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Very nice meteor on the allsky


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lovely one, your focus looks pretty good. Quite amazing you can use 45 second exposures, I get trails with 25 second exposures and I would have thought our setups were not that different assuming you are using the 178MC

We had total cloud so I didn't bother setting up

 

Edited by happy-kat
't' 'not'
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Focus is off due to the lens not being screwed in fully, it's quite loose at the moment. I’m making another adaptor to get it right. It is the cooled 178MC with a fujinon 1.4mm, and I could probably do 60s without trailing or maybe more if I lower the gain.

It’s on 24/7 as I add features and optimise it every now and then, with a view to leaving it out permanently.

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Do you have a thread on your camera?  I've given up my 120MM as an ASC due to huge noise, and I really miss the Oculus that I had to give back.  I have a 178MM cooled that I had planned to use for solar, but I could use it over the winter as an ASC.

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It’s a c mount, but the lens does not screw in far enough on the 178mc-cool to focus due to the glass window. I’ve made a part so the glass window is just above the sensor and 3d printed a c mount to t thread part, but it’s slightly too thin. I don’t have a thin enough o-ring for the ~0.2mm gap so I’ve made 2 more adaptors in the range to see if I can get it right when tightly screwed in.

This lens does not drift in focus at all that I can tell so it should be good once the spacing is right.

 

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2 hours ago, Jonk said:

It’s a c mount, but the lens does not screw in far enough on the 178mc-cool to focus due to the glass window. I’ve made a part so the glass window is just above the sensor and 3d printed a c mount to t thread part, but it’s slightly too thin. I don’t have a thin enough o-ring for the ~0.2mm gap so I’ve made 2 more adaptors in the range to see if I can get it right when tightly screwed in.

This lens does not drift in focus at all that I can tell so it should be good once the spacing is right.

 

Very good. I need to get my camera out and physically suss it out.  

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2 hours ago, tooth_dr said:

Very good. I need to get my camera out and physically suss it out.  

Go for it, even if you out it out on a tripod and keep the dew off it’s worth it.

An allsky camera is a must have for astronomers imho.

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51 minutes ago, Jonk said:

Go for it, even if you out it out on a tripod and keep the dew off it’s worth it.

An allsky camera is a must have for astronomers imho.

I do miss not being able to check the sky live, and finding random meteor shots like yours.  I also like the timelapse feature when the MW is visible.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/12/2021 at 15:42, Jonk said:

It’s a c mount, but the lens does not screw in far enough on the 178mc-cool to focus due to the glass window. I’ve made a part so the glass window is just above the sensor and 3d printed a c mount to t thread part, but it’s slightly too thin. I don’t have a thin enough o-ring for the ~0.2mm gap so I’ve made 2 more adaptors in the range to see if I can get it right when tightly screwed in.

This lens does not drift in focus at all that I can tell so it should be good once the spacing is right.

 

I finally got some time to have a look at this.  I tried on my all sky lens, and as you have pointed out, it doesnt screw in far enough to get the required back spacing (it's either 17.5mm or 12.5mm).  I then went on and tried a T mount to Canon adaper and was able to get focus with a 18-55mm lens, but obviously the FL is much too long.  Would you buy any chance have some photos of what you have done, or even the 3d files that I could work with and print out?

 

Many thanks

Adam.

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14 hours ago, tooth_dr said:

I finally got some time to have a look at this.  I tried on my all sky lens, and as you have pointed out, it doesnt screw in far enough to get the required back spacing (it's either 17.5mm or 12.5mm).  I then went on and tried a T mount to Canon adaper and was able to get focus with a 18-55mm lens, but obviously the FL is much too long.  Would you buy any chance have some photos of what you have done, or even the 3d files that I could work with and print out?

 

Many thanks

Adam.

Hi Adam, I can send you the 3mf file of the part I made for the glass window when I next put my work laptop on. I was going to get rid of the window completely but it’s needed as an ir/uv cut. It looks too odd without.

All this part does is put the glass window directly over the sensor, with an oring above and below. Took a bit of fiddling to figure out but seems to work well. I need to take the camera down to adjust the sensor pcb so will try to remember to photo what I’ve done.

