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All sky camera suggestions

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#1 Peter L.

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 01:18 PM

Hi folks,

 

I've been considering the purchase of an all sky camera for use outside my observatory. I'm looking for some advice as I'm having trouble sifting through all of the options (and junk) online...

 

I'm not completely opposed to putting the unit together myself, but would prefer an all-in-one unit that is designed for this purpose and already assembled. My list of requirements are as follows:

  • All sky -- see to the horizon in all directions
  • Protective dome -- water tight, protect from overheating, etc.
  • Mountable on a standard satellite dish pole.
  • IP camera through fixed, hard-wired connection.
  • PPPoE -- I already have the pole on top of my dome with a weather protected grounded Ethernet cable -- used to belong to my fixed wireless LTE Internet service, so would prefer to use it, if possible.
  • Dew/frost prevention heating of some sort.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions?

 

Thanks,
Peter


Edited by Peter L., 04 December 2018 - 01:18 PM.

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#2 TOMDEY

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 02:14 PM

Ten years ago, I was not at all impressed with the commercial units out there, so I built my own, using a high-end FLI camera and good interchangeable lenses. It has whatever field I want, but doesn't reach to the horizon, because it's looking thru a flat fused silica optical window. But the image QUALITY blows the socks off the commercial ones.

 

Why don't you buy a cheap commercial one (that would be any/all of them) and then build a Better one, if you're not satisfied?

 

Here's a picture of mine >>> Tom

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 07 Toms Roof-Cam.jpg
  • 08 Toms Roof-Cam.jpg
  • 12 Toms Roof-Cam Operational.jpg

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#3 PHO

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 03:25 PM

I am also interested in an off-the-shelf all-sky system.  I'd be satisfied with a modest field-of-view extending to within ~10 deg of the horizon.

I would also like software that senses differences in the images, i.e., some object that appears or moves.

 

Thanks for any commercial products.

Geoff



#4 StarmanDan

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 04:26 PM

If you want something cheap but diy-ish, look at the ZWO ASI cameras.  The lower end models come with a 170 degree fisheye lens.  All that would be needed is an enclosure to make it weatherproof.  



#5 Peter L.

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 09:05 PM

If you want something cheap but diy-ish, look at the ZWO ASI cameras.  The lower end models come with a 170 degree fisheye lens.  All that would be needed is an enclosure to make it weatherproof.  

I do have a ZWO ASI120MC I no longer use and have the fisheye lens for it. It's USB, not IP, however, which will make it a bit tricky for me given my setup.

 

Any suggestions for an enclosure?

 

Thanks.


Edited by Peter L., 04 December 2018 - 09:05 PM.


#6 Peter L.

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 09:06 PM

Ten years ago, I was not at all impressed with the commercial units out there, so I built my own, using a high-end FLI camera and good interchangeable lenses. It has whatever field I want, but doesn't reach to the horizon, because it's looking thru a flat fused silica optical window. But the image QUALITY blows the socks off the commercial ones.

 

Why don't you buy a cheap commercial one (that would be any/all of them) and then build a Better one, if you're not satisfied?

 

Here's a picture of mine >>> Tom

That looks pretty nice, Tom, but also looks like a serious DIY project. Not sure I'm up for that, but pretty cool!



#7 StarmanDan

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 09:12 PM

I do have a ZWO ASI120MC I no longer use and have the fisheye lens for it. It's USB, not IP, however, which will make it a bit tricky for me given my setup.

Any suggestions for an enclosure?

Thanks.


Here ya go.

https://www.cloudyni..._return=8424166

#8 akulapanam

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 12:43 AM

I'm looking for a high quality all sky cam or enclosure as well...  this is what I have found so far

 

  • Alcor - looks like the best in terms of software and enclosure (can run in daylight, plate solves each frame w/ star count for high cloud sensing) BUT you are spending a minimum of $2,700 for those features because the actual camera is literally a ZWO from the cheapest model on up
  • Starlight Xpress Oculus - really old chip and software is lacking.  Fortunately, a freeware software package is available
  • Interactive Astronomy SkyEye - same chip as the Starlight Xpress but $500 more
  • SBig - makes the Starlight Xpress chip look new, dreadful resolution, as expensive as Alcor
  • Telescope Support Systems - just enclosure, cheap and should allow the use of the ZWO mini or QHY 5II or 5III, tried several times to contact the vendor can't get a response 

Edited by akulapanam, 05 December 2018 - 12:43 AM.


#9 Peter L.

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 08:23 AM

Hi Dan,

 

Getting an error that I don't have permission to view that link.



#10 Dan Crowson

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:26 AM

We went with the ASI build-your-own and it has worked without issues since it was installed.

 

https://www.instruct...All-Sky-Camera/

 

2017-10-13%20-%20CN%20-%20DSNM%20-%20All

 

Dan



#11 StarmanDan

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:43 AM

Hi Dan,

 

Getting an error that I don't have permission to view that link.

Give this a try

 

https://www.cloudyni...raspberry-pi-2/



#12 Peter L.

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 06:58 PM

We went with the ASI build-your-own and it has worked without issues since it was installed.

 

https://www.instruct...All-Sky-Camera/

 

Dan

That's the ticket right there. I can build that. Never thought of the Raspberry Pi. That will allow me to run the USB camera over IP.

 

Thanks!


Edited by Peter L., 05 December 2018 - 06:59 PM.


#13 MalVeauX

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 08:27 PM

Here's how I did it, DIY and inexpensive:

 

https://www.cloudyni...-cam/?p=8829826

 

Very best,



#14 Lightpath

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 07:36 PM

I rolled my own-  ZWO ASI120MM-S installed in a cheap outdoor dome camera housing I bought off Amazon.  A long USB cable run to an INTEL NUC pc.  It works pretty well, although I have yet to find a good software solution.  I'll read up on the other solutions you folks have come up with here, because I think there's probably a great option for all-sky software I'm missing out on.  (Right now I'm using Sharpcap with a custom script and a cygwin script that scps my images up to a dumb-as-a-sack-of-hammers web site I own.



#15 Aaron_tragle

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:10 PM

I do have a ZWO ASI120MC I no longer use and have the fisheye lens for it. It's USB, not IP, however, which will make it a bit tricky for me given my setup.

 

Any suggestions for an enclosure?

 

Thanks.

Raspberry Pi could do it! I found this with some digging, http://www.thomasjac...all-sky-camera/



#16 akulapanam

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:44 PM

I rolled my own-  ZWO ASI120MM-S installed in a cheap outdoor dome camera housing I bought off Amazon.  A long USB cable run to an INTEL NUC pc.  It works pretty well, although I have yet to find a good software solution.  I'll read up on the other solutions you folks have come up with here, because I think there's probably a great option for all-sky software I'm missing out on.  (Right now I'm using Sharpcap with a custom script and a cygwin script that scps my images up to a dumb-as-a-sack-of-hammers web site I own.

 https://www.allskeye.com/ has most of the features except for high cloud detection, advanced object detection, and automatic plate solving .  Its free and works with SX, ZWO/ASI, and ASCOM

 

Raspberry Pi could do it! I found this with some digging, http://www.thomasjac...all-sky-camera/

That's the same as the instructables above


Edited by akulapanam, 06 December 2018 - 11:45 PM.



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