#1  
Old 30-10-2014, 08:48 AM
ericwbenson (Eric)
Registered User

ericwbenson is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 200
Permanent defect in U16M CCD

Hi all,

So I must have the worst luck. My six year old (3 yrs with me) Apogee Alta U16M camera has developed a massive multiple column defect. I think the problem is actually due to one pixel going rogue. That pixel is now glowing inside the camera lighting up an entire area, and causing about 50 columns to be completely saturated in a BIAS exposure. This defect, sometimes called pixel luminescence is apparently very rare, but very fatal.

After the sudden appearance of the defect I went back thru my old calibration frames and lo and behold located a innocuous hot pixel complex at the same coordinates. What I mean by a complex: a bright/hot pixel directly surrounded by other warm pixels that make the entire thing look like a slightly out of focus star.

So after getting sticker shock from the cost of a new replacement camera I am looking at options. So my current options seem to be: bite the bullet and pay (offset by selling off other gear), mothball the observatory, partner with academic outfit or private individual or group.

Any other options and/or opinions welcome.

EB


Attachments:
Current bad bias frame
Previous good bias frame
Current bad dark frame
Crop of previous hot pixel complex from good dark frame
FITS file of above
Explanation of pixel luminescence
Example of pixel luminescence
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (Bias_-30C-20141005-122301.jpg)
98.0 KB44 views
Click for full-size image (Master_Bias004_4096x4096_Bin1x1_Temp-30C_ExpTime0ms.jpg)
171.5 KB37 views
Click for full-size image (Dark_-30C-20141005-123537.jpg)
54.4 KB31 views
Click for full-size image (Pixel_Luminescence_pg1.jpg)
53.0 KB46 views
Click for full-size image (Pixel_Luminescence_pg2.jpg)
25.9 KB41 views
Attached Images
 
Attached Files
File Type: zip Master_Dark_Set000_Temp-30C_ExpTime1800s_DefectCrop.zip (30.9 KB, 7 views)
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 30-10-2014, 09:14 AM
Terry B's Avatar
Terry B
Country living & viewing

Terry B is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Armidale
Posts: 2,760
Is there an option of just replacing the CCD in the camera?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 30-10-2014, 09:22 AM
RickS's Avatar
RickS (Rick)
PI cult recruiter

RickS is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 10,584
That's very sad, Eric! My camera had the same problem, although not quite so severely. Fortunately I noticed it a few days before the warranty on the sensor expired. It took a few months but I did get a new sensor.

I don't have any brilliant ideas for a solution, alas...

Cheers,
Rick.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 30-10-2014, 12:05 PM
Octane's Avatar
Octane (Humayun)
IIS Member #671

Octane is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Canberra
Posts: 11,158
I'm so sorry to see this.

My camera just made it to SBIG yesterday, to deal with the STL-11000M crack (hoping it's just the chamber and not the coverslip itself).

SBIG quoted me around $3,000 for the sensor replacement (if it came to it). Can Apogee replace your sensor for you?

H
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 30-10-2014, 09:01 PM
ericwbenson (Eric)
Registered User

ericwbenson is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 200
I had asked about replacing the sensor however they would not quote on that, the could only advise to buy a new camera. Note this is Andor Technology I am dealing with now since Apogee is no more. AFAIK the Apogee factory in California has been shut down and all operations are now in Belfast I believe.
I would still pay many thousands to get it fixed since a new one is ~14K, but this is not on offer. Maybe they don't even have parts anymore?
EB
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 31-10-2014, 12:19 PM
Shiraz's Avatar
Shiraz (Ray)
Registered User

Shiraz is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ardrossan south australia
Posts: 4,787
aaaugh - what rotten luck.

completely from left field, but do you think that it might be possible to salvage 3/4 of the chip either by ablating the offending pixels with a medical YAG, by etching the region or possibly even by physically grinding the surface gates off? worst you could do would be to brick the chip completely rather than partially as it is now. If it could be salvaged, 3/4 of a 16803 is still a pretty impressive camera. Sorry if it sounds like a completely daft idea, but you asked.