Oh and you’ll need some ptfe tape if you  use the aluminium t to c mount adaptor otherwise the lens floats in the threads and won’t hold focus at all. I tried multiple 3d printed adaptors but couldn’t get them right wrt shrinkage and dimensions. 

 

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1 hour ago, Jonk said:

Hi Adam, I can send you the 3mf file of the part I made for the glass window when I next put my work laptop on. I was going to get rid of the window completely but it’s needed as an ir/uv cut. It looks too odd without.

All this part does is put the glass window directly over the sensor, with an oring above and below. Took a bit of fiddling to figure out but seems to work well. I need to take the camera down to adjust the sensor pcb so will try to remember to photo what I’ve done.

Oh and you’ll need some ptfe tape if you  use the aluminium t to c mount adaptor otherwise the lens floats in the threads and won’t hold focus at all. I tried multiple 3d printed adaptors but couldn’t get them right wrt shrinkage and dimensions. 

 

That would be great thanks.  Can you edit a 3mf file in a design program?  I havent come across that file before, I'm using fusion 360.

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I also use Fusion 360 and you can import an stl file but editing them is tricky. I’ve not tried importing a 3mf.

Best thing to do is look at the stl or 3mf in Fusion and redraw from scratch if you can.

In fact, I might be able to share the Fusion file so you can work on my original part. I‘ll have a play.

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@Jonk I had an hour free earlier and had a think about how to move the glass - I decided to attach in a similar way on the reverse of the faceplate.  I was able to reuse the original O-ring, and i havent fouled anything on the circuit board, I just screwed a new filter holding plate to the underside of the faceplate.

It focuses now and crops nicely to 2080 x 2080 pixels.  Only clouds but the test shot looks ok.

 

 

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It’s nice when a plan comes together. This is the part I made…

 

AA773395-A6D5-4C77-AE0D-2D0FDEC5B54E.thumb.jpeg.e7be7fde48b3a6c4f41fafbfdb195b09.jpeg

It sits round the sensor,has an oring channel for the glass to sit on and one to compress up against the main cover.

It probably does the same thing as what you’ve done. The most important thing is sealing the main cover properly otherwise when the cooler is on it’ll fill with water through condensation. I nearly lost the sensor pcb because of that. Luckily it came back to life after some drying and pcb cleaning at work.

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21 minutes ago, Jonk said:

I nearly lost the sensor pcb because of that.

That is definitely the last thing you would want to happen!

If it's ok with you, I'll throw up a few photos in case anyone else (unlikely) runs into the same issue and comes across this thread.

178-ASC-1.thumb.jpg.bb17e414e6daf0515c777ad2b7d0d81b.jpg

178-ASC-3.thumb.jpg.a798ba7772522c86d3336179746e7ef8.jpg

178-ASC-2.thumb.jpg.a8e577809278fc7289e66679f653846a.jpg

178-ASC-4.thumb.jpg.a04cd25c25947433138ae8dd8a3606b8.jpg

178-ASC-5.thumb.jpg.b05fe55354a57bb04c72fb80fef166c6.jpg

178-ASC-16.thumb.jpg.5ac22feb7a24bfb6cf85241ca7489923.jpg

178-ASC-14.thumb.jpg.a72899fbc05c3276507091ff4934b81d.jpg

178-ASC-15.thumb.jpg.615bedc098ac4fc4d206667e716c0912.jpg

178-ASC-9.thumb.jpg.223c0a056afbb3db98b1b81d332c0b21.jpg

178-ASC-8.thumb.jpg.aaf084998f64bcf9792adb885902aa20.jpg

178-ASC-10.thumb.jpg.56efbd3bd5b6c3f61b1c106de24eb129.jpg

178-ASC-11.thumb.jpg.8db09a8ae5959a6e97b059c78465c24a.jpg

178-ASC-12.thumb.jpg.934f8a9a9f4e300e92e0383e0a563602.jpg

178MM-cool-test-ASC.jpg.dd5783f33cb8a6b9ad973aadd6b4929b.jpg

178-ASC-6.jpg

Edited by tooth_dr
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That's great Adam, very useful to see others' ideas.

How are you going to use this once ready, 24/7 automatic or as and when? If automatic, I would reccomend using a RPI, and having a look at the allsky software by Thomas Jacquin on github.

