STX Operating Manual
Operating Manual
STX Advanced Series
CCD Cameras
SBIG Astronomical Instruments, A Division of Diffraction Limited.
59 Grenfell Crescent, Unit B, Ottawa, ON Canada, k2G 0G3
Tel: 613.225.2732 | Fax: 225.225.9688| E-mail: [email protected] | www.sbig.com
© 2015 Diffraction Limited. All rights reserved. The SBIG wordmark and logo are trademarks of
Diffraction Limited, All other trademarks, service marks and tradenames appearing in this brochure are
the property of their respective owners.
Note: This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class B digital device
pursuant to Part 15 of the FCC Rules. These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against
harmful interference in a residential installation. This equipment generates, uses, and can radiate radio
frequency energy and if not installed and used in accordance with the instructions, may cause harmful
interference to radio communications. However, there is no guarantee that interference will not occur in a
particular installation. If this equipment does cause harmful interference to radio or television reception,
which can be determined by turning the equipment off and on, the user is encouraged to try to correct the
interference by one or more of the following measures:
•
•
•
•
Reorient or relocate the receiving antenna.
Increase the separation between the receiver and the equipment.
Connect the equipment into an outlet on a circuit different from that to which the receiver is
connected.
Consult the dealer or an experienced radio/TV technician for help.
Shielded I/O cables must be used when operating this equipment.
You are also warned, that any changes to this certified device will void your legal right to operate it.
OPERATION Manual for STX Series Cameras
Revision 1.2
October 4, 2009
2
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.0. CAMERA HARDWARE ...................................................................................................................................... 4
1.1. Introduction and Overview .......................................................................................................... 4
1.2. Unpacking the Camera .................................................................................................................. 4
Standard Items:....................................................................................................................... 6
Optional Items: ....................................................................................................................... 7
1.3. Parts and Assembly ....................................................................................................................... 8
1.4. Connectors....................................................................................................................................... 9
[A] Tracking CCD Focus Adjustment................................................................................. 9
[B] Remote Guide Head Port ............................................................................................... 9
[C] USB Port ........................................................................................................................... 9
[D] SCOPE Port.....................................................................................................................10
[E] I2C-AUX Port..................................................................................................................10
[F] Ethernet............................................................................................................................10
[G] Power...............................................................................................................................10
[H] Water In / Out ...............................................................................................................10
1.5. Attaching the camera to a telescope. ..........................................................................................11
1.6. Connecting the Relay Cable .........................................................................................................11
1.7. Attaching the Remote Head.........................................................................................................11
1.8. Connecting water hoses................................................................................................................12
1.9. Extending the USB cable ..............................................................................................................12
1.10. Opening the Front Cover - Regenerating the Desiccant Plug................................................13
1.11. Gas Purging..................................................................................................................................14
1.12. Indicator Lights ...........................................................................................................................14
1.13. Opening the Back Cover - Changing the Fuse.........................................................................15
1.14. Using a Relay Adapter Box with the STX ................................................................................15
1.15. Camera Resolution ......................................................................................................................17
1.16. Camera Field of View .................................................................................................................18
1.17. Focal Length, Resolution and Field of View............................................................................19
2.0. CAMERA SOFTWARE .......................................................................................................................................20
2.1 Installing Software .........................................................................................................................20
Installing CCDOps ................................................................................................................20
Installing the SBIG Drivers...................................................................................................20
Linking the Drivers ...............................................................................................................21
2.2. Using the Camera..........................................................................................................................22
Establishing a Link with CCDOps ......................................................................................22
Camera Setup.........................................................................................................................22
Taking Sample Dark Frames................................................................................................22
Further Investigations...........................................................................................................23
2.3. Specific Activities ..........................................................................................................................23
Ethernet Configuration .........................................................................................................23
Web Browser ..........................................................................................................................23
Making the Autoguiding Connection.................................................................................23
2.4. Third Party Software.....................................................................................................................24
CCDSoft ..................................................................................................................................24
MaximDl .................................................................................................................................24
Support and Developer Resources......................................................................................................24
Appendix A – Adjustments and Maintenance .......................................................................................................25
Firmware Updates.................................................................................................................................25
Internal Tracker Focus ..........................................................................................................................25
Desiccant Regeneration ........................................................................................................................25
Cleaning the CCD and the Window ...................................................................................................26
3
Appendix B - Capturing a Good Flat Field .............................................................................................................27
B-1. Technique ......................................................................................................................................27
Appendix C – Camera Specifications.......................................................................................................................28
Appendix D – Connector and Cables.......................................................................................................................29
Power Jack .....................................................................................................................................................................29
Scope Port ......................................................................................................................................................................29
I2C/AUX Port ...............................................................................................................................................................29
1.0. CAMERA HARDWARE
Congratulations and thank you for buying one of Santa Barbara Instrument Group's STX
Series CCD cameras. These large format cameras are SBIG's seventh generation CCD cameras
and represent the state of the art in CCD camera systems with their low noise and advanced
capabilities. The STX Series cameras include several exciting new features: internal and
optional external self-guiding (US Patent 5,525,793), enhanced cooling capabilities, both high
speed USB 2.0 interface and Ethernet interface, plus other innovative features found nowhere
else.
1.1. Introduction and Overview
These cameras have two CCDs inside a sealed chamber, one CCD is used for guiding and
the large one for imaging. An optional remote guiding head may be added for guiding through
an external optical system or through an off-axis guider placed before the camera. The low noise
of the read out electronics virtually guarantees that a usable guide star will be within the field of
the guiding CCD for telescopes with F/numbers F/6.3 or faster. The new cooling design is
capable of exceptional performance even in warm climates. The relay output plugs directly into
most recent commercial telescope drives and is easily adaptable to virtually any drive system.
