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Thread: CCD Astrophotography - filters, filter wheels, filter wheel motors and compatibility

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    Default CCD Astrophotography - filters, filter wheels, filter wheel motors and compatibility



    I acquired a Starlight Express monochrome CCD. I see all kinds of settings in the camera software for controlling a filter wheel. I am not clear on my options.

    1) is it possible just to screw filters into the nosepiece of my camera? In my case the nosepiece is just a 2 inch T adapter with internal M48 threads.

    2) Are there manually operated filter wheels that one advances with an external actuator?

    3) There appear to be motorized filter wheels. Are filter wheels cross-compatible with different brands of camera control software? Is it as simple as connecting a USB cable and a standard interface advances the wheel? Do they require DC power?

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    Default

    1) Yes, you can just screw a filter into the nosepiece . The drawback with that is that if you're doing colour ( or false colour narrowband) imaging with different filters, you may not get the camera back in exactly the same position if you take it out to change filters. But it's a reasonable option if you just want to do mono images, or can cope with a bit of rotation when combining channels.

    2) yes, you can get manual filter wheels - the external actuator is usually your fingers . More common for 1.25", but you may be able to find a 2" version.

    3) there are lots of motorised filter wheels around. some need DC power, but there are a few that only need a USB connection. I'm not sure whether you can mix and match control software though.

    As an alternative to wheels, there are a few sources of filter trays - where you can slide in a filter in a tray.

    The big advantage of the motorised wheels is that you can change filters without bumping the scope.

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    Default Re: CCD Astrophotography - filters, filter wheels, filter wheel motors and compatibil

    Thank you - very helpful

    Quote Originally Posted by jerryTheC View Post
    I'm not sure whether you can mix and match control software though.
    This is really my biggest question. I hope I get more help here.

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    Default Re: CCD Astrophotography - filters, filter wheels, filter wheel motors and compatibil

    Quote Originally Posted by jimg@sonic.net View Post
    Are filter wheels cross-compatible with different brands of camera control software? Is it as simple as connecting a USB cable and a standard interface advances the wheel?
    In general, yes. Almost all astro software these days speaks ASCOM, and almost all astro devices have ASCOM drivers. While there are still occasional compatibility issues, mostly traceable to bad driver implementations, in general, any ASCOM-capable software can control any ASCOM-capable device of the expected type. You wouldn't expect a camera software to operate a dome, but if it operates filter wheels, it should operate any filter wheels.
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    Default

    By the way - you can get motorised filter wheels for different sized filters. Some have interchangeable filter discs, so you can have different numbers of filters depending on what size filter you're using - depending on your camera and scope combination, the size you need can vary.
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    Default Re: CCD Astrophotography - filters, filter wheels, filter wheel motors and compatibil

    Quote Originally Posted by KeithBC View Post
    In general, yes. Almost all astro software these days speaks ASCOM, and almost all astro devices have ASCOM drivers. While there are still occasional compatibility issues, mostly traceable to bad driver implementations, in general, any ASCOM-capable software can control any ASCOM-capable device of the expected type. You wouldn't expect a camera software to operate a dome, but if it operates filter wheels, it should operate any filter wheels.
    Thanks Keith - I was counting on you for help.

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    Orion XT12i Intelliscope on a Tom Osypowski Equatorial Platform
    Low profile helical focuser allowing prime focus with a Canon T2i DSLR
    4mm and 5mm 1-1/4" TMB Planetary II, 10mm and 25mm 1-1/4" Plossils, 15mm 1-1/4" Garrett Optical SWA
    20mm 2" Explore Scientific 100 degree, 26mm and 38mm 2" Orion Q70s

 

 

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