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Stand alone autoguider

Stand alone autoguider
« on: February 12, 2007, 10:12:06 PM »
I was wondering if you had the capability to produce a stand-alone autoguider. That is one that you do not need a computer in the field to use. One was made by Meade (the 201xt) and one is being planned by SBIG (to replace STV / deluxe). Would it be possible to turn your 1.3 guider into a stand- alone guider?
Thanks
Allan

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Re: Stand alone autoguider
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2007, 02:51:04 AM »
Interesting idea ;)  Maybe it can be my next production after QHY11.
I will do some market investment and see if there is many request on this production
Qiu Hongyun

Re: Stand alone autoguider
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2007, 04:05:46 PM »
I'd love to see one. The only real camera on the market at the moment is the 'Nugget'.

I'd like to see a small format, like the Starlight Xpress guide head. I know it may have to be bigger to incorporate the USB interface. But the small form factor of that camera is great when using in an off-axis guider for example.

Regards
Mark
« Last Edit: February 17, 2007, 04:07:47 PM by mark crossley »

Re: Stand alone autoguider
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2007, 05:42:39 PM »
What is the QHY11 that you are referring to?
Thanks
Tom

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Re: Stand alone autoguider
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2007, 02:53:30 AM »
I'd love to see one. The only real camera on the market at the moment is the 'Nugget'.

I'd like to see a small format, like the Starlight Xpress guide head. I know it may have to be bigger to incorporate the USB interface. But the small form factor of that camera is great when using in an off-axis guider for example.

Regards
Mark

Hi Mark,
The 'Nugget' is  not stand alone - you still need a connection to a computer through USB for power and guidestar selection and control.

Best regards,
Gerhard

Re: Stand alone autoguider
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2007, 03:22:18 AM »
Hi Gerhard,

Thanks, I realised this, but I meant it does not require another camera or seperate USB interface like the SX and SBIG guide heads. I would still want to use Maxim/AstroArt etc as the guide control s/ware. I wouldn't want another version of the STV/ST4 with yet another computer to run! ;)

Regards
Mark

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Re: Stand alone autoguider
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2007, 09:50:38 PM »
Sorry I am not understanding.

I regard you request is the camera with build-in processor without computer from first? Can you introduce the detail of "it does not requre another or seperate interface like SX or SBIG guide heads"?
Qiu Hongyun

MMys

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Re: Stand alone autoguider
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2007, 03:17:08 AM »
I have designed one like this :-) It uses sensitive CCTV camera WATEC 902 H3 (or H2) Ultimate.



More pics and texts (in czech  :'() on http://foto.astronomy.cz/TVGuider.htm
I made about 30 pieces for czech and slovak colleague. But I have no time and capabilities for "massive" production. Sorry  :-\
Vixen VC200L V.I.S.A.C., homemade Newton 185/610+Paracorr, Borg 77ED refractor,  optionally with EDF4 reducer, Modified EQ6 mount, Modified EOS 300D, QHY8 ccd camera, MII G2-8300 mono CCD camera, TVGuider.

Re: Stand alone autoguider
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2007, 03:30:20 AM »
Allans original request was for a standalone guider with it's own processor -like an ST4 or STV (or MMys unit above).

I however would like to see a simple (and small) guide-head with a senstive CCD, and a guide out port (like the Nugget, but cheaper). I would want a frame based image rather than a video stream. For a guider I don't believe a TEC would be required so it could be USB powered. Just like the 1.3Mp CMOS camera, but with a sensitive mono CCD fitted :)

The problem with the Nugget is the shape of the body which makes it difficult to use in an off-axis guider. A slim cylindrical shape would be better - more like the SX guide head, but it would probably have to be fatter to contain the USB ccts and connectors for USB and Guide port.

Regards
Mark

PS: That is a very professional looking unit MMys!
« Last Edit: February 22, 2007, 05:36:36 AM by mark crossley »

Re: Stand alone autoguider
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2007, 03:06:32 PM »
Hi MMys!

Your autoguider looks very impressive! How much would it be? Did you measure the lowest star magnitude you can use for guiding?

