Xterminator Camera
Revision Sheet
[Version 2.0]
Michael Burns
Rock Mallin
[Xterminator User Manual]
This document will introduce you to the wonders of the MallinCam Xterminator
Camera. It will include instructions on how to connect the Xterminator to your
computer along with explanations of the camera’s various settings. Imaging
techniques with the various hardware and software options will be covered. Both the
standard Composite Video output and S-Video output will be discussed along with
hints and suggestions on how to resolve any problems that you encounter with this
camera. Enjoy the adventure with Rock Mallin’s professional Deep Sky Video camera,
which will provide you with amazing images in near Real Time.
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Revision Sheet
Revision History
Version
Date
Revision Description
1.0
11/01/2014
Template Creation
1.1
01/27/2015
AGR Added
1.2
02/05/2015
Added the use of the 5mm spacer in front of MFR5 series
2.0
02/15/3016
NSN updates
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Table of Contents
Contents
Revision History ................................................................................................................................... ii
Table of Contents .......................................................................................................................... 0
1.
Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 4
The Contents of the Xterminator Package ............................................................................ 6
MallinCam Xterminator RS232 OPTION: ............................................................................................ 6
The Camera (Just the Facts) ................................................................................................... 7
The Camera (its Anatomy) ....................................................................................................... 8
2.
Making Connections ............................................................................................................. 9
The Camera (Connection Diagram) ........................................................................................ 9
Connecting Xterminator to Monitor....................................................................................................... 9
Composite .............................................................................................................................................. 9
S-Video ................................................................................................................................................ 10
Checking out the Xterminator for the First Time ................................................................................. 12
3.
Operating the Xterminator ................................................................................................... 14
Fixed: ......................................................................................................................................... 14
Extended: .................................................................................................................................. 14
Hyper Mode:............................................................................................................................. 15
AGR (Amp Glow Reduction) .................................................................................................. 16
4.
Controlling the Xterminator by Hand .................................................................................. 17
The Moon (Fixed Exposure) ................................................................................................................ 17
A Bright Star or Bright Deep Sky Object (Extended Exposure) .......................................................... 20
HYPER MODE (Deep Sky Objects) ................................................................................................... 22
5.
Controlling the Xterminator by Computer ........................................................................ 26
Connecting Xterminator to Computer................................................................................... 26
Controlling the Xterminator using Software ......................................................................... 27
Attaching the RS232 Cable .................................................................................................................. 28
Attaching the Video Cable ................................................................................................................... 29
Using MallinCam Control Xterminator Software ................................................................................ 30
Installing ................................................................................................................ 30
Starting Mallincam Control Software ................................................................ 32
Checking out the Xterminator with the Xterminator Control Software ............................................... 36
Connecting to Night Skies Network (NSN) using Mallincam Xterminator Software ......................... 39
Using Miloslick Software .................................................................................................................... 47
Video Mode (the Moon and Daytime Objects) ............................................. 51
Sense Up Mode (Bright Stars and Dim Planets) ............................................... 52
Hyper Mode (Deep Sky Objects) ...................................................................... 53
Connecting to Night Skies Network (NSN) using Miloslick Software ................................................ 55
6.
Appendix ............................................................................................................................... 64
Appendix A – Amp Glow and Warm Pixels ......................................................................... 64
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Appendix B – On Screen Display (OSD) Menu .................................................................. 65
MENU.................................................................................................................................................. 65
TITLE .................................................................................................................................................. 65
SENSE UP ........................................................................................................................................... 65
ALC/ELC ............................................................................................................................................. 66
ALC ..................................................................................................................................................... 66
ELC ...................................................................................................................................................... 66
BLC...................................................................................................................................................... 67
PEAK ................................................................................................................................................... 69
AGC ..................................................................................................................................................... 70
White Balance ...................................................................................................................................... 71
ATW .................................................................................................................................................... 71
AWC .................................................................................................................................................... 71
Manual (MANU) ................................................................................................................................. 72
SYNC ................................................................................................................................................... 73
OPTION ............................................................................................................................................... 74
MASK A, MASK B, MASK C, MASK D .......................................................................................... 74
POSI/NEGA......................................................................................................................................... 74
H-REV ................................................................................................................................................. 74
V-REV ................................................................................................................................................. 74
FREEZE ............................................................................................................................................... 74
PRIORITY ........................................................................................................................................... 75
GAMMA.............................................................................................................................................. 75
APC...................................................................................................................................................... 76
HIGH LIGHT ...................................................................................................................................... 77
COLOR BAR ....................................................................................................................................... 77
ZOOM .................................................................................................................................................. 78
MOTION DETECT ............................................................................................................................. 79
Appendix C – On Screen Display (OSD) MAP ................................................................... 81
Appendix D – Special Button Power Sequences................................................................ 84
Appendix E – Installing the MCV........................................................................................... 85
Appendix F – Installing RS232 Communications ................................................................. 88
RS232 Communications ...................................................................................................................... 88
The USB to RS232 Adapter ................................................................................................................. 88
Installing the USB to RS232 Adapter (Windows 7/8 Specific) ........................................................... 89
Oh No, Driver did not install correctly. ............................................................................................... 90
RS232 Cable Points of Concern ........................................................................................................... 91
Appendix G – Installing the Wireless Exposure Controller (WEC) .................................. 92
Appendix H – Installing the HDX2F-Fan Kit ........................................................................ 97
Appendix I – Accessories for the Xterminator ..................................................................... 99
Appendix J - Focal Reduction ............................................................................................. 101
Appendix K – First Aid for the Xterminator ........................................................................ 108
The Image from the Xterminator is Blinking and Flashing Constantly ............................................. 108
My Image has evenly spaced Horizontal lines. .................................................................................. 108
When I have Miloslick connect to my Mallincam through my MCV-1 adapter I only see a Blue
screen. ................................................................................................................................................ 108
When I start Miloslick I receive the error “NilOjectexception “, and the program will run. ............. 109
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My MallinCam is frozen, or the commands do not seem to be working correctly, the camera is acting
strangely. ............................................................................................................................................ 109
My stars look elongated. I have checked my focus and collimation and I know it is not an optical
effect, since my hot pixels are also elongated. ................................................................................... 110
I have been imaging for a while and now my images on the screen are looking washed out almost
foggy like. .......................................................................................................................................... 110
Appendix L – Xterminator’s Settings Notes ....................................................................... 111
MallinCam – Hyper Mode – Daytime Viewing – Settings - TEC ..................................................... 111
MallinCam - Moon ............................................................................................................................ 111
MallinCam - Planetary Viewing ........................................................................................................ 111
MallinCam –Moon / Planets - Highlight feature ................................................................................ 111
MallinCam - Daytime Viewing – lunar settings ................................................................................ 112
MallinCam - Planets – Filters –B/W – Star Collimation.................................................................... 112
MallinCam - Comets - Settings .......................................................................................................... 112
MallinCam – W/B – MANual - Refractor – Color Balance – focus .................................................. 112
MallinCam - Planetary Nebula .......................................................................................................... 112
MallinCam – FOV - Calculation ........................................................................................................ 112
MallinCam - Planetary Nebula – Rock’s Daytime Picture - Gain ..................................................... 113
MallinCam – Hyper Color B/W images – MANual – red - blue ....................................................... 114
MallinCam - Lunar Occultation’s – AGC – Lunar Dark Shadow...................................................... 114
APC (Advanced Pixel Control) .......................................................................................................... 114
APC – Nebulas / bright Star ringing .................................................................................................. 114
APC – Imaging .................................................................................................................................. 114
APC – Live Observing - Imaging ...................................................................................................... 114
APC.................................................................................................................................................... 114
APC – stars - imaging ........................................................................................................................ 115
APC.................................................................................................................................................... 115
APC – Sun - Moon ............................................................................................................................. 115
APC – Menu – Star Artifacts ............................................................................................................. 115
APC - DSP (Digital Signal Processing) – Options – Anti-blooming ................................................. 115
APC – Live Observation - Imaging ................................................................................................... 115
APC – DSP – ring around stars .......................................................................................................... 116
AGC (Automatic Gain Control) ......................................................................................................... 116
AGC - Options ................................................................................................................................... 116
AGC – Planets ................................................................................................................................... 116
AGC – Amp Glow ............................................................................................................................. 116
AGC - Gain ........................................................................................................................................ 116
AGC – Gain Control .......................................................................................................................... 116
AGC – solar – deep sky - daytime ..................................................................................................... 116
AGC – Manual - Sense – Integration - Monitor................................................................................. 116
AGC – Manual – Amp Glow ............................................................................................................. 117
AGC – Integration - Image drop out .................................................................................................. 117
AGC – Light Gathering and Moon Interference ................................................................................ 117
AGC – ON/OFF - Deep Sky – Adjustments ...................................................................................... 117
ALC (Automatic Level Control)/ELC (Electronic Level Control) .................................................... 117
ALC ................................................................................................................................................... 117
ELC .................................................................................................................................................... 118
ELC – shutter speed ........................................................................................................................... 118
ALC – Planets – Shutter Speed - Filters ............................................................................................ 118
Color Bar............................................................................................................................................ 118
Color Bar Generator ........................................................................................................................... 118
Color bar / Monitor ............................................................................................................................ 118
Color Bar - Camera ............................................................................................................................ 118
Color Bar............................................................................................................................................ 118
Zoom .................................................................................................................................................. 118
Zoom Laptop...................................................................................................................................... 118
Zoom – Barlow .................................................................................................................................. 119
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Gamma (The way brightness is distributed across the intensity spectrum by a monitor, printer or
scanner.) ............................................................................................................................................. 119
Gamma – (back ground) .................................................................................................................... 119
Gamma – (back ground / image / TV) ............................................................................................... 119
Gamma –light pollution – background-imaging ................................................................................ 119
Gamma – Background – LCD - Option menu ................................................................................... 119
Gamma – LCD/CRT - AGC .............................................................................................................. 119
Integration – Sense ............................................................................................................................. 120
Sense – Integration – How it Works .................................................................................................. 120
Sense – shorter exposures .................................................................................................................. 120
Sense – Hyper mode .......................................................................................................................... 120
Sense – Hyper - CCD "imager like" camera ...................................................................................... 120
Sense – Hyper mode – AGC Adjustment .......................................................................................... 121
Integration - Reset - Safemode – Flashing Image – SafeGuards........................................................ 121
W/B (White Balance) ......................................................................................................................... 121
W/B (White Balance) – Manual – Red – F Ratio .............................................................................. 121
W/B .................................................................................................................................................... 121
W/B - AWC – Color Balance ............................................................................................................ 122
W/B – Deep Sky ................................................................................................................................ 122
W/B - AWC ....................................................................................................................................... 122
Imaging Settings ................................................................................................................................ 122
Imaging – Capture Device – ring around stars - APC ........................................................................ 122
Imaging – Deep Sky – (nothing see live) - Settings ........................................................................... 122
Imaging – BNC / S-VHS – High Resolution Monitor ....................................................................... 122
Imaging - Solar – Sun ........................................................................................................................ 123
Imaging - Monitor .............................................................................................................................. 123
Imaging - USB 2.0 Adapter – Color / B/W ........................................................................................ 123
Appendix M – Suggested Item Specific Settings .............................................................. 124
Appendix N – Notes .............................................................................................................. 128
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1. Introduction
Welcome to the world of the MallinCam Xterminator, a hand-crafted Colour
Astronomical Video CCD Cameras with a fourth generation hyper-circuit,
allowing a choice of a variable shutter with extended exposures from three
seconds to a hundred minutes - all with automatic refresh.
The Mallincam Xterminator is the finest most advanced video CCD camera ever
created for astronomical work by anyone. It has a new 14 bits DSP processor,
dual pre-amps, and dual bias algorithm allowing continuous automatic
adjustment of the CCD sensor regardless of the exposure. It also has the latest
ICX828 EXview HAD II CCD ceramic sensor (CirDIP) available in Class 1
astronomical grade and Class 0 grade as an option. The new A/D converter to
DSP has been reconfigured to deliver the cleanest image ever seen in a live
video CCD camera even with short exposure times.
The custom designed Mallincam Xterminator software allows for simpler
operation. The camera can also be use without a computer through the
addition of the optional Wireless Exposure Controller (WEC). The MALLINCAM
Xterminator comes complete with our new, custom manufactured true 75 Ohms
100% shielded Video Cable/ 18-gauge power DC cable. 18-gauge wire is
needed to deliver the current required to run the camera and dual heat
dissipater/fan kit. The Mallincam Xterminator also comes with the new 5 amps
regulated switching power supply with 5 outputs, allowing the powering of
multiple 12VDC powered equipment (such as the Mallincam 8" monitor or any
other Mallincam accessories running on 12 VDC) from one power source.
The Mallincam Xterminator Video CCD Camera has a new sealed CCD
chamber with a multicoated, 1/4 inch (6.71mm) thick, optical glass, along with
special dual "O" ring seals. The sealed chamber is filled with Industrial / Medical
Grade Argon gas to maintain an absolutely dry, dew and dust free
environment. The Sensor is Deep Cooled to -20oC.
The New Mallincam Xterminator is a true video CCD camera running in NTSC
(PAL available) mode, allowing the use of any monitor or TV with VIDEO IN to
display its output. Its output can also be displayed on a computer by using the
optional MCV-1 frame grabber. The Mallincam Xterminator is truly the most
versatile Video CCD camera, unmatched in the industry.
This camera was design for those wanting to use VERY short exposures to view
live astronomical objects. The Mallincam Xterminator can reach magnitude 17
with a 6 inch telescope in or about 10 seconds exposure under ideal
atmospheric conditions with a short focal length making it the most sensitive Live
Video CCD camera ever offered. One will rarely ever use exposures greater than
45 seconds to view live, full color, deep sky objects making this camera ideal for
any tracking mount - including ALT-AZ mounted telescopes.
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Your purchase will provide you with years of discovery and adventure as you
view, record, share, and broadcast the wonders of the Night Sky. The Xterminator
captures images that range from Deep Sky Objects to local Solar System
favorites, and it does this in near Real Time. You will discover that this camera
can be used in urban skies where light pollution normally prevents you from
viewing images the sky, to rural locations where you can pull out even those
faintest celestial wonders; this camera can do it all.
To provide the broadest possible applications, the Xterminator has two video
output ports (Composite Video and S-Video) both of which can simultaneously
display images. The Xterminator comes in a variety of models, to satisfy the all
users, from those who like minimal attachments, to others who want complete
computer control and capture capabilities all from the comfort of home. The
Xterminator also has a variety of attachments and enhancement accessories
available, which will allow your system to grow with your future needs and
adventures.
This manual is in the way the work of the MallinCam Xterminator users before me.
I have borrowed their ideas and even some of their documents and have
placed them in the manual so that we have everything is in one place.
Special thanks to Chris Appleton and Rock Mallin who expertise and experience
are way beyond my capabilities.
So thank you for your purchase, and let the adventure begin.
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The Contents of the Xterminator Package
Depending upon the Xterminator Model purchased, the contents may vary, but
all Xterminator cameras include the following standard equipment:
 MALLINCAM XTERMINATOR COLOR Camera with a multicoated Class 1
(Class 0 available as an option) sealed argon gas chamber CCD.
 Regulated 5 amp Power Supply 120 volts to 12 Volts D/C Adapter with 5
output adapters to simultaneously power 5 devices.
 HDX2-F fan kit included
 25 foot (8m) 75 Ohms 100% Shielded Video Cable with 18 Gauge DC wire.
 High Precision 1.25" Eyepiece Adapter / Heat Transfer Unit Custom Made
for the MallinCam.
 BNC Male to RCA Female Adapter.
MallinCam Xterminator RS232 OPTION:
Comes with all of the standard equipment, plus:
 25' RS 232 PC CABLE.
These accessories will provide you with the ability to connect the Xterminator
Video camera to your telescope, power it using to a 120V AC power source, and
displaying your image on any device that accepts analog video via a
composite RCA or S-Video connection. See the Appendix I for a list of
accessories available for the Xterminator.
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The Camera (Just the Facts)
The MallinCam Xterminator Camera is the ultimate video camera that provides
near Real Time images of Deep Sky Objects, Planetary, Lunar, and Solar. This
scientific instrument contains the following specifications:
Model
Xterminator
Image Sensor
ICX828AKA Color or ICX828 ALA monochrome. These are Class 1
(Class 0 available) Ceramic Sensors, Scientific Grade EXview HAD II
CCD Pixels:
Total Pixels: 811(H) × 508(V)
Effective Pixels: 768(H) × 494(V)
8.4 um x 9.8 um Pixel size
4.8 mm x 6.5 mm Chip Dimensions
CCD Size:
1/2“, 12.5 mm distance from chip to edge of c-mount
Video Output Format:
There is both a PAL and NTSC version available
Composite Video
BNC Female Connector
S-VHS Out
S-Video Female Connector
Gain Control:
Auto/Manual
Exposure Control:
Auto/Manual
Auto Iris:
AES (Rolling Shutter), ALC
1/100, 1/120, 1/180, 1/250, 1/350, 1/500, 1/750, 1/1000, 1/1500,
1/2000, 1/3000, 1/4000, 1/6000, 1/8000, and 1/12000
Fix Shutter
(seconds)
Extended Shutter
(seconds)
2X, 4X, 6X, 8X, 12X, 16X, 24X, 32X, 48X, 64X, 96X, and 128X
1/32th of a second to 2.1 seconds
Hyper Mode
3.3 seconds to 100 minutes
Gamma Selection
0.45/1.0
White Balance
-Automatic White Balance Control (AWC)
-Auto Trace White Balance Control (ATW)
-Manual White Balance Control with presets
Digital Zoom
2x in 16 increments
Communication
RS232
Protocol
Operating
-30oC to 50oC ( -22oF to 122oF)
Temperature
Power Supply
12±1V DC at 1A
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The Camera (its Anatomy)
The Xterminator camera is 4.5” x 2” x 2” and weighs in at about 11.50
ounces (326 grams).
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2. Making Connections
The Camera (Connection Diagram)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Video Out (BNC)
12V Power in (12V)
Red Power on LED
S-Video in (S-VHS)
Amp Glow Reduction (AGR)
Computer/Wired adapter plug
Enter Key
Up Arrow
Down Arrow
Left Arrow
Right Arrow
Yellow Peltier LED
Connecting Xterminator to Monitor
The MallinCam Xterminator provides two Video Out Ports that allow the video
signal to be distributed to Video monitors. One Video Out Port provides standard
Composite video out by the BNC connector on the back of the Xterminator (1
on the above Connection Diagram), while the other Video Out Port provides a SVideo signal. Both Ports provide a simultaneous video signal output.
Composite
The Composite Signal is obtained by connecting the included MallinCam Video
Cable from the back of the Xterminator to the Composite Video-In Port on your
monitor (since in most monitors, the Composite Video-In connector is a RCA
style, MallinCam provides a BNC to RCA adapter to facilitated that connection).
To connect, just align the two little openings on the BNC cable (male) with the
two notches on the Xterminator’s BNC (female) connector, push and twist so the
notches slide into place. This locks the cable to the Xterminator.
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Once connected, and with the Xterminator attached to your Telescope and the
Telescope opening covered (you may not have yet have the opportunity to
adjust the settings on the Xterminator, so it safer to block any light from entering
the camera) so that the camera is seeing a dark image, power up the
Xterminator (plug in the power adapter), and power up the Monitor (don’t
forget to have the monitor use the composite port).
Now Jump to the section after S-Video, Checking out the Xterminator for the First
Time, to see how to activate the Xterminator.
S-Video
The S-Video signal is obtained by connecting an optional S-Video cable (malemale) from the back of the Xterminator (S-VHS, ④ on the Connection Diagram)
to the S-Video-In Port on your monitor.
Always use a professional quality shielded S-Video cable. Preferably a
cable that is both grounded and has baluns on both ends.
Be careful when you are attaching an S-Video cable as you can damage and
even break off pins if you try to force the connection. The images below show
both the Xterminator S-Video Port and an S-Video cable end. Notice that the
Port has a rectangular hole as well as a small notch cut out. The cable also has a
plastic rectangular peg (which is on the opposite side of that flat external part of
the cable).
