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Opticstar AG-130M Auto-guiding System PL-130M Monochrome Video Camera

Setup Guide

OPTICSTAR

Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

CAUTION

!

1. Please read and follow the installation instructions on the following pages for a trouble free installation! 2. Do not drop your camera as this can result in serious damage. 3. Only use the supplied power supply unit if you camera comes with one. 4. Do not point the camera to a bright light source like the Sun without the appropriate filters as this will damage the sensor.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

CONTENTS

Introduction ............................................................................................................................................................................... 3 System Requirements......................................................................................................................................................... 3 Installing the PL-130 Video Camera ................................................................................................................................. 3 Testing the Camera ............................................................................................................................................................. 4 Longer Exposures ............................................................................................................................................................... 4 Bundled Software ..................................................................................................................................................................... 5 Craterlet................................................................................................................................................................................. 5 Nebulosity............................................................................................................................................................................. 5 PHD Guiding ......................................................................................................................................................................... 5 Guidemaster ......................................................................................................................................................................... 5 Plug-Ins for AstroArt and MaxIm DL ................................................................................................................................ 6 Installing the Software Applications ..................................................................................................................................... 6 Installing Craterlet ............................................................................................................................................................... 6 Installing Nebulosity ........................................................................................................................................................... 6 Opticstar PL-130 / AG-130 Plug-in for Nebulosity............................................................................................................... 7 Selecting the Camera.......................................................................................................................................................... 7 Registering the Plug-in ....................................................................................................................................................... 8 Binning Modes ..................................................................................................................................................................... 8 Opticstar PL-130 / AG-130 Plug-in for AstroArt................................................................................................................... 9 Long Exposures in Native Mode ....................................................................................................................................... 9 Installing the Plug-in ........................................................................................................................................................... 9 Registering the Plug-in ..................................................................................................................................................... 10 Binning Modes ................................................................................................................................................................... 10 Opticstar PL-130 / AG-130 Plug-in for MaxIm DL .............................................................................................................. 11 Long Exposures in Native Mode ..................................................................................................................................... 11 Installing the Plug-in ......................................................................................................................................................... 11 Registering the Plug-in ..................................................................................................................................................... 12 Binning Modes ................................................................................................................................................................... 12 Telescope Control and Auto-Guiding.................................................................................................................................. 13 System Requirements....................................................................................................................................................... 13 ASCOM Software ............................................................................................................................................................... 13 PHD Guiding ....................................................................................................................................................................... 13 Guidemaster ....................................................................................................................................................................... 14 Shoestring GPUSB ............................................................................................................................................................ 14 Assembling your Auto-Guiding Hardware .................................................................................................................... 15 Auto-Guiding ........................................................................................................................................................................... 16 Imaging and Auto-guiding With Two Scopes ............................................................................................................... 16 Imaging and Auto-guiding With a Single Scope........................................................................................................... 17 Troubleshooting...................................................................................................................................................................... 18 USB Requirements ............................................................................................................................................................ 18 Speed Issues ...................................................................................................................................................................... 18 Re-Installing the Software Drivers.................................................................................................................................. 18 Support..................................................................................................................................................................................... 18 Other Software ........................................................................................................................................................................ 18

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

Introduction

This set-up guide includes instructions for the Opticstar PL-130M and Opticstar AG-130M. The AG-130M includes the PL-130M camera plus the Shoestring GPUSB interface for telescope control. Prior to the installation please ensure that the following items are included in the box. Opticstar PL-130M contents: Opticstar PL-130M video camera. CS to 1.25" telescope adapter. USB cable. Software CD. Setup Guide (this document). Additionally, the AG-130M includes the following items: Shoestring GPUSB interface box for telescope control via the Guide Port (ST4). Coiled cable to connect the GPUSB to the Guide port on the telescope mount. System Requirements The minimum computer system requirements are the following: Computer running Windows 2000/XP/Vista with the latest Service Pack. USB 2.0 port for the camera. Installing the PL-130 Video Camera Please follow the instructions below in order to install the camera. 1. Insert the CD in the drive. 2. Connect the camera to a USB 2.0 port on your computer. 3. A window will appear with the heading Welcome to the Found New Hardware Wizard, giving three options. Select "No, not this time" and click the Next button to continue. 4. On the next page select "Install from a list or specific location" and click the Next button.

