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Old 27-12-2011, 09:02 AM
Karls48 (Karl)
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Orion Starshoot G3 help

I finally got Orion Starshoot G3 mono camera from Bintel few days before Christmas. Camera is compact and appears to be well made. I like sealed CCD chamber, 1.25Ē filter thread in camera body, cooling Ė about 25% better then specified, full well capacity 50000e Ė should make this camera good and cheep instrument for variable stars photometry.
The drivers and software (updated from Orion website) installed without any problems on IBM laptop with Windows XP SP3, 2GHz CPU, 1.5Gbyte Memory and ASCOM 6 installed. Upon testing running supplied software I found that the light and dark images have 1 to 6 white horizontal lines in random positions on them. Bias frames are even worse. I then switched to Maxim DL and the results were about same. It makes no difference if the cooling is on or off. I have tried 2 different USB cables that work with Meade DSI2 with no improvement. During those tests only one of three USB ports were used. The laptop normally runs HEQ5 mount, DSI2 and QHY5 guider without any problems. Why Iím getting those white lines? Is the camera faulty or is it the drivers? I have send email to Orion support but I donít expect replay soon because of Christmas.
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  #2  
Old 27-12-2011, 02:51 PM
Rocket_Rodney (Ray)
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Have you got your binning set to 1x1? I noticed I get these lines when I set 2x2 binning...
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Old 27-12-2011, 04:08 PM
Karls48 (Karl)
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Binning is set to 1x1. I use 2x2 only for focusing or to centre faint star.
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Old 30-12-2011, 07:51 AM
Karls48 (Karl)
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Last night it was clear and I did not have any Christmas commitments so I was going to spend whole night imagining. The white lines become less frequent, except on bias frames. I was enjoying silent and clear night. Then sometime after midnight cooling fan stoped and displayed temperature was only couple degrees below ambient regardless of set point. I checked the battery, but battery was OK. So the brand new camera goes back to Bintel. Not happy! Merry Christmas.
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Old 30-12-2011, 01:43 PM
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renormalised (Carl)
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This sort of thing will occasionally happen...getting a dud camera. It's just something that happens in their manufacture. Unfortunately, you were the one to pick it up. Bintel will replace it for you
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:15 AM
Rocket_Rodney (Ray)
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Was happy with my G3 until it caught fire last night!!! So back to Bintel it goes..... Any suggestions for a different replacement cam?
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:55 PM
Karls48 (Karl)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket_Rodney View Post
Was happy with my G3 until it caught fire last night!!! So back to Bintel it goes..... Any suggestions for a different replacement cam?
That is no good. It does not give much confidence in their product. Unfortunately there are not any CCD cameras around in similar price range and with similar specifications.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:14 AM
Karls48 (Karl)
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Replacement Camera arrived today from Bintel. It is again cloudy so I shot some Bias and Dark frames. Bias still got horizontal lines on most of frames but Darks are OK.
It looks like that shorter exposure - more likely the lines will appear. Faulty hardware or the software (ASCOM or drivers)? I just want to stop mucking with the camera and start taking some images (weather permitting).
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:19 AM
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lepton3 (Ivan)
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Karl, If you subtract the bias from the dark, does the result look reasonably smooth?

Artifacts in the bias are not necessarily a problem if they are consistent and don't take up too much of your dynamic range.

- Ivan
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:37 AM
Karls48 (Karl)
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Camera’s cooling stoped working last night. It lasted about 8 hours. The product is defective or Bintel was unlucky to get bad batch. Not happy!!!

