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Old 14-10-2021, 07:17 PM
bluesilver (Peter)
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ZWO asi2600mc settings in APT?

Hi, I have just received a ZWO asi2600mc, I previously have been using a Canon EOS 600D.
The software i am using is APT ( astro photography tool )

I am trying to find out wha is the best or correct option to go with when opening the camera tab.
Do i choose ASCOM as the driver or ZWO?

The ASCOM options seam easy enough to set up by the looks of things.
You just either select highest dynamic gain or lowest read noise,
So basically 0 for for dark skies and 100 for suburban skies.

But if i choose ZWO as the driver i have a different options to work out.
Black level/offset
USB speed %
WB_R
WB_B
I have no idea what any of those mean or what i should be setting them at.

Below is a copy of the two options that i am talking about, the left one is the options with ZWO and the right is the options with ASCOM

Any help would be greatly appreciated
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Click for full-size image (ASCOM drivers.png)
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  #2  
Old 14-10-2021, 08:55 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Peter,
Iíve exclusively used APT to run my imaging capture plan using my 2600MC
From experience over the past 15 months , I use the Ascom driver and set my 2600MC to highest dynamic range or Gain 0 , cooled to -10C
Iíve used Ascom , Lowest read noise Gain 100 and experimented with this setting with short and long exposures ( 60 sec to 300 sec ) with and without L Exteme filter and to be honest, the best images Iíve captured have been using highest dynamic range Gain 0
I didnít bother with the native ZWO driver as folk have had issues with this , Ascom is the most reliable and safe method to run your camera IMO
I use my 2600MC under Bortle 8 Sydney skies and Bortle 3 dark skies on the South Coast NSW in my Obs
So to answer your questions as far as my experiences are concerned, no Ascom highest dynamic range Gain 0 can be used in both light polluted and dark skies
My recommendation is stick to Ascom as you wonít have any issues
Other folk may offer alternative advice and thatís ok but Ascom has worked flawlessly for me over the past 15 months in my 6Ē and 8Ē newtonian reflectors

Cheers
Martin
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Old 14-10-2021, 09:07 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Startrek View Post
Peter,
Iíve exclusively used APT to run my imaging capture plan using my 2600MC
From experience over the past 15 months , I use the Ascom driver and set my 2600MC to highest dynamic range or Gain 0 , cooled to -10C
Iíve used Ascom , Lowest read noise Gain 100 and experimented with this setting with short and long exposures ( 60 sec to 300 sec ) with and without L Exteme filter and to be honest, the best images Iíve captured have been using highest dynamic range Gain 0
I didnít bother with the native ZWO driver as folk have had issues with this , Ascom is the most reliable and safe method to run your camera IMO
I use my 2600MC under Bortle 8 Sydney skies and Bortle 3 dark skies on the South Coast NSW in my Obs
So to answer your questions as far as my experiences are concerned, no Ascom highest dynamic range Gain 0 can be used in both light polluted and dark skies
My recommendation is stick to Ascom as you wonít have any issues
Other folk may offer alternative advice and thatís ok but Ascom has worked flawlessly for me over the past 15 months in my 6Ē and 8Ē newtonian reflectors

Cheers
Martin
PS: I forgot to mention that I started AP in late 2016 with a Canon 600D too ( I borrowed it from my wife who never used it much ) I still use it for 2 purposes, firstly to polar alignment because it has a live view that doesnít buffer , itís instantaneous , works really well with defocused star centering etc.... and secondly I use it to dabble in a bit of lunar and planetary imaging using BYEOS. Does a pretty good job considering. It obviously retired from DSO imaging 15 months ago once I had the 2600MC up and running , chalk and cheese really.
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Old 15-10-2021, 02:01 AM
bluesilver (Peter)
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Thanks for the reply and information, that has helped heaps, all starting to make a bit of sense to me now slowly.
Is it possible that you can help me out with just a few other little issues i have in regards to setting it up in a imaging plan as it appears a bit different from a DSLR

In the imaging plan you have the exposure, bin, gain, offset, pause, count.
I was mainly trying to work out the Gain and offset settings.

I take it that you just leave the offset at 50, but not sure about the gain, do i just set this at either 0 or 100, so just set the gain to 0

Then there is that box in the lower right hand corner called object name, in there you have Bulb seconds and gain, do i also just put the gain as 0 in there as well, and for the bulb seconds is this just really how long it takes an exposure for when plate solving?

All information is appreciated.
Thanks.
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Old 15-10-2021, 06:40 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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Peter,
Hereís my procedure in APT
Please be aware that I donít use APT to launch or run PH2 or any other software like Goto and plate solving etc... mine are all standalone like my EQMOD and Stellarium for my Goto and tracking and PHD2 for my guiding. The only Ascom related function I use in APT is enabling the dither function ( via Guide tab ) in APT so the PHD2 will activate a dither during guiding whilst APT is capturing subs.
Also I donít use the Focus Aid either or Magnifier tools to focus ( as I use newtonian reflectors I just take short 15 sec subs on a mag 2.5 single Star and use my diffraction spikes to nail tight focus ( similar to a batinov mask but without the mask ) works perfectly every time and takes 5 mins or about 5 to 10 short subs whilst adjusting my EAF focuser

