mini-WASP array – computational matters

I have just spent the WHOLE of today resurrecting an old computer which will be the main computer for the mini-WASP array.  Lots of silly little things have fought back hard and it’s only just started to give in now at 9:30 p.m.  It’s only a 1.12GHz Athlon with 1GB of memory, but it has XP Pro, 2 serial ports, a parallel port, and a load of USB ports on the back.  The Robofocus wants a serial port, the mount wants a serial (or USB) port, and the Starlight Xpress cameras which use a USB port don’t want to see anything on any of the other USB ports – so it will end up being one computer per imaging camera.  Unfortunately as each camera (on each of the 4 imaging scopes) will also need a serial port (for the Robofocus) it will mean 4 PCs altogether as laptops don’t seem to come with serial ports nowadays.  So it’s going to be quite a pain (computer-wise) to get the whole mini-WASP array working together as a single system.  I also only want one keyboard, mouse and screen of course due to the space limitations in the observatory.  So I might end up connecting the 4 PCs together via the LAN ports (and a hub) and using the main computer that I’ve resurrected today to “remote desktop” the three satellite computers – unless anyone out there has a better/more efficient way of doing this.

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2 Responses to mini-WASP array – computational matters

  1. Nigel Ball says:


    Have you considered using a KVM switch? We use thes in our home offices to use a single keyboard, monitor and mouse to control multiple computers. I know these are also available for up to four computers at



  2. Greg Parker says:

    Hi Nigel,

    This looks like a great possible solution – the only problem I can foresee is that if the connecctions between the box and computers are USB then I might run into trouble with the Starlight Xpress cameras on another USB port (the SX cameras don’t tend to like anything else on another USB port apparently – I think this has something to do with bandwidth hogging during a frame download).


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