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ZWO ASI2600 MC issues

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#26 len2376

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Posted 10 May 2021 - 06:44 AM

Had mine in use for over a year with zero issues. Amazing camera.


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#27 MJB87

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Posted 10 May 2021 - 06:47 AM

Had mine for four months. Purchased around Thanksgiving. Zero issues also.



#28 Oscar Szentirmai

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Posted 10 May 2021 - 06:47 AM

Had mine in use for over a year with zero issues. Amazing camera.

Could it be that the batch we received in the UK does not suffer from the oil issues?

 

I haven't seen any posts regarding this issue on Star Gazers Lounge forums here in the UK?



#29 len2376

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 04:14 AM

Could it be that the batch we received in the UK does not suffer from the oil issues?

 

I haven't seen any posts regarding this issue on Star Gazers Lounge forums here in the UK?

Post #6, Roberto in UK had the issue?



#30 Oscar Szentirmai

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 04:17 AM

Post #6, Roberto in UK had the issue?

oh, I missed that



#31 R Botero

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 04:52 AM

Yes, I think this was an issue with some of the earlier versions of this camera (I bought mine in March 2020).  Nothing serious as the problem can easily be solved locally.   

 

Roberto


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#32 Domer

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Posted 02 June 2021 - 05:12 PM

Mine is 6 months old.  It was fine 2 weeks ago.  Now look at it.

Attached Thumbnails

  • ASI2600MC Sensor Cover Delamination.jpg


#33 Oscar Szentirmai

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Posted 02 June 2021 - 06:36 PM

Mine is 6 months old.  It was fine 2 weeks ago.  Now look at it.

I’m sorry to see that. 
 

It must be very very annoying. 
 

Obviously there is an issue with this camera that is totally putting me off buying one. It does not matter how simple the fix is. Fact of the matter is, it’s a VERY expensive high end camera, and we should not be expected to dismantle it to clean the sensor window. 
 

Frankly, ZWO should be considering a recall, or an exchange program for the 2600MC Pro. 



#34 Domer

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Posted 02 June 2021 - 06:46 PM

Obviously there is an issue with this camera that is totally putting me off buying one. It does not matter how simple the fix is. Fact of the matter is, it’s a VERY expensive high end camera, and we should not be expected to dismantle it to clean the sensor window. 

 

Frankly, ZWO should be considering a recall, or an exchange program for the 2600MC Pro. 

I don't disagree.  I've already submitted an RMA request with HPS to get a replacement.  There's no guarantee that a new one won't have the same problem, of course, but until ZWO starts taking a hit in the pocketbook for a faulty design, they aren't likely to do anything about it.

 

Plus, I'm positively fed up with all the USB connectivity issues that this camera has.  I've bought no less than 12 different USB 3.0 cables - different lengths, different manufacturers, all high quality double-shielded cables.  Only 2 of them work reliably.  One of them is a 10' cable which is great for avoiding cable snags and allowing me to set up a fair distance from the mount.  So I bought another one of the exact same type and guess what?   The camera isn't even recognized by Windows with the 2nd cable. 

 

Then today (just before I noticed the oil on the sensor window), I couldn't get ANY of the USB cables to work - not even USB 2.0 cables!  I was panicking because I have an imaging trip coming up this weekend that I've been planning for a month.  After exhausting all other options, I decided to cool the camera down to 0C and try again.  Voila!  The two "reliable" cables started to work again.  So apparently, this expensive, high end camera has a design flaw that results in marginal USB signals when the camera is at room temperature.  Very disappointing.

 

So even though the oil on the sensor glass is gone, I'm done with the USB issues and want a replacement.  My big fear now is that the replacement will have the same flaws...


Edited by Domer, 02 June 2021 - 06:47 PM.


#35 Oscar Szentirmai

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Posted 02 June 2021 - 06:52 PM

That’s even more annoying!

Makes me think…what if there is oil leak WITHIN the electronics and PCB of the camera itself, which might be causing your USB connectivity issues?

