Camera Setup

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Camera Setup Workspace

Click the Camera button in the Setup workspace to display the Camera setup window:

Camera-setup-217d.jpg


Important Note! Camera selection must be filled out - this is mandatory for proper operation of Voyager


Color Coding

Throughout the Setup workspace, Voyager uses color to indicate the following:

  • Black: A normal setting
  • Gold or Yellow: Use caution when changing as things may not work well or as expected
  • Red: Use extreme care when changing this setting - the wrong value can damage your equipment or the imaging session may fail

Camera Choice

Voyager supports the following ways to connect to a camera:

Setup-camera-216c.jpg

  • MaximDL
  • TheSkyX Camera Add On
  • QSI Camera
  • ASCOM Camera
  • CAM8S Camera
  • SX ASCOM Camera
  • ASI Camera (ZWO native driver)

Visit the Installation Prerequisites section to see which versions of these third party applications are supported by Voyager.

Depending on the Camera selection, different configuration options are available, so make this selection first.

For ASCOM connected cameras, the Camera Advanced Config button brings up the ASCOM Properties dialog. The ASCOM button brings up the ASCOM chooser dialog - use this to select the specific ASCOM camera for this configuration.


ASI Native Driver

If you choose ASI Camera from the Camera drop-down list, Voyager will connect directly to your ZWO ASI camera (not via ASCOM).

Click the Camera Advanced Config button to bring up the ASI Camera Setup dialog:

Zwo-camera-advanced.jpg


The ASI Camera Setup dialog is very similar to the ZWO ASI ASCOM dialog:

Zwo-asi-native-driver.jpg


Important Note! You set default values for Gain, Offset and USB Limit in this dialog. You can override these values when you define a Sequence or Research and Survey definition on a per-element (group of exposures for a given filter) basis


  • Connected Cameras: Choose the camera from the drop-down list
    • Edit: Click the Edit button if you would like to use a different name for the camera selected from the drop-down list
    • USB Type: Displays the type of USB connection, USB3 or USB2
    • Bayer Pattern: Displays the Bayer Matrix pattern If the Connected Camera has a color sensor
    • Temperature: Displays the sensor temperature returned by the camera
    • MonoBin: If checked and If the connected camera has a color sensor, the pixels from the color sensor are binned by the camera and a monochrome image is returned
  • Preset: Choose a preset from the drop-down list and the preset's values will be applied to the settings for Gain, Offset and USB Limit
    • Asi-preset-custom.jpg
    • Choose one of the User presets (User 1, User 2, etc.) to create a custom preset for Gain, Offset and USB Limit
    • Click the Edit Name button to change the preset name from User X to a name of your choosing:
    • Asi-preset-editname.jpg
  • ASI Reset Voyager Preset Setting: Click to reset any custom (User 1, User 2, etc) presets you created in this profile. This button appears in the top-level Camera Setup dialog if you choose ASI Camera
    • Asi-reset-preset.jpg
  • Gain, Offset and USB Limit Sliders: Click and drag these sliders with your mouse, or click on the slider and use the up and down or left and right arrows to change the values. If you change the values this way, the Preset drop-down list changes to Manual
    • Asi-gain-sliders.jpg
  • Gain: Move the slider to set the gain value. See your camera's manual for an explanation of how your choice here affects your image
  • Offset: Move the slider to set the offset value. See your camera's manual for an explanation of how your choice here affects your image
  • USB Limit: Move the slider to set the USB limit value. This controls how fast the camera sends data to the USB port. If your download does not finish, try a lower setting.
  • Cancel: Discard changes and exit this dialog
  • OK: Save changes and exit this dialog
Important Note! The ASI Camera native driver is the only way to control the Gain and Offset values of a ZWO ASI camera from Voyager. You cannot control them from Voyager if you use the ASCOM driver to connect to your ASI camera

ASI Camera Name Match

Tells Voyager to check the ASI Camera name on connection if you are using the ASI Camera (not ASCOM) driver.

Asi-camera-name-217d.jpg

  • Raise Error On Camera Connect in Startup if Name Not Match: If checked and the ASI Camera camera type has been selected, Voyager will raise an error when connecting to the camera if the camera name specified in setup does not match the camera name returned by the driver.

