TO EXPLORE THE UNKNOWN UNIVERSE
The Andromeda Galaxy, M31
APOD 2023 March 22
Imaging Camera QHY268M PH
Telescope: Askar FRA600
Mount: iOptron CEM40
Filters: Chroma 36mm LRGB Ha
TO EXPLORE THE UNKNOWN UNIVERSE
Telescope: Askar FRA600
Mount: iOptron CEM40
Filters: Chroma 36mm LRGB Ha
QHY411 is using the 150 Megapixel SONY IMX411 sensor, with 54*40mm image area, native 16bit ADC, Back-illuminated, while QHY461 is with SONY medium format IMX461 sensor,44*33mm,100mega pixels, back-illuminated,16bit ADC. The features of their sensor are quite similar but the IMX411 sensor is bigger.
*Please contact QHYCCD about the price.
The QHY411/461 has both USB3.0 and 2*10GigaE interfaces. The 2*10GigaE version supports a higher readout speed.
QHY411/QHY461 have both mono and color version. The application of this camera includes astronomy imaging, astronomy photography, space object survey, satellite tracking, etc.
Benefiting from its back-illuminated pixel structure, the QHY411 has a large full well of 80ke-. And when using 2 * 2 binning, the full well can reach 320ke-, corresponding to a merged pixel size of 7.5um * 7.5um. Combined with the low readout noise, the camera has a large dynamic range advantage.
Updated: now QHY411 supports 3 * 3 binning, whose full well can be up to 720ke- with a large pixel size of 11um * 11um, which is much larger than any other CCD or CMOS sensor of the same pixel size. Please contact QHYCCD for details if any interest.
Native 16 bit A/D: The new Sony sensor has native 16-bit A/D on-chip. The output is real 16-bits with 65536 levels. Compared to 12-bit and 14-bit A/D, a 16-bit A/D yields higher sample resolution and the system gain will be less than 1e-/ADU with no sample error noise and very low read noise.
BSI: One benefit of the back-illuminated CMOS structure is improved full well capacity. This is particularly helpful for sensors with small pixels. In a typical front-illuminated sensor, photons from the target entering the photosensitive layer of the sensor must first pass through the metal wiring that is embedded just above the photosensitive layer. The wiring structure reflects some of the photons and reduces the efficiency of the sensor. In the back- illuminated sensor the light is allowed to enter the photosensitive surface from the reverse side. In this case the sensor’s embedded wiring structure is below the photosensitive layer. As a result, more incoming photons strike the photosensitive layer and more electrons are generated and captured in the pixel well. This ratio of photon to electron production is called quantum efficiency. The higher the quantum efficiency the more efficient the sensor is at converting photons to electrons and hence the more sensitive the sensor is to capturing an image of something dim.
Zero Amplify Glow: This is also a zero amplifer glow camera.
TRUE RAW Data: In the DSLR implementation there is a RAW image output, but typically it is not completely RAW. Some evidence of noise reduction and hot pixel removal is still visible on close inspection. This can have a negative effect on the image for astronomy such as the “star eater” effect. However, QHY Cameras offer TRUE RAW IMAGE OUTPUT and produces an image comprised of the original signal only, thereby maintaining the maximum flexibility for post-acquisition astronomical image processing programs and other scientific imaging applications.
Anti-Dew Technology: Based on almost 20-year cooled camera design experience, The QHY cooled camera has implemented the fully dew control solutions. The optic window has built-in dew heater and the chamber is protected from internal humidity condensation. An electric heating board for the chamber window can prevent the formation of dew and the sensor itself is kept dry with our silicon gel tube socket design for control of humidity within the sensor chamber.
Cooling: In addition to dual stage TE cooling, QHYCCD implements proprietary technology in hardware to control the dark current noise.
Multiple Readout Modes are special for QHY 16-bit Cameras (QHY600/268/461/411). Different readout modes have different driver timing, etc., and result in different performance. See details at “Multiple Readout Modes and Curves” Part.
