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Old 30-04-2008, 05:30 PM
Alchemy (Clive)
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QHY8 image capture program. help wanted.. experts?

ok its time to utilise the depth and experience of the IIS crew

as youve guessed i have gone out and brought the Q8, assembled it and doing a bit of playing with the program CCD cap ALL Astrart drivers loaded, computer recognises camera (yay)

so heres a couple of questions from a CCD newbie.

Resolution 4x4 i assume this is a binning thing 4x4 is using a square of 16 pixels as one ?1x1 is just normal?

The preview function ... works much as a webcam ? seems to anyway, Preview auto set does.... ?
does it auto binn when doing preview?

i have played with the gain (iso pretty much) and the offset , you can see the offset line move up the scale as you increase in preview..... is that ok for rough calibration initial start ? i think it gives me an idea where it kicks in. will test more when i convert FITS

Focus.... any one used this and ...... comments.

Histogram, AGV means..... SDV means.....

SCript .....no idea?

i dont know if ive got a program other than win4aip to handle FITS files....never needed to before, any suggestions

Do you reckon the plastic cap will be dark/dense enough for a 10 minute dark frame .. seems a silly question but you never know.

Well thats about it for now im sure some helpfull suggestions will be out there, im trying to nail everything down so when clouds roll away i can actually image something

Is there a bit of documentation that covers this program somewhere.


Cheers clive.

Last edited by Alchemy; 30-04-2008 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 30-04-2008, 09:30 PM
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I'm just starting out with the QHY8 as well.
Loaded the QHY drivers first to try the supplied software Astrowin but it had a tendency to lock up.
Now I'm running with the Astrosoft drivers and Nebulosity from Stark Labs, all seems good. Busy at home this cloudy night taking darks with the black cap on.
Nebulosity has a 'binning' mode, uses a square of 4 pixels (2x2?) to create a 1.5MP image. 4x4 binning does imply 16 pixels for a 750k image doesn't it?

For gain/offset, I found a rough guide on the QHY forum,
http://www.lightstorm.at/pdfs/ and click on QHY8_settings.pdf
I've been setting the gain to 30, and then taking bias frames and varying the offset until the average pixel value is between 500 and 1000. Getting under the stars will be the real test.

How is your QHY8 with respect to dust and hot pixels? Mine came in the dry case with the filter/nosepiece unscrewed and was fairly dusty, blew as much as I could off with a blower bulb but I'm not brave enough to wipe it down with anything. Observed a few hot pixels, I need to do some calibrated darks and map them.

Cheers,

Rob

Last edited by Astrod00d; 30-04-2008 at 10:07 PM. Reason: Corrected Astroart to Astrowin
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Old 30-04-2008, 09:49 PM
Alchemy (Clive)
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thanks for your reply rob,

i have got the software that came with it, im sort of getting some of it.... really needs some documentation to run it, the cable setup diagram was really good.

im trying to see what others use viz program , i have not used FITS files before so will have to learn as i go

the chip, it was open in the case but as far as i can tell was immaculately clean, i havent done a proper dark frame yet i spent some time just trying to get a bead on taking a frame, was just pushing buttons for a while to see what happened.. I havent converted a FITS file yet so have not inspected closely.

Did get a little bit of moisture in between filter and MPCC , but i think i can solve that easily.

Re dust removal , i wouldnt use any chemicals on it at all, somewhere recently there was a comment on a gadget that spis/ rotates for cleaning ccd chips at camerastores, made specifically. Up until now i have been using a small super high quality artists brush with soft bristles, just a gentle quick swipe

today was just assembling and a quick check it worked with the computer.

its semi clear outside but i want to get it all sorted before i get serious.

i know its super quiet for noise but i will do a set of darks anyway , good thing is beeing so cool i reckon 1 will do for winter maybee another set for summer...... too easy.

still dont know what the full functions of some of the bits are, i was hoping someone else had it allready worked out

cheers clive
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Old 30-04-2008, 09:51 PM
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Withe the new drivers and software being released in early April, they must have removed the Software program Guide pages.
I have emailed Tom to see if he can re post the help guide again.
But for now heres a bit of info..

