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Old 26-07-2020, 12:12 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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APT and New ZWOASI2600MC

Due to the inclement weather over the next 4 or 5 days , I started learning and writing procedures for APT to run my new ZWOASI2600MC camera
Iím using my ZWOASI120MM-S guide camera as a simulator connected to the laptop with a 5m long USB3 cable
Reading quite a few posts on CN recommend I use the Ascom driver rather than the ZWO Native driver to control the camera
In the Ascom driver ( Camera Chooser ) Iím assuming I select ASI Camera (1) for my new ASI2600MC and ASI Camera (2) for my ASI120MM-S Guide Camera
In Properties there are 4 preset drop downs -
Highest Dynamic Range ( Gain 0 )
Unity Gain (Gain 28)
Lowest Read Noise (Gain 48 )
Manual ( set your own gain )

I assume I would select either Unity Gain or HDR to get started with ??

Iíve spent a few hours on the program and have most of it working plus setting and running a few dummy capture plans

Certainly different from BYEOS

My only disappointment is that I canít review full size fits files in Windows Viewer post capture like I can with RAW files from the Canon 600D , they are all thumbnails which I can zoom in to make bigger for frame by frame review I suppose
Although you can review full size frames as they are captured in the ďImg tabĒ by clicking on the thumbnail and it opens it up on the main capture screen

Anyway just would appreciate
some feedback on Ascom driver settings vs Native ZWO settings for my new 2600MC ( when it finally arrives in mid August ?? )

Thanks in advance !!
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Old 27-07-2020, 01:22 PM
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Hi,

My experience with the 294 would suggest that you go for the lowest read noise on this camera which due the the chip circuitry occurs just after 100 gain. You get the benefits of good dynamic range and the lowest read noise for the gain. So you keep exposures times low which is quite important in light polluted skies.
So I would set to manual and put 100-105 in gain. I could not find what the recommended offset should be but sometimes this is set in the driver and cannot be adjusted. If you can't see an opportunity to adjust this it is likely set. Hopefully someone with practical experience of this camera would be able to advise about which driver is best.
If you have SharpCap you can run a sensor analysis which could point you in the right direction (it is under the tools menu).
It looks a very nice camera so post some images when the weather improves. Good luck.

Mike
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Old 28-07-2020, 09:30 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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Thanks Mike for your comments

Does anyone out there use the 2600MC in either light polluted or dark skies ??

Appreciate some feedback on your settings
Ascom driver settings or Native driver settings

Thanks in advance !
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Old 28-07-2020, 10:01 PM
Jackstar
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Hi Martin
Iíve not used APT just used mine in NINA but I had to use the ascom driver.
I got black and white squared darks when I first started doing my dark library using the native driver, like a chess board.
Iíll try and find one and put it here in an edit:


I found a post on CN about it and switched to the ascom driver and all fine.
So far I have stuck with gain 100, offset 50.-10 cooling.
I intend to try out a couple of different settings based on what success others are getting.
Short of seeing a few results really so looking forward to you getting going and I see Paul has just received his.

NINA would be worth looking at, there are some great YouTube videos from Cuiv. You can get an image just captured to view at a reasonable size and also the full sequence of large thumbnails to scroll through, click on one and it will come to the image view.sounds a bit like APT really.
Voyager sounds interesting too, I like the idea of these new capture software that are pushing things along, trying new things, nightly updates etc

Jack
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Old 28-07-2020, 10:14 PM
Star Catcher (Ted Dobosz)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Startrek View Post
Thanks Mike for your comments

Does anyone out there use the 2600MC in either light polluted or dark skies ??

Appreciate some feedback on your settings
Ascom driver settings or Native driver settings

Thanks in advance !
Yes I use it from Bortle 7 skies here in Sydney and use gain 100. My understanding is that ZWO recommends either 0 or 100.

Ted
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Old 30-07-2020, 08:48 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Thanks All

ZWO recommend you use Ascom to control the camera as the Native driver is not well supported
APT recommend to use Ascom as well

Also read the specs on this camera and ZWO recommend to use 0 gain or 100 gain

My question is what are the preset gain and off set settings in Ascom when you choose either of the following
Unity
Highest Dynamic range
Lowest read noise
Iím assuming 0 gain would be Highest Dynamic range ??

Thanks in advance
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  #7  
Old 31-07-2020, 06:34 AM
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The_bluester (Paul)
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With my camera having arrived this week (I must have only just beaten you out Martin and got the last one, I think I ordered mine on 11 June) I shot my darks using the native driver with Voyager. I have an APT licence (I moved to SGP as APT couldn't deal with focusing my SCT, and then to Voyager as it did it better and faster) I will re-download whatever the latest version of APT my license allows and see how it goes with both the native and ASCOM driver.

From my shooting of darks, they look a lot smoother at the lowest gain than my 294 does and the read noise at that gain is only 3.3e so about double the read noise of the 294 at unity where the HGC switches on. I plan to use the lowest gain, but I am under a dark sky.

If all goes well I will get a chance to start chasing my spacing down tomorrow night, with a near full moon to simulate light pollution! I have to change a number of bits in the image train and until my new mount shows up I will be unguided so limited to short exposures, I might try short subs at higher gain for that and see what it produces, then switch to my preferred gain for the new moon when I will hopefully have the new mount.
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Old 31-07-2020, 06:51 AM
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The_bluester (Paul)
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Apologies but scratch that. My APT key expired in March and while you are supposed to be able to still use APT but not get updates after it expires you can't access the downloads area without a valid key, so I am stumped there.
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  #9  
Old 08-08-2020, 04:53 PM
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Looking forward to your first lights with this lovely new camera.

