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Astrophotography can be complicated and, especially, to record the best pictures, control computer and various electronic devices are the key. These instruments, however, make it complicated to setup the telescope in the field (often in isolated places with low light pollution) and to use, with many cables that may accidentally disconnect off during use! More, laptop computers have a high power consumption and thus they require large and heavy batteries to be powered for all the night. EAGLE2 solves all these problems and make astrophotography easier and faster!
EAGLE has been recognized as Hot Product 2017 by the famous american astronomy magazine Sky&Telescope!
Technical comment by Filippo: "EAGLE2 is not only a computer, it's the innovative control unit of the telescope that both controls all the instruments, parts of the photographic setup, and powers them. Thanks to the low power consumption, it's the perfect instrument for those who travel with their own telescope searching for unpolluted skies and thus now can power all their instruments even with compact and light field batteries, such as the lithium ones. But it's perfect also for the most demanding processing power applications like astrophotography automation softwares or for hi-res planetary and Moon photography with appropriate USB 3.0 cameras (so they can record high fps video in the fast SSD drive).
- Control any mount using the planetarium software: thanks to SkyCharts software pre-installed on every EAGLE2, gone are the days of hand-pad limitations having now a great planetarium software to move in the night sky. Get access to millions of objects, all with a lot of data and point your telescope (compatible with mounts with ASCOM drivers) where you want, just by selecting the object you see on the screen!
- Remotely control the DSLR or CCD camera: install on the EAGLE2 the software for Windows included with the camera (not included in EAGLE2) you use for astrophotography and convert it into a wireless camera! You can watch the real-time image on the device that you use to control your EAGLE2 powered telescope, save it on EAGLE2 or on a USB pen to import into the computer used to process the pictures!
- Simply setup and use autoguide: EAGLE2 comes with the PHD2Guiding software pre-installed then it allows you to start autoguiding with many different cameras and mounts! Observes the image of the guide star and the correction chart, so you can verify the tracking accuracy of your mount for your long exposures astrophotography.
- Extending functionality by installing new software: EAGLE2 uses the Windows operating system so you can expand its features in a very simple way, by installing the astronomical software you like, just like a regular computer.
- Easier to use: eliminates the need for an external computer. Since EAGLE2 connects directly to the telescope and rotates with the mount while it track the stars in the sky, the problem of cables that can detach during astrophotography sessions is overpassed. USB and power cables will not come off accidentally as EAGLE2 moves with the telescope!
- More compatible: it allows remote control via Ethernet or WiFi from any device (smartphones, tablets, computers) with any operating system (iOS, OSX, Android, Windows). It's compatible with all software for astrophotography with any telescope, CCD cameras, guide cameras and computerized mounts.
- More efficient: it manages the power for all telescope components and it reduces the size and weight of the batteries required for power up everything. For remote control EAGLE2 doesn't use VNC or similar but Remote Desktop integrated in the Enterprise licence of operative system: that's why it's faster and it doesn't need other software to be installed or set.
- More stable: it uses a Windows 10 Enterprise operative system, lighter and more stable than the one found in traditional PCs (that use Windows 10 Home or OEM with many preinstalled useless programs that make the system slower) but 100% compatible. EAGLE2 uses internal components designed also for field use and with extended temperature range.
- More portable: it is lightweight and compact, weighing only 1200 grams and it integrates seamlessly into the PLUS system. If you don't you have a PLUS element or if you use other's brand telescopes, just add our "Vixen + Losmandy PLUS dovetail clamp" to the EAGLE and connect it to the Vixen or Losmandy dovetail bar of your telescope.
Thanks to EAGLE2 you won't need an external control computer (usually a notebook), a smaller and lighter battery will be sufficient and you will use much less cables (in the picture, with a lithium battery).
- a computer running Windows 10 Enterprise, a more stable and compact version of the operating system found on most laptops. You can use Eagle with any already exists astronomy software then you will not have to learn new software but simply install in the EAGLE2 (like a normal computer) the one you already use: AstroArt, MaximDL, Nebulosity, PHD Guiding, etc. We optimized the Windows 10 Enterprise installation to have the operating system faster (EAGLE2 is ready to use in just 10 seconds after pressing the ON button) and to maintain a better stability (to avoid the tedious crashes that often happen with normal computers even during astrophotography sessions).
