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QUANTIX HELP.........

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#651 hjd1964

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 09:24 AM

I bought one of these 6303e camera's on EBay. I configured a windows xp machine and the camera works great. No major defects on the CCD and the darn thing looks like it was never used. Cooling is amazing with no visible signs of condensation.

Now I'm in the process of adding the t-threads and shutter. Fortunately I have access to a lathe at work.

For the t-threads I'll use a threaded insert from an old minolta t-adaptor I have laying around. I want to keep the housing compact, so I'm going to machine down the nose of the cover and tap new holes for the 4-40 set screws to mount down the t-thread ring (in a machined out recess) so the cover total thickness should be about 1/2".

For the shutter I used an EBayed Prontor (like the Surplus Shed one). I decided to ditch the included solenoid. I tested it on the camera and the hold force that the 4V shutter circuit provides is very weak. I know others have used it but this concerns me. Additionally, I went with a different solenoid because of size, I can enclose the solenoid in the housing and still keep things fairly small with the 1/2" OD x 2" length 6V solenoid I found. Ledex Part #: 151092-229 at $35 shipped. It should just barely fit and will require mounting and other modifications to work. I actually measured the return spring force of the shutter (when moderately loaded) and got a number of around 2-5 OZ depending on how fast you want it to close. The shutter pin travels about 0.15" according to my measurements and the solenoid is rated to provide about 2.2 OZ at 5.5V, at 4V it's probably around 1.5 OZ (guessing) and should just barely be ok. I didn't measure the stock solenoid, but I doubt if it makes 1/2 that force. Any comments about my choice of solenoid would be welcome, this is all guesswork!

I'm also working on a ring to go between the camera body and nose cover. I EBayed a bit of 3.25"ID x 4"OD aluminum tubing and will machine it out to accept the shutter. The final wall thickness will be about 1/8" and length will be around 7/8".

So, the total distance between the CCD and the end of the T-Threads should come to about 1-3/4" and everything will be enclosed. Well, that's the plan anyway!

#652 zerro1

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 10:04 AM

Welcome hjd1964! I changed the solenoid on my Melles Griot sensor from a 6v to a 4v. I had to weaken the return spring just a touch to get proper operation but it has continued to function flawlessly.
I just picked up an old machine vision camera that had a large sensor to get an extra shutter to play with.

#653 hjd1964

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 05:43 AM

Turns out that there was a long wait for the first solenoid I selected, so I looked around and ordered a similar device from ElectroMechanicSystems.com - and it's a 4V too. They shipped right away, should have it mid next week.

Last night I machined out the 4" OD x 0.875" L spacer and nose piece for the t-thread insert, all went well. I'm not a machinist so that was a relief.

I've done a fair amount of programming and will take a look at the prospects of making an ASCOM driver for this. I've made several ASCOM drivers, including a camera driver, for my Lumenera LU070M. But the Lumenera SDK is well documented and easy to use, this is pre-dot-net and will require more effort.

#654 zerro1

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 08:22 AM

I've done a fair amount of programming and will take a look at the prospects of making an ASCOM driver for this. I've made several ASCOM drivers, including a camera driver, for my Lumenera LU070M. But the Lumenera SDK is well documented and easy to use, this is pre-dot-net and will require more effort.



I have used MaximDL 5 Pro since it has support built in for PVcam, but it isn't my primary choice. sometimes have to turn the camera off, then back on when going from frame and focus, to capture. What prompts this action: The software(MaximDL) indicates the capture is in progress but the shutter hasn't fired. I'm assuming that Maxim isn't really getting feedback from PVcam about "state of camera".

Howard: downloading your Planetarium as I type! That looks like fantastic work! I just upgraded to a couple newer laptops so they are blank i5 64 bit slates.

Do you know of a low cost external PCI card enclosure(low cost = NOT $900) that could connect to a laptop through USB? I'm using a Dell C2d with a PCI dock for the Quantix Cam control.(sure would like to use my Toughbooks instead)

#655 hjd1964

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 03:08 PM

Well Sky Planetarium is no MaximDL. But, it does support ASCOM camera's and it's where I like to image. It would be nice to get the Quantix working there.

