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Everything posted by centroid

  1. Its been a time consuming effort, installing a Pier, acquiring all the gear, and getting it all communicating, but everything is now pretty much ready to go. With a Mini PC, Focus Motor Controller, and Dew Heater Controller, all mounted on the scope, I can control everything wirelessly from the summer house, or indoors, via Windows RDP and my Home Network. Very much a scaled down version of what I had 'back in the day' (pre 2014), but nice to be 'back in the game'. Equipment Details:- Starwave 115 Triplet APO, 60mm Guide Scope, Lynx Dew Heater Bands, Hitec Dew Heater Controller, SW Focus Motor + Hitec usb controller, Hypercam 294c Pro TEC, GPCAM 130, Gigabyte Brix i7 Min PC. Software:- Sharpcap Pro, PHD2, Astroart 8, PixInsight, Photoshop, and Cartes du Ciel.
  2. Major setup re-org happening soon. Currently the HEQ5 Pro, sits on a permanent pier in the garden, and carries a 115mm APO, and a 60mm guide scope. For each session I run out 2 USB cables, a 12V power cable, and RJ10 (SW motor focuser). All from a weatherproof enclosure on the outside of the summer house (my warm room). I am now going down a mini PC at the pier route, and will control everything via RDP from either the summer house, or from indoors. I have an i7 mini PC, loaded with Win 10 Pro, coming. Like many premium brand units, it is 19V powered. So I will run both 19V and 12V supplies out to the pier. That's just two cables instead of the current four. I will likely run these in a buried conduit, so they can remain permanently in place, and terminate in a weatherproof box at the pier, with 12V and 19V sockets. I am going to buy the 12V Hi-Tec USB controller for the SW motor focuser, so I can control it from the PC, with just a short RJ10 link to the motor. Out of interest, today I measured the current drawn from the 12V 7A regulated linear supply, and it was 3A for the HEQ5 (when slewing), 1.2A for the dew heaters, and 500mA for the 294c, with the cooler running. So 4.7A in all. The mini PC will require up to 3.45A at 19V, but this will have its own supply.
  3. When I GOTO (HEQ5/EQMOD) an object in CdC, centre and sync it, is it saved as an alignment point in EQMOD, or is it purely a 'sync' point within CdC.
  4. Because the PC is in the summer house, 5m way from the pier/mount, and it would be useful to be able to carry out initial setting up/alignment while at the pier, and move the mount to centre the object in the finder, which is aligned withe scope. If it worked with hand controller in series with PC, then I could return to summer house, and Sync the mount with Cartes du Ciel, and 'job done' However, its all a bit irrelevant now, as I am going to use Plate Solving for alignment. Something that wasn't available 8 years ago, when I left the hobby. Back the then, we did it the old fashioned way, Visually polar align the mount, then Drift Align. Time consuming, but effective. As I had an observatory back then, it only had to be done once.
  5. That is an option Stevie. Long since retired, but after a 40 year career in electonic and radio frequency engineering, I think I'm still able to use a soldering iron . I will have a look at what is needed.
  6. Not yet, but its on my list of things to try. It will have to be a random area of sky, as I can't see the Polar Region.
  7. Hmm!, it would seem that I can't easily achieve what I am trying to do, along with great many other people worldwide too, a real 'pain in the butt', to put it mildly. Unlike when I had an Obsy, apart from the pier, I have to set up, each time I want to use it. The mount is not left out on the pier, but put away, along with the scope. The pier adapter stays on the pier, and both the adapter, and mount are marked that they are aligned in the same Az position, and of course the Dec remains locked in position. However, its is almost impossible to carry out a star alignment from the PC in the summer house, without moving the mount with Cart du Ciel (EQDirect), going out to look through the finder scope, back to the PC, move the mount a bit more,..................................and so on. I have had several goes at this, in the end, my patience runs out, I give up, and go back indoors.
  8. I have an HEQ5 PRO Synscan mount, and it works fine with either the Hand Controller, or an EQ Direct connection to the PC and Cart du Ciel, but not in 'PC Direct Mode', with the Hand Controller in series via its USB connection. There appears to be a lot of discussion about this on the web, but no definitive answers. My mount is located remotely from my operating position (in the summer house), and when setting up, it would be very convenient to be able to move the mount (Alt & Az) while by the mount, with it still linked to the PC, and 'talking' to Cart du Ciel. It was never a problem back in my previous astro imaging days, as everything was in one place, in an observatory.
  9. This does appear to be the case, thank you. Some consistency would be nice
  10. Yep, and the engine in my new Qashqai is also used by Mercedes, but its basically the same engine. Its all down to saving on development costs. I guess same policy is used by the astro camera manufacturers. Anyway back on the track of the original question, from which the 'thread' digressed. Here is an extract from a discussion on the Sharpcap forum, which endorses/confirms what I was told elsewhere, and gives the correlation between the gain figures used by the ASCOM camera control panel, and those used within Sharpcap, and other software. "the ASCOM driver shows the gain as a multiple of the lowest gain value, so 1.00x, 2.50x, 6.00x etc. SharpCap uses numbers that are 100 times bigger, so the equivalents in SharpCap are 100, 250, 600 et" So, I have a definitive answer to my question.
  11. You are correct Vlaiv, I should have looked more closely. Put in down to a Senior Moment, or "should have gone to Spec Savers" (a UK phrase)
  12. There you go, that puts that myth to bed , thanks Steve. However, do they both not use the same Sony 'chip'.
  13. Thanks for that input Valaiv. I think the ZWO and Altair cameras are identical, and probably made in the same factory, Same case, different colour Within the ASCOM interface, the gain settings do increase in decimal steps, so that probably confirms the factor of 10 figure that I was quoted. A Logarithmic scale, which makes sense.
