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Another dud? X2 woes


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Hooked up my new x2 mono tonight, can't get it to work properly. Uninstalled X2c software, loaded software and drivers from disc that came with it. Still no luck. I can image Jupiter, Sirius, Rigel etc and nothing else. Only bright objects. 90 second exposure or 1 second, makes no difference. Stacking on, stacking off. OSC on, OSC off. At best I get a purple, green or blue screen with one or two brighter stars with a black bar across the top of the screen if I up contrast to .2

Acts like it's trying to image in color, histo might show 2 very thin lines of different colors, yet has no sensitivity.

Yes this is the mono version. Tried stacking sum, mean and adaptive, both raw and stack. Seems to work best in focus mode, at least background is mono then. Once I go to acquisition mode it get worse, color backgrounds no images. Tried software it came with, LLv10, LLv11 etc.

At my wits end, about ready to give up on the X2, first one went bad (X2c) and this one won't show squat.

No filters, good focus, no dew, clear and cold out. 3.5 hours of trying everything I can think of and nothing.

Nothing should be this frustrating... Any ideas ?

Richard

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Hi Richard,

Here's how I start. For mono I make sure I'm center on a fairly bright star. I uncheck the one shot color box and make sure stacking is off. Keep the scaling at linear. I set the exposure to .5 or 1 sec. Hit the set exposure and the green arrow and you should see the star image. If not, try moving the black and white controls toward the image histogram which is probably a straight vertical line. There should be no color. If there is no star in the image then it is either grossly out of focus or not centered enough.

That's all I can think of right now. Hope it's something simple. Let us know if you figure it out.

Don

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Hi Don,

No Mac. I've tried what you suggest, I can get a bright star, a good focus etc. Nothing beyond that. Almost acts like it's trying to image in color? I wonder if the drivers I installed for the color version are different than the ones for mono? Maybe it's not finding mono drivers? Had it on M42, did a 90 second exposure, only got the trap and a couple of other stars. The line in the histogram is color, either green or blue or sometines one of each.

Richard

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Richard,

You have the one shot color box checked. That should be unchecked. Also, shut off the stacking and retake the shot by hitting the recycle button. That should set the Light and Stacked counter to 0. Then see what you get.

I'm not sure what object you're trying to get, but M42 is always a good one to start at. 30 seconds should get a pretty bright image. You will need to adjust the black and white levels once you get something. Don't worry about stacking right now. Keep stacking off. Your white level is all the way to the right which will reduce the image brightness. The white and black levels will need to be moved toward the image histogram.

Try that to see what you get. Hope this solves it for you.

Don

I see that you're on Capella.  If you follow what I wrote above, you should be able to get it in a very short exposure (<1second).

Edited by HiloDon
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Hi Don,

I tried OSC unchecked, stacking off, hit recycle, 90 second exposure of trap, no nebulosity, 4 stars in the trap, a couple more outlying. Histogram showing only a single narrow line, won't stretch out for any width. Brought sliders in towards center, no change except star bloat.

Wonder if it has a bad cable and only getting a small portion of signal? Will try again tonight and post more screen captures. Also I was not using a diagonal tonight, straight thru. Used diagonal on X2c though don't know why that would make a difference unless it would cause severe vignetting? Don't see it in the images above?

Richard

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Hi Richard

First - sorry if I confused you about the OSC settings in your other post - tick the box for the colour camera and leave it unticked for the mono.

What was wrong with the colour camera - did you experience similar problems or did it work OK fro a while?

What scope and focal reducer  are you using and has this combination worked before?

If all else fails then Starlight are pretty good at resolving issues.

CS

Paul

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Richard,

Move the contrast slider up to 0.5. No contrast no see...

This is the fourth slider from the top marked by a circle that is half white half black.

Once you have contrast, your histogram will be fatter, not just a vertical line and you will be able to see objects of varied brightness,

Then the next step is to move the black level up to the foot of the histogram bulge to get a nice black background.

--Dom

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Hi Richard

I feel your frustration! It may very well be contrast as Dom says. In any case I suggest starting off in the focus/alignment/framing tab where there are fewer controls to manipulate, set an exposure of around 1s or less, and shift the contrast/brightness until you see a broader peak appear in the histogram panel. You should be aiming to see some shades of grey around the stars. Then go for something like M42 but stay in the focus/alignment/brightness tab for a while longer. You should get a recognisable image in a 2 second exposure. Long exposures are not needed and especially for bright stars are not helpful.

