I was recently reading about KStars and Ekos and noticed it is possible to use a Raspberry PI on the mount for equipment connection but have the main application running on a separate remote standard Windows PC. There seems to be quite a few advantages of this approach since all USB devices could be managed on the mount with the only cable required to provide power. The other advantage of this would be that the main computer is likely to have more processing capability for things like platesolving and a Raspberry pi is very affordable compared to other small form factor pcs.
I was wondering if a similar approach was already possible with Voyager or whether this might become possible in the future?
there is a little mini PC (big like the RPI) that allow you running Windos OS (I personally use) and is suitable over the telescope with a lot of USB connection. Adding one more layer to driver is not a nice thing for my experience, you dont mention this in your analysis (data from USB to RPI and from RPI to main PC) and dont mention that not all user are able to setting up and run a Linux system. There is ALPACA for remote driver but this is out of Voyager scope because is an abstraction layer that already work (some user have ALPACA driver running to remote non windows system).
So this is not a strictly Voyager question but a driver development question.
Thanks Leo. Obviously a lot to ponder here. Which mini PC are you using?
I using FITLET since 2014.
All the best
I had a look at the Fitlet. By the time you add memory and OS it is adding up to the same cost as a laptop. By contrast you can pick up a Raspberry pi for less than $100 here. Might have a look at Alpaca. I get that it adds complexity and possibly some lower reliability than everything being on the one device however for my needs where I am not entirely remote it has some appeal and the challenge of getting it all working is also a bit of fun.
Check AlpacaPi on GitHub by Mike Fulbright: GitHub - msproul/AlpacaPi: Astronomy control software using Alpaca protocol on the Raspberry Pi
I’ve got my SafetyMonitor and RoR running this way for Voyager. The Raspberry Pi has never failed me.
Peter, basing the judgment on the price has never given me positive surprises and it is something I quickly learned not to do. Especially when it comes to hobbies like astrophotography. Then everyone is free to do as they see fit.
Thanks for the link Roberto.
All the best
Thanks for the link Roberto. It seems like the bones of what I’m talking about already exist however I’m not sure the drivers exist for all of my equipment including my QSI camera. I’m guessing the drivers he is writing would be equipment specific.
Leonardo makes a good point in terms of reliability of multiple layers and interfaces and I agree you get what you pay for and going cheap often leads to a lot of grief or added challenges. Unfortunately my budget does not extend to high end gear apart from a couple of extravagant exceptions like the QSI and LiteCrawler. I also get a lot of satisfaction out of making something work so there is definitely a middle ground for me.