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Tutorial:
Astroserver CPU load


CPU Load

  1. Introduction
  2. My setup
  3. CPU Load

Introduction:

When setting up an Astroserver you have to figure out how fast computer you need. I'm writing this because one of my friends have problem with his setup. In some circumstances he overloading his computer when it should have been able to handle that load. As a help I have noted what load I have on my Astroserver's CPU. I hope this information could be of help to others too.

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My setup:

My Astroserver is built around a simple pc computer. Not very fast and not much memory. It take powers from a 12 volt car battery through a 13.7 to 19 voltage converter. Most important was to have a low power consumption. There is no monitor or keyboard connected to the Astroserver, everything is remote controlled over the local network. Here are my Astroserver project if you want to take a closer look:

Hardware data Comment
Processor Dual core 1.66 GHz  
RAM 4 GB  
Operating system Windows 8, 32 bit  

When I have it working I typical have these software running:

Software data Comment
Ultra VNC remote control over local network
CdC (Skychart) star chart position control of the mount
ASCOM standard interface connects the equipment together
EQMOD control the mount EQ6 mount
PHD2 auto guiding  
APT main camera control  

There are also a lot of other software I use temporarily for example AstroTortilla. Here is a list of all software I use and links where to find them:

It look something like this on the computer screen when all the normal software are running:

Astroserver cpu load
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CPU load:

It's summer now and then not possible to do any observations because the sky is not dark enough. I only have done some indoor tests. I can't have the auto guiding operating, that was bad because that take much power from the CPU. Anyway here are the results.

Here is my table over the CPU loads, the server is connected to local network and internet. I start with the Astroserver in standby mode with only the VNC (remote control) and the Task manager running, ASCOM is running in the background. After that I ad more and more load to the CPU according to the table below:

Software total CPU load RAM used Comment
VNC + Task Manager 17 % 27 % Standby
+ CdC (Skychart) 17 % 27 % Star chart
+ EQMOD over EQDirect 19 % 27 % Mount control
+ EQMOD tracking object 19 % 27 %  
+ PHD2 20 % 30 % Connected to QHY5 camera and EQ6 mount
+ PHD2 looping 33 % 30 % 2 seconds each guide image
+ APT 33 % 33 % Connected to Canon 6D
+ APT + USB-Focuser 33 % 33 % Active temperature compensation
+ APT single shot 70 % 33 % Top peak last just seconds
+ PHD2 Guidning ? % ? % Can't test for the moment
+ Firefox internet 70 % 50 % Google search window open

Very bad that I couldn't do a test with the auto guiding active because that's lay heavy load on the CPU. But I know it works at least with 1 second images on the guide camera.

Internet take a lot of processing power, maybe from the antivirus and fire wall protection. Never use it when doing astro photographing, if you overload the CPU the auto guiding will not work very well.

I think my computer is fast enough to handle the software I use. As a comparison: When I try to use my Raspberry PI 3 I have problem, quad 1.2 GHz and 1 GB memory with Linux software, it could not handle a similar setup like this, yet. Here is my Raspberry project:

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