As a result, you can take hour long guided exposures with ease, using either the built-in guiding
CCD or the remote guiding head. The internal guiding CCD eliminates differential deflection of
guide scope relative to the main telescope and requires no radial guider setup hassles. The
remote guiding head allows for a convenient alternative when imaging through narrow band
filters where suitable guide stars may be difficult to find. This dual tracking mode capability,
coupled with the phenomenal sensitivity of the CCD, will allow the user to acquire observatory
class images of deep sky images with modest apertures! The technology also makes image
stabilization possible through our Adaptive Optics accessory.
1.2. Unpacking the Camera
It is always a good idea to check over your new camera to make sure that you have
received all necessary parts and standard accessories. Each STX Series camera is packed in a
deluxe custom carrying case. This case contains all the items necessary to operate your camera.
4
5
Standard Equipment for STX Series Cameras:
STX Camera
Universal Power
Supply
AC Cord
USB Cable
Tracking Cable /
Adapter
Software and
Manuals
Power Cable
Extension
Custom Case
Standard Items:
Camera Body
The STX Series Camera Body incorporates an imaging CCD, built-in and guiding CCD,
two-stage cooling, high-speed USB interface, Ethernet interface and opto-isolated relays
for telescope control. An accessory plate with 3” threaded aperture is fixed to the front
of the camera body for attaching to your telescope adapter. Due to the large size of some
CCDs used in the STX series cameras, a 2” nosepiece is too small to use without
vignetting the image. Rack handles are also attached to the camera body at the factory.
In addition to making the camera easier to handle in the dark, these handles also protect
the fan housing when the camera is placed on a flat surface or when it is packed in its
carrying case.
Universal Power Supply
The STX's universal power supply enables operation of the camera from 100 to
240VAC, 50-60 Hz. Note that the power supply has a different pin configuration than
the camera power port. The supplied 9 foot extension power cable must be used between
the power supply and the camera. This extension cable provides the correct pinout for
the camera. Use only the power supply provided with the STX camera. The earlier
model STL cameras also have a 6 pin power port, however the power supplies provided
with STL cameras do not provide sufficient current to operate the STX series cameras.
6
Power Supply Extension Cable
This 9 foot cable extends the distance the power supply may be placed away from the
camera. It is also much more flexible than the short lead provided with the power supply.
Finally, the extension cable adapts the four-pin output of the power supply to the six-pin
DIN plug at the camera.
Regional AC Cord and Plug
AC cords with either European or North American style plugs are provided.
15’ USB Cable
A standard 15’ USB cable is supplied
Relay Cable
The tracking cable is a 6 conductor flat cable with 6 pin modular telephone style plugs at
both ends
Software and Manuals
A complete package of camera control software, drivers for both 32 bit and 64 bit
Windows O/S and manuals are included.
Custom Case
Carrying cases provided for the STX Series cameras are high quality, waterproof,
dustproof, crushproof .
Optional Items:
Remote Guide Head
The optional STX Remote Guide Head contains a KAI-340S CCD identical to the
guiding CCD that is built into the camera. This remote head allows you to use a separate
guide scope or off-axis guider to place the guiding CCD outside the filter wheel for
convenience when imaging through narrow band filters or anytime you wish to use an
external guider.
Custom Filters
65 mm filters are available from several manufacturers. As of this writing, filter sets are
offered by Baader Planetarium, Custom Scientific and Astrodon. Sets designated as
LRGBC contain both a Luminance and a Clear filter in addition to the RGB filters. Some
manufacturers provide a Clear only and some provide a Luminance only. A Luminance
filter is both UV and IR blocked. A clear filter is not blocked, but should be AR coated.
12V Water Pump
A submersible pump is available for water cooling. It is only necessary to provide a
constant flow of water through the heat exchanger to achieve maximum cooling. Cooling
the water supply is generally not necessary but may be used for additional cooling if
7
desired. If you do not have a ready source of water this pump will work in the field from
12VDC.
Filter Wheels
SBIG plans two filter wheels for the STX series cameras. The first will be a 5 position
filter wheel and the second will hold 7 or 8 filters. Each will hold 65mm filters or
smaller. These are still in development as we print our first sets of this manual. Check
with SBIG for updated information.
Nikon Lens Adapter
This adapter allows the use of Nikon 35mm camera lenses on Research Series cameras
for wide field imaging.
12VDC Power Cord
A 12VDC power cord is available for field operation directly from a battery.
1.3. Parts and Assembly
The black anodized portion of the camera body contains the CCD chamber, electronics,
desiccant plug, gas purge valve, heat exchanger, fan and a power supply for 12VDC operation in
the field. The red front cover contains the shutter mechanism and mounting plate with 3 inch
threads. The front cover may be removed from the camera body without exposing the CCD
chamber to the air. The accessory plate is shimmed at the factory to provide a flat mounting
surface that is parallel to the CCD. Under normal use, it should not be removed. If it is
removed, please note the location of the shims around the screws holding the plate to the front
cover so that they may be replaced in the same configuration. The rear cover has rack handles,
fan and heat sink, plus ventilation slots for air circulation. Two water circulation fittings are
found on the side of the camera opposite the power and other electrical connections. Access to
the gas purge valve is inside the front cover, next to the desiccant plug, on the CCD chamber.
