New STT-8300 Image Defect Problems Continue - amp glow?

Discussion in 'STT Series (retired)' started by Dean J., Apr 3, 2016.

  1. Dean J.

    Dean J. Standard User

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    Yes, I have only seen the "glow" in the upper left corner when taking light frames with the camera & filter wheel attached to a telescope. I haven't yet seen the effect in any of the 4 sets of dark frames that I have taken with the camera - 1 x 1 and 2 x 2 bin - in the 5 months since purchase. I have had the camera out 3 times with two different telescopes and and have seen the intermittent appearance of the same "glow" all three times while taking light exposures.

    That is why I asked if the driver or firmware somehow treats light frames different from dark frames.
     
  2. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    Well there are differences, e.g. the shutter sequencing, but basically we try to take darks and lights as identically as possible.

    Our tests were done with the shutter open, but no light. I guess the next step is to test on a telescope.
     
  3. Dean J.

    Dean J. Standard User

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    When the camera was at Bill's facility the first time a couple of months ago he thought that a shiny area on the light shield may have been the source of the "glow". That would certainly make sense given my observation that the "glow" is only present in light frames when the camera is on a telescope and taking light subs. The thing that is puzzling is why, if we are getting a reflection off the light shield, would the effect be intermittent and vary in intensity while the telescope is pointed at the same object?

    Bill said that he did paint an area on the light shield that was suspect. However, the "glow" happened again a few weeks later during my next imaging trip.

    The two telescopes that I have used the camera with are a Tak. Epsilon 160 and a f/9 RC Optical Systems RC. The effect was present while the camera was attached to both so I don't have any reason to believe that the effect was caused by the telescopes.
     
  4. Geoff Stone

    Geoff Stone Cyanogen Customer

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    I also see this occasionally and have had the same discussion with Bill about the light shield. It doesn't happen all the time and I think it very peculiar that the pattern doesn't seem to change. It always appears in the same corner and is very symmetrical. You would think if it was a reflection that the pattern would vary depending on what's in the field of view, rotation angles, filters, etc.

    Personally, I'm skeptical about it being a reflection. I'm waiting on the new firmware and plugin to see if it changes the behavior at all.
     
  5. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    Bill has been unable to replicate the problem with your camera, and I've not been able to do it with another unit here. It's really hard to fix a problem you can't reproduce.

    What software are you using to acquire the images?

    I know you've been very patient with this, but what I'd like to do is get the camera and filter wheel shipped up here, and put it on a telescope with as much of the same hardware and software as we can manage. If I can recreate the problem in a "real world" test setup, then we'll be able to make some progress.
     
  6. Dean J.

    Dean J. Standard User

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    Hi Doug, thanks for the reply. I have been off the grid for a few days on a camping trip.

    I have been using the camera control module in The Sky X to control the camera.

    Yes, this has certainly got me scratching my head. I don't know how to fix the issue on my own. I wouldn't be bothering you guys with this if I didn't think that the source of the problem was the camera or filter wheel.

    I have only used the STT-8300 + self-guiding filter wheel on two telescopes so far - the RC Optical Systems RC and the Takahashi Epsilon mentioned above. I have been doing CCD imaging using these telescopes for 11 years and 16 years respectively. I have used several other SBIG cameras on both telescopes - the ST-10 on the RC and the ST-7, the ST-2000, and the STL-11000M on the Epsilon - and I have never seen this issue until I started using the STT-8300M with the self guiding filter wheel on both OTAs.

    Bill has the camera in the Pelican case. I have the filter wheel here. I will attach the filter wheel when I get the camera back from Bill and forward it on to you.

    Where and who should I ship the camera-filter wheel to?
     
  7. Dean J.

    Dean J. Standard User

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    Aha!, I not going crazy! The "glow" that I see is always in the upper left corner. Although it varies in intensity and appears intermittently, I always see it in the upper left corner.

    Geoff, I am interested to hear about your progress in tracking down the issue.
     
  8. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    One theory proposed today has to do with the RBI preflash feature, which isn't quite correct in the original implementation. We're wondering if maybe the LEDs are flashing for 1 millisecond and not being flushed.

    We're about to release new firmware and drivers with an all-new improved RBI implementation. In the meantime, please make sure the preflash duration is actually set to 0 milliseconds, regardless of whether it's turned "on" or not. (In MaxIm DL this is done from the Expose tab, Options menu, Camera Settings. For other software you'll have to check the manual.)
     
  9. Dean J.

    Dean J. Standard User

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    Doug, I am willing to wait for a month and use the camera with the new firmware & drivers during the next new moon period and see if the new RBI implementation fixes the problem that I am having.

    I just looked at The Sky X camera control settings on my imaging laptop. I'm not sure that the RBI preflash feature has been implemented... at least I can't find it... and I haven't been able to find any mention in the manual.

    Anyway, I am willing to delay sending the camera/filter wheel to you for a month so that I can test it out with the new firmware & drivers. The only thing that worries me is that the warranty clock is ticking and I don't want to drag the process out if it turns out that there is a hardware problem that needs to be corrected.

