Setting up Intel NUC Computer

How do we set up the Intel NUC computer? Are there up-to-date instructions, and where would we find them? Thank you!

The first step is to install the memory (RAM) and storage (internal SSD or external rotating disk/SSD). Have you done that? Once you have, you’ll be able to connect a monitor, keyboard and mouse, then turn on the NUC and the monitor, at which point you should see either an error about there being no operating system, or some kind of BIOS screen.

Next you should install a Linux operating system, most likely Ubuntu Desktop (64-bit). You can find the instructions at ubuntu.com. IIRC, PAN001 and PAN006 are both running Ubuntu 16.04, but 18.xx is now available, and should work fine. You’ll want to follow the instructions for using a USB Drive (e.g. a little thumb drive), where you install the software on to the drive using one computer, and then take that to the NUC which will boot from that and install it onto the primary drive of the NUC.

When you’re asked for the name of your machine, I suggest using the PANxyz ID that Wilfred assigned to your system (e.g. pan123). If you don’t have one yet, now is the time to ask for it.

You’ll also be asked for a user name and password for the primary user. Choose “panoptes” for the user name, and a password of your choice. Don’t lose it.

After the OS and primary user are setup, I’d add another user as a backup in case your primary user is disabled or the password is lost (i.e. add one with the name doug and a password that you can remember or write down somewhere). Make that user an administrator so that it can be used to repair things. You can read about my trials with this here.

The README.md file for POCS has the steps to go through to install the software for running a PANOPTES robotic telescope.

The POCS wiki has a (somewhat inconsistent) set of pages describing various setup choices. You can avoid those related to Mac and Raspberry Pi since you’re using an Intel NUC. Computer Setup has some exceedingly brief suggestions regarding the BIOS. It is highly recommended that you set the BIOS so that it automatically starts the OS running when power is restored; that allows it to start POCS after a power failure.

Let us know how it goes, what is confusing, what you learned. Thanks.

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FYI, I also installed Chrome Remote Desktop for Linux. This has been very helpful as it allows me to login to PAN006 remotely and see the full desktop; I see the browser that is running on PAN006 on the screen of my laptop at home, and can get to the command line for controlling the PANOPTES software.

For security and isolation, I created a separate Google account for this purpose (e.g. pan-new-mex@gmail.com) and used that account when setting up Chrome Remote Desktop on the NUC. Next I created a corresponding user profile in Chrome, which I can then use launch the client side of Chrome Remote Desktop and select the destination machine.

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Fantastic! Thank you for all the help, @james.synge! We will get started on this right away and will let you know if we run into issues.