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Watch out for those security cameras

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#1 RJF-Astro

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 05:23 PM

Ok, so here is an interesting experience I would like to share. Recently I started automating my sessions so I could image during the night and get some sleep as well. It did feel a bit awkward to leave all that equipment out in the bakyard during the night, so I decided to install a security camera, if only to feel better about it. It has an IR-mode for when it is dark, real handy.

 

So far so good. I had everything running and the first few nights went reasonably well. The only thing is that at a given time, guiding would fail because of a lost guidestar. At first I thought clouds, but after a few nights I could see a pattern: the time at which guiding failed was almost the same every night. I tried various things but nothing worked.

 

As the summer progressed, my targets where getting higher at the beginning of my sessions. And then last week I had everything set up, ready to go to bed. I turned on the security camera and then the guide image was being flooded by stray light. And then it hit me: the IR-light from the camera was ruining my sessions. I added my Lum-filter with IR-cut to the ASI120, and everything was fine again.

 

So there's my lesson: watch out with IR-security cameras. These things generate a lot or IR/NIR-pollution that can interfere with guiding. You won't see it in your images because most of the time there is an IR-blocker in the image train. But not in the guidescope/camera...


Edited by RJF-Astro, 19 August 2019 - 05:24 PM.

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#2 Midnight Dan

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 05:32 PM

I've had the same experience.  I had to turn off the IR illuminator, which kinda defeated the purpose of the camera.  I recently switched to a "starlight" camera that is extremely sensitive and does not use IR illumination.

 

-Dan



#3 pfile

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 05:35 PM

same here, though i knew about it from the start and disabled the IR from the get-go.

 

Dan, what kind of camera did you get? is it a philips? last i looked the starlight cameras were super expensive...

 

rob



#4 Midnight Dan

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 05:40 PM

I got a Dahua brand.  Well, it's not *exactly* a Dahua brand.  It is sold on Amazon as a Dahua OEM, with no logo.  It appears to be identical to a Dahua, but probably sold by the company that makes the cameras for Dahua.  It was $129, but I doubt you can call Dahua for tech support.  Not only did the camera have no logo, it was also absent from the documentation, website, etc.  Nowhere is Dahua mentioned.  But I have another Dahua camera and the same software works with it (after initialization), and the software and hardware look identical.

 

-Dan



#5 PeteM

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 08:39 PM

Same here with that experience when I first got a security camera for my observatory. I ended up setting down the floor south of the polar axis looking up the polar axis. Gives me a good enough view to make sure the cables do not get crazy during a meridian flip (assuming I am awake). But like Rob, I have my IR disabled during an imaging session only on when the rig is not imaging. I have one of those Foscam that can be remote steered.


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#6 WadeH237

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 05:33 AM

At the last star party I attended, a friend of mine brought an image intensifier for observing.  One of the nights, he handed it to me and told me to look around the star party.  The intensifier is really sensitive to IR, and it was absolutely shocking to see how much IR was being emitted from various gear and RVs.




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