Laptop Repair Made Easy

Laptop Repair Made Easy

This productis handled by a specialized laptop repair technician. Typically, a hardware fault requires the physical review of a laptop and testing for abnormalities. Suspected components, such as random access memory (RAM), hard disk, power supply or optical drive may be individually checked, troubleshooting or replaced if an error is detected. This usually requires special equipment and accessories to disassemble and reassemble the computer. The easy-to-repair laptop product is a trusted product, effectively providing the fundamental skills needed to solve problems and problems on a faulty laptop. This product has long been a stressful job, to reduce stress, the author had explored and created this awesome package that has been found to be effective by many users as it contains new and improved techniques to suit your tastes. This product is consistent and efficient in its mode of operation. Being a machine, it does not suffer from the human trait of tiredness and lack of consideration. It will perform the last task with same speed and accuracy as the first given to it, no matter the number of times it has to do it, The product can store and process large volumes of data without being affected. Laptop storage capacity has even increased considerably in recent times. This is as a result of large and complex software being developed nowadays. More here...

Laptop Repair Made Easy Summary


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Author: Thomas James
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Highly Recommended

I've really worked on the chapters in this ebook and can only say that if you put in the time you will never revert back to your old methods.

I personally recommend to buy this ebook. The quality is excellent and for this low price and 100% Money back guarantee, you have nothing to lose.

Laptop vs Desktop

This is an interesting debate and I have yet to come to any conclusion about which is better. Right now, I do not take my laptop into the field. There are two reasons. First, I wonder about trusting the technology when the computer will be outside on a chilly night. If the battery dies and I have no backup, then I am back to entering notes and drawings on paper. Second, I have yet to see a display screen on a laptop that does not ruin my night vision by being too bright. If there is enough red plastic over the screen to darken it significantly, then the screen is too dim for my old eyes to read. I understand that having a laptop in the field gives you lots of flexibility and having all my notes and charts at hand sounds great. I just believe that right now I don't trust the system enough to rely on it.

Laptop Computer

For the first time, you're probably asking why do I really need this before bothering to read why. A portable computer can do as many as three critical things for you. First, it can run powerful astronomy software in the field. Having a program such as RedShift, Starry Night,or The Sky can almost completely eliminate the need to carry paper star charts with you while you are out. The computer screen is also much easier to read in the dark. Using a quality program will allow you to see the stars on the screen exactly as they appear in the telescope. If something appears in the telescope that is not on the computer screen,you may instantly become famous. Secondly, some of these programs provide for telescope control as well if your scope's drive is compatible (my telescope predates Windows-based computers now). If you're using a Meade LX200 telescope, a laptop with Meade's Epoch IP2000 can drive the telescope with arc second accuracy to any target in the heavens. Some third-party...

Portable DC Power Supply

Telescopes with drive motors, and CCD cameras and computers require power and lots of it. Telescopes and computers have internal batteries but not with enough amperage to last for a very long time under high electrical loads. As we have just mentioned, a laptop operating under standard batteries will not last much longer than two hours. Your duration will be even less if you are operating in extreme cold. to operate without my car, so I purchased a simple discount automobile battery. The battery supplies 480 cold-cranking amps of DC power, which is plenty to run my scope, CCD camera and laptop all night long on one charge. The telescope draws AC power from an inverter that is supplied with DC input from the battery. The CCD has no power source of its own and the computer battery is only good for a very short period of time. That time will be even shorter if the CCD needs to draw power from the computer USB port. So I use my computer's AC power adapter and plug it into the inverter.

Ipcs Data Acquisition Path

Image acquisition in itself is also simplified. Whereas previous systems had to use frame grabbers to obtain image data, the new one simply uses the network adapter from the motherboard, making again for a much easier to replace acquisition computer should the need arise. It even allows for operation from a laptop computer.

Apple Ladles on the Sauce

Apple's share in the personal computing market grew during the 1980s as improved versions of the Macintosh were introduced, complete with hard drives, increased RAM, and expansion slots. Also, a range of peripherals such as printers and scanners appeared. Among new software, all of which was produced by Apple itself, were spreadsheet and presentation software, and improved 'Pro' graphics and DTP applications. In 1989 Apple even launched a laptop, the Macintosh Portable, and the company later pioneered laptop ergonomics with the Powerbook 100, placing the keyboard behind a wrist rest and using a trackball pointing device to replace the mouse, which was placed centrally at the base of the keyboard. The latest Apple iMac is contained within a stylish aluminum carapace Apple also produces a Mac mini desktop model, the MacBook, the incredibly slender MacBook Air (the world's thinnest laptop), and MacBook Pro laptops. Although Mac OS X 10.5 'Leopard' is the latest Mac operating system, Macs...

Where to go and Getting your Stuff there

As I elaborated on in Chapter 2, if I am going out to do serious photography, I can get all my stuff out to the car in only three trips. The telescope comes first in its storage case. The tripod comes second, then the eyepiece case and personal backpack and laptop on the third trip. It all fits comfortably in the back of my Mercury Mountaineer with some room to spare after the back seat is folded out of the way. All the optical components ride in foam lined cases to protect them from the bumps and jiggles of the road. The laptop is protected by the padded case that it normally travels in. With all my stuff loaded, its time to head out.