You may find some types of thermal noise can change with time in some back-illuminated CMOS cameras. This thermal noises has the characteristic of the fixed position of typical thermal noise, but the value is not related to the exposure time. Instead, each frame appears to have its own characteristics. The QHY600/268/461/411 use an innovative suppression technology that can significantly reduce the apparent level of such noise.
UVLO（Under Voltage Locking) is to protect the electronic device from damage caused by abnormally low voltages.
Our daily life experience tells us that the actual operational voltage of an electrical device must not significantly exceed the rated voltage, otherwise it will be damaged. For such precision equipment as cameras, long-term work at too low input voltage can also be detrimental to the working life of the camera, and may even make some devices, such as power manager, burn up due to long-term overload. In the all-in-one driver and SDK after 2021.10.23 stable version, the camera will give a warning when the input voltage of the camera is below 11V.
It is common behavior for a CMOS sensor to contain some horizontal banding. Normally, random horizontal banding can be removed with multiple frame stacking so it does not affect the final image. However, periodic horizontal banding is not removed with stacking so it may appear in the final image. By adjust the USB traffic in Single Frame mode or Live Frame mode, you can adjust the frequency of the CMOS sensor driver and it can optimize the horizontal banding appeared on the image. This optimized is very effective to remove the periodic banding in some conditions.
A typical Periodic Horizontal Noise under certain USB_TRAFFIC values.
After Adjusting the USB Traffic to avoid the periodic horizontal noise.
The camera is designed to use the +12V to reboot the camera without disconnecting and reconnecting the USB interface. This means that you can reboot the camera simply by shutting down the +12V and then powering it back on. This feature is very handy for remote controlling the camera in an observatory. You can use a remotely controlled power supply to reboot the camera. There is no need to consider how to reconnect the USB in the case of remote control.
|Image Sensor||SONY IMX411 BSI CMOS Sensor||SONY IMX461 BSI CMOS Sensor|
|Pixel Size||3.76um x 3.76um||3.76um x 3.76um|
|Color / Mono Version||Both Available||Both Available|
|Image Resolution||14304 x 10748 (Inlcudes the optic black area and over scan area)||11760 × 8896|
|Effective Pixels||151 Megapixels||102 Megapixels|
|Effective Image Area||54mm x 40mm||44mm x 33mm|
|Sensor Surface Glass||AR+AR multi-coating Clear Glass||AR+AR Multi-Coating Clear Glass|
|Full Well Capacity (1×1, 2×2, 3×3)||50ke- / 200ke- / 450ke- in Standard Mode
80ke- / 320ke- / 720ke- in Extend Fullwell Mode
|50ke- / 200ke- / 450ke- in Standard Mode
80ke- / 320ke- / 720ke- in Extend Full Well Mode
|A/D||16-bit (0-65535 greyscale)||16-bit (0-65535 greyscale) for 1X1Binning
18bit in 2X2 19BIT in 3X3 20BIT in 4*4 software Binning
|Sensor Size||TYPICAL 4.2inch||TYPICAL 3.4inch|
|Read Noise||Apporx 1 to 3 e (in HGC Mode)||1e to 3.7e (in HGC mode)|
|Dark Current||Apporx 0.0011e/pixel/sec at -20C||Approx 0.003e/pixel/sec @ -20C|
|Exposure Time Range||20us – 3600sec||50us – 3600sec|
|Frame Rate||USB3.0 Port:
Full Frame Resolution 2FPS @ 8BIT 1FPS @ 16BIT
5000Lines 4FPS @ 8BIT 2FPS @16BIT
3000Lines 7FPS @ 8BIT 3.3FPS @16BIT
2000Lines 10FPS@8BIT 5.5FPS @16BIT
1000Lines 20FPS@8BIT 10FPS @16BIT
500Lines 35FPS@8BIT 19FPS @ 16BITFiber Port : TBD
|2.7FPS @ 8BIT 1.3FPS@16BIT on USB3.0
2.7FPS @ 16BIT 6FPS @ 14BIT on 10Gigabit Fiber
|Shutter Type||Electric Rolling Shutter||Electric Rolling Shutter|
|Computer Interface||USB3.0 and 2*10Gigabit Fiber||USB3.0 and 2*10Gigabit Fiber|
|Trigger Port||Programmable TrigOut, High Speed Sync Port / GPS interface Port||Programmable TrigOut, High Speed Sync Port / GPS interface Port|
|Filter Wheel Interface||4PIN QHYCCD CFW Port||4PIN QHYCCD CFW Port|
|Built-in Image Buffer||2GByte||2GByte|
|FPGA Upgrade Via USB||Support||Support|
|Cooling System||Dual Stage TEC cooler（-35C below ambient with air cooling, -45C below ambient with ambient temperature water cooling). More deltaT below ambient can be achieve by using the cooled water cooling.
