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Some thoughts on laptop usage..

Derbyshire Dave

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I’ve made some changes to the usage of my laptop, having made some interesting discoveries, so I thought I’d pass these on. Meant to post something about these points for quite a while..


I image generally from home, where I have mains power, but do also image ‘in the wild’ like at Tannenbaum.


My laptop sits out in the weather, controlling cooled mono camera, focuser, guide camera, filter wheel etc directly via USB. My software includes PHD2 for guiding, and normally Sequence Generator  Pro (but sometimes APT) for taking the images. So all of this software runs directly on the laptop.


On cold winter nights (phew could do with one of those now!), I always used to use Wi-fi to connect to the laptop from my desktop using Windows Remote Desktop.

So on those cold winter nights I can “see” my laptop screen from the warmth of indoors.



I image from a couple of positions in the garden, to get around buildings. At one of the positions particularly, the wi-fi was intermittent. This can be really frustrating, you just have to put all the warm gear on and check on the laptop directly outside.

Recently I invested in a couple of “Internet over mains” connections.. e.g..




Marvellous. I plug one of the connection into my main wi-fi router, and the other into the mains connector outside, where the laptop is. Direct internet, no communications issues. Brilliant!!!



In winter weather, when all is clammy, I like to close the laptop lid outside, and cover it. I set the power down options in control panel to “Do nothing” when I close the lid.

When using wi-fi though, I am pretty sure though that the signal is much worse. The ariel is probably in the laptop lid, and is worse when horizontal. Using the internet over mains means I can close the lid and cover and protect the laptop.



When ‘out in the field’, I use the laptop directly, and normally running on battery get about four hours or so. The rest of the gear runs for much longer, so the laptop is the limiting factor.


I have now started closing my lid though, even though I’m there with it. I just pop it open to have a look every now and again and then close it again.


The laptop battery life is hugely extended. Obviously running the screen takes about 90% of the power usage. With the lid closed, and opened only briefly, I can get 8 hour or more..



SO… just passing on a few points .. thought  they might be of some interest..

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I suppose you could use a tablet running Anydesk or any other remote viewer out in the field Dave to save touching the laptop at all .

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1 hour ago, Bottletopburly said:

I suppose you could use a tablet running Anydesk or any other remote viewer out in the field Dave to save touching the laptop at all .

Unfortunately I can't do that Dave, I need my laptop to be there to connect to all of the peripherals via USB. I do sometimes sit in my caravan though, with anydesk on my tablet, talking to the laptop about 30 feet away. Much warmer !!

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