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Old 20-10-2021, 08:59 AM
Stephane
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Cable management

Hi all,

My laptop only has 3 USB ports, one of which is used for my mouse. I will need to connect the guide cam, DSLR camera & the mount to the computer. I am wondering what solutions you might suggest? A USB hub? Are USB hubs connected near the computer with several long cables going from the rig to the hub? Or better to place the hub near the rig and have one long cable connecting hub to computer? (My laptop will be about 4 m away from mount - looking to get 5 m cables - was advised to not get any longer)

I saw the DSLR can be plugged into the mount, but have noticed that most connect directly to computer.

Also, if you suggest a USB hub, will any do, or do you have a recommended one? Some are dirt cheap and I am always a bit weary of low quality products.

Many thanks,
Stéphane
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  #2  
Old 20-10-2021, 10:38 AM
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multiweb (Marc)
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Have a look at hitechastro products. There's a variety of devices. Used one for the past 10 years. Still going.
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  #3  
Old 20-10-2021, 01:37 PM
AdamJL
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Hi, Stéphane

I used to use a laptop with 2 USB-A ports and one USB-C port. Recently switched to a NUC and a Pegasus Astro Advance which has 4 USB-A ports (and USB-B to connect to a PC)
The NUC has 4 USB-A ports and 1-USB C port

-ASI2600MC is powered by the Pegaus, plugs into the NUC (USB-A)
-ASI290MM Mini is powered by and plugs into the ASI2600MC which has a USB hub built in
-Mount (EQ6-R) is powered by the Pegasus, plugs into the NUC (USB-A... if you have this mount, make sure you set the correct baud rate for the USB port you plug into)
-Sesto Senso 2 focuser is powered by the Pegasus, plugs into the NUC (USB-A)
-Polemaster, is powered by USB and plugs into the NUC (USB-A)

One power cable runs to whatever power source I'm running from (mains or battery).
Right now I'm at the limit of power on my Pegasus, which has 4 ports and 2 for dew heaters. I think it also has a power slot for a DSLR which would be great. You can get another Pegasus Astro unit with more power ports, but they're pretty expensive.

Or the suggestion by Marc, above, would be good as well. Very similar to the Pegasus.

With regards to cable management, I spent quite a while setting up the equipment, then measuring the cables I'd need, with some slack added. Sometimes you can't get the right length, so you have to do some creative looping. Or if you want, get a heatgun/hairdryer and make your own curled cables, which is fun

At some point in the future, I'm going to spend a couple of months making my own custom length USB cables, but that's a while off.

Good luck!

With regards to USB hubs, make sure they're powered. I know some have no problem running unpowered USB hubs, but you just never know when one will flake out.
I used to use a Microsoft Display Dock that I got with my old Lumia and it worked a treat. It's small, portable, and has a solid weight to it so it doesn't fly around.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Display_Dock

Last edited by AdamJL; 20-10-2021 at 06:32 PM.
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  #4  
Old 20-10-2021, 03:36 PM
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floyd_2 (Dean)
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My setup requires mount and camera only back to the laptop (AZ-EQ5 in ALT/AZ mode for EAA, so no guiding). My laptop has a USB-A 2.0, a USB-A 3.0 and a USB-C 3.0 port.

The mount and camera are both USB2.0. I have a mouse as well, that's a third USB2.0 and an external high gain wifi antenna which is USB3. So - one too many USBs required (as usual).

I had a few 5m active USB2.0 repeater cables in my cable drawer, so am running the camera and the mount back to separate USB-A ports on the laptop. I grabbed a powered USB-C -> USB-A 3.0x4 hub from Jaycar on the weekend which is now connected into my remaining USB-C 3.0 port on the laptop to run the mouse and antenna.

I pondered over the running a hub at the telescope with a single cable back to a single USB port on the laptop vs running separate cables back to the laptop and couldn't make up my mind. I went with the separate cables to discrete USB ports on the laptop because I had them lying around spare. My reasoning (right or wrong) ended up being that I wanted the mount and camera to have discrete cable runs and ports to avoid any contention for resources. My camera shifts a lot of data back to the comp and I didn't want it causing resource problems with running the mount. The mount doesn't require a lot of bandwidth I know - but just in case.