（Test temperature +20°）
Fan Cooling/Water Cooling Compatible
|Dual Stage TEC cooler（-35C below ambient with air cooling, -45C below ambient with ambient temperature water cooling). More deltaT below ambient can be achieve by using the cooled water cooling.
（Test temperature +20°）
Fan Cooling/Water Cooling Compatible
|Recommended flow rates for water-cooled versions||12ml/s||12ml/s|
|Telescope Interface||Six Screw holes (See mechanical drawing)||Six Screw holes (See mechanical drawing)|
|Optic Window Type||AR+AR High Quality Multi-Layer Anti-Reflection Coating||AR+AR High Quality Multi-Layer Anti-Reflection Coating|
|Back Focal Length||16mm(without tilt adjust ring)
28.5mm (with tilt adjust ring)
|16mm (without tilt adjust ring）28.5mm (with tilt adjust ring)|
QHY411 QE. Since SONY has not release the absolutely QE curve of IMX411. There is only the relativity QE Curve. QHYCCD did some test of absolutely QE for the 3.76um BSI sensor in another model. It can be used for just a reference. This article can be found in https://www.qhyccd.com/index.php?m=content&c=index&a=show&catid=23&id=261
Some scholars in Italy found secrets hidden in ancient manuscripts with the QHY411 camera.
StarDICE I: sensor calibration bench and absolute photometric calibration of a Sony IMX411 sensor, a paper about #QHY411 camera called was published in the Astronomy & Astrophysics.
A new essay named Scientific CMOS sensors in Astronomy: QHY600 and QHY411 has been published! It was finished by researchers from Cornell University.
IC 1396 Elephant’s Trunk Nebula in Bi-Color palette (cropped) Capture by Denis Salnikov with QHY461 camera and AG Optical 14.5″ iDK telescope. Full resolution image
All-In-One Pack （Driver, SDK and Software) for WINDOWS supports all QHYCCD USB3.0 devices only except PoleMaster and some discontinued CCD cameras. Please go to https://www.qhyccd.com/download/ and install it.
The camera requires an input voltage between 11V and 13.8V. If the input voltage is too low the camera will stop functioning or it may reboot when the TEC power percent is high, causing a drain on the power. Therefore, please make sure the input voltage arrived to the camera is adequate. 12V is the best but please note that a 12V cable that is very long or a cable with small conductor wire may exhibit enough resistance to cause a voltage drop between the power supply and the camera. The formular is: V(drop) = I * R (cable). It is advised that a very long 12V power cable not be used. It is better to place the 12V AC adapter closer to the camera.
First connect the 12V power supply, then connect the camera to your computer via the USB3.0 cable. Make sure the camera is plugged in before connecting the camera to the computer, otherwise the camera will not be recognized. When you connect the camera for the first time, the system discovers the new device and looks for drivers for it. You can skip the online search step by clicking “Skip obtaining the driver software from Windows Update” and the computer will automatically find the driver locally and install it. If we take the 5IIISeries driver as an example (shown below), after the driver software is successfully installed, you will see QHY5IIISeries_IO in the device manager.