The Power of the Portable

Going by the name of Osborne 1, the first machine to really be considered a portable computer (although you would need pretty big thighs to call it a laptop) was produced by Osborne Computers in 1981. Its 125-mm monochrome CRT screen was sandwiched unceremoniously between two hefty 5.25-in. floppy drives, and the thing was provided with a modem port. Weighing 10 kg and coming with a 1,795 price tag, this sewing machine-sized computer came bundled with a collection of software, and its optional battery gave around 2 h of power. A couple of years later Radio Shack's TRS-80 Model 100 was released, a more manageable and modern-looking laptop weighing 8 kg, but with only a small low-resolution monochrome LCD display. The first true notebook-style laptop with a 4 3 LCD display appeared in 1989 in the guise of the NEC UltraLite (running the MS-DOS operating system), and later that year Apple released a competitor in the form of the first Macintosh portable.

Star Charts and Atlases

Who is still interested in paper star charts in this day of computerized planetarium mapping programs The traditional nonvirtual star atlas is dead as a doornail, right Hardly There are actually more print star atlases available now than there ever have been. Some amateurs do not own laptop computers, and not everybody who does wants to haul one out to a damp observing field. Sure, it is possible to print maps on a printer and take the hard copy onto the field, but many observers still like the convenience of a book of charts that covers the entire sky.

Oast2 A Technology Testbed

All but one of those experiments - the Thermal Energy Storage (TES) - were controlled directly from an avionics unit attached to the Hitchhiker bridge. TES, which was designed to provide new data about the behaviour of thermal energy storage salts in microgravity, was operated by one of the crew members via a laptop computer on Columbia's aft flight deck. As NASA moved into high gear in its plans to develop and build the International Space Station, it was realised that a low-mass, low-cost and high-efficiency electrical power generation and storage system would become increasingly necessary.

Motorized Focusers and Rear Cell Crayfords

Do you want to be able to focus an SCT without touching the knob and introducing shakes The SCT accessory makers know you do and have been making motofocus units for years. JMI (Appendix 1) has been especially noted for its quality motorized focusers for SCTs. These battery-powered motors slip over the focus knob (sometimes, the stock focus knob is removed and replaced with one included with the motofocus) and provide remote focusing via a small hand control, or, increasingly, with a laptop computer. Does the average CAT owner need one of these 150 gadgets The answer is probably not. They can be indispensable for imagers who just love the fine no-shake focus action and remote capability they provide.

Hardware Considerations

Even those novices who agree that running a go-to scope from a laptop sounds downright cool become a little skittish when it comes to hardware. Doesn't astronomy software require a powerful computer What effect is dew going to have on an expensive laptop Will low nighttime temperatures send a brand new Dell to hell Isn't that nice, bright LCD screen going to ruin the dark adaptation of everybody on the observing field How complicated is interfacing a scope to a PC Truth is, almost all astronomy software is less demanding of computer resources than the PC games the kids (and maybe you) play. Even the most advanced astro-ware doesn't need much horsepower it pales in comparison to something like Doom. There are laptops on the market today able to handle the most graphics intensive astro-ware selling for 400. If beautiful graphics aren't important, a five-year-old used computer will be more than adequate. Basic astronomy program functions such as drawing star maps, identifying objects,...

Not Out Of The Woods

Altman and Carey had their hands full with a series of carefully executed thruster burns to gradually close the gap between themselves and the telescope. Meanwhile, at the rear of Columbia's flight deck, Currie and Massimino activated and checked out the RMS arm, as their colleagues set up laptop computers and reduced the cabin air pressure from 14.7 psi to 10.2 psi in readiness for five days of back-to-back spacewalks. This last move helped to rid nitrogen from their bloodstreams before they donned their spacesuits, in order to prevent attacks of the 'bends'.

The World of CCD Imaging

In recent years, the increased availability of CCD, digital, and web cameras at affordable prices (especially the latter) now permits more efficient light detection and image acquisition, coupled with shorter exposure times, than are achievable with ordinary film emulsions, in essence totally revolutionizing the field of planetary photography. Thus, in addition to visual observations where the trained eye of an experienced observer may recognize fine planetary detail in superb viewing conditions, the CCD chip permits permanent documentation of those same details in momentary periods of excellent seeing. The enormous dynamic range of CCD cameras, for example, and their high sensitivity to visual and near-infrared (IR) wavelengths make them a valuable tool in lunar and planetary research. Furthermore, all of the aforementioned devices create digital information that can be stored on a laptop or desktop computer for subsequent manipulation by image processors and graphics programs.

Procedure for Capturing and Processing Webcam Images

As mentioned earlier, webcams are so convenient to use and are so affordable that getting started in this form of CCD imaging is simple. Assuming that a laptop computer has been powered up and situated in close proximity to the telescope,the first step in imaging Saturn with a webcam is to locate the planet using a relatively low-power eyepiece, then bring the planet to a precise focus. Turn on the telescope's clock drive, since the polar axis should already be aligned with the north celestial pole (NCP), and replace the eyepiece with the webcam. A live 24-bit color video image of Saturn should appear on the screen of the computer monitor. Use the operating software to set the size of the viewing window to 640 x 480 pixels. If necessary, adjust the slow-motion controls of the equatorial mounting to center the image in the display window, and then fine-tune the focus until Saturn and its ring system appear sharp (some observers utilize an eyepiece that is parfocal with the webcam to...