5. On the next page Windows will ask whether to continue with the installation. Please click the Continue Anyway button to proceed. 6. Once the installation has finished click the Finish button on the next page.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

7. If Windows prompts to restart, select "Yes, I want to restart my computer now" and click the OK button to restart the computer. Testing the Camera Once the computer has restarted, plug the camera to your computer. It is recommended that you use a USB 2.0 port on your computer that is connected directly to the computer's motherboard (typically at the back of the machine). You can test that the camera has been installed successfully by running the etAMCAP application. The etAMCAP.EXE can be found on the accompanying CD in the etAMCAP folder. First copy this file to your computer's desktop by dragging it from the CD folder. Double-click the etAMCAP icon on the Windows desktop to run the program. The camera will be identified as ET USB 2750 Camera. From the Devices menu select the ET USB 2750 Camera. EMAMCAP can be used as a general purpose program to capture video in AVI format. There is a possibility that you computer's USB port will not provide enough electrical current to the camera. If this is the case you need a powered USB2.0 type hub. This is more likely to happen when you use a laptop computer or when two cameras are plugged to the USB port. If the cameras require more current than the URB port can provide it is possible that one camera will not work or that the operation of one or both cameras will be erratic. Longer Exposures etAMCAP does not support exposure times of more than half a second per frame (approximately). If longer exposures are required then the OsPl13xDemo.exe program can be used. This program supports exposure times of up to 2 seconds per frame. It can capture video as AVI files and single frames as BMP files. The program and user instructions can be found on the Long_exposure folder on the CD.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

Bundled Software

In addition to EMAMCAP, the camera is bundled with a number of software applications including Craterlet, Nebulosity, PHD Guiding and Guidemaster. Also there are software plugins for third party applications such as AstroArt and MaxIm DL. The most appropriate software to use depends on the particular application. Craterlet Craterlet is a capture application for video cameras compatible with Windows DirectX (DirectShow) and WDM. It provides streaming to AVI, still capture and a simple but clean interface. Streams to AVI format at ~30 FPS, ready for processing in other software such as Nebulosity. It can quickly cycle among the camera's modes and allows the user to specify frame rate and capture duration. It is able to capture individual still frames in BMP format. Craterlet is ideal when high frame rates are desirable. Nebulosity Nebulosity is a fully featured, but simple to use capture and processing application. Astronomy images from just about anything can be processed (support for many FITS formats, PNG, TIFF, JPEG, CR2/CRW, etc). It supports camera binning at: 1x1 and 2x2. The PL-130 is bundled with a "Lite" version of Nebulosity. It is ideal when longer exposures are required of up to 10 seconds. This should be the application of choice over Craterlet when high sensitivity is required rather than high frame rates. PHD Guiding PHD Guiding is designed to be simple, yet provide powerful, intelligent auto-guiding of your telescope. Connect your mount, your camera, select a star, and start guiding. That's it! In PHD Guiding, all calibration is taken care of automatically. The camera can be used with PHD Guiding in Windows DirectShow/WDM mode when exposures of under half a second are required, or in native PL-130 mode for exposures of between 1 and 10 seconds. Longer exposures greatly increase the camera's sensitivity. Guidemaster Guidemaster can be used as an alternative to PHD Guiding. Please note that there is no support for long exposures for the PL-130 in Guidemaster. Therefore PHD Guiding (or AstroArt or MaxIm DL) will perform considerably better because of longer exposure times up to 10 seconds.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

Plug-Ins for AstroArt and MaxIm DL AstroArt and MaxIm DL are powerful third party applications for astronomy. They provide camera control, telescope control, auto-guiding and image processing. The camera can be used with both applications in Windows DirectShow/WDM mode for short exposures of under half a second, or in native PL-130 mode for exposures of up to 10 seconds. Longer exposures greatly increase the camera's sensitivity. Plug-ins for native camera support are included on the supplied CD.

