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Climbing the Mallincam learning curve

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#1 Sluggosalinas

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 09:50 AM

Brought my new Xtreme out for a test run this weekend, only to find I didn't have everything I needed.

1) Evidently I need an rs-232-usb adapter if I want to use the camera control software (don't know why they wouldn't package one with the control cable, but I suppose there's a reason). Is there a special type I need or y'all would recommend?

2) Recommendations for the software to actually view the image on a computer (again, don't know why a program wouldn't be included with the software). I downloaded AMCAP just because it was the first result in my search. Any other recommendations, Miloslick?

3) If I have an MFR-5 on the camera, do I need to also use the 1.25" adapter? When I finally got an image onscreen, the stars were HUGE, I mean like 1/4 of the screen huge. I played with the focus and was able to pass through what looked like good focus, but the star was still a monster.

I'm really thinking I need to forget about the laptop and just get a monitor to get me started :o

Tommy

#2 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 10:06 AM

Tommy,

The set up in some ways depends on the laptop you are using.

For me, I am use a MacBook pro. For this configuration, with the MallinCam X2 I have:

* Canopus ADVC110 video converter - I connect via "Firewire", IEEE 1394.
* Tripp Lite High Speed USB Serial Adapter
* MallinCam Control - EXCELLENT SOFTWARE

Images look wonderful on my laptop. I did hook up an external LCD display to the laptop for an outreach event, a Samsung (don't ask me the model). That has worked out great too.

Of course, if working a PC I have no clue...

#3 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 10:27 AM

What scope are you using? If you are using a really long focal length then your field of view will be very small.

#4 rmollise

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 10:55 AM

Brought my new Xtreme out for a test run this weekend, only to find I didn't have everything I needed.

1) Evidently I need an rs-232-usb adapter if I want to use the camera control software (don't know why they wouldn't package one with the control cable, but I suppose there's a reason). Is there a special type I need or y'all would recommend?

2) Recommendations for the software to actually view the image on a computer (again, don't know why a program wouldn't be included with the software). I downloaded AMCAP just because it was the first result in my search. Any other recommendations, Miloslick?

3) If I have an MFR-5 on the camera, do I need to also use the 1.25" adapter? When I finally got an image onscreen, the stars were HUGE, I mean like 1/4 of the screen huge. I played with the focus and was able to pass through what looked like good focus, but the star was still a monster.

I'm really thinking I need to forget about the laptop and just get a monitor to get me started :o

Tommy


1. Almost any will work with the camera, but for a safe bet, it's Keyspan.

2. I don't do this. I find the images look better on even an inexpensive monitor. I use a little portable DVD player with video inputs.

3. Not sure what's going on here. What's "monster" size?

#5 Dwight J

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 11:09 AM

Focal reduction is essential, the faster the better. With stars being big blobs at focus I suspect you may be running at F10 on your C8. A computer is not essential to display the images and, as Rod states, they look way better on any TV. The supplied cable allows computer control over camera functions but a USB to serial converter will be needed. The alternative is the wired control box and the wireless exposure controller. I prefer these over computer control and display as setup and use is quick and very simple. Image contrast, brightness, etc is done by adjusting the TV controls. More info will better enable us to help you get the most out of your camera like "Are you using a focal reducer?".

#6 Sluggosalinas

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 12:10 PM

More info will better enable us to help you get the most out of your camera like "Are you using a focal reducer?".


I have the MFR-5 attached to the camera and inserted into the diagonal. Am I missing a step/piece in there?

#7 Sluggosalinas

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 12:31 PM

2. I don't do this. I find the images look better on even an inexpensive monitor. I use a little portable DVD player with video inputs.


Would THIS work? Battery powered and has AV in.

#8 Devon

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 12:33 PM

Hi, Tommy...

To answer your questions directly:

Try to find a "Keyspan" USB to serial (RS232) adapter, for first choice. May 'older' computers came with real RS232 ports... sure miss those.

There are two main programs for the Mallincam: "Mallincam Xtreme Control" by Stephan Laonde, download at: http://lalondefamily...y/Mallincam.htm (free), and "Mallincam Control" by MiloSlick Scientific, download at: http://www.miloslick.../MallinCam.html ($49.00). Both programs have 'on screen' viewing. You will need to buy a digital video adapter to use these (like listed on the Mallincam site). The best views, though, are on a small CRT monitor or TV that has composite or S-Video imputs. Most users use a LCD TV, I think.

The MFR-5 'replaces' the 1.25 nosepiece adapter, so you don't use both at the same time.

Hope that helps!

Devon

#9 rmollise

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:06 PM


Would THIS work? Battery powered and has AV in.


Yep.

#10 Sluggosalinas

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 06:35 PM

Thanks Devon and Rod, I am leaning towards the simpler solution you guys suggest. Could y'all send some clear skies this way so I can getup the hang of this thing?

#11 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:54 AM

Tommy,

If I failed to tell you that you needed either a computer with a real Serial port or a USB to Serial adapter, I apologize. I usually make sure that customers know what is needed to interface an Xtreme to a computer. The reason the adapters are not included with the cable is may people already have them.

I don't have Keyspan adapters in stock but do have two inexpensive ones that work.

Yours truly,

Jack

#12 dragonslayer1

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 08:08 AM

you need to get with CSS HELLO, a guy that inputs on here about the monitor, he is a walking library on prices and displays and inputs/outputs..
Kasey

#13 Sluggosalinas

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:28 AM

Jack,

I picked up a serial adapter yesterday at a newly opened TigerDirect store in town. I didn't even realize they had brick and mortar stores but was referred there by the guys at Best Buy when I was looking for a portable DVD player.

On the DVD player front: I mentioned what I was looking for to my receptionist and today she brought in the portable DVD player she had in her kids room for years. It has an AV-in as well as an S-video input!

If we could only get a clear night :mad:

#14 Sluggosalinas

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 08:25 AM

Update:

Finally got a clear night!

I spent some time working with the camera and cabling during the afternoon and was able to get a clear image from the camera as well as the control software working. I've seen the advice on here many times to learn your set-up during the day...finally followed the advice and got it all figured out, go figure!

However another problem cropped up. Alignment and possibly slipping issues with the 8se. I was careful with leveling and my Autostar alignment, but when I pointed the camera at Saturn, I was getting alot of drift. Took the camera off and re-aligned this time with the 'two-star' method and was getting the same thing, no matter where I pointed. Enough drift to have streaks where stars should be even at the shortest exposure times.

So now I am reading up on balancing the OTA and possibly tightening the Alt nut as I suspect the extra weight of the cables hanging off the camera might be causing issues. Am I off base here?

#15 Atl

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 10:42 AM

Try using the calibrate goto option in your Nexstar. This is there to account for weight being placed on the scope...like a camera. For me this stops drift. It must be said that the 8SE tube is near the full capacity of the mount as far as weight goes. Procuring a 6SE tube might be a better option for video astronomy.

#16 jujumaster

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 01:12 AM

If you find that your 2 star alignment is way off, meaning that you have to correct significantly for each star, you may have polar aligned on the wrong star. You'll find that you can't stay on anything for very long without having to make corrections. I've done this twice on remote set-ups when aggressively trying to find Polaris before it's fully dark. It's not worth it.






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