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Understanding STF-8300M & STT-8300M

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#26 jerryyyyy

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:18 AM

OK, I have come out of hiding with a well-placed PM. I bought the whole (most expensive package) from Anacordes scopes. I think I probably got Unit 002. I spend a pleasant couple of months debugging a series of issues with the filter wheel with the folks at SBIG, who were quite persistant. In any case, works flawlessly now.

I have not posted a lot of images since I have been struggling with some guiding issues and automation software.

This is a simple iPhone shot... on top is my D800...

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#27 mmalik

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:32 AM

STT-8300M with integrated OAG


Thanks Jerry; to confirm, you mean self-guided filter wheel with Baader filters, correct? Also if you can elaborate what issues you encountered with it and how you fixed them. Technical details will be appreciated. Regards

#28 jerryyyyy

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:12 AM

STT-8300M with integrated OAG


Thanks Jerry; to confirm, you mean self-guided filter wheel with Baader filters, correct? Also if you can elaborate what issues you encountered with it and how you fixed them. Technical details will be appreciated. Regards


Yes, the self guided filter wheel with the Baader filters. I looked into the filters in a less than knowledgible fashion when I purchased the rig because there was a good savings I calculated involved. The savings for the package was not huge, but I did not see any filters discounted anywhere either and I did not want to buy used. I also wanted to buy the package to get the best after sales service [which I have gotten]. Subsequently I have looked at the Astrodon filters, which for what I can see are more narrow than these narrow bands. They are also more expensive, and they require longer exposures. So at my level of expertise, I was happy to get the Baader and they are working OK. This is the test image that convinced me they work:

Posted Image

Anyway, if you look at this image you will see all the guiding issues and other problems I have to deal with to produce better images, but this shows me for sure that the O-III and H-Alpha work (they are very separate in this target).

I am not sure what all the problems were with the original filterwheel, but it was swapped out and the firmware update several times and now it works flawlessly. Thses were the expected early adopter problems I anticipated, but I wanted this technology since I did not want to buy another camera for many years and I knew this was supposed to be the latest advance. I have done a lot of outdoors photography [fishing guides] and I had the unfortunate habit of buying DSlRs just at the end of their life-cycles and I was not going to make that mistake with a CCD that costs 2X what a top of the line DSLR costs.

Anyway, now that the firmware and Maxim and all the rest are one big happy family, I want to say the other reason I got this was all the trouble I had trying to get OAGing working. This is just dead simple. No thought process involved. The image is taken off before the filer wheel and it is adjusted after the main focus of the scope (so you can fine adjust it). It just works and there are big bright images for guiding.

What else?

In sum, I am happy with the unit despite the growing pains, but I have only been at this for 15 months so I had a lot to learn. Now I have tweaked my guiding with a tune up of the Atlas with the help of a friend and I have bought an autofocuser, so I thiunk I can go into production capturing the types of images I would like to create.

#29 jerryyyyy

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:53 PM

As per request, a look at the wiring. Thwe grey wire at the top is a tie to prevent dropping it....

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#30 mmalik

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:21 AM

I have looked at the Astrodon filters, which for what I can see are more narrow than these narrow bands. They are also more expensive, and they require longer exposures.


Thanks Jerry for the write-up and pics; I think you are implying Astrodon filters are better compared to what comes by default, correct [pretty much what others concluded as well]? That would mean 'STT-8300M Self-Guiding Filter Wheel Package' is probably the way to go [the one that comes empty]?

I am not sure what all the problems were with the original filter wheel, but it was swapped out and the firmware update several times and now it works flawlessly.


Would you know the firmware version that works/you now have? I am wondering if other early adopters (@pfile/others) encountered the same problem? I am hoping they are all fixed by now; can anyone confirm who may have bought more recently? Thx

#31 Hilmi

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:34 AM

I would like to add one more comment about the STT-8300 self guiding filter wheel. If you'r telescope is not 100% collimated, you will have serious problems finding a guide star. Mine was MOSTLY collimated but a bit off and I kept on having difficulty finding guide stars. After very accuaratly collimating using CCD Inspector. I now find it much easier to find guide stars.

