SBIG ALUMA, StarChaser, and STC cameras with TheSky

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions (Public)' started by Colin Haig, Jun 30, 2021.

  1. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    Here's some tips to help you set up TheSky X with DL Imaging cameras on Windows.

    New SBIG cameras such as the SBIG ALUMA CCD, ALUMA AC, STC, and StarChaser SC series cameras use the DL Imaging drivers, not the classic SBIG Universal Driver for the ST/STL/STXL/STX/STT/STF series.
    Using ASCOM enables these new cameras to be used with most astronomy software, including TheSkyX on Windows.

    Assumptions:
    1. You have a new generation SBIG camera, SBIG filter wheel, and optionally an SBIG guider such as an SC-2 or SC-3 or self-guiding filter wheel such as the FW8G-Aluma
    2. You have successfully installed TheSky X on Windows 10 and configured the basics such as your location.
    3. You are running TheSky X version 10.5.0 build 12987 or newer, 32-bit, on Windows. Older versions may work as well. We've tested this with 13096.
    4. Your Windows environment is up-to-date, has no problems, and all device drivers installed without error.

    Preparation:

    We recommend you install the following in this order:
    1. ASCOM Platform 6.5 SP1
    2. MaxIm LT 6.27 OR MaxIm DL Pro 6.27 - MaxIm LT came with the camera, is helpful for troubleshooting
    3. DL Imaging 2.0.2.0
    4. DL Imaging ASCOM Drivers 6.4.7.0
    These items are a set; so if we introduce updates, check that you have the other software items that go with the updates.

    Once you've installed all that, we recommend checking that you have MaxIm talking to the camera and filter wheel and guider successfully using DL Imaging drivers.

    Configuring TheSky Camera:
    tsx1.png
    Go to the Camera tab/
    Click the camera icon.
    It will bring up the Imaging System setup screen:
    tsx2_camera.png
    Click the [Camera Setup v] button.
    This will bring up options. Select the Choose... option.
    tsx3_camerasetup.png
    Next, you'll see this:
    tsx4_choose.png
    Select ASCOM and expand it by clicking on it. Then select ASCOM camera underneath, and hit [OK].

    Tip: Don't look for your camera under SBIG or Diffraction Limited - it's an ASCOM camera.

    Click the [Camera Setup v] button again.
    Select the Settings... option this time.
    tsx5_settings.png
    The ASCOM Camera Chooser will come up:
    tsx6_ASCOM_camera.png
    Then click the [Properties] button and select your camera and set it's properties.
    Usually there is a list, something like this - it is unique to each camera model:
    ascom_dl_subex.png
    Set it up, and hit OK until you are back at the camera setup screen.

    Configuring TheSky Filter Wheel:
    You need to repeat the above pattern for the Filter wheel:
    Click the [Filter Wheel Setup v] and the Choose:
    tsx7_ASCOM_filter.png
    For the Filter Wheel - ASCOM - ASCOM Filter Wheel
    tsx8_chooseASCOMfilter.png
    Next, do the [Filter Wheel Setup v] Settings...
    Choose - DL Imaging Filter Wheel
    Set up the filters in the properties. You may also need to tell TheSky what filters you have.
    You'll need to do that via Set Filter Names if they don't automatically come across.

    Additional note:
    Using TheSky X with the STC-428-P, use ASCOM, and for the ASCOM driver for DL Imaging, make sure to set the last Filter to !SHUTTER! in TSX, so it uses the dark position as a shutter for taking dark frames.

    Configuring TheSky Autoguider camera:
    For the Autoguider, you'll need to follow the same pattern, EXCEPT specify ASCOM - (DL Imaging Camera 2) in the ASCOM chooser, and then with the properties pick your guider. e.g. SC3
    tsx10_guider.png


    That should get you going.
    You'll want to set up the optical parameters of your equipment.
    Note that the SC-2 and SC-3 guiders do NOT have an internal focal reducer, so they have the same focal length as the main camera. No need to multiply by x0.7 like you might with some other SBIG guiders.

    It's a good idea to [Save Profile As...] once you have the new imaging system set up.
    Enjoy!
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2021

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