User`s manual Rev.1.6

User`s manual Rev.1.6
User’s manual Rev.1.6
This document is an online document. You may save this PDF file or print it
out. QHYCCD reserves the right to change this user manual without prior notice.
Package Contents
please confirm that the package contains the following items:
USB3.0 cable(1.5m)
Self-locking power cable
6pin guide cable
Car power adapter
Drying tube
M42/2inch adaptor(Maximum diameter: 56mm)
Driver download card
Inspection report
QHY163M camera
Optional accessories
12V power adapter + power cable
C-MOUNT lens adapter
Note that if the user wants to buy 12V power adapter by themselves, its output current is at
least 3.5A, and the polarity must be center positive.
Table of Contents
01 Software Installation
02 Use QHY163M with Filter Wheel
03 Use QHY163M in SharpCap
04 Use QHY163M on ASCOM platform
05 Use QHY163M in FireCapture
06 Use QHY163M in EZCAP_QT
07 Use Broadcast Video Streaming
08 QHY163M Color Wheel Control Port
10 FAQ
11 Camera Maintenance
12 Specifications
13 Mechanical Dimensions
14 Revision History
01 Software Installation
1. Download and install ASCOM platform
2. Download and install Camera Driver
3. Download and install ASCOM Driver
As you most probably want to use your QHY163M as an expose camera, please download the
Capture version. If you want to use it as a guide camera, please download the Guide version.
4. QHY163M camera uses SharpCap as the default capture software. Please download SharpCap.
QHY163M camera can run on SharpCap 2.9 or later versions
Note that QHY163M requires the latest qhyccd.dll for the new version of SharpCap, and QHYCCD
has already made SharpCap Patch for it. You should download and install it prior to using SharpCap.
5. Connect QHY163M to your PC with USB3.0 cable. For the first time the system will find a new
device and search the driver. You can skip the online searching by clicking “Skip obtaining driver
software from Windows Update” and the computer will find the drivers. After installation is
complete successfully, you can find the device in the device manager as shown in the picture below
QHYCCD has developed a software named UpdateCheck that can check if the drivers installed on
your computer are the latest versions as well as update the drivers if needed. If the status of
some driver is “Need Update”, you can directly download its update package in this software
freeing you from the inconvenience of looking for and downloading it from our website.
Take QHY367C for example, you can see the drivers we need are the latest versions and don’t
need to be updated as shown in the following picture.
Note that after you downloading and installing the new drivers by using this software, be sure to
pull the USB cable out and then plug it in to enable the new drivers.
02 Use QHY163M with Filter Wheel
QHY163M is a monochromatic camera and it is frequently used with color filter wheel. With its
M42/2inch lens mount (this has already been installed on QHY163M), connecting it with QHY color
filter wheel will be simple and quick. QHY163M supports connections both with QHYCFW2-S and
Take QHYCFW2-M for example, you can refer to a tutorial to set up your QHYCFW-M.
After you’ve installed color filters for your QHYCFW2-M properly, you can begin to connect it with
QHY163M as shown in the picture below.
First, you need to stick QHY163M into QHYCFW2-M as shown in the picture above. Then you
should screw those three bolts in. At the first time you screw bolts, you may find it a little bit
difficult to screw in, in this case, please make sure that the bolts are pointing towards the center
and apply a little bit more of force. Finally, you should connect your QHY163M with QHYCFW2-M
by using DIN4/RJ11 cable, which is included in the box.
The last thing you need to do before using QHY163M with QHYCFW2-M is to open the link below
to download and install the driver (ASCOM FiltersPlug-in) for QHYCFW2-M.
Now, you should be all set. Read the following parts to know how to use QHY163M with color filter
wheel in SharpCap, MAXIMDL, and Sequence Generator Pro.