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Orient the cable so that the rectangular peg will
slide into the rectangular hole. You should have the
flat part of the cable facing the outside of the
Xterminator if the orientation is correct. Push the SVideo cable into the connector on the Xterminator.
The fit will be snug so a little pressure is required.
Once connected, with the Xterminator attached to
your Telescope and the Telescope opening
covered (you may not have yet have the
opportunity to adjust the settings on the Xterminator, so it safer to block any light
from entering the camera) so that the camera is seeing a dark image, power up
the Xterminator (plug in the power adapter), and power up the Monitor (don’t
forget to have the monitor use the S-Video in Port).
Both cable types have their benefits, but most aficionados prefer the capabilities
of the S-Video cable for the final image (even though most won’t see a
difference).
If you are going the S-Video route, then about 50ft is the maximum distance
without boosting the signal with an S-Video booster. Also be careful about
crossing a S-Video cable with unshielded power cable as interference is possible
If you observe Horizontal banding (lines) rolling on your image, most
likely culprit you are getting interference inside your S-Video Cable.
For those of you who want to display the analog signal from the Xterminator on a
HDMI monitor, Mallincam provides an analog to HDMI upscaler.
This device Up-Scales Composite Video, S-Video, and HDMI to 720p/1080p
(selectable) HDMI. Motion Compensated 3D Wavelet Video Coding Technology
is applied to make the converted picture rich in color and more vivid. Input
video systems - NTSC and PAL is automatically detected and adjusted and it
provides a built-in Time Base Correction (T.B.C) for signal synchronization.
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Checking out the Xterminator for the First Time
Now is the time to do a quick check of the Xterminator to see if you can obtain a
video signal. This walk through assumes you have a monitor with either a S-Video
or Composite input capabilities (or a Laptop with a Video Capture Device)
Hold down the Centre Button (⑦ on the Connection Diagram) on the Back of
the Xterminator for about 2 seconds. If everything is connected and powered
correctly, you should see the following image with TITLE flashing.
The actual values of the options may be different, but the <MENU> should now
be displayed on your Monitor.
Next we need to check the colour signal coming from the Composite Port (SVideo), so using the Down Button (⑨ on Connection Diagram), move the little
Arrow until it points to OPTION. Press the Centre Button (⑦), and you should see
the <<OPTION>> menu.
Now, using the Down Button (⑨) move the select the last entry Return, and press
the Right Arrow Button (⑪), and the Return will change to NEXT
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Press the Centre Button (⑦) and the Xterminator will display the <<OPTION2>>
screen.
Now using the Back Arrow Buttons, move to the COLOR BAR option (which should
say OFF), and activate it by pressing the RIGHT Button (⑪).
Now adjust the colour on you Monitor to sharpen the image and thus providing a
set of distinguished colours. Once you are comfortable with the colours, you can
again navigate to the COLOR BAR Option (which now says ON), and activate
the option with the RIGHT Button (⑪), which toggles off the Color Bar.
Now using the DOWN Button (⑨), move to RETURN. Press the CENTRE Button (⑦)
to return to the << OPTION>> menu. Press the CENTRE Button (⑦) to return to the
<MENU> screen. Use the DOWN Button (⑨) to move to EXIT. Press the CENTRE
Button (⑦) to turn off the menu display.
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3. Operating the Xterminator
The MallinCam Xterminator is a scientific grade instrument whose capabilities are
in the hands of the user. As you will discover, when you become more confident
with the camera, that your images will the result of the combination both artistic
prowess and scientific skill. Both of these components will become enhanced as
your journey progresses and suggestions and advice from fellow explorers
sharpen your skills and enrich your adventure.
One of the first pieces of advice we can offer you is that every telescope system
is different, the variety of optical sizes, and attached accessories combined with
the ever changing seeing conditions makes it impossible to determine the
precise setting for the Xterminator to use with your telescope setup. What we
can do is provide suggestions that will get you started in the right direction. We
recommend that you experiment and tweak the settings that we offer to see
what works best for you. Patience will be your best friend as you learn what the
Xterminator can do, and what you can adjust. Do not be afraid to visit Night
Skies Network or the Mallincam Group on Yahoo and ask questions
The Xterminator provides three modes of exposure control: Fixed, Extended, and
Hyper.
Fixed:
This mode allows you to set short exposure time from 1/100 of a second
to 1/12000 of a second. These settings can be directly controlled by the
Xterminator itself and no extra hardware is required. This mode allows the
Xterminator to image daytime objects such as the Sun, as well as bright
nighttime objects such as the Moon and some planets.
1/100, 1/120, 1/180, 1/250, 1/350, 1/500, 1/750, 1/1000,
1/1500, 1/2000, 1/3000, 1/4000, 1/6000, 1/8000, and
1/12000 seconds
Extended:
This mode allows you to do longer exposures from 1/30 to 2.1
seconds in fixed steps. Like the Fixed mode, these exposure settings
can be selected from within the Xterminator itself so no extra
hardware is required. This mode allows you to image those fainter
planets, along with bright stars.
1/30, 1/15, 1/10, 2/15, 1/5, 4/15, 2/5, 8/15, 4,5, 1.1, 1.6, 2.1
seconds
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Hyper Mode: This mode allows you perform long exposures anywhere from 3
seconds to about 99 minutes. Unlike the Fixed or the Extended
Mode, the Xterminator needs to be controlled by an external
devise to trigger and control this mode. If you are using the
Xterminator manually, you will need the optional Wireless
Exposure Controller. This devise attaches to the side of the
Xterminator and allows you to set and control the Hyper Mode.
Alternatively, you can set and control the Xterminator in Hyper
Mode by using a computer attached to the camera via the
RS232 Port. There many software packages available that
provide all the control options, some are free while others are fee
based (See section Controlling the Xterminator using Software).
One of the great features of the MallinCam Xterminator is its ability to be used in
the field without the need to attach it to a computer. This reduces the number of
cables and the power requirements that using a computer needs. Yet, as
technology gets smaller and more efficient, the ability to use the computer is
already built into the Xterminator and some of the Xterminator users the
computer provides them with the tools they need.
Whatever your preference (computer or manual), the Xterminator can handle
both. See the Optional Accessories in Appendix I for some devices that will make
both scenarios more effective.
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AGR (Amp Glow Reduction)
AGR makes the camera act like it is in photographic mode. The Result will be a
softer image therefore an increase in sharpness will be required by the frame
grabber you use. Also, when activated, the colors will change slightly. This is due
to the IR cut range where sensitivity is lost by about 15%. A white balance (W/B)
must be conducted when the AGR is engaged to regain colors. The Image will
then return its sharpness and the colors will be back balanced as well.
Cutting off the IR range will reduce the amp glow immensely. Amp Glow is
generated via electroluminescence from the on board amplifier on the ccd
wafer. One way to reduce this amp glow is to reduce Infrared range
electronically, that is in part what the AGR is.
Left position is AGR OFF.
Right position is AGR ON
The Xterminator with the ICX828 (all black case) you SHOULD KEEP AGC OFF at all
times, otherwise artifacts from the Sony sensor’s manufacturing process will show
on your image.
AGR OFF
Amp Glow Upper Left (50s)
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AGR ON
Minimal Amp Glow even though longer
exposure of 60s
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4. Controlling the Xterminator by Hand
You can control the Xterminator manually in two ways:
1) Pushing the buttons on the back of the Xterminator by using your fingers.
2) Using the optional Remote Wired Keypad which allows you to press those
buttons, but without actually touching (thus jiggling) the Xterminator.
These instructions will guide you in using the Xterminator and obtaining an image
using each of the 3 modes. Remember that you may need to adjust your
particular settings to obtain the best image. Once you get the hang of changing
the settings, it will be worth your time to peruse the Chapter Understanding the
Xterminator Settings to get a deeper comprehension how the adjustments affect
your image.
The Moon (Fixed Exposure)
You have the telescope set-up (with it covered) and the Xterminator attached
to the eyepiece holder, the video cables are attached to a monitor, and power
is connected to everything. You are feeling a bit of apprehension and
excitement after all you have invested in an amazing scientific tool. So take a
deep breath, and let’s have some fun.
Step 1
Using your finder scope, point your telescope at the Moon (it’s hard to
miss).
The Moon is always the best object to look at when learning how to use a new
imaging device.
Step 2
With your Telescope still covered, Press and Hold Down the Centre
Button on the back of the Xterminator for about 2 seconds (or the
Centre Button on the Remote Wired Keypad). The <MENU> screen will
appear on your monitors screen.
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The Moon is a very bright object, so we need to prepare the
Xterminator for that scenario before we remove the cover from your
telescope.
The recommend setting for the Moon are:
TITLE:
SENSE UP:
ELC/ALC:
(leave black).
OFF (this allows you to set the FIX exposure rate.
ALC
ALC: 1/12000 (as a starting point).
AGC:
OFF (the Moon is bright enough without trying to brighten
it more).
W/B:
ATW or MANU (you will play with this later).
SYNC:
INT (Always leave at INT).
OPTION:
SET
GAMMA at 0.45 (Staring Point).
MOTION DET: ON (This is the lowest cooling rate).
High Level and TIMER at 60 sec.
So, let’s adjust the Xterminator to match those settings.
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Step 3
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It won’t take long for you to become familiar in how to move around
the menu settings in the Xterminator using the back buttons, so literally
I will step you through it to match the above settings.
TITLE will be flashing
 Press DOWN Button (moves to SENSE UP)
 Press RIGHT Button (to ensure SENSE UP settings are OFF)
 Press DOWN Button (moves to ALC/ELC)
 Press RIGHT Button (to toggle to to ALC)
 Press CENTRE Button (to enter <ALC> Menu
 Press RIGHT Button (to set to 12000)
 Press DOWN Button (to move to the RETURN)
 Press CENTRE Button (to return to <MENU>)
 Press DOWN Button (to get to AGC)
 Press RIGHT Button (to set to OFF)
 Press DOWN Button (to get to OPTION)
 Press CENTRE Button (to enter <<OPTION>> menu)
 Press DOWN Button (to get to GAMMA)
 Press RIGHT Button (to set to 0.45)
 Press DOWN Button (to get to RETURN)
 Press CENTRE Button (to return to <MENU>)
 Press DOWN Button (to get to MOTION DET)
 Press RIGHT Button (to set to ON)
 Press CENTRE Button (to enter <MOTION DETECT > Menu
 Use DOWN and RIGHT Buttons to Match image in previous page
 Press DOWN to get to Return
 Press CENTRE Button to return to <MENU>
 Press Down Button (to get to Exit)
 Press Centre Button to turn off the Menu Display
Step 4
We have set the Xterminator to have an exposure of 1/12000 sec, and
are ready to look at the image of the moon. So remove the cover
from the telescope.
Step 5
You should be able to see something (it may be out of focus, or it may
be too dim). First Play with the focus to make the image as sharp as
you can.
Step 6
If the image is too dim, the go back to the ALC and increase the
exposure from 1/12000 to a value where the image of the Moon is
bright enough.
Step 7
Now is the time to change GAMMA from 0.45 to 1.00 to see if what
works best for your monitor (see Step 2 on how to activate the On
Screen Display). Don’t forget your monitor also has adjustments, so
you may need to play with them as well.
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I would read about White Balance (W/B) in the Appendix so that later
on you can play with those settings. Again use the contrast
capabilities of your monitor to help bring out all of the lunar details.
Have fun observing.
If you set ALC to OFF, then the exposure rate is 1/60 th of a second.
When have finished observing the Moon, all you need to do is power off the
Xterminator. There is no special instructions for shutting down when using the Fixed
Shutter Mode.
A Bright Star or Bright Deep Sky Object (Extended Exposure)
Now that you have success with imaging the Moon or bright planets, now is the
time to jump to the next level, Bright stars or Bright Deep Sky Objects.
You have the telescope set-up (with it covered) and the Xterminator attached
to the eyepiece holder, the video cables are attached to your monitor, and
power is connected to everything. You are feeling a bit more confident with the
equipment and using the Back Buttons to select the setting options on the
Xterminator. Time for some more fun.
You will be using SENSE UP in this Mode. The Xterminator will actually build up the
image with the settings you have made. You can watch the image brighten as
the camera gets to your setting. At X128 this process can take up to 3 minutes as
it needs to run through the previous multiplier settings until reaching X128.
SENSE UP has some smarts, it won’t brighten the image and overload the sensors.
That is, you may find that having SENSE UP set at x96 or set to X6 that the image is
the same brightness. This is because X6 is the brightest that this object should go
before overloading the Xterminator. If the sensor does get overloaded, the
Xterminator will move itself into a safety mode (screen image will flash).
Step 1
Using your finder scope, point your telescope at the Bright star (or
Bright Deep Sky Object).
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At this stage we are imaging objects that we can see in the finder scope, therefore we
know it should be in the main telescope’s field of view. Of cause it depends on how
accurately the finder and the telescope are aligned, so sometimes you may need to
do some hunting.
Step 2
With your Telescope still covered, Press and Hold Down the Centre
Button on the back of the Xterminator for about 2 seconds (or the
Centre Button on the Remote Wired Keypad). The <MENU> screen will
appear on your monitors screen with TITLE flashing.
Before uncovering the telescope, we just want to make sure that the Xterminator
is not in Hyper Mode, but rather has SENSE UP set as OFF.
Go into the ALC menu (see STEP 3 in Fixed Exposure Section) and ensure that
SHUTTER is also OFF and that the LEVEL bar is all the way to the right then return to
the <MENU>
Step 3
Remove the cover form the telescope.
Don’t worry if you don’t see anything in your monitor, the Xterminator is still most
likely in FIX SHUTER Mode and the star may be too dim to see.
Step 4
Using the DOWN Button, select SENSE UP
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Step 5
Now press the RIGHT Button and SENSE UP will change to X2 (you have
just doubled the exposure to 1/30th of a second, did you see it slowly
brighten).
Step 6
Do you see your star? If not, press the RIGHT Button again and SENSE
UP will now say X4 (or 4 times the exposure, 1/15th of a second).
Keep increasing the EXTENDED EXPOSURE until the object is bright enough to see.
Recall: X2=1/30, X4=1/15, X6=1/10, X8=2/15, X12=1/5, X16=4/15, X24=2/5,
X32=8/15, X48=4/5, X64=1.1, X96=1.6, and X128=2.1 seconds
Don’t forget to adjust the image on the Monitor that you are using to improve
the gain and brightness.
Most users find that setting the Xterminator to X128 is a great setting to work on
using a focus mask to assist in focusing their telescope.
Now is the time to also play with the AGC level on the Xterminator, this will give
you the ability to increase or decrease the brightness of the image (including
noise). Either set AGC to OFF or a low setting. Remember as AGC is changed, the
Xterminator will need to refresh the SENSE UP and that can take up to 3 minutes
(depending upon the Sense Up X factor).
HYPER MODE (Deep Sky Objects)
You have pushed the Xterminator to 2.1 seconds, but now you need to take the
plunge and do exposures way into the minutes. The Xterminator is ready for you.
To make this happen, you will need the MallinCam Wireless Exposure Controller or
a computer and computer software. In this Section, I will discuss how to activate
this mode using the MallinCam WEC device, you can jump to the Controlling the
Xterminator by Computer Section to see how to activate this mode using
software.
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The Wireless Exposure Controller consists of two elements: a Receiver which
attaches to the Xterminator, and a Transmitter thru which you send the exposure
duration to the receiver.
See Installing the Wireless Exposure Controller (WEC) in the Appendix F for
detailed instructions on how to attached and use this device.
You have the telescope set-up (with it covered) and the Xterminator attached
to the eyepiece holder, the video cables are attached to your monitor, and
power is connected to everything. The Wireless Exposure Controller is attached
and channels are set. You have the telescope pointing to some Deep Sky
Object and are ready to explore what the Xterminator can do.
You will be using SENSE UP in this Mode. The Xterminator will actually build up the
image with the settings you have made. You can watch the image brighten as
the camera gets to your setting. At X128 this process can take up to 3 minutes as
it needs to run through the previous multiplier settings until reaching X128.
Step 1
Using your finder scope, point your telescope at the Bright star (or
Bright Deep Sky Object).
At this stage we are imaging objects that we may not be able to see in the finder
scope. So sometimes you may need to do some hunting to get the object in the
image window.
Step 2
With your Telescope still covered, Press and Hold Down the Centre
Button on the back of the Xterminator for about 2 seconds (or the
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Centre Button on the Remote Wired Keypad). The <MENU> screen will
appear on your monitors screen with TITLE flashing.
Go into the ALC menu and ensure that SHUTTER is also OFF and that the LEVEL bar
is all the way to the right.
Go into the AGC menu and manually see if it set to OFF. (I would keep AGC at
this setting when using Hyper Mode initially, remember when you change the
value AGC it will take the Xterminator about 3 minutes to reinitialize everything.
Step 3
Remove the cover form the telescope.
Don’t worry if you don’t see anything in your monitor, the object is most likely not
bright enough to be visible.
Step 4
Using the DOWN Button, select SENSE UP.
Step 5
Using the RIGHT Button, set SENSE UP to X128 (watch the image slowly
build up, if it is bright enough)
The Xterminator is now at about 2.1 seconds. There may be just a hint of the object
you are trying to image. If so this is a good time to make sure it is centred.
Step 6
Press the POWER button on the WEC Receiver for 3 to 4 seconds to turn
it ON.
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Step 7
February 15, 2016
Press any button on the WEC Transmitter to turn it ON, check to make
sure that both the Transmitter and Receiver have the same Channel
number.
Step 8
Press the Left or Right arrow on the Transmitter to get LONG displaying
in its window.
Step 9
Press the Centre button on Transmitter and the last two digits will start
to flash.
Step 10
Press the Up arrow on Transmitter to select TIME (try 30 seconds).
Step 11
Press the Centre button on Transmitter to lock that exposure time.
Step 12
Press the Upper Right Button to start the exposure on the Xterminator
(Pressing that button again will stop the exposures).
Receiver’s RED LED will remain solid. The Receiver’s GREEN LED will light up during
Image transfer.
Step 13
At the end of the Observing session, stop any exposures you may be
taking. Then turn OFF the Receiver by pressing its POWER Button for
about 4 seconds. The Transmitter turns OFF automatically after about 1
minute.
The following warning is about changing Xterminator settings during
when exposing.
 Do Not adjust AGC during an exposure.
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5. Controlling the Xterminator by Computer
Connecting Xterminator to Computer
Requirements:
 Computer with video display software such as Mallincam Xterminator
Control, AMCAP, Miloslick.
 USB Video capture adapter such as MallinCam MCV
 Mallincam dual power/video cable or optional S-Video cable
 Xterminator AC to DC power adapter
 Xterminator camera
Procedure:
1. Power on your computer, but do not power the Xterminator
2. Connect the Xterminator Camera to Telescope and connect either the
Composite Video cable (BNC end) to the Video Out jack on the back of
the MallinCam or the S-Video cable to the S-Video port on the back of
the MallinCam. Keep lens cap on Telescope.
3. Connect the USB Video Adapter to computer (see Installing MCV in the
Appendix D for instructions on how to install the MallinCam MCV Video
adapter).
4. Connect other end of Video cable (RCA) to the Video Capture Device
(MCV) (or connect the S-Video cable to the Video Capture Device
(MCV).
5. Power the Xterminator (plug in the AC to DC adapter and connect to the
Xterminator).
6. Start the video display software (Mallincam Xterminator Control, Miloslick,
or AMCAP).
7. Choose the Video Device for the software (USB 2828x Device for the
MCV).
8. If necessary select the correct Video Source for the software to display
(either Composite or S-Video).
9. Hold down the Centre button on the back of the Xterminator for about 2
seconds (release when you see OSD menu on your Video Display
Software).
After Step 9, you should see the Xterminator’s output with the On Screen
Menu overlaying the image. You can now control the camera with the Back
Buttons, or, if using Xterminator Control Software, control the camera thru
software.
See Making Connections in Chapter 2 for instructions on how to check out
the camera
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Controlling the Xterminator using Software
As of this writing, there are a few Software
packages that can control the Xterminator camera
some even with the ability to display and capture
the images from the Camera itself.