Getting Your Bearings

If you can afford it, bring a notebook computer along on your stargazing expedition and have it equipped with wireless Internet access. In this way, you can check out the star maps on the fly. Turn down the display brightness to a low level so that it won't degrade your night vision.

Data Preparation Procedure

We initially made use of a desktop PC system running Windows 2000. The system had dual 866 Mz Intel PHI processors, 1 GB of SDRAM memory, and a RAID 5 array of Seagate SCSI Ultra 160 disk drives for the video disk system. After much frustration in attempting make this system work with the Matrox RT2500 video card, we finally settled on a more modest system consisting of a single PIII processor, 256 Mb RAM, and an ATA 100 IDE drive for the video disk. This configuration performed adequately. For the purposes of this presentation we decided to develop a third system, based upon an IBM ThinkPad laptop computer. In order to attach the Matrox card to this system, we had to attach the laptop to an 'expander box' which had a single PCI slot. Unfortunately, the Matrox RT2500 card was too long to house internally in the expander box. It was necessary to construct an external housing for the laptop expander box combination in order for the Matrox card to be attached externally. In addition, a...

Setup of the Telescope

First thing to remember is that you are normally going to be outside in broad daylight and hopefully with a bright Sun overhead. It is a simple enough thing to take out a laptop at night into the garden for deep sky or planetary imaging, and dim the screen with a red gel filter or adjust the screen background settings via software, but how do you get around imaging the Sun that is washing out all the details you wish to see on your trusty laptop screen. This also applies when you are viewing as in broad daylight, stray light can and does affect your overall viewing pleasure and the contrast of the solar disc. Whilst some users (Larry Alvarez being one) have built and designed custom solutions for this problem (see Chapter 3 for details), I was looking at a quick and easy common solution, which anyone could setup in minutes. Typically, when observing or imaging the Sun, I will use a regular size travel blanket (around 1m x 1 m in size) that will cover both my laptop and me when...

Astro Webcam Manufacturers

An extra bonus of the ATiK system is that, by connecting the parallel port supplied with the camera, single-shot exposures of several seconds can be employed too, for example, when imaging through narrow-band filters or recording faint planetary moons. (If you are buying a modern laptop, check it still has a parallel port if you have a parallel port camera many modern laptops do not and a USB port replicator may be needed.)

Narrowband Imaging and Light Pollution Filters

Many people, myself included, start off by taking their laptop out to the observatory and using that to acquire the CCD data and to look after the scope driving and autoguiding. The software for downloading the CCD data, and autoguiding can be the native camera software, or it can be specialist software specifically written for carrying out the tasks, including image processing. I have used AstroArt http to great effect (AstroArt also has a great photometry package amongst many other goodies), but I currently use Maxim DL http for all data acquisition, autoguiding, colour conversion and stacking. Returning to hardware considerations, any current model laptop is going to be good enough to carry out these tasks provided it has a fast USB 2.0 interface available for downloading the data from the CCD camera. Any reasonable size hard drive will also be more than adequate for storing a night's imaging data, the screen brightness is readily reduced to...

Visual Film or Electronic Observing

The ubiquity of the laptop or desktop computer in amateur astronomy is now well-established. Even if not used for collecting observational data, it is likely to be used to display the sky on a planetarium program, to guide or aim the telescope, to keep an observing diary, or perform other functions. Most people will want to think about computer equipment in the planning stages of an observatory. A laptop can be used on a small shelf or table, which maybe can be folded away when the observatory is required to accommodate more people. A permanent desktop setup with a monitor will be cheaper, more expandable and probably more powerful flexible and ergonomic, but bulkier, and less easy to get out of the way. The advent of cheap LCD displays has alleviated the bulk issue with desktop computers, however. One can be hung on a wall and take up almost no observing space. If using a desktop computer, there will need to be some means of taking the data away, probably to another computer indoors,...

NASAs Soccer Ball Space Robot

Area of the space shuttle Columbias large cargo bay, as another astronaut (Steve Lindsey) remotely controlled the robot from the shuttle's aft flight deck. During this in-orbit demonstration experiment, Astronaut Lindsey used a hand controller, two laptop computers, and a window-mounted antenna to control the free-flying robotic camera.

Cleaning Mct Mnt and SNT Correctors

What now The telescope is up and running, it's going to its go-tos, and it's perfectly collimated. What more could any CAT wielding astronomer want Well, it's the computer age. The CAT is a computer if it's a go-to model, but hooking it to another computer, a PC or Mac laptop, can add even more functionality and fun.

The Panstarrs Controller

The DAQ3U board also hosts 1 Gbit ethernet fast enough to read out and deliver data in real time to a pixelserver host computer, which can use a conventional ethernet interface card. We use standard internet protocols for communications. We also provide 256 Mbyte of on-board ECC memory (standard commercial laptop memory), which enables us to read two entire OTAs (50 Mpixels) and begin another exposure before dumping the data to the pixelserver. Although the Gbit ethernet bandwidth is adequate to read out an OTA within 3 seconds, we would be vulnerable to latencies on the pixelserver. We can imagine modes in which the need to dump more than 16 bits per pixel may arise. It therefore seems prudent to provide on-board memory to maximize flexibility and robustness.