EAGLE2 has a motherboard with 2.1 GHz i3 dual core processor, fast 8 GB memory and fast 120GB SSD hard disk, everything needed to make the system run as fast as possible. This way it's perfect also for applications in astrophotography that require high computing power. For example if you want to use astrophotography automation softwares (for example with plate solving that, analyzing an astrophotography, delivers accurately coordinates, angle of rotation and image scaling) or if you want to make high-res planetary imaging (using specialized cameras that download to your computer a video composed of many images per second), higher computing power is definitely recommended. EAGLE2 has 8 USB ports (4 x USB 3.0 and 4 x USB 2.0), Ethernet port and two mini HDMI port (so you can connect to an external monitor and use it - together with a USB mouse and keyboard - as a desktop PC, for example to process the recorded images).
- a power bridge, a more efficient way to manage all of the devices used in astronomy: you'll need a smaller field battery (or a single AC power adapter) and you will not have all the power cables from every devices to the ground. EAGLE2 has a separate 12V power that runs a current up to 16 amps: then, using a special internal board, it has 7 power out 12V ports to which you connect all the other devices. This way you can also power of your CCD camera, mount guide camera or other accessories directly from the EAGLE2 (using the special optional cables) avoiding the need for other power supply sources and reducing the number and length of cables.
All the power ports are equipped with safety screw to prevent unwanted detachment of the cables or reverse polarity. 2 power out ports with 8 Amps fuse while the other 2 power out ports have 3 Amps fuse. Eveny power out port comes with a resettable fuse that, in case of problems or overcurrents, temporarily disconnects power from the port and re-activates it when the problem is fixed. 3 power out ports allow you to set the tension from 0 to 12V and are designed for direct connection of dew heaters (without the need of external dew heater controllers) or other accessories like flat field generators.
- a WiFi control system: in order to run EAGLE2, you don't need mouse or keyboard: you can control it through a dedicated App, connecting via WiFi from any mobile device (tablet or smartphone) with any operating system (iOS, Android or Windows Mobile) or from another computer (Windows or Mac). It also has a network port for wired control (useful for remote control in fixed observatories). Turn the EAGLE2 on, then turn on your device's WiFi connection and select the network that EAGLE2 creates. Then activate the remote control App and you will have EAGLE2 desktop on your device screen with all your software: the remote control App uses a special mode so you can use your finger on the touch screen as if it were a mouse in a simple and fast way.
For your safety each EAGLE device creates a different WiFi network from others EAGLE (with different access password). In addition, in order to wirelessly control the EAGLE you will have an access password that only you know (personally defined for every EAGLE). This way you can use different EAGLE once, for example during a StarParty. EAGLE2 also has a network port for cabled control: you can for example use it for remote control of an observatory.
- the PLUS aluminum case, rigid and lightweight: we designed the particular case to be both incredibly rigid, such as the support dovetail bars for telescopes, and to let you directly connect to any PLUS elements maintaining a perfect system rigidity and avoiding any flexure. As for all the other PLUS elements, Eagle's case has more M6 threaded holes to connect the other PLUS elements, every one with at least 2 M6 screws (in order to keep the system's rigidity). For example, it can be placed between the PLUS support rings and guiding rings perfectly integrated into the telescope. Thanks to great case's rigidity, you can directly install the PLUS guide rings on the case to support, without flexures, guide telescopes up to 3 Kg. In this way you can easily transport the telescope with Eagle, guide scope and guide camera, everything already installed, greatly reducing the time it takes to prepare your setup for astrophotography!
Don't you have a PLUS element or do you use other's brand telescopes? Just add our "Vixen + Losmandy PLUS dovetail clamp" to the Eagle and connect it to the Vixen or Losmandy dovetail bar of your telescope! This way you can install it where you want, keeping a perfect weights balance, a key aspect in long exposure astrophotography.
EAGLE2 can be used with all telescopes: for example it can be installed between PLUS support and guide rings (left, installed on a PrimaLuceLab AIRY APO65F telescope), installed on the PLUS dovetail bar for SC telescopes (center, connected to Celestron EdgeHD 800) or directly connected to upper bars of many telescopes (right, connected to Officina Stellare Veloce RH200 MarkII telescope). If your telescope hasn't a connection plate, you can simply add the optional PLUS dovetail clamp to connect to any Vixen+Losmandy dovetail bar.
EAGLE2 comes with special "EAGLE Manager" software that, when you start EAGLE2 and with an easy and intuitive interface, shows devices connection status, power consumption of every device connected to the EAGLE2, power tension value and, if you use a battery, its expected lifetime based on its charge. Thanks to EAGLE Manager, with EAGLE2 you can:
- connect or disconnect every power out port of EAGLE2: this way you can keep the devices connected (for example, mount, CCD camera, filter wheel, etc.) and activate them remotely when you turn on the entire system. Each port shows the current consumption that can also be monitored over time.