#32 jerryyyyy

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:56 AM

I would say that if I had to do it again, would go with the Astrodon filters, but I knew not what I was doing at the time.

I could check the firmware, as the camera comes with a firmware checker/updater so this is easy. I have to say that in my day job I run a lot of Linux and I was working on an install yesterday that was done in 2007 and never updated since then... it works. So I am not going to change these drivers no matter what anyone says at this point.... SBIG included. Next time I am out there, however, I will check the version number.

Don't hesitate to ask any other questions because this is how I learn...

PS Last night ran flawlessly for 11h... clear skys in Palo Alto... just need to crank up the dew buster a bit... around here I think it needs to glow slightly red in the dark....

#33 jerryyyyy

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:04 AM

I would like to add one more comment about the STT-8300 self guiding filter wheel. If you'r telescope is not 100% collimated, you will have serious problems finding a guide star. Mine was MOSTLY collimated but a bit off and I kept on having difficulty finding guide stars. After very accuaratly collimating using CCD Inspector. I now find it much easier to find guide stars.


Hi Hilmi, and hope the new set up is working fine... you are benefitting from my Beta testing :roflmao:

My C8 checks out pretty well and have had no real problems guiding. The people at SBIG have noted for me that the AO-8 Adaptive Optics System may be the way to go if I really want a top of the line system, but I think this is a bit of overkill for a C8.

I assume you are getting good skys where you are and can focus the autoguider well. What is a touch tricky is that the autoguider will come off after I have focused the C8 (for its own focus)... I am afraid of messing with the autoguider focus again because it works currently.

#34 mmalik

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:11 AM

I am a DSLRer and CCD is Greek to me...what other pieces might be needed to properly “attach” to a premium APO besides say buying a "STT-8300M Self-Guiding Filter Wheel Pro Package”. To give you an idea, I use this... kind of 2" adapter for a DSLR to “attach” to the APO. Reason I ask since some folks have been talking about some face plates and stuff; is that needed in my case?


As always, Hilmi, pics of your setup will be welcome, preferably high-res ones that may show all the STT wire connections and wheel/train assembly clearly. Thx

#35 Hilmi

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:38 AM

OK. Here goes... the face plate tha contains self guiding filter wheel has an STL thread. If your APO Refractor field flatner has a built in t-thread like my TV60is, then you have a problem. You need to fabricate a special adapter to step down from STL to T thread size.

But since your focuser accepts 2" nose piece, then you have nothing to worry about, everything you need is included in the box. Also. In the future you might want to make a customer adapter to thread directly onto your focuser for a more secure connection. How that is done depends on the focuser you have. mmalik, I'm abroad now. Traveling back home tomorrow. If I remember, I will provide you with pictures.

Jerry, I have the most horrible skies you can imagine for this hobby but I'm so stubborn and just keep on at it. Also, I too had filter wheel problems initially in the form of filter wheel failed to initialize errors. But after a couple of firmware updates, the errors have mostly gone away. I still get the occasional error when I first try to connect to the camera, that usually happens if I try to connect while the camera is still initializing. Its best to wait a bit after powering on the camera till all the filter wheel movement stops then connect in software.

#36 jerryyyyy

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:44 PM

OK. Here goes... the face plate tha contains self guiding filter wheel has an STL thread. If your APO Refractor field flatner has a built in t-thread like my TV60is, then you have a problem. You need to fabricate a special adapter to step down from STL to T thread size.

But since your focuser accepts 2" nose piece, then you have nothing to worry about, everything you need is included in the box. Also. In the future you might want to make a customer adapter to thread directly onto your focuser for a more secure connection. How that is done depends on the focuser you have. mmalik, I'm abroad now. Traveling back home tomorrow. If I remember, I will provide you with pictures.

