Planetery Frontiers Workshop Outline

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How to Install and Configure Your DFN Fireball Observatory

Robert Howie, Benjamin Hartig and the rest of the DFN Team

Date and time: 17:30-18:30, Thursday, 16 November 2017

Venue: Macquarie University, Building E7A, Level 8


  1. Purpose of this hands on session is to help you get your cameras installed and to teach you a few tips and tricks to make your life easier.
  2. Observatory hardware
  3. Logging in
  4. How to get help
  5. Physical installation
  6. Two way collaboration

Observatory Hardware

  1. Hardware overview (
    1. Components
    2. Indicator LEDs
  2. What needs to work to take pictures
  3. How to avoid damaging the observatory hardware
    1. Take care when insert
    2. Use pliers to avoid damaging the LC shutter connector
    3. Be careful with UFL connectors and consider using pliers
    4. Support Molex Mini-Fit Jr connectors from behind when plugging in
  4. Take care when servicing the observatory, damage to cables and connectors will reduce reliability
  5. Common maintenance tasks
    1. Changing drives
    2. Formatting the CF card
    3. Cleaning and recoating the lenses
    4. Changing the blower duct (use flexible weatherproof silicone sealant, never use a hard glue)
    5. Changing the modem or SIM card
    6. Changing the DSLR or lens
    7. Changing the PCB
    8. Changing the USB WiFi adaptor (we have one case where a WiFi adaptor stopped the camera from booting)

Logging in and getting started with your observatory

  1. Three ways to log in:
    1. Locally via monitor and keyboard
    2. Locally over the network (Ethernet or WiFi) (
    3. Remotely over the network (VPN) (
  2. Ways to make working with the observatories easier
    1. SSH Keys (
    2. VPN access (
    3. Hosts file (
    4. Web GUI (
  3. File access
    1. sshfs
    2. WinSCP

How to get help

  1. DFN wiki:
  2. For camera help you can email dfn camera help (Getting Help)
  3. For fireball event help you can dfn events (Getting Help)