The current software packages are:
Free:
 MallinCam Control Software by Stephan Lalonde
Paid:
 Miloslick by Bill Koperwhats (coming soon)
 Astrolive by Kyle Goodwin at Astro Precision (coming soon)
Each software has its pros and cons, depending upon what you require the
software do.
This manual will introduce you to two packages (one free and one paid). The
goal is to guide you in getting these pieces of software up and running. More
detailed instructions will be found in the appropriate vendor’s site.
Hardware Requirements
Both of these packages will require two hardware components:
 A USB to RS232 adapter that attaches to MallinCam’s Optional RS232
cable. This combination allows software to communicate from the
computer to the Xterminator.
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 A USB video capture device, such as MallinCam’s MCV. This device will
allow the output from the Xterminator (either composite or S-Video) to be
captured and displayed by the software.
Attaching the RS232 Cable
Once the USB adapter is installed and the drivers loaded
(see Appendix E, Installing RS232 Communications) and
the MallinCam RS232 cable is attached, it is time to
connect it to the Xterminator. Locate the small guide
notch on both the cable and the AUX Port on the
Xterminator (will be on left when looking at the back of
the camera). Align the notches and plug in the RS232
cable. The flat end will also be pointing towards the left.
The fit will be snug so a little pressure will be required to
properly seat the cable into the Xterminator. You will
notice that will all of the cables connected, the back of
the Xterminator gets a little busy.
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Attaching the Video Cable
Now you attach either the Composite or the S-Video cable from the back of the
Xterminator to the USB Video Capture Device (MCV) that you are using (see
Appendix D, Installing the MCV) to capture the video signal from the
Xterminator.
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Using MallinCam Control Xterminator Software
This assumes you have connected the Xterminator to your Serial or USB to Serial
port on your computer and are ready to control the Xterminator from the
computer rather than the buttons on the back of the Xterminator.
Installing
Visit www.Mallincam.net and select Stephane Lalonde’s Mallincam Control
software for Xterminator and X2 from the Software Downloads of the Support Tab
and download the software.
Step 1
Double Click on the downloaded file Setup-Xterminator
Accept any security warnings that may appear in your operating system
The Mallincam Xterminator Control Wizard Pop-Up screen will appear.
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Step 2
February 15, 2016
Click on Next to Continue
Now the software would like to know which folder you would like to install it in.
When the Select Installation Folder Window appears, select where you want to
install the software (using the default is recommended).
Step 3
Click Next to Continue
The Confirm Installation Window will now appear as a last chance to cancel the
installation of the software
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Step 4
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Click Next to Continue.
The Mallincam Control Software for the Xterminator will now install itself on your
computer (Windows mays give a final warning, accept the installation). When
completed the Installation Complete Window will appear
Step 5
Click on Close to Finish.
You should now have a Mallincam Xterminator icon on your desktop.
Starting Mallincam Control Software
Step 1
Double Click on the MallinCam Xterminator Icon on your computer
screen.
If this is the first time using the Mallincam Xterminator Software, your Virus
protections software may quarantine it. So you will need to OK the software, it
asked.
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If this is the first time using the Mallincam Xterminator Control Software, you
may receive the above error message. Do not worry. This is telling you that
the Xterminator software expects the camera to be connected to Com1 on the
computer. This may not be the case. You will have the opportunity in the
software to indicate what port the Xterminator is actually connected to.
Step 2
Click on the <OK> button to continue.
The MallinCam Xterminator Control Basic Screen will open.
If you received the COM1 Error when you initially started the MallinCam Control
Software, then click on the “Config” Tab that is located near the top of the
MallinCam screen. (We are about to tell the software which port the Xterminator
is connected to).
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Step 3
February 15, 2016
On the right hand side,
you will see a pull down
menu beside the COM
Port title. Select the
COM number that the
USB port that is
connected to the
Xterminator.
You can find the Com
number by checking the
Device Manager in the
Control Panel (See How
do I determine my COM
Port in the Appendix)
Step 4
Allow the Xterminator to
finish its warm-up
procedure (Takes about
3 minutes). You can see
the countdown timer
tick down in the
Advanced Tab screen
beside a yellow circle.
If this is your first time using controlling the Xterminator through software, I
would leave the lens cap on the telescope. You will remove the cap when the
Xterminator is configured correctly.
Step 5
Click on the <Read From> button located on the bottom left corner
of the screen under Camera (in the Config Tab). This will
synchronize the Xterminator Camera with the Control software (this
takes about 30 seconds).
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First
Time
Using
February 15, 2016
If this is your first time using Xterminator Control Software, you will
want to configure the video capture device and file saving
locations.
 Select the “Video Tab” at the top of the screen.
 Under Video Capture title, click on the <Path> button to
set the location to save captured video files.
 Click on either AVI or MPG button to choose saved video
format.
 Under the Frame Capture title, click on <Path> button to
set the location to save snapshot files.
 Click on BMP, JPG, or TIFF box to select what format to
save your snapshot.
 Select the “Config Tab” at the top of the screen.
 Under the Save Software Configuration title, click on the
<Save> button to save these selections
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Checking out the Xterminator with the Xterminator Control Software
Step 6
To let the Xterminator Control Software know what capture devices
you are using with the Xterminator, select the <Device> Button in
the Video Tab.
When the Devices window pops-up select the Video Capture
Device you are using (USB 2828x Device for the MCV) on your
system and Click on OK to accept.
Step 7
Now Click in the Preview CheckBox and a window displaying what
the Xterminator is imaging will open up (if telescope is covered your
may be seeing a black image).
Step 8
Select the Advanced Tab at the top of the screen and when there,
click on the Color Bars CheckBox (top row, near middle).
If the computer and software are communicating correctly with the
Xterminator, you should see the color test bar pattern on your
screen.
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If the color bars do not appear in the window, re-check MCV (Video input
adapter). Hold down both the UP and Down arrow on the back of the
Xterminator for about 2 seconds. The Color Bar should appear. If it does,
then software is not communicating with the Xterminator, double check com
port and cable connection. If No color Bar appears, then follow Checking out
the Xterminator Manually to help determine the issue
Step 9
Click on the Color Bars CheckBox to turn off the color bars
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Now that you are communicating with
and can display an image of what the
Xterminator is seeing. It is time to have
some fun with the camera. The
Xterminator Control Software provides
automatic setting adjustments to get you
going quickly (until you become more
familiar with the Xterminator features).
These automatic PRESETS are located in
the Basic Tab. Select the type of object
you will be looking at by clicking on the
appropriate button in the Basic screen.
This will load the Xterminator Control
Software with the recommended pre-sets
for this type of object. The software will
then send the settings automatically to the
Xterminator-PC (This can take up to a
minute for all of the commands to make it
to the camera)
When you are imaging Deep Sky
objects, it will take the Xterminator
about 3 minutes to prepare itself for this
Hypermode experience (any time you
change the AGC (the default is for no
AGC control, but this can be changed
by the user), the Xterminator will require
another three minutes). If Deep Sky
Imaging was the night’s plan, you can
abort the initial 3 minute delay that the
Xterminator Control Software imposes
when you first start the software by
clicking on the Yellow Count Down
Timer in the Advanced Tab, This will save
you 3 minutes in the startup procedure.
When your imaging session is over, click
on the Park button in the Config Tab
and allow the Xterminator a couple of
minutes to complete this procedure
before powering down the camera (a
pop-up window will let you know when
it is ready).
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Connecting to Night Skies Network (NSN) using Mallincam Xterminator Software
Introduction
I found that when I first started connecting to NSN, things started happening too fast for me to
keep track of everything at once. So, pre-planning was the most the most crucial step for me. I
found that by doing test runs in the comfort of my house allowed me to develop my techniques
that work for the equipment and software that I use. Below are the results and steps that I use
to broadcast on NSN, feel free to follow them and/or made modification as you deem as
necessary.
Note
Computer real-estate will be your nemesis. So, depending upon the size of the
monitor (laptop), then number of screens that you are using, then number of
software programs that using are simultaneously are using, will dictate how you
will manage your windows. I will describe how I have organized my windows
under a variety of situations (1 computer, 1 computer with 2 monitors, which
software packages am I using, and what am I trying to do this session).
Remember, it’s all about having fun, and time and patience are your best friends
(not to mention all the guys and gals, and the Yahoo – MallinCam site :
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mallincam/messages
Step 1
Make sure that you can see the image you would like to broadcast on the
preview Window on Mallincam Xterminator (Preview is Checked).
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Set Device to None on Mallincam Xterminator Control Software.
Step 2
We will want the NSN Flash driver to capture our video port (USB 2828x Device
in my case with MCV), so we must release it from Stephan’s control. So Click
the Device button in the Video Tab on Stephan’s Xterminator Software.
Choose None from the pop up window, and then Click OK.
Stephan’s software will still control the camera, but it no longer has the ability
to adjust the video image controls (brightness, contrast, etc) in the Video Tab.
Note
Some users will actually shutdown Stephan’s Software at this time, and restart
it after they have connected to NSN. This method starts the 3-minute timer
again (I know you can ignore it), but this way you can ensure that everything is
running fine.
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Select the NSN Mode check box on Stephan’s Xterminator Software.
Step 3
Step 4
Now we want to release control of the Video Capture Card (held by Mallincam
Xterminator Control), so that it can be used by NSN. So Check on the NSN
Mode selection in the Video Panel. The Preview Window will close (releasing
control of the Video Capture Card).
Start your Web Browser of Choice
You may have to play with a number of Browsers to see which one works well
with your particular computer setup. I have had success with 3 browsers:
Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Maxthon. My current favorite browser to use
for NSN broadcast is Maxthon.
Step 5
Log into Night Skies Network (NSN)
Have your Web Brower go to the location: http://www.nightskiesnetwork.ca .
Locate and click on the Login button on the top of the Welcome to NIGHT SKIES
NETWORK screen
The Login screen will pop-up and you will be asked to enter your username and
password. Enter them and Click on Login Button to accept.
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You will be presented with the Night Skies Network Channel Lineup Screen.
Click on the Login Button located at the top right side of the screen to activate
the Channel Sign-In Screen.
You will be presented with the Channel Broadcast Sign-In screen for NSN.
Again enter your Username and Password and Click on Publish Channel button.
Step 6
Allow Adobe Flash to use your Video Adapters
The Adobe Flash Player Settings window will pop up on your screen asking you
for permission to use your camera and your microphone. Select Allow.
NSN
Video
Window
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Step 7
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Turn off your Microphone
Until you have your microphone figured out, it is best to initially turn it off. If
you do not, the viewers on NSN may hear an extreme loud buzzing (feedback
noise). Later on we will look at using the microphone, but until then I
recommend CLICKING on the little microphone symbol on the upper right
corner of the NSN video display window to disable the microphone.
Step 8
Set a message for the NSN observers
It is a good idea to display a message above the NSN display window, so that the
other NSN views understand what you are doing. When initially setting up
(which usually takes longer when you are learning), I usually type the message
“Setting Up the Camera” then CLICK on the SEND button to have it displayed.
Note
Step 9
When you are up and running and everything is working as it should, you
will change the message to indicate, what telescope, mount, and camera
you are using. For that is the most frequently asked question from the
NSN viewers.
Select the Camera
Now is the time to activate the camera, or in our case have NSN driver point to our
Video Adapter Card’s video output.
 RIGHT CLICK inside the NSN Video Window to bring up a Settings Window
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 CLICK on the Settings choice and you will be presented with the Adobe Flash
Player Settings Window.
 CLICK on the Camera Icon and you will be presented with a pull down menu to
select your camera.
 CLICK on the Pull Down list to select your camera video driver.
2828X
 CLICK on CLOSE to Continue.
NSN will remember what camera you chose from the last visit. So
usually you only have to go through this process whenever you want to
change what camera device you would like the NSN flash driver to use.
Step 10
Choose your Camera Settings
We will now select the settings for our camera. We have the option of changing: The
Bandwidth, Picture, Resolution, Framerate, and even the microphone rate (when you
are ready). The changes will not be activated until you CLICK on the Green OK symbol in
the window.
 LEFT CLICK inside the NSN Video Window to bring up the Camera Settings
Window.
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 Use the sliders for Band Width and Picture values. I usually have both of my
sliders way on the right. Over time you will find the sweet spot for your system.
 Select your Resolution from the Pull Down Menu. I select HDCAM (640 x 480)
for my system. Again, play with these to see what settings the NSN viewers say
is the best.
 Select your Frame Rate. From its Pull Down Menu. I usually leave it at 15 fps,
but I have used 30 fps at times. Again trial and error for your system.
 CLICK on the green OK symbol to accept these settings.
That’s it, you are done. If everything is working well and the Window’s gods are in a good mood,
you should be broadcasting whatever object the XTERMINATOR is capturing. You should now
enter another Message and SEND it out to indicate what system you are using and what object
you are viewing.
Note
Note
There is a time delay on what you say (if you have you microphone
activated) and do on your computer as compared to what others see
(and hear) on the NSN broadcast.
You will freeze (and I don’t mean like what Chris does when he
broadcasts in winter till 3am), I mean from time to time your NSN
connection will freeze for no apparent reason. It happens to us all.
When this happens, you can simply terminate the Web browser
program (Ctrl –Alt-Del). Then restart your browser and Log back into
NSN. This usual is a very quick process. But, sometime we all have to
restart our computer (this takes longer for we need to power down
hardware and software) and reactivate everything before login back in.
Don’t worry, the NSN viewers sense what is happening and will keep the
conversations going while waiting for you to come back on.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice by typing in on the Video Chat Window, as we are all learning
and are willing to assist whenever we can.
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When ready, try activating the microphone (click on the microphone symbol located on the
upper right of the NSN Video Window). Others will let you know if they can hear you, or if there
is noise. Remember there are settings for the microphone in the camera settings window
(Right-Click on NSN Video Window, look for Microphone Tab).
Video Real-estate can become an issue with all of the program open at the same time, and most
broadcasters will migrate to a dual monitor system. Placing the Xterminator Camera Control
Software on its own monitor (the second monitor), you can make it full screen to see all the
detail, while the first monitor has the browser’s NSN connection screen with its preview and
chat windows comfortably opened.
Note
When you are finished with your session, you simply say your good
nights to the crowd of NSN viewers to let them know that your session is
ending. CLICK on the red STOP button on your NSN Window and NSN
will shut down your channel and you can power down your system and
call it an evening (It won’t force the NSN viewers off the channel and
some viewers will continue chatting long after you have gone to bed).
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Using Miloslick Software
I will assume that you have installed the software, but this is the first time using
Miloslick. For more detailed instruction in using this powerful piece of software,
please read the Manual that came with its download.
Step 1
Double click on the MallinCam Control icon on your desktop. The
Step 1 of 6 Splash screen will appear. Click on Next to continue.
Step 2
The Step 2 of 6 Window will appear. Select your Type of Camera,
Type of Chip, and Video Format and Click Next to Continue.
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Step 3
The Step 3 of 6 Window will appear. Select the Serial Port that
your USB to Serial adapter is using and Click Next to Continue.
Step 4
The Step 4 of 6 Window will appear. Select the Video Device
you are using (USB 2828x Device for the MCV) and Click Next to
Continue.
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Step 5
The Step 5 of 6 Window will appear. Select the Video Input
(Composite or S-Video) that you are using with your
Xterminator and Click Next to Continue.
Step 6
The Final Flash screen will appear informing you that you are
ready to use Miloslick. Click Finish to continue.
The Miloslick Main Screen will appear. It is from here that you will control the
Xterminator camera. There are usually three type of observing you will do with
your Xterminator:
 Video Mode: for daytime imaging of bright planets, Lunar or Solar.
 SenseUp Mode: for Planets, Bright Stars, Collimating and Focusing
 Hyper Mode: for Deep Sky Objects
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After Miloslick gets going, you should see the name of the MallinCam Camera
you have previously told Miloslick that you are using. (in the above image you
can see Miloslick is currently getting camera settings). Miloslick will read the
current setting from your camera so that they are both in agreement.
Your image window may be a black screen (if you have your lens cap on your
telescope). It is always a good idea to see if all the connections are working
properly between Miloslick and the MallinCam. So, In the Camera Setting Tab
scroll down to the Camera Output heading and click in the Color Bars
CheckBox. If everything is working correctly, you will see Color Bars in the Video
Window.
If you successfully obtained the Color Bars, un-check the Color Bar Feature, for
you are ready to Image.
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Video Mode (the Moon and Daytime Objects)
Step 1
Set the Exposure to Video Mode and select the time to something
like 1/500s. Turn AGC to OFF.
Step 2
Set White Balance to AWC and press the Set Button. Now you can
move White Balance to ATW and leave it there.
Step 3
Try both 0.45 and 1.0 in Gamma to see which one you like the best.
Step 4
Set Peltier Cooler to 0
Step 5
In the Filter Settings Tab (looks like a pair of glasses), Enable the
Histogram. Play with the both the Left and right arrows to see how
they improve your images appearance.
Have fun playing with the other features, remember read the Miloslick’s Manual.
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Sense Up Mode (Bright Stars and Dim Planets)
This mode is ideal for verifying what your Telescope is looking at, as this mode
allows exposures up to 2.1 seconds. A large number of MallinCamers use this for
collimating and focusing their scope. Using SenseUP Mode along with AGC, you
may start imaging some dimmer objects.
Step 1
In the Camera Settings Tab, select SenseUp Mode and select a
Sense multiplier by moving the slider between X2 and X128.
It takes the Xterminator some time to build up the image when moving from
one X value to the next. It is fun to watch the image build up.
Step 6
Do you see your star? If not, then keep increasing the slider to a higher
value.
Keep increasing the EXTENDED EXPOSURE until the object is bright enough to see.
Recall: X2=1/30, X4=1/15, X6=1/10, X8=2/15, X12=1/5, X16=4/15, X24=2/5,
X32=8/15, X48=4/5, X64=1.1, X96=1.6, and X128=2.1 seconds
Most users find that setting the Xterminator to X128 is a great setting to work on
using a focus mask to assist in focusing their telescope. Other jump back down to
SenseUp Mode from HyperMode when they are moving their telescope from one
object to another. This way they can see quickly if their telescope is pointing at
the correct location.
You should set AGC to OFF, but if you need to adjust it, set it to a low setting. The
AGC level on the Xterminator, this will give you the ability to increase or decrease
the brightness of the image (including noise). Remember as AGC is changed,
the XTERMINATOR will need to refresh the SENSE UP and that can take up to 3
minutes.
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Hyper Mode (Deep Sky Objects)
You have pushed the Xterminator to 2.1 seconds (x128 in SenseUp Mode), but
now you need to take the plunge and do exposures way into the minutes as
those Deep Sky Objects are beckoning.
Most objects that you will be imaging in this mode will not be seen in the
SenseUP mode, so ensure your Telescope has accurate go to capabilities.
One of the big decisions you will be making in this mode is what AGC value you
will use. I recommend starting with OFF or 1 and then work yourself up. Recall,
every time you change the AGC value the Xterminator will require 3 minutes to
structure itself for the new value. The Xterminator is a very sensitive camera and
as such does not require much AGC to brighten the image.
Step 1
From the Camera Settings Tab set AGC to OFF or a Low Setting
Step 2
Set the exposure to Hyper Mode.
You will notice that MiloSlick automatically starts a timer see Waiting: 00:02:57 at
the top of the Miloslick window.
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In Hyper Mode the Xterminator will heat up producing warm pixels (little white
dots that appear on the screen). The number and severity can be reduced by
a couple of techniques, but cooling the camera in the best. The Xterminator
can be cooled by using the built in Peltier Cooler.
Step 3
Again in the Camera Settings Tab at the bottom of the Tab, set Peltier
Cooler to a value that matches your seeing conditions.
If you have the Peltier Cooler too high, you may get frost on your sensor (looks
fuzzy at the centre of your image). Use Trial and Error to match your seeing
conditions (and humidity).
Now is the time to play with the various settings and features of Miloslick (and the
Xterminator). Having read the Miloslick Manual you will know how to stack, save,
enhance, and perform hundreds of other tweaks on your image. Patience and
asking for assistance on the Yahoo’s MallinCam Group site is the best advice I
can give.