I now have the RPI running 24/7 with watchdogs, automatic reboots, automatic heating (cooling to come), real measured local sqm data and I'm just about to get localised weather data (from the internet) on the overlay. Basically once finished, it will be fit and forget hopefully.

(Sneeky peeky...)

image.png.1984ce6bb00489dc14b68d1773f36c72.png

In fact, as I've been doing some programming in the past hour or 2, I think the allsky has just caught another meteor? Right at the top of the image through the plough.

latest-image.thumb.jpg.119d7b50b0a53556c60288e4aeec0058.jpg

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2 hours ago, Jonk said:

That's great Adam, very useful to see others' ideas.

How are you going to use this once ready, 24/7 automatic or as and when? If automatic, I would reccomend using a RPI, and having a look at the allsky software by Thomas Jacquin on github.

I now have the RPI running 24/7 with watchdogs, automatic reboots, automatic heating (cooling to come), real measured local sqm data and I'm just about to get localised weather data (from the internet) on the overlay. Basically once finished, it will be fit and forget hopefully.

(Sneeky peeky...)

image.png.1984ce6bb00489dc14b68d1773f36c72.png

In fact, as I've been doing some programming in the past hour or 2, I think the allsky has just caught another meteor? Right at the top of the image through the plough.

latest-image.thumb.jpg.119d7b50b0a53556c60288e4aeec0058.jpg

Great capture, can see it clearly.  I would have liked a colour camera, but this one came up cheap.   I honestly havent seen a clear sky for at least two weeks maybe more. 

I will have my camera in a 3d printed enclosure, and will be wired to a PC in my observatory, so it will run autonomously.  Currently I'm using AllSkEye software, it is set to run at from sun set to sunrise.  It converts all my images to JPEGS and saves these, and then generates a timelapse video of the night, and a star trails image.   I need to work out how to overlay the data because I really like what you have displayed on your images. 

Luckily when I printed my camera enclosure for the 120MM I made it large enough so that luckily it also holds the 178. 

Do you run the cooler on yours?  I wasnt sure whether to run it or not.  I'm wary of air flow within my enclosure - this might warrant a reprint of the enclosure.

 

ATB

Adam.

 

 

 

ASC-render-1.jpg

Edited by tooth_dr
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It might be possible that you can replace the mono sensor pcb with a colour one. ZWO do sell the sensor pcbs separately, and I have enquired. When they asked me how many I needed, my reply was '1 to carry out a test' but they didn't reply after that, maybe they were expecting me to say '250' or something?!

Alternatively, you could find a 178MC and swap the pcbs round. 4 screws and a ribbon cable, that's it. I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't work.

I don't have the cooler on at the moment, as there's no hot pixels really in this weather. I'm waiting for the dev team to add my feature request, which is automatically switch the cooler on at night, and off during the day rather than on or off manually. It should be easy to implement, as the software already uses a module called 'sunwait' which knows sunset / sunrise times based on your location.

I would certainly not try and seal the enclosure, or you will get trapped moisture in there, which will end up fogging the dome. No amount of heat will remove it. Mine has 2 fans below (for summer cooling) and the inside of the dome is open to air through these fans. The heater is to stop dew on the outside. It works really well and is only about 2W of power. It also helps dry the rain off, over a couple of hours.

In heavy rain, the inside of the dome does fog a little, but turning the fans on in addition to the heater sorts it out - this is something I need to automate based on humidty, which I will get to. For now, the heater is based on outside temperature.

Allskeye - I started with that and a mini pc, but it drove me nuts....kept rebooting, updating, crashing etc so I chose the PI so it only does what you tell it to. So far, it's night and day (pun intented) the way to go for me. I've had to use Python for all the automatic stuff, which isn't too bad when it works!

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3 hours ago, Jonk said:

It might be possible that you can replace the mono sensor pcb with a colour one. ZWO do sell the sensor pcbs separately, and I have enquired. When they asked me how many I needed, my reply was '1 to carry out a test' but they didn't reply after that, maybe they were expecting me to say '250' or something?!

Alternatively, you could find a 178MC and swap the pcbs round. 4 screws and a ribbon cable, that's it. I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't work.