Installing the Software Applications

Please follow the instructions to install the software applications and PL-130 camera plug-ins where applicable in order to add native camera support to those applications. Software applications that are dedicated to auto-guiding are covered in the Telescope Control and Auto-Guiding section, found later in this document. Installing Craterlet To install Craterlet, run the setup.exe file inside the Craterlet folder on the supplied CD. E.g.: D:\Craterlet\setup.exe. Once the program has been installed, run it with the camera connected. The camera will be identified as ET USB 2750 Camera. Live video will be displayed. The camera settings for brightness, contrast etc, can be accessed by pressing the Setup Camera button. The Mode button toggles between graphic resolutions from 1280x1024, down to 160x120. Please note that there is no PL-130 plug-in to install in Craterlet. Once you have captured a series of images or movie clips with Craterlet, you may want to process them in dedicated stacking software such as Registax, freely available at: http://www.astronomie.be/registax/. There are several other free software applications that offer similar functionality to Registax. Installing Nebulosity To install Nebulosity, navigate to the Nebulosity folder on the CD and run the setup.exe file. Eg.: D:\Nebulosity\setup.exe. Please follow the on-screen instructions. During installation tick the appropriate option in order to add an icon to the Windows Desktop. The version of Nebulosity that is bundled with the PL-130 camera has some of its advanced features disabled. In order to enable all the features, a full licence of Nebulosity must be purchased. However, the bundled version of Nebulosity supports long exposures between 1 to 10 seconds, lapse photography, 1x1 and 2x2 binning modes, StarView real-time video preview mode, region of interest, frame stacking, support for all popular file formats and more.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

The PL-130 camera will only work with Nebulosity version 1.6.5 or later. If you already have an earlier version of Nebulosity installed on your computer, please un-install it first and then install Nebulosity from the supplied CD. The Nebulosity user manual is included as a PDF document inside the Nebulosity folder on the CD eg.: D:\Nebulosity\NebulosityManual.pdf. Registering Nebulosity Nebulosity needs to be registered. If you already have a Serial Number for a full version of Nebulosity then you should use that serial number for registration. Otherwise, you can use the following Serial Number that will configure Nebulosity to work in Lite mode. 05130 Once Nebulosity has been installed, the next step should be to enable support for the PL-130 camera by installing the Opticstar PL-130 plug-in for Nebulosity. The following section describes how to install the plug-in.

Opticstar PL-130 / AG-130 Plug-in for Nebulosity

Plug-in Version 1.0 - © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

The PL-130 plug-in for Nebulosity can be found on the supplied CD. Navigate to the \Plugins\Nebulosity folder on the CD e.g.: D:\Plugins\Nebulosity and copy all the files into the folder in which Nebulosity has been installed on the hard disk e.g.: C:\Program Files\Nebulosity. The files that should be copied are: OSPL130RT.dll and DLCWB.dll. Selecting the Camera Run Nebulosity and select the camera model from the drop-down menu on the right hand panel. Once the camera has been selected, set the exposure duration to 1 second as a starting point. The exposure time should not be set to more than 10 seconds even though Nebulosity allows the user to enter much longer exposure times. The camera cannot support longer exposure times and hence they are reduced automatically to 10 seconds.

Exposure Time The pictures that follow demonstrate the benefit of increasing the exposure time from 0.5 second to 5 seconds. The image gets increasingly more detailed as the exposure time increases. Please note that in Nebulosity, the minimum exposure time is 1 second.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

Registering the Plug-in The PL-130M plug-in must be registered in order to become fully functional. The first time that the software is run, it will display a Customer ID to the user and in return it will ask for an Application Key. Please email your Customer ID to Opticstar at [email protected] with your name and in return you will receive an Application Key. The software will operate even without a valid Application Key but the camera's maximum exposure time will be reduced. Binning Modes The camera pixel resolution is 1280x1024. There is support for 2 binning imaging modes: 1x1 and 2x2. In future versions of Nebulosity, there will also be support for 4x4 binning. The StarView mode is useful for focus and preview modes. It offers high sensitivity and is very well suited for locating targets quickly.