Technological Developments

Electronic Flight Bags (EFB) or the paper-less office is already a reality for some pilots. Instead of briefing from charts and maps, they access everything needed for their flight from a laptop airfield, weather and flight plan data are automatically downloaded landing charts, aircraft and operational manuals can also be automatically updated. The next generation of EFBs will be permanent installations, networked to the aircraft flight management servers the pilot will access the systems via a keyboard and mouse or touch screens. Eye and voice recognition are already in use in the latest military aircraft.

Richard Miles Compact Remotecontrolled Photometric Facili

All three telescopes are equipped with Starlight Xpress SXV-H9 cameras, each connected to a laptop computer in the enclosure via a USB 2 interface. The field of view of the cameras is 11.4 x 8.4 in. for the SCT and 87 x 54 in. for the refractors. The C-11 and the V-filter refractor are also equipped with Robo-Focus focus motors controlled via the serial ports of the PCs. These PCs can themselves be controlled from another computer indoors, via the ethernet link. Each telescope has heaters fitted, not only around the front element to prevent dewing, but also around the adapter between each CCD camera and telescope, so as to prevent condensation or frost forming internally, close to the camera. This can otherwise be a problem with Peltier-cooled cameras. The cameras are turned on about 15 minutes after the heaters are switched on to prevent frost forming on any optical surfaces. The main telescope also has a flexible dewshield which is slid back over the tube before the observatory is...

Removable Telescopes with a Fixed Mounting

Ceiling Lift Plc X350

Such a semi-observatory can be supplied with mains electrical power, subject to the usual safeguards for outdoor electrical installations (contact a qualified electrician, and see the advice in Chapter 8 of this book), eliminating a major disadvantage of portable setups, the requirement for batteries or inconvenient, and possibly unsafe, mains extension cables. The problem with using batteries for astronomical equipment is that they will always fail at the crucial moment, just when conditions are perfect for obtaining that sensational observation or image. Even if regularly re-charged, they can lose power dramatically in low temperatures. Moreover, keeping them charged-up is a chore. Temporary mains extensions from another building are not to be recommended, as it will probably be necessary to split the power between different devices, for example, a telescope mount and a laptop computer, with a non-waterproof adaptor, that becomes exposed to damp. Such an arrangement poses a...

Computers and Software

Mechanically, computers should be considered every bit as delicate as any optical component of your telescope. Take extra care of the LCD flat panel display of your laptop. These so-called active matrix screens are without a doubt, the majority of the value of your computer. Treat this screen with the same reverence reserved for your telescope's objective lens. Try to avoid sudden jars or bumps while handling it and when not in use, make certain it is stored inside a padded carrying bag designed for laptop computers. In 1995, Microsoft introduced the first Windows 4 version, marketed as Windows 95. This program (for you computer geeks, version 4.00.95) was the first of six in a product line that was built from 1995 to 2001. Always remember that whether you are running Windows 958, 95A, 95B (OSR 2), Windows 98, 98 SE, or Windows Me (millennium edition) they are all basically the same operating system. Each succeeding version simply takes all the patches that were made available to fix...

Project 2 the stars piggybacking

Meade Etx Piggy Back

CCD cameras for amateur use are made by Meade SBIG (Santa Barbara Instrument Group, 147-A Castilian Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93117, U.S.A., http Apogee (11760 Atwood Road, 4, Auburn, CA 95603 U.S.A., http Starlight Xpress (Ascot Road, Holyport, Berkshire, SL6 3LA, U.K., http and other companies. CCD cameras generally have to be connected to a laptop computer during use, but the SBIG STV includes its own controller and video screen.

Computer Software Hardware for DSLRs and CCDs

Modified webcams and CCD cameras, it's a necessity. What's required A laptop is the best and safest choice. It need not be the latest laptop, however, since most imaging software, unlike some planetarium software, is not demanding of computer resources. What's most needed is, as for a webcam computer, plenty of storage space. Unless the camera in use has a very small chip, many megabytes of data will be accumulated from a single evening's observing run. A minimum hard drive size of about 80 GB is desirable.

Why Two Software Applications

Swapping my Celestron 15-mm eyepiece over for the Toucam, linked to my laptop, I launched K3CCD and instantly had an exceptionally bright almost white out image on the screen. K3CCD, from my previous experience in white light solar imaging, was an application I knew was capable of helping me to take good quality solar images. I had imaged the entire transit of Venus in 2004 using a white light solar filter and my Meade ETX90 with great success. However, I knew that after setting it the previous night for imaging the moon, my settings would need to be adjusted. K3CCD provides a superb live preview of what the camera is seeing, and it can adjust frame rates and shutter speeds (depending on the camera) from ranges of the hundredths of a second up to tenths of a second, very simply, by means of the camera's own control panel that appears as a subwindow within K3CCD itself.

Flash Memory on the Cards

During the 1990s most laptop computers (and some handheld computers) were provided with slots to accommodate a PC Card. Originally called a PCMCIA Card (after the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association), they were, as their name suggests, originally intended for the expansion of flash memory (Figure 5.1). There are four types of PC Card (classed according to their thickness) all measure 54 mm wide and all have an identical 68-pin dual-row connecting interface. The PC Card slot can be used for peripheral devices, such as modems and WiFi adapters, and they can also take PC Card flash memory. Most PC Card memory comes in Type I format (3.3 mm thick), but this is not commonly used these days because there are more convenient forms of data storage available. PC Card hard drives are also available in Type III format (10.5 mm thick). PC Cards are used mainly by those with older (but perfectly serviceable) laptop computers. Amateur astronomers are notable users of such...