Filters

If your camera is connected via MaximDL or TheSkyX Camera Add On, filters must be configured in those applications and imported to Voyager using the GET button, as described below. When you choose Maxim DL or TheSkyX Camera Add On, no filter wheel selection will be presented because the filter wheel is not connected to Voyager, it is connected to Maxim DL or TheSkyX.

For ASCOM and QSI camera, you must configure a Filter Wheel from the Filter Wheel drop-down list:

Select-filter-wheel.jpg

For an ASCOM filter wheel, click the ASCOM button to display the ASCOM chooser and select the filter wheel for this configuration.

Once a Camera and optionally a filter wheel have been selected, next populate the Filters window with the list of available filters.

With Voyager disconnected to external devices, click the GET button to retrieve a list of filters and label names from the filter device or third party application.

Filter-list.jpg

Important Note! For DSLR's and One Shot Color cameras (OSC), a filter named ** Bayer Matrix ** will be shown.
Important Note! For monochrome cameras with no filter wheel, click the Clear button and the filter ** Clear ** will be created.


Filter Setup

Some filter wheel drivers or applications cannot return a list of filters. For those cases, click the EDIT button and manually enter the filter list:

Filter-setup-1.jpg

Important Note! If entering filters manually and using a third party application such as MaximDL or TheSkyX Camera Add-on, make sure the filter Name and Number match those defined in the third party software. It is preferable to use the GET button to ensure a match.


RoboStar Configuration for Filters

Set the minimum (Mag End) and maximum (Mag Start) stellar magnitudes for Voyager's RoboStar autofocus routine on a per-filter basis.

Click the "Set Broadband" or "Set NarrowBand" buttons to use the default magnitudes for these respective filter types.

RoboStar LocalField Configuration for Filters

Set the Exposure Time in seconds and Binning for the RoboStar LocalField (multiple-star) autofocus routine on a per-filter basis.

Check the box "Not Use LocalField in Sequence" if you do not want to use LocalField autofocus while a sequence is executing.


Resolution Imager

This is where the image scale of your telescope and camera is defined.


Important Note! For correct operation of Voyager these settings are mandatory


Resolution-imager.jpg

  • Telescope Focal Length: The focal length of the primary telescope in millimeters (mm)
  • Pixel Size: The size of the main camera's pixels in microns

After entering these two values, Voyager will automatically calculate the image scale for binning 1x1. This value is computed in arc-seconds/pixel and appears in the Unbinned Image Scale field


Important Note! Failure to define the image scale could lead to malfunction of the Plate Solving system and the loss of image alignment


Important Note! From Voyager 2.0.13a, Voyager will force Maxim DL to use the focal length set in Voyager


Sensor Type

Sensor-type.jpg

In this panel, select the type of camera sensor:

  • Monochrome: Mono cameras with or without a filter wheel
  • Color: Color cameras with a Bayer Matrix (OSC or One Shot Color cameras)
  • DSLR: Commercial cameras, modified or not


Important Note! If you use a third party application such as MaximDL or TheSkyX to manage your camera, all cameras defined in that application can be managed in Voyager


Cooling System

If the camera has a cooling system (usually a Peltier cooler), Voyager can manage it using these settings:

Cooling-system.jpg

  • On Connect Set Cooler: When Voyager connects to the camera, turn the cooling system Off, On, or leave it unchanged. If you connect to your system a long time before use, you may want to leave this "Off" or "Unchanged" and then turn the cooler on using the sequence settings or a DragScript command. If you are planning to disconnect and reconnect Camera so many thank during setting up Voyager use the "Unchanged" to avoid camera cooling to be stressed.
  • Timeout Settling Temp: The time in minutes after which the cooling action is considered failed if the desired temperature is not reached
  • Deviation Max under: The absolute temperature difference in °C allowed from the desired temperature before the cooling action is considered successful. This temperature must be maintained for the amount of time indicated in the next field, "... for time span of"
  • ... for time span of: The amount of time that the temperature must be within the "Deviation Max under" described above for a cooling action to be considered successful
  • Default WarmUp Time: The time in minutes after which the warmup action is considered failed if the desired temperature is not reached
  • Default Temp. Cooling: The desired temperature in °C for a cooling operation
  • Default Cool Down time: The desired time in minutes used to reach the desired cooled temperature, to avoid cooling too fast which in some cases can cause frost to form
  • No CoolDown for Delta: The maximum difference in °C below which the camera's native firmware cooling system is used instead of the Cool Down parameters specified here. In other words, if the camera's sensor is currently at -25 °C and you request a change to -30 °C, if the "No CoolDown for Delta" value is 10 °C, Voyager will just command the camera to cool to -30 °C without any management of cool down ramp time.
  • Default Temp. WarmUp: The desired temperature in °C for a WarmUp operation. Note that if this is set too high, the WarmUp operation may fail. However, in most cases this does not cause any problems.


