Notes(3) on PC164C and 1004X CCD Low Light camera's

Date: Fri Aug 11 2000 - 09:05:36 PDT 

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Sorry about those two failed postings. 

I have modified a b/w board camera, made by Misumi, which 
uses the Sony chip set (ICX055BL ccd, CXA1310AQ signal 
processor and CXD2400R timing controller) by disabling its AGC 
and automatic shutter functions. So far it still works.... 
  Has anyone with a similar camera (e.g. the Super Circuits PC-23C) 
worked out how to use it in field/frame accumulation mode for time 
exposures? The CXD2400R data sheet shows a pin called 
FL/FR which I think must be taken high to start an 
exposure. Presumably video output is suspended until 
the pin is returned low and then the first field/frame after 
that will contain an accumulated image.  The integration pulse 
probably needs to be an exact number of frames long, so perhaps 
the vertical clock pulse output from the timing chip can be used 
to drive a divide-by-n counter. I'll try it eventually, but would have 
more confidence if someone else knows the answer. 

Hi Rein, 

I did my initial re-interlacing experiments using PaintShopPro. Once I had grabbed the 
two frames it was not too hard. Each frame has alternate lines of image and black. All 
that is required is to make the 'image' lines on one frame correspond to the 'black' 
lines on the other (using cut & paste or whatever to shift an image up or down a line), 
and then sum the two images. Trial and error will determine whether the first or second 
frame needs to be placed at odd or even positions. An added refinement is to mask each 
image so that the black lines really are black - otherwise they contain some residual 
noise which degrades the image when the two frames are added together.

iCatch doesn't specifically access the WinTV card, but it does do some low-level video 
work which is rather hardware-dependant. I'm currently investigating ways around this 
to make it more widely compatible with other capture cards.


Hi Rein, 

I think I ought to advise you to be careful about your plans for pin 9 of the CCD. I can't 
remember for sure, but it's likely that there are tracks that go underneath the CCD on the 
'front' of the PCB, and it'll be hard to isolate the pin. Drilling through the PCB is
risky in case it's a multilayered thing with tracks hidden inside it - you don't want to 
cut them. I'd advise just cutting the pin on the CCD - it's fairly conveniently placed for 
cutting, and the pins are fairly widely spaced. And you can then guarantee that it's 
not connected to anything.

Good luck, 


From:  Jon Grove  
Date:  Fri May 24, 2002  9:06 am
Subject:  RE: [QCUIAG] Re: iCatch version 0.03 - USB video adapters??

Hi Robin, 

I'm not sure, but I think there is a PCMCIA video capture 'standard' which ought to be fast 
enough. But I've not tried it - so if you're planning to go that route I'd advise you to 
'try before you buy' if you can.

Basically, if you can capture uncompressed frames at full frame rate then you're in with a 
chance. If you can get 640x480 then the full mod may work - if you can only get 320x240 
then the stage 1 mod still has a chance of working. Some compression modes work OK, but 
some don't - it's something I plan to try to address. But unfortunately I can't guarantee 
anything at the moment! The most important thing is the frame rate - iCatch must be able 
to see all the frames if it is to pick out the good ones.


Hello Group
This is my first image using a 1004 X camera modified using
Jon Grove's circuit and iCatch capture programme.
M 57 was imaged on 2002 May 31 23.30 UT.
Celestron CG 11 at prime focus.
Sirius IR Cut filter.
50 x 20 sec integrations at 640 x 480.
Processed using AstroVideo by Steve Wainwright and myself
for dark frame subtraction and fixing cold pixels.
Levels adjusted,unsharp masked and resized using The Gimp.
Best Regards
Derek Francis

M 57 1004X.bmp
Type: image/bmp
Size: 76k 

From:  Peter Vasey  
Date:  Sat Jun 1, 2002  4:29 pm
Subject:  Re: [QCUIAG] First Light 1004 X

First class image, Derek. Stars down to 16th. mag, central star
visible, all stars crisp and round.

But (particularly in view of the recent posts) PLEASE don't post
- a 10K .jpg would have done the job.

How did you get on with your beautifully engineered Peltier cooler
assembly?? If finished, how about some pics. (.jpegs :-) )


From:  "Dr. S.J. Wainwright"  
Date:  Sun Jun 2, 2002  2:12 pm
Subject:  Air cooloing of the Jon Grove mod

A couple of days ago, Derek Francis posted a first light image of M57 taken with our 
newly constructed Jon Grove mod video camera. The image was captured with ICatch and 
the frames integrated, dark-frame subtracted and cold-pixel corrected with AstroVideo. 
The image was taken with a completely uncooled camera running at 9 volts. We were 
very pleased with the result.
This camera runs very hot and so air cooling was built in.
The camera board is mounted in a project box with two air inlet holes on the front:

And a VGA fan on the back, set to blow air out of the back of the box and pull air 
into the front, directly onto the hot front of the board.

The camera was run at 9 volts and the fan was run at 9 volts with an independent 
power supply.
20s dark-frame exposures were captured by I Catch.
The first exposure was captured with the cooling fan running:

The fan was turned off for 20 min with the camera still connected, and 20s dark-frame 
exposures were captured again.

The effect of air-cooling is evident. The experiment was run at room temperature.
With an ambient temperature much lower in the winter months, air cooling should have 
an even more dramatic effect. The frames presented here are completely unprocessed.
Clear skies
Dr. S.J.Wainwright
FAX 0870 1641692
International +44 870 1641692