As for the PCI card enclosure, I took a quick look around when I read about these camera's and didn't see anything affordable. If I had to have a portable setup, I'd build myself an energy efficient SFF pc and get a deep cycle marine battery.

From what I've read here, the software for these cameras won't work with windows 7 64 bit but is ok on the 32 bit version? If that's the case, I might need to switch my observatory computer over to it since it's running the 64 bit version. But first, I'll work with the camera on a spare windows xp machine here at home for testing and driver development.

Very excited to get this camera going, the KAF6303e is slightly larger than my DSI-II Pro's ICX429ALL :) and should make for some interesting imaging.

#656 hjd1964

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 07:19 AM

Below is a pic of what I've got done so far:

Posted Image

#657 SBarden

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 11:03 AM

Hi. In the early days of this thread, I mentioned that I was buying three of these cameras for an instrument concept that I was hoping to build. Well, I'm still hoping to build that instrument. I have recently set up a kickstarter campaign to try to raise funds for it since the key technical components that I need are out of my budgetary reach. Hopefully I can post the link here in this message. If any of you know anyone who might be interested in partnering through financial support, please forward them the link!! I would greatly appreciate it! Here is the link http://www.kickstart...vens-differe...

Thanks!! Also, great to see this thread continue!

Sam

#658 SBarden

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 11:05 AM

Also, do you think that I can post this link in the cloudynight classified section?

#659 zerro1

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 03:56 PM

I'd ask one of the mediators/administrators that question. I just don't know the answer

#660 hjd1964

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 09:45 AM

First light for my Quantix camera. Lots of obstacles, including not being able to sight on Polaris to align the mount and the 'scope being out of collimation. I've pressed my old Meade 8" SCT OTA back into service for this since it's easier to mount up the (heavy) camera. No shutter yet as I'm still waiting for the solenoid. Instead I used a "manual" shutter... a black cardboard sheet over the telescope objective while starting the exposure and stopping it. A new spin on an old technique from my film days. This is unprocessed, aside from a 4:1 reduction in size. About 15 seconds of exposure.
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#661 zerro1

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 10:27 PM

Congrats on first light! pretty amazing how clean the data comes out, Isn't it? I get lazy sometimes and don't even shoot darks. Flats were kind of a challenge for me coming from mainly a DSLR experience. You might try the different gain settings. I shoot with gain = 3 most of the time, but have been shooting gain = 2 a lot also. I keep meaning to try Gain @ 1, but with few recent channces to image, I go with what I know instead of experimenting...

#662 hjd1964

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 03:31 PM

Thank you, and yes it's an amazing camera. And it's done, but not tested yet... I got going early this morning and made a mounting bracket and new "rocker" for the shutter then installed the solenoid. ElectroMechanicsOnline stock a 4OZ return spring, I think it might be a better choice, so I ordered one. The 2OZ spring works very well, but the 4OZ might be "just the thing" if the solenoid can reliably hold it. The photo below shows how it's installed, there's just 1/2" of space to work in above the shutter.

My T-Ring to CCD distance is 1.875" - just 0.1" further than my Canon DSLR and everything is enclosed.

Posted Image

#663 zerro1

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 12:30 AM

looks great! Tonight (first chance in a while)I went out, set everything up(Quantix), fired up all my gear... Clouds started rolling in - rain for at least a week! Tore it all down and dragged it all back inside. :bawling:

#664 hjd1964

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 07:54 AM

I can empathize, in years past there were a few times that I'd drive (a couple of hours) to my dark-sky site and have the skies turn out to be lousy. For that matter, once I even forgot the darn wedge for the fork mount and wasn't able to setup. :foreheadslap:

Anyway, I was lucky and had good weather last night. I took another shot of M27, but this time with a fully operational camera (including shutter). This is higher resolution, so the link is below:
M27

#665 kw6562

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 12:05 PM

Very nice! I hope you like the camera, despite the difficulties with it - I'm one of the early posters on this thread, having jumped on the purchase when it was first posted. M27 is a great target; I took this with my Quantix last year. (Someday I'll take Ha data and try to get the cloud to add to it.) Clear skies --Keith

#666 hjd1964

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 03:49 PM

Very nice shot Keith. I read over quite a few of the posts in this forum, including yours, to get ideas for the shutter. Your color image reminds me of what my wife said when she saw that last image I took of M27 with the Quantix. "Wow, now you just need it to add color"... easier said then done! She's very understanding about my hobby (and even appreciates a dark starry sky herself.)

