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Gina

All Sky Camera Revisited

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Posted (edited)

so this cctv kinda works, tho stars are faint, pretty much expected given its fighting both the IR lighting and the sky lit by the moon behind the tree...

Can just make out the 3 stars in the tail of the plough at the top 1/3 in from the right, looks better with the mk-1 eyeball but hardly surprising given this module only goes down to 1/25s exposure. Was only expecting to get bright objects with this setup so fairly pleased as it goes, be interesting to see if it does any better in darker conditions but for a v low cost test rig, not a total fail 🙂

SkyCam night2.JPG

Edited by DaveL59

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12 hours ago, DaveL59 said:

thanks Gina, I'm currently playing with the spare kit I have, being between jobs means limiting the spend somewhat so an astro camera is a bit out of reach for now 😉

Here my back yard is not that big and with a large oak tree to SW of where I might put the camera plus houses at around 20-30 degrees above the level a 150 wide would likely do for me at the mo. Will see how it plays, I've ordered a 2.1 and 1.7mm lens so will have a play and see how they go. Might try a 5MP starvis module later on as they can be had for under £20 now, assuming that the current play rig turns out to be viable...

Ooh, where can I get a 5mp starves from, for that price ?. Sounds like you are the man in the know..

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, skybadger said:

Ooh, where can I get a 5mp starves from, for that price ?. Sounds like you are the man in the know..

 

Aliexpress 😉

I tend to buy my lenses from Treeye as they tend to be good quality and prompt, and aim for the higher MP lens compared to the sensor in the module as they'd be better quality too, so for the 2MP module I go for 5MP lenses. You can also get the starlight lenses but they don't have IRcut filters, tho they will add those if you ask them. The new lenses I've ordered are for 1/2.5 sensors where this module is 1/2.8 so will see what sort of image I end up with, it may truncate but I am at the experimental stage so...

 

Thinks I should start my own thread on an el-cheapo sky camera tho so Gina's isn't sidetracked too much 🙂

Edited by DaveL59
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My ASC project is currently on hold.  It's no use with total cloud or full moon and I feel like a break from it.

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know what you mean Gina, same here. May well find out how water resistant my el-cheapo is soon lol

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Thanks Dave

That's really handy. It's hard finding a 5 or 8mp camera on there with starves though..

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if you take a look at my "el-cheapo sky camera" thread I've listed the one I've ordered 🙂

 

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I now have a 3D printer working again so thinking of picking up this project again.  Only trouble is, I forget what I was doing...

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Maybe there's something to be said for starting again on the casing as I might have some different ideas.  As I recall, I wasn't doing very well in the past with sealing it.

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What I really want is a proper cooled astro camera for this.  A home made cooler for a camera that's not designed to be cooled is really going against the tide and causee no end of problems.  Unfortunately, FLO don't sell a 1/2" cooled camera that I want for this project though one is available elsewhere :-

ZWO ASI385MC Cooled USB 3.0 Colour CMOS Camera

This is an excellent camera with exceptionally low read noise and ideal for this application.  It has larger pixels than the ASI178MC I'm currently using so more sensitive also it's a later imaging chip with higher sensitivity.  The smaller pixels are not needed for the ASC as the lens is not up to that resolution, nor do I need it.

Just checked my bank balance and I simply haven't got the funds! :eek:

Edited by Gina

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3 hours ago, Gina said:

Maybe there's something to be said for starting again on the casing as I might have some different ideas.  As I recall, I wasn't doing very well in the past with sealing it.

that's kinda why I went with existing outdoor cctv housings, tho they're not really meant to be set with the dome pointed skywards. The larger housing does work ok but I may order another dome with a wider flange that hangs over beyond the casing. Not convinced that the nitrile gasket I got will cope well in the long run with the existing that is just under the diameter of the main body. So far its ok but one I plan to address down the road as the pressure of the dome bolted down causes it to dish upward, a nice little rain catcher, hmmm not what I planned for.

Cooling tho is a different problem, as the dome is essentially a sealed unit or there'd be risk of condensation otherwise. Of course the camera generates heat plus the heat from the sun just adds to the problem. I did consider finding a way to have the lens side sealed to the dome side and then set up some sort of venting and fan assist with baffling to direct outside air over the heatsink fins to cool the camera module, hopefully that'd reduce the condensation issue inside the dome affecting the image but figured I'd test as-is and see how it fairs. So far mine seems to be coping ok but I did paint the casing white to reduce a little the heat soak from the sun.

 

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thinking about it... wonder if water-cooling would work, if you are able to put the cooler part in  permanent shade...?

That way you could seal the in/out hoses with grommets and not have to be pulling moist air thru the unit for cooling.

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My water cooling has the reservoir in my observatory where its relatively cool.  Camera cooling is by Peltier TEC and waterblock.  Water is circulated by a small aquarium pump.  It's very effective.

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