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Connecting to Night Skies Network (NSN) using Miloslick Software
Introduction
I found that when I first started connecting to NSN, things started happening too fast for me to
keep track of everything at once. So, pre-planning was the most the most crucial step for me. I
found that by doing test runs in the comfort of my house allowed me to develop my techniques
that work for the equipment and software that I use. Below are the results and steps that I use
to broadcast on NSN, feel free to follow them and/or made modification as you deem as
necessary.
Note
Computer real-estate will be your nemesis. So, depending upon the size of the
monitor (laptop), then number of screens that you are using, then number of
software programs that using are simultaneously are using, will dictate how you
will manage your windows. I will describe how I have organized my windows
under a variety of situations (1 computer, 1 computer with 2 monitors, which
software packages am I using, and what am I trying to do this session).
Remember, it’s all about having fun, and time and patience are your best friends
(not to mention all the guys and gals, and the Yahoo – MallinCam site :
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mallincam/messages
One of the most important decisions you will need to make with broadcasting the image of the
XTERMINATOR is what Video capture software are you going to use. Some simple suggestions:
Currently Miloslick’s Xterminator Control Software is not capable of modifying the Video Image
and having that Video Image be directly captured by NSN Flash. So if you want to use all the
features of the Miloslick software and broadcast those results, as well as save screen shots and
videos of your images, then we need another program to capture Miloslick’s output and have
the output from that program linked to NSN’s Flash grabber.
You currently have three choices for that other program: Splitcam, Manycam, WebcamMax. All
three have about the same features, some of these have versions that will cost you, but all have
a version that is free (reduced functions, advertisements, etc…). My current program of choice
is Splitcam (I can live with the Advertisements, but it has some amazing extras such as the ability
to change Video Input from S-Video to composite, a must if you use MallinCam’s MCV device
with a variety of cameras.
You will then use Manycam/Splitcam/Webcam Max along with Miloslick Xterminator Control
Software.
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Step 1
Plug in the XTERMINATOR camera into a usb port (MCV) on your computer.
Note
Step 2
February 15, 2016
Always use the same port for your connected devices. I even mark on
my laptop which usb port is for which device. I even use a specific usb
port for my Video input devices (MCV, XTERMINATOR, Dazzle), and a
specific port for by RS232, RS485 devices. For example if you only have
2 ports, then 1 port is for video input (MCV), and the other port is for
RS485 control.
Double Click on the Miloslick Xterminator Control Software icon.
Get the image of your object on the Image Window of Miloslick (see the Introduction
Note if you get a blue screen rather than an image when selecting MCV), adjust the
settings on the software for your planned object and size the window so you have room
for other software on your monitor real-estate. If you have a dual Monitor system, move
Miloslick to the second monitor.
Note
Step 3
During your initial NSN experience, you will find it easier to even get the
object of interest onto the Miloslick Software window. This allows you
to spend some time playing and adjusting the settings prior to
connecting to NSN. As you become more comfortable, you will not
worry about that and will adjust while connected to NSN (with the
whole universe watching you live).
Start Manycam/Splitcam/WebcamMax
Note
Size the Manycam/Splitcam/WebcamMax window so that is beside the
Miloslick Window and you can see both with little overlap. If you have a
dual monitor system you can slide both the Miloslick Software Window
and the Manycam/Splitcam/WebcamMax window to the second
monitor.
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Step 4
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Have Manycam/ Splitcam/Webcam Max grab the window image
Note
All of these packages have the ability to get a desktop image. Choose
this option and overlay the sizing window on top of your Miloslick
Software Image Window. You may need to play with the sizes until you
obtain the ideal combination of both the fit in your screen. You want to
ensure that you get a good image of whatever the Miloslick Software is
looking at inside the Manycam/Splitcam/Webcam Max window.
This allows you to select
the size and location of
the desktop that you
want on the Manycam.
Just slide and adjust the
overlay on top of your
Miloslick Software
image.
Step 5
Adjust the Resolution and frames/second (fps) value on
Manycam/Splitcam/WebcamMax
Note
This will be trial and error; it all depends upon resolution, bandwidth,
and what over members on NSN experience from your broadcasted
image. You will end up adjusting both on the
Manycam/Splitcam/Webcam Max side as well and on the NSN side to
get the best image. A helpful hint: I slide over the Manycam/
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Splitcam/Webcam Max window so that some of the text appears in the
Manycam/Splitcam/Webcam Max window. Can the members on NSN
read the words? If not, adjust. Remember, this may take a couple of
sessions until you obtain the ideal resolutions for your particular setup.
For me I have set both Manycam /Splitcam at 800x800 and NSN at
HDCAM.
Step 6
Minimize the Manycam/Splitcam/WebcamMax software window
Click on the little underscore on the top right side of the Manycam/Splitcam/Webcam
Max window. This will eliminate the Manycam/Splitcam/Webcam Max window from
your desktop (it should now appear on the bottom of your desktop monitor), but note
that the software is still running and still has hold of your desktop (XTERMINATOR VIDEO
Software) image location.
Note
Do not move the Miloslick Window around your desktop when
broadcasting, since Manycam /Splitcam/WebcamMax is just grabbing
the real-estate location that currently your Miloslick Software image is
situated at. If you move the Miloslick Software Window, then Manycam
/Splitcam/ Webcam Max will still grab the desktop location, but may not
grab the whole Miloslick Video Image. Don’t be afraid to practice
moving the Miloslick Software window when not broadcasting to learn
how it affects the displayed Manycam/ Splitcam/ WebcamMax Window.
If you need to, you can again use the Manycam/ Splitcam/ WebcamMax
desktop select icon and select or change the location or size of the
window for it to grab.
If you have a dual monitor, you can leave the
Manycam/Splitcam/WebcamMax window open on the second monitor
since real-estate will not be an issue in the situation. In fact with
Splitcam, you have an option to view the displayed image in full screen
mode by clicking on the”[ ]” symbol in the upper right side of the screen
(the escape key returns you back to normal size).
Step 7
Start your Web Browser of Choice
You may have to play with a number of Browsers to see which one works well with your
particular computer setup. I have had success with 3 browsers: Chrome, Internet
Explorer, and Maxthon. My current favorite browser to use for NSN broadcast is
Maxthon.
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Step 8
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Log into Night Skies Network (NSN)
Have your Web Brower go to the location: http://www.nightskiesnetwork.ca
Locate and click on the Login button on the top of the Welcome to NIGHT SKIES
NETWORK screen.
The Login screen will pop-up and you will be asked to enter your username and
password. Enter them and Click on Login Button to accept.
You will be presented with the Night Skies Network Channel Lineup Screen.
Click on the Login Button located at the top right side of the screen to activate
the Channel Sign-In Screen.
You will be presented with the Channel Broadcast Sign-In screen for NSN.
Again enter your Username and Password and Click on Publish Channel button.
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Step 9
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Allow Adobe Flash to use your Video Adapters
The Adobe Flash Player Settings window will pop up on your screen asking you
for permission to use your camera and your microphone. Select Allow.
NSN
Video
Window
Step 10
Turn off your Microphone
Until you have your microphone figured out, it is best to initially turn it off. If you do not,
the viewers on NSN may hear an extremely loud buzzing (feedback noise). Later on we
will look at using the microphone, but until then I recommend CLICKING on the little
microphone symbol on the upper right corner of the NSN video display window to
disable the microphone.
Step 11
Set a message for the NSN observers
It is a good idea to display a message above the NSN display window, so that the other
NSN views understand what you are doing. When initially setting up (which usually takes
longer when you are learning), I usually type the message “Setting Up the Camera” then
CLICK on the SEND button to have it displayed.
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Note
Step 12
February 15, 2016
When you are up and running and everything is working as it should, you
will change the message to indicate, what telescope, mount, and camera
you are using. For that is the most frequently asked question from the
NSN viewers.
Select the Camera
Now is the time to activate the camera, or in our case have NSN driver point to our
Manycam/Splitcam/Webcam Max output.
 RIGHT CLICK inside the NSN Video window to bring up a Settings Window
 CLICK on the Settings choice and you will be presented with the Adobe Flash
Player Settings Window.
 CLICK on the Camera Icon and you will be presented with a pull down menu to
select your camera.
 CLICK on the Pull Down list to select your camera of choice.
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 CLICK on CLOSE to Continue.
NSN will remember what camera you chose from the last visit. So
usually you only have to go through this process whenever you want to
change what camera device you would like the NSN flash driver to use.
Step 13
Choose your Camera Settings
We will now select the settings for our camera. We have the option of changing: The
Bandwidth, Picture, Resolution, Framerate, and even the microphone rate (when you
are ready). The changes will not be activated until you CLICK on the Green OK symbol in
the window.
 LEFT CLICK inside the NSN video Window to bring up the Camera Settings
Window.
 Use the sliders for Band Width and Picture values. I usually have both of my
sliders way on the right. Over time you will find the sweet spot for your system.
 Select your Resolution from the Pull Down Menu. Select a starting value of (640
x 480) for the system. Again, play with these to see what settings the NSN
viewers say is the best.
 Select your Frame Rate. From its Pull Down Menu. I usually leave it at 15 fps,
but I have used 30 fps at times. Again trial and error for your system.
 CLICK on the green OK symbol to accept these settings.
That’s it, you are done. If everything is working well and the Window’s gods are in a good mood,
you should be broadcasting whatever object the XTERMINATOR is capturing. You should now
enter another Message and SEND it out to indicate what system you are using and what object
you are viewing.
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Note
Note
February 15, 2016
There is a time delay on what you say (if you have your microphone
activated) and do on your computer as compared to what others see
(and hear) on the NSN broadcast.
You will freeze (and I don’t mean like what Chris does when he
broadcasts in winter till 3am), I mean from time to time your NSN
connection will freeze for no apparent reason. It happens to us all.
When this happens, you can simply terminate the Web browser
program (Ctrl –Alt-Del). Then restart your browser and Log back into
NSN. This usual is a very quick process. But, sometime we all have to
restart our computer (this takes longer for we need to power down
hardware and software) and reactivate everything before login back in.
Don’t worry, the NSN viewers sense what is happening and will keep the
conversations going while waiting for you to come back on.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice by typing in on the Video chat window, as we are all learning
and are willing to assist whenever we can.
When ready, try activating the microphone (click on the microphone symbol). Other will let you
know if they can hear you, or if there is noise. Remember there are settings for the microphone
in the Camera Settings Window (Right-Click on NSN Video Window).
I have become hooked on Splitcam. With my dual monitor system I have Splitcam grab my
Video device (USB 2828x Device) directly. Splitcam can adjust brightness, contrast, etc. I can also
call up the USB 2828x Device control panel (located in File/Video settings) which gives you
some more control of the MCV’s image output by again allowing you to change the brightness
contrast, sharpness over and above what the Miloslick software does. Since I place Splitcam on
its own monitor (the second monitor), I can make it full screen to see all the detail, while my fist
monitor has the NSN connection screen with its preview and chat windows.
Note
When you are finished with your session, you simply say your good
nights to the crowd of NSN viewers to let them know that your session is
ending. CLICK on the red STOP button on your NSN Window and NSN
will shut down your channel and you can power down your system and
call it an evening (It won’t force the NSN viewers off the channel and
some viewers will continue chatting long after you have gone to bed).
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6.
Appendix
February 15, 2016
Appendix A – Amp Glow and Warm Pixels
When you are using the Xterminator in Hyper Mode or SENSE-UP two optical
effects will occur due to the way CCD chips are made. The first is called Amp
Glow and the second are Warm Pixels. CCD's operate using the property of
silicon to convert light to electrons, but this also operates in reverse, silicon circuits
can emit light when operating. At the corner of the CCD array is a high gain
amplifier that converts electrons to a voltage that can be measured by the A/D
converter. During the exposure this amplifier can emit enough light that it can be
seen as a glow in the left corner or top of the frame in long exposures, this is Amp
Glow.
The other effect called Warm Pixels, appear as green or purple, or even blue
dots on your image (too small to be mistaken for stars). CCD Sensors collect
photons in microscopic wells, called pixels. CCD’s do their magic by assigning
electric charges to these photons. These charges are read as analog voltages.
These voltages are sampled and quantized to make them into digital values.
These digital values go through much more digital processing before we get to
see them. Leakage currents are electric charges which leak into sensor wells.
These excess electric charges increase the voltage at the well (pixel) and make
it look brighter than it should.
Manufacturing variations will cause some pixels to have much more leakage
current than others specifically as the CCD warms up. Even a few of these few
pixels may permanently leak, these pixels are known as Hot Pixels,
Since this is a property of the physics of the design of the CCD chip, there is no
way to stop this from occurring on long exposures. What we can do though is
minimize both the amp glow and warm pixel production.
 Keep the exposures as short as possible and use a low AGC value.
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Appendix B – On Screen Display (OSD) Menu
MENU
This is the main menu for the
Xterminator. It is from here that you
select which setting you would like to
adjust.
TITLE
You can create a Title containing up to 12
characters chosen from the ones listed.
The Title can obscure parts of your image
so most users leave this in the OFF
setting.
When set to ON, you can hit the CENTRE
Button to then select the characters by
using the Arrow Buttons with CENTRE to
This setting is used to place a small Title
select the flashing character.
on the screen.
LOCATION allows you to place the
message in one of the 4 corners
SENSE UP
When SENSE UP is set to OFF you can
use ALC to change the exposures in the
Fixed Shutter Mode. You activate the
Extended Shutter Mode by pressing the
RIGHT Button and changing the value
away from OFF. SENSE is adjusted in
defined increments increasing the
sensitivity of 1/60 second by – 2X, 4X, 6X,
8X, 12X, 16X, 24X, 32X, 48X, 64X, 96X,
and 128X.
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This control will try to control the shutter,
ideal for beginning DEEP SKY
but was designed for daytime use.
OBSERVING or to assist in the focusing
on a star.
When using the Hyper Mode, you must
set SENSE Up to X128. Set ALC/ELC to
ALC and in the ALC Menu set SHUTTER
to OFF with the LEVEL moved all the way
to the RIGHT
ALC/ELC
This function allows you to choose which
Exposure Control you would like the
Xterminator to use. You get to choose
between the ALC and ELC option, by
pressing the RIGHT Button. ALC stands
for Automatic Level Control and ELC
stands for Electronic Level Control. In
the ALC mode, pressing the CENTRE
Button calls up the <<ALC>> menu which
allows you to change the Fixed Shutter‘s
speed or turn ALC OFF. There is a
LEVEL bar for selecting the amount of
ALC automatic control you want the
camera too apply, but this LEVEL bar is
ALC
When the Xterminator is in ALC Mode,
the camera will automatically adjust the
outputted image for variations in both the
sky brightness and lighting levels.
The LEVEL bar in the ALC Menu is
deactivated in the Xterminator.
When you are using HYPER Mode, the
SHUTTER setting must be set to OFF
and the LEVEL bar must be all the way to
the RIGHT
ELC
deactivated in the Xterminator. Use ALC
for Planetary and Lunar observing.
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In the ELC mode, a similar <<ELC>>
menu is displayed with a variable LEVEL
of the shutter adjustments to suit seeing
conditions. The ELC setting is not too
useful for astronomical applications, so
we won’t discuss it beyond showing you
its Menu.
When the camera is in the ALC mode,
the Xterminator automatically adjusts the
We do not use this setting in Astronomy
output for variations in sky brightness and
applications. But the LEVEL bar is used
background lighting levels based on the
by the Xterminator to determine how
SHUTTER setting.
much adjustment it should automatically
apply to the image.
When using the HYPER Mode, the
ALC/ELC setting must be set to ALC, the
SHUTTER must be OFF, and the LEVEL
setting must be set to the Xterminator
RIGHT.
BLC
ON
BLC or Back Light Compensation is an
When BLC is set to ON and you press the
advanced setting for the Xterminator that
CENTRE Button, the above menu
some experienced users like to play with.
appears. From here you can set the
This feature allows you to select an area
PRESET to ON which activates
from one of 48 Zones that you would like
augmentation of the Centre Zone of the
to increase or reduce the gain. This
CCD chip, while leaving the outside area
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feature can be used to help reduce the
of the chip with reduced sensitivity. The
amp glow that can occur during long
amount of gain sensitivity is set with the
exposures.
PEAK feature
When shaded grey, that Zone is
If PRESET is set to OFF, then the
augmented to increase the sensitivity of
Xterminator uses what you have set with
the CCD in that Zone.
the AREA SET function.
When black, the sensitivity is reduced in
To set your own area of augmented and
that zone.
non-augmented Zones, select AREA SET
and press the CENTRE Button. The
BLC offers three settings, OFF, ON, and
following screen should appear (unless
PEAK.
you have already created a pattern).
Only PEAK and ON have Sub Menu’s
This pattern matches the PRESET ON
that can be accessed by the CENTRE
with the CCD being more sensitive in the
Button.
middle and less sensitive in the outside.
The WHITE flashing square in the upper
left is your current zone. Using the
ARROW Buttons you can move around
the screen from Zone to Zone. Pressing
the CENTRE key at any Zone, toggles the
zone GREY or BLACK. (GREY is
augmented sensitivity, BLACK is reduced
sensitivity). To exit this mode just hold
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the CENTRE Button for a second and you
will be returned to the <<BLC>> menu.
The follow screen would be your worst
nightmare for amp glow.
PEAK
Select Peak to adjust the amount of total
Back Light Compensation. You can
manually adjust the level from 0 (left) to 8
(right) by adjusting the bar.
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AGC
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AGC has three settings: OFF, ON, and
MANU.
ON is an automatic mode which the
Xterminator uses to adjust the image. This
is only useful for non-astronomical
daytime imaging.
OFF has the cleanest image, no
amplification of signal (or noise) is
AGC or Auto Gain Control instructs the
generated. Use this setting for Planetary
Xterminator how much amplifier gain you
imaging in FIX SHUTTER MODE.
would like to apply to the signal coming
out of the CCD chip (it is equivalent to
MANU (manual setting), allows you to
cranking up the ISO setting on your
manually adjust the gain used by the
photographic camera.
Xterminator. Selecting this option and
pressing CENTRE Button, will display the
This function is one of the most important
<<AGC>> Sub Menu.
functions for imaging Deep Sky Objects
when in HYPER Mode, but can also be
used in both FIXED SHUTTER and
EXTENDED SHUTTER Mode.
There are two simple rules for setting the
AGC:
1. Set it as low as you can. A lower AGC
will give you cleaner pictures at the
From here you can adjust the LEVEL with
expense of a longer exposure time. A
the LEFT and RIGHT Buttons.
higher AGC will let you use shorter
Note: you cannot change the AGC when
exposures at the expense of more noise.
the Xterminator is in HYPER Mode and is
Where you set this depends on how well
actively capturing an image. You have to
your telescope can track and how long
stop the exposure. Make a single change
you want to wait for new pictures. I
(this will take about 3 minutes to reset all
generally place AGC to 3 or 4 for most
registers).
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Deep Sky Objects and set it OFF for
Planetary Objects.
2. You cannot reset the AGC while in
Hyper Mode and the Xterminator is going
an extended exposure. You must stop
the integration. Then set your new gain
level and then re-enable the Hyper Mode.
If you don’t do this, the camera can get
into any number of odd states, at which
time you must reboot it (turn it off for 10
seconds).
Changing an AGC value will require the
Xterminator to reset its internals and
reinitialize its processes; This will take
about 3 minutes to perform at X128.
White Balance
ATW
Colours are adjusted automatically. This
is ideal for most viewing.
AWC
Allows the Xterminator to set the White
Balance based on image that is currently
on the screen. Press the Centre Button to
activate.
The AWC is for calibrating the White
Colour Balance for the Xterminator
camera is controlled with the White
Balance menu. This menu has two
Automatic states and one Manual state.
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Balance on the target you are currently
viewing. If you change targets, you will
need to recalibrate it again or leave it on
ATW (since ATW will auto track the White
Balance you previously calibrated on).
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The automatic states are called Auto
The recommend technique when imaging
Trace White Control (ATW) and Auto
is just select AWC at the start of your
White Control (AWC).
imaging (and activate it), then put the
Xterminator in to ATW mode for the rest
The Manual State allows you to select
of the evening (or move between ATW
from two fixed temperature wavelengths
and MANU modes depending upon what
when imaging. Each of these fixed
objects you are imaging.
settings (3200K and 5600K) has its own
benefits. Manual setting also gives you
the opportunity to adjust the Blue and
Red to help compensate for light
pollution.
