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  #221  
Old 14-06-2022, 08:47 AM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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This whole thread reads as a master class in how to do it right - so much care, consideration and great planning.

Curious your PC choice is a I7 with only 8 GB of RAM - I would have imagined 16 would be the minimum to run on? I keep my basic observatory controlled with an I7 and 16 GB RAM works pretty fine - but the image processing thing in the house is more of a beast - 8 core, water cooled, 64GB RAM 2 NVME drives and 4 SSDs and about 30 TB of storage.

A small hint - if you are running I presume CAT6E cable to your dome - then run two! If anything every goes wrong with one cable it is great to have redundancy on hand and costs very little! I ran power and cable rather separately - and used an Online UPS to power everything with its always filtered power, but I am a novice in power supply management - we are all on grid at home. Will you add a dehumidifier too?

And my goodness but your views - are to die for!!!

I am very curious about the software set used to control the gear in the dome versus image Processing - as there are so many options - how do you select the best amongst The SkyX, MaximDL, PHD2, CCDWare, N.I.N.A., SGP, ACP just to mention a few... All are viable candidates - but from your vast experience with your gear - what do you find will be the winners for you?
The PC in the dome will only be doing mount pointing, dome and camera control, so I think (hope ) it will cope, I had been using an i3 running W7 lappie previously but just for camera control, processing will be done on another unit

Yep, plan to run 2 X Cat6 cables but I was wondering if they should share the same 90mm PVC conduit with the power lead or not, hmm?

Still to work out exactly what software will be doing everything

MIke
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  #222  
Old 14-06-2022, 09:47 AM
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g__day (Matthew)
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I ran my two CAT6 cables in the same conduit - but hooked them to two separate 5 port switches - one active and one pretty much in reserve - it just handles a camera looking at the mount - mostly to show the redundancy is working.

A full software image of your lap PC is likely to be a great idea (if you aren't running it as a VM - virtual machine). When a specific purpose PC like an astro lab one dies - its an absolute pain re-installing all the software and trying to recall all the port and configuration settings. I store all that on a LAN backed up in 3 separate drive across 2 computers!
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  #223  
Old 15-06-2022, 10:15 AM
LonelySpoon (Neville)
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>Yep, plan to run 2 X Cat6 cables but I was wondering if they should share the same 90mm PVC conduit with the power lead or not, hmm?

Running data and power in same conduit is not recommended (interference, electric shock, etc), and is illegal in most states.
Wouldn't do to light your whole setup like a Christmas tree with you as one of the baubles after heavy rain.
Nev
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  #224  
Old 15-06-2022, 10:39 AM
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Just a few thoughts from years of experience in remote imaging. I don't know if you intend on going full remote but if you do consider these points.

The computers we use are primarily mounted to the scope. Usually 12 volt which can be run off a powered hub such as MHP or Pegasus. Using a desktop or laptop is not necessary for imaging. The computer will be sufficient with i5 quad core and 8 gig of RAMm and fanless. The main problem will be storage of data. With 250 gig of storage I do a once a year removal of data and back that up to another drive. All data is weeded out to remove bad frames after each session, that way you have only the best data stored.

A UPS is vital in the system, particularly to power the dome. This gives the dome/observatory the best alibility to close the shutter should main power go off line or the computer hangs. Going for a drive early in the morning can sometimes be quite stressful if you cannot check to see if the dome is closed because power has failed. There are settings in the scope dome software which overrides everything to protect the dome and close if certain things transpire to prevent closure.

A good command program will control all the software and manage your imaging sessions. There are some good ones out there and range in price from affordable to very pricey. It's a budget related issue. I have used CCDAP for years but am about to go across to ACP as I want to plan months in advance and imaging to start when targets reach certain elevations. That way I just pick the target and it will let me know when it has reached the data limits set. It will image multiple data sets and image what you want and when you want. It comes with a hefty price tag though.

Do not place your data cables in the same conduit as the power. This can lead to all sorts of issues. Data should always be 150mm to 300mm away from power. It prevents RF related issues and will generally prevent surge related problems. If possible make the trench wide enough to create the separation or deep enough to create the separation. A separate draw string will can be helpful in conduit too. At Swan Reach we went with fibre optic cable in one conduit and cat 6 in another with power separated by 300mm. We then employed a network switch which accepts both cables and our back up is then the cat 6. Surge protectors go between the power GPO and the AC cables for the equipment used in the observatory. A small network switch allows coms with a lot of equipment and also allows POE cameras to operate. The camera gives piece of mind to quickly check what is going on.

Consider multiple means of contacting the observatory. 4g, NBN and Starlink. Two only gives good redundancy. In general look at redundancy carefully across the entire system. It saves a lot of pain in the long run.

There are many more things to consider but these are the most important in my opinion.
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  #225  
Old 15-06-2022, 01:49 PM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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Thanks Matthew, Neville and Paul.

Paul all good info there, thanks a lot

Mike

Last edited by strongmanmike; 15-06-2022 at 02:10 PM.
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  #226  
Old 15-06-2022, 02:20 PM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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And my goodness but your views - are to die for!!!
How about these two, from yesterday, taken at 10:30am and 4:00pm, from the spot that may become available for some sort of telescope hosting down the track ...above the clouds all day

Mike
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Last edited by strongmanmike; 15-06-2022 at 02:31 PM.
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  #227  
Old 15-06-2022, 02:24 PM
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RB (Andrew)
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Originally Posted by strongmanmike View Post
How about this two, from yesterday, taken at 10:30am and 4:00pm, from the spot that may become available for some sort of telescope hosting down the track ...above the clouds all day

Mike
That's incredible Mike!

