Configuring the Software

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There are some settings you must configure before using your camera:

  • its location, name, contact email, couple of preferences about emails you wish to receive.
  • camera time zone.

You can do this either using the Camera GUI, or using the Command line as described below

Then you can runs some basic initial tests, as described below or in the GUI page

Using the GUI with a local connection

Connect to the camera locally, as described here. This could be a laptop/cable, or via wifi, using a tablet/phone. Start your browser, and follow the instructions in the Camera GUI page.

Command-Line steps.

This can be done remotely, or locally

Setting up the passwords

Instead of using passwords for each machine we normally log in with keys, as it's easier (because you don't have to remember a different password for each camera), and more secure in some ways. You can generate these in the linux or macOS terminal using ssh-keygen. These are some good instructions here:

Make sure you use a password when you're creating the keypair. Then, email the public key (it ends in .pub and is ok to share around) which we will install in the camera once you plug it in, and then you'll be able to log in using your private key (which you should keep secure). The camera uses the public key to check that the person logging in has your private key instead of the camera prompting you to enter a password (although you will still enter a password on your machine when you unlock your private key).

Once the key is installed it also works for sftp to browse through your images if you want.

So just to summarise:

  • generate a password protected keypair and send me the public key.
  • plug the camera into power and Ethernet (it doesn't need to be outside—we test them on the ground first, but it will (should) start taking pictures at night).
  • we'll email you back with the IP address once we've installed your key.

Configuring the camera time zone

As superuser, set the timezone using dpkg-reconfigure tzdata.

Configuring the dfnstation.cfg file

The file /opt/dfn-software/dfnstation.cfg is the main configuration file for the camera operations and software. You need to configure some settings in this, to set the camera location and name, so that the camera still has sensible values in case the GPS systems has a problem.

Also, you need to change some preferences if you want to receive emails of events from the camera.

See detailed description, use a command like

nano /opt/dfn-software/dfnstation.cfg to edit the file

Capture control test

As superuser, run an capture control test using /opt/dfn-software/

This will take about 10 minutes, and simulate a nights worth of observations in a short period of time. it will wait for 2 minutes until "sunset", take photos for about 5 minutes, until "sunrise", and then stop, and download the images.

Note: if the DSLR memory card is full or has a lot of images, this test will take a long time, as it will first download all the existing data from the DSLR.

After the test is finished, check images using ls /data0/latest_prev (ensure there are a few .NEF image files). We also recommend to check interval log (eg 2018-01-17_DFNEXT013_log_interval.txt) for errord and warnings.

Note: /data0/latest_prev is a symbolic link to a specific (previsous) capture session directory, eg /data0/DFNEXT013/2018/01/2018-01-15_DFNEXT013_1516021913. During the capture control test run (or regular capture program run during the night), it's /data0/latest that links to the current directory.

Removable hard drives check

This steps check that the removable HDDs are ready - installed, working, and empty. Please follow the instructions on the manual maintenance page.

Overnight test

Let the observatory running in the lab for a few nights. After a night's observations, check images the next morning using ls /data0/latest. You can count the raw image files using ls -1 /data0/latest/*.NEF | wc -l.

GPS test

If you can put the observatory outside or stick GPS antenna out of the window to get GPS reception, you can also test GPS functionality - detailed instructions are on the manual maintenance page.