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Guide Cameras


Johnnyaardvark
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Hi


 


Looking at guiding my HEq5 Pro and looking for some thoughts.


 


I see that people use quite a varaiety of stuff. I am mostly thinking of the finder guider with PHD route to keep weight down but do have some concerns about having my PC outside.


 


1/ Thoughts on camera's


 


QHY5 II sounds like this has a few less issues than the 1st version (re banding/noise?)


The ZWO ASI120MM OR MC


I should I just look out for a cheaper webcam? philips spc900nc or 880 flashed?


 


Obviously these are quite different prices but they would probably all do the job of guiding.


 


Would they all fit with in a finder? I think I have two 50mm skywatcher ones so can mod one.


 


Is it worth having two of the above? I may have a play with the for example the ZWO for DSO's (ok it's not going to be up there with a cooled CCD)


Would I be disappointed with this compared to my DSLR (also considering a dedicated astromodded canon hopefully in the not too distant future)


 


How do they compare for planetary imaging? Is the QHY5 II much better than the first version does it still suffer with some issues that make the ZWO option much better? Anyone use the colour ZWO for guiding?


 


 


2/ Thoughts on...  


Keeping dew off a laptop outside... thoughts...


Keeping it inside... how long a usb cable can a get away with draped across the lawn?


 


Thanks


 


Steve


 


 


 


 


 


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morning Steve,


i believe that any of the above cameras would fit a 9 x 50 skywatcher finder with the adapter that you can buy,


i personally wouldn`t go for the philips spc 900 type webcam as it does work but it has a tiny chip which i found hard to get the sweet focus spot using a st80.


fine when it was focused and once done you don`t really need to touch it again but now i use the zwo 120 mono which is twice the size chip and after my teething problems with it now works very well as a guide camera and also doubles up as my plantary camera.


they don`t like powered usb hubs or active usb cables, well mine anyway, but it works fine with a cheap (£1.64) 5 meter usb cable from e bay and a 1.6 meter extension printer cable clipped into it, i now get 17 fps on full frame even on my old not very powerful obsy pc.


i think i`m right in saying the the new qhy 5 Lii is the same chip as the zwo 120 so that would also be a good camera to consdider and i think there are a few people on the forum that use them, Allan the plumber i know uses one.


there are also a few very nice dso images on the zwo website using there cameras but i wouldn`t say they would compair to a modded dlsr or cooled ccd.


 


usb cables seem to be a real problem i`ve found, some seem to work very well and others are a real pain, Geezanova (nick) has had loads of problems with his 15 meter cables, they stop working for some reason,


i use 5 meter active usb cables on most of my stuff with no problems except for the zwo 120 camera, you can daisy chain a few of these together to make a longer cable,


i have one active cable to a powered hub running the mount, Atik ccd, usb focuser, and usb filter wheel, and another none active usb cable to the zwo 120 camera which i use for the guide camera and sometimes planetary use.

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Hi Rob,


 


Thanks for the detailed reply and that pretty much swings it for the more specialised guide/planetary camera's. Would be interested in anyone's experience with both the ASI120 MM and / vs the QHY5 II.  


 


I know some people have had issues with fogging? Is the ASI Better? You also mention it does not like OR will not run of the USB power bus? I would prefer not to have an extra mains cable out there. I assume it can run off a 12V regulated supply?


 


If they are the same chip I would be tempted by the QHY5 (II) as it's a little cheaper and I like the idea of the small cross section and size. But if the ASI is a better camera e.g. for small DSO's / planets then would be happy with the extra outlay I think especially if it still fits my finder scope.


 


Thanks for any comments...


 


S


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I'm told laptops work better in the cold. I dont know if you'd get dew on them due to thermal radiation from its operation that might keep off dew? You could consider put part of the laptop in a protective bag and the bag containing a decent sized bag of re-usable silica gel to keep the moisture level in the bag minimised. I dont know how easily that would work, what with having to have the bag open to use the laptop.

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I find a Really Useful Box -well useful they have a nice lip to stop rain and of course dew once you are step up and running and all the other connections if you get one a bit bigger


 


If you are really paranoid about the laptop failing get one of these


while they last


http://www.morgancomputers.co.uk/product_detail/13687/Panasonic-Toughbook-laptop-CF29-1-6GHz-13-3-Screen-1-5GB-80GB-XP-Pro/


 


pity they don't have a couple more usb's

Edited by Ibbo
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Thanks All,


 


Steve... Best bit of advice there is surely the Really Useful Box! :) Searched them out on the internet and they look quite reasonably priced and yes, very useful.


