and the one you'll use to access it remotely.

I like AnyDesk, it's free and is very fast, and has remote-access clients for everything (Windows, Macs, Android & iPhone, etc.).

But you can also use Windows RDP (if your "headless" has Windows 10 Pro), or other options.

Once everything is installed and setup, you just turn on the remote/headless PC, connect to it remotely once it boots, and off you go.  You can not attach a keyboard, mouse, or display.



#5 HasAnyoneSeenMyNebula

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 06:04 PM

All the software to run your mount/cameras/etc. need to be on the laptop/headless unit. Hook up a display and keyboard/mouse to download the software and get it all set up.
Then install a remote access piece of software on both the "headless" computer and the one you'll use to access it remotely.
I like AnyDesk, it's free and is very fast, and has remote-access clients for everything (Windows, Macs, Android & iPhone, etc.).
But you can also use Windows RDP (if your "headless" has Windows 10 Pro), or other options.
Once everything is installed and setup, you just turn on the remote/headless PC, connect to it remotely once it boots, and off you go. You can not attach a keyboard, mouse, or display.


Perfect. Thank you

#6 rhaskins

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 06:21 PM

I have a datacenter with a lot of servers, RDP control on all of them. I have a LOT of headless PCs, micro and mid size, all controlled by RDP. (and Raspberry - don't ask about the bluetooth doggie treat dispenser).  Install all the software on your headless unit. Process is to put some kind of monitor, keyboard and mouse on the PC to turn on RDP and connect to the network. Once you can boot the PC to accept connection via RDP you are golden. Some PC manufacturers have some BIOS changes to make but in the end it should all work without getting any other software.

 

It works. Sit back in your office and install all the software on the headless unit. Then connect it to the mount/scope via USB/serial and configure everything. If you have planned ahead, you have a PC that runs on 12 volts so there is unified power requirement (12v and 5 v).

 

I use Kingdel units for astro running Windows 10 and have zero problems. i5 is more than enough for imaging.

 

Rick


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#7 HasAnyoneSeenMyNebula

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 10:37 PM

I have a datacenter with a lot of servers, RDP control on all of them. I have a LOT of headless PCs, micro and mid size, all controlled by RDP. (and Raspberry - don't ask about the bluetooth doggie treat dispenser).  Install all the software on your headless unit. Process is to put some kind of monitor, keyboard and mouse on the PC to turn on RDP and connect to the network. Once you can boot the PC to accept connection via RDP you are golden. Some PC manufacturers have some BIOS changes to make but in the end it should all work without getting any other software.

 

It works. Sit back in your office and install all the software on the headless unit. Then connect it to the mount/scope via USB/serial and configure everything. If you have planned ahead, you have a PC that runs on 12 volts so there is unified power requirement (12v and 5 v).

 

I use Kingdel units for astro running Windows 10 and have zero problems. i5 is more than enough for imaging.

 

Rick

Rick, 

I really appreciate you taking the time to reply. I have a follow up question. I (actually it was my wife who got it connected) finally got RDP working today. Besides a few general type programs that I installed to make other installations easier and safe the sole purpose of this ThinkCentre M93p is to run my AP1100 GTO and (later) the additional equipment I’ll connect to it. For now it’s just the mount and a DSLR. 
 

So when I try to run Stellarium (just because it’s pretty user friendly and I’m taking it a step at a time) remotely, the program starts to load then stops. If I click out of RDP and back in it fully loads but stops again. If it try to scroll around the sky nothing happens until I click out of RDP and back into it. Then the movement occurs but freezes again. Stellarium works fine on the ThinkCentre when operated via its own keyboard, monitor, and mouse. The issue is strictly when operated remotely. 
 

The client laptop is much more powerful so I know it’s not the laptop. The ThinkCentre is sort of acting like it’s under resourced specifically related to Stellarium. I ran Windows updates, disk cleaned, defragged. I went into the control panel and tweaked the settings to performance as priority. I went into the graphics settings and tried to maximize those settings as well.

 

None of it seems to make a difference. You mentioned Bios settings. I understand where those are and have updated those on other computers (Dell, from their website) before but have not done so with this unit. Do you think that could be causing this type of issue?

