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ZWO 2600MC Pro and APT


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Hi,

My ZWO ASI 2600MC Pro arrived today, my first dedicated Astronomy Camera, as such I'm totally new to all of the settings presented and am looking for some advice, specifically setting the Camera up with APT. I've installed ASCOM and the native driver etc. as per the manual. 

I'm not sure what settings I should set within APT.

Here's a screenshot of what I have at the moment:

What should I set for Offset, USB Speed and should enable dew heater be checked. Presumably I leave bin1x1? 

APT.thumb.jpg.49b792ee95b19fd1746b0373495d351f.jpg

 

Thanks for any help!

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I'm in much the same boat as you having recieved my 2600mc on Monday and been working on setting it up to build a dark frame library. From reading and checking various sites I'm going with offset 50, usb 40 and the dew heater on (the last only because I expect to use it most of the time so might as well do darks that way too). Im doing 2 sets 1 at gain 100 and one at gain 0 because there seems to be much discussion on which is best. If you are going to do gain 0 then make sure you have gain 0 set in field at bottom right. If you enter it as 0 in your dark plan it comes up as " and will then use the setting entered in bottom right. I only found this out after running a full dark plan that was supposed to be 0 gain but ended up 100.

HTH

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25 minutes ago, mackiedlm said:

I'm in much the same boat as you having recieved my 2600mc on Monday and been working on setting it up to build a dark frame library. From reading and checking various sites I'm going with offset 50, usb 40 and the dew heater on (the last only because I expect to use it most of the time so might as well do darks that way too). Im doing 2 sets 1 at gain 100 and one at gain 0 because there seems to be much discussion on which is best. If you are going to do gain 0 then make sure you have gain 0 set in field at bottom right. If you enter it as 0 in your dark plan it comes up as " and will then use the setting entered in bottom right. I only found this out after running a full dark plan that was supposed to be 0 gain but ended up 100.

HTH

Thanks, just setting things up myself. When building a dark library what should the procedure be ? 

Set the temperature of the Camera (say -10, and the gain and offset) and then shoot dark frames? Is there anything else to it, and how many dark frames are you doing ?

Also regarding the warming up feature in APT to avoid thermal shock, what would set the target temperature to be ? Presumably if imaging with the Camera at -10 you set the warming up whilst outside? 

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Remember I'm new at this too so I could be making errors so "follow at your own risk"🙂

I'm intending to limit my imaging parameters, at least in the early days, so that I can see how I progress with the minimum of variables. So I'm going to have two imaging schemes at gain 0 and gain 100 both at ofset 50 and -10c. I had intended to go to -15 but as I'm doing these inside a warm house the cooler was struggling to get past -12. And I didn't have the enthusiasm to set up in the shed.

 

So in APT look at setting up an imaging plan, the manual explains it well. Set up a new dark frame plan, and enter a line for each of the image durations you think you may use. I'm not sure what that will be for me so to be safe I did a set for each of 30, 60,90, 120,180 and 240s. Probably overkill. With my DSLRs I ended up doing pretty much everything at 180 or 240s ISO 800. At 40 subs per duration that plan takes over 8 hours so I hit start and went to bed.

Take care if doing gain 0 as i mentioned before.

On warming, I've seen various comments saying that its essential to warm slowly and others saying it's a waste of effort. But it's not a cheap camera so I'll be doing it. It seems to me that all you can do is warm it to ambient, so after my indoor dark plans I set it to warm to 20c or so and stopped it there. I need to work out what to do if I'm outside and it's cold but I'm guessing I'll warm it to outside ambient then put it in its padded bag, bring it inside to a cool room and let it warm like that. I suspect the pouch will allow a nice slow warm up.

Any other recommendations from anyone else?

BTW, if you have Sharcap read up about the smart histogram feature, that will help you work out your best exposure times. Its what I will use if I ever get a clear sky.

 

Good luck!

Edited by mackiedlm
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Thanks for that ^ Much appreciated. 

Do you know how to take flats and dark flats in APT? 

With my DSLR I'd simply set it to AV mode, and then run the Flats profile in APT with an LED panel over the scope. I'm not sure what the process is with an OSC though.

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Look in the APT users manual under CCD Flats Aid - its all explained there.

Once the flat plan is populated and complete, clone it (in the plans editor panel) as a dark flat and off you go.

LED panel over scope is fine but you may need to put some layers of paper or t-shirt between it and the scope unless you can adjust the brightness way down.

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Thanks.

Tonight was one of those technical nights. I thought things (naively) might go smoothly and I'd get a few hours of first light ! Nope!

First of all I was totally lost with how to focus... I slewed over to a bright star after PA, could just see one star, so I wasn't sure whether that was the star I had slewed to. I'd got so used to DSLR imaging and being able to use live view to magnify, take a few second exposure with my bahitnov mask and adjust focus.

Wasn't until about two hours later after fumbling about in the freezing cold that I came across a youtube video where someone else explained about having the same problem and using the stretch function, and binning 4x4.

Used the mask and the bahitnov mask and got focus just about on. 

It appears to be (now I've finally figured out how to) a lot easier to focus as with a DSLR the star would bounce around in live view mode when using the Bahitnov aid in APT.

I had a problem with PHD2 as well, because I'm now using two ZWO Cameras, when I went to auto connect it said the dark library wouldn't match my Camera, so I was like eh, it's always worked. Then I realised it must be because I have the new Camera and it's thinking that is the new guidecam, easy enough to set it back to the 120MM though.

By that time Orion had gone out of view, and once I realised how to focus and get PHD2 working I got a couple of subs of the Elephant's Trunk in, quite low in the sky at this time of the year but I was tired by this point. 

Decided to pack up and just as well as a few snow flakes had started to fall. 

So at least for the next night I know how to get imaging!

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A single 120 sub from last night, this was taken before I managed to figure out how to focus properly. Even though it's not in focus, the stars seem a lot smaller than I ever managed with my DSLR. 

 

651426265_m42test.thumb.jpg.5bbfb83057611f7fd157ef6c1dc39224.jpg

Edited by smr
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2 minutes ago, tooth_dr said:

That looks really good, so smooth

That's what I thought when I saw the images appear on my laptop last night, I was stunned how smooth the subs looked. The details looks fantastic considering this is just 120 seconds, with probably less than optimal guiding and that it wasn't focused. 

I figured out how to focus by binning 4x4 and stretching the live view in APT, then using my bahitnov mask and the bahnitov aid in APT. Not sure if there's a better way to focus but I'll buy an autofocuser when they're in stock.

 

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