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Uptmor
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Reged: 02/16/10

Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming
      #5555283 - 12/05/12 08:41 AM

OK.. need some help from those more experienced than I..
I recently acquired a Parsec 8300M CCD camera. I've done a number of images with it, including a session of 15 minute images of M42 with no issues. Last night, I went out to do some 45 second exposures. The session started out just fine.. Then, out of the blue, the stars started to saturate and bloom vertically down the image. 'Weird' I thought. So I decreased the exposure time to 1 second. The blooming still occurred. For the heck of it, I unplugged and plugged back in the camera. The blooming went away.
I started my session, which included 45 second images and 3 minute images. It did fine for a while, then bloomed all over the place!
What the heck!? Why would my camera all the sudden do this? It is like the pixels are not discharging between images or something. I have 30 second pause between images too..
I'm running about f6.0 and it happened on all LRGB filters.
Please help!
Thank you, Ryan


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Uptmor
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Reged: 02/16/10

Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5555343 - 12/05/12 09:30 AM

One thing I just thought of, one of the only changes I made from my previous 15 minute exposures session (with no blooming), was that I added dithering to my images. Could this be 'streaking' of the bright stars??

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rigel123
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5555345 - 12/05/12 09:31 AM

Can you post an example of what you are seeing so we can determine if it is blooming or trailing?

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*skyguy*
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5555395 - 12/05/12 10:07 AM

I've read about this "sudden blooming problem" happening on other Parsec 8300M cameras. They had to be sent back to Orion for replacement. Here's an example post:

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/OrionParsecCCDCameras/message/130

Sorry for the bad news ... I hope I'm wrong about your problem and it's something else ... Good Luck.


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Uptmor
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Reged: 02/16/10

Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: *skyguy*]
      #5555562 - 12/05/12 12:13 PM

I will post examples this evening when I get home from work. Thanks guys.

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Uptmor
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Reged: 02/16/10

Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5556089 - 12/05/12 06:00 PM

Here is a stretched image of the streaking. After closer inspection, I think I may have something going on with my mount or autoguiding software (MaximDL). It doesn't look like blooming.. More like after a while, my Dec guiding tried to kick in and had stiction or something. I am going to try again tonight and see if I can hear or see what is going on in the observatory.

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Uptmor
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Reged: 02/16/10

Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5556092 - 12/05/12 06:01 PM Attachment (42 downloads)

Here it is:

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rigel123
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5556250 - 12/05/12 07:25 PM

That looks much more like the mount just took off rather than blooming.

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Rick J
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: rigel123]
      #5556428 - 12/05/12 09:09 PM

Looks like the camera is precisely lined up with east at the top and the mount took off rapidly to the west faster than sidereal rate. There is what looks like scintillation along the trails that can't happen with blooming. It's as if it tries to make a guiding correction to the west that never turns off once started. What bothers me is how precisely the camera has to be aligned to the scope axes for this to happen. The trails are exact to the same column (allowing for the back and forth atmospheric scintillation). That is very difficult to achieve but does happen with blooming though true blooming looks very different. Not being familiar with the Parsec 8300M's defect I suppose some weird defect could cause this, sure nothing I've seen before would mimic scintillation this perfectly.

Rick


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korborh
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Rick J]
      #5556465 - 12/05/12 09:32 PM

How would the mount taking off explain why only some stars are blooming? Something else is perhaps at play here.

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Uptmor
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: korborh]
      #5556525 - 12/05/12 10:04 PM

I don't really think it is blooming any more after looking at the image further. I think it has something to do with Maxim trying to tell the mount to guide, but something weird happens. I had dither active for the first time. The odd thing is that every photo after this one looked the same. M42 is centered up and the streaks are the same. All this started happening about 30 minutes after the first exposure was taken. This same thing happened again after I disconnected the autoguider and Parsec and started over. It is hazy out right now, but probably ok to try a test..

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Rick J
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5556791 - 12/06/12 01:55 AM

My reaction was the same as korborh's until I applied a severe stretch to the image and found all but the very faint stars had the same streak. With JPG's limitations there is no way to stretch further but I'm quite convinced if you stretch the FITS even those stars will show it.

What does bother me however is that no NEW stars tracked in. I'd have expected some new stars but if this happened right at the end of the exposure that could explain it as there's nothing very bright to move in until it has moved quite a distance. So the move has to be right near the end of the exposure. Or it moved out then back and over precisely the same path. I find that difficult to swallow.

Try a field with plenty of bright stars beyond the FOV and see what happens when the streaks reoccur. Also rotate the camera so it is not aligned with RA and Dec. If it is the mount moving in RA then the streaks will be diagonal. If they still go straight down then there is a very odd camera issue it would appear.

Rick


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krneki
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Rick J]
      #5556871 - 12/06/12 04:04 AM

It looks like the shutter was not closed while the sensor was being read.