Observing Positions Chairs Ladders and Platforms

I can place my laptop either in the observatory, connected directly to the powered hub, or in the warm room, connected via the repeater cable. The system thus allows flexibility, and only one data connection needs disconnecting and reconnecting to make the location change. Additionally, guide cameras can be connected to the hubs to provide serial autoguiding capability for the mounts (of which more later) without the need for any additional wires. This is subject to bandwidth restrictions, and software compatibility of multiple cameras connected to one computer. galaxies each night to monitor for supernova explosions, or a large number of star fields to look for comets or minor planets or new variable stars. But most observers are in a more casual league, and a partial level of remote-control will be sufficient for them. Although, as I have shown, multiple telescope control and imaging operations can be performed through one laptop, having more than one computer, or maybe one computer...

Whatever Can Go Wrong

The CFW8 filter has given me some grief from time-to- time. This has been for a number of different reasons. The first occasion was a sticking wheel, and the cause was a loose filter that I had not secured sufficiently tightly. The second time, sticking again, I eventually traced to the pressure on the drive shaft. This is adjustable, but the engagement needs to be exactly right. Not tight enough, and the drive will slip spasmodically too tight and the wheel can bind. After a number of attempts I managed to get it right. I well remember one starry night the wheel was working intermittently and one computer was out of order, so I went through the usual routines check connections, use a different cable, and eventually took the wheel apart looking for a physical problem. Using the laptop in the observatory the wheel worked fine. At last, inspiration I checked the parameters in Maxim, and the software had decided to change the wheel type from SBIG to Finger Lakes.

The DSLR revolution

As you move past the beginner stage, you can do just as much computer control and image enhancement with a DSLR as with an astronomical CCD camera. Some hobbyists bring a laptop computer into the field and run their DSLR under continuous computer control. Others, including me, prefer to use the camera without a computer and do all the computer work indoors later.

Star Charts

You can either buy the old fashioned charts, on paper, or you can buy computer software for that laptop. Perhaps the best chart on paper to start out with is Sky Atlas 2000.0 produced by Wil Tirion. This volume was the first set of charts produced for the 2000 epoch (charts are revised each fifty years to account for precession of Earth's axis and any proper motion of the stars). Sky Atlas 2000.0 is available either in a large format version for use indoors or a smaller laminated field edition. The larger charts are clear and easy to read while the field version is more portable and will not get soggy in dew. This atlas displays the positions of over 10,000 stars down to eight magnitude, all the objects in the Messier catalog and dozens of other objects from the NGC catalog. If you are more advanced, consider an even more in-depth atlas such as the Cambridge Star Atlas or Uraniome-tria 2000.0. I currently own the Sky Atlas 2000.0 Deluxe edition. Its large charts are easy to read and...

Setting Up Shop

Now that you have all this equipment together, please remember one thing. A fitness instructor gave me this advice about joining a gym a long time ago and it applies to astronomy or any other hobby as well. If it is frustrating or time consuming to get yourself and your equipment to the site, be it a gym for a workout or to your observing site with your telescope and equipment, you're not going to do it very often. It needs to be easy. For me, my eyepieces, CCD equipment and adapters are in one carrying case my tripod is in a second box and the telescope in a third. I can get all of my equipment out of the house in only three trips consuming less that ten minutes. Setting up the Celestron is even easier. The tripod assembly requires only a few seconds and mounting and aligning the telescope is a breeze using my polar alignment finder, a feature that no decent telescope is sold without these days. From the time I first began moving to set up to observe to the time the telescope points...

Imaging Equipment

CCD cameras are almost universally computer driven, so you must have a laptop computer that is capable of handling the camera and whatever other applications you are using in the field. Make sure that you spend some time training your brain to use the imaging software and the computer in the dark. There is little that is more frustrating than wasting time messing with your computer while the night slips away. The keys again to success are telescope alignment, software familiarity, focus, cooling and aiming.


Computerized telescopes are a testimony to the low price of powerful computers. The Celestron NexStar 5, for example, has four CPUs in an internal network. Comparable computing power would have cost millions of dollars in the 1960s and would have filled several rooms. What's more, the telescope can be connected to an external computer - typically a laptop PC - for even more brainpower.

At the Telescope

The USB cable that comes with a few webcams can be a miserly 1.5 meters long. However, USB should work reliably up to 5 meters or more, so buying an extension cable should allow a bit more flexibility. Note you need a USB A (male) to USB A (female) extension lead. The world's leading planetary imagers do not observe remotely, from indoors, as fine positioning of a planet on a chip, to sub arc-minute precision, is best done with the observer outside, at the telescope. Initially assessing the seeing conditions is best done visually, too. The PC usually needs to be outside, unless the telescope is sited suitably close to a patio window through which the USB cable can pass, and you have a motorized focuser and a long telescope handset cable. A laptop is a good option, too, as lugging PC hardware outside is a tedious business. Critical focusing is vitally important in webcam work, so you need to be able to see the PC screen as you focus in real time. In other words, there must be a good...


