Best practices for Voyager on a headless mini PC

Getting ready to setup Voyager on a mini PC that’ll be mounted on the tripod without a display. Was wondering what are best practices for setting up Voyager on a setup like this?

Just realized I’ll need to have Voyager autostart. Don’t know what that means since it needs to start as admin, other than RDP into the computer first.

  • I’m on Windows 10 and hosted networks are no longer supported so I’ll be using a mini router. The router will be plugged into the computer and I’ll connect to the router with my phone/tablet or maybe even a laptop if I have to.

  • I will not have an internet connection.

  • There will be no display on the computer.

Any tips are appreciated!

My way … All my setups have a miniPC … I use RDP and Teamviewer, my external router is a small router with Internet ADSL inside and 4G (SIM). Just start the miniPC and use my tablet/IPhone/PC to remote connect to it. After I can start Voyager and all I need and using directly the webdashboard (or you can put in autostart Voyager and use directly web dashboard).

All the best
Leonardo

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I use my mini PC exactly the same way as Leo but just use RDP as it suffices for my needs. Again I use by backup internet 4G router from home when I’m away, it runs off 12v and has wired and wireless hotspot connections so I can connect whatever I want. I also take a small laptop just in case the mini PC goes pear-shaped. If you’re taking a mini PC away with you then a 5v/12v powered one is best - everything runs of 5v/12v. It would be simpler if all astro equipment was USB-C connected but I think we’re a long way from that :frowning:

I don’t know whether this is still the case but I found that I needed a headless hdmi plug to get 4k resolution out of my mini PC; RDP did not allow more than default resolution on mine. Of course you may not need 4k but I like the screen real estate.

Robert

It is a hardware thing, PC hardware will generally fall back to VGA if it does not detect a connected display, so you need a HDMI dongle to fake a connected display.

I created an elevated shortcut with Winaero Tweaker so that starting Voyager does not result in a UAC prompt, then I set it up to start on boot. If I am organised enough to have sequences and scripts already setup in theory I could run the night from the web dashboard but usually I use TeamViewer to remote in to the imaging PC.

Thanks! Been testing a mini PC and Voyager out. Here’s what’s working for me:

  • Mini PC BMAX 2Plus (12volt, 8GB Ram, 128gb ssd, Celeron J4125, Windows 10 Pro)
  • GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2 Wireless Mini Portable Travel Router

Here’s my setup when I’m in the field with no internet running no monitor:
I have the router plugged into the mini computer via ethernet, and power it with a USB cable from the mini computer.
I have the router create a wifi network.
On my phone/tablet or whatever I want to control my setup with, I join the wifi network and I type in the IP into the browser of the mini computer when it’s on the router.
Click the Web Dashboard link.
Enter the IP of the mini computer on the IP/Hostname section on the dashboard and connect.

I then use Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection to log into the computer if needed.

Needed to do this to allow headless/login:
Allow Remote Desktop access with blank passwords
Allow Remote Access
Voyager Settings- allow application server start, and web server start.
Create a shortcut to Voyager with admin privileges and place in Windows start menu.

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Actually, I might add to what I wrote above.

It rained the entire weekend so I did not get much time to test at a recent star party, but I have 12VDC power supply boxes that I use for my gear (Running off a 240V AC mains supply) I have a wifi router in one of them, wired to the 12V output and before going to the remote site I configured both of my imaging PC’s to connect to the wifi network the router produces. Then it was just a matter of connecting my laptop to the same network and I was able to remote in to both headless NUCs in the same way I do at home.

The two NUCs are in separate enclosures to the power supplies and have 12V-19V converters in with them as the NUC proved more stable at it’s rated 19VDC than the 12VDC that they are still supposed to run on.

I also run a NUC without a monitor in a small observatory. For years in my business I have used a third party VPN Service called Splashtop. This allows me to access my NUC (and about 30 other computers) from almost any type device from anywhere that I have internet or cell service. Some of those workstations are running Windows 10 Home on very inexpensive PCs. I can even transfer files from any computer to my current client device. I know I can do a lot of this with RDP but Splashtop is just so slick and for $60/yr (I’m grandfathered in their original pricing.) It’s worth twice the price. I can even Pay another $60 and give access to the computers that I choose to share with anyone in the world. No technical knowledge or private credentials required. The client does not even share my IP address. I do keep my laptop handy when I go to the POD in case I want to remote in while at the rig on something more than my phone.

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