Last edited by Shiraz; 31-10-2014 at 02:11 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 31-10-2014, 12:30 PM
Paul Haese's Avatar
Paul Haese
Registered User

Paul Haese is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Adelaide
Posts: 9,430
Sorry to hear this Eric. I am glad I am getting my camera sorted under warrantee. This sort of issue is enough to hurt financially. I hope you can find a path through.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 31-10-2014, 06:59 PM
ericwbenson (Eric)
Registered User

ericwbenson is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiraz View Post
aaaugh - what rotten luck.

completely from left field, but do you think that it might be possible to salvage 3/4 of the chip either by ablating the offending pixels with a medical YAG, by etching the region or possibly even by physically grinding the surface gates off? worst you could do would be to brick the chip completely rather than partially as it is now. If it could be salvaged, 3/4 of a 16803 is still a pretty impressive camera. Sorry if it sounds like a completely daft idea, but you asked.
Not so completely daft at all ... earlier this week I tried to melt the offending pixel with a 4W 532nm CW DPSS focused down to 50 micron. I thought if I could melt/singe the ITO electrode gates into an open circuit I might only lose the top 666 rows (yes the bad pixel is at 3066,666). Amazingly after several 5 min exposures, no change!?! The damaged area is buried in the multi-column saturated region. I can see the irradiated spot in the microscope where I presume the top layers have been melted, or something, but this does not seem to affect the operation of the chip.

Next week I might try a 4 ns pulsed laser, if I can get my hands on one. The ones we make at 532 nm only focus down to about 400 um, pretty big blast hole. We do make a 1064nm YAG that focuses down to 10 um but I know the Silicon doesn't absorb much at that wavelength, so I'm not sure what will happen there.

Very much a long shot...

EB
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 31-10-2014, 08:11 PM
Shiraz's Avatar
Shiraz (Ray)
Registered User

Shiraz is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ardrossan south australia
Posts: 4,787
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericwbenson View Post
Not so completely daft at all ... earlier this week I tried to melt the offending pixel with a 4W 532nm CW DPSS focused down to 50 micron. I thought if I could melt/singe the ITO electrode gates into an open circuit I might only lose the top 666 rows (yes the bad pixel is at 3066,666). Amazingly after several 5 min exposures, no change!?! The damaged area is buried in the multi-column saturated region. I can see the irradiated spot in the microscope where I presume the top layers have been melted, or something, but this does not seem to affect the operation of the chip.

Next week I might try a 4 ns pulsed laser, if I can get my hands on one. The ones we make at 532 nm only focus down to about 400 um, pretty big blast hole. We do make a 1064nm YAG that focuses down to 10 um but I know the Silicon doesn't absorb much at that wavelength, so I'm not sure what will happen there.

Very much a long shot...

EB
crikey, 4w through a 50 micron spot for 5 minutes - would have thought that would fry anything. Amazing that it had no effect on the chip function. Maybe very short pulses could do the trick by vapourising the surface layers through local plasma formation and letting you selectively remove stuff completely - would have thought that a Q-YAG would be OK for that (eg as in LIBS). Be very interested to know how you get on - good luck.

Last edited by Shiraz; 01-11-2014 at 05:53 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 31-10-2014, 10:54 PM
rally
Registered User

rally is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 896
Maybe some serious dithering !
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01-11-2014, 03:59 PM
Terry B's Avatar
Terry B
Country living & viewing

Terry B is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Armidale
Posts: 2,760
Is the CCD a plug in or is it soldered onto the board?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01-11-2014, 07:11 PM
ericwbenson (Eric)
Registered User

ericwbenson is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry B View Post
Is the CCD a plug in or is it soldered onto the board?
Hi Terry,
I don't know for sure, however the CCD and whatever it's attached to are in a hermetically sealed chamber (filled with Argon gas), probably soldered shut. Usually they use ceramic or glass feedthrus to get the pins out.
EB
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01-11-2014, 07:17 PM
Shiraz's Avatar
Shiraz (Ray)
Registered User

Shiraz is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ardrossan south australia
Posts: 4,787
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericwbenson View Post
Hi Terry,
I don't know for sure, however the CCD and whatever it's attached to are in a hermetically sealed chamber (filled with Argon gas), probably soldered shut. Usually they use ceramic or glass feedthrus to get the pins out.
EB
Guess that you won't be able to use 1064 YAG then - it would probably damage the AR coating on the chamber window. A 400 micron hole might be a problem with the 532 pulsed laser - suppose it is only about 50 columns though, so not too bad. best of luck.