03 Use QHY163M in SharpCap
1. Connect your QHY163M to color filter wheel with DIN4/RJ11 cable. Connect your QHY163M
to 12V power supply. Connect your QHY163M to your computer with USB3.0 cable. Before running
SharpCap, make sure filter wheel’s initialization is finished. When it is initializing, you can hear the
sound gear makes. When it is finished, you will see the color lights flash. If you start SharpCap
before initialization is finished, SharpCap cannot detect the filter wheel.
2. Run SharpCap. If the aforementioned software and drivers all have been installed properly, the
video image will appear automatically and you will see the frame rate at the lower-left corner of
the software as shown below
3. If you have started the SharpCap before connecting camera to your PC. You can click
menu->cameras->rescan for cameras to search the camera and check on the camera name
(QHY163M in this case).
4. To make sure the camera can run properly, the software will start the camera at the lowest
speed, which makes the frame rate much lower than the highest frame rate declared on its
webpage. Now you can try to get the most out of it by changing several settings. First you can try
to set the exposure time to 1ms, then try to reduce the “USB traffic” value. For modern computer
with i7-4 core, it should get the max performance. But please note that not all computers can get
the best performance due to various reasons such as the CPU loading, the saving-energy mode
setting, the mainboard performance and USB3.0 port performance. Sometimes the display size
may also impede obtaining the best performance. So you can try to use the “Zoom” function to
reduce the display size to see if it helps. Normally speaking the QHY163M can get more than
22.5FPS@16mega full resolution.
5. Adjust filter wheel position. You can select which filter you are going to use by changing the
position of filter wheel as shown in the following picture.
6. Adjust the offset. When you block the light thoroughly, you may find that the image is not
really zero. Sometimes this will lower the quality of image contrast. You can adjust the offset to
make the histogram peak close to zero in order to get a better background. You can open the
histogram to confirm that.
7. If you want to try 16bit image, you can switch the Colour Space to “MONO16”.
8. By check the “LX” mode you can expand the exposure setting range and take long exposure
shot. QHY163M camera has the anti-amp light control circuit and it can reduce the amplifier glow
significantly. Note that it’s impossible to reduce the glow in the corner thoroughly, and it’s normal
to see a very small amount of glow in the corner when you do long exposure.
A typical long exposure image in +20℃, 5 sec exposure and 50% gain of QHY163M is shown below.
9. After you connect 12V power supply for QHY163M to power the TEC cooling circuit, you can
set the CMOS sensor cooling temperature in the “Thermal Controls” section in SharpCap as
shown in the following picture.
Basically, you can control the temperature of CMOS by either adjusting “Cooler Power” or clicking
“Auto” and adjusting “Target Temperature”. You can also see the CMOS temperature at lower-left
corner of the software.
Before use this function, you should read the content about how to protect the cooler in the FAQ
04 Use QHY163M with ASCOM
You can connect many software that support ASCOM. Currently QHY63M only supports normal
ASCOM connection and does not support the ASCOM VIDEO connection. Please note that
QHY163M always transfers maximum bit depth by ASCOM to make the best DSO imaging
performance. The image format is 16bit width and patch zero on low bit.
1. First you have to make sure that both ASCOM Platform and ASCOM driver have been installed.
If not, please install it first.
2. Start MAXIMDL
3. Follow the instructions shown below to finish the setup
Normally, you can set the gain=1 and offset=10 to start. Keep clicking “Okay” to return to Camera
Control window.
The following instructions are going to show you how to configure filter wheel (QHYCFW2-M) in
Click “Setup Filter” in the Camera Control window.
In the window shown below, you can set up your filter wheel
Keep clicking “OK” to return to the Camera Control window. Click “Connect”
Sequence Generator Pro
Sequence Generator Pro is an extremely powerful image capture suite. It can perform many
complex tasks in order to meet your imaging needs. After you connect your gears and configure
Sequence Generator Pro properly, you can go to sleep and see images in the morning.
To use QHY163M in Sequence Generator Pro, you can follow the instructions listed below.
Open sequencer by clicking the button in the red rectangle as shown in the picture below.
