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olivdeso
super member


Reged: 02/20/11

Loc: Paris FR
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5407714 - 09/07/12 04:02 AM

Hello guys, is there any body here who tried Guidemaster?
Because the "on the fly sracking" feature of guidemaster may be interestung for such small exposures,. Stacking 5 or 6 ftames should give a better snr...but not sure it can work with the PG...


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PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: olivdeso]
      #5408189 - 09/07/12 12:07 PM

Should work. FlyCap 1.X give the WDM driver which can be used by most of that guiding software.

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vikan
member
*****

Reged: 10/05/10

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5463136 - 10/09/12 11:58 PM

I just bought one of these and i am having trouble installing it on my windows 7 machine.
I installed the flycapture software and connected the camera using a usb cable. The led on the camera lights up but my laptop doesn't see it.
Any suggestions?


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PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: vikan]
      #5463251 - 10/10/12 01:57 AM

If you have 64-bit Win7 then you need to install both 32 and 64 bit software sets.

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vikan
member
*****

Reged: 10/05/10

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5463886 - 10/10/12 01:48 PM

i tried it on both 32bit and 64bit machines. I will try installing both on the 64bit system. thanks.

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morsanimi
member


Reged: 12/16/11

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: vikan]
      #5532423 - 11/21/12 02:50 PM

Hello

has anyone tried this camera on other software like MaximDl or something else?


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Mark Swift
newbie


Reged: 12/28/12

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: morsanimi]
      #5619635 - 01/12/13 06:50 PM

Guys, check out: http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/155930-very-cheap-pgr-firefly-03-mono-on-eb...

Here you will find links to a Frenhc site that includes ASCOM drivers! Further, a method to boost the gain. It's an awesome guide cam!

Regards from the UK,

Mark


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PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: Mark Swift]
      #5619679 - 01/12/13 07:15 PM

Firefly is turning out quite nicely. The higher gain can be set by modifying the register entries, but maybe future firmware will give it in a more sane way

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pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5620205 - 01/13/13 05:44 AM

Indeed,
I can resume my present experience in tuning the camera sensitivity using the internal sensor and camera registers.
Have also a look to the discussion (mostly in French) at:
http://www.webastro.net/forum/showthread.php?t=97230

The camera sensor is very similar to that of the qhy5v camera. The qhy5v shows performances similar to those of dmk21:
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/3910167/Main...

This indicates that the low sensitivity of the camera is not due to an intrinsic limit of the sensor, but it is related to how the sensor is tuned.

The good news is that the sensor can be tuned using the sensor and camera registers following the manuals:
http://www.isgchips.com/pdf/mt9v022.book_data_sheet.pdf
https://pixhawk.ethz.ch/_media/dev/electronics/cameras/firefly_mv_technical_r...
and
http://www.ptgrey.com/support/downloads/documents/Point%20Grey%20Digital%20Ca...

There are 3 registers that can be used to this goal:

a) register 2C hex of the sensor (discovered by Thx8411): the reference potential of the AD converter. The default setting is 1.2 Volt. The output signal can be increased by a factor x1.2 by putting the value 00 in this register. Indeed such a value reduces to 1.0 Volt the reference potential.

b) the 80 register of the sensor: digital_gain. In the 8-bit mode the digital-gain setting is important because it selects which are bits lost in the 10-bit output of the AD converter to the 8-bit format. However one should use just the x2 amplification (put F8 in the register) to avoid artifacts of interpolation that appear if higher values are used. In the 16-bit mode digital-gain setting is not important since no bit is lost

c) the register 820 hex of the camera (not of the sensor): the analog gain. The gain can be controlled using the camera software. However the gain is limited to 12dB, that corresponds to a 40 hex value of this register. The sensor however supports a maximum amplification of 24dB that it is selected by putting the value of 7F in this register (FF gives the same amplification since only 7 bits are used). The sensor manual discourages to use amplifications beyond 12dB. However I used the gain up to 24dB without apparent damages to the camera.

For guiding a low fps rate is used and a 16-bit mode (limited to 40fps) is to be preferred (and the b tuning is irrelevant). For planetary imaging, when a high fps rate is needed, a 8-bit mode (limited to 61fps) is to be preferred.

The histogram coverage can be increased with all these tricks by a total of 2*2*1.2=4.8 factor!


In practice the registers can be manipulated in this way:

- connect the camera
- open Firecapture
- open Flycap2 and click "configure selected"
- in Flycap2 go in the window "camera registers"
- follow these instructions:

to reduce the reference potential of the AD-converter (amplification x1.2 of signal):
1) in the window "camera registers"
type register (hex) : 1A00
value: 00 00 00 2C
2) click on "write register"
3) type register (hex) : 1A04
value: 00 00 00 00
4) click on "write register"

to increase the digital gain (x2):
1) in the window "camera registers"
type register (hex) : 1A00
value: 00 00 00 80
2) click on "write register"
3) type register (hex) : 1A04
value: 00 00 00 F8
4) click on "write register"

to increase the analog-gain to the 24dB limit (x2 factor with respect to the maximum value allowed by direct gain changes):
1) in the window "camera registers"
type register (hex) : 820
value: 82 00 00 7F
2) click on "write register"

Notice that if you change the gain in the standard way the analog-gain (register 820 of the camera) is set back to values <12dB. Instead the sensor registers 80 and 2C are not modified as far as the camera is on.

- use Firecapture to capture the avi file

Using these tricks, it is possible to use the camera at f/27 and Shutter times as small as 7.6ms and still cover 80% of the 8-bit histogram on Jupiter!

Edited by pippo (01/13/13 08:54 AM)


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PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5620220 - 01/13/13 06:30 AM

Here: http://pmamot.blogspot.com/2013/01/reczne-podwyzszenie-wartosci-gain.html is an example of the higher gain in action.