8
1.4. Connectors
[A] Tracking CCD Focus Adjustment
The built-in tracking CCD is set at the factory to be par focal with the imaging CCD
assuming a flat field. However, some optical designs produce enough curvature of field
to cause star images to be out of focus at the location of the tracking CCD. In this case
you may wish to adjust the focus of the tracking CCD. The available adjustment is +/-1.5
turns which corresponds to approximately +/- 1.5mm of focal plane shift for the tracking
CCD. To reset the adjustment to the nominal position, turn the adjustment screw fully
clockwise until it stops then turn it back (counterclockwise) 1.5 turns.
[B] Remote Guide Head Port
This miniature 25-pin connector is for attaching the optional remote guiding head. The
remote guiding head contains a 16-bit, cooled, low-noise, KAI-340S guiding CCD
identical to the guiding CCD built-in the camera. It draws its power from the main
camera and is controlled by the same software that controls the internal guider. This
option allows the use of either the internal or the remote guiding CCD for self-guiding
during long exposures. It has its own shutter for dark frames
[C] USB Port
Connect to your computer using a standard 15’ USB cable. If your computer must be
more than 15’ from the camera we recommend an active extension for short distances
9
(15’ additional) or a powered USB extended such as the Icron Ranger for longer
distances. The Icron Ranger allows USB devices to operate up to 100 meters from the
host computer. For long runs we recommend using the Ethernet interface with CAT5
cable (see [F] below).
[D] SCOPE Port
This port supplies the relay outputs for controlling the guiding of your telescope.
Connect the supplied 6-conductor telephone style cable to this connector and the other
end of the cable to your telescope drive's autoguider input port. See Section 1.6 for more
information.
[E] I2C-AUX Port
This port is for attachment of accessories: SBIG filter wheels, Adaptive Optics, etc.
Accessories designed to use this port do not require separate power supplies or control
cables running to the computer.
[F] Ethernet
This port is for controlling the camera using Ethernet instead of USB. Connect CAT5
Ethernet cable between this port and your computer's Ethernet port. See the Software
Section 2.3 for instructions of using an Ethernet interface.
[G] Power
This port accepts 12-14VDC in to power the camera and any accessories that may be
connected to the I2C port. Use the supplied 100-240VAC Universal power supply or
connect directly to a 12VDC supply such as a car battery. If using the Universal power
supply, note that the supplied extension cord must also be used between the power
supply and the camera to provide the correct pin configuration at the camera. Note
also, that the STX's power connector will accept a direct connection from an STL
camera power supply. If you inadvertently plug an STL power upply into an STX
camera, it will not cause damage to the STX camera, but the camera will not
operate reliably under full cooling power as the STL supply does not provide the
required current for the STX camera. If you wish to make a custom power cable, the
pin outs for the connector may be found in the appendix of this manual. We recommend
16 gauge conductor for 10’ to 15’ of cable or 18 gauge conductor for less than 10’ of
cable.
[H] Water In / Out
The camera can be operated with or without water
circulation. Simply by attaching water circulation you
can maintain a lower operating temperature in warm
environments. The water circulation helps lower the
temperature of the heat exchanger located in the back
10
of the camera and this, in turn, makes it easier for the TE cooler to reach lower
temperatures. The water does not need to be cooled, but it may be for additional
efficiency. An optional 12VDC water pump is available from SBIG. The water fittings
of the STX cameras accept tubing with 1/4 inch inside diameter.
1.5. Attaching the camera to a telescope.
Due to the size of the largest CCD supported by the STX
camera, typical t-threads and even a 2” nosepiece will cause
vignetting of the CCD. The accessory plate on the front
cover of the camera has a 3” threaded aperture (3.00-24 UN2B). The outside diameter of this threaded ring also allows
for dovetail attachment with the appropriate sized adapter.
Please check with your telescope manufacturer for an
attachment adapter. Mechanical drawings are provided in
the Appendix of this manual for making custom adapters.
1.6. Connecting the Relay Cable
The camera contains opto-isolated relays to control a telescope during self-guiding or when auto
guiding. Most modern telescope drive controllers have a 6-pin modular phone style jack on their
front panel or hand paddle for plugging in an autoguider.
The relay outputs from the camera are brought out via a
phone style connector labeled “SCOPE.” To connect the
telephone style Relay Cable to the camera, use the 6conductor cable provided.
Please note that the cable
must have the connectors
attached on each end in the
correct orientation for
autoguiding. See the
diagram at right (Off-the-shelf cable for telephone use may have these plugs reversed).
1.7. Attaching the Remote Head
The Remote Guiding Head is an optional accessory for all
models of the STX Series cameras. When attached to the
main camera body, the Remote Guiding Head can perform all
of the functions of the guiding CCD that is built into the
camera. You control the Remote Guider using the same
menu commands as you would for the internal guider. You
can select which guider to use for a self-guided image. The
Remote Guiding Head makes it possible to self-guide using a
separate guide scope, or through an off-axis guider assembly that is placed in front of the filters.
11
This can be useful when imaging through narrow band filters where stars are difficult to see. It
is important to remember that you should not connect or disconnect the Remote Head to the
camera while the power in on. It is a good idea, therefore, to plan your observing session in
advance and connect the Remote Head at the beginning of the evening if there is any chance that
you expect to use it that night. If you decide that you need the Remote Head in the middle of an
observing session, it may be inconvenient to shut down the main camera and power back up
again. The Remote Guiding Head contains a shutter and TE cooler. It is therefore capable of
taking dark frames without manual intervention by the user. The 1.25” nosepiece is screwed into
female t-threads on the face plate of the head. The nosepiece may be removed and the head
attached to an optical system using t-threads instead. An optional T-to-C adapter is also
available that allows the use of c-thread lenses or a C-to-Camera lens adapter such as the CLA5
for attaching 35mm camera lenses.