Last edited by Karls48; 12-01-2012 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:36 PM
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renormalised (Carl)
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Sounds like it's a bad batch of cameras. I've heard good reports about the camera from overseas, so it's probably just a bad batch. Meade used to have the same problem with their DSI cameras....they'd get the occasional bad batch.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:04 PM
Rocket_Rodney (Ray)
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Hmmm well my replacement one is on the way from Bintel but unfortunately I don't hold much confidence- which is a shame because the couple of images I did manage to get were pretty dam good for a camera its size and price...
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Old 13-01-2012, 07:50 AM
Karls48 (Karl)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renormalised View Post
Sounds like it's a bad batch of cameras. I've heard good reports about the camera from overseas, so it's probably just a bad batch. Meade used to have the same problem with their DSI cameras....they'd get the occasional bad batch.
That's what I hope for. Bintel offer me refund but I told them I will accept replacement when they receive new lot of cameras from Orion. Most likely reason for Peltier burning is (apart from overvoltage - impossible in my case as I'm using battery) bad thermal contact with heatsink. Northern Hemisphere got winter now, I just wonder if more of similar failures will pop up in the summer.
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Old 13-01-2012, 07:58 AM
Karls48 (Karl)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket_Rodney View Post
Hmmm well my replacement one is on the way from Bintel but unfortunately I don't hold much confidence- which is a shame because the couple of images I did manage to get were pretty dam good for a camera its size and price...
Ray are you using Orion software for capture or ASCOM? I tried their software and it seems to work better then ASCOM driver. But I have to use ASCOM driver to use Maxim DL and to integrate camera with telescope.
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Old 13-01-2012, 08:10 AM
Karls48 (Karl)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lepton3 View Post
Karl, If you subtract the bias from the dark, does the result look reasonably smooth?

Artifacts in the bias are not necessarily a problem if they are consistent and don't take up too much of your dynamic range.

- Ivan
Ivan, I done bit of reading on subject and I think that the lines are artifacts form interlaced CCD chip. But then it is a bad software driver, I had couple of cameras with interlaced chip and none had this problem. By selecting good Bias frames I can get good Darks.
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Old 13-01-2012, 08:26 PM
Rocket_Rodney (Ray)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karls48 View Post
Ray are you using Orion software for capture or ASCOM? I tried their software and it seems to work better then ASCOM driver. But I have to use ASCOM driver to use Maxim DL and to integrate camera with telescope.
Karls,

I'm using the Orion software for capture and Maxim for processing. The current version 1.01 fixes a hell of a lot of issues in 1.00 (supplied with the CD). My Telescope control is via a Orion SSAG and PHD.

Have you updated the software and ASCOM drivers from the Orion website?
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Old 13-01-2012, 11:12 PM
Karls48 (Karl)
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Yes, I'm using 1.01 version. But I have to use ASCOM driver for photometry.
I hope your replacement camera does not blow up like my did.
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Old 17-01-2012, 05:52 PM
Karls48 (Karl)
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This is email I have received from Orion support:


Hi Karl,

Yes, that definitely looks like there is something wrong with the camera.
Possibly a defect with the USB connection or circuit in the camera, but we
can't be sure without testing it. I see you already sent it back to Binel.
They should be able to take care of you if you want to try a replacement or
a repair. Please let us know if it's not resolved to your satisfaction.

I'm sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.
Thanks again,
Orion Telescopes Technical Support

At least I know that if those white lines appear on Bias or Dark frames - camera is faulty, send it back
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Old 17-01-2012, 09:05 PM
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lepton3 (Ivan)
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Thanks for the status updates Karl. This camera is such a good price, I'm interested in peoples' experiences with this camera.
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Old 20-01-2012, 07:27 PM
Karls48 (Karl)
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I have spoken to Bintel today and in the view what Orion support told me, I donít want replacement camera from their current stock. I will wait until they receive replacement cameras for the faulty ones. Approximately two weeks. Big pain in the neck and lower down. In desperation Iím using old DSI pro. But photometry results are inconsistent and DSI often refuses to connect to Maxim, although it always works with Meade software.
Regardless of the problems and associated extra costs I had with this purchase, I take my hat off to Bintel and their staff. I have very seldom deal with retailer that got such excellent after sale service and genuine desire to solve problem for a customer as Bintel does.
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