#36 Dougal

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Posted 02 June 2021 - 10:22 PM

Domer, 

 

Stupid question but just to rule it out...Was the power cable attached to the camera already when you had the USB connectivity issues? I have same camera and it crashes/won’t connect without external Power as the USB port of my laptop doesn’t have enough juice to keep it running smoothly. 
 

PS sorry to hear about all these issues, I’m going to check mine now as it’s been connected to my imaging train and have not seen the sensor window for several months...

 

edit: just checked and mine is ok.

 

 

I don't disagree.  I've already submitted an RMA request with HPS to get a replacement.  There's no guarantee that a new one won't have the same problem, of course, but until ZWO starts taking a hit in the pocketbook for a faulty design, they aren't likely to do anything about it.

 

Plus, I'm positively fed up with all the USB connectivity issues that this camera has.  I've bought no less than 12 different USB 3.0 cables - different lengths, different manufacturers, all high quality double-shielded cables.  Only 2 of them work reliably.  One of them is a 10' cable which is great for avoiding cable snags and allowing me to set up a fair distance from the mount.  So I bought another one of the exact same type and guess what?   The camera isn't even recognized by Windows with the 2nd cable. 

 

Then today (just before I noticed the oil on the sensor window), I couldn't get ANY of the USB cables to work - not even USB 2.0 cables!  I was panicking because I have an imaging trip coming up this weekend that I've been planning for a month.  After exhausting all other options, I decided to cool the camera down to 0C and try again.  Voila!  The two "reliable" cables started to work again.  So apparently, this expensive, high end camera has a design flaw that results in marginal USB signals when the camera is at room temperature.  Very disappointing.

 

So even though the oil on the sensor glass is gone, I'm done with the USB issues and want a replacement.  My big fear now is that the replacement will have the same flaws...


Edited by Dougal, 02 June 2021 - 10:30 PM.


#37 Domer

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Posted 03 June 2021 - 09:26 AM

Domer, 

 

Stupid question but just to rule it out...Was the power cable attached to the camera already when you had the USB connectivity issues? I have same camera and it crashes/won’t connect without external Power as the USB port of my laptop doesn’t have enough juice to keep it running smoothly. 
 

PS sorry to hear about all these issues, I’m going to check mine now as it’s been connected to my imaging train and have not seen the sensor window for several months...

 

edit: just checked and mine is ok.

When my "reliable" cables wouldn't work yesterday, the first thing I tried was to plug in my laptop.  That didn't help.  So then I tried connecting a 12V/5A power source to the DC input on the camera - still no joy.  That's when I decided to try to cool the sensor, and that worked.

 

In any case, the DC power jack to the camera only powers the cooler, not the electronics so it shouldn't make a difference.  (The electronics run off of 5VDC from USB, the cooler runs off 12VDC - they are not linked).



#38 jdupton

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Posted 03 June 2021 - 09:54 AM

Domer,

 

Plus, I'm positively fed up with all the USB connectivity issues that this camera has.  I've bought no less than 12 different USB 3.0 cables - different lengths, different manufacturers, all high quality double-shielded cables.  Only 2 of them work reliably.  One of them is a 10' cable which is great for avoiding cable snags and allowing me to set up a fair distance from the mount.  So I bought another one of the exact same type and guess what?   The camera isn't even recognized by Windows with the 2nd cable.

 

Then today (just before I noticed the oil on the sensor window), I couldn't get ANY of the USB cables to work - not even USB 2.0 cables!  I was panicking because I have an imaging trip coming up this weekend that I've been planning for a month.  After exhausting all other options, I decided to cool the camera down to 0C and try again.  Voila!  The two "reliable" cables started to work again.  So apparently, this expensive, high end camera has a design flaw that results in marginal USB signals when the camera is at room temperature.  Very disappointing.

 

When my "reliable" cables wouldn't work yesterday, the first thing I tried was to plug in my laptop.  That didn't help.  So then I tried connecting a 12V/5A power source to the DC input on the camera - still no joy.  That's when I decided to try to cool the sensor, and that worked.

