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Old 31-01-2019, 08:04 PM
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Outcast (Carlton)
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Astro Camera's - to cool or not to cool

Gents,

I'm just curious about sensor cooling as a means of reducing noise in astrophotography.

I have a ZWO ASI224MC (uncooled) as well as an EOS1100d that I use; I'm only at the very beginning of my AP journey but, have noticed that my sensor on the ZWO is routinely up around 35 degrees... I live in the tropics where night time temperatures are often quite high.

I have seen a few you tube videos on adding a fan, heat sink & peltier cooling unit to the back. Some of the designs are pretty neat & very inexpensive & really only require very basic electronics understanding...

However, my biggest concern is the potential for condensation on the sensor... especially where I live where the dew point temp is quite high (tropics).., often around 23 degrees

I understand that the purpose built cooled cameras have a spot for putting in a desicant container to control condensation/dew that might form however, my camera & DSLR's probably won't accomodate such a thing...

I'm wondering if just using a heat sink & fan on the ZWO would do something to reduce sensor temp without bringing it down so far as to induce condensation.

Is there any value in this approach?

Then of course, there is the DSLR to tackle

Cheers
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Old 31-01-2019, 09:02 PM
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I am working up a design to house my Nikon d5500 with a 50 mm lens for some wide field with the Milky Way and LMC and SMC ...
I have thought about condensation ..I will put in some thing to take water out of the air and back off if that does not work☺ my idea us a flexible box made out of the insulation material I bought today.
I am not expecting much but on these hot nights it must help...but there are other areas that I can attend to like spacing capture 30 secinds apart...There may be an advantage there even if small...locating the camera battery away from the camera is what I am trying to sort now.
Alex
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Old 31-01-2019, 09:06 PM
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But to answer your question before some one who knows what they are talking about...go for it but consider the bagging approach simply because you should be able to control moisture that way..you make sure you can eliminate dew somehow.
Alex
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Old 31-01-2019, 09:24 PM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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google

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSLIaLzFBW4&t=3s
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Old 31-01-2019, 09:40 PM
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I'd be very interested to see what you come up with Alex.. I have a lot more research to do in this area & necessity is always the mother of invention...

Please share whatever design concepts you come up with, one for the benefit of all (which I know you are always generous about) & two, because you might get some useful critique & feedback taht enables you to improve upon your design.

Cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by xelasnave View Post
I am working up a design to house my Nikon d5500 with a 50 mm lens for some wide field with the Milky Way and LMC and SMC ...
I have thought about condensation ..I will put in some thing to take water out of the air and back off if that does not work☺ my idea us a flexible box made out of the insulation material I bought today.
I am not expecting much but on these hot nights it must help...but there are other areas that I can attend to like spacing capture 30 secinds apart...There may be an advantage there even if small...locating the camera battery away from the camera is what I am trying to sort now.
Alex
Quote:
Originally Posted by xelasnave View Post
But to answer your question before some one who knows what they are talking about...go for it but consider the bagging approach simply because you should be able to control moisture that way..you make sure you can eliminate dew somehow.
Alex
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Old 31-01-2019, 09:43 PM
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Thanks Jeremy,

I think the other videos I've seen are by Martyn & offshoots from it... I don't think I had seen this one before but, no doubt useful to me as I look at options...

Cheers

Carlton

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Old 31-01-2019, 11:42 PM
kens (Ken)
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Check out Jon Rista's web site. Scroll down to Dark Current Evaluation to see the effect of cooling.
https://jonrista.com/the-astrophotog...nary-analysis/
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outcast View Post
I'm wondering if just using a heat sink & fan on the ZWO would do something to reduce sensor temp without bringing it down so far as to induce condensation.

Is there any value in this approach?
Yes to the first question, maybe to the second.

I added a heatsink (no fan, just heatsink) to my zwo 120mc and got a measurable 1C reduction in sensor temp.
Later I took apart a cheap garbage usb drink cooler which never cooled my drinks and stuck its peltier heatsink and fan to the zwo instead and was a reliable 13C reduction of sensor temp, cooler nights the outside of the zwo would be thick with white frost but I never had any sign it occured inside.

So technically YES you will get a temperature reduction with simple external heatsink setups. But if this results in a noticable improvement in images I can only assume maybe. Technically any cooling reduces noise, but noticably? Dont know, I only imaged planets or sun/moon so no long exposures where noise is most obvious. It was worth the exercise for me because I was curious but I can't say it resulted in better imaging but it should have a tiny bit and possibly prolonging the sensor life too.

But I can say I did once do a little longer exposure tests for fun and they were fairly noisy. Later I got the 174mc-cooled and that just blew the 120 away for noise and I think its worth every penny paying for the cooled version which give me a steady 32C below ambient and I dont think its worth trying to reach that delta with your own mods. Not a scientific comparison and very different sensors in those cameras but if you're a tinkerer and have a peltier already on hand then go for it.
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:50 AM
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There's a few on the EAA Forum at cloudy nights who have done this. Mainly for live imaging. One of the EAA gurus DonBoy did a nice fan/peltier on the 224 & 290 cameras

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/5...90-asi224-etc/
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:14 AM
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Thanks Sil,

I might have a crack with the heatsink & fan only to start with & see how that goes.

The 224MC sensor is particularly good in respect to noise I have to say.. hopeful this may improve even more with some level of heat reduction...

Either way, it's a very inexpensive experiment so, nothing lost if it doesn't achieve much...

Cooled camera.. yeah, maybe one day...

I'm currently only doing short exposure stuff (Alt/Az mount) but, recently purchased a second hand EQ mount... initially to put my solar scope on.. maybe defork the meade at some point or, find a nice inexpensive APO.. LOL...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sil View Post
Yes to the first question, maybe to the second.