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Uptmor
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: krneki]
      #5557090 - 12/06/12 08:58 AM

Well, I did some imaging last night and the issue presented itself again in the exact same way with the dithering off and the autoguider settings the same as when I got successful images. krneki, I had the same thought about the shutter not closing all the way while being read. While it is cloudy out, I will take off the camera and see if the shutter is closing correctly. I will then remount it at a 45 degree angle to do a test relative to the mount.

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korborh
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Rick J]
      #5557130 - 12/06/12 09:27 AM

Rick, that makes sense.
There is also a small wiggle in the vertical lines which would be consistent with mount moving while blooming would be straight columns.
I am also curious to see experiment with rotating the camera and see if the lines rotate.


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Uptmor
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: korborh]
      #5557215 - 12/06/12 10:19 AM

The thing that really confuses me (not that this whole thing doesn't) is the dots above the brightest stars. Maybe there is something odd going on with the mount. Not sure what would cause those dots other than maybe a mount that is 'sticking' and then the autoguider kicks in and corrects it? That seems odd though. I will rotate the camera and see what happens. The skies look like they may be bad the next couple nights unfortunately. Maybe the clouds will hold off just enough to grab an image with the camera orientation changed. I will let you all know. Thank you again.

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Uptmor
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5557267 - 12/06/12 10:49 AM

My theory is this using everyone's input.. I believe the mount is moving during the exposure. This could be due to some sort of 'stiction' or commanded movement via the autoguider or both. We are using the Orion Awesome Autoguider, which we have had issues with the USB cable not remaining connected due to a cruddy design. This has caused weird movement in the past. However, due to the consistency of the issue at every exposure (and the fact that I only see one streak per exposure), it could be a weird Maxim command. Also, when I disconnected the cameras and reconnected them, the problem temporarily went away.
So, here will be my troubleshooting procedure:
1) recreate the problem with the same settings as before
2) Turn off autoguiding and see what happens. If the issue goes away, troubleshoot software and cabling (try PHD/look through wiring)
3) If issue persists, rotate the camera and see if the streaks rotate with it. If so, there is something weird wrong with the camera.
I will keep you informed. Thank you again!
Ryan


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Paramount
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Reged: 03/03/08

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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5557912 - 12/06/12 05:16 PM

Have a check to see that your shutter is set to the closed position in the settings prior to doing any exposures. A while back I opened the shutter to examine the sensor and forgot to close it and I got exactly the same effect that you are getting, so I would check this.
Best wishes
Gordon


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Uptmor
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Reged: 02/16/10

Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Paramount]
      #5557937 - 12/06/12 05:26 PM

How do I set the shutter position? Is it in maxim?

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Paramount
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5558580 - 12/07/12 01:03 AM

Yes, within the settings you can open the shutter but remember to close it after, the easiest way to check is to choose a luminance filter and then look straight down the tube assembly at the chip of the camera, you can see if the shutter is open or closed, it should be closed

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shams42
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Paramount]
      #5562462 - 12/09/12 01:31 PM

I once had a QHY9 with a shutter problem -- it looked very much like this. The "blooms" weren't perfectly straight. I think it's a problem with the camera.

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Uptmor
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Reged: 02/16/10

Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Paramount]
      #5563742 - 12/10/12 08:47 AM

Looks like it will be clear tonight (and the next couple nights). Will try to troubleshoot and report what happens.

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Jared
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5564110 - 12/10/12 12:53 PM

Bound to be a shutter problem. The odds of the mount being the issue seem very low to me--how would you get the perfect, vertical orientation of the "blooms"? I suspect your shutter is just sticking open sometimes, and since the 8300 is a full frame chip (no electronic shutter), as the rows are read out and charge is transferred to the next row, you keep accumulating light in each row during the download period.

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Alfredo Beltran
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Jared]
      #5564161 - 12/10/12 01:10 PM

Does anybody kno what kind of shutter does the Parsec have? Is it an even illumination shutter as in the Sbig and QSI, or an iris shutter?

Best regards

Alfredo


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Uptmor
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Reged: 02/16/10

Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Paramount]
      #5567822 - 12/12/12 03:18 PM

Well, it looks like the issue may have been caused by a 'jumping' mount. We have a CGE-Pro and the RA axis seems to be very sensitive to the amount of tension in the clutch knobs. They need to be just barely finger tight, or the RA 'ticks' and throws off the image. The tighter they are, the worse the jump. As the temperature goes down, the bolts will actually tighten up and it will start to jump. If I slightly loosen them, the problem goes away. From the forums I have read, it may be an issue with the motor to worm gear pressure (too tight). We will open up the mount and take a look when the weather warms up....

