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New Starlight Trius on the way

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IKI has just received his first batch from Starlight Xpress. I have a Trius H694 and their small filter wheel on their way. There go the clear nights for a few weeks! I will try and share first thoughts and compare darks etc with my prior SX H11.

regards

Chris

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Hi Chris

Oooooh... very nice. I like the fact they have brought back powering the guide camera off the main camera.

I felt this was lacking when they first introduced the lodestar and it's mini usb connection.

The 3 x usb ports on the Trius range is a good design plus.

Looking forward to your First Light.

cheers

Steve

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Also looking forward to a first light report on these cameras. It does hit all the spots for me, with the sensitive sensor and built in usb hub. Combined with the mini guider with the built in OAG it makes a compelling package. Must resist must resist. Well until the astro fund is filled up again :-)

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Yes, I have dropped in size from the H11 and both my scopes are now too long for M31 unless I do a mosaic. I will probably have to fine tune the flattener spacing again too - although it should be close since this new system, on paper has 55mm spacing overall from T-thread to sensor. (By luck, the H11, when direct coupled to the big SX filterwheel and OAG had 56mm). I'm also weighing up options for wide field shots and might look at coupling a medium format lens (which are dirt cheap these days). Clear skies predicted on 7timer for Wednesday. I guess Ha sensitivity will be top of many's wish list so I will try a nebula.

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It's arrived and I'm running a few tests. I previously had the H18 and the big filterwheel and I was able to plug the Trius in without any further driver loads. It works with Nebulosity and Maxim's own driver and ASCOM too. The little filter wheel is really cute and is kind of dwarfed by the camera. It just has a usb connector and drops the serial one.

I didn't realise but the camera comes complete with a new shortened auxiliary fan unit, rather than the angled bracket. The three USB sockets took a little working out. The kit comes with three cables which end in a female A connector and there is a male A to mini b plug - for the lodestar.

You still need a short standard USB cable for the filter wheel - which seems like an oversight .

Temperature control is impressive. In an ambient of 24C, it was getting to -20C. I'll get back to it now and try and find a nebula to image tonight and post some pictures.

regards Chris

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Apologies for the delay, I had guiding issues (the filterwheel had the wrong length OAG attachment fitted) and I had first light last night on M33. The power up sequence didn't kick in properly and I couldn't connect to both cameras in Maxim. I had to unplug both camera USB's and re-plug them in to work. (Pulling out the main USB cable to the camera does not reset the Lodestar on the camera hub)

With that behind me, the system worked flawlessly. I started off with 5 min subs on LRGB and quickly realised that I could make it with 2 minute subs. The moon was 80% and I had quite a bit of broadband glow. I have also done my dark calibrations - not that I really needed too. I might just use a hot pixel map.

With a FLT132 and a Flattener IV, the Pinwheel galaxy filled the frame. The noise performance was amazing.  I might be wrong but it seems that the 'warm-up' feature in Maxim DL works with this camera - it made a difference when I pressed the button. My previous H18 didn't respond. 

As far as collimation is concerned, I use a full screw coupled optical system, with no droopy 2" adaptors. I took a feeler gauge and squared off the front camera coupling plate and crossed my fingers that the chip was lying flat. CCD inspector confirmed I was OK. I always note the microtouch focus position and I think my overall spacing is about 1mm shorter than the direct coupled H18 onto the large SX filterwheel.

I have lost a bit of real estate, compared with the H18 but the smaller wheel allows me to go further beyond the meridian before a leg clash.  For the wide shots I'm wondering about using either a Borg system, or take a Mamiya 645 lens on an adaptor. (you can get an Mamiya 645 to T-thread).

I'm really going to enjoy this sensor, I just need those clear skies.

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As another follow up, I was producing my calibration files for this sensor at -20C (In +20C ambient!).  The dark noise is so low that a stack of 50 dark frames at 60, 120 and 300 seconds have precisely the same average background level. Just a few hot pixels and that is all.  I think dark subtraction on these exposures is probably a waste of time and I may well do a hot pixel map. I just need some clear skies (don't we all).