If you’ve connected QHY163M to your PC before click that red button. The red button will turn to
green as shown in the picture below.
The next step is going to connect your filter wheel (QHYCFW2-M). Before you select QHYCCD
Filter wheel as the filter and click the red connect button, you should also make sure you’ve
connected QHY163M to filter wheel (QHYCFW2-M) with DIN4/RJ11 cable, you’ve plugged in the
12V power supply cable, you’ve installed the Filter wheel drivers, and the initialization of filter
wheel has been finished.
For example, you can change the filter names to Lum, Red, Green, Blue, and Ha as you installed
them this way. Then you make schedule events to take turns to use these filters as shown in the
following picture.
For detailed and helpful tutorial of this software, please go to its website to check its help
05 Use QHY163M in FireCapture
The latest FireCapture supports QHY63M already. Please go to FireCapture website to download
its v2.5 BETA (32-bit) version.
By default, it will be installed in the “Documents” folder. After it was installed successfully, navigate
to “Document folder”, and you will find its installation folder as shown below.
Enter that folder and run “FireCapture.exe”, then select QHYCCD camera. And after the loading,
you will see the image on FireCapture like shown below.
For detailed and helpful tutorial of this software, please go to its website to check the tutorial
section at
06 Use QHY163M in EZCAP_QT
EZCAP_QT is the software developed by QHYCCD. This software has the basic capture function for
QHYCCD deep sky cameras. You can use this QHY63M camera with filter wheel in this software.
1. Install EZCAP_QT
2. Connect your QHY163M to 12V power supply. Connect your QHY163M to color filter wheel
with DIN4/RJ11 cable. Connect your QHY163M to your computer with USB3.0 cable.
3. Run EZCAP_QT. Select “Connect” in Menu->Camera. If the camera is successfully connected.
The title of EZCAP_QT will display the camera firmware version and the camera ID as shown below.
4. In Menu->Camera Setup, Click “Temp Control” and set the CMOS sensor temperature. You
can enable the “Auto Control” and set the target temperature. For example here we set the
temperature to -10C. The CMOS temperature will come to -10C very fast (in about 2-3minute). If
you want to close the TEC, you can select “TEC OFF”. If you just want to set the TEC power but
not the temperature. You can select “Manual” and then set the percent of the TEC power.
5. You can select which filter you are going to use by changing the position of filter wheel as
shown in the following picture.
6. You can use the preview tab to do preview. And use the focus tools to do focus. Then use the
capture tab to capture image.
7. In EZCAP_QT there is a planner for image tasking. You can capture a series images by using the
table below.
07 Use BroadCast Video Streaming
BroadCast video steaming is a special function that QHY163M supports. It can send the video image
to multiple target software via QHYCCD BroadCast video driver. For example, you can use the
SharpCap software to control the QHY163M camera and at the same time the video appearing on
the SharpCap will be sent to any of software that support the WDM camera, like the HandyAvi,
Adobe video encoder, online chat software etc. This function is very useful for the video live
broadcast applications.
1. Install the BroadCast Driver
2. Connect QHY163M to your PC and start SharpCap
3. Turn on “Enable Live Broadcast” at the bottom of Camera Control panel in SharpCap as shown
4. Select “QHYCCD camera (WDM)” as your webcam in the software you are using.
08 QHY163M Color Wheel Control Port
Pin number arrangement
Note: The TXD and RXD is standard RS232 level (+-10V). Not the TTL standard.
09 QHY63M Guide Port Cable RJ11 Pin sequence
This connector is fully compatible with the EQ5/EQ6/Celestron/iOpton Guide Socket. The Pin
Sequence is (When face to the connector of the cable)
The Socket side (mount side) is
If you are using other mount, please check if it is the same pin sequence with the
10 FAQ
1. Does QHY163M support 10bit or 12bit?
QHY163M supports both 10bit and 12bit output(For 10bit, it is 0-255, and it only uses the high
8bit, for 12bit it is 0-4095 map to 0-65535).