Last edited by Shiraz; 01-11-2014 at 08:59 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 02-11-2014, 03:17 AM
PRejto's Avatar
PRejto (Peter)
Registered User

PRejto is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 1,290
Hi Eric,

I'm at the Arizona Science Expo in Tucson. I spoke with Andor on your behalf and with John Alford who is Regional Sales Manager. He said that Andor will replace the chip in your camera and that you need to contact Phil Moore at Andor. Just go to Andor.com contacts. Explain that I spoke with John and that you tell Phil that your camera can be opened and the chip replaced. I hope that is GOOD news for you!!

Peter
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 02-11-2014, 06:34 AM
nebulosity.'s Avatar
nebulosity. (Jo)
Registered User

nebulosity. is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Cecil Plains QLD
Posts: 1,225
Hope it's able to get fixed Eric!

Thanks again for showing me around your observatory the other night, had a great time.

Cheers
Jo
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 02-11-2014, 10:50 AM
Peter Ward's Avatar
Peter Ward
Galaxy hitchhiking guide

Peter Ward is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The Shire
Posts: 6,666
I have a sun damaged (don't ask) KAF16803 sensor you may be able swap out. Apart from solar sized disks fried into the micro lens structure..which amazingly flat field out...it works OK. PM me if interested.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 02-11-2014, 11:39 PM
ericwbenson (Eric)
Registered User

ericwbenson is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by PRejto View Post
Hi Eric,

I'm at the Arizona Science Expo in Tucson. I spoke with Andor on your behalf and with John Alford who is Regional Sales Manager. He said that Andor will replace the chip in your camera and that you need to contact Phil Moore at Andor. Just go to Andor.com contacts. Explain that I spoke with John and that you tell Phil that your camera can be opened and the chip replaced. I hope that is GOOD news for you!!

Peter
Thanks Peter. I have been in contact with Phil Moore and product support at Andor, they were informed of the entire situation, so I am somewhat confused here as to what can actually be done. I will follow up again.
EB
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 02-11-2014, 11:45 PM
ericwbenson (Eric)
Registered User

ericwbenson is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ward View Post
I have a sun damaged (don't ask) KAF16803 sensor you may be able swap out. Apart from solar sized disks fried into the micro lens structure..which amazingly flat field out...it works OK. PM me if interested.
Thanks for the kind offer Peter, I'll keep it in mind, but right now my dilemma is who could actually perform the swapping bit (me!? yikes), once I get that figured out...

EB
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 03-11-2014, 01:14 AM
PRejto's Avatar
PRejto (Peter)
Registered User

PRejto is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 1,290
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericwbenson View Post
Thanks Peter. I have been in contact with Phil Moore and product support at Andor, they were informed of the entire situation, so I am somewhat confused here as to what can actually be done. I will follow up again.
EB
Hi Eric,

Well I'm just reporting what John Alford told me. The jist of it seems to be that most of the cameras that Andor make have a manufacturing process where it is simply impossible to replace the chip but when I told him what camera and chip you had he said there was no reason why your chip couldn't be replaced. He also said that the standard Andor response was to say "no." But, he felt confident that if you explained to Phil Moore that your camera was "different" that Andor should work with you. On the other hand a top person at another major camera manufacturer was skeptical about Andor's willingness to cooperate saying that he had recently received two requests to repair Apogee cameras. I asked him about yours; at first he said OK, but then got a bit nervous saying what if he put in a new chip and the electronics destroyed it. He said he'd prefer to give you a discount on a new camera. You might be able to guess of whom I'm speaking. Contact me off line if you want his name.

Hope I have not muddied the waters but I think some persistance with Andor might get you a result.

Peter
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 04-11-2014, 02:20 PM
RickS's Avatar
RickS (Rick)
PI cult recruiter

RickS is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 10,584
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickS View Post
That's very sad, Eric! My camera had the same problem, although not quite so severely. Fortunately I noticed it a few days before the warranty on the sensor expired. It took a few months but I did get a new sensor.
My camera was also a U16M and they successfully replaced the sensor, so it is possible...
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +10. The time is now 06:27 AM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.8.7 | Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Advertisement
Meade Australia
Advertisement
Celestron Australia
Advertisement
Astromechanics
Advertisement
Bintel
Advertisement
SkyWatcher Australia
Advertisement
OzScopes Authorised Dealer
Advertisement
Lunatico Astronomical
Advertisement
Astronomy and Electronics Centre
Advertisement