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Equipment Discussions >> Electronically Assisted Astronomy

Pages: 1
mattflastro
Vendor - Astrovideo Systems


Reged: 07/31/09

Loc: Brevard County , FL
x1024 Lntech Modified Menu Additional Features
      #5855281 - 05/12/13 11:33 AM Attachment (40 downloads)

After some digging around it some additional features have been added to the Lntech camera menu which are NOT present in the original version:

- DIGITAL ZOOM adjustable from x1 to x10 useful for easy focusing

- FRAME FREEZE on/off - indefinitely freeze the image on screen

- UNEVEN LENS CORRECTION - similar to using a flat field, only live - good to compensate for illumination drop toward the field of view edge .

Also the camera can generate color bars for monitor connection testing and crosshairs for image centering/framing .


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carlov
journeyman


Reged: 04/20/13

Re: x1024 Lntech Modified Menu Additional Features new [Re: mattflastro]
      #5855365 - 05/12/13 12:15 PM

I'm just waiting for the arriving of the same camera, in the board version.
Your additional features are very interesting, can you add any other informations?
thank you.

Edited by carlov (05/12/13 12:27 PM)


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nytecam
Postmaster


Reged: 08/20/05

Loc: London UK
Re: x1024 Lntech Modified Menu Additional Features new [Re: carlov]
      #5855408 - 05/12/13 12:37 PM

Welcome Carlov to the CN Forum

Hi Mattflastro - what LNtech cam are you using


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mattflastro
Vendor - Astrovideo Systems


Reged: 07/31/09

Loc: Brevard County , FL
Re: x1024 Lntech Modified Menu Additional Features new [Re: carlov]
      #5855460 - 05/12/13 01:01 PM

It took since December of 2012 going back and forth with the camera vendors and manufacturer to get these added features in the menu.
They were requested at the suggestion of some local astronomers who tried out the standard version .

It's not clear if Lntech ships now this modified menu with the added options to everybody who buys the cameras from now on or it was a one-off customization at my request .
To me they claimed in their emails this was a special order but of course it could've been said just to bump up the price a few $.
The datasheet for the camera DSP shows it supports some sort of customization thru a programming jig but I wasn't able to figure it out yet due to lack of information .

It would be interesting to see which version you are getting, please post a follow up when you receive it .


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ccs_hello
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/03/04

Re: x1024 Lntech Modified Menu Additional Features new [Re: mattflastro]
      #5855489 - 05/12/13 01:27 PM

Matt,

One common complain on LnTech 300 is its AGC setting has no manual gain override (but OFF, or all automatic.)
I have tried to get it improved through dealer but not successful.

Do you think that feature is in (or cloud be put in)?

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


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John59
professor emeritus


Reged: 11/06/11

Loc: Round Rock,TX
Re: x1024 Lntech Modified Menu Additional Features new [Re: mattflastro]
      #5855672 - 05/12/13 02:59 PM

Mattflastro,
This is really great news to hear!
If they are willing to make modifications for a price difference, I would invest in another unit myself.
Having manual gain control is a must however.
They should really think about adding these features, manual gain control and re-branding as an intro astrocam which is what the old StellaCams were. I still use my StellaCam III today.


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mattflastro
Vendor - Astrovideo Systems


Reged: 07/31/09

Loc: Brevard County , FL
Re: x1024 Lntech Modified Menu Additional Features new [Re: ccs_hello]
      #5855703 - 05/12/13 03:15 PM

I talked with all involved (dealers and manufacturers of cameras and DSP) and the short answer is NO.

The reason is that for the customised menu, there are options already implemented in the DSP software and they have a sort of configuration jig to configure the various options that are active in the cameras DSP.

But for anything that is not already in the predesigned DSP options , such as manual gain control, it would require the manufacturer to go back to the engineering design company that supplied to them the camera design and the DSP software. That is always a different company than the manufacturer and it always costs money .

Even if all the astro video cam buyers in the world would pool up and only buy Lntech, the volume would be too small to justify the engineering change cost and managing a separate item/part number for the astro modified DSP .

As I posted here , I did manage to get around that limitation by using a separate small microcontroller to take over the analog front end and CCD power and drive signals (that is required to achieve amp glow elimination, lower power dissipation and significantly lower noise) .

Unfortunately my solution is not really doable for the typical DIY because it involves access to a microprocessor programmer, surface mount soldering skills, owning oscilloscopes and/or other troubleshooting tools and more electronics knowledge than the average astronomer.

I also made a remote handbox for the cameras, which is not just a 5 button thingy duplicating the back panel (back panel uses the resistors chain scheme to encode 5 keys onto one analog line) .

My remote has a micro USB connector for pc remote control, a RS485 for long distance remote control , and some dedicated buttons for the manual gain control and FREEZE function in addition to the 5 menu buttons .
All commands from remote to cam are transmitted digitally .

If there's a group interest in this (we already know it's not meant to be a mallincam) I could have an extra number of these remotes and auxilliary boards made (the board that installs inside the camera and has the extra microcontroller plus all the power and CCD drive circuits).

Anybody who is interested could contact me and we'll see if a small production run is justified.
Anybody interested would get them at cost from me , don't want to make any profit from such a retrofit kit. Just want to help people get access to a simple technology that makes video astro more affordable , the way it should be .
I deal with circuit board design , fabrication , programming and testing and local contract manufacturers (for PCB fabrication and pick and place of SMD parts) for my day job all the time anyway .