See attached my APT procedure

Hope this helps

Cheers
Martin
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Astrophotography Tool Procedure.pdf (50.0 KB, 5 views)
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Old 15-10-2021, 08:11 AM
bluesilver (Peter)
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Thanks heaps for that procedure, I will print that out and go over it a few times, Bit of luck i can get my head around it all, I think i might be able to adapt a few things i was doing with the Canon 600D to this as i use APT for plate solving and goto.
All the rest are also stand alone like Stallerium and PHD2

Very much appreciated.
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Old 15-10-2021, 09:03 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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Peter,
Glad to help
In regards to dithering in APT, itís located under the ďGearĒ tab top right , then under Guide tab
I also have my histogram opened automatically when my Camera is connected ( you will need your histogram to auto stretch your image for viewing )
Also I usually take a test exposure prior to setting my final capture plan to make sure we are all framed up properly, so set my plan for just 1 exposure. Select Camera tab at top , press Edit , Name : Test exposure , Exposure say 60 sec , Bin 1x1 , Pause 2 sec, Count 1
Press Update current then OK
Press Start
After test exposure is taken I press ďImg tabĒ top right, go to bottom and press ď Go to Last TakenĒ button , then I press ICT button to provide zoomed in thumbnail. I use the zoomed in thumbnail to check my star shape ( if a star is in field ) which tells me how guiding is running. Once happy with everything, then I press Camera tab again , set my final Capture Plan then Update Current then OK then Start

Sorry for the long winded procedure

PS: I hate the APT manual , your jumping back and forth all over the place but live the software !!
Believe me it took me 2 weeks to get up and running but once you nail your procedure itís seamless and easy

Cheers
Martin
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Old 15-10-2021, 04:12 PM
bluesilver (Peter)
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There is no dramas here with the long tutorial, the more information the better for me at least.
I have been trying to learn it all from that manual, but for me i just get all muddled up in places and not sure what was suppose to be what and the like.

I have been doing fine with the DSLR with dithering and guiding, so no dramas there, just re setting the dither to suit this camera is the main thing compared to the DSLR

The histogram and the auto stretching with be something new, might do a tad more research into that, but sounds easy enough kind of.

Very much appreciated.
Thanks.
Peter.
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Old 15-10-2021, 05:14 PM
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The_bluester (Paul)
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The dither settle "Shouldn't" be impacted, that is generally dealt with by PHD2 and the settle requirement in pixels will come from your guider system not APT (Or does APT monitor guide stats as well, I have not used it in some time and can not recall, Voyager which I use has it's own watchdogs for various functions including guiding)

The only thing that might change a little could be how well settled it has to be relating to the slightly smaller pixels of the 2600 compared to your DLSR, it might make it a sniff more demanding in terms of the smaller pixels revealing issues that the slightly bigger ones forgave. Unlikely though.
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Old 15-10-2021, 05:19 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Peter,
Just some prerequisites regarding APT and the 2600MC for reliable operation -

1/ Ensure you have good quality USB3 cable ( 5m or less ) from camera to Laptop as the 2600MC generates huge files ( 50MB ea ) regardless of sub length
It may sound ridiculous but I use the 5m long Startech Active USB3A to USB3B cable ( part no USB3SAB5M ) cost me $120 but itís been 100% reliable for 15 months at both sites. I look at it this way if I get 6 years out of the cable , that $20 a year of reliable connectivity.

2/ Make sure your Ascom drivers and ZWO drivers are up to date

3/ Ensure you have a good solid 12v power supply to the Camera for cooling , warming and dew control. I use overkill ( Powertech Power Adapter 7.5amp 12V power supply )

4/ In regard to cooling and warming , sometimes your camera doesnít reach the desired temp say -10C or cooler , just increase your cooling steps a bit in the Cooling Aid

5/ Donít worry about off sets with the camera driver settings, Ascom takes care of that. Just select Highest Dynamic Range (Gain 0) and make sure your dew heater is switched to On ( leave it default On )

6/ In regard to Dither settings in APT , I leave my Dither distance to 1 and Dither settle to 15 sec ( using my EQ6-R mount ) scrolling through my subs shows enough pixel shift at dither distance 1.
You can increase your dither to 2 or 3 but depends how your mounts reacts

7/ In regard to APT and PHD2 goes , I open APT first , switch Dither On , then open PHD2 ( if I do it in reverse PHD2 doesnít talk to APT when a dither is sent.

8/ Iíve only had 2 occasions over 15 months where APT just stopped whilst I was setting something and just left hanging ( obviously a Windows issue ) I just shutdown and restarted APT only and it was fine after that

Cheers
Martin
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Old 15-10-2021, 06:47 PM
bluesilver (Peter)
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Thanks heaps again, some very good pointers there.

I have a good USB3A to USB3B cable, but not quiet in the league as the startech version, I might have to look back into them at some stage.
I am using a pegusas power box as my multi point connection and so far all good.

All good with the updated drivers, so that part is good,

I use a 240v to 12v converter, so guaranteed a solid 12v volt supply, so all good there,

I will make a note on that cooling bit and the gain settings,
Will set the dither at 1 and see how it runs, I have just recently stripped the mount all the way down and re greased, adjusted all the worm gears.

I think that is similar to how i open the programs, Stallerium, APT, PHD2

Should be all set, just got to get some clear skies to test all the theory out now.
Appreciated.
Peter.
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