20100925 - Added some more handholds and handle to 20 cm dobsonian scope lower mount
as it is still pretty hefty but the existing grip to move it around wasn't
necessarily the best one.
20100924 - The SCO Solar Radio Telescope data automation seems to be going very well. All existing and historical data going back to the start
of 2007 has been converted (file renamed to something managable) and images created
out of each days data.
20091215 - Fedora 12 arrived and about to be installed on main server. Also
received tv capture video card to install on linux mythbuntu software.
20091108 - took windows xp/linux fedora11 laptop and installed ms windows 7.
It killed the boot sector for grub and multiboot options.
Why is microsoft so irritating? Could not do a clean upgrade as Vista SP1 was not installed and would not install. arrg. Told it to not upgrade but to install clean without reformatting the drive.
Several devices would not work afterward and had to mess around looking for drivers.
reinstalled software and network links. First impressions.. Vista but it works better.
A little faster maybe. I hate that the quick launch toolbar is gone. You can pin
icons to the toolbar but it is tough to tell the difference between these one click start icons and actual running programs.
Also attempting to install new GeekSquad UPS in the house.. it tells us there is bad house wiring. We take a circuit testing tool and it agrees that the hot is switched with the nuetral! All this time.. who knew?
Walked around outside to test all weather station remote sensor 2xAA batteries. Only
one set (wind speed) needed replacement, others did not (temp, rain).
20091010 - all linux boxes running linux fedora 11 now.. still a lot of windows XP however.
vista laptop 250gb drive died, replaced with 160gb drive, paritioned into two parts
reinstalled vista on one and linux fedora 11 on the other.
20080930 - upgrading a linux fedora 8 box ran into a few snags and an infinite
GRUB on restart. A few more passes with the Fedora 9 install/upgrade disk and a
rewrite of the grub installer seemed to fix that a little. One yum update went
through with a 100 or so packages. After a reboot another 300+ showed up.
Some kind of package release version thing going on there.
These 300+ packages downloaded but failed to install
file /etc/avahi/avahi from install of avahi-.fc9 conflicts with file from
rpm -qa | grep avahi showed me several versions installed and the
fc7 one obviously shouldn't be.
yum remove avahi-0.6.17-1.fc7
claimed success, yet the package remained installed.
rpm -e avahi-0.6.17-1.fc7 came up with a scriptlet error.
rpm -e --noscripts avahi-0.7.17-1.fc7 worked.
yum update worked on all the rest and we are now up to date.
20080906 - installed norton ghost to backup 40gb c: partition to d: parition
on the same drive. Installed ok but hung on execution. Would not revert
back to windows. Had to REINSTALL windows nt2000 to another location to restore
the MBR, start it and then edit boot.ini to go back to the original
installation with all of the original programs. Worked. Was down for a few days.
Cannot recommend the KCP aries intel mobo and atom processor.
I now have a Windows XPPro SP3 bootable disk but am afraid to try it without a
20080804 - workstation running weather station, solar radio receiver and fm radio meteor receiver failed today after more power failures.
Tested components, decided it was mobo/cpu failure. 5-6 years old so ordered
new intel atom 1.6GHz workstation with 1gb DDR2 RAM, 80 gb SATA drive, DVDRW.
20080715 - Started a very long project to convert all of our 500 or so
VHS tapes into DVD's using our DVDRW set. This involves playing the
videotape at realtime speed and recording it.. ie 6 hours per tape.
Hopefully this will be mostly at night. For instance, we have at least 18
hours from the Mars Pathfinder landing back in 1997? The videotape shows
typical noise, degradation and other issues even though they have been
on a shelf these last 11 years. The Khameleon remote still running on original set of batteries.
20080609 - Khameleon remote *still* working on the original set of batteries. Amazing.. should have done this years ago.
We purchased a set of 3 DECT6.0 spread spectrum cordless phones as we were sick
and tired of the interference and blasts of NOISE that came across the 900 MHz,
the 2.4 GHz and the 5.8Ghz sets.
Lastly, each night for the last 7 days that we know of, our weather station software Freewx-wi v1.01 has locked up/crashed at 23:59 each night, right around the time the logs normally got rotated. Now searching for a replacement that will data log and upload to the weather underground.
20080515 - update on the Khameleon remote... still using the same set of batteries almost two months later! Very good performance.
20080322 - took the soldering iron to the Khameleon All-In-One
Remote Control after finding instructions on how to disable the
motion sensor... this caused the battery life to be on the order of
a few weeks, which was very very irritating since they were 4 AAA's and
not even higher capacity longer life and far less expensive AA.
Opening the case, removed the R34 resistor. Reassembled. Done. Works.
Now have to program in the new Samsung DVD-R150
20080227 - gave up on old radioroom workstation. Copied contents of old 20gb drive onto a section of a neighbouring AMDXP2000 CPU workstation called rockhound and reinstalled skypipe software and freewx software then copied
over old folders onto the new installations. Weather station is now up and runnign as is the Spectra Cyber v3.2 solar radio telescope as is the
Skypipe FM meteor detection software, although the FTP upload of imagery
seems to be stuck. Processor continues to be stuck at 100% on this new system with
Spectra Cyber seeming to be the cause. Lowering the process priority did not change anything.
20080226 - repair attempts on Radioroom workstation. two tone alarm goes off during winxppro boot process and locks up. Noise coming from the inboard
speaker. Press reset and it starts to reset but then does the two tone
alarm at a slower rate. Only power supply off/on cycle clears this.
replaced power supply with brand new 450w. No change.
Restarted, went into BIOS and turned off all alarms for temperaure, fan speed, voltage, etc. No change
The hard drive seems to spin down a little when the OS boot process starts.