The fact that the camera DSP can't be modified for manual gain control and the additional board is needed is actually a great advantage .
Additional control and circuitry is needed anyway to reduce noise, dark current and eliminate amp glow , so even if the DSP could've been modified, all the additional stuff would still require an extra board .

Because this modification doesn't rely at all on the camera DSP and has all functionality inside its own microcontroller , it would work with all cameras that use Exview 2 or Superhad 2 and have an Analog Devices front end .

IT must be also said that most camera manufacturers don't allow even the AGC to increase the gain to the max value that the analog front end is capable of , because of fears of customers complaining about noise . But if the camera has its circuits for noise reduction, the gain can be increased to the max AND with less noise .

Samsung cams for example work with this mod and would benefit from amp glow and noise reduction plus higher gain and manual gain control , pc control without using Coaxitron and using USB .


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mattflastro
Vendor - Astrovideo Systems


Reged: 07/31/09

Loc: Brevard County , FL
Re: x1024 Lntech Modified Menu Additional Features new [Re: John59]
      #5857439 - 05/13/13 12:52 PM

Quote:

Mattflastro,
This is really great news to hear!
If they are willing to make modifications for a price difference, I would invest in another unit myself.
Having manual gain control is a must however.
They should really think about adding these features, manual gain control and re-branding as an intro astrocam which is what the old StellaCams were. I still use my StellaCam III today.



Astronomy is such a tiny market compared to the surveillance video market that it's not worth the engineering cost for manufacturers to come up with an astro cam .

These people are making at least thousands of cameras per day in the normal course of their surveillance CCTV business.

That's why I HAD TO go ahead with this project and add to these cams what's missing in order to make then useful for astro .


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Atl
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 04/13/12

Re: x1024 Lntech Modified Menu Additional Features new [Re: ccs_hello]
      #5860988 - 05/14/13 09:23 PM

Quote:

Matt,

One common complain on LnTech 300 is its AGC setting has no manual gain override (but OFF, or all automatic.)
I have tried to get it improved through dealer but not successful.

Do you think that feature is in (or cloud be put in)?

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello




I just received an LNTech300 today. Contrary to your statement there now seems to be 4 AGC settings. There is off and then 3 levels of intensity. Is this how your camera is or is this new?


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Atl
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 04/13/12

Re: x1024 Lntech Modified Menu Additional Features new [Re: mattflastro]
      #5860998 - 05/14/13 09:32 PM

Quote:

After some digging around it some additional features have been added to the Lntech camera menu which are NOT present in the original version:

- DIGITAL ZOOM adjustable from x1 to x10 useful for easy focusing

- FRAME FREEZE on/off - indefinitely freeze the image on screen

- UNEVEN LENS CORRECTION - similar to using a flat field, only live - good to compensate for illumination drop toward the field of view edge .




Funny thing here. I just received an LN300 that I ordered last week. The features you mention here are standard on this camera...and they did ship it with the IR filter off in a little bag. Is this just how the camera is shipping now? OR are they making a special version for astronomy?


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mattflastro
Vendor - Astrovideo Systems


Reged: 07/31/09

Loc: Brevard County , FL
Re: x1024 Lntech Modified Menu Additional Features new [Re: Atl]
      #5861090 - 05/14/13 10:21 PM

Quote:

Quote:

After some digging around it some additional features have been added to the Lntech camera menu which are NOT present in the original version:

- DIGITAL ZOOM adjustable from x1 to x10 useful for easy focusing

- FRAME FREEZE on/off - indefinitely freeze the image on screen

- UNEVEN LENS CORRECTION - similar to using a flat field, only live - good to compensate for illumination drop toward the field of view edge .




Funny thing here. I just received an LN300 that I ordered last week. The features you mention here are standard on this camera...and they did ship it with the IR filter off in a little bag. Is this just how the camera is shipping now? OR are they making a special version for astronomy?



I'd be curious to learn this too. I had to ask them for months for these features. Maybe they realised that there's a niche for their cameras if they add some astro friendly features. Or maybe they made a whole batch of cameras like that , I have no idea how many at a time is their production batch programmer doing.
Another feature I forgot to mention is there is an option for 650nm OR 850nm factory installed IR cut filter. You can request this at buy time . I would get the 850nm filter installed next time, because it's free and it is exactly what's needed for astro. It also eliminates the need of an external filter, less air to glass surfaces , less possibility of ghost images, and did I mention it's free?


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Atl
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 04/13/12

Re: x1024 Lntech Modified Menu Additional Features new [Re: mattflastro]
      #5861133 - 05/14/13 10:35 PM

I too am wondering since I informed them of the purpose for my order when I requested no IR filter...so I missed on that option. No matter I have a good astro IR filter. They did include one in a bag, but I do not know which one.

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mattflastro
Vendor - Astrovideo Systems


Reged: 07/31/09

Loc: Brevard County , FL
Re: x1024 Lntech Modified Menu Additional Features new [Re: nytecam]
      #5873667 - 05/20/13 12:44 PM

Sorry for the very late answer, I originally missed your question. I'm using LN300-11672 and LN300-11639 cameras.

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