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  #228  
Old 15-06-2022, 02:38 PM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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That's incredible Mike!

I know, huh?!! Sheesh.. this is my favourite though, feels like my own mini Keck

Mike
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  #229  
Old 15-06-2022, 03:33 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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I know, huh?!! Sheesh.. this is my favourite though, feels like my own mini Keck

Mike
Mike,
World class facility !!
Well done !!

Martin
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  #230  
Old 15-06-2022, 03:44 PM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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Mike,
World class facility !!
Well done !!

Martin
yeah and with a relative numpty trying to get it all together, to do the spot justice....certainly a learning process and I ain't finished yet

MIke
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  #231  
Old 15-06-2022, 04:12 PM
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RB (Andrew)
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Originally Posted by strongmanmike View Post
I know, huh?!! Sheesh.. this is my favourite though, feels like my own mini Keck

Mike
Mike, that's exactly what I keep thinking when I see your setup, a mini Keck!!

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  #232  
Old 15-06-2022, 09:01 PM
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g__day (Matthew)
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OMG - all I can say is star party at your place some night!!! That is such an incredible location!!!

I am keen to see what your all sky camera produces - guessing it will be good enough to make us want to cry!!!
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  #233  
Old 15-06-2022, 11:16 PM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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OMG - all I can say is star party at your place some night!!! That is such an incredible location!!!

I am keen to see what your all sky camera produces - guessing it will be good enough to make us want to cry!!!
Would love to do something like that, especially if we could time it with the sort of conditions I experienced on quite a few nights last Aug/September up here, the conditions were utterly spectacular, with great seeing, low humidity, incredible transparency and contrast, with SQM readings consistently in the high 21.90's and even breaking 22, making for ideal observing conditions that blew me away...and I've observed under some great skies over the years, including from Wiruna, the dark sky site of ASNSW, Siding Spring outside Coonabarabran and the dry dark winter savannah skies of inland far north QLD! The Eagleview skies on those nights surpased anything I had seen from Wiruna and were right up there compared to Coona and FN QLD! .. a star party would be great

Mike
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  #234  
Old 16-06-2022, 10:12 AM
LonelySpoon (Neville)
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I think I'm in those clouds somewhere...
I'd help with a star party!
Nev
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  #235  
Old 16-06-2022, 10:12 AM
Hans Tucker (Hans)
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Is Sidereal Trading a sponsor of Eagleview Observatory? Just noticed their logo on your dome.
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  #236  
Old 16-06-2022, 10:44 AM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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I think I'm in those clouds somewhere...
I'd help with a star party!
Nev
Cool, I'll keep it in mind, your place looks like it would be pretty good for a star party too Nev

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Is Sidereal Trading a sponsor of Eagleview Observatory? Just noticed their logo on your dome.
Ha! Always happy to support a good local business, they were fantastic, and it helps that I really like their logo My Sirius Observatory has their logo moulded into the fibreglass

Mike
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  #237  
Old 16-06-2022, 08:18 PM
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astronobob (Bob)
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Woah, nice going Mike, Sounds and looks a spectacular location.

Would the 1.5k in elevaton take you out of residual LP from Canberra,,
I guess there'd be some minor 'glow' to the Nth but the Zenith and Sth would be near perfect...

Looking good champ...
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  #238  
Old 17-06-2022, 10:12 AM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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Woah, nice going Mike, Sounds and looks a spectacular location.

Would the 1.5k in elevaton take you out of residual LP from Canberra,,
I guess there'd be some minor 'glow' to the Nth but the Zenith and Sth would be near perfect...

Looking good champ...
He he thanks Bobby

Yes, I do think the extra bit of elevation helps in that regard. There is a glow from Canberra to the north but on the nights referred to above it was surprisingly quite minimal after midnight, with zenith SQM measurements consistently nudging towards 22.00 (with a couple over) and readings taken pointing at 30deg elevation towards Canberra, were still around 21.7 In the end of course it is all a bit semantic really, suffice to say the skies above Eagleview are plenty good and dark and on the best nights, are World class

Mike
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  #239  
Old 19-06-2022, 09:39 AM
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marc4darkskies (Marcus)
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Yes, yes ... nice view and all that, but let's get down to brass tacks. What software are you going to use?! Are you planning unattended imaging? And WHERE is the video of the dome opening and rotating at the press of a button???
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  #240  
Old 20-06-2022, 04:50 PM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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Yes, yes ... nice view and all that, but let's get down to brass tacks. What software are you going to use?! Are you planning unattended imaging? And WHERE is the video of the dome opening and rotating at the press of a button???
Ha ha, all in good time Marcus For various reasons things have slowed down right at the moment, as it turns out there are many logistical, not to mention financial , twists and turns and considerations, in, not only constructing Australia's' Highest observatory, on a relatively remote mountain that is not my primary place of residence, while having a full time job ...but as you know, just running a 100 acre rural property has its own trials and tribulations....thus, the most important quality is most certainly patience . In the beginning I was feeling a bit excited and kinda rush rush, wanting it done yesterday, especially after the wonderful observing sessions last year that blew my eyes and mind with spectacular skies...but there has been a lot involved....and many delays.

Of course that doesn't prevent me from stopping to reflect on the beauty of the location from time to time, it's bloody hard not too

Mike
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