Jerry, I have the most horrible skies you can imagine for this hobby but I'm so stubborn and just keep on at it. Also, I too had filter wheel problems initially in the form of filter wheel failed to initialize errors. But after a couple of firmware updates, the errors have mostly gone away. I still get the occasional error when I first try to connect to the camera, that usually happens if I try to connect while the camera is still initializing. Its best to wait a bit after powering on the camera till all the filter wheel movement stops then connect in software.


My condolancdes on the skys. I have been to Qatar a couple of times as I have a good friend there and am impressed with the dust storms...

Next time I get the chance I will look at what firmware I am using. I do not have that problem... just starts up and stays OK.

I appreciate your comments about the solid threaded connections. It is very heavy and might fall out easily. I have attached a wire cord just in case...

#37 pfile

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:14 AM

btw when you step down to the T adapter do you still get any stars on the guide chip?

#38 Hilmi

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:28 AM

Havent tried yet. Precision parts will be done fabricating the adapter by the 15th

#39 SeattleStarGazer

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:14 AM

Hi Hilmi, I got a notification that my STT8300M Pro package arrives Monday! Looking forward to getting it set up. I was wondering about your experience in getting the mirror positioned correctly? the manual references pointing the scope at a blank illuminated wall and moving the mirror until a shadow appears then backing it off until it just disappears. Is this what you did and if so, how did it go?

Thanks in advance!

#40 Hilmi

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:25 AM

Exactly as the manual says. Easy as pie

#41 mmalik

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 05:05 AM

Hi Hilmi, I got a notification that my STT8300M Pro package arrives Monday! Looking forward to getting it set up. I was wondering about your experience in getting the mirror positioned correctly? the manual references pointing the scope at a blank illuminated wall and moving the mirror until a shadow appears then backing it off until it just disappears. Is this what you did and if so, how did it go?


Congrats; your initial impressions/setup details will be welcome if you could share? Thx

#42 mmalik

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 07:49 AM

Few questions regrading Astrodon filters; if one were to buy STT-8300M Self-Guiding Filter Wheel Package (the one that comes with mono camera and empty guiding wheel)...

1. Are these the right Astrodon filters for empty self-guiding wheel?

Astrodon Narrowband Filters
36 mm dia. unmounted H-a 5 nm for SBIG ST-8300 (HA5_36R) $375
36 mm dia. unmounted H-a 3 nm for SBIG ST-8300 (HA3_36R) $565

36 mm dia. unmounted OIII 5 nm for SBIG ST-8300 (OIII5_36R) $375
36 mm dia. unmounted OIII 3 nm for SBIG ST-8300 (OIII3_36R) $565

36 mm dia. unmounted SII 5 nm for SBIG ST-8300 (SII5_36R) $375
36 mm dia. unmounted SII 3 nm for SBIG ST-8300 (SII3_36R) $565

Astrodon Tru-Balance E-Series Filters
36 mm dia. unmounted LRGB for SBIG ST-8300 (LRGB2-E36R) $595

2. Which of the two (5 or 3 nm) are better for the start?

3. Again for the start, is it good/bad to mix (5 & 3 nm)?

4. What is clear filter for; is it needed? If yes, where/which one is advised?

5. What nm are the Baader filters that come in the Pro package from SBIG?

Thx

#43 MattThomas

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:22 AM

5. What nm are the Baader filters that come in the Pro package from SBIG?


Baader Ha - 7nm
Baader OIII - 8.5nm
Baader SII - 8nm

Thanks.

#44 SeattleStarGazer

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:33 AM

Hi Hilmi, I got a notification that my STT8300M Pro package arrives Monday! Looking forward to getting it set up. I was wondering about your experience in getting the mirror positioned correctly? the manual references pointing the scope at a blank illuminated wall and moving the mirror until a shadow appears then backing it off until it just disappears. Is this what you did and if so, how did it go?


Congrats; your initial impressions/setup details will be welcome if you could share? Thx



So far very nice. No surprises with assembly of the Selfguiding filter wheel to the camera. Everything fit perfectly. Took about an hour being very careful with the filter installation. Construction looks excellent, I really like the filter wheel design.