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Uptmor
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Reged: 02/16/10

Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5568954 - 12/13/12 10:29 AM

OK, you all are right. It is something going on with the shutter. Here is what happened last night:
1) I did a bunch of images to align the mount and focus (no problems)
2) Started my imaging routine (a set of 15 min exposures). The first image came back with the anomaly.
3) I reduced the exposure time to 1 second. The anomaly continued.
4) I went out and rotated the camera. The anomaly rotated with the camera (thus, it is happening at the camera).
5) I thought maybe this may be occurring due to my USB setup (16' active usb repeater to powered usb hub to camera). So, I brought my laptop out to the pier and removed the active repeater. I plugged the hub in to the laptop. The issue still was occurring.
6) I thought maybe it was a power issue to the camera. So replaced the AC adapter and used a straight 12V power to the camera. When I did that, I noticed the shutter did not give me the regular 'double click' that it should when powered up.. That is odd I thought..
7) I took an exposure.. no surprise, the issue was still there.
8) I decided to put the AC power back on the camera. When doing that, I unplugged the USB from the camera and plugged it back in. When I put the AC power back on, everything reset! Exposures looked great after that. I was tired an frustrated, so I shut it down and went to bad after that.

One thing I want to bring up, the last time this occured, my buddy just unplugged the USB from the camera and plugged it back in, and the issue corrected itself.. I didn't think of this last night (or I would have tried trouble shooting it), but do you think it could be a function of the powered hub or cable? Do you think the CCD and shutter are powered by the USB and something is going wrong there?


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Uptmor
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Reged: 02/16/10

Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5568961 - 12/13/12 10:32 AM

Oh, forgot to mention (and very important). After step #6 (power replacement with no shutter noise), I noticed I could not hear the shutter activating with exposures. Once I unplugged the USB from the camera, the shutter came back. It could definitely be the camera, but am a little curious why removing the USB from the camera (and not the power) would resolve it.

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Uptmor
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Reged: 02/16/10

Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: shams42]
      #5568966 - 12/13/12 10:34 AM

Did your QHY9 need work done to it to resolve? How much did that run you?

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morten
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5569088 - 12/13/12 11:39 AM

I had an Atik383+ with exactly the same problem (looked the same too). I don't think it is likely that there is a software solution to it. The shutter hardware has to be replaced, I'm afraid. Try to watch the window during some test exposures, you can directly see the shutter beeing sluggish.

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Uptmor
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: morten]
      #5569101 - 12/13/12 11:46 AM

Thank you Morten. I'm thinking the camera needs work.. bummer. Not sure how much this will run me ($). It is out of warranty.

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shams42
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5570009 - 12/13/12 09:43 PM

Quote:

Did your QHY9 need work done to it to resolve? How much did that run you?




All I had to do was disassemble the camera and reassemble it. This is what QHY support advised. The QHY9 is built on two PCBs that attach to one another via connector that is seated when the two PCBs are assembled into the case. Reseating that connector fixed the problem with my camera.


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andysea
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: shams42]
      #5570191 - 12/14/12 12:15 AM

I agree with the previous assessments it's a shutter problem. There was a very similar post in the Atik forum a while ago and it was about the 383 camera which has the same sensor and a shutter.

Andy


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Uptmor
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Reged: 02/16/10

Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: andysea]
      #5648126 - 01/28/13 01:07 PM

Well, just wanted to give everyone an update.
Orion sent the Parsec back untouched, as they said they will not fix any Parsec cameras as of about a month ago. If you are out of warranty, and your ccd breaks for some reason, Orion will not support you. Unless you can fix it yourself, you have an expensive paper weight.
My suggestion, NOBODY should purchase any of the Orion CCD products. As soon as they go out of warranty, you are hosed.
Just bought an SBIG ST-8300M like I should have to begin with..


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shams42
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Uptmor]
      #5649021 - 01/28/13 07:24 PM

Wow, that's awful! I hope the SBIG works for you. At least you can rest assured that they stand behind their product.

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RandallK
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: shams42]
      #5649579 - 01/29/13 12:46 AM

There's too many incidents of equipment failure that is "just out of warranty". If the companies that sell this (somewhat expensive) stuff don't follow up with any satisfaction, then the manufacturer should be traced down and take responsibility for the faulty device. My neighbour next door got a 55" big screen from a well known manufacturer. He had a 2 year extended warranty. On the week of the 3rd year....toast and no resolve. The only thing you can do is to bad mouth amongst club members or your cirlce of friends. (We won't do it here on the forum).
I fully sympathize with you and I would refrain from buying from any vendor in the future that deals that way.


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Hilmi
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Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: RandallK]
      #5649632 - 01/29/13 02:02 AM

Check the law, some countries have laws that the manufacturer has to stand behind their product and provide repair services for a certain number of years after selling the product even if at a fee. At least if you repair it you can sell it.

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flolic
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Loc: Split, Croatia
Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: Hilmi]
      #5650728 - 01/29/13 04:50 PM

Uptmor, if you want to sell your broken camera, I am interested

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Uptmor
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Reged: 02/16/10

Re: Parsec 8300M Sudden Blooming new [Re: flolic]
      #5677324 - 02/13/13 09:55 AM

Sorry, already sold it
BTW, the SBIG is friggin awesome. A Ferrari compared to the Parsec (a Kia).
Clear skies!
Ryan


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