Preview does just that. It previews the image to allow you to coarse focus or centre the object etc.. Just like the DSLR on the back LCD.
Resolution 4x4 is Binned, as you said. So 1x1 is FULL resolution.

Focus, does just that, by using the FWHM, you can focus down to a bees #%^^##.
Script, allows you to create a seesion with specific intsructions for the night, if your going to be away etc.

Plastic cap, well, try it out.. Normally though people attach the camera on the telescope and then place the cover over the front of the scope.

Fits is a standard, and used with just about every imaging and processing software i know of.
Iris, Maxim, Astro Art, etc etc..

You should attach it to a camera lens or something while the clouds are up, and just play with the camera and all the different software packages out there, this way you can get a grasp of the abilities of both software and hardware. Plus also determine which programs you will like best.


Theo.
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Old 30-04-2008, 09:58 PM
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Cleaning the CCD is not so hard. Just use a soft lens cloth or cotton ball, and a little Methalyted spirits, and gently clean the CCD. Sony has a very hard coating, and Qhy has tested the coating to check for durability.
I was shocked at some methods he used.. Similar to some filter coatings used by manufacturers.
When dry, just gently wipe the sensor to remove any streaks etc.

Theo
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Old 30-04-2008, 10:02 PM
Alchemy (Clive)
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Quote:
Withe the new drivers and software being released in early April, they must have removed the Software program Guide pages.
I have emailed Tom to see if he can re post the help guide again.
that would be really helpfull, ill watch to see when they pop up and download...excellent

Quote:
Focus, does just that, by using the FWHM, you can focus down to a bees
i saw this function, looking forward to using it, if its as good as you say, no excuses for blurry pictures.

Quote:
Fits is a standard, and used with just about every imaging and processing software i know of.
Iris, Maxim, Astro Art, etc etc..
ive pretty much just used photoshop so will have to investigate other programs.... i think in a previos post a free one was listed so will have a look.

might leave script for a while i think. and just shoot 1/1

im sure ill have more questions... will look out for the guide, if you could attatch a copy to here/this thread it would be great.

. cheers clive
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Old 30-04-2008, 10:11 PM
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There is a user guide in Word format in the 'QHY Drivers\Astrowin' directory on the driver cd. A lot of good info for the Astrowin capture software.

I'm tempted to re-install the QHY drivers and give Astrowin another go.

Cheers,

Rob
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Old 30-04-2008, 10:17 PM
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If you use Photoshop, then get "Fits Liberator", this allows you to directly load the FIT images into photoshop.
Then you can do your business with the image.

http://hubblesource.stsci.edu/source...its_liberator/

As for the CCD Cap software manual, i think will be back up very soon.

Problem is when he Astrosoft removed the registration and licensing files, they must have also removed the guide.

When the guides back on the Astrosoft web site, I'll let you guys know.

Dont forget to check for updates guys..

Theo
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Old 30-04-2008, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astrod00d View Post
There is a user guide in Word format in the 'QHY Drivers\Astrowin' directory on the driver cd. A lot of good info for the Astrowin capture software.

I'm tempted to re-install the QHY drivers and give Astrowin another go.

Cheers,

Rob

Well, up to you, ..

But like you said you need to install QHY drivers and they are not compatible with Astrosoft drivers. So its uninstall, install etc..

Actually, i think i may put a quick guide together for CCD Cap. This way its easy to understand for those not farmiliar with imaging.
I'll post it up on my site along with the operating manual i also put together some time ago.




Theo

Last edited by Gama; 30-04-2008 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 01-05-2008, 08:14 PM
Alchemy (Clive)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gama View Post
If you use Photoshop, then get "Fits Liberator", this allows you to directly load the FIT images into photoshop.
Then you can do your business with the image.

http://hubblesource.stsci.edu/source...its_liberator/

As for the CCD Cap software manual, i think will be back up very soon.

Problem is when he Astrosoft removed the registration and licensing files, they must have also removed the guide.

When the guides back on the Astrosoft web site, I'll let you guys know.

Dont forget to check for updates guys..

