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Astroboffin

Just acquired an SX Lodestar, need a bit of advice please

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Hi all,

I have managed to get hold of a superb secondhand SX Lodestar guide camera, the standard one not the x2 model, and after reading the instructions and some online info I have a couple of questions.

Firstly it says they it is best used in 2x2 binned mode, but in PHD software I can't find this option when using the native SX driver for this camera, any ideas??

Secondly I have downloaded the Ascom driver for this camera as I have read that the interlacing is less of an issue with this driver, so thought I would give it a try, but there are quite a few settings when selecting this driver from the camera list in PhD, so what are they all, especially the ones to do with binning and fixed bin modes....

Amd thirdly what driver and settings do you guys use to get the best results from this camera, also I must say that I use the PHD version 1 not the newer PHD 2, as this one seems to,give me a lot less issued with my mount.

This is all a bit new to me, and thanks in advance for your replys........hopefully

Regards

AB

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I can't answer your question, but I'm here because I was just about to start a new topic about my Lodestar, that I also got today. 

I was actually going to ask if its normal to get what looks like a sky of stars appear on the screen even when testing indoors.. with the cap on the camera?? (its new and it doesn't look like theres a single spec of dust on it)

its quite confusing... as this would surely cause problems selecting an actual star to guide.. (its cloudy here tonight so I can't even test it)

post-41186-0-56178800-1424895898_thumb.p

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Hi,

That is normal you need to take a dark first with the cap on, then after that leave the cap on and the hot pixels will go, as that is what they are, just got pixels and quite normal, looks just like mine, don't worry, the dark will compensate for the hot pixels.

Stop,the loop of images and click,take dark, when it tell you to remove the cap leave it on and you will see what I mean.

Hope that helps

AB

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Hi

I don't know the specifics about setting up a Lodestar but re James' post. The indoor 'stars' are hot pixels. PHD2 allows you to create a bad pixel map and a darks library but with PHD1 you just have to be careful not to select a hot pixel as a star.

Louise

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Hi,

That is normal you need to take a dark first with the cap on, then after that leave the cap on and the hot pixels will go, as that is what they are, just got pixels and quite normal, looks just like mine, don't worry, the dark will compensate for the hot pixels.

Stop,the loop of images and click,take dark, when it tell you to remove the cap leave it on and you will see what I mean.

Hope that helps

AB

Sorry forgot to say after the dark start the image loop again.

AB

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Ah thank you, guys  :smiley:

Sorry for kinda hijacking your thread AB! just thought it made sense to post in the same topic. 

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I've used lodestars for several years, and never used them in binned mode and they work just fine.

One thing to do though is use some strain relief on the cable.....bring it back down along the camera body and put an elastic band or strip of Velcro across it as th little usb connector isn't that solid.

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I am amazed with all the people on here that use Lodestar guide cameras, that there is no one forthcoming with advice, :)

AB

Looks like you're getting plenty of advice to me.

Sounds like you're getting too complicated. Just use the SX universal driver and don't worry about binning the camera. You can bin the camera if you're using something like Maxim to guide, but having never needed to bin, I've never looked at PHD to see if you can.

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I just use the universal driver and PHD1 no binning, best keep it simple if it works, James you do have a lot more dead pixels than me, I think there was a thread on CN  with folks  sending them back complaining about the number of dead pixels.

Dave

Edited by Davey-T

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I just use the universal driver and PHD1 no binning, best keep it simple if it works, James you do have a lot more dead pixels than me, I think there was a thread on CN  with folks  sending them back complaining about the number of dead pixels.

Dave

There not dead pixels, they are hot pixels, if you take a dark using the button in PHD, then start the loop again they disappear, if they were dead pixels they would be there all the time.

Hot pixels are perfectly normal for most CMOS and CCD cameras, but the more expensive the camera the less the hot pixels.

But I can assure you they are not dead ones.

:)

AB

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There not dead pixels, they are hot pixels, if you take a dark using the button in PHD, then start the loop again they disappear, if they were dead pixels they would be there all the time.

Hot pixels are perfectly normal for most CMOS and CCD cameras, but the more expensive the camera the less the hot pixels.

But I can assure you they are not dead ones.

:)

AB

Yes that's what I meant, I've only got three on mine and peep's were complaining about how many they had and even darks didn't get rid of them all which played havoc with automated systems guiding on hot pixels.

Stiil not sure if they were hot or dead :)

Dave

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Yes that's what I meant, I've only got three on mine and peep's were complaining about how many they had and even darks didn't get rid of them all which played havoc with automated systems guiding on hot pixels.

Stiil not sure if they were hot or dead :)

Dave

Hi

the whole point of darks it to get rid of hot pixels, and in the case of coloured camera red and blue pixels, if they are still there after darks are taken then they are Dead and, on a chip that is supposed to be a grade 1, as is on these cameras, there should not be more that 1, if you have only got three hot pixels, when using with cap on indoors, then that is superb, but take a dark and see if they go, if not they might be dead ones, in which case that is not good for this camera.

I have zero dead ones.

Regards

AB

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I've used lodestars for several years, and never used them in binned mode and they work just fine.

One thing to do though is use some strain relief on the cable.....bring it back down along the camera body and put an elastic band or strip of Velcro across it as th little usb connector isn't that solid.

Hi,

Do,you get the hot pixels with yours as shown on this thread, and if so do you deal with them by using darks?