I added a heatsink (no fan, just heatsink) to my zwo 120mc and got a measurable 1C reduction in sensor temp.
Later I took apart a cheap garbage usb drink cooler which never cooled my drinks and stuck its peltier heatsink and fan to the zwo instead and was a reliable 13C reduction of sensor temp, cooler nights the outside of the zwo would be thick with white frost but I never had any sign it occured inside.

So technically YES you will get a temperature reduction with simple external heatsink setups. But if this results in a noticable improvement in images I can only assume maybe. Technically any cooling reduces noise, but noticably? Dont know, I only imaged planets or sun/moon so no long exposures where noise is most obvious. It was worth the exercise for me because I was curious but I can't say it resulted in better imaging but it should have a tiny bit and possibly prolonging the sensor life too.

But I can say I did once do a little longer exposure tests for fun and they were fairly noisy. Later I got the 174mc-cooled and that just blew the 120 away for noise and I think its worth every penny paying for the cooled version which give me a steady 32C below ambient and I dont think its worth trying to reach that delta with your own mods. Not a scientific comparison and very different sensors in those cameras but if you're a tinkerer and have a peltier already on hand then go for it.
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:15 AM
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Thanks Ken,

will check it out

Quote:
Originally Posted by kens View Post
Check out Jon Rista's web site. Scroll down to Dark Current Evaluation to see the effect of cooling.
https://jonrista.com/the-astrophotog...nary-analysis/
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:15 AM
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Cheers Chris

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisV View Post
There's a few on the EAA Forum at cloudy nights who have done this. Mainly for live imaging. One of the EAA gurus DonBoy did a nice fan/peltier on the 224 & 290 cameras

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/5...90-asi224-etc/
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Old 10-03-2019, 04:53 PM
xp1965 (Trevor)
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Thanks , some useful info on the links
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Old 10-03-2019, 05:53 PM
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Attempts to cool cameras that are not purposely designed for cooling attachment are almost certain to result in premature failure of the camera electronic, the reason internal condensation. Having built a few cooled DSLRs I know something about this topic. If you can seal the camera in a dry gas chamber or membrain you may have a chance.
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Old 10-03-2019, 06:11 PM
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Hi Glen,

What about taking the approach of just a heatsink & fan?

Would this not drop the sensor a few degrees without producing condensation?

My issue is that sensor temp in FNQ is often up around 38 - 39 degrees. Adding a Peltier would likely result in condensation (our dew point can be up around 23 - 24 degrees) which as you correctly state would ultimately be disastrous for a camera not designed for cooling.

My thinking is that if a heatsink & fan could reduce temp by say 5 degrees, I might lose some heat related noise but, avoid condensation?

What are your thoughts on this approach?

Cheers

Carlton

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Originally Posted by glend View Post
Attempts to cool cameras that are not purposely designed for cooling attachment are almost certain to result in premature failure of the camera electronic, the reason internal condensation. Having built a few cooled DSLRs I know something about this topic. If you can seal the camera in a dry gas chamber or membrain you may have a chance.
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Old 10-03-2019, 08:02 PM
glend (Glen)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outcast View Post
Hi Glen,

What about taking the approach of just a heatsink & fan?

Would this not drop the sensor a few degrees without producing condensation?

My issue is that sensor temp in FNQ is often up around 38 - 39 degrees. Adding a Peltier would likely result in condensation (our dew point can be up around 23 - 24 degrees) which as you correctly state would ultimately be disastrous for a camera not designed for cooling.

My thinking is that if a heatsink & fan could reduce temp by say 5 degrees, I might lose some heat related noise but, avoid condensation?

What are your thoughts on this approach?

Cheers

Carlton
Yes, moving air over a heat sink will have some effect. A quality heat sink will be better than a cheap one, but you don't have a lot of room to work with on those uncooked cameras. A DSLR, like a Canon 450D, is actually a good choice because you can get a copper finger behind the sensor, so you can stop it from heating up beyond ambient.
But it is not a trivial mod to that camera, see rcheshire's thread on cooling in the archive here.
Good luck, i will be interested in what you come up with.
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Old 10-03-2019, 08:16 PM
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Probably won't work, but, an idea I have wondered about, get a box of dry ice, and feed the gas coming off it into the body of a camera.


I think the cold and dry gas should cool the camera, and with the gas flowing around the sensor, should keep ambient air, and its moisture, clear of the sensor - no condensation!


Possibly blow (or suck) air through the dry ice into the body (in-line fan) to get enough cooling.


Any moisture in the air will condense out before getting to the camera.


Philip
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Old 10-03-2019, 09:32 PM
glend (Glen)
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Originally Posted by iborg View Post
Probably won't work, but, an idea I have wondered about, get a box of dry ice, and feed the gas coming off it into the body of a camera.


I think the cold and dry gas should cool the camera, and with the gas flowing around the sensor, should keep ambient air, and its moisture, clear of the sensor - no condensation!


Possibly blow (or suck) air through the dry ice into the body (in-line fan) to get enough cooling.


Any moisture in the air will condense out before getting to the camera.


Philip
Dry Ice is CO2, and CO2 will bond with and transfer moisture - ie it is not really a dry gas.

One idea I did try, was to use a PC processor liquid cooling system. I used it on one of my Canon 450D experiments. It's a bit involved, as you need a pump to push the coolant through a small radiator. The problem I had with it was the weight of the coolant in the tubes going to the camera copper cooling puck was creating a balance problem and it needed to be counter balanced.
It was a fun experiment though. You can buy all the PC liquid cooling parts from PC Case Gear online. I think I bought the camera cooling puck off eBay for a few dollars.
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