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DIY Camera for EAA: Better Than LN300?

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#1 photo444

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 02:04 PM

After stumbled into video EAA last September I have bought an LN300 from Aliexpress. When it has arrived a c-mount lens (75mm f.l. F1.9) was mounted, placed on DIY Equatorial goto mount (http://www.cloudynig...t-8-goto-mount/), and pointed somewhere toward sky.  Many stars displayed on the screen excited me so much, I was jumping from M31, M42... A few shots of 17sec frames (B/W) of M31 showed the dust lanes.  When I tried to use LN300 as a guide scope and pointed to M45, it was great.  I was able to see those DSOs though my small aperture lenses and telescope from my own backyard! It was never possible with my 6"F5 scope through EP and light polluted sky.

 

While I was delving into this subject through this forum I was thinking of getting another camera like DSO or similar which may be better than LN300. It was when a private communication with David B in NM started and SC2000 board camera (http://www.securityc...Cable%2dUS.html) was gently suggested.  So I ordered two at $23 each (even free shipping - three days). David helped me to go through settings of parameters after building a box for the camera board.  Guess what? As David promised, this cheap camera outperformed LN300 through indoor tests we have performed.

 

I would like to share my joy of this camera as well as how I put together a simple box camera with SC2000. It is dirt cheap and works up to my satisfaction :) and the building is very simple.  Anyone who can make holes with hand drill can make it.  I will later put some TEC as well in the box.

 

The shipping was very quick (but never quick to those who are eagerly waiting). Packaging was very neat and I was surprised to see that because I have been used to sloppy packages sent by some e-bay venders. 

 

The box contained everything you need except a box to put in.  They sell the box, too, at only $2.00 (http://www.securityc...M-Portable.html) which I have on order, I will review when it comes.  The wiring harness has OSD joystick as well.  lens mounts also were included as you see in the last picture. I will show how I put these things in a box in the next post.

(The third picture was taken after IR filter was removed. It was very simple. I followed the instruction given by David. What a great guy! :))

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • BOX1.JPG
  • Back Side.JPG
  • Front Side.JPG
  • Contents.JPG

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#2 David B in NM

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 02:45 PM

For those wondering about this camera.  It's based on an RJ10 DSP and uses the same ccd as the popular Samsung Models (ICX638 and ICX639).   Although the Sense-up function is listed at x512, it does have x1024 ability in the Lens (submenu) when you click on the Elec and move your joystick to the left. It has the ability to do full color with and without AGC and DNR also.  There is also a "User" defined Gamma Setting that allows adjustment in .05 increments.

 

Paul wanted another camera as a guider and I suggested this camera to him via pm because he was quite knowledgeable in electronics and liked DIY projects.

 

His initial experiments showed he could achieve the same result at x128 (2 seconds) with AGC and DNR on low with this camera that it took the LN300 x1024 with no AGC or DNR (17 secs) to achieve (both in color).

 

All in all, it's not bad for the price if one wishes to make their own camera and get their feet wet in EAA.  It appears as though Paul's LN300 is now going to guide and this camera will be his new EAA device.

 

Congrats on the camera Paul.  I believe you'll enjoy it.

 

David B in NM


Edited by David B in NM, 19 January 2015 - 02:51 PM.


#3 wcstarguy

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 04:19 PM

Thanks for the heads up on this. I have the DSO-S package but have only been able to use it indoors due to time/weather/and such...I wanted another inexpensive camera like this to use as a finder and guider down the road so I ordered the camera and box enclosure. Seems like a great price for a decent camera. WC



#4 David B in NM

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 04:25 PM

WC,

 

You'll find the DSO is about 2x as fast as this board cam.

 

David B in NM



#5 wcstarguy

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 04:29 PM

That's about what I was thinking looking at the relative sensitivity ratings on the AVS site (under Technology tab). I still think at the price it will work well for a finder cam or guide cam later on when I get a better mount. wc



#6 KarlL

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 06:56 PM

David & photo444 -

 

What's the output?

 

Regards,

 

Karl



#7 David B in NM

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 07:04 PM

Karl,

 

Can you please define what you mean by output?

 

Thanks,

 

David B in NM



#8 photo444

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 07:43 PM

Karl,

 

I and David have tested my camera last night.