2. How to get maximum FPS?
Since QHY163M has very high data bandwidth. Not all computer can get the maximum FPS.
Normally I7-4core should have no problem for that. The CPU loading will also affect the
maximum FPS. So please reduce the CPU load by close other applications when using camera.
If the CPU load is too high, the software may become very slow or hang.
3. How to avoid the camera hanging?
If you camera always hangs. It may be caused by many reasons. You can check the following
If your computer is via chipset, or some type of the mainboard. In SharpCap it cannot get image
at all. (But in ASCOM it works well). In this condition, you need enable the DDR buffer of the
camera. Current SharpCap supports DDR function enable. The next version SharpCap will
support it.
If there is power leak for your mounts and computers? The power leak may cause the leak
current transfer from computer to the camera via the GND. This may affect the USB transfer
and cause the data packet lost and cause it hang. You need to make sure the computer and the
mount is well grounded.
If the USB port’s voltage not enough? Some computer’s USB port +5V is not enough. It may
cause the camera always hangs. In this condition you can use a powered USB3.0 HUB to
connect camera and get the good +5V power for camera.
If your CPU load is too high? If CPU load is too high, it will cause many frame lost and cause
the camera hangs. You can increase the USB traffic value to reduce the FPS and get more stable
video transfer.
If the USB cable connection is good enough? Sometimes the contact issue in the USB cable to
camera or USB cable to computer will cause the signal loss and cause camera to hang.
Especially when you move the cables. In this condition. You can try to add a little silicon oil into
the USB socket/plug .This can increase the contact a lot better.
Avoid the statics. Sometimes the static electricity on human body will cause the camera to
hang. You can touch the computer metal case for first before touch the camera to let the static
electricity on your body release.
Some computer’s front USB port is not so good for high speed transfer (The reason is it
connected to mainboard by a cable and which has no good signal integrity). If you found the
camera always hang on front USB port. You can try the USB port on backside of the computer
(which is connected to chipset directly on the mainboard).
4. What’s the interface to telescope? How to use C/CS lens on QHY163M?
QHY163M supports C lens but currently doesn’t support CS lens. You need order the optional
C adapter for QHY163M with this adapter the back focal is 17.5mm and you can use the Cmount lens with it. Since this sensor is 4/3 inch, you need to choose the lens which can cover
the 4/3 inch image circle.
5. How to clean the CMOS sensor and the optic windows of the camera?
If you found there is dust on the CMOS sensor. You can screw off the front part of the QHY163M.
The QHY163M’s CMOS sensor has the AR coating so you need to be careful to clean it. You can
use the clean kit for DSLR sensor to do it.
The optic window is the IR cut coating or AR coating. So you need to be careful when cleaning
it. You can also use the DSLR clean tools or the lens paper. Don’t use strong force to clean it.
The coating is not so hard and it is easy to get scratch when you use strong force on it.
6. How is the anti-amplifier function in QHY163M?
QHY163M camera has the anti-amp light control circuit and it can reduce the amplifier glow
significantly. Note that it’s impossible to reduce the glow in the corner thoroughly, and it’s
normal to see a very small amount of glow in the corner when you do long exposure.
This is a demo picture for the QHY163M glow in 60sec exposure and high gain. Dark frame
calibration can remove it completely.
7. How to eliminate the bad effects of the amplifier glow?
When the exposure time is very long, amplifier glow in the corner will become more obvious.
This is normal, and there is no need to worry because you can use dark frame calibration to
eliminate its bad effects totally. Before or after you take a normal frame, you should take a
dark frame with the same setting (exposure time, gain, temperature, etc.). Then open these
two images by using MaxIm DL and subtract dark frame from the normal frame with its Pixel
Math function as shown below, then the bad effects of amplifier glow will be eliminated. Note
that, when doing subtraction, you should add a constant to prevent pixel value from being
subtracted to negative value and becoming zero. The constant should not be too big, otherwise,
its RMS will be too big; It should not be too small either, otherwise, the pixel value will be
subtracted to negative value and becomes zero, too. The value of the constant can be
determined with the assistance of Histogram and should guarantee that the pixel value are in
the effective range, which is from 0 to 65535.