Manual (MANU)
The most important control features of
White Balance on the Xterminator when
viewing Deep Sky Objects. When MANU
is selected and you are in its Sub Menu,
you have three selections available to you
in the PRESET feature: 3200K, 5600K,
and OFF.
 3200K allows Xterminator to see
about 80% more into the near
infrared. This will allow some of
the Deep Sky Objects to be
viewed in a slightly different detail.
Slight Haze punching capabilities
while imaging in this mode.
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 5600K allows Xterminator to
capture mostly in the visual range.
Different Nebula can have subtle
colour shifts and detail in this
setting.
 OFF allows for adjustment of the
Red and Blue color. By
augmenting or reducing either the
Blue or the Red you can change
the colour to compensate for light
pollution and other seeing
conditions.
SYNC
DO NOT TOUCH THIS SETTING.
It should be in INT mode.
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OPTION
The OPTION menu has a lot to offer in
the Xterminator Camera. Masking
features, MIRROR effects,
POSITIVE/NEGATIVE effects, and image
PRIORTY sensitivity Settings are many
of the features that can be used for
various situations with any given
telescope. Press the CENTRE BUTTON
to enter the OPTIONS Sub-Menu.
One OPTION is PRIORITY and its two
Sub-Menu items are AGC and SENS.
This
switches the signal detection from the
MASK A, MASK B, MASK C, MASK D
These don’t have an application in
astronomy imaging so there is no need to
talk about them (doesn’t mean you cannot
experiment with them).
POSI/NEGA
When selected, Pressing the Left or Right
Arrow Button makes the image either the
Positive (Normal), or Negative
(complement)
H-REV
When selected, pressing the LEFT or
RIGHT Button will flip the image
AGC section (the amplifier) to the SENS
HORIZONTALLY.
section
V-REV
(CCD input). Once a bright object is
When selected, pressing the LEFT or
detected, either the CCD sensor (SENS)
RIGHT Button will flip the image
detects
VERTICALLY.
FREEZE
When selected, pressing the CENTRE
Button will FREEZE the image (not the
camera). Pressing the CENTRE Button
again will UN-FREEZE the image.
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Pressing the RIGHT Button will alternate
between FRAME and FIELD. (Leave as
default)
PRIORITY
Leave in AGC mode (the other mode is
SENSE)
GAMMA
When selected, pressing the LEFT or
RIGHT Button will switch form a GAMMA
setting of 0.45 (provides a brighter image)
or 1.00 (provides a darker image).
Use this feature to match your monitor’s
performance.
RETURN
Pressing the CENTRE Button on
RETURN, returns you to the MAIN
MENU.
Pressing the RIGHT Button on RETURN,
changes the word to NEXT.
Pressing the CENTRE Button on NEXT
takes you to the OPTION2 MENU
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This OPTION2 MENU is important, for it is
in here that you find the COLOR BAR
feature.
APC
This is Advanced Pixel Control and it is
useful if your stars do not look perfectly
round, APC can help adjust their shape.
When selected, pressing the CENTRE
Button takes you to the APC settings
screen.
Leave PRESET at OFF
By sliding the two adjustment bars to the
LEFT, sharpening and digital antiblooming are held to an absolute
minimum. When the two adjustments are
to the RIGHT position, maximum
sharpening and digital ant-blooming
occurs. The default position is with both
sliders to the CENTER position. The
higher the level the more “blocky” stars
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look but the higher settings can tease
details out of faint galaxies and nebula.
Generally higher settings are best used
for lunar and planetary targets, medium
levels for galaxies or nebula with
structures and APC: 0 on stellar targets
like open or globular clusters. APC can be
changed on the fly.
If both AGC is turned OFF and the APC
sliders are to the LEFT, then there is NO
GAIN – the camera is converted into a
straight through CCD imager.
HIGH LIGHT
Once selected by the CENTRE Button,
you will be allowed to adjust its setting via
the LEFT and RIGHT Buttons.
This feature is like a CORONAGRAPH
and is used to artificially darken bright
areas on the video image. When viewing
the sun through a Hydrogen Alpha filter,
the “Highlight (Coronagraph)” slider can
be used to effectively block out the bright
surface of the sun allowing the solar
prominences to be seen more easily.
COLOR BAR
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Use this feature to show a colour bar on
the screen. It is a great way to see if the
Xterminator is outputting an image
(specifically if you are not sure). When
selected, use the RIGHT Button to toggle
the colour bars ON and OFF.
ZOOM
Press the RIGHT or the LEFT Button to
activate Zoom, and then press the
CENTRE Button to select the SUB
MENU. Moving the slider bar Left and
Right changes the Zoom Level from 1X to
2X, with numerous steps in between.
The ZOOM feature can be very useful in
planetary and lunar observing. It allows
the user to electronically change the
focal length of any given telescope. For
example, at maximum Zoom, an f/10
telescopes behaves like an f/20. It is also
possible to achieve f/ratios between 10
and 20 simply by adjusting the Zoom
Slider Bar. This allows zooming in on
features of interest on the object being
observed.
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MOTION DETECT
When selected, the RIGHT or LEFT
Leave the AREA SET alone, not useful for
Button allows you to toggle between
astronomical usage.
Motion detect ON or OFF. If ON is
selected the pressing the CENTRE
PRESET ON selects the whole chip
Button takes you to the MOTION
DETECT MENU.
Adjust level with the LEFT and RIGHT
Button to match environment.
MOTION DETECT is the TEC (Thermal
Adjust TIMER to match environment.
Electric Cooler) for the XTERMINATOR.
When the rear Yellow LED is ON, this
The TEC control helps with noise
indicates that the CCD cooling is OFF
reduction and thus helps reduce warm
LINE (actually a very small amount of
pixels, the control provides two simple
warmth is sent to the CCD sensor helping
choices ON or OFF. These choices refer
remove dew and stabilizing the
to whether noise detection is turned ON
temperature at a minimal level to avoid
or not, rather than the cooler itself. When
thermal shock to the CCD). You should
noise detect is turned ON, the current
see the Yellow LED turn ON and OFF as
frame is analyzed for noise. If noise is
the Peltier Cooler turns OFF and ON
then detected the Peltier cooler is turned
on during the next frame. If noise is
LED ON -> Peltier Cooler OFF
detected on that frame, then the cooler
LED OFF-> Peltier Coolr ON
stays on, if not the cooler is turned off.
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ON: Should be used for short duration
lunar and planetary integrations
with the Preset checked (which
activates the dew removal for the
entire CCD chip). It is
recommended that you set the
TIMER to 60 seconds and the
Level to 8 which is the most
sensitive noise detection setting.
You can also manually change the
duration time and chip location for
Dew Removal assistance.
OFF: For longer integrations like DSOs,
the noise detect should be turned
OFF, (which means the cooler
runs continually for every frame).
Any integration over 14 seconds
should have the MOTION
DETECT turned OFF so the cooler
runs continuously for every frame
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Appendix C – On Screen Display (OSD) MAP
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Appendix D – Special Button Power Sequences
The Xterminator camera has a Quick set feature using the back buttons. Press both
buttons for about 2 seconds.
Button
Function
Turns on/off COLOR BAR
UP and DOWN
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Appendix E – Installing the MCV
The MCV-1 and the MCV-1e both come nicely packed in its own see-through packaging. The
installation procedures will be the same for either package. The following are the techniques I
have used on 4 different computers (3 laptops and 1 desktop). Some are 32 bit and others are
64 bit, all run windows 7. I have not encountered any problems installing this way.
Note
Do some pre-planning to minimize frustration that may occur when Windows gets
a bit temperamental. I use both the MallinCam Xterminator and the MallinCam
Signature exclusively with computer control, so I needed to assign one USB port
for my video input (MCV) and another USB port for my serial cable (Belkin USB
Serial cable). I even label which port is which on my lap-top (just in case I forget). I
will always use the same port for each device, so that I will not have multiple
versions of the drivers for multiple USB ports (you are just teasing the windows
gods if you mix and match, and they will get even).
The MCV-1 and MCV-1e are heavy and depending upon your computer’s
manufacturer, the MCV may put some strain on the USB port. Therefore I use a
small 6” USB cable extender, and plug the extender into the USB port for and plug
the MCV into the other end of the extender.
Step 1
Open the Package
When you open the package you will find:
 1 mini CD
 1 User’s Manual
 MCV-1 (1e) Do not inset this into USB port until instructed
 Take the instruction booklet and the mini CD and place them on the table. If
your computer cannot handle a mini CD (you cannot physically lock the CD
into the centre hole of the CD drive), then you can down load the software by
following the next step
 Go to the Mallincam website and download the latest drivers for the MCV
device:
http://www.mallincam.net/software-downloads.html
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Insert the MCV-1 or MCV-1e
Remember the USB port you choose for the MCV; you will always use this USB
port for the MCV.
 The Windows will find new hardware and will attempt to load drivers. It
will most likely fail on one driver. Don’t worry that is why you have the
driver installation software.
 Either insert the CD or run the program autorun.exe in the folder of the
file you downloaded.
 When you see the green USB 2.0 HD HV Grabber screen, CLICK on the
option: Install Drivers.
 You may receive a Windows warning asking you if you want to allow the
installation to run, Click Yes.
 Follow the instructions on the Installation of USB Video/Audio Device
Driver Wizard that is displayed on the desktop.
 The installation takes under a minute. Once complete, you will be
presented with a notification windows, click Finish with the “Yes, I want
to restart my computer now” option selected.
 The computer will restart. Login in as you normally would.
 You don’t need to install any of the other files from the HD AV Grabber
installer.
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Checking out the MCV-1 or MCV-1e
It is always a good idea to check out the MCV-1e to see if it is running correctly
after you have done a first time installation.
 Start the Image software that you will using to display your Xterminator
Video image such as: AmpCap, SharpCap, VirtualDub,..)
 In the Video Device menu, you should see a Video Source called “USB
2828x Device”. This is the driver for either the MCV-1 or MCV-1e device.
This is the one we want. Select it
 Power up your Signature, and you should be able to see the camera’s
images on the video window of your software.
Note
Oh No, the video is not working correctly, strange stuff is happening and it is
not my camera
After you have checked all of the obvious: Power to the Xterminator, Software
(AMCAP) is pointing to the correct input device on the MCV (remember it has 2
connection types: RCA and S-VIDEO).
Down load the updated MCV-1 or MCV-1e driver from the Mallincam
Software Links Site:
http://www.mallincam.net/software-downloads.html
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Appendix F – Installing RS232 Communications
RS232 Communications
The MallinCam Xterminator communicates via a Computer Adapter Port (see 8
on the Connection Diagram) on the back of the camera. An Optional
MallinCam Xterminator RS232 cable is required to connect the camera to a
RS232 Port on your computer. As most computers no longer include a RS232 Port,
you will also require a USB to RS232 Serial adapter. The MallinCam RS232 cable is
then connected to the USB to RS232 adapter which in turn is connected to a USB
Port on your computer.
Different models of MallinCam camera used a alternative version of the
communication cable. These communication cables are distinguished by
a GREEN dot on the cable. This GREEN dot matched the GREEN LED on
that model of camera. Ensure you order the XTERMINATOR RS232 cable
from your vendor.
The USB to RS232 Adapter
To control the camera through the Xterminator RS232 Port you will require a USB
to RS232 Adapter Cable on the computer side and a MallinCam RS2332 adapter
cable on the Xterminator side.
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The ideal USB to RS232 Adapter is usually computer specific (and sometimes
Operating system specific).
When you purchase a USB to RS232 adapter, purchase a brand name one that
specifically states that it is 100% compatible with your operating system. There
are some cheap prolific chip set knock offs that are incompatible with updated
drivers (Error -10 (failure to load drivers). MallinCam users have had no issue with
USB to RS232 Adapters with the FTDI chipset.
On the Macintosh, excellent results with adapters from Tripplite (formerly
Keyspan), IOGear, FTDI and TrendNet, since these manufactures provide upto-date drivers compatible with most versions of Mac OS X
Installing the USB to RS232 Adapter (Windows 7/8 Specific)
Most USB to RS232 Adapters come with a CD that contains the driver for the
adapter. I recommend using that CD as a last resort, as Windows Operating
system (Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1) usually goes a fine job in
automatically downloading the latest drivers for your adapter.
Step 1
Insert you USB to RS232 Adapter into a free USB Port on your
computer
Windows will beep to recognize that an adapter has been inserted into a USB
Port. After a few seconds the following message singular to the one below should
appear on the bottom right of your Windows screen.
The little green shade will move around the icon that the Installing device driver
software message is pointing to while the driver is being installed (may take
about a minute).
Once completed, the following pop-up message should appear (name of driver
may be different, depending upon which USB to RS232 adapter you are using)
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The driver has been successfully downloaded and installed. Make note of both
the Port that you have used for your USB to RS232 Adapter (you should always
use the same Port) and what COM value Windows has assigned for this adapter
(5 in image above).
Oh No, Driver did not install correctly.
Sometimes the Window’s gods are having a bad day and they decide to take it
out on you. Don’t Panic. If you check the Ports (COM & LPT) or Other devices list
item in the Device Manger from the Control Panel, you may see a yellow warning
beside the Adapter, this indicates the current driver is incompatible.
There could be many reasons for the driver not to install, the most common
being that there already is an old incompatible driver already in the system, or
Windows could not locate the driver for you particular USB to RS232 Adapter.
Step 1
Check to see if you already have a driver installed and remove it if
necessary from your system.
With the USB to RS232 Adapter still inserted in a USB Port.
 From the Control Panel, go into the Device Manager, and click on the
Ports (COM & LPT) arrow.
 Right Click on the driver name (Prolific USB-to-Serial Com Port (Com4) in
my image above) and Choose Uninstall when Pop-up List appears.
 Let Windows do its uninstall thing and when completed, remove the USB
to RS232 Adapter from the Port.
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Step 2
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Download and install latest driver specifically for your Device (or
use the installation CD that came with the Adapter)
 Now visit the site of the USB to RS232 Adapter you own and download the
latest driver and follow the installation instructions from the site. (If you are
using the CD, follow the instruction that came with the Adapter).
 The Final step in either the download or CD option you chose will be to
reinsert the USB to RS232 Adapter back into you USB Port, and windows
should finish the installation process and then display success popup
menu with the COM Port it has assigned to your Adapter.
RS232 Cable Points of Concern
If needed the following are the required settings if necessary:
Bits per Second:
Data Bits:
Parity:
Stop Bits:
Flow Control:
Distance:
9600
8 bits
None
1
None
At 9600 baud, the distance should be no more than 50 feet and, at
19200 baud, the cable length should be no more than 20 feet.
Interference: Cheap Power cables can cause interference; always use shielded
cables when moving data (or Power) from one location to another.
Secure:
Always make sure your connectors are securely attached to the
Xterminator port. You may want to make a loop and attach that
with Velcro to your scope to help reduce the risk of it being pulled
out.
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Appendix G – Installing the Wireless Exposure Controller (WEC)
Step 1
Step 2
Insert the receiver 4 pin plug into the side socket of the camera as
shown in picture above and below.
Connect the other end of the cable into the receiver as shown
below
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Step 3
Step 4
February 15, 2016
Now turn on receiver by holding the left button called POWER for 3
to 4 seconds. The display will show either a blank channel or a
channel number as shown in the picture below. You can change
channel by pressing both buttons at the same time for 3 to 4
seconds until display flashes. Then select the Channel of your
choice.
Now take the wireless hand controller (the Transmitter) and press
any button to turn it on. The hand controller will show a channel on
the display as shown below.
Press the left or right arrows on the Transmitter until CH in the upper
display. Press the Center Button located between the arrows until
the display flashes. Now match the Channel Number in the display
window to the Receiver Channel Number by pressing the Up or
Down Arrow Button. Press Center Button to lock in the channel.
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Step 5
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Now press the Right or Left arrow Button until upper display indicate
LONG as indicated by the picture below.
This is where the integration time is entered. For this example, we will
use 7 seconds integration
Step 6
Press the Center Button located between the arrows until the last
two digits flash. Using the Up Arrow, press it 7 times or hold down the
Up Arrow to scroll in fast mode to 7 seconds. Press the Center Button
to lock in this value. Now display will look like the picture below.
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Step 7
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To active the camera into a 7 seconds integration with AUTO
REFRESH, simply hit the upper Right Button which activates or stops
the countdown as shown in picture below. Note the picture
showing countdown to 2 seconds and will start over automatically
to 7 seconds once the image has been taken and transferred to
monitor.
To confirm image integration and/or transfer, look at the Receiver’s
LED indicator as demonstrated in the picture below. When taking
an exposure (integration) the LED on the Receiver will be solid RED.
Once the image is transferred, it will momentarily turn GREEN
indicating that the image is being transferred to monitor. The RED
LED will automatically light back up while taking another exposure
(integration). This will repeat as long as the hand controller has
been activated with the Upper Right Button. To stop exposure simply
press the Upper Right Button on the Transmitter.
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Step 8
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After the observing / imaging session, please remember to turn OFF
the Receiver by pressing POWER Button for 4 seconds or until display
goes blank. The Transmitter will automatically shut down by itself in
about one minute. The background light can be turned on
momentarily on the Transmitter by pressing the Upper Left Button for
4 seconds or until display light comes on. It will turn off
automatically after 6 seconds or more to save battery power. For
long term storage, remove batteries from both the Transmitter and
Receiver.
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Appendix H – Installing the HDX2F-Fan Kit
Step 1
Attach one of the top of the Heat Dissipater using the 4 provided
screws (ensure that the power cables are pointing away from the
circular opening of the Heat Dissipater (see image above). Now
attach the other Fan to the bottom of the Heat Dissipater (again
ensure power wires are pointing to the back of the Heat Dissipater.
Step 2
Now slide the Xterminator into the Heat Dissipater with the Brass
Ring of the Xterminator poking thru the round opening of the
Dissipater. Now tighten the two brass screws on the Head Dissipater
to securely lock the Heat Dissipater to the Xterminator.
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The HDX2-F provides a pass thru power arrangement. Just plug in a
Male 12V DC cable to the Female Power connect on the HDX2-F
Fan and then plug the Male end of the HDX2-F Power cord into the
Xterminator.
Some users prefer to have a separate 12V power source for both the
HDX2-F and the Xterminator. The choise is yours/
When powered, both fans will quietly turn to move air around the Xterminator.
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Appendix I – Accessories for the Xterminator
Upscaler
Digital View Finder
Digital View Finder Kit
8” Monitor
12” and 15” Monitor
2” c-mount adapter
MFR-6
Remote wired Keypad
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MCV-1 (MCV-1-E)
MallinCam IR Filter
Mallincam 2.5X Barlow
Mallincam 0.5x Focal Reducer
Mallincam 0.75x Focal Reducer
MFR-3 Focal Reducer
MFR-5 Focal Reducer
Spacers for MFR-3 and MFR-5
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Appendix J - Focal Reduction
Here are three images of a MFR-5
focal-reducer. It’s a two-piece
design and is made to mount on Cmount. video cameras, is 1.25” in
diameter and has 1.25” filter
threads on the end of the larger
part I call the “A” part.
Depending on how you configure
this unit, it can achieve different
amounts of focal-reduction – from
0.8x to 0.3x or even more.
The MFR-5 is ideal for all
telescope designs but particularly
refractors, SCTs, RCs and DK
optical designs.
It has been used successfully on
curved-field and flat-field scopes
and astrographs.
The MFR-5 has two parts that
unscrew from each other. I call
the left shorter part the “B” part
and the longer part on the right the
“A” part.
Since both parts have male Cmount. threads, both parts can be
attached to the camera.
Just mounting the “B” part results
in about a 0.8x focal-reduction.
I’ve never used just the “A” part
but I’ve been told it provides
about a 0.75x focal-reduction by
itself.
Standard 1.25” astronomical
filters can be threaded into the end
of the “A” part.
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By separating the two parts and
just screwing the shorter “B” part
(a.k.a. MFR-6 and sold separately
now) into the camera – you get the
lowest amount of focal-reduction.
Depending on your scope and
configuration, you can expect
about 0.8x focal-reduction.
