[RESOLVED] STXL 11002/FW8G settings in Maxim

Discussion in 'STX and STXL Series Cameras' started by BillF, Jun 30, 2015.

  1. BillF

    BillF Cyanogen Customer

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    Can anyone advise on the correct settings in Maxim DL v6 for the camera w/self guided FW? See below for an example of what I'm using and the results. The CCD image file is clearly not correct, but the autoguider image seems reasonable.

    Thanks,

    Bill Maxim Scrfeen Shot.PNG
     
  2. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    You're only seeing the main camera, actually.

    Turn on Dual Chip in the Setup tab first. Guide chip is usually set to External.
     
  3. BillF

    BillF Cyanogen Customer

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    Thanks Doug. Made those changes. Guide image still looks black (in daylight). I notice the shutter opens/closes for the duration of the guider exposure when taking a guide exposure. That doesn't seem right. Any thoughts?

    Bill
     
  4. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    Daylight can result in a saturated image, which looks black in MaxIm DL (screen stretch expects to see outer space...). So check with the mouse cursor and status bar or information window whether it's actually zero or totally saturated.
     
  5. BillF

    BillF Cyanogen Customer

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    OK, so I tried it tonight. Focused the main sensor and then tried to focus the guider. I'm getting zero signal when using ambient light, however if I shine a light into the OTA the guider signal maxes out so it appears to be capturing photons. I moved the guider focus knob through its range but only see hot pixels. I've attached a screen shot of the settings. Any thoughts appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Bill
    upload_2015-11-8_18-9-46.png
     
  6. Geoff Stone

    Geoff Stone Cyanogen Customer

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    Have you checked the positioning of the pick-off?
     
  7. BillF

    BillF Cyanogen Customer

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    Yes, I checked the positioning just before imaging and adjusted such that the "shadow" is just outside the FOV.

    The more I think about it it seems that the guide sensor is in its proper place, active and detecting photons (at least when I operate in daylight or shine a light onto it). I wonder if for some reason there were just not any stars in the FOV, although it seems there should be something above zero detected by the sensor. It also seems strange that the main sensor shutter activates when taking a guide exposure (the pick-off mirror for the guide chip is in front of the shutter, correct?). Does this suggest something wrong in the settings?

    Thanks for any thoughts.

    Bill
     
  8. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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  9. Bill

    Bill SBIG Service and Repairs Staff Member

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    Perhaps you can try a different HDMI cable. I'm not so familiar with Maxim, is there an external guider option that should be selected?
     
  10. BillF

    BillF Cyanogen Customer

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    Thanks Bill. Will any HDMI cable suffice or do I need a specific one?
     
  11. Bill

    Bill SBIG Service and Repairs Staff Member

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    I'm not sure of any special requirements. I'd say to get a decent one, I wouldn't necessarily buy the cheapest one.
     
  12. BillF

    BillF Cyanogen Customer

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    Hi guys,

    Well, I was able to get the autoguider working. As I suspected it was a question of having visible stars in focus. So- no hardware problem. But I'm still having the same issue with the main camera shutter activating during autoguider exposures. And now, when I take a main camera exposure, the autoguider exposure sequence stops for the duration of the main exposure. This must be a Maxim settings issue, but I can't seem to figure it out. Following screenshot shows the camera settings I'm using. Same for both cameras. Any comments welcome.

    Capture.PNG
     
  13. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    That's a symptom I've never heard of before! Are you set for "Separate thread" under Options? Maybe try turning that off.
     
  14. BillF

    BillF Cyanogen Customer

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    Thanks for the reply. No, I actually turned separate thread on to see if that resolved it, but did not so I reset to off.
     
  15. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Cyanogen Customer

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    From what you describe about the camera shutters making the click, click every time a guide exposure is taken, when you start imaging with the main sensor, you won't hear that shutter anymore. It's actually the guider shutter you are hearing. So, when you aren't exposing the main sensor, the guider shutter keeps cycling while taking guide exposures, but once you start a main sensor exposure, it stops and the shutter stays open. Are you sure that the guide chip isn't really taking exposures and guiding?

