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astronomer2002

StarlightXpress Frame Store

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I have an old StarlightXpress Frame store that hasn't been used for years.

After the order from "on-high" to de-clutter I was going to take it to the skip along with other old astro stuff, but thought I'd just check to see if it was working.

It appears to work fine so if any use can be found for it I would rather donate it to someone than take it to the skip.

For those not familiar with the SX original Framestore it is self contained and only needed a PC to save images. To do that there was rudimentary software and a card to insert into the PC.  Of course, being the late 1990's it was designed for use with Windows 98. To save images would require an old desktop with Windowa 98 or maybe Windows 2000 on it.

However, for taking short or long exposure images and displaying them on a screen no PC is needed.  I did use it at a star party to do just that. Showing a group of people objects they couldn't see well, if at all, through the scope directly collected quite a crowd.

In the spirit of reducing landfill, if it can be of any use to anyone who is prepared to collect it from Maidenhead I will happily give it away.

I attach images of the setup taken last week.

Ian B

 

 

 

SX_Framestore.jpg

SX_Framestore2.jpg

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Fond memories of using one of these in my teenage years on the old 18" newt at the Kenley observatory (Croydon AS). Biggest pain was the cooling wasn't set point, and also the seeming need to constantly replace the dessicant...

Edited by coatesg

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(I think we had it on a Win 3.11 machine too - would have been 93/94 when I learnt how to use it....)

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The desiccant can be re-used after a few mins in a microwave so I never found that a big issue. I used to keep extra bags of desicant in a sealed box in the house so I could change it any time. As there were often long gaps between observing nights this seemed a prudent step.

The cooling is essentially set to maximum. In practice this isn't an issue unless you are using the setup for very specific comparison use. None of the amateur camera's, then or now, achieve more than 40 degrees below ambient and usually it's a lot less. The Sony CCD used, even back then, was pretty low noise,  so I never found the cooling to be an issue.

Still hoping someone will want to try this. When used for public viewing it feels more 'live' than images taken with a PC. Perhaps the lack of a PC in the chain proves to people they are really seeing the object 'live' and not from a website on the Internet via a nefarious connection.

I still have the software, but testing it will be problematic as I don't have an old desktop PC.

Ian B

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