I don't have the cooler on at the moment, as there's no hot pixels really in this weather. I'm waiting for the dev team to add my feature request, which is automatically switch the cooler on at night, and off during the day rather than on or off manually. It should be easy to implement, as the software already uses a module called 'sunwait' which knows sunset / sunrise times based on your location.

I would certainly not try and seal the enclosure, or you will get trapped moisture in there, which will end up fogging the dome. No amount of heat will remove it. Mine has 2 fans below (for summer cooling) and the inside of the dome is open to air through these fans. The heater is to stop dew on the outside. It works really well and is only about 2W of power. It also helps dry the rain off, over a couple of hours.

In heavy rain, the inside of the dome does fog a little, but turning the fans on in addition to the heater sorts it out - this is something I need to automate based on humidty, which I will get to. For now, the heater is based on outside temperature.

Allskeye - I started with that and a mini pc, but it drove me nuts....kept rebooting, updating, crashing etc so I chose the PI so it only does what you tell it to. So far, it's night and day (pun intented) the way to go for me. I've had to use Python for all the automatic stuff, which isn't too bad when it works!


I’ve been running my ASC enclosure successfully ie not leaking or fogging up for over a year now, and you are correct in that you don’t want it air tight.  I have the ring heater running on low power, which seems to do the job or keeping away condensation and drying rain, along with a partially open base to let in air.

When I said wary of air flow I meant I’ll need to improve air flow if I decide to run the cooler because there isn’t very much excess space in my enclosure (it was designed around a 120MM) and I think the camera will struggle with air circulation to allow cooling.  Nothing a reprint won’t fix!

AllSkEye hasn’t really been anything but good with me, even with the old 120MM which is notoriously flaky.  If it continues with the 178 I’ll give the Pi a miss for now. 

 

 

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The dome was taken from a cheap security camera that I was given, it's probably not the best optically, and has a few scratches on it. 

@Jonk your images look a lot less noisy than mine.  Do you think it's the temp (my camera was reading 23 degrees) or the stretch?  I've mine at Gain 180 and Offset 25.

 

-2021-12-28T19-39-30-698.thumb.jpg.cddfcdfd0a548769457fb4e021ea1c7c.jpg

Edited by tooth_dr
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The temperature isn't that high, it will probably get up to 40+ in the summer. However, cooling it will help with the hot pixels and noise, but I have found that the longer the exposure / lower the gain for a given brightness, the better the outcome.

Mine are converted to jpg and that's it, I haven't added any stretching - which might also be why you're seeing some noise.

Firstly, cool it to a sensible level, say 5 degrees or something and see how it differs.

Looking good though!

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31 minutes ago, Jonk said:

The temperature isn't that high, it will probably get up to 40+ in the summer. However, cooling it will help with the hot pixels and noise, but I have found that the longer the exposure / lower the gain for a given brightness, the better the outcome.

Mine are converted to jpg and that's it, I haven't added any stretching - which might also be why you're seeing some noise.

Firstly, cool it to a sensible level, say 5 degrees or something and see how it differs.

Looking good though!

Cheers.  I've tried it without a stretch in AllSkEye software and it looks less noisy, still need to look at the settings and see if I can improve on it.  There doesnt seem to be an ideal gain for these camera unlike most of the other ZWO range.  I think the highest temp I recorded wasnt far off 40 with the 120MM, and it softened and made a small internal PLA mounting plate droop a little inside the enclosure, so must have got a little warmer than recorded!

image.thumb.png.0fb700b02635a9f713e4d21f8b42a2ce.png
 

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9 minutes ago, Jonk said:

Cheers, I came across that the other day too, lots of conflicting info, but the stats below seem approprirate.  I am currently using gain 180 / offset 25.  I tried to go with gain 270 / offset 340, but AllSkEye doesnt allow offset above 100, so it makes me wonder if the gain setting of 25 I am using is actually 25 or 25% of a total (whatever the total might be)?

Unity Gain ==>    Gain: 180   Offset: 25
Highest Dynamic Range ==>   Gain:  0    Offset:  25
Lowest Read Noise ==>   Gain: 270   Offset:  340

Edited by tooth_dr
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