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Upgrading to a Meade DSI 4?

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#1 Ballyhoo

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 12:27 AM

Since I am very new at AP, and I somewhat ignorantly purchased a un-cooled ASI294, I have ever since posting about the new purchase and being barraged w posts that I made a big mistake not getting a cooled CMOS, I have really thought long and hard about the Meade DSI 4.  I have an open box and I am subject to a fee for return, but if I upgrade I was told that my charges will be minimal. The cooled version of the ASI294 is not in stock, so I really need to select something else. I do like Meade, and I am sure there are plenty of people here that do not, but I am told that the DSI 4 was designed by ZWO for Meade -- it is essentially a ZWO something. My criteria for a camera are rather typical: I want to be able to take good pictures. Now, someone who has taken very good pics with non-cooled advised me that I could have plenty of fine quality work to do with my uncooled 294, and I though about that, I could prob be okay learning this and have plenty a good time for the next year, but after that I will likely want the cooled, and I might as well just get it now, rather than have to buy it later Or of course I could just keep the uncooled 294 and when I need to either keep it and spend for a cooled; or sell the uncooled in the classifieds.  I think though I am leaning towards upgrading it now while I can get full value, for the DS1 4. Still not 100% sure though on all the specs of the Meade. I will be using it on my 85mm eon; or my SW 100; or my ES 127

 

https://optcorp.com/...elescope-camera

 

any thoughts?

 

Edit:

 

I would be happier if somene could give me an argument as to just keeping what I have, that it is a great camera and I will not need cooled. I have so little eperience. Prob now about  three hours imaging experience sum total.  (wishful thinking?)  

 

What would happen if I shot mult 15 min exposures w the non-cooled ASI294?  I read someone saying they are only a fraction as effective as cooled -- almost like comparing imaging in light polluted versus non-light polluted skies. 


Edited by mantrain, 10 December 2018 - 12:43 AM.


#2 ccs_hello

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 07:58 AM

You know DSI IV is using the Panasonic MN34230 image sensor (color version) right?



#3 Ballyhoo

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 12:27 PM

You know DSI IV is using the Panasonic MN34230 image sensor (color version) right?

is that bad? I wasn't getting monochrome.

 

That is the same sensor as in the 1600, so I would think that is a great sensor. 


Edited by mantrain, 10 December 2018 - 12:29 PM.


#4 42itous1

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 12:48 PM

If you wanted to get that sensor, I would get a used asi 1600MC-Cool.  I got a refurbished 1600 for $711.00 from HighPoint and it is the full version 3.  The thing about getting the asi1600 is that there is so much info on settings, exposure times, and processing.  Some of these will be equatable to the DSI IV, but it is so much easier to just look up answers to your questions with the asi1600 since there are so many users.

 

PS:  I started out with an uncooled Infinity.  Uncooled is great for EAA--not so good for AP in my opinion (better off with an uncooled DSLR).  Darks a big problem and you would be limited to probably 2 min exposures that will require more post processing.  I also tried to get around the basic protocols of doing AP--but in the end you have to follow the advice of the experts.

 

You can kind of see my progress from alt/az mount uncooled short integrations--to decent mount-great scope and good guiding--and a good camera.  I also now have most all the software and learning curves down.  Unfortunately the fires here in CA and now the clouds are hampering my progree.

 

The nice thing about a cooled camera is that you can always build your dark library on cloudy nights.  You can also take your lights and do all your calibration frames later (as long as you don't break down your image train).


Edited by 42itous1, 10 December 2018 - 12:56 PM.


#5 spokeshave

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 06:35 PM

Interesting. I hadn't see that one. It looks like a cross between the ASI1600MC and the QHY163C - it has the exact same desiccant tube that QHY uses and the on-board USB hub that ZWO uses. One thing it does not appear to have that both the QHY and ZWO offerings have is on-board DDR buffer memory. That's an important distinction.

My understanding is that ZWO has discontinued the OSC version of the ASI1600, but QHY still sells one. Both are very highly regarded cameras with mature drivers and good support. Given that the QHY163C is the same price as the Meade DSI4, and that very few of the Meade cameras are in the wild, if it were me, I would go with the QHY163C. It is a known performer. We know almost nothing about the Meade offering.

Tim
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#6 Stelios

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 02:57 AM

Pioneers are often found with arrows in their backs.

 

Meade (and Celestron) cameras are not popular with serious imagers. They appear to be offered in the sense that a French restaurant might also offer pasta dishes--there will always be someone who *must* have pasta in a group. This doesn't make it a good decision to order pasta in a French restaurant (as a rule). 