1.8. Connecting water hoses
STX Series cameras are equipped with a heat exchanger that
allows water circulation if conditions require additional cooling
of the CCD. The cameras may be operated with or without
water circulation. No special steps are necessary to use water
circulation other than connection of a water supply. The camera
comes with two water hose fittings (pictured in the inset at left)
that accept a hose with an inside diameter of 1/4th inch. Very
little water pressure is needed for additional cooling. Only
enough pressure to maintain a constant flow is required to get
maximum benefit from the water circulation. Also, it is usually not necessary to cool the water
below ambient temperature with ice or refrigeration but it
can be done so long as you monitor the dew point. Water
at ambient temperature is an effective heat conductor and
a constant flow of water will carry away enough heat
from the heat exchanger that further cooling of the water
supply will result in little gain. Cooling the water supply
too much may cool the camera well below the dew point
so that moisture forms on the inside surface of the case or
the outside surface of the CCD chamber window. If you
do not have a way to supply water to the camera, the 12VDC water pump and tubing shown
above right is an optional accessory available from SBIG.
1.9. Extending the USB cable
The camera is supplied a standard 15’ (~4.6 meter) USB cable. If you wish to operate the
camera remotely, there are several ways to extend this distance between your computer and the
camera:
Active USB Extension Cable. These accessories are commonly available at computer
stores and Radio Shack. They are 15 foot extension cables that get their power from the
12
USB output port of your computer. These are good if your computer is located no more
then about 30 feet (~9 meters) from the camera.
Powered USB extenders. Powered extenders such as the Icron Ranger
(www.icron.com) are also commonly available in computer stores and by mail order over
the Internet. These extenders require power at one end of the cable (either end) and will
let you operate the camera (or any USB device) up to 100 meters from the computer.
1.10. Opening the Front Cover - Regenerating the Desiccant Plug
The CCD is housed in a sealed chamber
located inside the front cover of the camera.
The chamber is separate from the large front
and rear cover plates, so that opening the
front or rear cover plates will not expose the
CCD chamber to the environment. The CCD
chamber has a desiccant plug located on one
side to help remove moisture from the air
inside the chamber. If it should become
necessary to recharge the desiccant due to
excess moisture or frosting in the chamber, it
is a simple matter to remove the desiccant
plug, bake it in a conventional oven at 350
degrees F (175 degrees C) for 4 hours and
replace the plug in the camera. To gain access to the desiccant plug, remove the front cover by
loosening the eight socket head screws as shown in the picture above. Note the location of the
desiccant plug in the next photo below.
Remove the plug by unscrewing it from the
chamber. You should be able to unscrew it
using your fingers. If time and
temperature have made it too tight, use soft
grip pliers to remove it. Be sure to take off
the o-ring from around the threads before
baking the plug. Place a small piece of
electrical tape over the hole in the side of
the CCD chamber while you are baking the
desiccant plug to keep unwanted dust and
moisture out of the chamber. When you
replace the desiccant plug after baking it,
do not over-tighten it when you screw it
back into the chamber. It should be tightened as much as you can with your fingers only. Don’t
forget to replace the o-ring on the plug before re-installing it after baking.
13
1.11. Gas Purging
Purging the CCD chamber with an inert gas such as Argon can provide a quick dry air chamber
and cooling performance may be slightly improved. However, this procedure is generally
unnecessary. The gas purge port is therefore included as a convenience, but not a necessity.
You should only consider purging the chamber if it is absolutely necessary. The risk is that you
may introduce foreign material to the chamber, or worse, destroy the CCD. WARNING: DO
NOT PURGE THE CHAMBER UNLESS THE DESICCANT PLUG IS COMPLETELY
REMOVED FROM THE CHAMBER. DO NOT PURGE THE CHAMBER WITH THE
DESICCANT PLUG SIMPLY LOOSENED BUT LEFT PARTIALLY SCREWED INTO
ITS PORT ON THE CHAMBER. Failure to follow these instructions may result is
destruction of the CCD and this damage is NOT covered under warranty. The pressure
may not exceed 1 or 2 pounds per square inch on the CCD. If you do not have a regulator
capable of limiting the gas pressure to about 1 psi, then you should flow the gas through the
chamber under very low pressure with an OPEN desiccant plug port (remove the desiccant plug
completely) to prevent the pressure from building up inside the chamber. After a few seconds,
turn off the gas and only then replace the desiccant plug.
1.12. Indicator Lights
There are two sets of LED indicator
lights located on the side of the camera
body that provide information about the
camera’s communication link, exposure
status, relay activity, and input voltage.
The top row contains five LEDs: The
red status LED will flicker when the
camera is powered up. It will then either
glow continuously when the camera is
idle or blink when the camera is taking
an exposure. The four amber LEDs
indicate when any of the four relays are
activated during during self-guiding.
The bottom row contains four LEDs:
These indicate the input voltage to the camera and are helpful when operating from battery
power. Normally the Green LED will glow continuously to indicate that the power supplied is
12 -14 volts. The first yellow LED labeled 11V will light if the input voltage at the camera
drops to 11.25V or less. The second yellow LED labeled 10V will light if the input voltage at
the camera drops to 10.25V or less. At 10.25V or less, the camera will automatically shut down
the TE cooling but otherwise continue to operate normally. The final red LED labeled 9V will
light if the input voltage at the camera drops to 9.25V or less. At this point the camera's
operation may be unreliable and you should shut it down until the voltage can be brought back
up to the normal operating range.
