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Just finished work on a sky quality meter with built in wifi. The device is based on the ambient light sensor TSL2591 and the wifi board ESP32. Communication between the two boards is through I2C. The device has a 40 degrees lens.
The light sensor is programmable, which means you can set integration time (from 100 to 600 ms) and gain (from 1 to almost 5000, in 4 steps). I implemented automatic adjustment of these parameters to allow for the highest dynamic range (600M:1 accoring to the spec sheet).
The device shows Sky readings as a web page. It is connected to a local wifi network, although it could also create its own access point. So far I haven't been able to calibrate the sqm yet, partly due to eternal cloud cover. But it should only require one parameter to be adjusted.
The code is available on GitHub. Sky-Quality-Meter
Here are som pictures.
The parts connected:
The finished device:
This is how output is presented:
Can anyone identify which control box this is? Is it focusmaster? And does it run off robofocus driver in Indi lib as I cannot get a successful connection (in indi within ekos)
I bought a robofocus motor with this control box second hand.
I have faith with seller that hardware works as should.
I've tried other cables and USB ports too. The software (k stars) I use does do port search when connecting equipment..
Any help appreciated
This will be a thread detailing some of the changes and additions I will be doing to my ASC/Weather Station project. This is version 2.0 as I'll be making some very big changes from the initial project and I think continuing on in the existing thread would not have made much sense.
So, I still want to use an APS size sensor as after seeing the quality and light capturing capabilities of the now defunct Opticstar DS-616C XL camera and Meike lens I simply cannot go back to using a smaller lens/sensor combination. One thing is certain, I won't be paying £400 or potentially more for another APS astro sized camera so with that in mind I plan on heavily modifying a Nikon D50 DLSR and use the same lens. I chose the D50 primarily due to it having a CCD sensor (ICX453AQ) very close in specs to the one in the Opticstar (ICX413AQ) and the fact that I got a hold of a fully working body for £25.
Now there's a few issues with going down the DSLR route which I plan on addressing as follows:
The oversized camera body can be stripped down to bare essentials and fitted in the existing case with some moving of parts around Uncooled, the sensor is quite noisy so to cool it I plan on using the existing Opticstar enclosure with the TEC and hopefully get it purged with Argon to avoid dew formation. Also, since the box will need to be completely sealed to achieve this, there's simply not enough room inside for the main board to which the sensor connects to. The only way around this is using an 39pin 150mm long FPC extension which I managed to find and will be arriving shortly. This means I can have the sensor completely sealed with enough slack in the connection to place the mainboard anywhere I want. The D50 uses the NEF file extension as a "RAW" file format but it's not truly RAW and a heavy median filter is applied to all long exposure images to smooth out the noise. It works great for day to day shots, but in an application such as mine it'll most probably eliminate or severely affect my stars as most of them at the FL I'll be using the camera at will be a few pixels across and the Nikon median filter is very aggressive with such small features. The way around this is what's commonly known as Mode 3 on Nikons. Nikons have a additional Noise Reduction mode which takes the long exposure light first then straight after an equal length dark with the shutter closed, then applies the dark on the light and you get a further noise reduced image which again works very well, but not so much for AP. With mode 3 you essentially have the NR feature on and take an exposure but then immediately shut down the camera after the light has finished exposing. What this does is it causes the camera to dump a REAL RAW image onto the SD card without applying the median filter OR the Noise Reduction process. This obviously results in a much noisier image as expected, but all the stars will still be there and the image in this way can then be dark-subtracted and processed to my liking. I'll post some test shots I've taken to illustrate this. The D50 uses a hybrid shutter, both the CCD electronic shutter and mechanical shutter are used depending I think on the exposure length. If a high enough exposure is used, from what I understand, one can use exclusively the electronic shutter, but for longer exposures the shutters work in conjunction. Now I know the ICX413AQ in the Opticstar is more than capable of taking long exposures solely with its electronic shutter despite the fact that in its datasheet they recommend a mechanical shutter for proper use. So, my thinking is since the D50's sensor is similar to the ICX413AQ the only thing preventing the camera from being able to take any exposure using exclusively the electronic shutter is that its mechanical shutter is in the way and I don't think that the camera would prevent the CCD electronic global shutter itself to still open and close when required. However, this is all a theory at the moment and the only way to confirm it is to test the camera with the sensor outside when the FPC cable arrives. More on this later... In terms of capture software available, the D50 is actually very poor and I could only get digiCamControl to see and control the camera via USB. But I won't be using this as when the camera is hooked up to the PC its SD card is identified as a storage drive and the camera can be used as it would normally with the images appearing on the drive after being written to the SD! Since I'm using my VB app to process the images I would just point the app to that folder and should work. That's all I can think of for now but if and when new ones come up I'll add them here.