Mode 1x1 2x2 StarView Colour no no no Resolution 1280 x 1024 640 x 512 320 x 256 Frames Per Second (max) 1 1 1 Sensitivity x1 x4 x16

Escaping an Exposure Please note that when escaping an exposure it will take a certain amount of time for the camera to escape. The longer the original exposure the longer it will take for the camera to return control to the application.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

Opticstar PL-130 / AG-130 Plug-in for AstroArt

Plug-in Version 1.0 - © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

There are two ways to add support for the PL-130M video camera to AstroArt. Depending on the application the appropriate plug-in must be selected. If high frame rates are important e.g. more than 1 frame per second, then please download the VIDEO plug-in for Windows WDM and DirectShow video cameras from the MSB Software website at: www.msb-astroart.com, titled Web cams, video grabbers... - Version 3.00. Alternatively, if maximum sensitivity is important, then the camera should be treated as a fast single-shot camera with exposures of at least half a second. In this case please install the Opticstar plug-in as described in the instructions below. The maximum exposure time of the plug-in is 10 seconds in native mode. Long Exposures in Native Mode

AstroArt's VIDEO plug-in supports all Windows WDM and DirectShow video cameras including the Opticstar PL-130M. The VIDEO plug-in imitates "long exposures" by stacking several shorter exposures (approximately 0.5 seconds each) together. The images below compare two 4 second exposures. The image on the left is stacked using the VIDEO plug-in. The image on the right uses the native Opticstar PL-130M plug-in and has much greater detail.

Opticstar PL-130M using the VIDEO plug-in.

Opticstar's native PL-130M plug-in.

Installing the Plug-in In order to add long exposure native support to AstroArt v3/v4 for the PL-130M camera you will need to copy the D_PL130M.DLL, OSPL130RT.DLL and DLCWB.DLL files from the folder on the CD e.g. D:\Plugins\AstroArt into the folder where AstroArt has been installed on the hard disk. For example: C:\Program Files\Astroart. After copying the files, run AstroArt and select the PL130M plug-in from the list. The exposure time should not be set to more than 10 seconds even though AstroArt allows the user to enter much longer exposure times. The camera cannot support longer exposure times and hence they are reduced automatically to 10 seconds.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

The pictures below demonstrate the benefit of increasing the exposure time from 0.5 second to 5 seconds. The image gets increasingly more detailed as the exposure time increases.

Registering the Plug-in The PL-130M plug-in must be registered in order to become fully functional. The first time that the software is run, it will display a Customer ID to the user and in return it will ask for an Application Key. Please email your Customer ID to Opticstar at [email protected] with your name and in return you will receive an Application Key. The software will operate even without a valid Application Key but the camera's maximum exposure time will be reduced. Binning Modes The camera pixel resolution is 1280x1024. There is support for 3 binning imaging modes: 1x1, 2x2 and 4x4. The StarView mode is useful for focus and preview modes. It offers high sensitivity and is very well suited for locating targets quickly.

Mode 1x1 2x2 4x4 StarView Colour no no no no Resolution 1280 x 1024 640 x 512 320 x 256 320 x 256 Frames Per Second (max) 1 1 1 1 Sensitivity x1 x4 x16 x16

Escaping an Exposure

Please note that when escaping an exposure it will take a certain amount of time for the camera to escape. The longer the original exposure the longer it will take for the camera to return control to the application.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

Opticstar PL-130 / AG-130 Plug-in for MaxIm DL

Plug-in Version 1.0 - © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

There are two ways to add support for the PL-130M video camera to MaxIm DL. Depending on the application the appropriate plug-in must be selected. If high frame rates are important e.g. more than 1 frame per second, please use the Video DS plug-in for Windows WDM and DirectShow video cameras from the MaxIm DL's device list. Alternatively, if maximum sensitivity is important, then the camera should be treated as a fast single-shot camera with exposures of at least half a second. In this case please install the Opticstar plug-in as described in the instructions below. The maximum exposure time of the plug-in is 10 seconds in native mode. Long Exposures in Native Mode MaxIm DL's Video DS plug-in supports all Windows WDM and DirectShow video cameras including the Opticstar PL-130M. The Video DS plug-in imitates "long exposures" by stacking several shorter exposures (approximately 0.5 seconds each) together. The images below compare two 4 second exposures. The image on the left is stacked using the Video DS plug-in. The image on the right uses the native Opticstar PL-130M plug-in and has much greater detail.

Opticstar PL-130M using the Video DS plug-in.

Opticstar's native PL-130M plug-in.