8. What’s on-camera DDR buffer and what is benefit for?
The QHY163M has the on-camera 128MB DDRII image buffer. It brings two advantages: It can
buffer whole image and avoid it lost during USB transfer. Because CMOS sensor outputs the
image continuous after exposure end and it does not allow the pause. But the computer may
have some pause due to the multi-task feature of the windows. If the pause is too long, the
small buffer in the USB transfer chip will full and the coming image data will lost. And it will
cause one frame is lost some data and this frame will be a bad frame. For short exposure it
maybe not cause big problem because the next frame will comes soon. But for long exposure
it means you lost a long exposure frame. The 128MB DDRII buffer can solve this problem by
storing the whole frame into it and transfer. Even the computer has big pause it will not lost
Another advantage is that it will make the video more smooth when in some slow computer
or some mainboard which is not friendly to USB3.0 (like the VIA chipset). In these computers
they cannot handle the high speed USB data well and the data is always lost. With this DDR
it can buffer the input image data and then send to computer. Even the high frequency pause
happens, it can keep the USB data lossless.
SharpCap version has options for enabling/disabling the DDR buffer. The current ASCOM driver
is always working under DDR enabled mode.
9. How to protect the cooler in QHY163M?
The cooler in QHY163M can lower the CMOS temperature to a value that’s almost 40 degrees
centigrade below the ambient temperature. So you need to be careful to avoid thermal shock,
which refers to when the cooler’s temperature rises or fall dramatically, the cooler is subjected
to strong internal stress due to contraction principle. Drastic thermal shock can shorten
cooler’s service life or permanently break it.
So when you begin to adjust the CMOS temperature, you should avoid setting “Cooler Power”
to its maximum value, and you should gradually turn up the “Cooler Power” value. When you
turn off the power, if the “Cooler Power” value is very big, you should gradually turn it down
before turn off the power.
10. The FPS of cameras sometimes suddenly drops to zero under DDR mode on
SharpCap, what’s the solution for this problem?
Recently, we have been told by our users that the FPS of their cameras sometimes suddenly
drops to zero under DDR mode on SharpCap. It is caused by the fact that the receiving speed
of computer is relatively slower than the sending speed of camera. Once CMOS sensor starts
working, it will incessantly conduct exposure and output image data over and over again, and
it cannot be interrupted. If USB transmission was interrupted too often by the operating
system, the data overflow of DDR would ensue resulting in bad frame. Therefore, not a single
frame is a complete frame, and the FPS will drop to zero.
The first solution to this problem is to increase the value of USB traffic to decrease the FPS of
the cameras. Note that by using previous version of SharpCap Patch, the value of USB traffic
cannot be set to a value large enough, so you should go to our website to download the latest
version of SharpCap Patch.
The second solution to this problem is to turn off the DDR mode, but for computers whose
performance isn’t very good, this solution may not work very well.
11. How to reduce the amplifier glow of QHY163M?
Some users say there is amplifier glow on their images shot by using MaxIm. Part of the glow
is produced during the readout process of CMOS, so by turning down the USB traffic value, we
can increase the transfer speed of images, decrease the readout time so that the glow can be
We have run two tests to show how turning down the USB traffic value can reduce the
amplifier glow. For more information about it, please check the document “How to reduce the
amplifier glow of QHY163M” on the webpage of QHY163M.
12. Can QHY163M still work when the temperature is thirty degree below zero
Celsius (-22℉)?
Yes, we test it in the temperature of thirty five degree below zero Celsius (-31℉), and it still works
very well.
13. There’s a dark banding on the top of the image. How should I avoid it?
For QHY163 ASCOM or EZCAP_QT Capture, you sometimes will find a dark banding appear if you
capture first frame then wait some time and capture again. This will happen when the exposure
time is very short.