 

In any case, the DC power jack to the camera only powers the cooler, not the electronics so it shouldn't make a difference.  (The electronics run off of 5VDC from USB, the cooler runs off 12VDC - they are not linked).

 

  I am very confused here. How did you turn on cooling if the camera would not connect via USB with the (variably) bad cables? Your software must talk to the camera in order to turn on the cooling. That is a command sent over USB but if USB did not connect, how can you send such a command? It's a chicken and egg sort of enigma.

 

   In terms of connecting the power cable, it does make a difference. Buried in the ZWO reading materials on this camera and some of the other larger USB-3 cameras they produce, you must connect the cooling power for the camera to work reliably. The power supplied via the USB cable is not enough to fully power the camera. This is common with many of the later model USB-3 cameras. If the camera connected via USB-2 protocol (even though using a USB-3 cable), then power to the camera electronics is reduced even further. 

 

   USB-3 allows a device to use of to 0.9 amps of current (if available) from the USB cable. USB-2 protocol allows only up to 0.5 amps. To get around this USB specification limitation, these cameras "siphon" the additional power needed to fully function from the TEC Cooler power input. The TEC Cooler's 12 volt power input is fed to a voltage regulator inside the camera to supplement power needed by the electronics. Having the 12v "cooling" power attached and live makes a big difference in whether the camera will work correctly. It must be connected.

 

   Regarding USB-3 versus USB-2 connectivity, having a USB-3 cable is no guarantee that the camera will connect using the USB-3 protocol speed. It may connect at USB-2 speeds and seem reliable. It is possible that a power-starved camera may try to connect at USB-3 speeds and fail or suffer a very weak signal leading to all manner of issues. Connecting with a different cable might force the connection to happen at USB-2 speeds and then seem very reliable. One easy way to determine the actual USB-3 versus USB-2 connection being made is use a utility program like USBTreeView. You can cable up the camera, then look at the connection parameters in USBTreeView and see whether it connected at full USB-3 speed or failed and "fell back" to a USB-2 connection when the USB-3 connection didn't work properly.

 

 

John


Edited by jdupton, 03 June 2021 - 09:55 AM.

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#39 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 03 June 2021 - 11:35 PM

In any case, the DC power jack to the camera only powers the cooler, not the electronics so it shouldn't make a difference.  (The electronics run off of 5VDC from USB, the cooler runs off 12VDC - they are not linked).

Not sure about this.  If they were truly independent, one could take and download images with the cooler turned off, just using the USB 3.0 cable.  In my experience, that does not work with this camera.


Edited by TelescopeGreg, 03 June 2021 - 11:35 PM.


#40 Domer

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 10:30 AM

  I am very confused here. How did you turn on cooling if the camera would not connect via USB with the (variably) bad cables? Your software must talk to the camera in order to turn on the cooling. That is a command sent over USB but if USB did not connect, how can you send such a command? It's a chicken and egg sort of enigma.

 

   In terms of connecting the power cable, it does make a difference. Buried in the ZWO reading materials on this camera and some of the other larger USB-3 cameras they produce, you must connect the cooling power for the camera to work reliably. The power supplied via the USB cable is not enough to fully power the camera. This is common with many of the later model USB-3 cameras. If the camera connected via USB-2 protocol (even though using a USB-3 cable), then power to the camera electronics is reduced even further. 

 

   USB-3 allows a device to use of to 0.9 amps of current (if available) from the USB cable. USB-2 protocol allows only up to 0.5 amps. To get around this USB specification limitation, these cameras "siphon" the additional power needed to fully function from the TEC Cooler power input. The TEC Cooler's 12 volt power input is fed to a voltage regulator inside the camera to supplement power needed by the electronics. Having the 12v "cooling" power attached and live makes a big difference in whether the camera will work correctly. It must be connected.