Installing the Plug-in In order to add long exposure native support to MaxIm DL for the PL-130M camera you will need to copy the CCDPlugOSPL130.DLL, OSPL130RT.DLL and DLCWB.DLL files from the folder on the CD e.g. D:\Plugins\MaxImDL into the folder where MaxIm DL has been installed on the hard disk. For example: C:\Program Files\Diffraction Limited\MaxIm DL V4. After copying the files, run MaxIm DL and select the Opt PL130 plug-in from the list. The exposure time should not be set to more than 10 seconds even though MaxIm DL allows the user to enter much longer exposure times. The camera cannot support longer exposure times and hence they are reduced automatically to 10 seconds.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

The pictures below demonstrate the benefit of increasing the exposure time from 0.5 second to 5 seconds. The image gets increasingly more detailed as the exposure time increases.

Registering the Plug-in The PL-130M plug-in must be registered in order to become fully functional. The first time that the software is run, it will display a Customer ID to the user and in return it will ask for an Application Key. Please email your Customer ID to Opticstar at [email protected] with your name and in return you will receive an Application Key. The software will operate even without a valid Application Key but the camera's maximum exposure time will be reduced. Binning Modes The camera pixel resolution is 1280x1024. There is support for 3 binning imaging modes: 1x1, 2x2 and 4x4. The StarView mode is useful for focus and preview modes. It offers high sensitivity and is very well suited for locating targets quickly.

Mode 1x1 2x2 4x4 StarView Colour no no no no Resolution 1280 x 1024 640 x 512 320 x 256 320 x 256 Frames Per Second (max) 1 1 1 1 Sensitivity x1 x4 x16 x16

Escaping an Exposure

Please note that when escaping an exposure it will take a certain amount of time for the camera to escape. The longer the original exposure the longer it will take for the camera to return control to the application.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

Telescope Control and Auto-Guiding

The AG-130 includes the Shoestring GPUSB interface box that connects the computer to the telescope mount for telescope control and auto-guiding. The following sections describe how to install the GPUSB and the appropriate software. Before proceeding please ensure that PL-130 camera has been installed and tested successfully as explained in the previous sections. System Requirements The following should already be installed: Opticstar PL-130 video camera. Optionally: third party software such as AstroArt or MaxIm DL . Additionally the following items are needed. A telescope mount with a guide port (ST4 port). The ASCOM software platform for telescope control. PHD Guiding or other software (e.g. Guidemaster, AstroArt, MaxIm DL) for auto-guiding. ASCOM Software You will need the ASCOM software platform to be able to auto-guide. Although it is not always necessary it is recommended that the ASCOM software platform is installed before proceeding. The ASCOM platform is freely available and can be downloaded at http://ascom-standards.org. Please visit the ASCOM website for more information. At the time of writing version 5 is available to download. PHD Guiding PHD Guiding supports the PL-130 as a Windows DirectShow / WDM device or natively. The program can be installed by running the Setup_PHDGuiding.exe file inside the PHD_Guiding folder on the CD e.g.: D:\PHD_Guiding\ Setup_PHDGuiding.exe. Once the program has been installed, you must copy the Opticstar PL-130 plug-in that will enable PHD Guiding to use the PL-130 camera in native mode and achieve longer exposures of up to 10 seconds. Installing the PL-130 Plug-in for PHD Guiding The camera plug-in used for PHD Guiding is the same one that is used for Nebulosity. Simply copy all the files on the supplied CD from the \Plugins\Nebulosity folder e.g.: D:\Plugins\Nebulosity\ to the folder where PHD Guiding has been installed on the hard disk e.g.: C:\Program Files\PHDGuiding\. Selecting the Camera in PHD Guiding Select the PL-130 camera by clicking on the camera icon, on the bottom left hand corner of the PHD Guiding panel. For guiding with short exposures (less than 1 second) select the "Windows WDM-style webcam camera". For guiding with longer exposures of 1 second or more please select "Opticstar PL-130M". Longer exposure times increase the camera's light sensitivity substantially.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

Guidemaster Guidemaster can be used as an alternative to PHD Guiding. Please note that there is no support for long exposures for the PL-130 in Guidemaster. Therefore PHD Guiding (or AstroArt or MaxIm DL) will perform considerably better because of longer exposure times up to 10 seconds. Before you install Guidemaster please ensure that you install ASCOM platform v5 or a later version of the software. Guidemaster will not work without the ASCOM platform. Double-click on the Opticstar Guidemaster Setup.exe on the supplied CD in the Guidemaster folder on the CD to install the Guidemaster application. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation. To test Guidemaster run the program with the camera connected to your computer. You must select the camera type (WDM) and desired resolution before the camera will operate with Guidemaster.