I'm really not sure if that was the right way to do it, and certainly it meant one more cable from the shed to the mount that way but it works perfectly. I may have gone the alternate route (hub at the telescope) if I only had one 5m usb active repeater cable just to save money.

If you're going for a hub, make sure it's powered just in case you need the power now or later on for any reason. The Jaycar one I chose has a micro USB port to power it from as required. No doubt it's not the bees knees but the price was fair compared to the many that I found before it online lol and it's working fine.
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Old 20-10-2021, 03:59 PM
Stephane
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Thanks so much to Dean, Adam, and Marc. Great advice. I didn't know that the hub needs to be powered, so that's great to learn.

Does anyone have experience using the ASIAIR? The whole "wifi" thing makes me a little nervous, and some have advised me to stick to cables for reliability. But Youtubers rave about the ASIAIR. Any thoughts? I still haven't quite decided which path I will go down, but the powered USB hub is my most likely choice.

Many thanks,
Stéphane
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  #6  
Old 20-10-2021, 05:14 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Stephane,
I use 5m cables direct from my rig to Laptop ( I hate hubs and power boxes mounted on my rig ) always trying to minimise weight on the mount
My Laptop has 3 x USB3 ports
I use a Startech 4 port USB3 Powered Hub mounted below my laptop which takes care of additional cables
Has worked flawlessly for years
Cheers
Martin
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  #7  
Old 20-10-2021, 05:26 PM
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peter_4059 (Peter)
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Im old school.... using 2 x 4 port active hub 5m cables on the mount and one 4 port active hub near the pc for the stuff that doesn't need to be on the mount. All Lindy stuff and no issues.
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  #8  
Old 20-10-2021, 06:32 PM
AdamJL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephane View Post
Thanks so much to Dean, Adam, and Marc. Great advice. I didn't know that the hub needs to be powered, so that's great to learn.

Does anyone have experience using the ASIAIR? The whole "wifi" thing makes me a little nervous, and some have advised me to stick to cables for reliability. But Youtubers rave about the ASIAIR. Any thoughts? I still haven't quite decided which path I will go down, but the powered USB hub is my most likely choice.

Many thanks,
Stéphane
I don't have experience, but will be getting one next year for a travel setup. I like this idea of something small, portable and light that I can take overseas.
You will still need cables, though.
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  #9  
Old 21-10-2021, 11:56 AM
Stephane
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Thanks everyone. All really helpful comments. I realize there are so many different ways, but quality cables are key to minimizing frustration. “Buy once, cry once” contained more wisdom than I initially thought

Many thanks,
Stéphane

Last edited by RB; 15-11-2021 at 05:05 AM. Reason: OP request
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  #10  
Old 21-10-2021, 06:46 PM
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Astronut07 (Ben)
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Gday Stéphane

I like many others here have walked the path your are now walking.
Laptop, USB hubs, cables etc.

I have gone down 2 paths & both work well for me.

Prior to the release of the ASI Air Pro I built & still use a mini pc, running Win 10, SGPro, Sharpcap & Phd2.
I have a Pegasus pocket power box advance which powers, camera 1600MC, focuser Pegasus cube, dew heaters. Mount powered independent from powerbox AZ-EQ6, scope WO132.
This rig works extremely well for me using Remote Desktop to IPad or laptop.

Now

I also have the ASIAIR Pro which I use on HEQ5Pro with TS71quad scope & same camera & dew heaters.
This works extremely well also.

So I can definitely offer you some advice if you wish.
If you solely wish to own ZWO products I would definitely recommend the ASIAIR Pro / Plus.
The ease of use using their app & products will make things extremely easy for you.
I realise others will have pros/cons to what I have said.
All that said if I had to choose between the 2 rigs ( regarding Mini PC /ASIAIR) I would go the ASIAIR
Cable management is 1 cable to power Pro & 1 cable for mount
Here are images to show cable management

Good luck
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Last edited by Astronut07; 21-10-2021 at 06:58 PM.
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  #11  
Old 22-10-2021, 04:07 PM
Stephane
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Thanks Ben! That is really helpful.
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  #12  
Old 23-10-2021, 10:30 AM
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xthestreams (Paul)
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Ultimate Power Box V2. They seem expensive until you own one and wonder how you went without.
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