 

   Regarding USB-3 versus USB-2 connectivity, having a USB-3 cable is no guarantee that the camera will connect using the USB-3 protocol speed. It may connect at USB-2 speeds and seem reliable. It is possible that a power-starved camera may try to connect at USB-3 speeds and fail or suffer a very weak signal leading to all manner of issues. Connecting with a different cable might force the connection to happen at USB-2 speeds and then seem very reliable. One easy way to determine the actual USB-3 versus USB-2 connection being made is use a utility program like USBTreeView. You can cable up the camera, then look at the connection parameters in USBTreeView and see whether it connected at full USB-3 speed or failed and "fell back" to a USB-2 connection when the USB-3 connection didn't work properly.

 

 

John

Sorry - I should have been more clear.  When I connect to the camera without cooling it, I can communicate with the camera, change settings, initiate an exposure, etc.  But when the imaging software tries to download the image, it fails.  After that, I can no longer communicate with the camera.  I have to disconnect it and reconnect it to communicate with it again.  If I try to capture another image, the same thing happens.

 

I was able to capture images with this camera for months without connecting the 12VDC supply, provided I used a USB cable that the camera liked.  Only in the past couple of weeks has that stopped working.

 

Where in the ZWO documentation does it state that the 12VDC supply must be connected for the camera to work reliably?  I have scoured all the specs and manuals and never seen this.  In any case, connecting the 12VDC supply does not change anything in my case - the camera behaves the same as when it is not connected.  It only starts working when it's been cooled.  That's a thermal sensitivity problem which is either a design flaw or a marginal component in the USB circuit.

 

If you look at USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 cable pinouts, there is only one power/ground signal pair, so I don't think that a USB 3.x port on a PC will throttle back the current output just because a USB 2.0 cable is plugged in.  The USB standard doesn't prevent a USB host from providing more than 0.5A - it's a minimum, not a maximum.  So as long as the camera is connected to a USB 3.x port, it shouldn't matter if you use a USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 cable - the current limit will be determined by the host, not the cable.



#41 Domer

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 10:32 AM

Not sure about this.  If they were truly independent, one could take and download images with the cooler turned off, just using the USB 3.0 cable.  In my experience, that does not work with this camera.

Greg,

 

I have done this for months without a problem while running tests on my equipment and getting familiarity with various imaging software packages.  It's only this week that it stopped working without being cooled.  NOTE - connecting the 12VDC doesn't help in my case; the camera has to be cooled for it to function properly.



#42 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 02:56 PM

Greg,

 

I have done this for months without a problem while running tests on my equipment and getting familiarity with various imaging software packages.  It's only this week that it stopped working without being cooled.  NOTE - connecting the 12VDC doesn't help in my case; the camera has to be cooled for it to function properly.

Interesting!  I stand corrected. 

 

I just tried it again, and it seems to be working.  For reference, I've been using the USB cable that was supplied with the camera, and have it directly connected to my Raspberry Pi 4B's upper 3.0 port.

 

I was thinking perhaps the difference was the use of a powered USB 3.0 hub in earlier configurations, but that's working too.  Can't reproduce the failure.  No idea what changed, but it was pretty reproducible before.


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#43 Domer

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 03:00 PM

Interesting!  I stand corrected. 

 

I just tried it again, and it seems to be working.  For reference, I've been using the USB cable that was supplied with the camera, and have it directly connected to my Raspberry Pi 4B's upper 3.0 port.

 

I was thinking perhaps the difference was the use of a powered USB 3.0 hub in earlier configurations, but that's working too.  Can't reproduce the failure.  No idea what changed, but it was pretty reproducible before.

I'm glad to hear that it's working for you.  That gives me hope that if I get a replacement, then my issues will go away.


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#44 jdupton

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 03:53 PM

Domer,

 

Sorry - I should have been more clear.  When I connect to the camera without cooling it, I can communicate with the camera, change settings, initiate an exposure, etc.  But when the imaging software tries to download the image, it fails.  After that, I can no longer communicate with the camera.  I have to disconnect it and reconnect it to communicate with it again.  If I try to capture another image, the same thing happens.

