My old observatory PC has started becoming unstable, with sudden unexplained restarts and failures. Not bad – it’s had a good 5-year run, living permanently outdoors in the cold. It was also time to do something about the demise of Windows 7, and I found I couldn’t upgrade it to Windows 10 easily (nor was I sure that would fix the failures problem).
So, I’ve replaced it with a new machine. As before, I configured the machine for no moving parts – especially no rotating hard drives – to reduce the effect of cold weather. I found, a couple of PCs ago, that hard drives seize up in the cold. (In fact the new machine has one moving part – a fan – but, being thermostatically controlled, a computer fan is rarely a problem in the cold since it doesn’t try to come on anyway.) The new one is installed in the observatory now and seems to be fine, and stable.
I forgot a number of configuration things though. It took a couple of weeks to get all the necessary software and drivers installed and working. Then, last night, I tried a “real” observing run and instead generated a big to-do list of things I forgot to set up. Things such as transferring the PEC and TPoint models for the mount.
I think I’ve done all the necessary things now, but we’re back in cloudy weather for several days, so next test is some time away.