Regards :)

AB

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Hi,

Do,you get the hot pixels with yours as shown on this thread, and if so do you deal with them by using darks?

Regards :)

AB

Yes, I have a few but use darks to get rid of them ( in the past, I've had a wonderful PHD graph guiding on a hot pixel!)
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Yes, I have a few but use darks to get rid of them ( in the past, I've had a wonderful PHD graph guiding on a hot pixel!)

How come you always get more hot pixels when testing with the cap on the camera indoors?

Is there a valid reason for that

AB

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How come you always get more hot pixels when testing with the cap on the camera indoors?

Is there a valid reason for that

AB

Ive never compared the two different environments, although, considering the camera isnt temperature stabilised, you will get more thermal noise indoors. Could you be confusing thermal noise with hot pixels chased by a sensor defect in this situation?

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You were correct AB, once I took my darks then the issue went away, i was left with perhaps 4 pixels but nothing that gets particularly in the way.

Plus tonight i took it out to give it a test run and the difference between star and pixel was quite clear. i found it interesting also how once it focuses on the stars the noise seems to die down and the camera view go's black with stars rather than the grey fuzz.

I had a couple more problems with mine however... once you have selected a star in PHD and push the bullseye, it starts its calibration frames.. but if I'm tracking something then about 2 minutes later it comes up with a messages saying it couldn't be calibrated because the star didn't move enough. does this mean you have to calibrate PRIOR to 3 star alignment in the park position??

and also with the lodestar it has the port that connects to your mounts ST4 socket.. I assumed that means the lodestar will tell the mount what to do without having to use EQMOD or something and just be able to use the hand controller. Is that right? and if so then what do i select as my mount in PHD??

This is all very tough to get my head around  :confused:

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You were correct AB, once I took my darks then the issue went away, i was left with perhaps 4 pixels but nothing that gets particularly in the way.

Plus tonight i took it out to give it a test run and the difference between star and pixel was quite clear. i found it interesting also how once it focuses on the stars the noise seems to die down and the camera view go's black with stars rather than the grey fuzz.

I had a couple more problems with mine however... once you have selected a star in PHD and push the bullseye, it starts its calibration frames.. but if I'm tracking something then about 2 minutes later it comes up with a messages saying it couldn't be calibrated because the star didn't move enough. does this mean you have to calibrate PRIOR to 3 star alignment in the park position??

and also with the lodestar it has the port that connects to your mounts ST4 socket.. I assumed that means the lodestar will tell the mount what to do without having to use EQMOD or something and just be able to use the hand controller. Is that right? and if so then what do i select as my mount in PHD??

This is all very tough to get my head around  :confused:

Ok, first of all glad you pr darks sorted out the problem

Secondly you need to up the calibration step size in PHD if it says that the star has not moved enough, that all depends on the focal length of the guide scope you are using, for a 400mm guide scope then the step should be about 750ms and of a 300mm about 850ms and for a finder guider of 50mm then a step size of about 1500ms should work

Thirdly you should select "on camera " if you are using the ST4 port on the camera for guiding corrections

Hope that helps

Regards

AB

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You were correct AB, once I took my darks then the issue went away, i was left with perhaps 4 pixels but nothing that gets particularly in the way.

Plus tonight i took it out to give it a test run and the difference between star and pixel was quite clear. i found it interesting also how once it focuses on the stars the noise seems to die down and the camera view go's black with stars rather than the grey fuzz.

I had a couple more problems with mine however... once you have selected a star in PHD and push the bullseye, it starts its calibration frames.. but if I'm tracking something then about 2 minutes later it comes up with a messages saying it couldn't be calibrated because the star didn't move enough. does this mean you have to calibrate PRIOR to 3 star alignment in the park position??

and also with the lodestar it has the port that connects to your mounts ST4 socket.. I assumed that means the lodestar will tell the mount what to do without having to use EQMOD or something and just be able to use the hand controller. Is that right? and if so then what do i select as my mount in PHD??

This is all very tough to get my head around  :confused:

Sorry also forgot to say, you do your normal alignment first before you do anything else.

Regards

AB

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I use several Lodestars and when using them in PHD I just run them at default. If using them in AstroArt I use 2x2 binning. While all this taking of darks is very worthy I have never bothered and never had any guiding issues. A guide camera is not there to take nice pictures... I suppose I should try using dark subtracted guide frames but then what propblem would I be trying to solve?

Capture-L.jpg

Olly

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Hi - Recieved my LS x2 C this week - Quick run out of the box across two different machines showed these hot pix

post-32894-142512278896_thumb.jpgpost-32894-142512279606_thumb.jpgpost-32894-142512280015_thumb.jpg

As you can see the exposure settings differ but the hot pix are still there :(

I ran it via lodestarlive and starlight software but still present.

Does anyone think I have a duffer here?

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Hi - Recieved my LS x2 C this week - Quick run out of the box across two different machines showed these hot pix

attachicon.gifLodestar HP out of box 3.jpgattachicon.gifLodestar HP out of box 2.jpgattachicon.gifLodestar_HP_out_of_box.jpg

As you can see the exposure settings differ but the hot pix are still there :(

I ran it via lodestarlive and starlight software but still present.

Does anyone think I have a duffer here?

Im pretty sure you don't.. I had even more than that with mine, follow Astroboffins instructions near the beginning of this thread and it should sort out your problems.

Remember you have to take new darks every time you change the exposure. You might find it easier to download PHD2, and it creates a dark library, thats what I did and it worked. 

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