   OK, that makes more sense with respect to starting up cooling. The symptoms you report about downloading an image causing disconnects still sound like a case of power starvation to me. I wonder if something in your camera has failed (or failing) causing the change in behavior? Disconnecting and reconnecting to restore connectivity appears to reinforce that suspicion.

 

Where in the ZWO documentation does it state that the 12VDC supply must be connected for the camera to work reliably?  I have scoured all the specs and manuals and never seen this.  In any case, connecting the 12VDC supply does not change anything in my case - the camera behaves the same as when it is not connected.  It only starts working when it's been cooled.  That's a thermal sensitivity problem which is either a design flaw or a marginal component in the USB circuit.

   I saw the original statement by ZWO in their support forums but cannot find it now. Their current specification page for the ASI2600 cameras does show that the camera's current consumption is 1.15 amps. This is more than even USB-3 is allowed to supply to an endpoint device, so power has to be supplemented from the 12v TEC power circuitry. The user manual that comes with the camera states that the power consumption is 5.75 Watts which translates to the same 1.15 amps. That is above the specification for both USB-2  and USB-3 connections.

 

If you look at USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 cable pinouts, there is only one power/ground signal pair, so I don't think that a USB 3.x port on a PC will throttle back the current output just because a USB 2.0 cable is plugged in.  The USB standard doesn't prevent a USB host from providing more than 0.5A - it's a minimum, not a maximum.  So as long as the camera is connected to a USB 3.x port, it shouldn't matter if you use a USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 cable - the current limit will be determined by the host, not the cable.

   Our respective readings of the USB Specification reach different conclusions. My reading agrees with the summary provided on the USB Power WikiPedia page. All current usage is specified for the endpoint device and not the source port capability. The actual current the upstream port supplies is negotiated during the connection communications. A USB-2 device negotiation can request only up to 0.500 amps while a USB-3 device negotiation can request up to 0.900 amps.

 

   More specifically, the ASI2600 camera requests only 0.512 amps during negotiation regardless of whether it is connecting via USB-2 or USB-3. I have verified this on my system. Below is the section of USB attributes for my ASI2600MM-Pro camera. I am not sure how the PC (NUC in my case) handles this slight excess of current when the connection is made at USB-2 speeds as I have not independently measured the current draw by the device.

      ========================== Summary =========================
Vendor ID                : 0x03C3
Product ID               : 0x260E
USB version              : 3.0
Port maximum Speed       : SuperSpeed
Device maximum Speed     : SuperSpeed
Device Connection Speed  : SuperSpeed
Self Powered             : no
Demanded Current         : 512 mA
Used Endpoints           : 2

   I still think it would be informative to you to load up the USBTreeView utility to see if anything odd is showing up when you connect your camera. My camera always connects at USB-3 (SuperSpeed) when using USB-3.0 cables. (I connect through a USB-3 Gen-2 Hub at 10 Gb/s but that should not be a big difference at the endpoint. The camera only supports up to SuperSpeed rather than the SuperSpeedPlus that the Hub supports.

 

   If you want to run the USBTreeView utility against your connected camera, below is the long list of attributes that are set and describe the connection for my camera. Check the Summary section and the expanded Connection Information V2 section to see what they report for your camera. You should be connecting at USB-3 when the cables and port are so capable. However, it is possible that system noise or other factors result in connecting as a USB-2 endpoint device.

 

Spoiler

 

   You may find that when the camera seems solid, it has actually connected as a USB-2 device and when it is having issues, it may during a USB-3 connection.

 

   Finally, the issue of only becoming reliable when cooled may well be an issue with your camera but I would not suspect a generic design issue. It could well be a "cold solder joint" that responds better to warmth. When you run the camera, with cooling turned on, the sensor cools down but the rest of the camera warms up. You might be able to simulate this by using a hair dryer to very very gently warm the vented area of the camera with cooler off just to see if reliability improves or not.

 

 

John

 

 

PS EDIT:

   Regarding the requirement to connect 12v power for full operation, I think I was both wrong and right...