Shoestring GPUSB Plug the Shoestring device into a USB port. The red LED on the GPUSB should light immediately. A "Found New Hardware" balloon will pop up on your monitor. Wait a few moments and the text in the balloon should change to say "Your new hardware is installed and ready to use". Once you have completed the initial installation, you may want to verify that the GPUSB is working properly before you begin to use it with your auto-guide software. To do this, you can copy and install GPUSBCheck_1p1p0_setup.exe from the Shoestring\GPUSB folder on the supplied CD, e.g.: D:\Shoestring\GPUSB\ GPUSBCheck_1p1p0_setup.exe. This simple software that allows you to turn the LED on and off, change the colour of the LED from red to green, and to control the directional movement of your scope mount. It is intended to allow you to verify that everything is working properly. Should you have trouble getting your third-party auto-guide software to work; using GPUSBCheck will also allow you to troubleshoot your setup. In other words, if everything works with GPUSBCheck, then your problem most likely is with your third-party software.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

Assembling your Auto-Guiding Hardware Once the PL-130 camera is operational and all software have been successfully installed you will be ready to set up your telescope. Please make all the physical connections required with reference to the illustrations later in this document. If you are using two USB cameras at the same time it is advisable that the two cameras are attached to different USB controllers. Almost all PCs have two internal USB controllers and four USB ports. Every controller is allocated its own bandwidth to be shared by its two USB ports. Attaching two cameras to the same USB controller will affect performance and speed depending on the amount of data that needs to be transferred to the PC.

M51: 23.03.2006. by Ulrich Gurschen - 3 minutes exposure without and with Guidemaster guiding

Once you have ensured that your software and hardware is operational you should be able to autoguide your mount and telescope. Please make certain that all your USB devices are properly plugged in. Stretched cables can lead to momentary loss of communication than can crash a camera, controller or any other USB device connected to your PC.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

Auto-Guiding

There are a number of ways you can guide a telescope but there are mainly two ways of doing so. The most versatile method is to use two scopes mounted on the same mount, one for imaging and the second for guiding. Alternatively you could use a single scope to perform this function. While this method is easier it will limit your choice of locating a suitable guide star. Imaging and Auto-guiding With Two Scopes In general to be able to auto-guide with the Opticstar AG-130 Auto-guiding Kit you will require the following: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. An imaging camera, i.e. Opticstar DS-335C ICE. An imaging scope, i.e. A&M 80mm f7.5 Super APO. A secondary scope for auto-guiding, i.e. 70mm f13 achromat An ST-4 compatible mount, i.e. Skywatcher EQ6 or HEQ5. ASCOM software platform v5 or later (freely available) PC with USB2.0 ports running Windows 2000/XP/Vista or later The Shoestring auto-guide controller and cables, i.e. Shoestring GPUSB kit. Auto-guiding software, i.e. PHD Guiding, Guidemaster, AstroArt, MaxIm DL. Opticstar PL-130 camera and software drivers.

Imaging camera

Camera autoguiding software

PC Windows 2000/XP USB cables

PL-130M camera

Main imaging telescope

To ST-4 compatible Shoestring Autotelescope mount guider Control Box

Telescope used for auto-guiding

The Opticstar AG-130M auto-guiding kit contains items 7, 8 and 9 in the above list. You will therefore also need to provide your own imaging camera, imaging telescope, secondary telescope for auto-guiding, PC running Windows 2000/XP/Vista and ST-4 compatible telescope mount. Please note that the secondary scope that is used for auto-guiding would further increase your choices for locating a suitable guide star if it was held in brackets, like a huge finder scope. This would allow you to easily locate a suitable guide-star even under very difficult conditions.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