    P.S. If I remember correctly, the STXL cameras were built the same way as the older STL cameras in that they had the guide sensor behind the main shutter so guide exposures had to be shuttered by the main shutter and that transferred over to the STX line of cameras also. So, while taking only guide exposures, the click, click you hear is the actual guide shutter on the filter wheel, but if you look down the scope at the main CCD, you'll also see the main shutter cycling also, until you start a main chip exposure.
     
  16. BillF

    BillF Cyanogen Customer

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    Thanks for your response. I've now tried a simulation on the benchtop and found the same as described above in the field, as follows:

    The imaging sensor and guide sensor both activate (i.e. both shutters open) when either a main image or guide image is separately requested (by Maxim DL, although was the same using CCDOPS) and whichever exposure was requested works. When both the imaging sensor and guide sensor are activated as in an image capture/guide sequence, the imaging sensor collects data but the guide sensor stops collecting data, although its shutter remains open, for the duration of the main sensor exposure (I could see this clearly in the field because the guide tracking graph stopped showing new data points). When the main sensor exposure ends, the guide sequence resumes but the result is no guiding during the main sensor exposure. As indicated I tried this simulation using CCDOPS with the same result so no longer believe it is a Maxim settings issue. The SBIG drivers are updated and all other connections/commands seem to work properly. Bill from SBIG suggested changing the HDMI cable connecting the remote head and main camera, which I have not tried yet. Any other thoughts welcome!

    Bill
     
    Dan Wilson likes this.
  17. Bill

    Bill SBIG Service and Repairs Staff Member

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    If I'm understanding this correctly... you're able to successfully acquire an image with either ccd , both the imaging ccd and the guiding ccd. If that is true then your HDMI cable assumedly would be good. The "trouble" begins when trying to function in dual view? If that is true, I would think software. I wouldn't think the shutters just move on their own.
     
  18. BillF

    BillF Cyanogen Customer

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    Thanks Bill. You are understanding the problem correctly. I agree that software makes sense (why I initially suspected Maxim settings), but using two different software apps I'm getting the same issue. Perhaps I should try reinstalling the drivers...
     
  19. Bill

    Bill SBIG Service and Repairs Staff Member

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    "I'm still having the same issue with the main camera shutter activating during autoguider exposures. And now, when I take a main camera exposure, the autoguider exposure sequence stops for the duration of the main exposure."

    In the statement above, are you saying that you're actively acquiring images with the guiding ccd then begin an imaging sequence with the imaging ccd, and once that starts, the FWG shutter starts acting in concert with the STXL shutter and that is not supposed to happen? The two shutters are supposed to function independently? Taking different length exposures and opening and closing at different times? And it only happens when using dual mode? That certainly would seem like a software thing to me.
    I'm pretty sure I've never tried that in a repair or troubleshooting capacity with CCDOps. I've only used dual view in CCDOps a handful of times and that would have been with the two ccd's taking the same length of exposure and started at the same time, in focus mode.

    If both ccd's are functional and both ccd's have objects in their field of view then I would think you should be able to see those objects in dual view. If you can't then I would look at the pick off mirror to verify that the guider object is actually in the field of view. Is the view displayed in dual view the full field? I don't know off hand. It just seems to me that a functioning ccd that displays an image in one mode would not fail because you're trying to see it in a different mode.
    Am I still understanding this correctly?
     
  20. BillF

    BillF Cyanogen Customer

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    Let me try and describe the problem statement as I understand it: When operated independently, both sensors acquire and download images. This can be seen in the post above (from Nov 4) where both an autoguider image and primary sensor image are shown (both are the correct size for the respective sensors). The problem is that when operating together (as when taking a guided exposure), the guider sensor does not download data while the primary sensor is exposing even though both shutters are open. After the primary image completes, the autoguider download sequence resumes. I think for the images above the main sensor exposure was 60 sec and the autoguider exposure 3 sec.

    The main symptom I observe is that whenever the main sensor or autoguider is set to image, separately or together, both shutters open. Since the autoguider sensor is in the FW in front of the main sensor/shutter, it does not seem right that the main shutter opens (exposing the main sensor) when only a guiding exposure is being taken nor that the guider shutter should open when taking only a main exposure. They open/close in synch with the main sensor having exposure priority if both are operating. By the way I was not able to fully reproduce the dual imaging problem in CCDOps (I've never used it for actual imaging) but the same shutter "symptom" was evident in my benchtop simulation.

    Thanks again for your comments and ideas.
     

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