It does sound like you've tried some of these things though… Other things you might try

-- loading in an existing image and manipulating it (during the daytime) to get a feel for the software

-- download a trial version of Nebulosity and use that to capture (which will confirm whether the camera is working)

I'd be very surprised if it is a (second) camera issue though.

Don't give up!

Martin

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Hi Dom, Paul, Martin, Don and Nytecam,

Thanks for your suggestions. I will start off tonight at .5 contrast and a 1 second exposure in Align/focusing mode.Last night I tried .2 contrast and got huge star bloat, nothing else except weird dark background on portion of screen. Even in these grabs you can see a bit along the top of the image. What is a CS lens? I will keep stacking off.

I did try Ver 10 last night also, which I was used too and have downloaded nebulosity. Also going to use a diagonal instead of straight thru, it worked on X2c. I go straight thru on my other cams with no problem though. At one point last night I tried M82 with 15 second exposure, no stacking. Did not even get a single star, was like my lens cap was on. Will make sure OSC is off.

Thanks,

Richard

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Hi Richard,

Sorry to hear about your technical issues - I am sure with the help of the forum we can get to the bottom of it all!!

Your drivers and cables are OK - its the same driver for mono or OSC - the camera works the same (apart from the colour filter array fitted to the sensor in the OSC version) - its the software that works the magic. On the cable front, if there was an issue you would be getting disconnection errors.

One question - can you confirm - have you used exactly the same scope, focal reducers, filters, diagonals etc with your other cameras?

If so I'd recommend loading the FITS file (see the V0.11 post) attached to this post (of M42) and seeing what you get - might just be a case of familiarisation with the app.

Also, for your next session, can you enable FITS export and post one or two FITS files (each raw image is saved to FITS) and I can take a look at the data.

Image_M42.The.Orion.Nebula_2015.1.24_20.30.34_00000.fit

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Richard,

Just one more thought. If your focusing stars are too bright at contrast=0.5, than make exposures shorter: 500 or 250ms. You absolutely need some contrast to see fainter objects. With contrast=zero all your pixels are categorized into one of the two extremes: pitch black or max brightness. As you increase contrast, more intermediate tones will become available and your histogram will grow fatter (from the original single vertical line at zero contrast).

Best of luck!

--Dom

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Hi Guys,

Used all the same hardware I've used before, no change.

No luck after another 5 hours of messing with it. i tried using Lodestar software, Nebulosity, LLv10 &11. I could get a bit of nebulosity around the trap with a 30 second exposure. Tried contrast all the way to one, it would just blow out center stars and show no arms.

Tried all the recommendations everyone offered, no luck. Tried my wife's computer with LL11 no luck, could not get it to work. Bad or corrupt driver error 39 kept popping up.

I tried plugging into a remote powered  USB hub and got lots of nebulosity, but layered in grey with noise and ghosting. I'm thinking it the USB cable that goes to camera. I tried my DSO-1 and it worked perfectly tonight in same hub. I also tried using the hub just powered off the computer with no luck.

My next step is to find a new USB cable or get Starazonia to send me one I think.

Richard

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Can anyone tell me what the USB connection is called going into the camera? Want to make sure I order the right thing? I'm assuming it's a 2.0 USB cable?

Thanks,

Richard

Mine have always been MINI-USB which I believe is the first of the small connections. Some Mini-USB' like from Poundland, are for devise battery charging and don't have or use all 5? connections.

You are dead unlucky to have problems with two cameras - at that point I usually blame myself - sorry .

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Hi Richard,

Definitely check out the cable, but FWIW I just had a colleague order an X2C (after my rave reviews) and his was also "flakey" - 

we could get it to work sporadically, but not reliably, so perhaps there is some sort of QC issue at play here.

Cheers,

- Greg A

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Richard,

My colleague's unit would not show a proper image - it wouldn't even register changes in light/dark when just hooked up and moved around.

We tried it on my system, and I couldn't get it to work, but then after some fiddling, plugging/unplugging, was finally able to get a normal image

out of it; however, it wasn't reliably repeatable, i.e. he tried it on his own again later and it didn't work again.

Mine has been (knock on wood) rock solid since it arrived, so I was quite surprised at the problems; hopefully it's just a small number that have 

issues like this.

Cheers,

- Greg A

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