Imaging and Auto-guiding With a Single Scope An alternative setup will involve a single telescope for imaging and auto-guiding purposes instead of two different telescopes. As such you will require the following items to be able to image and auto-guide. 1. An imaging camera, i.e. DS-335C ICE. 2. An imaging scope, i.e. A&M 80mm f7.5 Super APO. 3. An off-axis guider 4. An ST-4 compatible mount, i.e. Skywatcher EQ6 or HEQ5. 5. ASCOM software platform v5 or later (freely available) 6. PC with USB2.0 ports running Windows 2000/XP/Vista or later 7. The Shoestring auto-guide controller and cables, i.e. Shoestring GPUSB kit. 8. Auto-guiding software, i.e. PHD Guiding, Guidemaster, AstroArt, MaxIm DL. 9. Opticstar PL-130 camera and drivers.

USB cables

PL-130M auto-guiding camera

Camera control and Auto-guiding software

Personal Computer Windows 2000/XP Main Imager

To ST-4 compatible telescope mount

Shoestring Autoguider Control Box

Off-axis guider Telescope used for both imaging and auto-guiding

The Opticstar AG-130 auto-guiding kit contains items 7, 8 and 9 in the above list. You will therefore also need to provide your own imaging camera, telescope, off-axis guider, PC running Windows 2000/XP/Vista and ST-4 compatible telescope mount.

Astroport beam splitter

Vixen off-axis guider

Celestron off-axis radial guider

An off-axis guider provides an easy and affordable way to auto-guide with a single scope. It minimises possible tube flexure but has the disadvantage of having a limited field of view. Also the amount of light that hits the prism/mirror is relatively small making less bright stars more difficult to see and track.

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

Troubleshooting

If you have problems installing the camera software and drivers this may be due to a number of reasons related to your computer, operating system and other devices already connected to it. The following sections outline the most common problems and suggest ways in which you should be able to solve them. USB Requirements Please ensure that your computer runs Windows 2000/XP/Vista or later, has the latest updates from Microsoft and also has USB 2.0 ports. The PL-130 camera will not work with USB1.1. If your computer has USB1.1 ports you will need to obtain a PCI USB2.0 type card if you have a desktop or a PCMCIA USB2.0 card if you have a laptop computer. Try both the USB ports on the front and back of your desktop if the PC does not recognise the camera on a particular USB port. USB ports attached directly to the motherboard are more efficient. Speed Issues To obtain maximum update speeds from your camera you will need a fast computer. Alternatively you have the option to reduce the camera resolution if speed is more important than resolution. Also connecting the camera to its own USB controller is vital in obtaining high speeds. Typically, PCs have two USB controllers, each one controls two USB ports. Other operational issues can be resolved by: right-click on [My Computer] then click on Properties -> Advanced -> Performance -> Advanced and check Background services. Re-Installing the Software Drivers If the camera cannot be identified by Windows then it is possible that the software drivers have not been installed correctly or they have been corrupted. In such cases, it is best to uninstall the camera by right-clicking on the My Computer icon on the Windows desktop and selecting Properties. Then from the Hardware tab select Device Manager. The camera drivers will be identified as ET USB 2750 Camera under Imaging Devices. Right-click on the drivers and select Uninstall. If Windows asks to restart the computer, click yes and continue. When the computer restarts, please re-install the software as normal.

Support

For support regarding the PL-130 and AG-130 please email Opticstar at: [email protected] For the latest developments regarding PHD Guiding and Nebulosity can be found at: www.stark-labs.com. You may also wish to subscribe to the user group at: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/stark-labs-astronomy-software/.

Other Software

Free third party software that can convert a series of BMP files into an AVI movie include: Restrum Camera (http://www.price-media.demon.co.uk/). JPGVideo (http://www.ndrw.co.uk/). Slide Show Movie Maker (http://www.joern-thiemann.de/tools/SSMM/index.html). Virtual Dub (http://www.virtualdub.org/). Please note that Opticstar cannot guarantee the suitability of any of the above software.

Updated: 06/08/2008

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Opticstar PL-130 series. © Opticstar Ltd, 2008.

OPTICSTAR

Opticstar Ltd, 87 Washway Road, Sale, Greater Manchester, M33 7TQ, United Kingdom. Tel: +44(0)161 969 9008 - - Email: [email protected] Web (Europe): www.opticstar.com Web (International): www.opticstar-ccd.com

Updated: 06/08/2008

19

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