14
1.13. Opening the Back Cover - Changing the Fuse
STX cameras have a built-in voltage regulation that lets you run the camera directly from any
unregulated 12VDC source such as car battery. The input to this supply is protected with a fuse
located inside the rear of the camera. To access the fuse, place the camera face down on a
smooth clean surface. To help avoid any static damage, touch something metal that is grounded
before opening the camera. Open the back cover plate of the camera by removing the eight
socket head screws located around the perimeter of the back plate. Carefully lift the rear cover
and turn it over. You will see a wiring harness for the fan that prevents the cover from being
completely detached, but the wires should be long enough that the cover can be placed out of the
way without unplugging the harness. The fuse is located on the digital board as shown in the
right hand photo above. .
1.14. Using a Relay Adapter Box with the STX
STX cameras use opto-isolated relays that isolate
the camera, electrically, from your mount’s drive
electronics. It is therefore unlikely that a Relay
Adapter box will be needed with any commercial
mount. However if you wish to use the Relay
Box with mechanical relays for other reasons,
then jumpers must be set inside the camera to
provide 12V out on one pin of the SCOPE port.
This is needed to supply power to the Relay
Adapter Box before it can be used with the
camera. To set the jumpers, remove the back
cover of the camera as instructed in the previous
section for changing the fuse. Unlike the fuse, however, the jumpers are not on the top board, so
it may be easier for this procedure to unplug the fan wiring harness from the digital board to get
the wires out of the way. Then, remove the five long Phillips screws from the digital board as
indicated by the arrows in the photo above. Note also the location of the rectangular box outline
in the same photo. This outline indicates the location of a connector on the bottom of the digital
board that attaches to the board below (visible in the next photo). To remove the digital board
15
you must carefully pry this connector loose and lift
the digital board away from the camera. Care should
be taken not to pull too strongly on the digital board
far from the connector as this could bend the board
and cause cracks in the delicate traces.
Once the digital board is removed locate the jumper
pins just next to the row of five LEDs that show
through holes in the side of the camera body. The
jumper pins are immediately adjacent to LED02 (see
photo below). There are four pairs of pins. Jumpers
must be placed on the two pairs of pins farthest away
from the LEDs (bottom photo below).
Factory configuration: No jumpers.
Jumpers set for Relay Box
Replace the digital board taking care to align all the pins in the connector before applying slight
pressure to seat the pins. Replace the five Phipllips-head screws and plug in the fan wiring
harness. Then replace the back plate.
16
1.15. Camera Resolution
Resolution comes in two flavors these days. In the commercial world of digital devices, the
word resolution is often used synonymously with the number of pixels used in a device. You are
used to seeing ads for scanners with a "resolution" of 2,000 x 3,000 pixels, etc. Computer
monitors have various "resolution" settings which are basically the number of pixels displayed.
We use the word here in its literal sense, which is ability to resolve detail. This has nothing to
do with the number of
pixels, rather it is governed
by the size of each pixel and
the focal length of the
optical system. Typically,
seeing limits the resolution
of a good system. Seeing is
often measured in terms of
the Full Width Half
Maximum (FWHM) of a star
image on a long exposure.
That is, the size of a star's
image in arcseconds when
measured at half the
maximum value for that star
in an exposure of many
seconds. As a general rule,
one wants to sample such a
star image with no less than
2 pixels. It is preferable to
sample the star image with 3
or more pixels depending on
the processing steps to be
performed and the final display size desired. By way of example, if the atmosphere and optical
system allow the smallest star images of 2.6 arcseconds in diameter (FWHM) then one needs a
telescope focal length and pixel size that will let each pixel see 1/3 of 2.6 arcseconds. In this
example the pixel field of view should be about 0.86 arcseconds per pixel for an optimum
balance of extended object sensitivity to resolution of fine detail. If you aim for a pixel FOV of
about 1 arcsecond per pixel through a given focal length, then you should be fine for the majority
of typical sites and imaging requirements. If your seeing is much better than typical, then you
should aim for less than one arcsecond per pixel. If your seeing is much worse than typical, then
you can get away with 1.5 or even 2 arcseconds per pixel. The table at left shows the field of
view per pixel for several pixel sizes at various focal lengths. Select the focal length or range of
focal lengths of your telescope(s) and look across for a pixel size that yields a field of view close
to 1 arcsecond per pixel. Note also that the exception to this rule is planetary imaging where
sensitivity is not an issue and resolution is paramount. In this case, aim for 0.5 or 0.25
17
arcseconds per pixel. Also note that cameras with smaller pixels may be binned 2x2 or 3x3 to
create larger pixels and expand the useful range of the camera. For example, an STX-16000
with 7.4 micron pixels can be binned 2x2 to give 14.8 micron pixels. The overall field of view
of the CCD does not change however, and a camera with larger pixels and a larger field of view
might be preferable if it will not be used on shorter focal length instruments.
1.16. Camera Field of View
The field of view that your camera will see through a given telescope is determined by the focal
length of the telescope and the physical size of the CCD chip. This also has nothing to do with
the number of pixels.
Through the same
telescope, a CCD that has
512 x 512 pixels at 20
microns square will have
exactly the same field of
view as a CCD with 1024
x 1024 pixels at 10
microns square even
though the latter has four
times as many pixels.