1. LN300, no AGC and DNR, no Sense-up, brightness 30, and Exposure is x1024

2. SC2000, same as above

3. SC2000, AGC low, DNR low, and Exposure x128 (Next post because of the size)

 

Lens was 135mm F2.8

Attached Thumbnails

  • LN300.png
  • SC2000-B30.png

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#9 photo444

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 07:45 PM

The last picture. This third picture demonstrates the power of AGC.  You can even see the reflected image on the glass! Pictures were taken in a room where light was turned off.  I think there still are a lots of rooms for better combinations of settings to get better output.  It is clear that SC2000 already outperforms over LN300.  The price tag is impressive. $23 for the camera board, $3.99 for the case, and your labor. I think its performance/cost is remarkable.

 

Paul

Attached Thumbnails

  • SC2000-X128.png

Edited by photo444, 19 January 2015 - 08:32 PM.

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#10 photo444

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 08:10 PM

Going back to DIY, I used a small project case from Radio Shack.  The cover plate was drilled for 4 of 2-56 screws to mount the camera board, the the center was drilled and opened to 1.0 inch for the lens mount.  It is a very simple project.  The camera board an the case were conveniently spaced with two of 2-56 nuts. One shown in this post will be used for imaging, and another board in a different square housing will be at the focal plane of a Lensless Shmidt Telescope (6").  My LN300 will be happy to be a guide scope from now.

Attached Thumbnails

  • case1.jpg
  • case2.jpg
  • case3.jpg
  • case4.jpg
  • Finished Camera.jpg

Edited by photo444, 19 January 2015 - 08:20 PM.


#11 *skyguy*

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 12:05 AM

What method did "David B in Mn" suggest to remove the IR filter?

 

Thanks .....



#12 photo444

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 05:58 AM

Hold the board on a vise horizontally, while grabbing the IR filter with a pair of tweezers, heat the filter with a soldering tip.  As you heat it up try to wriggle the filter. At some point you can slide the filter off with out any effort. After cooled clean the window with a q-tip using a small amount of Windex. Then rub gently with lens cleaning fabric.  It took me about 20 sec to remove the filter with the soldering iron. Cleaning may take little longer depending on the amount of glue left on the window.  It was so simple to work on two cameras. If I had more I would've done more.

 

Paul


Edited by photo444, 20 January 2015 - 05:59 AM.


#13 David B in NM

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 08:30 AM

skyguy,

 

I don't have a vise so I use my left hand to hold it (I'm right handed). 

 

I grasp the edges of the board with my fingers and heat the filter with the soldering iron (in right hand).  After heating it (moving the iron on the filter) for about 20 secs I quickly lay the solder iron on its stand and grab the tweezers or needle nose pliers.  I gentle twist the filter.  If it refuses to budge I reheat it for a few more seconds until it pops off.

 

I've had good luck gently scraping glue off with my finger nail.  Gun patches or old tee-shirts make good wiping cloths too.  You want a very tiny amount of windex on the q-tip (not a wet q-tip).

 

David B in NM



#14 ronpen

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 10:47 AM

Very interesting.  David B thanks for the great research and offering your advise .  Paul thanks for taking the time to post the links etc...  

 

I am am ordering the board camera and metal case today.   Will use it with an 8se for eaa.

 

Noticed the same camera with a fisheye lens that they offer with a 2.8mm lens.  Guessing fov would be close to 150 with the 2.8.  Hoping this would work as an inexpensive all-sky type camera.  Any opinions if this will work for that application? I've been wanting to set up an all-sky for awhile but am too cheap to buy the purpose made cams...


Edited by ronpen, 20 January 2015 - 11:00 AM.


#15 David B in NM

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 11:09 AM

ronpen,

 

This board camera will work very well as:

 

1.  EAA device

2.  Guider

3.  Finder

4.  All Sky Cam (FOV is dependent on lens used.  The camera comes with both a CS and M12 mount and lenses can be purchased on ebay).

 

David B in NM



#16 *skyguy*

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 11:25 AM

Thanks for the responses on removing the IR filter. I ordered the camera board and housing .... separate shipping (board from USA, housing from Singapore) ... and I have already received an email notification that the order has shipped... nice! I'm looking forward to trying out this inexpensive, DIY camera. Thanks for the heads-up!



#17 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 11:26 AM

Great info. Third picture example is incredible in low light resolution comparatively. There goes the excuses about too expensive (if you have the DIY inclination, as some people don't ever want to touch anything DIY). Pretty amazing for the cost.