 

Incedentally, BackyardNikon and Prism seem to be working fine although I have not tried to actually run the mount or DSLR yet from this headless unit.

 

There should be plenty of RAM and the SSD is less than half full.

 

Ideas?


Edited by HasAnyoneSeenMyNebula, 26 September 2021 - 10:39 PM.


#8 ayadai

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 10:53 PM

RDP does not support OpenGL, which is required by Stellarium. You can work around this by installing TightVCN server on your Lenovo and TightVCN viewer on your laptop.

 

If you want to use RDP later, here's a workaround for running Stellarium via Remote Desktop Access:

  1. Remotely log onto your Lenovo using TightVCN viewer.
  2. Fire up Stellarium.
  3. Close your TightVCN viewer connection.
  4. Remotely log onto your Lenovo using Remote Desktop Access.
  5. Stellarium should be running and will continue to run via Remote Desktop Access.

Edited by ayadai, 26 September 2021 - 10:53 PM.

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#9 HasAnyoneSeenMyNebula

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 11:01 PM

Thank you! We were wondering if the OpenGL was the issue but couldn’t pin that down for sure. I really appreciate your help. I’ll either use another program to run the mount or install the TightVCN programs you mention. I was a little worried that there would be continued issues with other programs. Thank you very much for clearing that up!

#10 rhaskins

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 06:50 AM

Like what was said above. I don't use Stellarium so don't know about its requirements. A rule of thumb, if something works just fine on the PC but not through RDP you probably have a compatibility issue. You can work around it with different software or you can use a 3rd party client like TightVCN or TeamViewer if they are compatible. Or go old-school and script everything on a command line laugh.gif (not even recommending that!!)

 

Rick


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#11 OldManSky

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 08:31 AM

AnyDesk will also work with OpenGL and other graphics programs that give RDP fits... :)


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#12 rhaskins

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 10:08 AM

So, hey Mr. Nebula. You got me curious and I installed Stellarium on one of my kingdels and RDPed in. Things got really ugly really fast. Slow down, pauses. I saw on the Interwebs some registry changes that were supposed to alleviate these issues. Nope. Removal of the registry changes and Stellarium put things back the way they were - speedy response no matter what I was doing.

 

Then I ran across this thread: https://www.cloudyni...remote-desktop/

 

So you are not alone with Stellarium issues. While there might be some way to configure your way out of that with RDP, I think something else like TeamViewer is more like running downhill. Which I like a lot.

 

Rick


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#13 HasAnyoneSeenMyNebula

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 10:48 PM

Like what was said above. I don't use Stellarium so don't know about its requirements. A rule of thumb, if something works just fine on the PC but not through RDP you probably have a compatibility issue. You can work around it with different software or you can use a 3rd party client like TightVCN or TeamViewer if they are compatible. Or go old-school and script everything on a command line laugh.gif (not even recommending that!!)

 

Rick

 

AnyDesk will also work with OpenGL and other graphics programs that give RDP fits... smile.gif

 

So, hey Mr. Nebula. You got me curious and I installed Stellarium on one of my kingdels and RDPed in. Things got really ugly really fast. Slow down, pauses. I saw on the Interwebs some registry changes that were supposed to alleviate these issues. Nope. Removal of the registry changes and Stellarium put things back the way they were - speedy response no matter what I was doing.

 

Then I ran across this thread: https://www.cloudyni...remote-desktop/

 

So you are not alone with Stellarium issues. While there might be some way to configure your way out of that with RDP, I think something else like TeamViewer is more like running downhill. Which I like a lot.

 

Rick

Thank you everyone. I appreciate the responses and the options. There are several ive never heard of so I’ll do a bit of digging. I think this will probably take some time as well as trual and error to find a combination of astronomy software and remote access software that fits my needs. APCC has been on my list of things to look into so I may acquire that and then work backwards and try the above options to see which compliments the other the best. I try to be somewhat tech fluent but it is just so expansive that I can only cover so much in a given time period. So I really appreciate the responses!



#14 Rasfahan

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 03:46 AM

I also found Stellarium to be hit-and-miss with remote connections. I switched to Cartes-Du-Ciel which, while not as pretty looking, works very well even on underpowered hardware in a remote setting.


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