Images but I doubt the machine would handle much more than that. For his glorious Andromeda galaxy image I think Rob Gendler combined around 16 images Of course chips are getting ever larger and computers so much faster which makes me think that amateurs might soon put together an all-sky survey (might be tough for the guy who lands Hydra). A laptop is handy when you are tinkering in the dome by letting you observe the immediate effect of commands such as when you have a malfunctioning filter wheel and want to see exactly what is happening. I also use the laptop when carrying out my T-Point program.

Power systems

It is instructive to consider the electrical power requirements of various household devices to place spacecraft requirements in context. A modern PC may consume perhaps 200 W a laptop perhaps an order of magnitude less. The Viking lander ran on 90W. The Huygens probe's batteries supplied around 300W for about 5 hours. The Sojourner rover had a solar array that delivered a mere 15 W.

TPoint Software

By aligning on more than two stars, the computer can measure non-perpendicularity, flexure, and other sources of error, then correct for them. This is the purpose of TPoint, a product of TPoint Software (http www.tpsoft.demon., Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England). TPoint is used at large observatories but is also marketed to amateurs by Software Bisque (http, integrated with their TheSky online star atlas. It runs on a personal computer (normally a laptop) connected to the telescope.

Computer control

Using a laptop computer in the field raises some practical concerns. The screen is generally bright enough to interfere with night vision. Switching the software to night vision mode (all-red display) reduces but does not eliminate the problem. It is better to leave the display in its normal configuration and put a piece of red plastic in front of it. Deep red transparent acrylic sheets are sometimes available at glass shops or sign shops. Gels (cheap, flexible filters for theatrical lights) are available from photographic and theatrical suppliers use the darkest shade of red available. The laptop should have an electrically isolated power supply. This will be the case if it is operating off its own batteries, the AC power line, or an inverter. Electrical noise may be a problem if the laptop is powered directly from the same battery as the telescope, because then there will be a ground loop (a pair of alternative DC paths between the same two pieces of equipment). Note that with Meade...

A323 Power sources

One of the most appealing aspects of the fuel cell is its inherent modularity both its efficiency and its cost per unit power are relatively insensitive to its size. This suggests that fuel cells would be effective in applications of wide-ranging scale, from large power plants to portable power generators and even laptop computer

Tablet PCs

Tablet PCs are extremely versatile portable computers with touchscreen input. Measuring roughly the same size as a sheet of A4, or letter-sized paper, and with the thickness of a matchbox, tablet computers come in three basic varieties slates, convertibles, and hybrids. Ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs) are a type of slate computer with a highly portable paperback-sized form factor. UMPCs are distinct from PDAs because of their full-featured OS and their consequent ability to run the same programs as a laptop or desktop computer. Slates and UMPCs usually have one or more USB ports, so a mouse and conventional keyboard can be added as alternative input devices. Way beyond most budgets, the latest devices use capacitive technology with palm recognition so that stylus input isn't disrupted by brushing the hand against the screen while writing. Thicker and heavier than slates, convertibles are laptop computers that feature a rotating hinge between the keyboard and a touchscreen monitor. This...

Recordbreakers 233

Astronauts, it was recognised, were and still are subjected to a multitude of obvious and hidden stresses during spaceflight, including isolation, lack of privacy, confinement, fatigue and varying work-sleep cycles. Workers placed under similar stresses on Earth are known to suffer from degraded cognitive performance over time and the PAWS tasks were intended to identify these during the course of several long-duration Shuttle missions. On a daily basis, Columbia's crew participated in performance tests on a laptop computer, which monitored the speed and accuracy of their responses to rotated images, letter sequences, calculations, patterns and recollection of numbers.


By 13 October, after a five-day cross-continental trip on top of NASA's 747 carrier aircraft, which involved two stopovers at Huntsville in Alabama and Ellington Field in Texas, she arrived at Palmdale. During the next few months, Columbia underwent 66 modifications to enhance her performance, meet new mission requirements and reduce turnaround times. Among them, she received new wiring to allow her future crews to monitor downlinked data on laptop computers, new filters in her hydrogen flow control valves to reduce the chance of contamination and efforts were made to better control structural corrosion.

Tips and Tricks

The following paragraphs cover building a solid foundation for a tripod, quick equatorial tripod alignment, building a micro observatory for a laptop, building a Crayford style remote control for the T-Max, and choosing the right chargecoupled device (CCD) for imaging. It has been through the steady building of a solar roadmap that I came to all the following conclusions and creations. All of them were solutions to problems that came up during several viewing sessions out in the field. Not all of them may apply to every situation, but I have found each of them to be good starting points.


This situation seems to have come about because manufacturers have imagined that everyone will be going into the backwoods in their cars with all their equipment to observe every time, which seems completely wrong, in principle and in practice. And anyway, if you use much of this equipment connected to your car battery for long, particularly high-current devices like mounts, laptop computers, and dew heaters, you run a severe risk of depleting your car battery, and getting stuck in the wilderness In fact, don't know anyone who does this. Those who go to dark-sky sites have to take mobile power-packs with them, which are equipped with cigarette-lighter sockets to match the equipment. So a barmy situation has developed of everyone using these bad connectors. In advance of the manufacturers seeing sense and coming up with something better, I recommend all these 12 V plugs and sockets be cut off, and replaced with something better. Screw terminal blocks will do, though these are not so...

