WiFi Camera Connection

Somewhere to ask questions about the best way to use SharpCap
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Re: WiFi Camera Connection

Post by BlackWikkett » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:09 pm


Cloud and or cluster compute could be made to work but there's a few really big things you'll need to over come. Firstly there's the complexity of getting this setup when it's just easier to have one box handle it. The next, and largest hurdle, is bandwidth. With our new highly sensitive CMOS cameras we're capturing multiple GB worth of data very quickly that will need to moved around to different cloud or physical system to be stacked etc.

If you have a WiFi network connection to your mount and expect that to handle this traffic you're in for a rude awakening. You would want minimum gigabit Ethernet interconnects. Once you start down this rabbit hole you will soon understand a single computer solution is your best option. I have tried compute stick solutions in several different scenarios and they just fall flat. Don't get me started on flats, that's a topic for another thread hehehe.

The computer I use is from 2015 I purchased new for about $450 US. This was initially for Linux server testing and virtual machine hosting way before I got into the astronomy game. The system works well with SharpCap and Live stacking. I use a laptop from inside to connect to the computer at the scope. I broadcast to NSN from the laptop and share the screen of the remote computer with the viewers. This setup works really well.

At the end of the day save yourself the compute stick headache

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Re: WiFi Camera Connection

Post by turfpit » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:36 pm

Well Wickett I was being cynical, the comment was directed at Brian and he would understand (we have plenty of communication). I agree with all you are saying - sometimes people need to hear the about the practicalities of their proposed implementation. There is only one wired computer in our house - mine.

With all the performance, bandwidth and USB cable length considerations a machine at the scope is the only realistic solution in my opinion. Of course remoting in via RDP makes for a comfortable life.

I am sure the flats issue will be resolved in due course - you are certainly providing good information to help with this.


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Re: WiFi Camera Connection

Post by oopfan » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:01 pm


True but your requirements are not mine. I have absolutely no need for high bandwidth but that's just me and Dave and a lot of other people. We are asked to pay for those who need it. We are asking for options beyond a large monolithic program that tries to do everything.


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Re: WiFi Camera Connection

Post by galljj » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:00 pm


Sticks can work fine for live stacking and other operations simultaneously. It depends on what stick and camera one uses.

Sticks come in all sorts of configurations - some are atom and celeron based, others are based on Intel's M series (3 - 5, etc) of processors. Whether a specific one will work for you depends mostly on your camera. For example, I have a low end atom based one with 2 GB of RAM. Works fine for my small 1/3" sensor camera live stacking sharpcap, running Cartes du Ciel, my mount and my focuser in the background. I thought CdC lagged a little, but not intolerably so.

When I stepped up to an ASI294 camera, the system simply could not handle it. So I got a stick running a core m3 processor and 4 GB of memory. As before, I run all my gear with it, and live stack the 294 with no problems.

Others like using Intel NUC's - which are much more flexible and hence powerful. But, as with all these options, more computing power demands more electrical power - which was true when i stepped from the atom stick to the m3 stick.


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Re: WiFi Camera Connection

Post by galljj » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:06 pm

Last point - I should mention that I run this over a 5GHZ wifi signal, not 2.4. It is faster, and not prone to interference from crowded 2.4 GHZ signals.

Also, since I wanted to use the faster USB 3.0 connections, using the 5 GHZ wifi avoids the USB 3.0/ 2.4 GHZ wifi interference problem.


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Re: WiFi Camera Connection

Post by admin » Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:05 pm

The problem with distributed systems where one part of the software runs on one computer and another part on another is that they make it harder to develop debug and maintain the software as a whole. There are more places things can go wrong and more opportunities for weird and wonderful errors to creep in particularly if the network is being slightly flaky between the 2 systems. Not to mention that you may need to develop the different parts in different programming languages offer different operating systems. I have quite enough fun trying to keep up with bugs and glitches due to half a dozen brands of cameras and 50 or so models in common use, so I'm not going anywhere near a distributed version of SharpCap!

Cheers, Robin

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