This is due to the Optic Black Calibration Circuit in the sensor.
E.g., this is the secondary image which has an exposure of 0.1sec. It is about 60sec after first
image was captured.
Don't worry about it. To avoid this. You can use a longer exposure time to do bias frame. For
example: 0.3sec. There is no such black banding even you wait a long time and then capture.
Please look at the following pictures. We wait for one minute then do the secondary capture and
it is uniform and has no such banding.
E.g., this is the secondary image which has an exposure of 0.3sec. It is about 60sec after first
image captured. It doesn’t show any dark banding here. And we have tested for more longer like
the 10minutes and still get the same result.
11 Camera Maintenance
Drying the CCD Chamber
The CCD sensor is located in a CCD chamber. This chamber is airproof and connect to the socket of
the silicone gel tube on one side of the QHY63M front case. If there is moisture and cause the CCD
sensor glass get dew. You can connect the silicone gel tube on the socket to dry it.
Please put the effective silicone gel into the silicone gel tube. Make sure there is a small amount of
cotton inside to prevent the silicone gel get into the CCD chamber.
Avoid CCD chamber optic window get dew
If the environment humidity very high, the optic window of the CCD chamber may get dew. The
QHY163M has the build-in heat board on this optic window to heat the optic window to avoid it.
In most conditions it can take effect.
If the optic window still get dew please try the following method.
1. Avoid the CCD Camera face down to ground. The cold air is heavy than warm air, if you put the
camera facing down to the ground, the cold air is easy to get the optic window and cause it very
cold and get dew
2. Increase the temperature of the CCD sensor. You can increase the CCD sensor temperature a
little to prevent the optic window get dew.
3. Check if the heat board working. If the heat board not working, the optic window is easy to get
dew. Normally the heat board can get about 65-70C in +25C environment. If it is not so warm, it
maybe the problem of the heat board damaged. Need to contact QHYCCD to replace one heat
12 Specifications
CMOS Sensor
4/3inch 16mega pixel mono CMOS Sensor
Effective Pixels
Pixel Size
Effective Area
Electric Rolling Shutter.
Readout Noise
Frame Rate (on 8bit)
22.5FPS@16mega Full Resolution 30FPS@4K HD Video
ROI Support
Yes. Any Area ROI
Exposure Time
AD Sample Depth
10bit/12bit (8bit/12bit output)
On Camera Image Buffer
128MB DDRII Buffer
2-stage TEC, Typical -40 below Ambient. Temperature Regulated
USB Powered for camera and +12V powered for TEC
Anti-Dew Control
Air Connector for removable silicone gel tube
Heat board for optic window of airproof CCD chamber
Computer Interface
USB3.0 Super Speed
Telescope Interface
M42/0.75&2inch adapter. Optional C-mount adapter
Color Wheel Port
4PIN QHYCFW2 socket
Guide Port
6PIN RJ11 Guide Port
Optic Window
13 Mechanical Dimensions
drawing of QHY163M with a M42 lens mount
The back focal length of QHY163M with M42/2inch lens mount is about 18 mm.
drawing of QHY163M with C-MOUNT lens adapter
The back focal length of QHY163M with C-MOUNT lens adapter is about 17.50mm.
Note that C mount is an optional accessory that you can order from us. Its part number is
dimensions of C-MOUNT lens adapter
Back Focus with some typical setup:
QHY163M+QHYCFW2-S =37mm
For OAG, it is 13mm add-on.
14 Revision History
Date of change
November 29th,
December 20th,
January 5, 2017
Content of change
First edition
January 6, 2017
February 16,
March 2, 2017
April 10, 2017
Added solution to the problem that cameras halt
under DDR mode in the FAQ section
Added notes about 12V power adapter
Added introduction about how to eliminate bad
effects of amplifier glow by using dark frame
Added solution for reducing the amplifier glow in
the FAQ section
Added notes about camera working under low
Added instructions for avoiding dark banding on the
top of the image
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