These settings are used for all operations relating to setting the camera's sensor temperature. To find out how they work in detail read see the OnTheFly section.

Important Note! The fields "Default Cool Down Time," "Timeout Settling Temp" and "... for time span of" are closely linked. The "Timeout Settling Temp." should be larger than the "Default Cool Down Time" plus the "...for the span of" time, or the cooling action would always result in a timeout error
Important Note! You can use the cooling system's native firmware factory settings in the Cooling panel of the Sequence Configuration dialog
Important Note! The Sequence Configuration dialog's Cooling panel supports auto setpoint scaling. If the camera cannot reach the desired temperature within a defined time, it will try to reach a designated warmer temperature


Readout Mode

Some cameras have settings to control readout speed vs. readout noise. The Readout Mode section of the Setup workspace lets you configure these settings:

Readout-mode.jpg

  • GET: Click this button to retrieve the list of available modes, if any. Voyager must be disconnected from the control systems for this to work
  • Light/Dark/Bias: Recommended setting is to have the highest quality - lowest noise, regardless of speed. But this is optional - you can choose any setting
  • Focus: Recommended setting is fastest speed, regardless of noise, so autofocus operations happen quickly
  • Plate Solve: Recommended setting is fastest speed that still results in successful plate solves. If you are not sure, set for highest quality.


Speed

Some cameras have settings to control gain in order to improve dynamic range. The Speed section of the Setup workspace lets you configure these settings in order to accelerate some Voyager features:

Camera-speed.jpg

  • GET: Click this button to retrieve the list of available modes, if any. Voyager must be disconnected from the control systems for this to work
  • Binning 1x1: Choose the gain to be used when taking exposures with binning 1x1
  • Binning 2x2: Choose the gain to be used when taking exposures with binning 2x2
  • Other Binning: Choose the gain to be used when taking exposures with binning other than 1x1 and 2x2


TheSkyX Camera Add On Setting

Settings for TheSkyX Camera Add On can be configured in this panel of the Camera setup workspace:

Theskyx-camera-settings.jpg

Due to a lack of commands in TheSkyX's DCOM interface (the interface used by external applications to manage TheSkyX operations), Voyager is unable to determine the current filter selected in the filter wheel. To ensure the correct filter is used, Voyager takes a very short "dummy exposure" and sets the filter to the desired value. The "dummy image" is not saved. The default values here should be good for most setups. The goal is to make this a very short exposure with a fast download, so if you know of better settings for your camera, you can set them here.

  • Dummy Exposure Bin: Binning level to be used when taking dummy exposures
  • Dummy Exposure ROI: Region Of Interest size to be used when taking dummy exposures


Various

Miscellaneous settings are contained in the Various panel of the Camera setup workspace:

Camera-various.jpg

  • Download Save Timeout: Time in seconds after which the download of an image from the camera times out (fails)
  • ASCOM ImageReady Slow Polling: Delay before polling the ASCOM driver to see if the image is ready to download. This is used if the camera's firmware is slow and needs some time between ImageReady queries (see discussion in the Voyager forum)
  • ASCOM Polling De-Throttle: Controls the amount of delay between requests to the ASCOM camera driver to avoid overflowing a slow camera's command buffer.
  • Use Canopus FIT fix: MPO Canopus is an astrometry and photometry application usually used in Astronomical Research . This flag fix a OBJCTDEC key in saved FIT Header adding a + for a positive value. Without this flag Canopus cannot handle correctly the FIT made by Voyager (or others FIT generator)


Other Setup Pages