 

   I found where I recalled seeing the recommendation to always supply 12v cooling power. On several vendors' Websites, they add a comment that when connecting as USB-2, the supplemental power is required. As an example, for the ASI294MC-Pro which I also have, AgenaAstro's site states "If the camera is powered with a USB2.0 host, the external 12V power supply is also required." The ASI294MC camera has a specified draw of 0.650 amps. I find this same notation on a number of other ZWO cameras that used more than 0.5 amps but NOT on the ASI2600 even though it is specified to draw  a whopping 1.15 amps.


Edited by jdupton, 05 June 2021 - 02:56 AM.


#45 microstar

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 04:15 AM

This is separation of oil from the thermal paste. Had this happen with a different make of camera that I had owned for years. You might think this would be more prone to happen at higher temperatures but the opposite was true. I had started leaving it out in the observatory in the winter rather than bringing it in after each session. The temperature fluctuations exceeded the range of the thermal paste and the oil separated. Had to clean the sensor several times including cleaning around the base of the sensor where the oil was leaking. Hopefully ZWO has moved to using a higher quality thermal paste with a wider temperature range.
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#46 microstar

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 04:25 AM

I also find I have to connect my 2600MC to the 12v power before I connect to USB3. If I try to connect USB3 then apply 12v power it doesn’t connect properly. But then I connect mine through a Pegasus Ultimate Power Box rather than directly to a USB3 port on my computer so that might have something to do with it.

#47 len2376

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 10:52 AM

When I first tried my ASI2600MC out I found I couldn't take long exposures. Then I saw this on the ZWO FAQ / Forum: https://bbs.astronom...s-over-2-second Mention here of the need for 12v power. Despite the claim here it isn't directly mentioned in any manual I have seen.

 

Powered up with 12V and worked fine. I don't sequence the 12V or USB in any particular order and have never had issues. USB3 is more finicky about cables and so I keep my cables as short as possible. Used it with a scope mounted Astroberry setup and latterly with a column mounted NUC. The Raspberry Pi was used as the hub but now I use a USB3 hub stuck on the mount and the camera to distribute the USB. Never skipped a beat with either. Only moved from the Astroberry setup due to never getting on with the underlying OS and wifi issues.


Edited by len2376, 05 June 2021 - 10:53 AM.

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#48 Domer

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 03:33 PM

Used it with a scope mounted Astroberry setup and latterly with a column mounted NUC. The Raspberry Pi was used as the hub but now I use a USB3 hub stuck on the mount and the camera to distribute the USB. Never skipped a beat with either. Only moved from the Astroberry setup due to never getting on with the underlying OS and wifi issues.

Can you share a photo of the USB connection setup you are using?



#49 Domer

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 04:35 PM

Their current specification page for the ASI2600 cameras does show that the camera's current consumption is 1.15 amps. This is more than even USB-3 is allowed to supply to an endpoint device, so power has to be supplemented from the 12v TEC power circuitry. The user manual that comes with the camera states that the power consumption is 5.75 Watts which translates to the same 1.15 amps. That is above the specification for both USB-2  and USB-3 connections.

Hi John - Thanks for the detail info.  I'm going to borrow a USB interface analyzer from our lab at work and run some tests to determine how much power the camera is drawing off the USB interface in various modes.  I'll also take your advice and run the USBTreeView utility to see what info that provides.


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#50 jdupton

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 08:02 PM

Domer,

 

Hi John - Thanks for the detail info.  I'm going to borrow a USB interface analyzer from our lab at work and run some tests to determine how much power the camera is drawing off the USB interface in various modes.  I'll also take your advice and run the USBTreeView utility to see what info that provides.

   Wow! That is great. I've been retired for a decade now and wish I still had access to the tools we used regularly at work. If you are able to get more details, that would be of great interest to lots of us who like to better understand the underpinnings of the equipment we use. I have always believed the best way to get the most out of a technology is to dig in and understand how it works and what quirks you might expect.

 

   Please post your testing results if you are able to dig under the surface from the hardware side. That will really help understand some of the questions I still have from the software side as represented by the USBTreeView utility.

 

 

John




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