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Confusion

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Atik 16IC nurture

MattJenko

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This has been a bit of a post burst, but its a slow day and after this I am now up to date...

The society has an Atik 16IC CCD camera. It doesn't look like it has had much use and indeed when I finally managed to get the observatory PC switched on, none of the ASCOM or Atik software worked. Driver not installed correctly was the message when I plugged the camera in and I was subsequently told that there are lots of connector errors and USB problems with it.

I took it home for some TLC.

First thing I noticed was that the power supply was a variable voltage one, so obviously not the original power supply. The next thing I tried was downloading all the latest Atik drivers + software from the Atik site. These installed with varying degrees of success on my Windows 7 pro running PC. I plugged the Atik in, the fan powered up and I plugged in a USB port to see what would happen. Nothing. The device was not recognised. I tried a better quality USB cable, same dice - nothing. I installed a different version of the software from the Device manager 'Update driver' windows config screen (Windows is such an evolved mess these days). this found the correct driver and we were back in business.

The camera controller application installed is called Artemis it seems. It looks a bit like early garage written VB apps and a bit rubbish, but looks aren't always everything I have learnt, so going to give it the benefit of the doubt for now.

I managed to get the camera recognised, and got a nice black screen with a green rectangle within Artemis. Doing test pictures resulted in a big fat nothing. just the same unflinching black screen. I also got lots of USB Error message boxes popping up intermittently. Not good.

I checked the specs of the camera online (weirdly not easy to find). It requires a 12V 0.55A power supply. The variable voltage power supply that was in the case was a 1A+ supply, so it was sending way too much current through the camera. I tried a couple of different supplies I had to hand, but basically I had to go and buy a 12V 0.5A supply from maplin for about £10. I plugged this in and lo and behold, taking a quick image resulted in a glorious sea of random variable pixel shades. Happy days.

I have not really had more time to see if the sensor has been damaged by the amount of dodgy power sent through the unit, but it does seem to distinguish various shades of white, although concerningly, an image taken with a cover on resulted in a very noisy and worryingly white image. I have no idea what it is meant to do or even how Artemis scales when displaying the images, so this mystery will have to be left for another day. I also got USB errors from the app when the new power supply was disconnected/interrupted, which caused Artemis problems, but an disconnect and reconnect from within Artemis fixed this, it doesn't do it automatically.

Glad I managed to get it working of sorts, as it means I have contributed a small amount back to the society and if I can get this camera working on the society PC hardware, then a good deed will indeed have been done.

Astro Karma +1



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Just a couple of things - the current isn't going to cause a problem. I've had a 100Ah car battery that normally outputs 800A for land rover starts. Current flows so it's the voltage that you need to work on.

 

It's a good camera, although USB 1.1 speeds. You'll need to find out what range of exposures will get you into the range. Putting a simple lens on it works well for that.

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I did wonder why it made a difference, but it did. I will have a proper play next week and let you know how I get on.

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