Contents - Index

Camera Notes

CCDAutoPilot gets its filter and binning information from the Camera Control Program when it first connects with your actual camera connected.  It will save that information in the system profile so that you can use that profile for session planning.  However, the camera control program automation interfaces do not allow changing the filter names or binning back.  At this point in their development, the only alternative if you have different cameras with different filter sets or names is to manually enter them in the camera control program.  Hopefully that will change in the future.  When it does, CCDAutoPilot will be updated to handle it.

Camera Sensors

The Sub-exposure calculator needs to know sensor characteristics for your camera.  A starting list is provided in a file called sensor.ini, located in the CCDAutoPilot5 program folder, typically C:\Program Files\CCDWare\CCDAutoPilot5.  There is space for 32 entries.  While it will be updated from time to time, you can enter your own data if you wish.  The file should be edited in notepad or similar text editor, not Word.  Make a backup copy before editing, just in case something goes wrong.  The four entries are separated by a comma with no spaces and must be numeric data.  The last entry should be a blank line.  The four entries are:
  • Sensor name
  • Dark signal in e/pixel/sec
  • The temperature in Centigrade at which the dark signal is measured
  • The dark signal doubling temperature in Centigrade times 10.  In other words, if the dark signal doubling temperature is 6, this entry should be 60.

    Some sensors have been superseded by new versions by the sensor manufacturer.  The new version typically has the same or better performance characteristics as the one it replaces.  Some examples are:
    KAF11002 replaces KAF11000
    KAI4021 replaces KAI4020

    Specific Hardware Notes

    SBIG STL with Remote Guide Head and Off-axis guider

    When using an SBIG STL-series camera with the SBIG remote guide head and an off-axis guider such as the Astrodon MOAG-A, be sure to orient the remote guide head so that its connector is closest to the STL body, as shown at left.  Select "Off-axis Guided" for the guide method.

    FLI ProLine and Apogee Alta cameras
    Some large format sensors benefit from having a selectable readout mode to reduce residual bulk imaging (RBI).  See the Camera Options topic for more information.

    Maxim v5.05/5.06.
    There is a bug introduced in Maxim v5.05 that resets the guider binning to 1 upon program restart.  If you simply change the binning to 2, the guider will be sub-framed to 1/4 of the active sensor, resulting in possible loss of guide star.  When starting or restarting these versions of Maxim, be sure to reset the guider binning to 2 and hit the reset button to get your full guide chip again.  Diffraction Limited is aware of this issue and it was resolved in Maxim 5.07.

    Operating with AO devices and Maxim
    Maxim uses a somewhat unique method to determine mount bumping. Depending on the camera and AO involved, some adjustments may be required to get successful mount bumping. This may require a combination of using Maxim's Orientation (Camera Control Window, Setup tab, Options button, Orientation box), along with possible adjustment to CCDAutoPilot's Guider Method (Settings page, Guider box). Unfortunately, trial and error may be required. Contact CCDAutoPilot support for help if needed.

    Testing here and with some customers indicates using ASCOM Direct (or Telescope) is a functional guide method for bumping. See Maxim Help for the difference between these two modes. Neither needs a guide cable. If you use TheSky Controlled Telescope ASCOM driver to control an ME/MX via TheSkyX, use the ASCOM Profiler to inspect the entry for that the Telescope - TheSky.Telescope add an entry with a value of "CanGetPierSide" and data of "True".

    SBIG STF-8300 OAG Package and other systems using the FW8-STG Guiding Filter Wheel.

    When using this package with an external guider such as the ST-i, select Self-Guided for Guide mode. Even though it is an off-axis guider, there are two mirrors in the guider optical path, which makes it look like Self-Guided to CCDAutoPilot. Setting the guide mode to Self-Guided will accommodate this. There are other SBIG guided filter wheel variations that have a guide chip built into the filter wheel. In that case, there is a single mirror in the guider optical path so set the guide mode to Off-Axis Guided. (Rule: odd number of mirrors in the guider optical path = Off-Axis Guided. Even number of mirrors (including 0) in the guider optical path = Self-Guided.)

    SBIG FW8-STG, FW8G-STXL and similar.

    Since there is a focal extender in the external guider optical path, enter the guider pixel size on the Setup page, Guider box, to be the actual guider pixel size divided by 0.7. For example, if your guider documentation indicates the pixel size is 7.4 micron, enter 7.4/.7 = 10.6 microns. If the guide camera optical path is parallel to the imaging camera optical path, there is probably an even number (2) of mirrors in the optical path to the guider. In that case, select Self-Guided as the Guide Mode. If the guider camera optical path is perpendicular to the imaging camera optical path, then there is an odd number (1) of mirrors in the optical path to the guider. In that case, select Off-Axis guider as the Guide Mode.