I did a table-top trial with CCDOps and MaximDL, both connected immediately, filter wheel and exposure operation were reliable. Cooling was great, I ran it down 45 degrees in just a few minutes (didn't time it). I attached it to my scope (Televue NP127is) and used my living room wall to calibrate the location of the mirror. The mirror shadow was obvious as I cranked it in, solid black across the bottom of the exposure, then backed it off until the shadow disappeared.

Will need to wait to get outside to do the focus calibration. Won't have a chance for a couple weeks as I am on business travel. Keeping my fingers crossed but so far overall a very positive impression compared with my first camera, an ST2000XM, where I had a number of glitches with software and the filter wheel.

#45 pfile

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:06 PM

Few questions regrading Astrodon filters; if one were to buy STT-8300M Self-Guiding Filter Wheel Package (the one that comes with mono camera and empty guiding wheel)...

1. Are these the right Astrodon filters for empty self-guiding wheel?

Astrodon Narrowband Filters
36 mm dia. unmounted H-a 5 nm for SBIG ST-8300 (HA5_36R) $375
36 mm dia. unmounted H-a 3 nm for SBIG ST-8300 (HA3_36R) $565

36 mm dia. unmounted OIII 5 nm for SBIG ST-8300 (OIII5_36R) $375
36 mm dia. unmounted OIII 3 nm for SBIG ST-8300 (OIII3_36R) $565

36 mm dia. unmounted SII 5 nm for SBIG ST-8300 (SII5_36R) $375
36 mm dia. unmounted SII 3 nm for SBIG ST-8300 (SII3_36R) $565

Astrodon Tru-Balance E-Series Filters
36 mm dia. unmounted LRGB for SBIG ST-8300 (LRGB2-E36R) $595


those look like the right part numbers to me based on the invoice here on my desk.

2. Which of the two (5 or 3 nm) are better for the start?


i guess this is a matter of personal preference. the narrower filters are going to reject more moonlight. the 3nm Ha is so narrow that the NII signal is rejected. subexposure lengths will be higher for the narrower filters.


3. Again for the start, is it good/bad to mix (5 & 3 nm)?


not sure, i think you may have FHWM concerns mixing filters. star sizes may not match making postprocessing more difficult.

4. What is clear filter for; is it needed? If yes, where/which one is advised?


maybe for spectroscopy? or any time you are interested in IR wavelengths? the clear filter has no IR cut, if i understand it right.

#46 MattThomas

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 02:46 PM

4. What is clear filter for; is it needed? If yes, where/which one is advised?


I missed this question in my previous reply.

The purpose of the Clear filter is to allow you to shoot unfiltered with a minimal change in focus position (par-focal filters are only par-focal to a point - there still may be minor focus shift in par-focal filters). If you always refocus between filters (something I recommend), the clear filter has minimal-to-no advantages over just an empty position in the wheel.

If your optic has refractive elements, you are better off shooting through a Luminance filter that will reject UV and IR (which can cause star bloating due to the change in focus across the spectrum - aka chromatic aberration).

Hope this helps.

#47 mmalik

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 07:45 PM

Thanks Matt/Wayne/pfile for your feedback; very helpful. Regards

#48 mmalik

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 02:49 AM

5. What nm are the Baader filters that come in the Pro package from SBIG?


Baader Ha - 7nm
Baader OIII - 8.5nm
Baader SII - 8nm


Matt, was wondering if SBIG would consider adding an "STT-8300M Self-Guiding Filter Wheel Pro Package" with Astrodon filters? If possible, that will be a big hit. Most folks end up upgrading to Astrodon anyway in the long run as you know. Thx

#49 jerryyyyy

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:20 AM

Hi Matt, thought I would put up a novice's imaging with the new technology. This is about 12 images with the Baader filters at 1200s subs.

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#50 Fogboundturtle

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:28 AM

I think SBIG would make tons of money if they invented the cloud filter. That I would buy in a heartbeat.

Seriously though, I would have love to have the Astrodon pro package plus when I bought mine last month.






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