Please note that the input voltage cannot be lower than 11.5v, otherwise the device will be unable to work normally.
Before using software, make sure you have connected the cooling camera to the 12V power supply and connected it to the computer with a USB3.0 data cable. If it’s a planetary/guiding camera, 12V power is not needed.
Note: We recommend 64-bit Software if possible, like SharpCAP x64 , N.I.N.A x64. etc., especially when you’re using 16bit cameras like QHY600.
EZCAP_QT is software developed by QHYCCD. This software has basic capture functions for QHYCCD deep sky cameras.
Run EZCAP_QT. Click “Connect” in Menu -> Camera. If the camera is successfully connected, the title line of EZCAP_QT will display the camera firmware version and the camera ID as shown below.
Click “Temperature Control” in “Camera Settings” to set the temperature of the CMOS sensor. You can turn on “Auto” to set the target temperature. For example, here we set the target temperature to -10C. The temperature of the CMOS sensor will drop quickly to this temperature (approximately 2-3 minutes). If you want to turn off cooling, you can choose Stop. If you just want to set the TEC power but not the temperature. You can select “Manual” and then set the percentage of the TEC power.
You can use the “preview tab” to preview and use the focus tool to focus. Then use the “capture tab” to capture the image.
Launch SharpCap. If the software and drivers mentioned above are installed successfully, the video image will appear automatically about 3 seconds after the software loads. You will also see the frame rate in the lower left corner of the software window as shown below.
If you have already started the SharpCap software before connecting the camera, in order to open the camera, click on the “camera” in the menu bar and then select the device.
Offset adjustment. When you completely block the camera (i.e., like taking a dark frame) you may find that the image is not really zero. Sometimes this will reduce the quality of the image contrast. You can get a better dark field by adjusting the offset. You can confirm this by opening the histogram as indicated in the figure below.
If you want to enter the 16-bit image mode, select the “RAW16” mode.
By selecting the “LX” mode you can expand the exposure setting range and take long exposures.
After cooling devices connected to the 12V power supply, the temperature control circuit will be activated. You can control the CMOS temperature by adjusting the settings in the figure below. Basically, you can control the temperature of CMOS by either adjusting “Cooler Power” or clicking “Auto” and setting “Target Temperature”. You can also see the CMOS temperature at the lower-left corner of the software window.
With ASCOM drivers, you can use the device with many software packages that support the ASCOM standard. We will use Maxim DL below as an example, but a similar procedure is used for The SkyX and other software packages supporting ASCOM.
First make sure you have not only loaded the ASCOM drivers but that you have also downloaded and installed the ASCOM platform from ASCOM. After both the drivers and platform are installed, start MAXIMDL. Follow the instructions shown below to finish the setup. Then Click Connect in and enter the software.
QHYCCD BroadCast WDM Camera is a broadcast driver that supports QHYCCD cameras with video broadcast function, which can meet the needs of customers to send video images to other target software. For example, use sharpcap to connect a WDM-enabled camera, and the sharpcap display video image can be sent to other WDM-supported software for display, which is suitable for video online broadcast applications.
The installation process is over, right-click the computer to find the device manager, and check that the image device name is QHYCCD BroadCast WDM Camera, which means the installation is successful.
HANDYAVI test effect chart:
UFOCAPTURE test renderings:
|mode 0||mode 1||mode 2||mode 3||mode 4||mode5||mode6|
UVLO（Under Voltage Locking), is primarily intended to protect the electronic device from damage caused by abnormally low voltages. Now only QHY600, QHY268, QHY410, QHY411, QHY461, QHY533 cameras have UVLO Protection.