- set power out tension of the 3 power out ports with adjustable tension: for example, you can increase or decrease the heat generated by the anti-dewing heaters that are connected to EAGLE2 without an external controller. Each port shows the current consumption that can also be monitored over time.
- connect or disconnect connection to devices connected to the 4 USB 2.0 ports: This feature is convenient in case of temporary crash of autoguide or planetary camera, which can then be reactivated without the need to go to the telescope and reconnect the cable.
- check for power in tension and battery lifetime: if you power it with a battery, a dedicated menu allows you to set the Ampere capacity of your battery and charge percentage when EAGLE2 is powered on, enabling you to check its expected lifetime.
- set WiFi connectivity: to access EAGLE2 in Access Point mode for field use (use your smartphone, tablet or external computer by connecting directly to EAGLE2 without the need of a WiFi router) or HOST mode for connecting to your existing network such as the home one.
- remotely turn on/off the entire telescope: EAGLE2 has a classic ON/OFF button for turn on/off the unit. But it is pre-set to allow the user to turn on or turn off the whole system remotely (when controlled through a network cable connection). After switching on the EAGLE2, the user can activate remotely connected devices and use the telescope. At the end of the capture, the user first turns off the various devices (camera, mount, etc.) and then EAGLE2.
Comparison of EAGLE CORE, EAGLE2 and EAGLE2 PRO with all the main specifications and the type of use they are recommended for:
EAGLE2 has been entirely designed with three-dimensional design software SolidEdge in order to offer the maximum modularity with the PLUS elements (dovetail bars, rings or dovetail clamps) and/or other brand's telescopes.
In order to make the EAGLE system more efficient, we have made special power cables for different mounts or CCD cameras. The EAGLE-compatible power cables present on one side of instrument power jack (for 12V power). On the other side they have the plug with EAGLE screw in order to prevent being disconnected accidentally from the EAGLE. We also provide certified USB cables with various lengths to customize your system according to the imaging and guide telescope you want to use . If the cable for your equipment is not present among the optional accessories, contact us and we will make it for you.
Eagle is also the perfect system to connect the SkyWatcher SynScan computerized mounts directly to EAGLE using the EQMOD compatible cables and therefore bypassing the SynScan handpad (EAGLE, using a special software, directly controls the mount without the handpad). Then we offer EQMOD USB cables that allow you to connect Skywatcher AZ-EQ6, N-EQ6, HEQ5 and EQ5 SynScan to one of the USB ports of EAGLE.
Physical external dimensions (in millimiters) of the EAGLE2 with the position of the threaded holes
(M6 in the bottom part to connect to support rings or dovetail clamps and plates, M5 in the upper part to connect to PLUS guide rings).
Not only EAGLE2 offers exclusive features for advanced astrophotography, but also all the power of a real computer (superior to a Mini PC) to allow you to use any astrophotography software. In order to test its performance, we used PCMark benchmark and compared EAGLE2/EAGLE2 PRO with one of the many cheap Mini PCs on the market (where we installed the same EAGLE2 operative system for a precise results comparison). As you can see in the picture below, EAGLE2 offers 59% more performance than a common Mini PC with Intel Celeron N3160 processor, 4GB of RAM and SSD disk; EAGLE2 PRO still raises the gap by bringing this difference to 85%.
The Apollo Lunar Module (LM), originally designated the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), was the lander portion of the Apollo spacecraft built for the US Apollo program to carry a crew of two from lunar orbit to the surface and back. EAGLE is the name of Apollo 11 lunar module that, on July 20, 1969, landed the first humans on the Moon, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
from: Wikipedia (picture: Eagle LEM on the Moon - NASA Apollo Archive)
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Lo sto' utilizzando con profitto con il mio Lx200 12" ACF gps in altazimutale in postazione fissa con derotatore di campo e devo dire che e' di una semplicita' estrema, l'installazione dei vari programmi e dei driver e' molto facile, oltretutto il Responsabile Filippo ed il suo staff (tutti di una estrema gentilezza) mi hanno aiutato ad impostare Maxim con il derotatore e camera di ripresa quindi anche dal punto di vista dell'assistenza promossi a pieni voti, attendo l'uscita del modello piu' piccolo che andra' a sostituire la mia autoguida standalone per il mio setup da viaggio tutto programmabile da smartphone. Lo considero veramente un ottimo acquisto che fa' si che il tempo perso in preparazione si trasformi in prezioso tempo di integrazione, complimenti a PrimaLuceLab
I have two Eagles for two portable mounts and they are really great!