  14. I have a 294c based camera, which I am controlling via the ASCOM interface within Astroart 8. I understand that the unity gain setting for this camera circa 117, however within the ASCOM interface, the gain setting goes from 0 to 100. I'm told that in order correlate the ASCOM gain setting numbers with those used in other software, it is necessary to multiply the ASCOM gain number by a factor of 10. For example, a gain setting of 10, on the ASCOM scale, is equal to 100 in other software. Is this correct?
  15. At last!! Today, I finally finished my astro imaging set up. Coming back into the hobby after 8 years away from it, I had forgotten just how much was involved. Just as well really, otherwise I might not have bothered . Decide on, and buy, a main scope, finder scope, guide scope, and mount. Fabricate a steel pier, and get it welded. Excavate a hole for the pier, and fill it with concrete, with inset bolts. Decide on and buy cameras (imaging & guide) Finding out that I needed various adapters and extension tubes to use them. Buy an EQdirect cable to remotely control the mount. Buy a motor focuser. Buy Dew heater bands, and controller. Decide on what software to use. I settled on Astroart 8 for capture, guiding, and pre-processing. I like everything in one package (capture,guiding, and processing), as I always did. Build a weatherproof interface to go on the outside of the summer house (my warm room ), for all the electrical/electronic connections out to Pier, from the computer, power supplies,and focus motor controller. Six cables in all, in two bundles, contained spiral wrap for neatness, and less of trip hazard in the dark. Make up various cables, 12V power, and RJ10 ( feed out to the focus motor) 12V to the mount (HEQ5 PRO), 12V to the Dew Heater controller, 12V to the Main Camera. Guide cam powered via usb from the main camera. AlI I need now are some clear skies, so that I can use it.
  16. Yes, I do have the TEC version of the camera, and have started creating a library of darks, taken at various exposure lengths, and the same temperature setting (-10).
  17. That's not the SXVR H16 Michael but the Sony IMX294 CMOS 'Chip'. Much worse than the old Kodak 'Chip', and that was bad enough.
  18. I have a 294c based camera, and I often see various personal preferences posted for the 'Gain' setting for this camera. However, these a shown as a straight forward number e.g 120, 200., 400 etc. In Astroart 8, within the ASCOM camera set up window, the Gain setting displays as a multiplication factor, e.g. x1, x2, x3................etc. Does anyone know how these correlate to the straight forward numbers, as used in other programs.?
  19. I thought the Kodak10422M sensor in the SXVR H16 that I used to have, was 'Top Dog' when it came to having a lot of Hot Pixels, but the Sony CMOS 'chip' in my new 294c camera now 'reigns supreme' Here is a 300sec dark frame, taken at -10. Converted from FITS format to JPEG. Not a real problem as the hot pixel filter in Astrorart 8, removes them very effectively.
  20. No more PP3 batteries I have removed the battery connector from the handset, and replaced it with a 5.5 2.1 DC power socket, to which I connect a 9V DC 500mA Regulated plug top PSU. I should add that the handset is not used adjacent to the scope, but via a 5m cable from the summer house, out to the Pier.
  21. Perhaps I have been spoilt by using SX CCD cameras. Back in the day (pre 2014) my scopes were kept permanently mounted in my then observatory, but the cameras were kept indoors. They would be taken out to obsy when needed, attached to scope, and quickly electronically cooled down to the required temperature, without any dewing problems. The opposite of what I am advised to do with CMOS cameras, where the advice is to cool slowly. Of course, at the moment, this is all hypothetical for me, as I have yet to use the 294c. I have been busy acquiring all the gear that I need. I had forgotten just how much kit I used to have.
  22. Indeed, it is the physical design of the camera, and not the senor. Albeit the 'starburst' problem is CMOS sensor related.
  23. I had 5 different Starlight Xpress CCD cameras, over a 12 year period, and never once had any dewing problems. Now I see reports of CMOS cameras, one of which I have just bought, having problems with dewing. An educated guess as to why this never happened with my CCD cameras is because they were of a different physical construction to CMOS cameras. SX CCD cameras use(d) the body of the camera as a heatsink, to dissipate the heat generated by the Peltier Cooler and other components. The body of the camera would get warm, as a result. Maybe this acted like a Dew Heater band, surrounding the optical window, hence never any dewing. As I said, just an educated guess. With CMOS cameras, like the one I have recently bought, and others, they have vents in the body, and a fan to expel the heat, so the body never gets warm. The body of my SXVR H16 got so noticeably warm, that I bought a small 12V fan, fabricated a bracket, and attached it to the camera (see attached photo). This pulled the warm air away from the camera. I posted this theory on another group, which shall remain nameless, where a discussion of dewing problems with their particular CMOS cameras was taking place, and apparently the ADMIN didn't like it, because they deleted it. I also discover that people are taking multiple darks, to create a Master Dark to calibrate out amp glow/starburst out from the light frames, in one case 50 dark frames. 50 dark frames of 300 secs equates to 250 minutes. Add that to the light frames, and flats, and I would be at it until breakfast time . A handful a calibration frames for the CCD cameras, was more than enough, and although dark frames were beneficial, they weren't essential. I am beginning to wonder whether I should have gone back down the CCD route, while they are still available.
  24. That sounds like a logical reason as to why I never experienced dewing problems during many years of using SX cameras. A case of "you get what you pay for I guess". The Altair Hypercam 294C Pro TEC camera that I recently bought, apparently has a heated window, and a guarantee of 2 years frost free operation, time will tell I guess. It also comes with a spare re-chargeable desiccant cartridge, with a note to say do not replace unless the need is confirmed by the dealer. It will be interesting to see what direction SX head in, now that Sony are ceasing the manufacture CCDs.
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