Friday, December 25, 2020

New Equipment (aka, a Christmas Gift)

Merry Christmas to all. I trust you all had a wonderful Christmas. 

With the Great Conjunction now over (I'm still a little bummed that I didn't get any photos) its time to start working on the next full year of astroimaging. Both 2019 and 2020 have taught me that NUCs (Next Unit of Computing) mini PCs work really well as pier-side computers for running your telescope equipment. But it also taught me that, like in all other areas of technology, astro gear improves over time. My Minisforum GN34 NUC has served me well over the past months, but there were plenty of nights when the unit's speed and capacity were strained with what I was trying to push through it. So I asked my better half for a new one for Christmas, and she knew just which one to get!

So today, after the rest of the activities were done, I started to load up my software on my new BeeLink U57. This unit boasts a 5th Generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, a 256GB SSD and of course plenty of USB3 ports, WiFi, BlueTooth and Ethernet 1000 Mbps LAN, all in a box 124mm x 113mm x 41mm. Comes with Windows 10 Pro, so remote logins are easy.

Software is all loaded and tested. The speed is a large improvement over the GN34. Now I just need some clear skies to put it through the paces. The only annoying part of the adventure so far has been the discovery of the power connector on the NUC. I have custom cabling that runs all my 12v power to my telescope equipment thru Anderson Powerpole connectors and 2.1mm plugs. Of course, Beelink decided that their unit would use a 2.5mm plug. So for this weekend I'll need to run the unit via the supplied 120v to 12v adapter until my new cables come from Powerwerx.

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