 


Will look into them a  bit more when I have time and probably get a/the selection.


 


Regards


 


Steve


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  • 3 weeks later...

Well after further reading I am still deliberating a little but have pretty much come to the decision of getting the QHY5L-II. This does have the same chip as the ZWO120-MM. Reviews do seem a little variable though:-


 


  • Quite a few people appear to have had problems with software?
  • Some have made comments about build quality and how sturdy the USB/ST4 connectors may be.

 


Allan (the Plumber)... if you around I would be interested in knowing your experiences and of course from any other users of the QHY5L-II.


 


Main reason for the QHY would be the small form factor that appears to give a little extra flexibility in terms of inward travel as it fits more fully into the eyepiece holder.


 


I am erring towards the mono but this means I would also want to buy a cheap manual 1.25" filterwheel (likely further issue with inward travel on the focuser especially on the 200P) and some cheaper LRGB filters for planetary imaging. ZWO do some that are only about £70 any thoughts on these. Are they good enough?


 


Thanks for any help,


 


Steve

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  • 2 months later...

Hey Steve, did you get the QHY5l ii Mono? I am going down the same route as you and need a bit of advice.

I am looking for a guide scope camera, I have an ST80 scope piggy backed already on my lx200, just deciding whether to go for the QHY5l ii mono, a SX lodestar or orion guide camera. I just want something to work without too many issues

You can pm me if you wish :-)

Steve.

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Hi. Actually not bought it yet as have been deliberating over filter wheels but as it happens decided to take it step by step and biting the bullet this weekend. Should be able to let you know how I get on by the weekend in terms of software.

It will be the mono version.

I'll by making it into a finder guider using a spare 9x50 finder scope I have but when I took the back off it looked pretty mucky inside so actually using it for guiding may take longer.

Will let you know how I get on!

Edited by Johnnyaardvark
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Been using a QH5 11 for a couple of weeks now and its great.


Ok it is nowhere near the Loadstar in terms of sensitivity but it is brilliant for my needs.


I have had no software issues at all with it.


I use it with my ST 80 and run PHD as the guiding program.


 


I tried it out today as a stand alone planetary camera  on the sun using the supplied EZPlanetary software and it was great.


I am going to see if I can use it with the 10 inch Meade tonight on Jupiter but that will depend on how the cloud gods are feeling.


Edited by Graham
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Thank you Steve and Graham! (it just occurred to me, writing this, I,m a Steve and my one only little brother is called.... yep, Graham )

Your comments are very helpful, I have going round the bend looking at specifications, forums and websites. Just when you think you have found the right kit, something else pips it or it gets a bad comment... So I have left it for a week or so, but now I'm ready to carry on.

The lodestar would be great, but the lodestar 2 is better, but too expensive and probably a bit over the top (for me), for a guide setup using a ST80, so I will probably go down the QHY5 ii or QHY5L ii mono path. I have PHD too.

Please keep me posted on your thoughts and progress.

Thanks guys!

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Been using a QH5 11 for a couple of weeks now and its great.

Ok it is nowhere near the Loadstar in terms of sensitivity but it is brilliant for my needs.

I have had no software issues at all with it.

I use it with my ST 80 and run PHD as the guiding program.

 

I tried it out today as a stand alone planetary camera  on the sun using the supplied EZPlanetary software and it was great.

I am going to see if I can use it with the 10 inch Meade tonight on Jupiter but that will depend on how the cloud gods are feeling.

 

 

Interesting re: you having a go at the sun Graham. Did you and how did you fit it all in? :-)

 

Steve

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Interesting re: you having a go at the sun Graham. Did you and how did you fit it all in? :-)

 

Steve

 

 

The results were not too bad considering I was testing it using this alien program.

Steve I had it on the back of the GT81.

Sun fits in perfectly  :)

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  • 1 month later...

Finally got around to trying out my QHY guide cam properly. Not the best of evening last night but got it guiding nicely and tried out some planetary on Jupiter. All worked well. focussing was quite a faf but I was really pleased with how the guiding was going. Did crash PHD once but I think that was more down to the spec of my pc rather than anything else. Frame rates were a little lower than I have expected/hoped for too.


 


Will post some results in the imaging section and/or write a small report on my experiences. All in all though very happy with it.


 


 


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