Many solar imagers find this
configuration handy to fit the
entire solar disk into their FOV.
But this is too short to insert into a
focuser by itself. You need to add
a 1.25” adapter to this to fit it into
a focuser.
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February 15, 2016
Here’s the complete MFR-5
screwed together and mounted on
the camera.
This results in about a 0.6x focal
reduction.
The amount of focal-reduction is
dependent on each scope design,
primary mirror position, thickness
of external focusers on SCT
scopes, etc.
So different setups will result in
different amounts of focal
reduction—even with seemingly
similar scopes or MFR-5
configurations.
For additional focal-reduction you
can add extension tubes.
The more you add – the more focal
reduction you get.
I’m an “Old-School”
photographer and we called these
things extension tubes in the day.
So that’s what I still call them.
Schneider calls them extension
tubes also. But many people call
these things “spacers” or
“extension rings” or “ERs” for
short. They’re all the same thing.
Here’s a setup I’ve successfully
used on a Celestron C9.25” SCT
with a JMI EV-1cm external
focuser attached.
I’m guessing this results in about a
0.4x reduction. So for a C9.25
that reduces the focal-length from
2350mm down to about 940mm
(2350 x .4 = 940).
I’m guessing on the reduction here
so don’t quote me or blindly
believe me. But it’s a substantial
amount of focal-reduction.
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We recommend that when you
use the MFR-5, or the MFR-5 Mk
II, or even MFR-5 Mk-x that you
put extension tubes between the
camera and the MFR5. This also
increases the amount of focalreduction.
There is one potential advantage
to placing the extension tubes here
– to remove internal reflections
between the back of the MFR-5
and the camera’s sensor – if
you’re getting one. Plus it prevents
the Lens on the MFR-5 series from
touching the glass seal on front of
the sensor.
NOTE: Let me point out here that
when you add the MFR-5 your
focus point changes – a lot.
And when you put extension tubes
between the MFR-5 and camera –
focus changes even more.
And you can combine extension
tubes between part “A” and part
“B” at the same time as adding an
extension tube between the camera
and the back of the MFR5. This
can result in a LOT of focalreduction – even too much!
The following charts come from Jim Thompson’s incredible paper: Detailed Look
At Focal Reducers. I cannot imagine how many hours it took Jim to produce the
document, but it is worth reading to obtain a deeper understanding about Focal
Reduction.
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Basic Focal Reduction Results by Jim Thompson
Table 1 summarizes the measurements. Vignetting and Coma observations were
scored from 0 to 3 based on the following:
0
=
none observed
1
=
hint observed
2
=
clearly observed by not obtrusive
3
=
very apparent and affects viewing
Test
#
FR
focus
distance
[mm]
delta
focus
distance
[mm]
FR-toCCD
distance
[mm]
ref. star
distance
[pixels]
f/ratio
[non]
reduct.
factor
[non]
vignette
score
[non]
coma
score
[non]
0
nothing
221.6
0
0
264.61
8
1
0
0
1
MFR2" on 2" c-thread adapter
172.9
-48.7
45.3
126.46
3.82
0.478
0
1
2
MFR2" on 2" c-thread adapter + 5mm
154
-67.6
50.3
113.27
3.42
0.428
0
2
3
MFR2" on 2" c-thread adapter + 10mm
128.3
-93.3
55.3
99.58
3.01
0.376
1
3
4
MFR2"-RC
198.9
-22.7
75.5
204.50
6.18
0.773
0
0
5
MFR2"-RC + pull out 6.1mm
194.5
-27.1
81.6
200.82
6.07
0.759
0
0
6
MFR2"-RC + pull out 10.2mm
188.8
-32.8
85.7
198.31
6.00
0.749
0
0
7
MFR2"-RC + pull out 16.6mm
183.7
-37.9
92.1
194.61
5.88
0.735
0
0
8
9
MFR2"-RC + pull out 24.1mm
MFR5
179.5
195.6
-42.1
-26
99.6
28.5
189.93
132.51
5.74
4.01
0.718
0.501
0
0
0
0
10
MFR5 + 5mm spacer in front
176.1
-45.5
33.5
108.29
3.27
0.409
2
0
11
12
MFR5 + 10mm spacer in front
MFR5 + 5mm between
141.1
183.6
-80.5
-38
38.5
31
82.19
120.42
2.48
3.64
0.311
0.455
3
1
1
0
13
MFR5 + 5mm between + 5mm in front
160.6
-61
36
96.65
2.92
0.365
2
2
14
15
MFR5 + 5mm between + 10mm in front
short half MFR5 (=MFR6)
117.1
221
-104.5
-0.6
41
14.5
73.40
223.33
2.22
6.75
0.277
0.844
3
0
3
0
16
short half MFR5 + 5mm in front
218.5
-3.1
19.5
207.94
6.29
0.786
0
0
17
short half MFR5 + 10mm in front
215
-6.6
24.5
191.94
5.80
0.725
0
0
18
short half MFR5 + 15mm in front
209.5
-12.1
29.5
175.24
5.30
0.662
0
0
19
short half MFR5 + 19.5mm in front
202.5
-19.1
34
160.51
4.85
0.607
0
1
20
long half MFR5
209.6
-12
32.5
180.66
5.46
0.683
0
0
21
long half MFR5 + 5mm in front
203.1
-18.5
37.5
168.79
5.10
0.638
0
0
22
long half MFR5 + 10mm in front
195.1
-26.5
42.5
155.26
4.69
0.587
0
0
23
long half MFR5 + 15mm in front
183.6
-38
47.5
141.74
4.29
0.536
1
0
24
Meade Telecompressor 07051
184.6
-37
56.5
152.82
4.62
0.578
0
0
25
Meade Telecompressor pullout 8mm
162.6
-59
64.5
135.91
4.11
0.514
0
0
26
Meade Telecompressor pullout 18mm
127.6
-94
74.5
116.36
3.52
0.440
1
1
27
meade f/3.3 spacing #1 (5.8, min)
182.8
-38.8
43.9
132.92
4.02
0.502
0
0
28
meade f/3.3 spacing #2 (8.5)
175
-46.6
46.6
125.07
3.78
0.473
0
1
29
meade f/3.3 spacing #3 (11.7)
162.7
-58.9
49.8
116.37
3.52
0.440
0
1
30
meade f/3.3 spacing #4 (12.3, max)
159.3
-62.3
50.4
114.00
3.45
0.431
0
2
31
meade f/3.3 spacing #5 (taped in focuser)
139.6
-82
61.5
97.42
2.95
0.368
0
2
32
33
meade f/3.3 + new adapt + 2 filters tween
meade f/6.3 spacing #1 (5.2, min)
132.2
212.7
-89.4
-8.9
75.9
43.3
88.19
205.25
2.67
6.21
0.333
0.776
0
0
2
0
34
meade f/6.3 spacing #2 (7.7)
208.7
-12.9
45.8
201.97
6.11
0.763
0
0
35
meade f/6.3 spacing #3 (13.3)
198.7
-22.9
51.4
194.93
5.89
0.737
0
0
36
meade f/6.3 spacing #4 (30.1)
162.2
-59.4
68.2
173.63
5.25
0.656
0
0
37
meade f/6.3 spacing #5 (34.5, max)
152.2
-69.4
72.6
167.73
5.07
0.634
0
0
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focus
distance
[mm]
delta
focus
distance
[mm]
FR-toCCD
distance
[mm]
ref. star
distance
[pixels]
f/ratio
[non]
reduct.
factor
[non]
vignette
score
[non]
coma
score
[non]
125.6
-96
44.3
82.38
2.49
0.311
3
2
long half MFR5 + Meade f/6.3 (41 between)
142.6
172.6
-79
-49
41.65
53
89.07
114.28
2.69
3.46
0.337
0.432
3
0
2
1
41
long half MFR5 + Meade f/6.3 (64 between)
129.1
-92.5
64.5
96.05
2.90
0.363
1
2
42
5mm+long half MFR5 + Meade f/6.3 (41
tween)
145.6
-76
69.5
97.31
2.94
0.368
1
2
124.1
155.4
-97.5
-66.2
74.5
50
89.63
117.89
2.71
3.56
0.339
0.446
2
0
2
1
17mm tween
142.6
124.1
-79
-97.5
65.45
68.95
101.79
93.30
3.08
2.82
0.385
0.353
0
0
1
2
47
22mm tween
113.1
-108.5
71.45
91.59
2.77
0.346
0
3
48
final (2filters+empty ring, 19.2mm tween)
119.6
-102
70.05
92.31
2.79
0.349
0
2
long half MFR5 + MFR2"-RC (20 tween)
112
183.3
-109.6
-38.3
39.6
51.3
96.83
137.24
2.93
4.15
0.366
0.519
1
0
0
0
51
short half MFR5 + MFR2"-RC (40 tween)
194.7
-26.9
48
171.21
5.18
0.647
0
0
52
whole MFR5 + MFR2"-RC
157.3
-64.3
48.3
98.47
2.98
0.372
0
2
53
long half MFR5 + M f/6.3, Woadapt, 2filters
tween
137
-84.6
61.35
98.99
2.99
0.374
0
2
54
long half MFR5 + MFR2-RC + 3 filters tween
+ 5mm in front
142
-79.6
60
121.20
3.66
0.458
0
0
Test
#
FR
Compound Focal Reducer Point Tests
(Aug. 18th, 2013)
38
39
40
43
44
long half MFR5 + Meade telecomp (23.5
tween)
long half MFR5 + Meade telecomp (18.2
tween)
5+longhalfMFR5+M f/6.3 pull out 10 (51
tween)
telecomp + m f/6.3 (50 tween)
Final Compound Focal Reducer Tests
(Aug. 20th, 2013)
45
46
long half MFR5 + M f/6.3, Woadapt,
10mmtween
Additional Compound Focal Reducer
Tests (Aug. 23rd, 2013)
49
50
short half MFR5 + Meade telecomp (40
tween)
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Jack Huerkamp has also done some incredible research on attaching various
Focal Reducers to the Mallincam Cameras. Below are options on using a
diagonal with a Mallincam Camera.
For those wanting to use their Meade f/3.3 focal reducer with either their SCT or
refractor and 2” diagonal, follow the steps below. An additional part will be
needed from ScopeStuff – a 2” Female Barrel to Female Schmidt Thread Adapter
with Compression Ring (Part Number ADT3).
By placing the Meade
f/3.3 Focal Reducer
after the 2” Diagonal
(between the
Diagonal and the
Camera), it is still
possible to attain
focus and an f/10 SCT
will be operating at
f/3.3.
If the ScopeStuff 2”
Female Barrel to
Female Schmidt Thread
Adapter with
Compression Ring is
removed, then the
assembly can be
placed into a 2”
focuser on a refractor
for wide field viewing
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Appendix K – First Aid for the Xterminator
The Image from the Xterminator is Blinking and Flashing Constantly
Diagnosis:
This camera is incredibly sensitive to light and any stray light or an
overload of light (too long an exposure on a very bright object)
may trigger the safety inside the camera that will prevent
overloading the internal camera electronics. If you do trigger the
safety, you will see a flashing screen.
Cure:
Simply unplug the camera for about 5 seconds, and reconnect the
power and wait about 3 minutes for electronics to settle. Change
the exposure settings to eliminate the re-occurrence of the same
event.
If Day Time viewing: Set Sense UP to OFF (Set to Video Mode if using
Miloslick), Set AGC to OFF, Set ALC to 1/12000 (Set Shutter to
1/12000 in Exposure if using Miloslick).
My Image has evenly spaced Horizontal lines.
Diagnosis:
The horizontal lines are caused by interference. The cause of this
interference can be anything from a loose connection, bad wire,
external interference from another power source, or even a PAL
version MallinCam set to NTSC settings. The most likely cause
though is Power Interference from your Power Supply.
Cure:
Try to isolate the power for the MallinCam (don’t plug into multi jack
power source). The best recommendation is to have an isolated
12V DC power supply (battery) solely for the MallinCam. It is also
recommended that you try not to have your power cable and your
video cable running parallel to each other.
When I have Miloslick connect to my Mallincam through my MCV-1 adapter I
only see a Blue screen.
Diagnosis:
The MCV-1 or other adapters can have multiple video input
connections. For example the MCV-1 has both composite and Svideo. The cause of this symptom is that MallinCam is looking at one
of those input ports, while the camera is sending the image through
the other. Miloslick then just gives a Blue screen to say that I see
nothing at the MCV-1 source.
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Cure:
Miloslick can change the port choice of the MCV-1. Just go
into the Video Tab and in the Drop Down list choose Video
Input. Inside this drop down will be the choice of input ports.
When I start Miloslick I receive the error “NilOjectexception “, and the program
will run.
Diagnosis:
This is an error most likely caused by a hardware configuration
changed in your system (at least the Operating System thinks
so, sometime just using another camera or port sets up a
change in Windows configuration), yet the Miloslick
Preference file expects no change and this causes the error
message to appear when both collide.
Cure:
You can force the program to delete the preferences and
start fresh by launching while holding down the "Alt" key
(Windows) or "Option" key (Mac OS). In some versions of
windows holding down the “Alt” key while double clicking the
"MallinCam Control" icon will simply bring up the "Properties"
dialog rather than launching. In this case, right click on the
application icon, hold down the "CTRL" key and chose "Open"
from the popup menu.
My MallinCam is frozen, or the commands do not seem to be working correctly,
the camera is acting strangely.
Diagnosis:
Somehow the MallinCam internals have become corrupted (power
surge, static, cosmic ray) and all we need to do is reset everything
back to factory settings.
Cure:
The first thing you should do is turn off MallinCam for about 30
seconds, then power it up as you normally would (this fixes about
95% of the issues). If this didn’t help, you can reset the MallinCam to
its Initial Factor Settings by following this sequence:




Press the Center Button for about 2 seconds until the menu
appears.
Press the Upper Button once which will send the cursor to the
last line <SAVE>.
Next press Right Button once. Word <SAVE> will change to
<PRESET>
Press Center Button once to execute ‘Preset’.
This will send the camera to factory ‘Preset’ and the camera
should be ready for you in about 5 seconds.
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My stars look elongated. I have checked my focus and collimation and I know it
is not an optical effect, since my hot pixels are also elongated.
Diagnosis:
Since you have eliminated mount and telescope optic issues. Then
the star images are being affected by the APC settings in the
Camera.
Cure:
You will need to adjust the APC settings in the Camera (either by
the back buttons or through software).





First ensure that both the Horizontal and Vertical APC settings
are set to 0.
Next start with the Vertical APC, move it up one setting (to 1)
and see how the images of the stars look.
If better, but not perfect, move it up to 2 and again check.
Keep adjusting Vertical or Horizontal, if Vertical makes it
worse.
Most find Horizontal at 0 and Vertical at 1 or 2 is the best.
I have been imaging for a while and now my images on the screen are looking
washed out almost foggy like.
Diagnosis:
This most likely is cause by dew or frosting on the sensor (depending
upon the season and settings). Usually caused by attaching
reducers or filters in a humid environment and thus trapping humid
air next to the sensor.
Cure:
First advice is to clean sensors or make attachment adjustments
inside where there is little humidity. Use Desiccant (Silica Gel) Packs
when storing camera.
 You will need to adjust the level of cooling that the camera
is providing for the sensor. Less in winter, More in summer
 If Using Miloslick the setting range from 0 to 8 with 0 being
the minimal cooling and 8 the highest. There also is an ON
setting witch keeps the cooling running at 100% (this can
cause condensation on the outside of the chip).
 If using button you will need to adjust the Motion Detect
(TEC) settings, Note: PRESET: OFF, NOISE DETECTION: OFF
means cooling runs at 100%
 For Minimum Cooling:
 NOISE DETECTION: ON
Xterminator User Manual

PRESET: ON (the whole chip is selected)


LEVEL: 8 (all the way to the right)
DEW REMOVAL: 60
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Appendix L – Xterminator’s Settings Notes
The following pages are due to the hard work of Dean Herring. I have included his
worksheets and settings here (lots of valuable information in these pages obtained from
questions and posted answers about the Xterminator. Worth reading):
MallinCam – Hyper Mode – Daytime Viewing – Settings - TEC
Never turn the Hyper mode on during bright conditions. This will overload the electronics. Or that,
I have implemented a safety factor in each cameras. If bright lights enter the ccd sensor while in 6
or 12 seconds mode, the camera will revert to a lower frame accumulation reducing overload of
the electronics. Here's what I suggest to do daytime viewing:
SENS: OFF
ALC: Shutter setting 350~ 12,000
AGC: OFF
W/B: ATW (auto white balance)
With these guidelines, you will be able to do daytime viewing. Try the Moon "setup" on the quick
sheet provided with the camera. This will give you a good starting point. Simply change the ALC
Shutter to obtain the best view in your monitor. Do not turn on the TEC, it is not needed for
anytime. The TEC should be used at the 2 seconds and above exposure only. Beside, daytime
heat may produce some condensation on the ccd sensor. The TEC is designed to be used at
night time ambient temperature.
MallinCam – Daytime
For daytime use, start with the lunar settings for the camera. Make sure the SENSE is in the OFF
position - you don't need 2.1, 6 or 12 seconds for daytime shots. Make sure ALC/ELC is set to
ALC and start with 4000 to 12000 (1/4000th to 1/12000th of a second exposure). Turn the AGC
down (full left). Using my friend's Meade 8" at f/6.3 on the Friday before New Year’s we looked at
the moon in the afternoon under a blue sky. We were using the ALC at around 4000 to 6000. If
your 6" SCT is set up at f/10, you may have to change the ALC to something less than 4000.
MallinCam - Moon
For Moon stuff, you want it as an ordinary video camera, no gain and no sense-up at all, maybe
set the gamma to 1.0 for better contrast and experiment with fast shutter speeds. Certainly there
is no problem with using a neutral density filter as well if you wish.
MallinCam - Planetary Viewing
To view Jupiter, first you must remove the focal reducer. Next, the AGC has to be turned OFF in
the menu. Next go to ALC then choose at least 1/6000 to 1/12,000 seconds in order to increase
shutter speed. Also under W/B have the setting at ATW for Auto White Balance. A Barlow will
decrease sensitivity and increase image size. An infrared blocking filter would help. Planetary
viewing must be well setup in order to get best result for any telescopes. Once these settings are
achieved, you should be able to get Jupiter in glorious colors.
MallinCam –Moon / Planets - Highlight feature
The highlight feature is a cool one. Try it on the moon. Get an area on the moon where half is fine
and half is overexposed. Try the Highlight Feature. On the over exposed part, the section will
become darker. Adjusting the slider bar will result on sensitivity of this effect. It’s like a mask that
becomes active on very bright areas that can be helpful in obtaining the right combination of
brightness level while viewing the moon. F/ratio will also play a major role in combination of the
right shutter speed. Also try it on a bright planet where it becomes over exposed with the SENS
from about 8X to 128X. You will see the moons and other stars behind the planet while the
Highlight feature is activated.
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MallinCam - Daytime Viewing – lunar settings
Yes, you can use the MCH in the daytime. In fact, 2 years ago at the first International Video Star
party in Foymount Ontario Canada, several observers had their MallinCam among other brands,
on targets through their telescope on an owl eating a mouse on top of a poll at 2000 feet. The
MallinCam Color gave the best view through Fred Waucaush's 9 ¼ Celestron SCT. Colors were
stunning. Tried it on my 10" Meade SCT but the Celestron gave a sharper view with vivid colors.
Daytime conditions were hazy but sunny, evenings were cloudy. It figures. If you are going to try
the camera in the daytime, avoid exposing the ccd sensor to direct sunlight while installing the
camera on a lens or on your telescope. Direct sunlight will desensitize the ccd sensor with time
and start a irreversible damage process. Keep your hand over the opening of the camera while
installing on the telescope. Also, do not use the Hyper mode of 7-14-28-56 integration. It will
result in a white out screen. Use the lunar settings supplied with the camera as a starting point.
MallinCam - Planets – Filters –B/W – Star Collimation
If you want more detail out of a MallinCam B/W, try a green filter. This will cut IR, and pull details
plus ease of focusing. Make sure telescope is collimated to the best of your ability. Very crucial
for lunar and planetary observing. This will make the difference of seeing cloud bands on Saturn
or not. Use the camera on a star to collimate. It makes a great precise collimating tool. Use the
zoom feature to further refine collimation.
