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Old 08-05-2011, 02:06 PM
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QSI and guide camera

Hi everyone

I've just purchased a QSI 583wsg. Its a great looking piece of kit - drops the temperature to -15C within a few minutes and is easy to set up.

However, I am being driven driven mad trying to use the OAG component.

Can I ask what guide camera IISers with the QSI use with it? I have an Orion SSAG and while I can bring it to focus, there is too much noise in my screen to allow Maxim to detect when the guide star moves.

My suspicion is that the small prism matched with the RC8 does not produce enough signal for the SSAG ie its not sensitive enough. If thats right, I need to return to the separate guidescope - which defeats the purpose of the QSI or buy a new guider.

I have heard good things about the Lodestar but I don't know if it has a C or T mount fitting that will work with the QSI. The new SBIG guider would be good, but it is not designed to match the QSI - deliberately I suspect. The Atik 16ic is too slow with the downloads to be feasible.

I won't rule out pilot error - again! I've had this issue before with Maxim - I can overcome it with the guidescope if I have nice and bright guidestars to calibrate with - I usually use the Jewel Box for this - and then head over to my target.

I'd be keen to hear from you if you have experience with this

Pete

Suggestions please.
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Old 08-05-2011, 02:12 PM
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DavidTrap (David)
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I've got the SSAG working with my QSI (pity they've just upgraded them to the 600 series).

Try looking at the output from your SSAG through PHD. For some reason it looks fabulous through that and atrocious through Maxim. Still haven't heard an explanation why it looks so bad through Maxim. I'm getting enough light through a 4 inch refractor, so you should have heaps through an 8inch.

DT
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Old 08-05-2011, 02:18 PM
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Thanks David

yes, it looks so much better with PHD.

I am persisting with Maxim - in part because it can calibrate anywhere (it doesn't want calibrate where I am imaging) and in part because it SHOULD work and it is frustrating that it won't.

Out of interest, did you have issues getting to focus with the SSAG?

Pete
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Old 08-05-2011, 02:30 PM
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I have persisted with Maxim and am getting good guiding results - you just have to hunt for a "star" amongst the noise. Using maxim for guiding opens the possibility of dithering and it also stops guiding whilst downloading from the camera to reduce potential for crosstalk.

I needed the little acrylic disc from QSI to achieve focus.

DT
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Old 08-05-2011, 03:15 PM
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Thanks David

I almost make focus with it - the stars are certainly small enough to guide with. Bintel were out of these when I bought mine

I agree with you about the 600 series

I'm pleased you manage with SSAG. Perhaps its pilot error. What do you set the gain to? Do you use the noise reduction and smoothen guiding features

Pete
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Old 08-05-2011, 03:20 PM
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I use a DSI II with mine and never had a problem finding a guidestar with it. Also use CCDSoft.
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:56 PM
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Are you using 2x2 bin with the guider?

Mark
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:26 PM
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No - the guide camera does not bin

Pete
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:39 PM
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Fairly sure it will bin. Not sure where the gain is set - haven't had it out for a month or so.

re the 600 - mine was shipped a couple of days prior to the cutoff for being eligible for an upgrade. It would also cost me $~800 in freight both ways, plus another bout of GST, in addition to the upgrade cost. I'm not going to pursue the matter any further.

DT
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Old 09-05-2011, 05:52 PM
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I have the little acrylic disc as well but bought the 5mm spacer as its a more rigid system and less likely to be moving.
One suggestion is to insert your guidescope into the QSI during the day and get pinpoint focus there first and then see if you need to tweek it at night.
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:29 PM
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DL screen stretches so the pic can look worse than it is. A star in view will clean it up. Are you useing simple dark?.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:29 PM
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If you are using the SSAG with the QSI and the RC8 you will need the metal spacer (I did not use a plastic one) which goes between the blue and black sections of the camera. Otherwise it will not focus correctly and you will not be able to guide with this camera. Once I put in the spacer I got perfectly round stars at focus and guiding worked. The camera is supposed to work with maxim but I have never used it yet. Co-incidentally it does not work with CCDsoft (no driver available unless someone has got one).
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Old 10-05-2011, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Haese View Post
If you are using the SSAG with the QSI and the RC8 you will need the metal spacer (I did not use a plastic one) which goes between the blue and black sections of the camera. Otherwise it will not focus correctly and you will not be able to guide with this camera.
Thanks Paul

Bintel provided one on loan when I bought the camera as the plastic (perspex?) spacer was not available. Sadly, this pushes the focus for the whole unit out. Without it, my camera comes to focus. With it, I'm in a deadzone - I use the Optec TCF-3 and it has very little focus travel. Taking off one of the RC8 spacers doesn't sort it.

Good to hear its not just me.

Pete
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassnut View Post
DL screen stretches so the pic can look worse than it is. A star in view will clean it up. Are you useing simple dark?.
Yes I am. I suspect I am not sufficiently focussed (not me, the equipment!) and perhaps my integration times are too short - I've been sticking with 2 second shots.

Pete
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Haese View Post
If you are using the SSAG with the QSI and the RC8 you will need the metal spacer (I did not use a plastic one) which goes between the blue and black sections of the camera. Otherwise it will not focus correctly.
Out of interest Paul, since we have the same set-up - how long are your guider shots? I'm using 2 seconds.

Pete
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allan gould View Post
I have the little acrylic disc as well but bought the 5mm spacer as its a more rigid system and less likely to be moving.
Allan, I assume the acrylic disk sits between the camera and guide camera ie it adjusts the focus of the guide camera not the whole set-up?

Pete
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Old 10-05-2011, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvelez View Post
Allan, I assume the acrylic disk sits between the camera and guide camera ie it adjusts the focus of the guide camera not the whole set-up?

Pete
Yes

DT
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Old 15-05-2011, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvelez View Post
Allan, I assume the acrylic disk sits between the camera and guide camera ie it adjusts the focus of the guide camera not the whole set-up?

Pete
Pete
I should have been more succinct.
There are two way to get extra distance for your guide camera to focus.
The cheapest is to insert a small plastic lens between the guide camera and the prism in the camera port. This small lens alters the prism light just slightly so that the guide camera can come to focus. It doesnt affect the main camera at all.
The second manner is to place a 5mm machined aluminium spacer between the front of the camera body and the rest of the camera. This shifts the main camera focus and the guide camera focus by 5mm enabling the guide camera to focus easily.
Hope thats clear.
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Old 16-05-2011, 07:52 AM
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Thanks Allan - that is helpful

I had another play with it last night. I can't bring the SSAG to focus with my set up - not because there is not enough travel out, its insufficient travel in. In other words, I rack in the focus as much as possible and still can't quite get the stars tight enough.

I suspect this is my issue - as the stars are smeared, the SNR is not high enough for Maxim to pick up when calibrating. So Maxim moves the mount and the stars appear to move but I don't have this registered by Maxim.

I souped up the exposure time to 10 seconds and was able to calibrate it once last night - but I couldn't repeat the trick.

I find this odd. Does the acrylic disk change the path of the light? I assume not. Then how do others with the RC8/QSI combo manage to get to focus?

Pete
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Old 16-05-2011, 09:40 AM
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Pete - the acrylic disk effectively "shortens" the light path, so your camera will come into focus.

Took me a while to come to terms with this concept, but it works! All filters do this - you have to take this into account when you work out spacings behind flatteners/reducers.

DT
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