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pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5620291 - 01/13/13 08:39 AM

Did you use in this example only the analog-gain or also the digital one?

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PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5620292 - 01/13/13 08:40 AM

Thats my friend website. He only changed the gain at 820 hex.

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pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5620313 - 01/13/13 09:00 AM

I did not perform a systematic study on this, but I think that, in order to optimize the signal/noise ratio, the following is probably the best strategy:

1) use the x2 digital gain (80 hex register) + the x1.2 reference_potential (2C register) and tune the analog gain to cover the histogram
2) if the 12dB analog gain is not sufficient, use the 820 register to increase the analog_gain beyond the 12dB limit

Will be useful to report systematic tests on these strategies

Edited by pippo (01/13/13 09:12 AM)


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pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates [Re: pippo]
      #5629384 - 01/18/13 06:04 AM Attachment (31 downloads)

Good news,
I contacted Edelmann, Torsten the author of Firecapture.
He reacted very rapidly in a very effective manner: he has implemented the modification of the 3 registers in the beta version build #37.

You can download the code here:

http://firecapture.wonderplanets.de/betas.html

A big thanks to Torsten for his code and his availability to our community!

To manipulate the 3 registers, there are new controls into the GUI under the additional controls (right-click or left-click on the gamma control to open the popup).

You should see:

1) "Gain2x". This controls the digital-gain. Namely which are the bits not considered in the 10bit to 8-bit conversion. The button puts F8 in the register 80 of the sensor. This corresponds to an increase x2 of the signal (independently of the actual value of the analog-gain).

2) "SignalBoost". This controls the reference potential of the AD converter. The button puts 00 in the 2C register of the sensor. This corresponds to an increase x1.2 of the signal (independently of the actual value of the analog-gain).

3) "GainBoost". This sets the analog-gain beyond the 12dB standard limit. It puts 7F in the 820 register of the camera. This corresponds to a 24dB gain level. For the moment the intermediate values of the analog-gain between 40 and 7F are not implemented. If you need these you should use Flycap2 as described above.
Notice that the off-state of this third button (of just this one) does not work, i.e. it does not restore back the standard level of the analog-gain. However, to restore the standard values, you have just to move the standard control of the gain.


On Jupiter (with average turbulence) at f/27 (with a Mak Intes 703 + barlow, Astrotech Voyager manual AZ mount, I have to manually follow the planet! No space for a bigger mount on my balcony) with very short exposition time, no IR filter, and the 3 new buttons activated:

FPS=61
Shutter=4.998ms

I have the following:

Histogramm(min)=0
Histogramm(max)=178
Histogramm=69%
Noise(avg.deviation)=27.09

Not bad (the histogram)!

Edited by pippo (01/20/13 06:28 AM)


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chboss
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/24/08

Loc: Zurich Switzerland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5632648 - 01/20/13 04:53 AM

Great stuff I have been using this camera since September... nice for such a cheap piece of equipment.

regards
Chris


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pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: chboss]
      #5632675 - 01/20/13 06:49 AM

The performances/price ratio is close to infinity! I am considering to buy a second one...

Edited by pippo (01/20/13 11:10 AM)


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zAmbonii
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/08

Loc: Ypsilanti, MI
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5633192 - 01/20/13 01:16 PM

I had put aside the MV after my first couple of times out because of the gain issue. I need to give it a try again to see if I can get better results! Now if the weather will cooperate some, I would be able to do so.

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pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: zAmbonii]
      #5634296 - 01/21/13 01:56 AM

I have both the spc900nc and the Firefly and I did some comparative test. Without the register manipulation on planets, the low-light performances of the Firefly are competitive with those of the spc900nc only if the two cameras are used without the IR filter.

However the situation is radically changed with the 3-register manipulation. Indeed with the three button activated, the covered histogram is amplified by a factor of 4.8. The performances of the Firefly become by far superior with respect to those of the spc900nc (in term of the signal/noise ratio for a given shutter time).

I suggest you to always activate the "Gain2x" and "SignalBoost" buttons, and to play with the standard gain-control to cover 60-80% of the histogram. Just in the case that the maximum gain is not sufficient to cover the histogram, the third button "GainBoost" should be used.


Edited by pippo (01/21/13 05:34 AM)


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Mark Swift
newbie


Reged: 12/28/12

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5639398 - 01/23/13 06:39 PM

Hello Pippo,

Mark here off the French forum site :-)

Okay, so I've tried the latest Firecapture Beta... I'm some what confused though. Using FlyCap2, I get great result, little noise and a very bright image! Using Firecapture beta however, my results are not so good, the image is darker and there is a lot of noise (If I use the dark frame feature I lose a lot of detail!).

Do you know what causes this?

Question, if we are running x64, do we need to install the x32 version, or will the x64 version work with the new Flycapture beta?

Mark

P.S. Ignore me, I failed to take into account the night mode in firecapture and the effect it had on illumination in the dark, ha ha!

Edited by Mark Swift (01/23/13 07:39 PM)


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pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: Mark Swift]
      #5639935 - 01/24/13 01:55 AM

Dear Mark,
could you be more specific?

I get identical results with flycap2 (+register manipulation) and firecapture beta version (if identical settings are used in the two codes).

Could you verify that the settings are identical?

Is the gamma button switched off in firecapture (it increases a lot the noise)?


What do you mean by:

"my results are not so good, the image is darker and there is a lot of noise"

Are you referring to the action of the 3 additional buttons or the "image is darker" with respect to that of flycap2 already without the buttons activated?

Did you try the effect of each button individually?

Can you post a screenshot (with the histogram activated) that illustrates your problem.

Edited by pippo (01/24/13 03:35 AM)


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