Theo
thanks for the prompt reply theo. have downloaded the fits plug in . will check your site for any updates/ manuals on the weekend.
Quote:

Actually, i think i may put a quick guide together for CCD Cap. This way its easy to understand for those not farmiliar with imaging.
I'll post it up on my site along with the operating manual i also put together some time ago.


thanks clive.
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:59 PM
garymck (Gary)
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Hi,
I've used my new QHY8 with a couple of bits of software. For imaging the easiest to use is Nebulosity from Stark Labs.

There is nothing to install for Nebulosity to work (other than the QHY8 drivers) as support for the cam is built in. The real upside is that Craig Stark, the author of the program owns a QHY8, so support is damn near perfect.

Note that the current version defaults to a gain of 1, and an offset of 130. These values are good starting points, (and what Craig Stark uses himself) you can adjust them after you have a feel for the camera (my 8 use gain=1 and offset = 114). It also has some basic, but very nice image processing features built in - calibration,, stacking, DDP etc, all for $45US. HIGHLY recommended.

Maxim is over rated, (its debayering sucks big time) if you want to go to something sophisticated, I believe ImagesPlus is very nice and very popular with one shot color uses.

DeepSkyStacker is free, but seems to consistently overcorrect flat fields, so I no longer use it (my experience is the same as a number of other QHY8 users I know).

Iris is free, and has one absolutely invaluable command known as SUBSKY which in one simple command will correct gradients across an image - worth the download just for that....as well as a myriad of other features that I have yet to master.

If you have Adobe Photoshop, the $20us buys a set of actions known as ASTROTOOLS from http://www.ProDigitalSoftware.com

These automate a number of Photoshop processes and make stuff happen even if you don't know Photoshop!!

Hope this helps, just my opinions, worth every cent you paid for them

Gary
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:22 PM
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OK, for the begginer imagers, i have finished the Quick help guide for CCD Capture program from Astrosoft and i have posted it on my "Download" page. So head off to my site http://web.aanet.com.au/gama/ and select the "Download" Page.
You dont need Word or anything else to view it. It loads up with internet explorer, or save it to your desktop for future reference.
Its not perfect, but i did sort of rush it out..

Theo.
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Old 03-05-2008, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gama View Post
OK, for the begginer imagers, i have finished the Quick help guide for CCD Capture program from Astrosoft and i have posted it on my "Download" page. So head off to my site http://web.aanet.com.au/gama/ and select the "Download" Page.
You dont need Word or anything else to view it. It loads up with internet explorer, or save it to your desktop for future reference.
Its not perfect, but i did sort of rush it out..

Theo.
Thanks Theo, the guide is helpful for getting CCDCap up and running.
I used the QHY8 with Nebulosity last night and got some results. Colours seem true when Nebulosty is set to save fits in MaximDL format. Raw Fits files are about 36MB.
I'll try CCDCap tonight. Sequence capture progress report is better in Nebulosity than in CCDCap. CCDCap looks to have a better histogram display.
They both have a pretty good focus control. Bias Test captures with CCDCap provide a 12MB Fits file even with 1x1 binning not sure why yet.

Cheers,

Rob
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Old 03-05-2008, 06:42 PM
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Its 12Mbyte before debayer. After debayer the file size is 36Mbytes.

Theo
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Old 03-05-2008, 07:43 PM
Alchemy (Clive)
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Quote:
i have finished the Quick help guide for CCD Capture program from Astrosoft and i have posted it on my "Download" page.
thanks theo....got it!
Quote:

I've used my new QHY8 with a couple of bits of software. For imaging the easiest to use is Nebulosity from Stark Labs.
It also has some basic, but very nice image processing features built in - calibration,, stacking, DDP etc, all for $45US. HIGHLY recommended.

Maxim is over rated, (its debayering sucks big time) if you want to go to something sophisticated, I believe ImagesPlus is very nice and very popular with one shot color uses.

DeepSkyStacker is free, but seems to consistently overcorrect flat fields, so I no longer use it (my experience is the same as a number of other QHY8 users I know).
thanks for the advice Garymck , so many choices, i might see if i can get a trial copy of nebulosity and have a play (actually astrodood gave it a good rap too ....probably just buy for 50 bucks its likely to be ood value.), still havent had a shot under clear skies yet, need some spacers(on order) and a data booster cable (picking up tommorrow)
im suprised deepskystackers a dud, mind you ive only ever used tiffs not raws in it, still if thats your experience one cant argue.
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