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nightster

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About nightster

  • Rank
    Proto Star

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    Cooking, BBQing, Movies, All things Geek, AstroPhoto, TerraPhoto, Engineering, Mechanics, Science, StarTrek, Drinking....etc.
  • Location
    Charlotte, NC United States
  1. Long time since I've gotten anything worthy of showing my family let alone posting. But I've gotten lucky and have at least a workable image to share. Taken with my SV80 over 2 nights. Only 6.5 hours of light after pitching bad subs in this but this is the first image that I was able to get all subs at 15min so thats and improvement. I do have the RGB stars but haven't started that stack yet. Will add later.
  2. Do you have proof the tilt is in the sensor? Could it be the focuser? I've been down that rabbit hole and it can get frustrating. I only ask because you said 'probably.' If you use a Tilt Adjuster (TA) that attaches to the removable part of the imaging package, you will need to verify you have reinstalled everything in its exact position if you every separate the gear. I would suggest using some kind of index marks on each part to ensure its assembled in correct position. If the tilt is coming from the focuser once you get the image plane flat on the sensor with the TA I don't think you will be able to rotate the focuser/sensor for framing. If you have verified the tilt in the sensor forgive me and disregard the rest of my post. But if not, maybe use the CCDInspector to show tilt % and direction. Also are you using Compression fittings for your imaging package? I would suggest all threaded connections if possible. And finally are you using a high quality focuser? I went through this list in my quest for round stars. Good luck.
  3. Just added a CCDT67 to the image train of my RC6. Love the FL (983mm as determined by Plate Solving.) Attatched are the corners of a stack of L that I was working on from data this weekend. Cocoon Nebula. Getting some interesting aberations in the corners. Hoping to get some input on what it may be and what I could do about it. -Jeff
  4. nightster

    Problems

    Various Pics of Problems encountered in astroimaging
  5. When buying my first astro cam I was concerned that my value choice (Atik) might be a problem. Being in the US I assumed any service in the future would be a costly, long lasting headache. QSI was just too expensive for me at the time and I had to go with the lower cost option. Few years later my 460 (up to that point flawless) suffered from a failing peltier. Atik's service was nothing short of perfect. 3 week total turnaround time, including shipping time. The cost was fair, if not cheap, and their communication was timely. My hope is that they take more than just the intellectual property of QSI and set up service for either brands on both continents. They may be able to meld the best performing electonic designs from each for future products and leverage their larger purchasing power from the suppliers for better pricing to customers. It would make sense to keep the brands seperate for marketing. This seems like a great fit and I hope it happens. We need more choices in AP not fewer.
  6. Couple of hours on the bench for Bias and dark and it's performing well. When I get a master I'll compare the before and after cooler fail as I did a batch of dark back in the summer.
  7. Update: It took 2 days to ship the CCD from North Carolina to Atik. They had the problem identified within a week of its arrival. The peltier was in fact failing. They quoted the repairs. I asked if any addition service should be done while it is there (sensor cleaning, etc..) They said all that would be included in the quote. I approved the same day. They accepted paypal, which for the small cost of this repair was cheaper than a bank to bank transfer. Two days later they reported the CCD repaired. I had a few questions about the Camera: Voltage limits, need for new calibration frames, using only Bias wo/ darks, and cool/warm down times. They said Vmax is 13.8, yes shoot new calib frames, you can sometimes get away without Bias but for best results use Bias and Darks, a 10 minute cool down is preferred , and finally warm up is built into camera which is triggered by software. An hour after that answer, another came with a UPS tracking number confirming shipment has begun. I opened this support ticket on Sep 25, with the camera in my hand. 11 days later the CCD has been repaired and is on its way back to N. Carolina. I have no idea how ATIK could have any better customer service. I am absolutely thrilled that I took the advice on many on this Forum and choose ATIk. For 8% of the NIB purchase price I will have my camera back before the next new moon and will have missed only a single night of imaging that was planned on Sep 23rd, when I first suspected it wasn't working properly. The communication level was excellent, even with the US/UK time zone differences. I'd send an message in the evening and a response would be waiting for me when I woke up. The speed of diagnosis and repair were just a few days. I can't say enough them, what a great company. To Atik: thanks for offering up what I consider the best value in dedicated Astro cams with world class after sale service and support.
  8. @ollypenrice Point taken. You have much different parameters than I do. The family likes to do things during the summer weekends so my summer hiatus allows that to happen more often. This is an interesting point I've not read about before, the irregular background signal. I'm going to start looking for that when I get my camera back. Has anyone tried to modify their CCD with a higher performing peltier? Does it take a 2 stage system to go below a certain point?
  9. Well I'm not sure that 'lower than standard' is warranted. It really is a clean sensor. Attached is a dark from this cam. I only ran the CCD at -5. Which for the hot southern part of the US is obtainable at least for 3 of the 4 season. And honestly with bugs, humidity, and short nights I can live without imaging in the summer.
  10. I've always used the the 10 minute cool down and the 10 minute warm up. But there have been a few power drops or a spontaneous laptop reboots that have cause a sudden loss in cooling. But just a handful of times. I treat my Atik like a mother with her newborn baby. Craddled and swaddled in foam and desiccant packs.
  11. Yes out of warranty. I've had it 2.5 years. Right now I've got 100 US$ in shipping it to Atik. I didnt mess around with cheapest shipping mode, it should be there in 3 days.. After that it's a wait and see. They did say a peltier is 75US$ which isn't bad. Hoping that's all it is. Not sure if they charge for a cleaning or tune up or recharging the sensor compartment. Gonna let them do what needs to be done.
  12. Atik says hardware failure. Needs to go back. I'm out of the imaging business for October, at least.
  13. I'm working with Atik now. Intake ports are clear. The cables are good. The power supply is within spec. Using Artemis I get a Tdelta of 7C and the same with the ASCOM driver. It is only drawing .34 amps. That is what Atik asked me to check. It should draw near 1 amp at 100% power. The camera works, it connects, is takes images, downloads the data, etc. It just isn't cooling more that about 7-8C. So now I wait for the response. I'll let you know. I haven't read about any cooler behaving like this. Usually its all or nothing with solid state equipment.
  14. This has been posted in the Atik's forum but from the looks of things there they get almost no replies. This problem first popped up last Saturday night. I couldn't get the CCD to cool below 7c then. I did some powerdowns and it began working. Cooled to -5 as I normally have it set. Today I'm running it on the bench to debug this issue. I'm using a regulated powersupply at 13.8v to power CCD. I've used several different USB cables and 2 different power cables. There is no problem connecting to the camera and the cooling power percentage changes when setpoint is changed. All seems to be working, the camera takes images and downloads them. I've used APT and SGP and run the cooler today and from the ASCOM driver also. Trace on is ON and there is no errors in log, but that is avail if needed. The only issue is that is can't seem to get full cooling. Last weekend the ambient was about 18c and the lowest it would go was about 7c. Indoors today it is about 23c and the lowest it will report CCD temp is 16.6c. Last weekend I was running the original drivers that came with the cam, today I updated them from Atik's download page. I don't like the smell of this problem... I haven't read that the Peltier coolers are failing on these Atiks. I'm still hoping something got twisted somewhere. 3 weeks ago the camera had been flawless for the 3 years I've had it.
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