Tenerife Other Hardware
Moxa NPort Pro
The Moxa NPort Pro connects to our computer network and has 16 serial ports on it. Using the drivers provided with the Moxa unit, any computer on the network can use the serial ports on the Moxa as if they were real serial ports on that computer. There are three main advantages to this. Firstly it solves the problem of not having enough serial ports! Secondly, it dramatically simplifies the wiring in the observatory. The Moxa is near the dome - where most of the serial hardware is. Any connection to the computers using the serial hardware is done by the exisiting network connection cable. Thirdly, if one computer fails and we cannot recover it remotely we may be able to reroute the serial connection to another computer and restore some of the lost functionality until we can fix the problem with the original computer. It provides a certain amount of redundancy and backup. At the time of writing we are using over half of the serial ports on the Moxa for the video switch boxes, the focusers, the dome, the mount, the modem and three power control switches.
APC Power Distribution Boxes
We have learned that nearly all devices will require a hard power cycle at some point - even things that really shouldn't. Two APC 8 port power distribution units solve the problem. Handling 8 devices and a total of 10A of power each, we can power cycle virtually all of the lower power equipment in our observatory, remotely. The units are controlled over the network and have web, telnet and SNMP administration and control interfaces. These units are quick and reliable - a revolution compared to the solution we had before.