 

If you can find a ZWO or QHY model, that would be a much better way to go. 

 

Meade SCT's have always had excellent quality. Their fork mounts used to be great as well. But more recent products have been iffier, and "I like Meade SCT's" is not the same as "I like Meade cameras." 

 

I wonder if the person that told you about the Meade camera is the same (or his cousin) OPT rep that was trying to convince you that an non-cooled camera will make little difference. Unlike him, I get no commission out of whatever you buy. I just hope you make the right decision and can happily go about catching photons. With educated consumers, things tend to be popular or unpopular for a reason.


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#7 jgraham

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 04:03 PM

I used the older Meade DSIs for many years and I really enjoyed them. I still have at least one of each version of the DSI I, II, and III, color & mono. The original DSIs offered a nice capability and a relatively low cost. I thought that the design was innovative, and they came as complete, turn-key systems including the software. The current market is fairly crowded with many good options at the DSI IV's price point. The cameras themselves look okay, and like their predecessors it looks like they come as complete systems, including the software, and that may be the attractive feature for a beginner as cameras often come without software and in some cases without required power supplies.

 

Soooo, yeah, I see a market for a camera like the DSI IV as a possible entry point for a beginner. More experienced imagers are better equipped to assemble all of the moving parts, but there is a place for a turn-key system.

 

Speaking of the olde DSI... I waited forever for someone to start posting images on Cloudy Nights, but I eventually took the plunge myself and if I recall right I ended up posting some of the very first color DSI images on ye olde Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews. :)


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#8 Crash99

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Posted 19 December 2018 - 11:44 PM

I am a high school chemistry teacher who just happens to also teach one period of astronomy, two nights a week. I have wanted to get my students into AP since I started this class 12 years ago but it just didn't fit into the budget and the learning curve was just so steep.

 

Fast forward to this year. I have had more than a decade of imaging using some pretty impressive remote, autonomous scopes and in late September I got a $1000 grant to purchase an imager to use with our wedge-mounted  8" LX-200 GPS. I went with the color Meade DSI IV because it seemed relatively "easy" to use for student use. After two months of waiting I finally received it on Friday, 12/14. It is a beautifully made device and the case is fantastic. As for the imaging, I couldn't be more disappointed. Even though the web page says "OS X" compatible, Meade confirmed today that the software does not function on the Mac. Grrrr.

 

Ok, so I"ll use one of our PC laptops. Guess what? Doesn't work on it either. Not sure why, and waiting to hear back from Meade...

 

I'll update when, or if, I ever get the camera to work. Meanwhile I have a $1k black and blue brick safely stored in its bulletproof case.

 

If anyone knows of another piece of software that might work with this imager on MacOSX  I'd love to hear from you. I was really hoping to figure it out during Winter break so that when the new semester starts I'll be able to teach the students how to use it...

 

-TC

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#9 jgraham

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 10:33 AM

You might check with Stark Labs and see if their Nebulosity software supports the DSI 4. Nebulosity supports Windows and Mac OS and works with the earlier versions of the DSI, though the 4 is pretty new.

Good luck! I thoroughly enjoyed my trusty old DSIs for many years and I still have them.

#10 jgraham

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 10:39 AM

Speaking of the uncooled ASI294MC... I just bought one and I my first impressions are very positive. I also have a pair of the cooled ASI294MC Pro cameras and this is exactly like having a lighter, simpler version of the Pro. I plan on mounting it in my Celestron 8" Schmidt camera, but I also plan on testing it as a general purpose deepsky camera. My first lunar images are very impressive and you can find the first in the BII forum.

#11 SoDaKAstroNut

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 01:21 AM

You might check with Stark Labs and see if their Nebulosity software supports the DSI 4. Nebulosity supports Windows and Mac OS and works with the earlier versions of the DSI, though the 4 is pretty new.

Good luck! I thoroughly enjoyed my trusty old DSIs for many years and I still have them.

I just bought DSI-IV. Worked fine with bundled Meade software and ASCOM 6.4 drivers. Bought Nebulosity based on recommendation of reputable member of local astronomical society. At first it looked like it was not compatible - followup email with Stark Labs:

 

"The DSI IV is a totally different beast than the old DSI cameras that the "Meade DSI" driver supports.  Since they have an ASCOM camera driver, you should be able to connect to it by pulling down "ASCOM Camera" in Nebulosity and selecting that camera once their ASCOM drivers are in place. - Craig Stark"

 

Camera worked fine.



