View Full Version here: : Will a cold box do?

28-07-2017, 05:20 PM
I have been looking into installation of a cold finger in my canon and it seems beyond me.

So is there any point in using a cold box.
I figure to wrap some metal sheet around the camera making contact with the camera on its base, where possible, and make a box, insulate it, put in silica gel...do the best I can..peltie on the metal....do the best I can ...but is there any point bothering.


28-07-2017, 05:37 PM
The bane of DSLRs. In winter if the ambient temp is around 5 or 6 degrees
with modern DSLRs you should be able to use ISO1600. If it is lower than that, you could use 3200. In summer if you limit to ISO800 and take lots
of subs, you should get acceptable results. I personally would get your rig up and running, and see what results you get before moving on to cooling the camera. If you are happy with your results, you might decide to move on to a cooled camera. Having said all this, if you enjoy fiddling about, by all means make a D.I.Y. cooler box. They do bring possible problems, such as
condensation on the sensor, and problems of access to the camera's controls
or screen when the box is fitted.

28-07-2017, 05:43 PM
Here's a recent thread on the subject. The canon models with a flip screen are the best for external cooling as you can fit the cooling module to the back of the camera close to the sensor.


28-07-2017, 06:11 PM
Why not get one of the cooled CMOS cameras like the ASI1600 instead and avoid all the mucking around?

28-07-2017, 06:22 PM
I would love to get one of those 1600's too (or a ASI 071mc, even better) but my pockets are not that deep and so I'm stuck with the DSLR I already have.

28-07-2017, 06:28 PM
Hi Raymo
Thanks for the advice.
I never go above 800
Sometimes 400
And many wide fields at 200

Its just I am getting excited and probably thinking about stuff too much.

I am house sitting and reading too much astro stuff.


28-07-2017, 06:31 PM
I have made a couple of cold boxes in the past and certainly enjoy designing and building stuff.
I think the next one could be rather decent...but I am not convinced it will work...


28-07-2017, 06:33 PM
Thanks Rick I will read it soon.

28-07-2017, 06:37 PM
I just worry about the complexity that I perceive with a dedicated camera.

But I should go for it.

The money is not so much a problem its just that I am a tight wad really.

I will look at the one you suggest.

Thanks for your input.


28-07-2017, 06:45 PM
Did I get it right $800?
16 meg?
That's not too bad.

28-07-2017, 06:54 PM
What about ZWO ASI290MM Cooled Monochrome...and a filter wheel...but it says 2 meg...
I don't understand the stats even.. so you can understand my general apprehension.

28-07-2017, 07:11 PM
Add a 1 in front of the 800 for the 16meg asi 071, even the 1600 is over $1000.

28-07-2017, 07:33 PM
Forget DSLR cooler boxes, they don't work. I built one some years back, and it was well built, insulated, sealed, etc but for cooling to be effective it has to be applied to the back of the sensor. Much of the heat generated in DSLR comes from the processors not the sensor. External cooling, aka a cooler box, is great at cooling the outside of a camera but the inside remains warm. You might get a few degrees of drop but imho its not worth the effort. You need to consider the weight of the cooler box, TEC, fan, copper plates under the TEC (aluminium sucks at heat transfer), and the control circuit required to power it.

I came round to building a couple of cold finger cooled Canons and they are magic.

Finally the ASI1600s are good value package in a small form factor. It seems ATIK has finally realised the market has left them behind, and are now trying to produce a 4/3 cmos camera.

28-07-2017, 08:23 PM
Thanks Glen
I need to settle down.

30-07-2017, 11:37 AM
Hi Alex and Glen

I agree with Glen that cold boxes are a waste of time and tend to be very bulky. I spent some time, money and energy on making one but the results were as Glen has said.

Glen - I am keen to try a cold finger which you say are magic - can you point me towards the design you used? - my camera is a modified 400D.

Perhaps Alex we can both go down the cold finger path (or is that Gold Finger)?


30-07-2017, 12:21 PM
Peter, there is a long thread here in the DIY sub-forum on building a cold finger cooled DSLR. It was started by Rowland ( rcheshire), and is probably in the archives by now but it covers everything, including materials required and possible sources, how to do it, how to build the temperature control box using a PWM, testing results, etc. Recommended reading for anyone considering it. It is worthwhile project, and totally eliminates thermal noise in your images.

For camera disassembly and mod instructions i recommend Gary Honis' excellent website instructions for various Canon models.

Found the cooling project link here:


30-07-2017, 01:29 PM
Hi Peter if you decide to build one I will let you try on my camera first so when you do yours you will be more confident.
I remember the old 300_d one side would white out with noise removal was achieved by a crop.

30-07-2017, 04:27 PM
Alex when i was imaging i did build a box for my Canon 5D, it was a fair bit of work and it was made out of Copper sheet, quite thin but sturdy.

Mate it is a pain in the arse to get it all to work with the fans/heat sinks and other electrical gadgets needed.

I did get it built, but then to attach the bloody thing to the Camera and Scope, i gave up and sold it off never used, to a member here

But give it a go Alex if you are pretty handy.

Leon :thumbsup:

31-07-2017, 01:09 PM
Forget the cold box Alex, waste of time. The Cold Finger mod looks a little daunting to do but if you take it carefully and use Gary Honiss's info it works remarkably well.

31-07-2017, 01:58 PM
Thanks Glen - I found Rowland Cheshire's very comprehensive handbook on the cold finger mod. GULP! I modified my 400D following Gary Honis' advice and removed the IR filter. I even found this a bit daunting - those cameras are really full of layers of electronics and lots of nasty plugs. I was rather surprised that the camera worked when I reassembled it!
So I think that the cold finger mod would be beyond my ability and I have the greatest respect for those who have accomplished it.
So Alex, thanks for your kind offer to practice on your old 300D but I would not be confident that I could achieve much from this practice other than completely ruining the camera.

31-07-2017, 02:54 PM
Peter I have a 400 d as well.
Anyways I can shoot at low iso and live with noise
I am just going to get back into things and see if I manage physically.

01-08-2017, 12:34 PM
I found that the 400D does good service during the cold winter months and the camera noise is manageable. However, hot summer nights restrict the exposure times and lots of dark frames are required. Still OK though for the brighter objects.
I am currently looking into getting a QHY9 colour camera from Gama. I have recently been using an old QHY8 colour camera until it died.
Hope you manage to get back into it soon.