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Recommendations for Chromebook for Controlling Win10 Pro Computer

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#1 gfstallin

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 10:14 AM

I'm looking for a Chromebook to control my NUC with Windows 10 Pro mounted on my OTA for mount and image acquisition control. I currently have a Windows 10 laptop I use for the purpose. While that is fine when I'm connected to mains, it has serious power requirements that make it less than ideal when imaging away from home. Additionally, since I'm only using it for the screen in this capacity, my home/daily laptop seems like overkill just waiting to be destroyed by dew, a drop at 3 a.m., or an errant counterweight sliding around in the trunk of the car. 

 

I've read that I can control a Windows 10 Pro computer with a Chromebook (Windows Remote Desktop for Chrome). With minimal power requirements and no real need for any other, processor and memory-intensive Windows features, a Chromebook seems like it could be a great, affordable option. Does anyone have any Chromebooks they can recommend? I'm not looking for anything larger than a 14-15" screen and preferably under $400. The most important thing after price is probably screen quality. The only time this will be turned on is when I'm planetary imaging. 

 

George



#2 rgsalinger

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 10:56 AM

Why not just get a cheap refurbished laptop instead? You can buy nice ones on Amazon and NewEgg for under 300. Still, I would expect that any chromebook would work since remote desktop just requires win10 Pro on the target computer. 



#3 gfstallin

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 11:43 AM

Why not just get a cheap refurbished laptop instead? You can buy nice ones on Amazon and NewEgg for under 300. Still, I would expect that any chromebook would work since remote desktop just requires win10 Pro on the target computer. 

Thanks. I can get a very basic, new PC laptop for $300. I do have Win10 Pro on the target computer. Power consumption is the issue. Most Chromebooks offer significantly better battery life than Windows or iOS computers, which is why I'm looking at them. This isn't anything against Windows. That operating system is intended to do more, and it has more processing (and power) requirements for decent performance as a result. Every watt counts here when you have to transport each one. smile.gif



#4 rgsalinger

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 11:47 AM

I agree about power. However, bear in mind that you don't only have to keep the system controlling the mount actually running once you get going. Personally, I usually just go to sleep and I could turn off my computer if I needed to at that point.

 

One other thing. Consider how much power is used when the screen is simply closed. I've noticed a huge difference with my imaging laptop. I use one of the cheap killawatt meters but the display on my Jackery 500 lithium battery pack showed something like (from memory) 6 watts once I closed the up the screen. FWIW. 


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#5 gfstallin

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 02:20 PM

I agree about power. However, bear in mind that you don't only have to keep the system controlling the mount actually running once you get going. Personally, I usually just go to sleep and I could turn off my computer if I needed to at that point.

 

One other thing. Consider how much power is used when the screen is simply closed. I've noticed a huge difference with my imaging laptop. I use one of the cheap killawatt meters but the display on my Jackery 500 lithium battery pack showed something like (from memory) 6 watts once I closed the up the screen. FWIW. 

Thanks. I probably should have specified this is primarily for lunar/planetary imaging. Unlike with deep sky, most planetary imaging is pretty extensively hands on and my screen is always active. I have to do collimation checks after meridian flips and autofocus tools don't really work well for planetary when adjusting for temperature changes. I have to sit and wait for moments of good seeing before hitting "record" so that I don't eat through a TB of data well before the night ends. It is like the helicopter parenting of astronomical imaging.

 

Deep sky folks have sleek automated imaging sequence programs for deep sky imaging; beautiful, purpose-designed mount control and image acquisition computers that sip watts; and remote interfaces that work beautifully on wireless tablets. I'm pulling in 18-25 GB videos at a time for Jupiter and 80-100 GB lunar videos with an ASI183MM (20.1 MP). They don't make those sleek mount and image acquisition sportsters for lunar and planetary folks; even the Primaluce Eagle models are limiting. I have to have the computing equivalent of an armored personnel carrier duct taped (figuratively) to my OTA and it's getting 2 miles/gallon highway in terms of watts usage. Thus, I'm trying to save watts where I can. Even my connection has to be hard-wired (ethernet). I tried the wireless route and the latency and drop outs were beyond frustrating. Focusing with 6 meters of focal length in average seeing at best on planetary targets is problematic enough, requiring a wireless connection to throughput that amount of data quickly and without loss so that I could make accurate focus adjustments was often asking too much. 

 

George


Edited by gfstallin, 27 September 2021 - 04:45 PM.

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#6 sbradley07

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 05:04 PM

The Windows RDP client will run on any device, so if you want a more power friendly "viewer" for your NUC, a tablet/iPad would be a good option; lower power requirements than a laptop/chromebook and you can easily recharge them from a 5V battery brick.  


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#7 alphatripleplus

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 07:56 AM

Instead of Windows Remote Desktop for Chrome, I've sometimes used Chrome Remote Desktop on an old HP ChromeBook to remotely access Windows laptops at the scope, on which I've installed Chrome Remote Desktop. It seems to be fast enough for the job, but I usually will opt for something other than a ChromeBook for remote access.



#8 gfstallin

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 08:10 AM

Instead of Windows Remote Desktop for Chrome, I've sometimes used Chrome Remote Desktop on an old HP ChromeBook to remotely access Windows laptops at the scope, on which I've installed Chrome Remote Desktop. It seems to be fast enough for the job, but I usually will opt for something other than a ChromeBook for remote access.

Thanks Errol. Why is it that you opt for something else? Screen quality? 




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