#18 ronpen

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 11:36 AM

Just put my order in for two.  One for eaa and the other all-sky.  Now just need to find the correct lens on ebay for the all-sky camera setup.



#19 photo444

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 11:41 AM

Thanks for the responses on removing the IR filter. I ordered the camera board and housing .... separate shipping (board from USA, housing from Singapore) ... and I have already received an email notification that the order has shipped... nice! I'm looking forward to trying out this inexpensive, DIY camera. Thanks for the heads-up!

You are welcome.

Yes, this camera is not DIY if you buy their housing. Just put together. It has very small form factor, too.

I am sorry to hear that the housing has to come from Hongkong, it may take a little longer.

Wish you enjoy.

 

Paul



#20 photo444

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 11:44 AM

Great info. Third picture example is incredible in low light resolution comparatively. There goes the excuses about too expensive (if you have the DIY inclination, as some people don't ever want to touch anything DIY). Pretty amazing for the cost.

When I took the picture, I couldn't believe it.  It was a confirming moment of what David B in MN told me.

This post may help some people let to their first DIY.

 

Paul



#21 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 11:45 AM

 

Thanks for the responses on removing the IR filter. I ordered the camera board and housing .... separate shipping (board from USA, housing from Singapore) ... and I have already received an email notification that the order has shipped... nice! I'm looking forward to trying out this inexpensive, DIY camera. Thanks for the heads-up!

You are welcome.

Yes, this camera is not DIY if you buy their housing. Just put together. It has very small form factor, too.

I am sorry to hear that the housing has to come from Hongkong, it may take a little longer.

Wish you enjoy.

 

Paul

 

Paul, it sounds like removal of IR filter is very DIY even if housing is as simple as a few screws. Is that all there is to using the housing with camera board? A few screws, or is there some soldering required?

 

Not saying it's difficult, but some people's level of DIY interest is NIL.

 

:)


Edited by Vondragonnoggin, 20 January 2015 - 11:46 AM.


#22 photo444

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 11:48 AM

Just put my order in for two.  One for eaa and the other all-sky.  Now just need to find the correct lens on ebay for the all-sky camera setup.

Good to hear that.  They selling very fast now.  Yesterday alone they have experienced a burst of selling.

I am sure you will enjoy with the two units you have ordered.  Their shipping service is very pleasing.

 

I use old manual lenses. I have Minolta, Vivitar, and so on in various mounts.  I have bought converters to C-mount from e-bay, they are working super.  C-mount lenses, of course, works great, too.

 

Paul



#23 photo444

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 11:49 AM

 

 

Thanks for the responses on removing the IR filter. I ordered the camera board and housing .... separate shipping (board from USA, housing from Singapore) ... and I have already received an email notification that the order has shipped... nice! I'm looking forward to trying out this inexpensive, DIY camera. Thanks for the heads-up!

You are welcome.

Yes, this camera is not DIY if you buy their housing. Just put together. It has very small form factor, too.

I am sorry to hear that the housing has to come from Hongkong, it may take a little longer.

Wish you enjoy.

 

Paul

 

Paul, it sounds like removal of IR filter is very DIY even if housing is as simple as a few screws. Is that all there is to using the housing with camera board? A few screws, or is there some soldering required?

 

Not saying it's difficult, but some people's level of DIY interest is NIL.

 

:)

 

You are very right.:)



#24 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 11:54 AM

I will freely admit that a $23 item is much easier to break those DIY barrier blocks than an item that is $230. Even if you completely muck it up, you won't be out that much of a financial investment. If soldering required though, some peoples solder skills aren't so great or they don't own a soldering iron even.



#25 photo444

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 12:36 PM

I will freely admit that a $23 item is much easier to break those DIY barrier blocks than an item that is $230. Even if you completely muck it up, you won't be out that much of a financial investment. If soldering required though, some peoples solder skills aren't so great or they don't own a soldering iron even.

And the component you are going to mess up with soldering iron is huge I mean large compared to those nowadays electronic components such as surface mounting stuff. I don't know how to encourage people to DIY in this particular project.  I agree 100% to you. $23 is dirt cheat to break. Just like I did, get two, with success rate of 50%, the price tag will go up to $46, still cheap (I didn't get two for that reason, though).

 

Paul




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