One can vary the focal
length to vary the field of
view. Using a focal
reducer to shorten the
focal length will increase
the field of view (and
make the image brighter in the process). Using a barlow or eyepiece projection to effectively
lengthen the focal length of the telescope will decrease the field of view (and make the image
dimmer in the process). In order to determine the field of view for a given CCD, note the CCD's
length and width dimensions in millimeters (from the
camera specifications) and use the following formula for
determining the field of view for that CCD through any
telescope:
(135.3 x D ) / L = Field of View in arcminutes
where D is the length or width dimension of the CCD in
millimeters, and L is the focal length of your telescope in
inches. So, for example, if you wanted to know the field of
view of the new STL-4020M camera when attached to a 5"
F/6 telescope you would first determine the focal length of
the telescope by multiplying its aperture, 5 inches, by its
focal ratio, 6, to get its focal length, 30 inches. The CCD
dimensions are 15.2 x 15.2 mm. To calculate the field of
view multiply 135.3 x 15.2 = 2,057 and then divide by 30 = 68.6 arcminutes. By way of
comparison, the field of view of the STX-16803 through the same telescope would be 135.3 x
18
36.8 = 4,979 divided by 30 = 166 arcminutes. The table above shows the calculated field of
view in arcminutes for each of the several large format CCDs at various focal lengths. Keep in
mind however that when you vary the CCD field of view you are also varying the field of view
for each pixel and are therefore also affecting the resolution of your system.
1.17. Focal Length, Resolution and Field of View
From the forgoing we see that neither resolution alone, nor field of view alone, are dependent
solely on the number of pixels of a sensor. So when are more pixels better? The key word in the
first sentence is “alone.” All else being equal, more pixels will yield a larger field of view
compared to another camera with fewer pixels of the same pixel size. The resolution will be the
same through any optical system, because the size of each pixel remains the same. But more
pixels mean a larger CCD and therefore a larger field of view at the same resolution. So the
question becomes: What is the field of view of a CCD at a given resolution based upon pixel size
and the focal length of your optical system?
The tables on the preceding pages can help you determine this answer. The table below uses the
KAF-16803 CCD as an example:
KAF-16803 with 4096 x 4096 pixels at 9 microns
19
2.0. CAMERA SOFTWARE
This section gets you up and running right away with your STX camera. First you’ll install the
Application Software and Drivers, then you’ll have Windows Link the Drivers to the Camera
and finally you’ll connect to the Camera and take a few sample images. Please follow these
instructions in order and do not attach your Camera to your Computer until instructed.
Note: The STX Drivers require Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 (or
later). They will not work under older Windows versions like Windows 98.
2.1 Installing Software
Before you can use your camera you’ll have to install the CCDOps Application software and the
Windows Drivers for the camera. We’ll walk you through that in this section.
Installing CCDOps
SBIG’s Application Software for our cameras is called CCDOps. It gives you full
control of your camera’s features. To install CCDOps follow the instructions below:
• Insert the CD-ROM that came with your camera into your computer’s CD drive.
If the CD doesn’t auto-run Explore the CD and run the autorun.exe file in the
root directory.
• Click the Setup New ST Camera button.
• Click on the Install CCDOps button and follow the onscreen instructions.
Installing the SBIG Drivers
SBIG Cameras require Drivers to be installed in Windows before you can communicate
with them. Our Driver Checker program downloads the latest Drivers from our website
and Installs them on your computer. Follow the instructions below to install the SBIG
Drivers for your camera:
• Going back to the SBIG CD ROM program, click on the Install 64-Bit Driver
Checker. You must use the 64-Bit Driver Checker with the STX and it works on
both 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows.
• Follow the onscreen instructions to install the Driver Checker. At the end of the
Install opt to Launch the SBIG Driver Checker.
• The Driver Checker will ask you about any older ST Series Camera you may
have with or without the Remote Guide Head capability. Read the options
carefully, select the appropriate setting then click OK. Click on the Update
button to Install the Drivers.. In the process of installing the drivers it will show
you a ReadMe file with notes about the current drivers and it will ask you to
verify that you want to apply the Update. After clicking Update Me it will install
the drivers on your system.
• Before you quit the Driver Checker you should see that all the Drivers are listed
as Current in the table as shown below. If not click on the Download button to
Download the latest Drivers from our web site then click the Update button a 2nd
20
time. Your versions may be different than those shown.
Linking the Drivers
Once the Camera Drivers have been installed they need to be linked to the camera by
Windows. Follow the instructions below to link your Drivers to the Camera.
• First off, Windows can be finicky when it comes to linking the drivers. If you have
any questions or problems with this procedure go back to the CD-ROM and read
the Application Note which is available through a button where you Installed the
Driver Checker.
• Power up the camera. The LEDs on the side should blink momentarily and the
Fan should come on. This indicates the camera has completed its internal poweron boot-up sequence.
• Connect the Camera to your computer with the supplied USB cable. Windows
will detect the Camera and bring up the Add New Hardware Wizard.
• The Wizard will ask you if you want to check for updated drivers. Select No, not
this time then click Next.
• The Wizard will ask how you want to install the software (link the drivers).
Select Install the software automatically then click Next.
• Follow the onscreen instructions to complete linking the drivers to your camera.
At this point you could open the Device Manager and verify that you should see
an entry for the SBIG Camera.
21
2.2. Using the Camera
This section gives you a quick introduction to using your Camera with CCDOps. Further
information can be found in the CCDOps Manual on the CD ROM.
Establishing a Link with CCDOps
In order to control your Camera, CCDOps you must first establish a communications
link with the camera as described below:
• In the Windows Start menu navigate to the SBIG folder then select the CCDOps
icon to launch CCDOps.