I do astrophotography from remote locations, and most of the time I spend within my car waiting for exposures. No more cables around me. No more fear of accidental disconnection od USB or power port.
I control both telescopes wirelessly from just one small PC, having two remote desktop connections on the same computer. It cannot be simpler than that.
Among all other advantages, my Eagles are serving as counterweights too, since I mounted them on the counterweight side of telescope.
Although I image from home, I do not have a permanent set up.
This of course means setting up all the gear every time I want to image.
Always on the look out for ways to simplify this, I bought an "Eagle" and was glad I did.
Pre installed with PHD2 all I need to install was BackYard EOS, as I image with cooled DSLR's.
PrimaLuceLab supplied me with a custom power lead for my camera and now I have only one lead coming from the mount to the mains supply.
That's it !! The guide and imaging cameras are powered and plugged into the Eagle and so there is no tangle of cables to an external laptop---great. Also the cables needed are of course much shorter.
The wifi, though limited in range is fine and I have so far had glitch free imaging sessions. The processing power appears to run PHD2 and image capture without a problem.
I image from my patio and carry my laptop around (cable free) in the house, monitoring and controlling everything in comfort.
Also the "Eagle" works fine with my iPad but I prefer using a laptop.
I have the "Eagle" mounted via the Dovetail adapter directly onto a Losmandy plate on top of the scope. This allow fitting and removal in seconds.
From the moment I saw the Eagle and read its specification, I knew that this is the perfect solution for me. The concept is just what we needed, and I'm surprised that it has not been executed by someone sooner.
Like so many others, I have managed with the best available tools to make images from my fixed observatory and, to a lesser extent, my mobile set-up, i.e. a combination of laptops, USB hubs, network cables, WiFi, power sources etc.. In fact, to help to rationalise the cabling and to manage data and power requirements, I had already built a rudimentary box of tricks containing 4x12v power output jack sockets, plus one for a cigar(ette) lighter plug, together with a 6-port powered usb hub.
The Eagle takes this to several levels higher, and makes the logistics much simpler and more satisfying.
First impressions on receipt of the Eagle were that is is exactly as described and my expectations were well met. A strong and good looking unit packed with the functionality for which it was designed.
I decided to buy an Eagle after reading about its pedigree given that I needed to get a new laptop anyway as my dedicated observatory machine had become badly messed up when I upgraded it to Windows 10.
The laptop now has two failed USB ports which I've tried to restore without success, so I needed to spend money on a replacement anyway. I thought why not go a bit further and get the Eagle with all its additional features. If I'm going to confine a standard laptop to astro-imaging, then many of its inherent features will be wasted anyway, but the Eagle is purpose built for the job, while also enabling me to reduce the amount of hardware currently necessary to cater for all of my requirements.
It is lightweight and easy to both handle and to attach to my scopes.
I use a Meade LX200 in my observatory, and the Eagle mounts neatly on top of the tube using an ADM mini-dovetail system, which I generally use for balance weights and other auxiliary equipment. Depending on the set-up, the Eagle could just as easily be mounted beneath the tube, but in my case, I currently mount my guidescope there.
Outside the observatory I use an iOptron ZEQ25GT mount, with an ADM dual mounting system. Previously I mounted my William Optics GT81 on one plate of the dual system, and an 80mm guidescope on the other. Having bought a new 60mm mini-guidescope, I now mount this on top of the GT81 and the Eagle on the second plate. This set-up is very neat and easy to manage.
I have been able to remove several USB and power cables from the observatory, along with an overloaded USB hub and its own power supply. The Eagle's WiFi now replaces my home WiFi network, although if I want to connect Eagle to the internet, I still need to attach it to a network cable which runs to my home hub.
The observatory is about 30 metres from the house, and with a clear line of sight route through the glass of a conservatory, the Eagle's WiFi works fine. If I need to control the Eagle from well within the house, behind its 300mm thick stone walls where the WiFi wouldn't reach, I can plug it into the network very easily using the Eagle's ethernet port.
For my mobile iOptron set-up, I can attach the GT81, guidescope and Eagle to the dual mounting bar and transport them as one piece, then attach the whole unit to the mount in one single operation. After attaching the various imaging hardware and cables to/from Eagle along with the Eagle's own power cable, I'm ready to get on with the imaging process. No need for a laptop, red screen covers, table and seating, and this set-up has much smaller power consumption requirements.
