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Problem With Orion Starshoot Solar System Imager 4

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#1 Darryl Hedges

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 12:22 PM

I just purchased the Orion Starshoot Solar System Color Imager IV camera and tried it out last night using my 12" Meade LX200GPS SCT. I followed the directions, hooked it up to my laptop, focused the SCT using an eyepiece, removed the star diagonal and inserted the 2" to 1.25" adapter into the draw tube — but no picture. Racking the draw tube forward and backward didn't change anything. I'm wondering if I need to remove the William Optics focuser from the telescope, mount the camera into the rear of the SCT and use the Meade's manual focuser to get an image. I'm pretty sure the problem has to do with getting the correct distance to the focal plane. Any thoughts, suggestions, similar experiences, hardware recommendations, etc.. Thanks!

#2 RedLionNJ

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 01:00 PM

With the focus range available in the 12" SCT, I'd be very doubtful you have to remove anything from the back in order to reach focus.

Do you see anything (light/dark as you pass your hand over it) without the scope?

Grant

#3 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 01:07 PM

You must have the object in focus to see it. When you remove the diagonal you will need to change the focus significantly. Practice in the daytime or on the bright Moon. That camera has a feature where it will give you all black (no noise) unless there is a sufficient amount of signal. Once you find Saturn try turning the focus knob. You will see it go dim as it goes out of focus and the all of a sudden everything will go black, much sooner than with other cameras.

You will want to know how far, and in which direction, to turn the focus knob after swapping the eyepiece/diagonal for the camera. That way you can be nearly in focus and can then find stuff.

#4 Red Brick

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 01:28 PM

As an owner of this product, my opinion as this device only works on very bright objects. Moon and bright planets, it has a 1.4MB sensor which has limited light gathering potential. I think this is a great practice camera for CCD imaging and video imaging for the price, however once you want to step up to deeper space objects you need to step up in product. I own a number of ORION products.

#5 Dr.Don

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Posted 17 September 2014 - 06:10 PM

I am having an absolutely terrible time trying to get this to work.  The images are almost always totally washed out white.  I have tried every permutation of auto/default, frame rate, gamma ...  and nothing helps.

 

The only thing I did notice was when recording video the first 1-2 frames have reasonable exposure but by frame 4 it is all-white blob.  I did manage to get some dim images of Saturn using the preview window but a video recording results in the same big white blob.  I'm using Mac.

 

Any ideas?


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#6 MtnGoat

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 07:44 PM

I just picked up one of these used. I'm having a heck of a time with the black frame behavior. I was really excited when I got it, now i'm ticked. 

 

I tried it on Jupiter last nite for the first time, unbarlowed it was fine. Close enough to focus from by centering eyepiece I guess. Played with the sliders, got a decent image.

 

Ok, now lets take it up a notch with a 2x barlow. I swap in the barlow, black screen. Ok, whatever...I start dialing CW on the SCT knob....nothing after many turns. Whatever. Back in with the centering eyepiece, get it close, replace camera. 

 

Now let's try CCW, I must have had it wrong...nope. 5 turns later, still nothing. That is when I really start paying attention and I see the frame isn't 'empty' in an out of focus way, it is full on black...as if the camera is shutting off. 

 

I tried my Meade planetary instead, worked up to the barlow no problem. Yes, a few turns out of focus but the giant blob is showing when the barlow is installed. Now I swap back to the Orion...black screen and occasionally jupiter (out of focus)...but popping on and off liike a loose connection. Very frustrating. 

 

what can I do? 



#7 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 07:52 PM

See my comment #3 above. During the time you tried to focus the planet probably moved out of the field of view.

 

Practice on something bright. Notice how far and what direction you have to turn the focus knob when switching from no Barlow to your 2x Barlow.

 

Once you have it on Jupiter with no Barlow be sure it is centered. Adjust the exposure settings so the image is as bright as you can get it (way overexposed). Then turn the focus knob the amount you need to be in focus with the 2x Barlow. Now carefully and quickly install the 2x Barlow. If you bump it you may lose the planet. At least you then know it should be seen and you can wiggle the scope trying to find Jupiter whiz across the screen instead of turning the focus knob to make it appear.



