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Old 26-07-2005, 10:03 PM
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Modified Toucam - exposure test

I have just tried different exposure times with my modified toucam. Using the free software imaging capture program Desire, i pointed the toucam (without a scope) at southern cross and tried different exposures.

Results are as follows. I have also included the toucam image that was developed via registrax and aprox 300 shots taken at 5 fps.
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Old 27-07-2005, 05:48 AM
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iceman (Mike)
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Very interesting Dave, I assume the lens was still on the webcam?

The images are quite noisy, but I guess that's expected for a long exposure without cooling.

If you had a tracking mount, it would be interesting to see multiple long-exposures stacked to see what happens.. but there's an awful lot of sky glow (or noise?) in that 20 second shot.
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Old 27-07-2005, 07:14 AM
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yes "Sir help us a lot" from "I appreciate your help alot",
lens was still on as the telescope had not arrived. By cooling, i assume that it would be best to leave the unit out in the open air for a 1/2 hour or more. I was taking laptop and camera out of heated 18 or 20 degrees out into say 5 or 6 degrees.

I will try again with cooling and update you.

Thanks for feedback
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Old 27-07-2005, 07:27 AM
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How much are the modified toucam's anyway....$$$$$$$$$$$$$
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Old 27-07-2005, 07:50 AM
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got the invoice here.

$145 for 840K toucam by itself
$140 for modification (see http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/a...achmentid=3213 for picture of mod )
$24 for 5m usb extension cable
$45 for black anodised 1.25" adapter
$12 for postage

total $366
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Old 27-07-2005, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
By cooling, i assume that it would be best to leave the unit out in the open air for a 1/2 hour or more. I was taking laptop and camera out of heated 18 or 20 degrees out into say 5 or 6 degrees.

I will try again with cooling and update you.
That's not quite white I meant by cooling, I was more referring to the "peltier- cooled" astro ccd cameras, that have a big heatsink type of thing attached to them to draw away the heat and keep the unit cool.

The hotter the unit is around the CCD, the more noise that will be generated/captured. The reason for stacking many shots is to increase the signal to noise ratio, so that noise will get cancelled out and only the good data is left.
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Old 27-07-2005, 07:59 AM
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makes sense. The program Desire lets me take however many shots at whatever exposure. so i will take a few more tonight at say 20 secs and then stack em!
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Old 27-07-2005, 07:59 AM
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What are the 'mods' to the Toucam, Dave?
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Old 27-07-2005, 08:08 AM
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hopefully you can see in the picture, there is a switch below the lense that they install. Flick it to "N" for normal, then the camera works as a webcam, flick to "L" for Long exposure and the exposure time can be run by a computer via the added printer cable.

I use imaging software Desire, that Matt at Telescope and Astronomy sent me to control the number of shots and exposure of each. I have added to my webserver at http://precons.com/iis/downloads/toucam/ if you need a copy.
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Old 27-07-2005, 08:17 AM
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That switch is in a weird spot....wouldn't it get in the way if your using 2" diagonals....looks like it would.

It would be intersting playing around with it even putting a peltier core on it just to see the difference.
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Old 27-07-2005, 08:34 AM
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not sure as i don't own a 2" diagonal. I just screwed in the 1.25" adapter and measured distance from edge of adapter to the switch and it was roughly 10mm. It cleared the nuts that hold the switch in place.

http://www.telescopes-astronomy.com....am_philips.htm

http://webcaddy.com.au/astro/adapter.htm

have some more adapters for eyepieces etc
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Old 27-07-2005, 08:43 AM
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outer diameter of adapter = 32mm + 20mm clearance = 52mm =2.047" or 26mm from center of ccd and switch. not much room to move here!
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Old 27-07-2005, 08:57 AM
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So whats the benefit of the longer exposure times if its going to be noisier?

Is it still only a lunar and planetry capture device or does it move towards DSOs?
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Old 27-07-2005, 09:01 AM
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good point, once i try and clear up noise with a stacking program, i will see if 10+ secs are going to be usable!
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Old 27-07-2005, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
So whats the benefit of the longer exposure times if its going to be noisier?

Is it still only a lunar and planetry capture device or does it move towards DSOs?
The longer exposures are specifically for DSO's. For lunar and planetary you will not use the long exposure switch.
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Old 27-07-2005, 11:23 AM
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cool, post some dso pics!!
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  #17  
Old 27-07-2005, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iceman
The longer exposures are specifically for DSO's. For lunar and planetary you will not use the long exposure switch.
How well can it do DSOs?
Is it a worthwhile mod or is going to leave you wishing you hadn't bothered?
Is there somewhere that has pics that shows what is capable from the modded unit?
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Old 27-07-2005, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
How well can it do DSOs?
Is it a worthwhile mod or is going to leave you wishing you hadn't bothered?
Is there somewhere that has pics that shows what is capable from the modded unit?
All good questions, none of which I have the answer for

I'm interested to know myself, because it would be a cheap way for me to get into DSO imaging, much cheaper than a DSLR, and even with a DSLR I have the problem of coming to focus, and would probably have to move the mirror forward in the OTA.

I know seeker has some good DSO shots using an Atik webcam and his ETX70, and the Atik is basically a long-exposure modded ToUcam afaik.
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  #19  
Old 27-07-2005, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpretorius
got the invoice here.

$145 for 840K toucam by itself
$140 for modification (see http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/a...achmentid=3213 for picture of mod )
$24 for 5m usb extension cable
$45 for black anodised 1.25" adapter
$12 for postage

total $366
Makes the Celestron NexImage sound cheap and it is all set up to go! Adaptor built in, long exposure control at the PC etc. Would be good to see a side-by-side comparison of pics taken of the same object with both LPI's.
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  #20  
Old 27-07-2005, 02:17 PM
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The NexImage can't do long exposures. It can only do short exposures, like the out-of-the-box ToUcam.
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