Next I'll be describing some of the other changes planned.
So, I have a minor setup issue for my automation setup. Here is a brief overview of my setup:
Raspberrypi on the scope connected to a powered usb hub. Connected to the hub are a external wifi card (raspberry pi3 wifi is weak), an astromodified Canon 550D, a QHY5L-II for guiding and an EQ6 pro mount. The camera and QHY are connected to an OAG. The QHY5 is also connected to the mounts ST4 port.
On the Rasperry Pi 3 I am running xubuntu with INDI server and PHD2 installed. Using realvnc to view phd2. indi server + webserver starts on boot, static ip on external wifi card starts on boot.
On my laptop I have EKOS to connect to indi server and phd2 for guiding. I am running phd2 on the raspberrypi to hopefully this will let PHD2 have a more direct (faster) connection to the guide camera.
Their appears to be a disabled install of ufw which has some groups under iptables. I enabled the ufw and enbled the ports 4400, 7642 (PHD2), 8624 (indiweb), 7624(indi) however the guiding suite of Ekos would not connect to PHD2. I disabled ufw and flushed the iptables and tried again with the above ports however the same result. In the end I have opened all the ports to allow the connection to proceed, which is ok for short term but ideally I would want some security.
Does anyone know which ports I should open to get indi, indiweb and phd2 to talk nicely to my laptop EKOS version?
Anyone else running a similar setup successfully? Can you give me any indications of what pitfalls to avoid?
Imaging season is still a few weeks away up here, but I've started dusting of my gear and upgrading some parts.
One step closer to automation is a motor focuser, and I opted for a budget solution. I bought a SkyWatcher DC focuser and built a computer control for it. Since I use INDI for my automation, I had to find a way to connect the focuser to indiserver. A first thought was to use the INDIduino code, but after some coding and testing I found out that this code is very limited and not really supported by indi clients. The Ekos/Kstars focus module can't be used for focus control if you use INDIduino, apparently.
But then I stumbled upon an Arduino solution that emulates the MoonLite focuser (http://www.indilib.org/forum/general/283-moonlite-focuser-protocol.html). Unfortunately, this protocol is for a focuser with a stepper motor, whereas the SkyWatcher has a geared DC motor.
I had already rewritten some code from stepper to (geared) DC motor, so it was easy to adapt this to the MoonLite based code.
My solution consists of the following:
- SkyWatcher DC focuser (only the motor is used, the handbox is replaced by the Arduino)
- Arduino UNO
- Velleman motor controller shield for Arduino
- 9 V power adapter to power the shield
- Raspberry Pi
- Arduino sketch with Geared Motor library (see below for link)
- INDI server on RPi, and client (Ekos/Kstars) on Windows
I've tested this setup on my SkyWatcher Explorer 150PDS and it runs fine. Unfortunately I haven't been able to test the autofocus, due to absence of astrodarkness and clear skies.
Since a DC focuser has no knowledge about the position of the actual focuser, the software assumes that position '0' is all the way in. Maximum position is 25000 for my setup. By default, focus is increased by 100 steps, which is supposed to be 100 ms of motor drive.
BTW, the code is in my GitHub repository: