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New ZWO ASI camera not working

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#1 xanadu30

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 09:59 PM

Hello, I just purchased a new ZWO ASI120MM-S Monochrome CMOS Astrophotography Camera, and the only thing I can get through my 50mm guide scope is static when running it through PHD2.  There is nothing close to a clear picture.  Does anyone know anything about this camera and / or if there is something I am missing here?  Very new at this, so please bare with me!



#2 17.5Dob

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 10:07 PM

Did you set your focus during daylight ? You can't just plug it into your guidescope and expect to autofocus .....Depending on you guidescope, you might also need additional extension tubes...did you check things during daylight...


Have I said, "Did you check things in the daylight"


(Is your lens cap on ?????)


Edited by 17.5Dob, 19 September 2020 - 10:12 PM.


#3 xanadu30

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 10:08 PM

No lens cap.  During daylight it is completely white washed.  Faulty camera?



#4 barrett_flansburg

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 10:13 PM

To simplify things, can you try using your new camera with SharpCap (free download) during the daytime on a distant terrestrial object? You can then get the focus close enough to try on a bright star before refining the focus and then trying PHD2. It may be that the static you see is simply because you are nowhere close to being in focus. 
 

Barry



#5 barrett_flansburg

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 10:15 PM

You need to use a very short exposure of around 0.001 seconds in daylight. 



#6 xanadu30

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 10:20 PM

in daylight, screen is completely white-washed.



#7 DJL

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 10:25 PM

I went through this exact same situation with my similar ZWO ASI 290 MM mini. I am using it with a WO UltraGuide 32. I thought the camera was dead out of the box but it's fine! If you are getting static it just needs to be focused, first by moving the camera in and out of the scope until you see something, and then using the scope for fine focus. I locked my scope's focus once I found it. If you focus on anything nearer than stars, you will have to adjust at night. 

 

In my case, I discovered that the original usb cable must be used, and it is also choosy about which port of the USB hub it is plugged in to - it works in a blue USB3 port but not a black USB 2 port. The cable is USBC at one end and USB A white at the other end. 

 

Good luck and let us know when you get it working :-)



#8 17.5Dob

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 10:49 PM

in daylight, screen is completely white-washed.

Reduce your gain, or use a pinhole mask over your objective until you can see an image...you are way out of focus



#9 Michael Covington

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 10:51 PM

The moon is a great test object (you can focus precisely, and the focus will be the same as for the stars).


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#10 xanadu30

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 12:21 PM

No luck using sharp cap either.  Camera, when in any light at all, is completely white washed.  You cannot see ANYTHING but white light.  



#11 xanadu30

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 12:22 PM

Does this camera need to be in complete darkness to operate correctly?



#12 idclimber

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 12:45 PM

No, but you absolutely need to reduce the exposure time and find a high contrast object as far away as possible. Recently I used the top of a large ponderosa pine tree several hundred yards away around dusk. The dark branches against the bright sky provide the perfect contrast to see when an image was forming and focus is close. You can use trees that are closer, but it won't get you quite as close to the correct focus for stars. I would suggest trying this in the daytime at a dark area of trees. If the image is still light, keep reducing the exposure time until it starts to get dark. Point the scope near the edge of the dark area of trees and then retry rough focusing. I would suggest ignoring the focus ring if you have one until you get the image rough focused. 

 

If the camera is secured in the scope release the clamps so you can slowly insert and withdraw the camera. That will help get a good rough focus. Sometimes you need a short extension on the camera to get it in the proper position. You will know quickly if this is the case if focus is only achieved with the camera mostly withdrawn from the scope. 

 

The moon is usually a good target for refining the focus, except it was new only a couple days ago. Jupiter is very bright as well and will also work. On Jupiter or any other star they look like large donuts when the focus is off. Sometimes the donuts will fill the entire sensor. Just move the camera or focus ring in the direction that makes them smaller. Eventually they reduce to a point. 



#13 xanadu30

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 12:58 PM

Thanks for the advice.  I get all of that, problem is that when ANY light is exposed to the sensor, the screen goes completely white.  I do know the camera is working, as when i put on and take off the cap (can get it from completely white to gray / dark).  But as soon as the cap is even taken a TINY bit off, the screen is once again white washed.  There would be no way to even attempt to focus on anything.  Do you get what I'm saying?  Anyway, how do I limit the exposure time in sharp cap or PHD2?



#14 idclimber

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 02:18 PM

Yes, I understand. I do not have either of those software packages. I would instead suggest using the Planetary Imaging tab in ASI Studio. In that program is a slider for both gain and exposure duration. Increase gain to about 200 and decrease exposure as needed. 


Edited by idclimber, 20 September 2020 - 02:21 PM.


#15 DJL

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 02:39 PM

PHD2

Daylight

Camera gain set to 10. Exposure time = 0.01

Verify you can see light and dark. Try pointing it at different distances and waving your hand in front of it. Even 10 is a bit bright for outside.

 

Night

Camera gain = 50. Exposure time = 1



#16 Peter in Reno

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 02:42 PM

For daylight, cover the scope's objective with aluminum foil and puncture a small hole at the center to allow some light hitting the camera. This will help reduce light and increase exposure times. You may need scotch tape to hold the aluminum foil to the dew shield. 

 

You may need to insert extensions or diagonal in between scope and camera to bring the camera to focus.

 

Peter 


Edited by Peter in Reno, 20 September 2020 - 02:59 PM.

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#17 APshooter

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 03:09 PM

If using PHD2, make sure the gain slider at the bottom of the screen isn't making your image white.
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#18 17.5Dob

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 07:55 PM

For daylight, cover the scope's objective with aluminum foil and puncture a small hole at the center to allow some light hitting the camera. This will help reduce light and increase exposure times. You may need scotch tape to hold the aluminum foil to the dew shield. 

 

You may need to insert extensions or diagonal in between scope and camera to bring the camera to focus.

 

Peter 

This.....



#19 xanadu30

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 10:42 PM

Great advice with the gain settings and the aluminum foil suggestions; I'm making progress!  I will keep you all up to date.  Thank you all so much!!!


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