UVLO warning execution
After a warning is given, the camera firmware will automatically turn off the cooler and will turn on the camera’s TEC protection mode. After the camera is reconnected, it will always work in TEC protection mode (maximum power cooler power will be limited to 70%). Since many times the voltage shortage is caused by the high resistance of the power supply cable itself, resulting in a large voltage drop at high currents, the voltage will usually rise after the power is limited. But limiting the power will affect the cooling temperature difference. Therefore, it is recommended that users first check the power supply cable to solve the problem of excessive resistance of the power supply cable.
If the user has solved the problem of insufficient supply voltage, the TEC protection mode can be removed through the menu of EZCAP_QT.
How to improve the power supply?
How to clear the TEC protection status triggered by UVLO?
Once a UVLO event occurs, the camera will automatically memorize it and will work in a protected mode at a maximum of 70% power after reconnection. This memory can be erased as follows:
After you find the system error, you need to turn off the device and check the power supply. After inspecting the problem, open the ezcap software and select “Camera Settings” – “Preferences” – “Reset Flash Code” to reset the error status.
Why does the warning appear even though the power supply voltage is 12 V?
Added functions related to BURST mode in SDK. Currently, cameras that support Burst function include QHY600, QHY411, QHY461, QHY268, QHY6060, QHY4040, QHY4040PRO, QHY2020, QHY42PRO, QHY183A
This mode is a sub-mode of continuous mode. This function can only be used in continuous mode. When this function is enabled, the camera will stop outputting image data, and the software frame rate will be reduced to 0. At this time, send relevant commands to the camera, and the camera will Output the image data with the specified frame number according to the settings, for example, set Start End to 1 6, the camera will output the image data with the frame number 2 3 4 5 when receiving the command.
1. When using Burst mode in fiber mode, the first Burst shot will be one less. For example, if the start end is set to 1 6, the output of 2 3 4 5 is normal, but in fact, only 3 4 will be output during the first burst shot. 5, 2 will not be received, the second and subsequent shots can normally obtain Burst images 2 3 4 5. This problem will be fixed later.
2. QHY2020, QHY4040 found that the frame number that came out when the exposure time was short is [start+1,end-1] but the one that came out under long exposure was [start+2,end]
3. When the camera is just connected, if the set end value is relatively large, the camera will directly output the picture after entering the burst mode. Therefore, it is necessary to set the camera to enter the IDLE state and then set the start end and related burst operations.
The following is the usage of Burst mode related functions:
The abnormally large thermal noise in the picture above is caused by the failure of the internal voltage to start after the camera is powered on. You can power on the camera again and take an image to see if it can be recovered.
If you encounter this problem during use, you can contact QHYCCD for hardware upgrade. This type of camera purchased before 2022.8.25 may have this problem.
Applicable model: QHY411
Targeted user groups and application fields: If you have certain requirements for the frame rate of the device, such as meteor monitoring, you can selectively update it.
Since most software that provides continuous mode (ie video output), such as SharpCap, etc., only support 8-bit or 16-bit mode, in 12-bit high-speed mode (3×3 onchip BIN 12bit), you need to select 8-bit mode output to achieve a frame rate boost.
Data comparison (USB3.0 full resolution)
Before upgrade: 8-bit, 2fps
After upgrade: 8bit, (12bit transfer out), max 20fps
The realization of this function needs to update the firmware, driver, and corresponding software SDK at the same time.
The update of the driver and software SDK needs to be implemented by downloading the Allinone package (BETA) 20220817 or a later version, and checking the system driver and the required SDK to update; for the update of Allinone, please refer to the video description on the “Download” page of the official website.
Allinone package (BETA) 20220817 download address:
Firmware update: Requires downloading firmware update kit 20220824 or later. If you have an old firmware upgrade tool locally, please discard it. The compressed package contains firmware upgrade tools, new QHY411 firmware and upgrade operation instructions. Please read the upgrade instructions in the firmware installation package carefully. If you encounter any problems during the upgrade, please contact QHYCCD technical support.
Firmware upgrade kit 20220824 download address:
Firmware upgrade instructions:
Refer to the compressed document or web version instructions