SkyX, STLX-6303E, FW8G-STLX

Discussion in 'STX and STXL Series Cameras' started by RFO CCD, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. RFO CCD

    RFO CCD Standard User

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    We're using SkyX to control an STLX-6303 with the self-guiding filter wheel FW8G-STLX, and we're having several issues.

    When we connect to the camera in SkyX, it also connects the FW. We can take images with the 6303 and change the filters from SkyX. And we can take images with the AG--we think, but we have yet to actually see any stars in images, just noise. Even with the pick-off mirror all the way in, we're only seeing noise. And with the pick-off mirror all the way in, we don't see any change in the 6303 image: no shadowing on an edge.

    Beyond that, we have another issue which may be related. When we set up the AG to take repeated exposures (this was a test, obviously, since we don't see any stars), that works fine--until we ask the imager to do an exposure as well. At that point, the AG stops its repeated imaging and the status reads "Waiting for imager". When the imager exposure is done, the AG then goes back to repeated exposures.

    I've found documentation on how to install the 6303 and the FW8G, but haven't found anything helpful in terms of how to actually make it all work in concert with SkyX. I think I'm just missing some very obvious information, so I'd appreciate some guidance. I'll also post this to the Bisque forum.

    Thanks!

    Steve
     
  2. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    There may be a selector for internal/external guider in the software. Make sure it is set to external. (And make sure the SBIG drivers are up-to-date.)

    As for the guider/imager interaction, you will want to check with Bisque. Maybe there's a hotfix on their web site?
     
  3. Anthony Cappuccio

    Anthony Cappuccio Standard User

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    Doug and Steve,

    I am also having an issue adjusting the pick-off mirror in order to start autoguiding. I too am using SkyX software to control the telescope mount. Also, I am using the same filter wheel as Steve, a FW8G-STXL, and I was following along in the instruction manual to adjust the pick-off mirror as stated. I have rotated the knob completely, multiple times now both ways, using half-turn increments and a "shadow" has yet to become apparent. I am not sure how to find the settings in SkyX to set the selector for either internal/external guider, could you direct me on that Doug?

    Also Steve, did you end up resolving the pick-off mirror adjustment back when you posted this question? If so, was the intenal/external; guider setting the solution or did you find something else helped in your scenario?

    Anthony
     
  4. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    You would have to check with Bisque on TheSkyX settings.

    If the mirror doesn’t produce a shadow then it is not vignetting and you should probably move it all the way in.

    I like to use the moon to help figure out the guide camera position and focus - nice big bright target.
     
  5. Anthony Cappuccio

    Anthony Cappuccio Standard User

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    Thanks for your help Doug. I will try out using the Moon as a target and see where it gets me. If I run into more issues I will write back to you.

    -Anthony
     
  6. Anthony Cappuccio

    Anthony Cappuccio Standard User

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    Doug,

    I have continually run into issues trying to adjust the pick-off mirror and CCD focus for the AG as described in the instruction manual. I took your advice on the pick-off mirror and rotated it all the way counter-clockwise so the mirror would be the closest to the CCD field of view. When I switched over to the AG tab on SkyX and tried to take an image, the picture produced was a consistent black screen. I tried this aiming at two different targets last night; the star cluster M37 and the moon (which in the sky of Durham, NH last night was excessively bright). Both images taken of the two targets produced a completely black screen.

    Today, my thesis professor and I took the CCD camera apart to check if something were blocking the AG from receiving light. This ended up not being the case as the AG appeared completely unbothered. However, we did notice that when adjusting the pick-off mirror as far counter-clockwise as possible, it appears the mirror is roughly 3-4mm away from overlapping the CCD chip beneath it (see picture attached). We are guessing that this may be the issue because if the mirror is not coming into contact with the light that is registered by the CCD chip, then it would have nothing to reflect onto the AG chip.

    Please let us know what you think and if you have any solutions or suggestions to move forward with.

    -Anthony

    F9D83D48-D365-47C0-8389-4723B9D98651.jpeg
     
  7. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    The pick-off mirror looks close enough to enter the light cone.

    Make sure the "HDMI" cable is plugged in properly at both ends. If not then the image will be black.

    The image should not be completely black - if the sensor is working but there is no light, then there will be a bias level and some read noise.

    Can you upload a FITS image from the guide camera?
     
  8. Anthony Cappuccio

    Anthony Cappuccio Standard User

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    I will be out at the observatory tonight around 10:00pm Eastern time to take a FITS image and post it so you can see what I am talking about. As for the HDMI cable I am most certain it is properly plugged in on both ends as checking the hardwired connections between the camera and telescope mount is one of the first things I do upon arriving each time. I have yet to see the bias level and read noise you mentioned so that makes me wonder if it is an issue with the sensor like you are saying.
     
  9. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    It probably isn't the sensor itself. Mostly likely it's the connections.
     
  10. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    Another thought - make sure you have set the guide camera to "External". (The chip is built into the filter wheel, not the camera.)
     
  11. Anthony Cappuccio

    Anthony Cappuccio Standard User

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    I am almost certain it isn't the connections because I checked to make sure everything is secure and the black image continues to pop up. Also, I have successfully been able to take pictures using the CCD camera itself (not autoguiding) and images come in perfectly fine. As for external guide setting, I have had the guide camera set to this setting for a while now, including the image I took tonight.

    I managed to save a FITS file that I will upload below for you as you requested. I took 10, 20 and 30 second exposures, all separately, and the image remains the same for all three. I also took a few images of the settings that correlated to the photo when I opened it in FITS Liberator. It appears as if the image is capturing nothing but I wanted to attach them as well for you, to see if they are any help to figuring out the problem.

    -Anthony
     

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