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FLI HP8300 first light.. kinda

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#1 anismo

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 11:07 AM

In my earlier post, I noted that the FLI HP8300 is an OEM version (in this case it was used for gel imaging apparently) with same electronics of FLI ML8300. 

 

I finally managed to eke out a "first" light to test out the system. Before I could do that, Tolga helped me with figure out the various bits and pieces to get it attached to filter wheel (Thanks :) ).

 

I got the Starlight xpress 7 POS USB wheel and I picked up Baader LRGBHa 36mm set.  The wheel is very well built and it was attached to the camera using SCT adapter. I had a spare Orion TOAG and I got that hooked up to the front of the wheel. I knew it was going to be tight to get it in the backfocus speed needed for my Edge11 setup.

 

We have been having real bad astro weather here and each night, it is clear for 3-4 hours and clouds roll in. During the clear phase, the seeing is terrible and my subs never get completed. So I figured I will test this out instead of attempting to do any real imaging.

 

With ASCOM driver for FLI (got from FLI yahoogroups), I got it connected to SGP without any problem. It even let me change the gain (Which was defaulted to 1). I changed that to 0.5 (The CCD number I got showed high read noise (13e at gain set to 1).  The camera cooled to -30 without any problem (which is quite a feat given the heat we have so far) and the temp stayed at -30 at 80% power. None of my earlier camera can crack -20 (in fact I stayed at -15C with my QSI683 and QSI690) and -10 with the ASI1600 and QHY814).

 

After getting it all connected, I found that I am just off the spacing by few mm :( . I the focuser had to be racked almost all the way in to reach close to focus. frown.gif

The TOAG was also pretty bad with very low number of stars (may be due to tiny prism) compared to what I usually get with the QHY814's built in OAG.  I think I need to sell the 7 poss wheel and get the 5 pos SX wheel with integrated OAG to get it in the reqiured spacing.. sigh. 

 

(One other problem I Saw that I couldnt get ASI174mm to work and had to switch to Lodestar X2 to get it work with PHD2. I will need to figure that out later).

 

 

 

Here is the setup (before I switched to Lodestar)

img1.jpg

 

SH2-188

I managed to get 4x20 min subs on SH2-188 (All my earlier runs got aborted with bad seeing and I just bumped up the "restart" parameter to just get some signal. This was with  Baader 7nm Ha filter.

No processing other than STF is applied. The frame is very clean and calibrated perfectly. I  calibrated with 6x20 mins darks and bias built from 100 subs and 25 flats. Overall, it is much better than my QSI683. Once I get the fitlerwheel switched, this should work well!

img2.jpg

 

 


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#2 tolgagumus

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 10:16 PM

Hey Anis,

 

I am glad you got it all worked out. About the SX FW. The OAG back focus is set for an SX camera. Do some research on this before replacing the FW. It may not work with FLI BF. Besides that the image itself look great. 


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#3 anismo

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 09:46 AM

Thanks for the heads up Tolga. I did not realize that. Pretty sure the backfocus is different than the SX camera.. I was hoping I can add an adjustable adapter but if that is not possible, then It would be no go. I probably can eke out another few mm with my current setup and see if that will get me to the right backfocus.



#4 Jeff2011

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Posted 16 June 2018 - 02:01 PM

Too bad the spacing did not work out for you Anis.  The cooling is amazing.  I can only get to -5C on my  SBIG STF8300 during the summer.  That camera will work out very nicely.

 

Nice to know the FLI can be attached to an SX filterwheel.  What adapter did you use?  Also nice to know there are ascom drivers to work with SGP.



#5 Jon Rista

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Posted 16 June 2018 - 08:16 PM

Anis, when I was researching FWs years ago, I found that the SX was fairly thick at ~29mm (with adapters), the Atik EFW2 came in a little thinner at ~23.5-24mm (with adapters), and the ZWO came in pretty thin at 20mm (it didn't require adapters with M42-T2 threading, since it was native T2). You might find that an Atik EFW2 fits in your available backfocus a little better. I found the quality if it to be very good, it was well machined and precise. The only complaint I had was the USB connection doesn't seem particularly strong and it seems a tug on the cable there could potentially break it, so I always kept some slack there.

 

These days I am using a ZWO EFW, since I only have 44mm backfocus with camera lenses, and needed every savings I could get when using the Geoptik EF adapter. The machining and finish of the ZWO EFW is not as nice as the Atik EFW2, however internally the two seem to work very similarly, and the ZWO functionally is on par.


Edited by Jon Rista, 16 June 2018 - 08:17 PM.


#6 anismo

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 02:46 PM

Too bad the spacing did not work out for you Anis.  The cooling is amazing.  I can only get to -5C on my  SBIG STF8300 during the summer.  That camera will work out very nicely.

 

Nice to know the FLI can be attached to an SX filterwheel.  What adapter did you use?  Also nice to know there are ascom drivers to work with SGP.

Thanks Jeff. I am thinking, I may have made a mistake. I had the built in focuser set for my QHY814 and I didnt change that.  so I think I should be able to achieve focus but need to retest it.

The cooling probably made the frames clean. It was as clean as my ICX814 based QHY814 (which is probably the cleanest camera I have used so far ). I was just surprised how well it maintained -30C all night. It didnt even have any fluctuations.. Very impressive. But the fan is like a giant blower though.. 

 

I use the SCT adapter (the camera housing came with that already) and I just had to get the SCT adapter for the SX wheel. The ASCOM driver was not officially available in FLI site but in the yahoogroups it was available which worked quite well. SGP compatibility is a big one for me.



#7 anismo

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 02:50 PM

Anis, when I was researching FWs years ago, I found that the SX was fairly thick at ~29mm (with adapters), the Atik EFW2 came in a little thinner at ~23.5-24mm (with adapters), and the ZWO came in pretty thin at 20mm (it didn't require adapters with M42-T2 threading, since it was native T2). You might find that an Atik EFW2 fits in your available backfocus a little better. I found the quality if it to be very good, it was well machined and precise. The only complaint I had was the USB connection doesn't seem particularly strong and it seems a tug on the cable there could potentially break it, so I always kept some slack there.

 

These days I am using a ZWO EFW, since I only have 44mm backfocus with camera lenses, and needed every savings I could get when using the Geoptik EF adapter. The machining and finish of the ZWO EFW is not as nice as the Atik EFW2, however internally the two seem to work very similarly, and the ZWO functionally is on par.

Thanks Jon. I might have mistake in my setup last time. I need to change the focus using built in focuser first and then adjust the moonlite (but I totally missed that one). So I may be ok.. but I need to test. The SX wheel itself seems very solid . The weakest link I have is the TOAG.. I need something with may be a bigger prism. QHY's OAG not built in and I need to check if that will fit here. That one picks up a lot of stars.

 

I have used the ZWO EFW and ZWO OAG and it did a fine job with the ASI1600. I was wondering the positioning was repeatable though becaiuse I will have flat issues with the dust donuts not completely aligning if I reuse the flats (but not touching the setup itself) . So I usually ended up shooting flats with that setup after each run (Which wasnt a big deal but one more thing to do). The QHY is quite precise and I keep reusing the flats as long as I dont touch the image train.



#8 Jeff2011

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 03:02 PM

Hey that is good news Anis.  I like how modular the SX filterwheel is and all the adapters available.  I did have a centering repeatability issue but that was solved by setting to unidirectional in the ASCOM driver.  I still think the filters could be centereded better but they are centered well enough for that size chip. The only adjustment that can be made is the speed.




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