Micro Observatory

Imaging the Sun can be done in several ways. I used a camera connected to a laptop to image the Sun. I have also used a digital camera and SLR cameras to image on certain occasions. I had issues when I first started trying to use my laptop. The sunlight would wash out the screen to the point where you could barely see it, the laptop would get really hot in the sunlight, and I would also be personally exposed to direct sunlight. All of these factors drove me to create a micro observatory. I started by drawing up plans on how I wanted it to look and what features I wanted it to have. I wanted it to stay cool in the sunlight and provide protection for my laptop and myself. It needed to block all the sunlight so that the laptop screen would be easily visible and it needed to be very portable and lightweight. Figure 3.13 is the wish list and mock up of the micro observatory I planned on the building. Figures 3.13-3.15 are the finished unit). Figure 3.15. Picture of laptop screen. Photo by...

Color Perception

Traditionally, most observers have chosen to depict their subjects in regular pencil grayscales - this is in part due to the fact that colors are often subtle and difficult to distinguish, but also because it is quite obviously rather difficult to make colored pencil drawings (or renditions in pastels or paint) while seated in the dark at the telescope eyepiece. Thankfully, new technology has come to the observer's aid. Cybersketching with a portable computer allows colors to be added to an observational sketch almost as easily as it is to make a grayscale drawing (Figure 7.6).

Computerizing a CAT

What could possibly make it worthwhile to haul an expensive laptop computer onto a dark and damp observing field At the most basic level, a PC (or Macintosh) can fill-in the details lacking in a telescope's hand controller. Sure, the HC contains the locations of tens of thousands of deep sky objects, but what are they and where are they, exactly The hand controller will probably display some basic information about an object that it's a galaxy in Pegasus, for example. It might even know that the faint fuzzy in question has a magnitude of 11 and is umpteen gazillion light-years distant from our comfortable rock. But that's not much to go on when trying to decide whether the object in question is a showpiece or a barely discernable lint ball. And what else of interest is close to this particular DSO Where is it in relationship to other sky objects A laptop hooked to a go-to scope makes these what and where questions easy to answer. With a PC interfaced to the CAT there'll be a graphic...


Figure 9.3. 16-inch telescope inside the observatory. A classical dome is ideal for blocking local light pollution. The lower computer controls the telescope while the upper laptop operates the CCD camera. Figure 9.3. 16-inch telescope inside the observatory. A classical dome is ideal for blocking local light pollution. The lower computer controls the telescope while the upper laptop operates the CCD camera.

Primary Batteries

The pressure vessel cases of Ni-H2 batteries are generally cylindrical with hemispherical ends. This makes close packing difficult. In an effort to avoid the pressure containment problem while retaining the other advantages of nickel-hydrogen systems, the nickel-metal hydride battery (Ni-MH) was developed. This battery depends on the ability of some metallic hydrides to contain large amounts of hydrogen in the structure at low pressure. This allows the battery cell case to be rectangular like most other batteries, allowing for more efficient packing. Ni-MH batteries are in very common commercial use in cell phones, laptop computers, etc. Unfortunately, space applications of Ni-MH batteries have been few, primarily because of the limited cycle life so far demonstrated for this technology.


''We don't want anything to inadvertently hit a person or any part of the Shuttle ,'' added Kregel before the flight. ''The likelihood of damage is very minimal, but our plan is to not let that happen. If it is really out of control, we would just fly Columbia out of the way.'' The free-flyer was designed to move itself using a system of 12 tiny cold-gas thrusters, operated by Lindsey via a joystick, antenna and two laptop computers from the aft flight deck.


Its control box is slightly larger than a laptop computer and includes a video screen. A newer and much cheaper approach is to use an astronomical video camera as an autoguider, with a laptop computer interpreting its signals. The camera can be a modified webcam (as in Appendix B), or a specifically astronomical device such as the Meade Deep Sky Imager or Celestron NexImage. The laptop computer runs GuideDog (free from or a general-purpose astronomical software package that supports autoguiding, such as MaxDSLR. There are two ways the autoguider can issue slewing commands to the telescope. Older autoguiders use relays that simulate the buttons on a traditional control box connected to a six-pin modular socket (sometimes called an SBIG-type or ST-4-type port) for a wiring diagram, see How to Use a Computerized Telescope (2002), p. 158. The newer approach, favored when the autoguiding is controlled by a laptop computer, is to...

Basic Technique

With webcam and laptop ready to go, it's time to take the whole set up into the field. When imaging at home (there's no need to go to a dark site for planetary picture taking), use an extension cord from the house or a garden outlet to provide AC for the computer. Yes, laptops have built-in batteries, but most will poop out in an hour or less. Nothing is more annoying than having the computer battery die just as the good images are starting to roll in. The best way to find planets with a webcam With a flip mirror. A flip mirror, like Meade's 150 model 644 seen in Plate 71, is a special sort of star diagonal. It threads onto the scope's rear port and normally sends light up a focus tube to an eyepiece, like any other diagonal. There's a knob, however, that allows the mirror to be flipped down, sending images straight out the back of the assembly to a Barlow lens and camera. Center Jupiter in the field of the eyepiece, flip the mirror down, and the planet should appear on the laptop...