There are, of course a few aspects which need to be considered.
For example, Eagle is a computer, and as with all computers when users start plugging things in and messing about with software, there will be issues such as missing drivers, installing software, choice of comm. ports, USB issues such as particular devices working in only one particular port, which in my case my Starlight Xpress USB filter wheel will only work using 2 of the 5 USB ports in the Eagle. The other 3 won't recognise it. I have had the same issues with other laptops so it is either something I am doing or is normal for everyone I suppose.
My experience of installing all the necessary software was pretty much the same as with any machine, so there were no surprises when some things didn't work first time and when things occasionally fail.
e.g. I use Meade Autostar for navigation and a Meade DSI camera with Envisage or PHD for autoguiding. I have always had problems with Autostar and the DSI can be a bit troublesome with computer crashes when things go wrong, and with Eagle it is no different. I think I need to get myself a more up-to-date guider and software! Of course, the software supplied with Eagle is very good, but greed often gets the better of me and I want more!
Installing software without internet access can be a little tiresome, but with planning and care this is easily overcome. It demonstrates how dependent we have become on the internet.
All is well now, and although most requirements were met effortlessly, I learned a few things in getting the rest to work, which is normal.
I have very few criticisms to make about the Eagle, but a couple of potential enhancements came to mind as I became familiar with it.
The advice given in the manual to limit to 12mm the length of the bolts used to attach mounting hardware is in order to prevent the risk of damage to internal components. I would like to have seen a security feature which restricts the depth that bolts can penetrate the Eagle to prevent this. It would be so easy to cause possibly terminal damage to the Eagle's components if the wrong length bolt were used, perhaps under dark, cold skies in gloved hands.
There is no built-in WiFi to enable Eagle to connect to the internet or home WiFi network. I believe you can use a USB dongle plugged into the Eagle to enable this, but I would like to see it come as standard.
I appreciate that this isn't a primary functional requirement, and that one of the most innovative and useful aspects of Eagle is its ability to create its own WiFi network for remote control. My own primary use, however, will be in a fixed observatory, and I won't be fully exploiting this feature to its best advantage. It may be unfair for me to pick up on its lack of wireless internet access, but nevertheless I would like to have this as well.
I have yet to use Eagle under the night sky, mainly because here in the UK it is currently summertime, which means that it never really gets dark and the weather is usually cloudy and wet, which it is right now.
However, I have rehearsed the setting up process and simulated imaging, and I am convinced that it will be a very good experience when I finally manage to get started. I can't wait!
When I have experienced a few imaging sessions I will update this review.
Beh se pensate che non sia in grato di gestire più software in contemporanea vi sbagliate....E' una macchina eccezionale, Nonostante la piccola dotazione hardware, riesce a far lavorare tutto il setup in maniera impeccabile senza nessun crash o problemi di potenza hardware...
Personalmente lo utilizzo per automatizzare tutte le mie riprese e i programmi contemporaneamente aperti sono: Voyager - Maxim - PHD - EQmod - The Sky X - Focus Max - Seletek - ASPS
Beh.....che dire mai più senza...
Non ne sono (per ora) proprietario, ma ho avuto l'onore di testare la versione definitiva di Eagle con il mio setup (AIRY APO120, AZ-EQ6, QHY9). Lo chassis è apparso immediatamente molto solido e ben progettato, con tutte le uscite delle periferiche necessarie posizionate con logica perfetta. Una volta installato tra gli anelli Plus dell'ottica principale e quelli disassabili dell'ottica guida, il setup ha avuto finalmente anche la sua parte di estetica prima rovinata dall'orda di cavi, cavetti e quant'altro che si insinuavano ovunque. Alimentazione garantita da batterie ben alloggiate in eleganti e pratiche valigette. L'accensione del sistema è rapida, complice un S.O. alleggerito ad hoc che ho già provato con i software di acquisizione preinstallati per l'occasione. Il tutto visualizzato in un comune Tablet da 10 pollici con il quale ho iniziato le operazioni di allineamento della montatura con EQMOD e successivamente di avvio guida e riprese. Devo dire che mi ha colpito la semplicità di installazione e uso di Eagle, a mio avviso insostituibile per chi ha una postazione fissa, e altrettanto comodo per i "nomadi dell'astronomia" come me, che possono controllare al 100% il setup in remoto comodamente sul divano o in auto nel caso di uscite in montagna. Lo raccomando a 5 stelle, prossimo desiderio nella letterina a Babbo Natale!