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Any Guide Cameras of US Origin?

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#1 AXAF

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 10:31 AM

Are there any US manufacturers of guide cameras? As far as I can tell, the answer is no.

 

I've been supporting a project at work which will make use of a Celestron CGX-L mount,

ZWO guide camera and PoleMaster camera. We are just starting to receive the hardware.

The cameras, of course, have Chinese-based s/w drivers, and I assume the CGX-L as well

when it comes to getting the mount to talk to the laptop.

 

For reasons which are not worth discussing, it turns out that the foreign origin of the s/w probably cannot

be installed on the project computer. Are there any work-arounds for this? If not, then we'll

just have to forego autoguiding, which would be a shame.

 

Can ASCOM be used for guide camera control and mount communication, I wonder?

 

Thanks.



#2 sharkmelley

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 11:17 AM

Are there any US manufacturers of guide cameras? 

Celestron?



#3 happylimpet

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 11:30 AM

Does it have to be US, or just not Chinese? 



#4 bobzeq25

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 11:34 AM

Celestron?

One wonders if Celestron actually makes anything any more, or just imports and rebrands.  And who owns the company these days.

 

Are the CGX-L drivers/internal electronics US produced?  I doubt it.  Imaging camera drivers?  So the guide camera drivers being foreign are not likely to be the only issue.

 

A strictly US based astrophotography setup would appear to be an impossible dream.  Much like a US TV.  Possibly a Paramount or AP mount and a TEC scope.  But now we're talking real money.  And there'd still be the imaging camera.


Edited by bobzeq25, 21 April 2021 - 11:42 AM.


#5 ccs_hello

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 11:40 AM

Guide cams are just a sub-class of astroimager devices and falls under the low-price side (cost sensitive) of equation.

 

This falls under the niche market and AFAIK, the US based companies (or Canada, UK based, if that matters) in this type of business have been folded left and right (SBIG, etc.) due to cost/insufficient market size. 

 

Very often software also has its own supply chain.  E.g., actual developers may be offshored. 

Do you only care about the manufacturer's headquarter location?


Edited by ccs_hello, 21 April 2021 - 11:47 AM.


#6 ccs_hello

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 11:50 AM

Also, note that this type of devices has many building blocks

- hardware

- camera internal firmware (or FPGA reprogrammable code)

- device driver

- application level software



#7 MikiSJ

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 11:50 AM

I think once Kodak got out of the CCD market, the chance of finding a US made imager is next to nil.



#8 WadeH237

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 12:17 PM

I can't think of any current guide cameras of US origin.

 

If you would consider used, you could probably find an SBIG ST-I.  Diffraction Limited is a Canadian company, but the ST-I predates their acquisition of SBIG.  Also, if the issue is trying to avoid software of particular origin, you could consider the Starlight Xpress LodeStar or UltraStar.  They are British.  I suspect that Atik also offers a guide camera, which would also be British.

 

Personally, I've used an UltraStar guider for many years and have been 100% satisfied with it.



#9 ShortLobster

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 12:51 PM

Is open-source software permissible? You can connect to ZWO cameras via the generic ASCOM drivers without using the ZWO-supplied drivers. Can't say for sure this will work for all ZWO cameras, but I was doing this a few years ago. 

 

If so inclined you can also write your own drives using the ZWO SDK https://astronomy-im...oftware-drivers



#10 AXAF

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 12:57 PM

I succeeded in connecting my ZWO guide camera via the ASCOM option in PHD2. It looks like

an ASCOM connection can be made to the CGX-L. So I think that my team will be able to use

the hardware via ASCOM. Not sure about the PoleMaster, but at least PHD2 has a polar alignment

tool.

 

Thanks for all the inputs.



#11 bobzeq25

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 01:03 PM

I succeeded in connecting my ZWO guide camera via the ASCOM option in PHD2. It looks like

an ASCOM connection can be made to the CGX-L. So I think that my team will be able to use

the hardware via ASCOM. Not sure about the PoleMaster, but at least PHD2 has a polar alignment

tool.