MallinCam - Comets - Settings
Try the deep sky settings in 2.1 seconds. Comets are usually bright. At least this is how some
have done it. No need to turn the Hyper mode of 6-12 sec. Use only the 128X under the SENS.
Make sure you have the AGC set to MAN and slider bar at 3/4 way to the right.
MallinCam – W/B – MANual - Refractor – Color Balance – focus
Thank you for sharing the report about the refractor behavior with the color video camera. It is
known that refractors do not focus red, blue colors at the focal point. Even with the most excellent
optics such as APO's, a lens is a lens to the ccd sensor which picks up a lot wider range than the
human eye. The clear solution is a reflector. Also we have to consider the lens in the focal
reducers. Using the same focal reducer on a Newtonian, Result vary immensely compared to a
refractor with some of the test I've done. Other focal reducers such as Meade etc, have the same
results. When going through too many lenses, red will focus at a different point compared to blue
for instance. The beauty of the Hyper Color is in the W/B using the MANual menu, the red and
blue can be adjusted to some ones specific telescope. To get a good color balance, the key is to
get a sky background close to dark brown / black in color. By achieving this, the result will be
getting the best color balance to true life. Often I use the sky background to get the right color
balance with various telescope including refractors. Once I have a dark brown / black sky
background, I know I'm very close to the best color balance allowing me to focus on all stars
including red, and blue.
Try this setting: Go in the W/B and set it to ATW Auto White Control. Also reduce the sensitivity
Red will appear bigger with many refractors dependent of their quality glass. Camera picks up
what you feed it. Id say to reduce sensitivity and try the setting mentioned above. Make sure the
AGC is set to MAN for MANual and select the red, blue settings by reducing the RED. You can
also experiment with setting the MAN in 5600K. I have not fully finish experiment with refractors
yet.
MallinCam - Planetary Nebula
You are over exposing the target. On most planetary nebulae, treat them as if they were planets.
Use similar setting for planets and results will be excellent. Run the camera at about 36X or so,
and try the AGC MAN only with the slider to full right. Or try this: Run the SENS at OFF, and try
the Shutter at 100 to 250. Also, Adjust the brightness and contrast of your monitor.
MallinCam – FOV - Calculation
PS: I have found the formula for FOV using the effective focal length and the CCD pixel array
size...
...To calculate your camera FOV, divide 57.3 by the scope's effective focal length in millimeters to
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get the lens's plate scale in degrees per millimeter, and then multiply the scale number by the
dimensions of the CCD's pixel array in millimeters. For example, a Meade 12" f/10 (3000mm
FOV) SCT will have a plate scale of approximately 57.3/3000 = 0.0191 degree per millimeter.
When coupled to MallinCam with a pixel array 7.40mm x 12.7mm), the camera will record a
FOV of about 0.0191X7.40, 0.0191X5.95 = 0.141° by 0.113°...
MallinCam - Planetary Nebula – Rock’s Daytime Picture - Gain
Nice to hear from you again on the list! You are right about focus. I could not have a good enough
live view of M 57 to fully have a firm focus. It was greatly affected by the heat waves of the late
afternoon time. So, I left it that way and started to image a bunch of BMP snaps. Beside I had the
focus setup for the night before observing / imaging run, so I figure it would be close enough.
Capturing a nebula such as M 57 is far more difficult than M3 back in April 2006. At least with M3
I had stars to focus on. Not so for M 57.
The camera setting was standard mode without any integration. SENS was OFF, AGC was set at
MANual and full right to get the maximum gain possible without integration. Next I had the ALC
set to OFF and the slider to full right. I might of have the ALC/ELC set to ELC> I can't remember
but I 'm pretty sure it was set to ALC OFF.
What I saw live was a shape, that's all. Not sure if it was M 57, I confirmed it by slewing the scope
to Vega which can be seen live in the day time with the camera. Once I did the sync, I punched
M57 on the keypad and the telescope brought me to M 57. I took near 50 minutes studying the
live view to see if I could actually see something. I did but very faintly and once in a while. That's
where I decided to snap a bunch of BMP images and see if I could pull something out. There was
on frame that came out quite clearly while stacking them with RegiStax (got to love that
program!).
Not sure if the 16" larger aperture helped. I know I had to use F/10 to reduce the daytime glow of
the blue sky. I tried with F/3.3 and F/6.3 but the background was way too bright. Only at F/10 I
was able to reduce the blue sky glow enough to find a contrast. The part that amaze me the most
is similar result with M 3 in the daytime was the excellent signal to noise ratio and color result and
dynamics of the camera at high gain settings. Some have commented about the high gain I use in
the MallinCam but this is useful under situation as presented here. High gain is important. That's
why I change some IC's in the camera to obtain a cleaner gain at high gain settings. Gain is very
important contrary to some who commented on other lists. Once gain is augmented, circuit
redesign must be done to filter or reduce the noise to achieve the best signal to noise ratio. Once
coupled with integration, result are spectacular for all astronomical subject to be viewed or
imaged.
MallinCam - Sun / Solar
Here's my settings when I view / image solar prominence.
With the menu open on the camera, choose W/B. press the left or right button until it reads MAN
for manual. Once in MAN, press the center key. You will be able to choose between 3200K,
5600K and RED, BLUE. I choose RED, BLUE. While watching the monitor, adjust the RED to
Minimum (left). From that point, either increase the BLUE or REDUCE the BLUE. You will have to
experiment with your own telescope / solar setup for best view. I had to retune my adjustment on
my H Alpha filter in order to make the prominence come out, this is very important. Adjusting your
filter on prominence will make the big difference while viewing live on a monitor. After, you may
adjust the RED and BLUE to increase / decrease the visual of the prominence on the camera.
Took a while to get it right but it was well worth it.
This is very important: make sure the AGC is set to OFF. Use the same settings as LUNAR as
stated on the quick sheet I made for the camera. If I remember right, I had the SHUTTER set to
750 to get the best contrast ratio on the live monitor to see all the prominence.
I use a Thousand Oaks H Alpha Prominence filter for ease of adapting to my various telescopes
which they include 10", 14" and 16" among a few others. I just finish making an adapter for the
14" SCT and hoping to capture some solar image soon. The opening in front of the energy
rejection filter is 3 ". Hope this help a little
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MallinCam – Hyper Color B/W images – MANual – red - blue
I was out late last night in my backyard testing the Hyper color I just recently put together with a
class 0 CCD sensor and I did manage to get a B/W image using the USB2.0 adapter. In one of
the settings I used Saturation and turn it all the way down to minimum. Results were a black
and white image in the observing monitor and on the computer imaging monitor.
There is a menus on the MC Hyper where you can choose manual RED and manual BLUE with
Green being fixed. It won't provide any black and white image but I was able to "dial up" the
sensitivity to provide the best black and white image using the USB 2.0 adapter with the
Saturation set to minimum or zero. It worked well. Increasing the RED on the camera and having
the Saturation turned all the way down on the USB 2.0 adapter provided sensitivity that rivaled
the Hyper B/W. Also, by turning down the RED on the camera, I was able to "control" the amount
of Infrared being displayed.
MallinCam – Color Vs. B/W - Sensitivity
I did more extensive testing last night measuring sensitivity compared to the Hyper B/W and the
Hyper Color. Results were very close and productive. So far I estimate about 15% to no more
than 20% less sensitivity between the Hyper B/W and the Hyper Color. This is just a rough guess
for the moment and not conclusive. Rock
MallinCam - Lunar Occultation’s – AGC – Lunar Dark Shadow
You should be able to do occultation with all MallinCam providing the Hyper mode is turned
off and the SENS is turned off. Use the AGC in MANual mode to get the maximum gain. The
MallinCam has the highest gain available with the lowest noise for such work. The AGC amplifier
is a high gain type plus we have redesigned the circuit to accommodate lots of gain available
without having to engage the SENS and, or, the Hyper mode as long the SENS is turned off,
have the SHUTTER wide open and control your image with the AGC in MAN mode. Never use
the camera' s AGC in the ON position for astronomical targets unless lunar dark shadow is what
you want to look at or daytime scenes.
APC (Advanced Pixel Control)
APC – Nebulas / bright Star ringing
click on option menu and scroll to exit. on exit, hit left or right arrow to get "next". select next to
get option 2 menu. Both sliders are set all the way to the right = maximum digital processing
which will enhance nebulas and such. It will also increase ringing around bright stars.
APC – Imaging
if both sliders are all the way to left, the processing is held to a minimum. When imaging set it all
the way to left and put the vertical up one notch to keep the stars round.
APC – Live Observing - Imaging
If you’re going to do live observing I would recommend both APC adjustment sliders in the middle
position to give you high resolution on the monitor. If you are going to image, then these two APC
sliders should always be too far left. For live viewing of deep sky object the APC set at 3/4 way to
the right will give you incredible sharpness and resolution unmatched in the industry.
APC
APC controls the amount of internal digital signal processing that the camera performs. If the
APC settings are too high, stars can appear to be "square" and bright stars start to show black
halos. Lowering the H and V values for APC will reduce this phenomenon. When dealing with
objects like galaxies with nuclear detail - like M82 - increasing the APC will increase the detail
seen in the galaxy. So in my estimation, lower the APC values when dealing with star clusters
and globulars and increase it for diffuse nebulae and galaxies.
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APC – stars - imaging
Turn down the APC on the camera settings. Some stars are square and some have ring around
them. APC setting must be turned down in Astrophotography. For visual, APC is a wonderful
feature to experiment with offering a more" hi res" live image.
APC
One thing you may want to try, if you have not done so yet, is adjusting the APC in the OPTIONS
sub-menu. The APC regulates the amount of digital signal processing performed by the camera. I
usually set the horizontal and vertical values to full left when I ship the cameras to minimize any
artifacts around bright stars. However, John and I experimented with the APC on M82 and M51
and found that more detail was revealed with higher values for H and V APC
APC – Sun - Moon
The importance of the APC function is not talked about too much. When I view the sun in H
Alpha, the moon, I use the APC from half way point to near full at times. When I view galaxies
live, same applies. The careful adjustment of the APC will blow away any cameras as far as
resolution is concern and will benefit the user to do serious observing of deep sky targets using
any telescope. Again, careful adjustment must be observed since some star artifact can be seen
if adjusted incorrectly on bright stars only.
APC – Menu – Star Artifacts
Your image seem to have light leak. Light is entering in the system somewhere near the 1.25"
adapter or nearby. One thing I noticed was the round artifact around the stars. Go into the MENU
and select OPTION. Once in OPTION, bring the cursor at the bottom to RETURN. Press the right
key. It will now say "NEXT". PRESS the CENTER key. Once on the MENU 2, you will see a
feature called APC. Select APC and lower both sliders to the far left. This will reduce the DSP to
a minimum removing all-star artifact.
APC - DSP (Digital Signal Processing) – Options – Anti-blooming
The DSP is always on no matter what. This results in high resolution with the lowest noise in the
industry. If you chose to reduce the DSP (Digital Signal Processing), you can do so by accessing
the APC mode and selecting the vertical settings and the horizontal settings by lowering their
values. This is accessible through the OPTION settings. Once in the OPTION, bring down the
cursor to SAVE. At this point hit the right key or left key. This will now change into NEXT. Hit the
center key. You are now under the second menu as OPTION 2. APC is the first selection. Next is
the HIGH LIGHT Feature, next is the COLOR BAR GENERATOR or GRAY SCALE BAR
GENERATOR. By lowering the APC settings towards the left, you reduce the DSP to its
minimum. Having the APC set in the middle will increase resolution and some sensitivity to a
certain point.
This will result in small artifact around BRIGHT STARS ONLY. It is the ANTIBLOOMING feature
kicking in. If you keep both APC sliding bars to the far left, this effect is eliminated totally making
the image as clean and free of all artifacts. Then only the CCD sensor anti-blooming is active.
Images produced with the APC on or at minimum will provide the highest dynamic range ever
seen in any video ccd camera for astronomical purpose on the market today. A lot of research
and development done right here in Ottawa Ontario Canada went into our cameras to offer the
user the finest available.
APC – Live Observation - Imaging
The APC is a enhance mode feature for live observation. If you are going to take images it is
suggested to set the V and H to their lowest settings towards far left. Increase the V will adjust
stars to a perfect round shape compensating for the 4:3 ratio. The APC is similar to sharpening
algorithm that allows the sharpened observation on all targets during live observation. It stands
for Advance Pixel Control. You can actually adjust the height and width of the Vertical or
Horizontal pixels. As mentioned above, having both settings at far left will run the Enhance
feature to a minimum allowing a more "photographic feel" without any artifact. In live mode or
observation mode, APC can be left in the middle position which will enhance the image
significantly.
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APC – DSP – ring around stars
You are correct. By turning down the APC to minimum, the DSP (Digital Signal Processing) mode
is greatly reduced to an absolute minimum removing ring around stars. (Talking about ring around
stars, even Hubble Telescope does have ring around stars. I just checked out a site where
planetary nebula are displayed with Hubble images for comparison and Hubble have some ring
around stars. It’s just an artifact in the software that's all.)
AGC (Automatic Gain Control)
AGC - Options
The AGC has 3 options. By having the cursor next to the AGC, simply press the right or left key
and you should be able to toggle from ON, MAN or OFF. Always use MAN for deep sky targets
with the slider in the mid position for starter. Use the OFF position for all lunar, planetary and
solar (with proper solar filter of course).
AGC – Planets
Make sure the settings for the AGC is set to OFF when observing lunar and planets otherwise
bright light protection in the camera will be activated and will take several seconds if not minutes
to regain sensitivity. Simply unplug the dc cord from the camera for at least 20 seconds and
reconnect.
AGC- Tracking error – star smear
Try shorter exposure and increase the gain (AGC). This will make star pattern a little rounder due
to less tracking error.
AGC – Amp Glow
The glow in the upper left is amp glow. To reduce it, you need to lower the AGC (gain)…
The upper left corner glow is caused by the internal ccd amplifier causing electro luminescence
during long exposures. It can be controlled by lowering the AGC.
AGC - Gain
It is pointless to have 3-4-5-6 seconds when you can get the same affect with 2 seconds with the
gain turned up. The increase factor would not be worth the trouble to have such 3-4-5-6 second
integration. The current settings are based on extensive testing done where these exposures are
the best to use to gain a substantial amount of image brightness. Use the AGC in the Manual
mode to compensate between all other settings.
AGC – Gain Control
The CCD sensor in the MallinCam series of video CCD camera are more sensitive than most
cooled ccd imagers with its variable gain control which can be increased to specific levels where
the image would rival a 5 seconds exposure using only 1 second exposure on the camera.
For example, if the camera is set at 2 seconds integration, having the AGC MANual mode set at
maximum a exposure can rival easily a 7 seconds exposure under dark skies.
AGC – solar – deep sky - daytime
I had a pretty good afternoon imaging the Sun through a 1000 Oaks H- Alpha filter system on my
LX-200 GPS 10" using the Mallin*Cam Hyper BW. I set Sensitivity to OFF, ALC to 1/350th ... and
had good definition of small prominences. Any other set variables?
Your settings are correct. The AGC should be set to OFF. In the menu, the AGC has 3 mode.
OFF, ON, and MANUAL. For solar (with proper filter), lunar, and planets, always have the AGC
set to OFF. For deep sky, always use the MANUAL mode and adjust accordingly. For daytime
> observation through an optical system of daytime subject, the AGC would operate better to ON
position. Having the AGC set to OFF will make the MallinCam operate at unity gain similar to a
ccd camera.
AGC – Manual - Sense – Integration - Monitor
Now, if the integration is augmented such as 7-14-28-56 seconds, the AGC in MANual mode
must be lowered! This is a must. What that does is it lowers the output. Since increasing the
integration augments the signal as well, it must be lowered at the output. Otherwise overload of
the monitor will occur and the internal AGC of the monitor will not be able to handle a high signal
as such. All t.v. receivers have a AGC input. AGC stands for Automatic Gain Control. Any device
that receive R.F. such as your car radio, your home t.v., receiver scanners, Ham radio all have
AGC in the front end. In the case of a video signal, same applies. By lowering the signal output of
the camera with the AGC set in MANual mode, the user no longer over drive the monitor thus
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allowing a greater signal to noise ratio and a clearer and better color reproduction. If a capture
card is used, the majority don't have a internal AGC such as TV monitor have. They have a fix
settings. Lowering the Brightness and augmenting the Contrast will bring back the color intensity
and image quality while capturing.
AGC – Manual – Amp Glow
You are right. The adjustment of the AGC to full left and one "notch" will equal to about 15% gain.
Amp glow is minimized. To get the best result from a high gain circuitry like the MallinCam, is to
have the AGC in MANual mode correctly adjusted. This take a while to get it right for proper
background and amp glow reduction. Once achieved, it is saved permanently into the memory
settings of the camera.
AGC – Integration - Image drop out
When I dropped the AGC and set the integration to 28 sec, the image would appear then
disappear. It did this at each integration.
Did you have the white balance (W/B) set to ATW? I tried using ATW last Saturday night, and
experienced something similar. I think what is happening is the camera is detecting too much light
with the way it is set up and shuts off the image as a protection. When I re-set the W/B to MANU
with Red 2 to the left of center and Blue 1 to the right, the image appeared and stayed. I had AGC
on MANU and 2 from the far left.
AGC – Light Gathering and Moon Interference
I had the AGC in MAN mode which is mandatory to have in order to use the Hyper mode. This
setting was set at 1/4 way from the left to give me an image that was not affected by the moon
glow who happens to be out in full force in the last couple of nights. Large aperture does have
its draw back when it comes to light gathering and moon interference. Careful adjustment of the
AGC in the MAN mode is important to get the best balance in background glow and color balance
/ contrast.
AGC – ON/OFF - Deep Sky – Adjustments
"When using the HYPER Mode, the AGC must be set to MAN for use of the 6 or 12 second
exposure limits." Since I did not follow that and had been trying AGC with ON and OFF, did I
really mess something up? I've noticed a number of "must haves in "MallinCam Menu
Settings.pdf"--I had thought that not following them would just prevent the hyper mode from
turning on. Since I was actually getting useful results at times I continued to try. Have I hurt
anything that a PRESET won't fix?
Never use the camera's AGC in ON mode while doing deep sky observation especially under
light polluted environment. Always use the AGC in MAN mode and adjust the camera to suite you
F ratio / aperture/ seeing conditions. If any settings from the AGC is going to be performed,
always have the camera running in the 7 sec. mode. This will allow the auto reset to keep all
figures set as before with the exception of the AGC of course. Once the AGC slider adjustment
has been moved, the camera will hold the settings for 7 seconds, then it will go off by itself then, a
black image will appear for 7 seconds. Your next image will be instant 7 seconds integration. If
the image is too bright, simply lower the AGC further more. Always have the camera running at
SENS 128X while in 7-14-28-56 sec mode as the Hyper circuits dependent on that frame count
for a proper refresh and safeguard of electronics.
ALC (Automatic Level Control)/ELC (Electronic Level Control)
ALC
There are two ALC/ELC settings. Put the camera into the ALC settings. It will display a series of
pre fixed value on the screen.
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ELC
If you put the ALC/ELC menu into the ELC menu, no value is determined. Simply adjust to suit
the best live view with the AGC turned to OFF position. Do not use ALC / ELC function if you are
going to use the integration mode such as 128X and the Hyper mode of 7-14-28-56 seconds.
Only use the shutter speed or variable speed to achieve best lunar / planetary view or if using a
solar filter. The ELC is totally variable to suite your specific needs and view. I never use it while in
deep sky mode. I use the pre fixed values in the ALC mode. To switch from ALC /ELC simply
press the right key or left key when the cursor is next to the ALC/ELC, then press the center key
to access the full menu for the specific shutter speed value.
ELC – shutter speed
A wider extended range of shutter speed effect when used in the ELC mode which can be
better for certain observation you may have. For example, if 1/12,000 is not
enough, try the ELC mode and slide the adjustment far left. You will exceed the
range of 1/12,000 when the AGC is set to off.