Booted from Spinrite DOS disk, no problem, ran spinrite level 2 diagnostic
on 20gb hard drive. All OK. Ran Level 3 read/write for several hours. All OK.
Booted from Fedora 8 Live CD, started to boot OS and same two tone alarm just a few seconds in. So the power supply is good, the motherboard seems good as Spinrite ran for hours, the Drive looks good from the testing. Last chance.. maybe the RAM. Started Fedora 8 Live and ran the memory test option. This will take several hours as well.
Motherboard is an ASUS P4B266-C running a Pentium4 1.7GHz processor with
2x256mb sticks of RAM. The system has been operating and stable for years.
Google searching for two tone computer alarm shows no answers.
After the memory test I'll try replacing the memory. After that, replace the
motherboard and processor.
20080221 - moved spectra cyber from radioroom workstation to rockhound
workstation. still runs CPU at 100%. This too is a P4-1.8GHz class
CPU (as was radioroom) and 512mb RAM. Radioroom died and the weather
station and the FMRadioMeteor Dectector is offline.
20080210 - Spectra Cyber still running at close to 100% CPU
even when sampling only once every 240 seconds. Recalibrated solar
radio receiver as signal was between 9 and 10 out of 10. Recalibrated back
to just under 5.
20080125 - upgraded Spectra Cyber software which collects data from the
Solar Radio receiver. Still takes up the majority of CPU cycles even
though the data sample rate is only 1 in 240 seconds.
20071205 - upgraded skypipe software from 1.5.6 to 1.5.8 (or maybe 1.5.9
as the install program showed that version).
200710 - moved weather station to radioroom workstation from my personal workstation
20070716 Monday - new dobsonian stand continues to work very well.
May like to see even a greater stance if we ever build another.
20070515 Tuesday - built a new mount for the 20cm Starbuck dobsonian to
replace the milk crate we have been using, This raises the scope up approx 15"
from the regular dobsonian base to match Kim's eye height with the scope at zenith.
20070428 Saturday - rebuilt computer warmbox#2 to allow for better cable
management and top side venting for the summer heat.
20070416 Monday - Took old Chart table box and modified it to be
front loading, inserted an interior shelf.
20070121 Sunday - Built a teflon-footed platform to move the 8" dobsonian
around the observatory carpet floor... much easier and less likely to tip
over. Still use the milk crate to raise up the 8"f6 dob for ease of use.
We will build something better than a milk crate to raise it up about 12" a little
On the bad news side, it looks like
the deep cycle battery may be toast. Brand new, only since this past summer.
Removing the 12watt charger from it showed it dropping to 5 volts :(
Maybe it just froze :)
20070105 Friday - Software testing for cameras:
Image Salsa v1.9.14 4mb from
www.imagesalsa.com description looks
promising but I couldn't get the software to actually perform.
Homewatcher 2.0 from
www.homewatcher.com. Used for some time
as a default program that has motion detection, ftp upload and web page template generation.
It has some serious problems however: support has been discontinued since 2004,
it often locks up and fails for no readily apparent reason. We currently use it
for all of starlightcascade webcams but are looking for alternatives.
20061231 Sunday - more little stuff: finished off 3rd CPU box with
better rear door configuration, for the robodome workstation. two sheets
of 2'x4' x 1/2" plywood are needed. The first one is cut in half to get two
24"x24" and then cut off 1" along the edge to get 24"x23". 24" deep, 23" high
12" wide. Cut the 2nd sheet into 4 equal pieces 12"x24". They become the bottom, top,
front and back. The cables feeding this workstation are particularly short
so a better backdoor system was needed. Take the 12"x24" rear piece, cut off two
12" x 4" sections. Attach the first top justified and nailed and glued.
Take the second one and cut two half circles about 1" down to allow for cable passage.
Attach it bottom justified with the cable access to the top. Take the remainder
of the plywood and simply fit it into place between the two top and bottom
plates and use a velcro strip to hold it in place. A door would require a lot of clearance
which doesn't exist.
20061224 Sunday - Finished building new stand for 17" CRT to share between 3
workstations. Installed under counter keyboard tray. 12vdc Battery corroded along with
alligator clips. Cleaned, replaced, rewired with new battery terminal clamps,
5 amp inline fuse on positive wire, quick release connectors on both
pos/neg cables. Repositioned 12vdc power tap and connected the voltmeter display,
the 12vdc 1watt muffin fan on the concam housing, the 12vdc power for the
allsky camera, and finally repositioned the solar panel for winter and having it
charge the battery. The 2.2w panel is not rated for outdoor use and is showing
some housing cracks. The Concam dome without the fan was completely condensed
all day. The fan is a little noisy but you can at least tell that it is running.
The housing has swelled a little since it went outdoors and needs some slight
adjustments. Built the 2nd CPU housing for the allsky workstations. This one has shorted cables and
actually needs a door on the back end as opposed to just a slit.
20061217 - Also built a wooden Workstation box out of 1/2" plywood, 24" deep, 24" tall and 12" wide for
the workstation. It is up off the floor on legs in case of water, has a 2" slot in the back
panel about 1/2 way up for cables. Still need to close that off better.
Inside is room for the SCO-CONCAM (linux)
workstation, the SBIG CPU, a power bar, the power supply
for the SBIG system. The front door didn't get built today as we ran out of daylight.
Funny how that happens this time of year! There needs to be a window on the
front to be able to see if the workstation power LED is on or not.
Once this one is done, two more CPU boxes (to help them self heat in our cold winter)
need to be built, one for the allsky (windows) workstation and network switch
and one for the robo733 workstation (windows), controlling the robodome.
Just about to complete the 3rd RASC-KC Observational Astronomy
for the Novice Course. That will free up more time to devote to getting the
Roboscope up and running.