• Under CCDOps’ Misc menu select the Graphics/Comm Setup command.
• Check to make sure the Interface item is set for USB then click OK.
• Under the Camera menu select the Establish COM Link command.
• In a few seconds CCDOps will establish a link to the camera as indicated by the
Link status field in the lower right hand corner of the CCDOps window:
Camera Setup
The Setup command in the Camera menu is used to configure the Camera’s internal
operating modes. As an example let’s use it to turn on the cooling. Invoke the command
and then set the Temperature Regulation item to Active and the Setpoint item to 0.0
then click OK. You’ll see the Camera start to cool down as indicated in the Temp status
field.
Taking Sample Dark Frames
Dark Frames are used in Astronomical CCD Imaging to reduce the noise of images by
subtracting out fixed pattern noise inherent in the CCDs. Let’s take a Dark Frame with
the main or Imaging CCD to see what it looks like:
• Cover the camera so no light is getting into it through the Telescope Coupling.
Cover the camera with a book or turn the camera over and place it on its face.
•
Use the Grab command in the Camera menu. Set the Exposure to 1.0 and the
Dark frame to Only then click OK. After several seconds the image will appear
on the screen.
•
In the Contrast window make sure Auto is checked and the Mag is set to 1:1.
•
Scrolling around in the image and inspecting it visually you’ll notice how large it
is (4096 x 4096 pixels) relative to your computer screen. You’ll also see areas of
“salt and pepper” that represent the noise floor or Read Noise of the CCD and
you’ll see numerous bright or Hot Pixels. You’ll probably see some Hot Pixels
with tails below them. These are in every CCD camera and repeat from image to
image. By subtracting Dark Frames from your images you’ll remove these
effects from the final image.
22
Let’s try taking a Dark Frame with the Tracking CCD to see how it’s different:
• In the Camera Setup command set the Active CCD to Tracking.
•
Use the Grab command to take another Dark Frame.
•
Visually inspect the image. First off you’ll notice it’s quite a bit smaller (640 x
480 pixels). In addition to the effects noted in the Imaging CCD you’ll probably
notice a general brightening from top to bottom. This is typical for interline
CCDs like the Tracking CCD and again will repeat and subtract out of your final
images.
Further Investigations
At this point we refer you to the CCDOps Manual on the CD ROM for further learning
about getting the most out of your STX CCD Camera. We also suggest you join the
SBIG Group on Yahoo to learn from and interact with other users.
2.3. Specific Activities
This section describes some of the unique features of the STX such as Ethernet control and
Autoguiding.
Ethernet Configuration
The STX allows communications to the PC with either USB or Ethernet. While USB
offers faster image downloads Ethernet allows longer cable runs between the PC and the
Camera, not being limited by the 15 foot USB cable length.
The STX comes configured by the factory to have a fixed IP address of 192.168.0.100
but can be configured by CCDOps for other addresses or to use DHCP. Use the
commands in the STX sub-menu of the Misc Menu to configure the STX.
To Establish a link over Ethernet with CCDOps use the Graphics/Comm Setup
command in the Misc menu and set the Interface to Ethernet and either fill in the
Camera’s IP address or click the Detect button to search for it.
Web Browser
The STX has an embedded web server built into it and can be controlled by your favorite
Web Browser. This gives the STX support on all systems with the minimum requirement
of a Web Browser. The factory default URL of the STX home page is:
http://192.168.0.100
If you’ve changed the Camera’s IP address or are using DHCP the URL will be based on
the assigned IP address.
Making the Autoguiding Connection
Like all SBIG cameras, the STX has an Autoguider port that can be connected to your
Telescope. Use the supplied 6-pin phone-jack based Autoguider Cable to connect the
STX to your Telescope.
23
2.4. Third Party Software
The STX is compatible with many third party Astronomical Software packages. Several
packages offer control of the STX and many others offer Image Processing of FITS Format
Images acquired with the STX. This section describes several of those packages.
CCDSoft
Software Bisque in Colorado makes a popular suite of Astronomical Software including
a Planetarium program called TheSky and an Imaging program that supports the STX
called CCDSoft. Information about these packages can be found at their web site. For
STX control please make sure you have the latest version.
www.bisque.com
MaximDl
Diffraction Limited in Ontario Canada has a popular Imaging program named MaximDl
that works with the STX. You’ll need to be using Version 5 or later and make sure you
have the latest SBIG Plug-In. Their web site is:
www.cyanogen.com
Support and Developer Resources
The SBIG web site contains a wealth of Software Updates, Manuals, Application Notes,
Drawings and Developer Resources for the STX and other SBIG products. We probably
don’t have to tell you but our web site is:
www.sbig.com
24
Appendix A – Adjustments and Maintenance
This section describes the various adjustments and maintenance issues with the STX.
Firmware Updates
The STX was designed to allow updating its Firmware (internal software) in the field. This is
accomplished through the STX tab of the 64-Bit Driver Checker dialog. First you should
Download and Update any driver changes through the Drivers tab and then switch to the STX
tab and apply upgrades there. The STX uses the following types of Firmware:
Firmware Type
USB
Gate Array
ROP
Purpose
Firmware for the embedded USB processor.
Hardware definition and embedded firmware for the gate array and
CPU.
Readout Programs for the 2 embedded CCD Readout Engines.
These can be separate updates and are also embedded in the Gate
Array file.