Best regards,
Michael
 

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Re: Stand alone autoguider
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2007, 04:25:47 PM »
Price of the system above can be about 650-700USD (depends on exchange rate). In case of normal production (with cooperation, not built by myself) will be slightly higher. But I don't plan this now.

about sensitivity: It depends on CCTV camera used. With  WAT 902H3 set to maximum gain, where noise is not so much evident, I can guide on 8-8.5mag star with 80mm ED refractor and 25 fps rate. System can average images which helps with star coordinates stability when bad seeing, and allows subpixel resolution. Maximum number of images to average is 50 (it menas correction every 2 sec). Note that it is not integration. Standard TV camera still runs on 25 fps (or 50 half-frames per second rather).

But you can use better camera (probably with integration) and you can go with fainter stars.

 
Vixen VC200L V.I.S.A.C., homemade Newton 185/610+Paracorr, Borg 77ED refractor,  optionally with EDF4 reducer, Modified EQ6 mount, Modified EOS 300D, QHY8 ccd camera, MII G2-8300 mono CCD camera, TVGuider.

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Re: Stand alone autoguider
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2007, 04:37:26 AM »
Very smart design :) I think it is not difficult to change the video camera into a frame exposure camera. The only problem is if the LCD accpet the RAW data from the frame exposure camera.
Qiu Hongyun

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Re: Stand alone autoguider
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2007, 02:40:58 PM »
You are not right. System is based on real-time video-signal processing. LCD is smal board TV LCD and text of menu and cross are keyed into live video in realtime by MCU. Just as scaning for star in image. There is not any RAM to store digitized image etc... Thus there is not possible to connect frame exposure camera in any way to this device. Device has very sipmple but very efficient design, which results to low cost. If you need higher sensitivity, you can use TV camera with integration. But nobody of approx. 30 owners in Czech and Slovak republic has not problem to find guidestar with WAT902 H2 or H3 camera.

If I'll create something like Sbig STV  (with digitalization of full frame image an serching for star in it) it will be cost as twice as this minimally.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2007, 03:53:06 PM by MMys »
Vixen VC200L V.I.S.A.C., homemade Newton 185/610+Paracorr, Borg 77ED refractor,  optionally with EDF4 reducer, Modified EQ6 mount, Modified EOS 300D, QHY8 ccd camera, MII G2-8300 mono CCD camera, TVGuider.

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Re: Stand alone autoguider
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2007, 07:50:31 PM »
Hello,

       But if not standard video signal. Can the processor handle it?  For example. I can output the H,V sync, and a waveform of the Y( YUV, no UV) signal. And this camera can do frame exposure . I  think the MCU can capture the H,and V correctly and count the position of star.
Qiu Hongyun

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Re: Stand alone autoguider
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2007, 04:12:51 AM »
I think so problem willl be with LCD TV display, not with MCU. MCU can handle almost anything I need, bud TV LCD needs PAL or NTSC signal with 50/60Hz frame-rate. It will not work, when you produce TV waveforms only at time of sensor readout. Thus I'll  must use MCU with memory for whole image  for TFT LCD, TFT display controller etc...  Or generate complete composite video signal on the fly. And in this case I'm building something like regular digital camera :-) In this case I do not need to create H and V sync and scan analog signal in realtime. I can handle directly data for TFT display, because I must have them in memory of display driver...

I was thinking about this architecture before building TVGuider. But then a have got this idea with relatively cheap CCTV camera. Many of astro-amateurs have these CCTV cameras for purpose of planet imaging, ocultations of star etc, so they need only TVGuider unit.

You can look on TVGuider circuits scheme here:
http://foto.astronomy.cz/other/TVG_schema.pdf

There is not something seecret on it, because key part of TVGuider is firmware in MCU. It takes me major period of development process. It is written i Keil C51 and time critical sections are optimized manually in ASM.

Vixen VC200L V.I.S.A.C., homemade Newton 185/610+Paracorr, Borg 77ED refractor,  optionally with EDF4 reducer, Modified EQ6 mount, Modified EOS 300D, QHY8 ccd camera, MII G2-8300 mono CCD camera, TVGuider.