#8 moonwatching ferret

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:03 PM

 Take it from my experience with that particular cam. as WWG stated you need a significant signal for the cam to pick up anything I once tried for hours to get an image of saturn with an 80 ed everything was spot on but the planet was to dim . The second you rack an image out of focus its gone. as stated in an earlier post try with the moon first . this way you know your focused. then the next thing to do is to mke certain your finderscope is dead on. trying to get saturn on a laptop screen will be a nightmare if your not dead on. I marked my focus tube to make sure my scope was focused with different barlows.. now with my asi 290 all I have to do if i am not sure of focus is increase the exposure. itl capture a planet like jupiter way out of focus. I also use an iluminated retical 12 mm eyepiece in a 100ed for a finder now finding objects is super easy. good luck. I personally love the camera and it does take better color images of the moon then even my so called top of the line or high end asi290 color 



#9 MtnGoat

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:05 PM

WarmWeatherGuy, on 20 Mar 2017 - 5:52 PM, said:
See my comment #3 above. During the time you tried to focus the planet probably moved out of the field of view.

Practice on something bright. Notice how far and what direction you have to turn the focus knob when switching from no Barlow to your 2x Barlow.

Once you have it on Jupiter with no Barlow be sure it is centered. Adjust the exposure settings so the image is as bright as you can get it (way overexposed). Then turn the focus knob the amount you need to be in focus with the 2x Barlow. Now carefully and quickly install the 2x Barlow. If you bump it you may lose the planet. At least you then know it should be seen and you can wiggle the scope trying to find Jupiter whiz across the screen instead of turning the focus knob to make it appear.

 

Yep, did all that. It's the usual don't bump it while swapping game, and turn the gain, exposure, brightness up so you can see the giant blob. Every time I swapped back to something else, ol Jupe is still in the middle. 

 

I don't suppose there is any way to kill the darned blanking feature. I thought it was something wrong with the cables or camera until I googled and this thread popped up...and threads all over the world in other forums. 

 

The design engineer who did this needs a sound spanking. If the S/N is crap, I want to see the crap so I can tune it. It's a 10" aimed at Jupiter, for heavens sakes...even at F20 that should be enough when it's not even out of focus enough to see the secondary shadow. 

 

So the bottom line is, learn to live with it and work around it, or not. I'll mess with it some more now that I know this is how it works, but I'm not super impressed so far. 


Edited by MtnGoat, 20 March 2017 - 08:11 PM.


#10 ToxMan

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:13 PM

Did anyone try setting up telescope and camera during the day, focus on a terrestrial object in the distance, to see if they can get the camera to operate?

 

I would test the camera this way, making note about where you achieved focus, so you are close when you go to use it at night. But, the camera settings are going to be different, ie gain, gamma, brightness. I don't think the frame rate or shutter speed will need changing. But, the dimmer the object the slower shutter speed and frame rates may be needed to have a decent signal and bright enough subject.

 

BTW, it's always nice to provide screen shots of your software camera settings, etc, or at least provide the info...often, it helps to know when diagnosing a problem and giving a solution. Most of us can't glean much from simple complaints, like "no matter what I do, I can't operate the camera." Just sayin'



#11 Dr.Don

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Posted 24 November 2018 - 08:47 PM

I upgraded to the StarShoot 5Mp solar system camera a few years ago.  It works much better than the entry model 4.

I don't get the black screen or object becoming a featureless white blob. Daytime images are fantastic, but who buys a solar system imager for that?

 

I have a Celestron C9.25.  I center the object using a 6mm eyepiece, which is about the same FOV as the camera. Swapping in the camera carefully frequently leaves the object on the CCD but rarely I have knocked the scope so much that I can't find it again.

 

Focusing is very difficult, which is probably like most cameras.

The software is still a piece of garbage.

- The control screen is still white, not red, and the brightness can't be dimmed. 

- Some of the control settings seem to have no effect.

- The software is 32 bit, so image files are restricted to 2GB, which limits how much data can be sent to

  image processing software.

- The software is proprietary and old. 

- The hardware output is proprietary so no other software can be used to control it.

- From rates can vary by 50x within the same image capture.

- The software occasionally claims the frame capture rate is higher than what is physically possible. I have several times  

  set the exposure to 10 ms and have the software report a frame capture significantly about the theoretical maximum

  of 100 frames/s.

 

But sometimes I get nice results.

 

(Note the attached image sizes here are under 20 KB)

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Mars 0528 1280 AP22.png
  • Jupiter 2 moons 1.jpg


#12 MtnGoat

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 02:23 PM

Great shots!




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