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Thanks for the report!

It certainly seems to out cool the Atik, and the integrated USB hub sure is a nice feature.

Looking forward to some images!

/Jesper

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I had some interesting feedback from the pixinsight team regarding the quality of my bias frames. The bias frames from my camera had pale vertical stripes of two pixels wide and when I discussed this on Starlight express forum, Terry sent me some new firmware for the Trius h694 that modifies the clocking waveform , which hopefully will address the issue.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Regards

Chris

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Hi Harry, it completely fixed the issue. My bias frames are now just random noise without any obvious pattern. I now have to redo my entire cal library.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Regards

Chris

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How's the Trius doing Chris?

I'm hoping to place an order for one shortly and would be interested to see how it's been going since March.

Daniel

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The camera is fine. I had to make a jig similar to that shown on the SX website and align the sensor. My frames are very flat now. The hub may not be as useful as you might think, especially if you already have other hubs in your system. Each hub adds a delay to the USB response time and in my situation, I do not use the hub for filter wheel or Lodestar.

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The camera is fine. I had to make a jig similar to that shown on the SX website and align the sensor. My frames are very flat now. The hub may not be as useful as you might think, especially if you already have other hubs in your system. Each hub adds a delay to the USB response time and in my situation, I do not use the hub for filter wheel or Lodestar.

You mean you don't recommend using the built-in hub?

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Every hub in a USB daisy chain adds delay. There is a max limit for the USB response. I had filter wheel dropouts which improved with direct connection. It all depends on your system.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Regards

Chris

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The only thing I have plugged into my Trius is a gamepad / joystick thingy.

The Trius, mount, QHY and filter wheel are on their own USB sockets on the laptop.

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I need to update this thread. I have made a lot of other changes to my hardware and software at the same time and I have had more hours of uninterrupted imaging in the last month than in the last year.

I sold the Trius and bought a bigger chip, the QSI683 (I previously owned a SXVR H18 and missed the bigger sensor size).  With my initial system I was getting random dropouts of the filter wheel, Trius CCD and Lodestar too. Things improved slightly by bypassing the Trius Hub. I cannot be sure where the issue lay exactly but the hardware played its part. Certainly Maxim DL would lock up when a USB connection faltered.

The KAF8300 chip is noisier than the Trius 694 without a doubt but the QSI693, compared to the SXVR H18 is also a world apart. The shutter is outside the sensor housing so even if dust is disturbed by its action, it is easy to clean it without resorting to a dissassembly. The sensor has just one isolated dust spot in the corner. Other noticeable improvements are the OAG is rock solid and the filter wheel is very quick acting, (as is the shutter). In the summer, it was cooling the chip by 40C at 90% power.

Overall, these were the system changes:

Before:  10Micron mount (Ethernet adaptor on USB hub), Maxim DL 5.24. USB connectivity: USB extender over Cat 5 - Trius - Lodestar and filterwheel connected to Trius Hub

After: Paramount MX, Sequence Generator Pro. USB Connectivity: USB extender over Cat 5 into Paramount's USB hub. QSI683 (integrated filter wheel) and Lodestar X2 connected to Paramount USB hub on Versaplate.

Maxim DL5 is definitely better behaved with the QSI and Paramount MX but I still had some issues. I decided to give SGP a go for the first time. After a few hours, I had worked out the interface and was imaging. 

In general reliability and automation performance, I can really recommend Sequence Generator Pro. It is even doing automatic meridian flips and resuming autoguiding (using PHD2). I was grinning from ear to ear. After a few nights watching over it like a worried parent, it just did its stuff. Now, once I set a sequence going, I walk away and leave it to carry on until I pack up for the night. Autofocusing, error recovery and sequencing is intelligently and effectively designed. If you have banged your head against the wall with the gold standard, SGP is a breath of fresh air and keenly priced too.  I believe a beta version is being tested which has observatory control and weatherstation interfacing, though this is not as important for my temporary installation.

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