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Guide to the ATCA Observing Terminal Setup

With the introduction of 30-inch monitors into the ATCA control room, the observing terminals running on xbones were changed to better make use of the available screen real-estate. This page describes how the terminals are started, and can be accessed by observers not wishing to use the xbones VNC sessions.


The primary change is that any critical task that can only be run in a single instance is now run in a screen terminal session. These tasks are caobs, catag and the chat terminal.


For each of these tasks, the screen session it runs in is started with the command:

screen -S task

Here, the task is the name of the task, eg. caobs.

Inside the screen session, the task is started as normal. The caobs screen terminal is the standard 80x24 size, while the chat terminal is 80x14 and the catag terminal is 80x60 at least (it can have more lines). Changing the size of the terminal after screen is started does not affect the output since the screen size is set at startup. However it does seem as though if the chat window is made narrower after the chat task is started, strange behaviour ensues. It is not recommended that the terminal size is changed for any reason after connecting to the screen session.


If you want to connect to a screen session after it has been started, use the command:

screen -x task

If you want to know which screen tasks are running, use:

screen -ls

This would produce output resembling:

    There are screens on:
	26045.caobs	(Attached)	(Attached)
	22404.catag	(Attached)
    3 Sockets in /var/run/screen/S-atcaobs.


To exit out of a screen session, use the key combination Ctrl-a Ctrl-d. You should never need to use Ctrl-c while in a screen session, but if you think there is something wrong with them, please call the DA. Another common problem will be a "stuck" terminal, most likely caused by the key combination Ctrl-s. If you are unable to type anything into the terminal, press Ctrl-q which reverses the effect of Ctrl-s.

Other Windows

The command start-remote-windows on xbones will open the following terminals and programs:

  • Clocks: You will get three clock windows, each with the title dclock.bin (on xbones). One window will be blue, showing AEST, one green showing UTC and one red showing ATCA LMST.
  • Assistance: You will get a light-green terminal window that will automatically run the assistance task.
  • Vis: You will get a purple-y terminal window that will automatically run the vis task, and open a new PGPLOT window, or reuse the last one that was altered.
  • Caobs: You will get a black (with yellow text) terminal window that can be used to access the caobs screen session, although you will need to issue the command screen -x caobs manually.
  • Correlator: You will get a yellow terminal window that will automatically begin to login to the correlator control computer caccc1. It will prompt for you to enter the password for this computer (the corr account). Once logged in, you can use this terminal to run spd if you want. Be aware that spd transports a large amount of data over the network, so ensure that you have a very fast connection (ADSL2 is only adequate for small numbers of plots) and a fast computer before starting it.
  • Winds: You will get a window with the title winds (on xbones), and you can run the winds task in this terminal, although using MoniCA to keep an eye on the wind speeds may be preferable.
  • General: You will get a window with the title xbones (on xbones) that is slightly longer than the other terminals. This can be used for whatever you want.

Modified: Jamie Stevens (6-MAR-2012)