#12 Ballyhoo

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 07:10 PM

I just bought DSI-IV. Worked fine with bundled Meade software and ASCOM 6.4 drivers. Bought Nebulosity based on recommendation of reputable member of local astronomical society. At first it looked like it was not compatible - followup email with Stark Labs:

 

"The DSI IV is a totally different beast than the old DSI cameras that the "Meade DSI" driver supports.  Since they have an ASCOM camera driver, you should be able to connect to it by pulling down "ASCOM Camera" in Nebulosity and selecting that camera once their ASCOM drivers are in place. - Craig Stark"

 

Camera worked fine.

my meade DSI 4 will not connect to any of my ascom devices  and I have Windows 10.  THe meade ascom driver shows up on the ASCOM profile explorer but that is as far is it goes. Meade has promised me a patch to the 1.o on their ascom driver and it should be available soon or I will eventually have to exchange it. 



#13 DuncanM

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 12:03 AM

my meade DSI 4 will not connect to any of my ascom devices  and I have Windows 10.  THe meade ascom driver shows up on the ASCOM profile explorer but that is as far is it goes. Meade has promised me a patch to the 1.o on their ascom driver and it should be available soon or I will eventually have to exchange it. 

I think you have to install the entire Skycapture software package and ensure that it works there (proving that Win10 recognizes it) and then install the ASCOM driver.



#14 Ballyhoo

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 12:59 PM

I think you have to install the entire Skycapture software package and ensure that it works there (proving that Win10 recognizes it) and then install the ASCOM driver.

i run my DSI 4 via the SkyCap software. but the ascom drivers wont work w DSI 4.



#15 DuncanM

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 04:02 PM

i run my DSI 4 via the SkyCap software. but the ascom drivers wont work w DSI 4.

What software are you attempting to use with the DSI 4?



#16 Dshives

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 03:08 AM

Ensure you start windows 10 in advanced mode to allow for unregistered USB drivers. The small companies rarely pay the fee to have crap software reviewed so Windows does a "load at your own risk" action.

#17 lucutes

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 02:36 PM

Have you tried using CloudMakers AstroImager for Mac?



#18 Paul AZ

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 12:47 PM

I also have the DSI IV. I was able to connect with SharpCap using the ASCOM Meade driver, but as I started to play with the controls I got the ASCOM memory error after I opened the histogram window. For now I will stick to the SkyCapture, but first maybe I'll try the 64 bit version.

 

 

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#19 Paul AZ

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 01:08 PM

Ok so I uninstalled the 32bit version and installed the 64 bit version. I have not seen any issues with the 64 bit version and have tried clicking on all options etc. The camera is not connected to the telescope so black screen but did allow some light to the sensor and it registered. I'll see tonight how things look when trying to actually capture an image of Saturn. A quick snapshot of the dark background worked fine.

 

 

 

 

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#20 Paul AZ

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:23 AM

Update: SharpCap 64 bit crashes with an ASCOM cooler error after it runs for a few minutes. So looks like I am stuck with the SkyCapture software for now.



#21 skyler

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 06:58 PM

Are DSI IV users no longer having any issues fully using APT in Windows? Seems the procedure is after installing Ascom Platform 6.40 or above, AND... 

 

-  CameraDirectShowDriver

-  CameraApplicationSoftware

-  AscomCameraDriver

 

All from the included CD and not from the Meade site.

 

I am interested in testing this camera and hoping for any update or suggestions.

 

Thanks !

Skyler


Edited by skyler, 21 June 2019 - 07:04 PM.


#22 Paul AZ

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 10:22 PM

Hi Skyler, I reloaded everything from the CD again and I am having issues with SharpCap ( 64 bit crashes with temp control error but able to access camera properties at start up, weird) but APT seems to work fine except that when selecting the Ascom Meade driver, I cannot access the camera properties. However, I am able to set gain, exposure, temp control etc in APT camera window. Since APT is new for me, I still need to learn my way around it so I used SkyCapture last night for the image here... https://www.cloudyni...bula/?p=9449544

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#23 Paul AZ

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 10:43 PM

Here are 2 more images I took late last night with my Meade DSI IV. They are each 30 stacked images at 30 sec exposure each of Eagle Nebula and Trifid Nebula. I need to work on processing a bit more to bring out some more color. This is my first pass on these.

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#24 skyler

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 10:54 PM

Those are very encouraging images and that you can get data now is a win. I heard from someone that they had to request a beta driver patch from Meade for the DSI IV although they were using a mono version. They had issues using SGP and not APT.  So I am hoping they will get back to me about the beta driver update to version 1.0.



#25 Paul AZ

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 12:36 AM

If they do please let us know. I'd like to get that version as well. I am eagwr to learn the APT capture tool sonce it has so many features.


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