Rolling Desk

Every telescope has accessories such as eyepieces, solar filters, camera attachments, etc. For my observatory, I purchased a seven-drawer office chest on wheels. This serves as a mobile platform that not only stores all of my telescope and camera accessories but also acts as a desk for my laptop when I connect it to the telescope. I simply roll the desk near the telescope, pull up my folding chair, and start the imaging process. At the conclusion of an imaging session, the desk is rolled back to its parking location.

T2 ii Li

On the down side, our experiments indicate that solving for only three or four variables often requires very long running times, depending on the initial temperature, the initial parameters, and on the stopping criteria the desired precision of the fitting must be specified in the .inf file, in the sense that if this is set to a value that exceeds the precision of the data themselves (such as, say 0.1 mmag when the mean standard error of the light curve is no better than 0.01 mag), this criterion cannot be satisfied and the program will stop only when another criterion (such as a limiting temperature or a maximum number of function evaluations), is met. There is no disguising that there is a heavy price to be paid for an attempt to find the absolute extremum in parameter space with this algorithm, compared with the simplex algorithm that we have used for the past two decades. In the case of Suite 9, the time taken to run 6 iterations with the simplex program took only 139 seconds to...

Hubble Captured

In his journal entry for Rendezvous Day, Grunsfeld wrote ''Scott slowly brought the Shuttle in close, with Duane backing him up. Jim Newman was on the laptop computer providing situational awareness calls from a program that displays our trajectory on the screen. Rick manned the hand-held laser and Nancy and Mike prepared the robotic arm to reach out and grab HST. My job was to work the Hubble communication procedures, which also allowed me to take pictures of HST on approach.''

An Israeli In Space

'' Sprites are kind of 'ghostie lightning' that are going from above thunderstorms up to the ionosphere , up to about 100 kilometres,'' explained Ramon. ''These phenomena are pretty new for the scientists and our camera is actually the best way to monitor and try to catch these sprites.'' It would mark the first time that observations of this nature had been conducted simultaneously from spacecraft-based, aircraft-based and ground-based sensors. Typically, Ramon would operate the camera from a laptop computer, watching images on a television-type display on Columbia's aft flight deck.

Nex Remote

Once I got the package, I found that just duplicating the HC was only a small part of the story. Thanks to HCAnywhere, I now had something I'd wanted for a long time wireless scope control. HCAnywhere, you see, was compatible with Logitech's wireless Wingman series of gamepads (PC joysticks). Not only could the gamepad be used to slew the scope, its many buttons had been assigned to perform various hand controller functions. It was possible to use the Wingman to access menus and perform alignments without touching the computer. This made HCAnywhere seem much more useful. Initially, I'd wondered about the practicality of aligning the scope with a PC. Unless the laptop were near the eyepiece, a star would have to be centered and then the observer would have to run over to the laptop and try to accept it as quickly as possible before it drifted away. Only major annoyance While the Wingman made it easy to do alignments, I still had to wander back to the PC and read the display to do some...

Quick Start Guide

Once you have all this equipment assembled, you simply install the software as directed (webcam and Registax), carry out some trials indoors (with the webcam lens in place) then connect the webcam and adaptor to telescope and start experimenting. A laptop is useful, as is a separate telescope to find the object. I would also strongly advice experimenting on the Moon first.

Image Processing

Using a laptop computer in my observatory means that for processing I have to get all the files, i.e., images and calibration frames, downloaded into my desktop computer. For this I use an ethernet network, which transfers the files in just a few minutes. When they have been backed up to CDROM, they are deleted from the laptop.

How did I start

Diffraction Spikes Hyperstar

So my initial imaging system was a standard Nexstar 11GPS in Alt-Az mode, SXV-H9C colour CCD imaging camera, and the Hyperstar lens. The first thing that had to be changed was the focuser on the Nexstar, which turned out to be far too coarse for f 1.85 imaging. The depth of focus for the Hyperstar system on the 11 GPS is only around 7 microns where the diameter of a human hair is on average around 80 microns The standard Celestron focuser was replaced by the FeatherTouch focuser http from Starizona, a straight replacement that gives coarse and fine focusing options using an outer and inner focusing knob. This is a truly superb product and it is indispensable for fine focusing if you are moving the main mirror of a large reflector to micron accuracy At this point I also changed from taking a little VAIO laptop into the observatory to having a home-built 1GHz mini-ATX machine in permanent residence. Not having the portable little laptop made it difficult for me to...

Deus Ex Machina

A celestial globe and a copy of Adriaan Metius' book Institutiones Astronomiae Geographicae feature in Johannes Vermeer's painting The Astronomer (1668). The book is open at Chapter Three, where it is stated that along with knowledge of geometry and the aid of mechanical instruments, there is a recommendation for 'inspiration from God' for astronomical research. Nowadays many amateurs echo this sentiment by praying that the battery on their laptop or PDA holds out during a night's observing session.

Personal Computers

With the advent of 'on board entertainment PCs' there's a temptation to use a desktop or miniaturised desktop computer for the job. That's fine when you are running on mains or generator power, but running off an inverter can cause unwanted shutdowns and I wouldn't recommend it when you are using it for navigation. I believe that a laptop PC is a better bet. It can be run from a smaller inverter or a 12 volts adaptor, but should always be able to fall back on its internal battery if the external power fails. The hard drive in a laptop will be more robust that a desktop version and the cost of a 'ruggedised' laptop is prohibitive.

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