 

Thanks for all the inputs.

Sharpcap Pro has polar alignment, and most people like it better than PhD2 for that purpose.  I have a PoleMaster, the excellent software is proprietary.


Edited by bobzeq25, 21 April 2021 - 01:04 PM.


#12 Stelios

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 01:40 PM

+1 on the Sharpcap Pro polar alignment, which one should use anyway. My Polemaster sits in its box. 


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#13 Seaquel47

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 01:56 PM

You could use a Lacerta MGen guider as it is stand-alone and would have no connection to your computer.



#14 ChrisWhite

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 04:01 PM

Yes zwo can use native or ascom drivers.

Would UK based starlight Xpress work for your application?
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#15 jeffcrilly2

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Posted 22 April 2021 - 02:38 AM

> Can ASCOM be used for guide camera control and mount communication, I wonder?

 

I believe so.

 

>  it turns out that the foreign origin of the s/w probably cannot be installed on the project computer.

 

From what I've seen: the Ascom driver for a foreign-origin camera will be from the manufacturer... i.e. the "driver" software will also be foreign.

 

So presumably you need US software which does not use any foreign code.   

 

I was going to suggest SBIG but the company is now owned by Diffraction Limited which is in Canada.

 

FLI comes to mind.. (based in NY) .. and I am pretty sure when it comes to auto guiding you can guide with anything, but it is going to be spendy.
(For example, Maxim/DL seems to be quite agnostic about the guide camera.. also MaximDL is also from Canada, so presumably that won't work for you.)

https://www.flicamer...line/index.html


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#16 Neinball

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Posted 22 April 2021 - 07:18 PM

Are there any US manufacturers of guide cameras? As far as I can tell, the answer is no.

 

I've been supporting a project at work which will make use of a Celestron CGX-L mount,

ZWO guide camera and PoleMaster camera. We are just starting to receive the hardware.

The cameras, of course, have Chinese-based s/w drivers, and I assume the CGX-L as well

when it comes to getting the mount to talk to the laptop.

 

For reasons which are not worth discussing, it turns out that the foreign origin of the s/w probably cannot

be installed on the project computer. Are there any work-arounds for this? If not, then we'll

just have to forego autoguiding, which would be a shame.

 

Can ASCOM be used for guide camera control and mount communication, I wonder?

 

Thanks.

If it has to be US made you'll be limited to looking on the used market for either an SBIG ST series or Meade Pictor AG like these for sale on eBay I'll link to, but due to their age you may have some compatibility issues trying to run them with modern software and computers, the Pictor in particular as I've read they are extremely finicky over what cables and adapter cards they will communicate with/through. 


Pictor: https://www.ebay.com/c/1729480668

Pictor relay: https://www.ebay.com...kUAAOSwT1tgggAT

 

SBIG STV: https://www.ebay.com...r0AAOSwQdhgPSqe

SBIG ST-237A: https://www.ebay.com...5.c100010.m2109


Edited by Neinball, 22 April 2021 - 07:19 PM.


#17 dghent

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Posted 22 April 2021 - 11:49 PM

I succeeded in connecting my ZWO guide camera via the ASCOM option in PHD2. It looks like

an ASCOM connection can be made to the CGX-L. So I think that my team will be able to use

the hardware via ASCOM. Not sure about the PoleMaster, but at least PHD2 has a polar alignment

tool.

 

Thanks for all the inputs.

The underlying USB driver and the SDK library that the ASCOM driver uses are both from the hardware vendor.

 

ASCOM itself isn't a driver. It's a driver framework. Vendors still need to provide the drivers for their hardware to interface with this framework and, in turn, for apps to access them via the framework.



#18 Kangoomn74

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Posted 23 April 2021 - 08:10 AM

Why would a non-us driver not install on a work computer for a work related project? The computer administrator can whitelist the driver.




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