Greg.
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Old 09-08-2020, 05:59 AM
etill (Elliot)
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Having used both APT and NINA, and since it sounds like you have a little time to do some planning I'd highly recommend at least taking NINA for a quick spin.

Planning sequences and framing, camera control (cooling, etc) is much better, phd2 integration is better, it gives you more control of more equipment. Supports fits and xsif, auto-stretch to review during sequence is better.

The downside is it has been less reliable than APT in the past, but they have just moved out of beta and the latest release seems quite polished now.
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Old 09-08-2020, 08:17 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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Thanks for the advice Elliot
For me the only interface between APT and PHD2 will be dithering
I like to run PHD2 as standalone to review and control guiding. Ive doing that with BYEOS for 3 yearís years
Do you use a ZWO camera ?
If so, do you run the native driver or Ascom driver to control the camera
Martin
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:03 AM
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The_bluester (Paul)
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I used to go that way (Fiddling with PHD2 on the fly) but using Voyager has enforced me sorting it out then leaving it alone for Voyager to drive the whole show. Voyager is very much an integrator, it is the only program I manually open (I don't even do that really, my imaging rig is configures to start Voyager on boot) Voyager opens and controls everything else, EQMOD, PHD2, plate solving and planetarium (Though I rarely use that)

Once set up I have found it better data acquisition wise to just set it going and leave it alone.
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Old 09-08-2020, 10:43 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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Paul
No disrespect and each to their own choices and likes / dislikes
The hobby is becoming so high tech and so autonomous that I think it is taking away the challenge and fun away ( just a bit ) only my thoughts
I like to keep some sort of ďhands on approachĒ
I like tinkering
Iíll never fully automate my rig, I like to check on how things are running , adjust things hereís and there , check focus etc...and enjoy the night sky whilst Iím out there whether itís 30 degrees stinking hot or 5 degrees freezing
I even do semi auto meridian flips and realign the object manually using the last sub on the previous side and zoom in to align stars etc..
Old school I suppose ( old fart )
My kids who are in their late 30s and very IT savvy say Dad why donít you use this and use that , it will make things easier for you . My answer is ďI donít want easyĒ

Martin
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Old 09-08-2020, 01:22 PM
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The_bluester (Paul)
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I only really mean that from a PHD perspective at least, normally I find I get the best data by setting it up and leaving it alone.

Regards the rest of it, as you say, each to their own, I am an ex techo and like the challenge of getting everything integrated the way I have it now, hopefully once it is all sorted out and I finally build a ROR around it all I can just set it ticking and go to visual obersvation. All being well there will not be any laptop or other screen in the observatory part to whack the night vision all the time.
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Old 09-08-2020, 01:36 PM
etill (Elliot)
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I have an older QHY OSC, and the latest SDK + NINA just dropped the native driver support (the QHY10 is quite old). The ASCOM driver works great though so far. I use ZWO for guiding, native driver.

I did lose a few nights to bugs and other misunderstandings swapping to NINA, so I'm only suggesting it if you have spare time waiting for the new camera - worth giving it a look to compare.
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Old 09-08-2020, 01:41 PM
etill (Elliot)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Startrek View Post
My answer is ďI donít want easyĒ
I don't want easier either I like the trial and error trying to figure out how it actually works.

But having said that I would certainly like some warm and comfortable, it's been pretty cold out the few times I have been able to set everything up these last months.

I'd like to set something up and control it indoors, but so far my setting up isn't consistantly reliable and I'd be walking in and out of the house all night, which my wife would not be happy about due to the noise.
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Old 09-08-2020, 02:16 PM
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The_bluester (Paul)
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The big automation benefit for me is that I can image on worknights where the more manual way I used to do it meant that I really couldn't, as I could not rely on not needing to get up and check stuff.

Back on the original purpose of this thread, I might be able to test actually depending on how far back is valid, I just found a copy of APT 3.63 on file. Probably the last version of it that I used, also depends on actually getting a clear sky!

Last edited by The_bluester; 09-08-2020 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 09-08-2020, 04:39 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Paul and Elliot
Totally understand your situations and at the end of the day itís what works best for you
Iím retired now so I donít have to get at up at 5.00am anymore , so staying up late is not an issue for me ( except when the grandkids stay over )

My new ZWOASI2600MC is due to arrive in 2 days so first thing is to set up on the bench, load the software and drivers and get the camera connected and running. Maybe some darks too
And then wait for some clear weather, Sydney is copping an absolute deluge this weekend and so are many other towns on the NSW coast
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Old 09-08-2020, 05:36 PM
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Based on my very limited experience with mine, I reckon you will be happy. -10 degrees seems to be about the sweet spot temp wise.

I am hoping for clear sky tomorrow to get out and get my spacing sorted out. I will be unguided until my new mount arrives (Hopefully in a couple of weeks) but if I can sort the spacing quickly I might try some 2 min unguided shots on the lagoon and trifid for a direct shootout with my old ASI294.

Last edited by The_bluester; 09-08-2020 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 09-08-2020, 06:29 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Yes, Iíve read a lot information on CN and the ZWO forum about cooling and advice is not to push the cooling to hard in this camera. I was thinking -5c to -10c , so your on the money about the sweet spot
Itís going to be a big transition for me after 3 years going from a 10 year old DSLR to a current technology high performance cooled OSC , but looking forward to getting out under some clear nights and learning to use this beast
Which new mount did you buy ?
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