Internal Tracker Focus
The Imaging CCD in the STX is large (~37 mm on a side) and hence the Tracking CCD is
relatively far off axis. Many telescopes will show focus curvature off axis that can slightly
defocus the Tracking CCD relative to the Imaging CCD. With the STX minor corrections to the
Tracking CCD focus position can be accomplished with a 3-32 inch hex-head screw adjustment
behind the covered TRACKER FOCUS port above the Remote Guide Head connector.
Desiccant Regeneration
The STX has an internal Desiccant Plug that keeps the CCD from frosting over at cold
temperatures. The Desiccant Plug will typically go a year before requiring regeneration by
baking the Desiccant Plug (not the whole camera!) in the oven. Remove the eight screws that
hold the front cover onto the body of the STX to get access to the Desiccant Plug (see page )
1. Unscrew the desiccant container from the side of the chamber and remove the
O-ring.
2. Plug the resulting hole in the chamber by placing a piece of black plastic tape
over the opening to keep dust out while you are baking the desiccant.
3. Heat the desiccant container in an oven at 350°F (175 deg C) for 4 hours.
The solder used to seal the can melts at 460 degrees F, so be sure to stay at
least 50 degrees below this number. Preheating the oven to avoid hot spots is
advised.
4. Replace the desiccant container into the rear of the camera, being careful to
reinstall the O-ring and insure that it does not get pinched.
Expect the camera to take an hour or two to reach the frost free state. If it does seem to frost and
you need to capture images, reduce your cooling to the zero degree C range - the CCD dark
current will still be quite low.
25
Cleaning the CCD and the Window
The design of SBIG cameras allows for cleaning of the CCD. The optical heads are not
evacuated and are quite easy to open and clean. When opening the CCD chamber, one should be
very careful not to damage the structures contained inside. To open the CCD Chamber, remove
the six screws that hold the 5 inch front cover in place. Remove the six screws and lift the front
cover, exposing the structures inside. There is a rubber O-Ring that sets in the groove on the top
of the Chamber housing. The CCD array is protected by a thin cover glass that can be cleaned
with Q-Tips and Isopropyl Alcohol. Do not get alcohol on the shutter. Dust on the CCD should
be blown off. Use alcohol only if necessary. The optical window of the chamber housing can be
cleaned the same way. When reinstalling the chamber housing, be very careful to make sure the
O-ring is in the groove when seated.
26
Appendix B - Capturing a Good Flat Field
This appendix describes how to take a simple flat field. A good flat field is essential for
displaying features little brighter than the sky background. The flat field corrects for
pixel non-uniformity, vignetting, dust spots (affectionately called dust doughnuts), and
stray light variations. If the flat field is not good it usually shows up as a variation in sky
brightness from on side of the frame to the other.
B-1. Technique
The first consideration in capturing a flat field is to use the telescope-CCD combination
in exactly the configuration used to collect the image. This means you probably have to
capture the flat field at the telescope. Do not rotate the head between image and flat
field, since the vignetting is usually slightly off center. Do not be tempted to build a
little LED into the telescope or camera for doing flat fields; it doesn't work at all. The
dust debris shadows would be different!
Arrange a light source such as a flashlight, two white cards, the telescope and
CCD as shown in Figure D-1.
Figure D-1: Flat Field Geometry
Telescope
CCD
Flat White
Surface
Flashlight
Flat White
Surface
The key aspects of this geometry are that the reflection off two diffuse surfaces is used,
and the large flat surface is square to the illumination from the small flat surface. When
we do this, the first flat surface is typically a white T-shirt worn by the operator! Take
care that no apparent shadows are cast onto the larger flat white surface. Use an
exposure at the camera that yields an average light level equal to about half of full scale.
27
Appendix C – Camera Specifications
The STX 16803 Camera has the following Specifications:
Power Requirements
Input Voltage
Current
Imaging CCD
Model
Pixels
Array Dimensions
Other Features
Tracking CCD
Model
Pixels
Array Dimensions
Other Features
Embedded Resources
Processors
10.5 – 14 Volts DC with Indicating LEDs
8.5 Amps Maximum
Kodak KAF-16803
4096 x 4096 at 9 x 9 Microns
36.9 x 36.9 mm
Microlens, Antiblooming
Kodak KAI-0340
640 x 480 at 7.4 x 7.4 Microns
4.7 x 3.6 mm
Microlens, Antiblooming
85 MHz, 32-Bit CPU with RTOS,
Dedicated USB microcontroller
64 MB shared Frame Buffer and
Processor RAM
64 Mb Firmware and Parameter storage
Frame Buffer
Flash Memory
External Ports
Host Communications
Remote Guide Head Port
Autoguider Port
USB 20/1.x and 10/100 Mbs Ethernet
Compatible with Remote Guider-340
4 Open Collector Outputs with Indicating
LEDs
Powered I2C for SBIG CFW, AO, etc.
Accessory Port
28
Appendix D – Connector and Cables
Power Jack
The Power Jack has the following pinouts:
Pin
Shell
1,5,6
2,3,4
Function
Earth/Chassis Ground
+12V, 8.5A
DC Return
Scope Port
The Scope Port is used for autoguiding your telescope and has the following pinouts:
I2C/AUX Port
The I2C/AUX Port is for connecting accessories to your STX and has the following pinouts:
Pin Function
Pin Function
1
No connect
6
Trigger In
2
Open Collector
7
Open Collector
Trigger Out
Genl. Purp. Out
3
Serial Clock
8
+12V Raw
4
Serial Data
9
+3.3V
5
Signal Ground
Shell Chassis Ground
29
30
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF

advertisement