ALC – Planets – Shutter Speed - Filters
Setup the scope without a focal reducer. If too bright, increase the ALC to 8000. Cameras that
has only 1/2000 will not possibly get the full benefit of true planet and lunar views without using a
polarized filter. Something the MallinCam don't need. The ALC goes as high as 1/12,000 for
shutter speed allowing full coverage of all astronomical targets without filters.
Color Bar
Color Bar Generator
Have you tried to calibrate capture card using the built in color bar generator in the MallinCam?
To access the color bar generator you need to go through the second menu or while in the 2
seconds mode (128X), press the upper button and lower button at the same time for about 2
seconds and you will have the color bar generator on screen to adjust all the settings of the video
capture card. It is a reference to adjust monitor, capture devices etc. Very handy to have. This
feature is in every MallinCam Hyper and Hyper PLUS COLOR or B/W models.
Color bar / Monitor
WRT the Speco, it has performed WONDERFULLY! Everyone has marveled at the rich
colors shown on it. When you actually get it out under the stars, you will forget the color bar and
tweak the monitor to give the best live appearance.
Color Bar - Camera
There is a built in color bar generator in the camera. Just depress the top and button menu
buttons while the camera is running and it will pop into view.
Color Bar
I would call up the Color Bar from the OPTIONS sub-menu to see what it looks like on your
Sanyo monitor. Tweak the monitor functions to get the colors to show correctly. Once the monitor
is set correctly, try checking the W/B on the camera's menu. Is it set too red? If so try lowering the
red scale. You can also change from MANU to ATW to see if it helps.
Zoom
Zoom Laptop
I observed and imaged the Ghost of Jupiter (NGC3242) last night with my 24" and the MCHC+. I
found that exposures of just 2 seconds were all that were needed with the MallinCam zoom
feature on. When the image came up on my laptop, using the AVerTVMedia Express MCE card, I
then needed to turn the contrast down sharply to get central detail and the center star. I am
posting an image of the Ghost of Jupiter in my gallery (astroimaging by Tom O) in the Photos
section. The color in both that image and the one I saw on the screen is amazing.
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Zoom – Barlow
Ring Nebula/M57. It was as enjoyable as M27. We had no difficulty seeing the central star and
the one star in the central region that is off center. The coloration was wonderful; contrast was
excellent. The nice thing about this object in color is the "core" color that gently contrasts the ring
color. The picture held nicely with the Zoom set at maximum on top of 2 inch Televue Barlow.
Gamma (The way brightness is distributed across the intensity spectrum by a
monitor, printer or scanner.)
Gamma – (back ground)
Try setting the Gamma to 1.0. There are several setting to get the right background. Under W/B,
2 settings are usable. ATW is automatic White balance. AWC is Auto Trace White balance which
requires you to push the center key to take a sample through the camera to adjust itself for the
best white balance. This method is for one object at a time. My favorite is MAN for manual. Once
in the manual settings, you have a choice of 3200K (infrared), 5600K (visual and some infrared).
My favorite is PRESET which allows you to set the RED and BLUE so the red background can be
reduced. This is very important to achieve the right background. All ccd sensors not matter who
makes it are always more sensitive in the RED. It must be reduced using the adjustment. Light
pollution and star light reflects in the atmosphere and is seen by the camera in the red spectrum.
Keep the AGC down and adjust the W/B settings Depending on which monitor used, set the
GAMMA at 1.00. This will keep the background darker. It is a little bit difficult to get the right
adjustment ratio achieved. When I observe or image from my light polluted backyard, I always
turn down the RED to one notch up from the left. If conditions are better, I sometime set the
camera to ATW with luck. You may want to consider going to F/3.3 to reduce sensitivity
increasing background darkness.
Gamma – (back ground / image / TV)
Go into the Main menu. Point the cursor to OPTION. Click center key. This will bring you to the
2nd menu. Near the bottom look for GAMMA. Standard it 0.45 and option is 1.00. This will darken
the background considerably. Excellent if you are going to image, or use a regular TV to view
object. You may lose a bit of sensitivity though depending what type of monitor you use.
Gamma –light pollution – background-imaging
When imaging under sever light pollution like you have, put the GAMMA at 1.0. This will darken
the background to an acceptable level. You will have to increase the AGC accordingly to increase
the loss of gain. Make sure both APC the Vertical and Horizontal are set to far left. If you use
these settings you may be able to go to 28 seconds.
Gamma – Background – LCD - Option menu
By adjusting the gamma from 0.45 which is the default to 1.00 in the OPTION menu, this mode
will not make the background whiter when using the USB 2.0 adapter or a LCD observing
monitor. By having the gamma to 1.00 the sky back ground is much darker. Normally I would
have to turn down the Brightness and augment the Contrast in the USB 2.0 menu to reduce the
white background. If you use a LCD monitor to visually observe it is strongly recommended to put
the camera in the 1.00 gamma setting. If you use a CRT observing monitor, the AGC and
dynamic range in such monitor is continually self-adjusting to the signal being fed to the CRT
monitor then it’s a known issue with such monitor.
Gamma – LCD/CRT - AGC
The camera has two settings for GAMMA. if you are going to use a LCD display, set the camera
to GAMMA 1.0. If you are going to use a CRT, use 045 and adjust your monitor brightness and
contrast for the best dark background, image contrast. This is a personal setting for each
individual taste and setup. Use the AGC to lower the output of the camera to get the right
combination of image brightness, best background possible. Each monitor, telescope and F ratio
is different from one owner to another and adjustment must be perform using your own setup
combination. Same applies if a capture device will be used to capture images. Calibration of the
capture device must be perform before you can take images to computer. This is live video with
many parameters to be adjusted to suit your own telescope / F ratio / monitor/ combination. If a
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proper adjustment is achieved no need for histogram. Your monitor will act as if it was a "live"
histogram by adjusting the contrast and brightness controls.
Integration – Sense
Sense – Integration – How it Works
How the Mallincam integration works?
The camera is always running in full video mode. Once you activate the X2, X 4, etc. under the
SENS, what happens is the shutter opens like a ccd camera would under exposure. Once the
shutter close, the image is sent to the memory while another exposure is taken. This is repeated
instantly and forever for as long the shutter or the SENS is set to any settings. While the image is
stored in the memory, an exposure is taken once the exposure is taken the previous image is
displayed into the video section through the video chip Once you change the settings of, say,
AGC, or SENS, or ALC /ELC, the memory has to emptied itself and the SENS count start with the
new settings you have chosen.. If you choose for example X64, it take a few minutes to reach the
proper count. Several things are happening here. The AGC / SENS must keep a steady video
stream in order to produce a viewable image until the maximum SENS is reached without
overloading the video section and keeping the electronics safe. Something the competition lacks.
Sense – shorter exposures
Don't use the 7, 14 or the X4 switch with SENSE in any setting other than 128X. To get shorter
exposures, place the switches in their respective OFF positions and lower the SENSE. 64X is 1
second, 32X is 1/2 second, etc.
Sense – Hyper mode
First the camera must be running in 2 seconds mode via the main menu with SENS set at 128X.
That equals to about 2.1 seconds. Once this is achieved, you can now activate the Hyper switch:
the 7 and 14 seconds integration. What that does, it opens the shutter just like a ccd imager
for either 7 or 14 seconds depending what you have selected. Once the image has been
accumulated on the ccd, it then sends it the memory then to a converter to convert the data into
video output. Image is displayed instantly and refreshed at every 7 or 14 seconds depending
which integration was used. Once you got the Hyper mode going, the next switch is for multiply
the integration. Example: at 7 seconds (Hyper switch down) once the X4 has been activated (up),
you now have 28 seconds integration happening. Shutter is open for about 28 seconds. If you
had the Hyper switch selected to 14 seconds, then the X4 switch becomes 14X4= 56 seconds. All
of this is refreshed automatically. The X4 switch only works with the 7 and 14 seconds integration
switch (Hyper mode) Its that simple.
Sense – Hyper - CCD "imager like" camera
Let's come back to the SENS. Once you have the camera set to 128X under SENS menu,
Activating the Hyper switch on the side of the camera to increase the integration to 7 or 14, 28 or
56 seconds, our own circuits becomes active and the ccd sensor is in part independent from
the rest of the camera. It is now a full blown ccd "imager like" camera. The only difference from a
full ccd imager is each image are stored independently into a 32 megs memory until the next
image become available after the exposure. This is done instantly through two independent CPUs
inside the camera. The DSP (APC) feature is self-adjusted, filtration is augmented, and speed is
running at maximum on both CPU inside the camera. SYNC is also affected to give the readable
image at the video output circuitry. This is why at 7-14-28 or 56 seconds integration a small
variation will occur as far as time integration is concerned. SYNC and other video section must be
handled to keep a 29.970 frame per seconds output. All this is done through the CPU and the
Hyper Circuit which takes over the whole camera as soon the Hyper mode is engaged. This is
why we called it the Hyper camera. When you hit the switch on the side there is a lot of things are
happening in there to give the finest, most noise free, artifact free and most sensitive image
available today compared to any video ccd cameras. One must learn to access these features
and learn the correct procedures in order to get the most out of the camera. The Hyper camera
sensitivity will beat anything out there as far as integration is concern especially at 14 seconds
integration. If one is using a Hyper B/W, look out! With the EX type ccd sensor we use being of
class 1, which WE INSTALL IN EVERY CAMERAS, sensitivity will go beyond anything seen to
date on the market for astro ccd camera.
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Sense – Hyper mode – AGC Adjustment
There are a few steps to look for when using the MallinCam. When changing AGC settings, the
Hyper mode (7-14-28-56 seconds integration) must be off. Once you have adjusted your AGC
setting, the refresh rate must be up to 128X in order to get the Hyper mode to run again. It takes
about 2 to 3 minutes to get the full 128X to 2 seconds integration mode. Once this is achieved,
then you may flip the switch to 7-14-28-56 to see instant result once the integration has been
done.
Sense – Hyper Mode – 128X – AGC Adjustment
Also, if you are going to try this on M 42 or any targets that are too bright, the SENS will go from
128X to 96 then 64, 48 etc. automatically and eventually to a level where protection of the
electronics will occur. If this happens, the Hyper mode of 7-14-28-56 will lose the frame rate. The
Hyper mode is made to operate with SENS at 128X only. You may get decent results at 64X, but
for protection of ccd sensor and associated electronics, the SENS must be at 128X while
using the 7-14-28-56 mode. If this happens, the refresh rate will be a quick image then a dark
one. This is an indication that either the 128X SENS has dropped down due to image being too
bright (protection mode), or the SENS 128X was not up to its full 128X (2 seconds) refresh rate
after an AGC adjustment was made. It does explain this in the sheet included with the camera.
Integration - Reset - Safemode – Flashing Image – SafeGuards
There is a reset on the camera, there is two way to do it. First, the problem you had by having a
flashing image, was caused by the 128X count loss. If the camera is exposed to a too bright
environment, it will lose the 128X count automatically allowing the safety to kick in. The view were
not suitable and the camera goes into safe mode by losing 128X count so no image is kept for
long period in the memory. This also avoid electronics overloads.
If you want to reset the camera completely, simply go to the SAVE at the bottom of the on
screen display and hit the right KEY. It will now say RESET, hit the center key. You will lose all
info and settings. You will have to start over from scratch by adjusting all your settings. Always
perform a hard reset with the Hyper mode off (7-14-28-56 sec.)
W/B (White Balance)
W/B (White Balance) – Manual – Red – F Ratio
At 5600K the sky is an amazing red, and it got redder with longer settings. So much so that the
target is somewhat washed out. I ended up viewing at 3600K which was much better. I tried all
kinds of setting to get rid of the red but no luck and I did have the user guide trying to eliminate
finger trouble. What in the world am I doing wrong?
>Do not use the 3200K or 5600K. In the W/B (white balance) there is the ATW for Auto Trace
White balance, AWC Auto with Control. and MANUal mode. Go into the manual mode, you will
see 3200K which is near infrared, 5600K is visible and some near infrared, next is preset
<USER>. There, you will have the red adjustment, blue adjustment. Since ccd sensors are more
sensitive to RED, simply lower the RED adjustment by 2 notches, and increase the BLUE
adjustment by one notch. This should provide a good starting point. If the image is too red, lower
the RED adjustment some more. If hazy atmospheric conditions is evident, the RED will have to
be lowered even more since light pollution can reflect from haze making the background in the
image red. Once this setting is saved, it will remain permanently in the memory until you play with
it again. Also, check the F ratio used. If F 3.3 and below is used to view an image, this will make
the background more sensitive to red. Increase the F ratio to F/5 or F/6.3.
W/B
All ccd sensors are more sensitive in the red spectrum One reason why the LED on the camera is
green. Try to lower the RED setting under W/B (white balance) menu, or set the W/B to ATW
(Auto White Balance). Are you imaging from the city or dark sky? If from the city, light
pollution is reflected as red. High humidity condition will also reflect as red.
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W/B - AWC – Color Balance
Doing a white balance is mandatory in order to have the right color balance. Use the AWC. To do
so, while AWC flashing, press the center button again to capture an auto white balance into the
memory of the camera which will be used for all other settings in the W/B mode. I find the color
MallinCam requires more adjustments and experiment to achieve good color balance. It is part of
the fun.
W/B – Deep Sky
Keep the W/B (white balance) in the MAN mode with the red slider left and one notch up from the
left. Keep the BLUE in the middle or so. The lower the F ratio the darker skies you will need. Light
pollution, air pollution reflect easily in the red spectrum. If you have humidity same applies. Keep
the RED down as all ccd sensors are more sensitive in the RED region.
W/B - AWC
Have you done a AUTO WHITE BALANCE? Go into the MENU under W/B and choose AWC.
Once there, with your image centered, hit the center key. You will notice the AWC will now flash.
Hit the center key again. The camera will now be calibrated for white balance on the target you
have chosen. The RED should now be lowered by a large margin. Go back in the MAN mode and
set the RED so the background will now be set to your aperture/F/Ratio. By doing a one push
AUTO WHITE BALANCE, it will fix the current environmental color as a standard white balance.
Imaging Settings
Imaging – Capture Device – ring around stars - APC
Your image is fine. I have a feeling the settings on your capture device are not quite to the point. I
think it may lack brightness. Also if you have a MC Hyper 12 bits CPU camera, make sure the
APC is all the way down. This will eliminate all ring around the stars and produce a smoother
image. The APC is mainly used for visual observation through a monitor which increase
resolution and sharpness. For imaging this function should be turned all the way down to the left
on both slider control, the H and V (Vertical pixels control and Horizontal pixels control). Give is a
try and let us know the results.
Imaging – Deep Sky – (nothing see live) - Settings
Here's how I did some daytime shot of deep sky objects:
Camera settings were:
SENS: OFF
ALC: OFF (wide open)
AGC: MAN. 1/4 from left
W/B: ATW or MAN (you have to experiment with this for color model only)
Options: Gamma> 1.00
Grab as many frames as possible. You may or may not see anything live for the moment. Co-add
everything you have, then process it to retrieve the information especially using the brightness
and contrast of any software that allows such adjustment. I used Photoshop "Curve"
Imaging – BNC / S-VHS – High Resolution Monitor
We recently did some experiments with a Hyper B/W using the composite (BNC connector
output) and S-VHS. There is actually a difference between the two especially when using a high
resolution monitor. Capturing an image with a high resolution capture device will provide the
better result using S-VHS. I now use exclusively S-VHS when possible to capture images. When I
use the high resolution monitor to observe the image while capturing, I still use the composite
BNC camera output. The MallinCam can use both at the same time with no loss in signal and
signal quality. The best performance for serious observing would be to use S-VHS with either
model of the MallinCam Hypers, the B/W the color camera. I have noticed that certain type of
capture devices won't show as much of a difference, but when a high resolution unit is used, the
difference is remarkable.
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Imaging - Solar – Sun
Here's some more detail on how I've captured the solar image I posted today. I use 2 separate
images. The first one was the prominence which were taken at shutter speed of 350/sec at F 6.3
with the 10 SCT. The seconds set of images were the surface structure which was taken at
12,000/sec shutter speed at F/6.3 with the same 10" SCT. I combined the two, then change the
monochrome image into red / orange. This was very simple using Photoshop. This is a result of
only 4 coded images. The image shows the excellent dynamic response of the camera without
having to take hundreds of frames and coding them like most do. The high gain circuitry really
shines here resulting in a excellent signal to noise ratio. High gain is very important in video ccd
camera for astronomy work.
Imaging – Sun
Here's an image just taken this afternoon (Dec 4 2006) from my Downtown location in Ottawa.
Sun was only 22 deg above horizon and just above the roof line of the house. Imaged with a LX
200 GPS 10" with F/6.3 focal reducer in ALT-AZ with a Thousand Oaks H Alpha Solar filter 0.9 A.
4 images coded with RegiStax 6.0. Camera was MallinCam Hyper B/W (monochrome) Video
CCD Camera. Color done with Photoshop 7, processed with RegiStax 6.0. This is my first H
Alpha complete with surface details.
Settings on the camera were: ALC Shutter Speed: 12,000/sec. (Something SC II or III can't do)
AGC: OFF
Gamma: 1.0
APC: Horizontal and Vertical turned all the way down (left) with V set at one step up.
Imaging - Monitor
When I observe and image in color, I use a monochrome monitor on my color camera. When I
capture the image to computer it is in color. Using a monochrome monitor on a color camera
gives me a much sharper and brighter image to allow a more precise focus. I try to adjust the
color USB 2 adapter settings to match the view of the monochrome monitor as far as brightness
and sharpness is concern. I then adjust the color on the camera to give me the best color
combination using the computer monitor.
Imaging - USB 2.0 Adapter – Color / B/W
The USB 2.0 adapter is a device that allows you to connect the 75 Ohms or S-Video NTSC or
PAL video signal output of the camera to computer so you may see the live image on computer.
This device is a converter that digitize the signal mentioned above. If you have a high resolution
video card in your computer that allows you to connect a video signal in, you do not need the
USB 2.0 device. The camera is strictly video output to be use on a viewing monitor. It cannot be
connected to computer unless you have a video card that will allow you to do so.
Using the USB 2.0 software called AMCAP or ULEAD Video Studio 6 or version 7 (which is
included in the USB 2.0 adapter) you can turn down the function "Saturation" in order to see the
image in black and white using a color camera. This function cannot be done through the camera.
You can control the RED and BLUE by turning the adjustment in the camera MENU but the
GREEN is fixed.
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Appendix M – Suggested Item Specific Settings
SENSE UP
ALC
SATURN
MOON
M 13
M3
OFF
OFF
128X
128X
OFF
OFF
1/250
1/3000
BLC
OFF
OFF
OFF
OFF
AGC
OFF
OFF
OFF
OFF
W/B
MAN=OFF R=2,B=2
MAN=OFF R=2,B=2
MAN=OFF R=2, B=2
OFF
OFF
OFF
OFF
PRESET = ON
PRESET = ON
OFF
OFF
LEVEL = 8
LEVEL = 8
DEW = 60
DEW = 60
ZOOM
TEC
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M104
M64
NGC 4565
NGC 4725
SENSE UP
128X
128X
128X
128X
ALC
OFF
OFF
OFF
OFF
BLC
OFF
OFF
OFF
OFF
AGC
OFF
OFF
OFF
OFF
MAN=OFF R=2, B=2
SAME
W/B
MAN=OFF
R=2,B=2
MAN=OFF
R=2,B=2
ZOOM
OFF
ON, 8
ON, 8
OFF
TEC
OFF
OFF
OFF
OFF
30 SEC and up
30 SEC and up
30 SEC and up
45 SEC and
up
INTEGRATION
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M57
M27
SENSE UP
128X
128X
128X
128X
ALC
OFF
OFF
OFF
OFF
BLC
OFF
OFF
OFF
OFF
AGC
OFF
OFF
OFF
OFF
W/B
SAME
SAME
SAME
SAME
ZOOM
ON, 3
OFF
ON, 4
ON, 3
TEC
OFF
OFF
OFF
OFF
30 SEC and up
30 SEC and up
30 SEC and up
30 SEC and up
INTEGRATION
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M82
M106
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SENSE UP
ALC
BLC
AGC
W/B
ZOOM
TEC
INTEGRATION
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Appendix N – Notes
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