    Let me know what you want to do.
     
  10. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    Warranty period isn't an issue.

    Let's try the firmware update first. It will be released very shortly - in testing right now.
     
  11. gillmj24

    gillmj24 Standard User

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    Any updates to the firmware? I am also waiting to test if you like regarding RBI preflash making things not work well at all in my STT8300.
     
  12. Dean J.

    Dean J. Standard User

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    Yes, they did release a new driver and firmware update a couple of weeks ago. I had intended to give things a try last weekend but the weather in our local mountains didn't cooperate - too windy to image - so I'll have to wait for a clear evening here on the coast to see how things look with the driver/firmware revisions.
     
  13. Dean J.

    Dean J. Standard User

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    Well, I finally had the opportunity to test the camera on one of my telescopes in the field after the recent driver and firmware update. The same "glow" appears in the upper left corner in some of my light frames.

    Here is what I have been seeing with regard to this issue:
    - the glow does not appear in dark frames nor does it appear in light frames taken "on the bench" - I have only seen the effect when the camera is on the telescope and actively imaging an object while guiding.
    - the glow does not appear to be filter dependent or related to filter changes - I have seen the glow effect using L, R, G & B filters.
    - the glow appears intermittently with no apparent pattern.

    The camera has been looked at twice by Bill at SBIG repair and no defects/deficiencies were found.

    In my continuing attempts to isolate the cause of the image corruption I am now to the point where I am trying to rule out the the camera control software as the cause. I have been using The Sky X camera control software. I don't have any problem with switching over to MaxIm DL if it will solve the issue. I just don't have the extra $$ to spend on additional camera control software if this is not the source of the problem.

    I see that there is a 30 day demo version MaxIm DL 6 available for download. Is this version fully functional, i.e. - can I take a series of images and then save the images with the demo version? If so, then I can try to rule out The Sky X's camera control software as the cause of the glow effect.

    Regards,

    Dean J.
     
  14. Chris Anderson

    Chris Anderson Cyanogen Customer

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    Dean, I've been following this post with great interest. I recently bought an STT-8300, but am still awaiting adapter rings to install it. So I cannot add to the discussion. However, I can say that the trial version of Maxim DL is fully functional in all respects. Your problem reminds me of my dreaded 'Camera Error 8' bug that plagued my old STL-8300M. That manifested itself when using a USB hub, but only a handful of users experienced it, and SBIG could never reproduce it on their cameras. Good luck! CG
     
  15. Dean J.

    Dean J. Standard User

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    Hi Chris, thanks for the info.

    There are many things to like about the STT-8300 and the self-guiding filter wheel. Its frustrating to have to throw out 1 or 2 images out of every 10 because they have been corrupted by this issue.

    Hopefully a change in the software will solve the problem.

    I have a friend with a STT-3200 and the same filter wheel and he hasn't seen this problem even though he also uses the same camera control module from The Sky X.

    Regards,

    Dean J.
     
  16. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    Dean, have you asked Richard Wright about this on the Software Bisque forum? Maybe he would have an idea.
    I'm also curious about how the camera is attached to the scope - can you describe? Am wondering if there is some weird internal reflection in the draw tube or something odd.
     
  17. Dean J.

    Dean J. Standard User

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    Hi Colin,

    No, I haven't really dealt with Software Bisque other to ask on the forum how the RBI preflash is implemented in the camera control module so I could turn it off it it was on. No response from anyone on the forum. I can't find a switch for the RBI preflash in The Sky so I don't think that they have implemented this feature.

    The image corruption that I have been seeing does not appear to be due to light leaks of reflections. I am seeing the same "glow" at the same location when the camera is mounted on three different telescopes.

    With the RCOS RC the camera is attached to the instrument rotator using the RCOS fixed instrument adapter tubes. With the Tak. MT-200 the camera is attached directly to the MT-200 reducer element with a short adapter and then the camera/reducer assembly is screwed into the focuser. With the Tak. Epsilon 130 the attachment is similar to the MT-200 and the Epsilon uses a multi-element corrector that is inside the focuser.

    All three telescopes have been used for imaging for years with other cameras - STL-11000, ST-2000, ST-10XME with no image corruption issues. The only thing that has changed has been the camera and the respective adapters used to attach the cameras to the telescope.

    Thanks for the suggestions though. If the switch to the MaxIm DL demo software solves the problem on then we will have a better handle on the source of the problem.

    Regards,

    Dean J.
     
  18. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    If I think of anything else will let you know.
     
  19. Dean J.

    Dean J. Standard User

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    Thanks, I appreciate your input. Let me know if you do find out anything.

    Dean J.
     
  20. chrisscottmaier

    chrisscottmaier Standard User

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    Just to post my experience with the stt8300 camera, I started seeing a similar effect but it turned out to be glow from my IR webcam I had running to watch the scope. Soon as I turned it off it stopped...
     

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