So, for now I'm reading about the PVCAM API to see if I can do something about an ASCOM driver for this thing.

Howard

#667 sullij1

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 02:54 PM

:roflmao: Just Poped in to see if this thread was still chugging along? Yep, Thanks Robert and Orly for keeping it alive. :grin:

Howard, good work with the new mod. I see you have been doing your homework. Should work out well. I am still throwing money at the solar thing for now but I do miss the Quantix. I have my second one ready to go but no time to play with it right now.

Good to see folks recognize the value of this lil gem. ;)

Keith, good to see you still luv us. :lol:

#668 hjd1964

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 03:42 PM

I just took the first image from the Quantix with my ASCOM driver!

The driver is written in C#, which fortunately really holds your hand and helps with talking to the old PVCam driver.

Still lots of work/testing to be done, but I just wanted to let you know that progress is being made. I'm leaning toward just supporting the Quantix Photometrics 6303e camera at this point - probably very little reason to go the extra mile for other camera's?

Currently, the driver can do temperature control/readout, binning (X and/or Y, up to 2), and take exposures/readout images. It doesn't have "fast readout" or gain control or ADC offsets yet, not that anything I know of is standing in my way on those.

As for the more obscure settings (shutter timing/modes, for example)... Does the camera driver actually remember them? If so, we can setup the Camera in RSImage then control from ASCOM and I'm nearly done. If not, I have more work to do!

#669 zerro1

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 04:33 PM

Awesome work Howard! Well the gain is set in MaximDL "prior" to actually connecting the camera so I doubt that gain could be adjusted after the software connection is made. Fast readout... Not that critical in my world. It's not a high speed process using this camera and I don't recall seeing a setting in MaximDL that would make it happen. I'll check and get back to you.

Hi Joe! Hey I got another project Camera! It's not ready for prime time yet but when I get it going I post about it..

#670 hjd1964

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 09:01 PM

I believe that I've achieved stability with my ASCOM driver for the Quantix Photometrics 6303e. Lots of modes to set and numerous little gotchas along the way, but it seems to be working with my planetarium/imaging software reliably now. What I need is for some others to kick the tires and let me know how well it works for them with Nebulosity, Maxim DL, etc.
I still need to build an installer for it, then I'll post it to my site for all to download. Probably will be up by late tomorrow.

#671 zerro1

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 01:05 AM

I've got MaximDL 5 and Nebulosity. Would be glad to give it a try!

#672 hjd1964

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 05:57 PM

The driver is now posted on the home-page of my site. To save time this driver has some hard-coded values for the 6303e camera. I took a little time to add some tests (on connect) to verify that the correct camera/sensor is present. It won't connect if the sensor name or dimensions are incorrect. The configuration dialog has one option, it turns on logging (to ASCOM_Quantix_Photometrics.txt in the calling program's default directory). I have tons of logging in the driver, so turn it on only if we need to identify a problem. Have fun, hope it works for you!

#673 hjd1964

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 07:37 AM

Thanks in advance for testing! And... just a heads up, I had the camera out last night imaging/testing and found that the exposure time "wraps" at 65ish seconds. The problem (obvious to any programmer) is fixed and a new download is available on my site. Other than that, I spent about three hours imaging various targets and taking darks without a problem.

#674 hjd1964

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 07:56 AM

Thank you! Building some of the little pieces to make the shutter work in the small housing was pushing the limits of what I can do by hand. I assume that you have the camera too? Hopefully you'll get some use from the ASCOM driver, if you try it please let me know how it works.

#675 zerro1

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 09:46 AM

Hi Howard!

After I do some running around today I'll hook up and shoot some darks. I've got nothing but clouds...






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