Mar
08
2011
0

Astro CCD Camera and 50mm F1.4 = Mag 9

Auckland weather has turned in the last week. Evenings must be about 5-10 degrees cooler now meaning the atmosphere is more stable and ultimately better sky viewing conditions.

I set up my Mintron camera with the 50mm F1.4 Lens I picked up and played around to see what sort of results I could get.

I have to say I’m very impressed, even over the light polluted skies of Auckland City (I’m very central city at the moment), I was able to get the following images (Annotated using astrometry.net).
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Jan
28
2011
0

Satellite Tracking Camera – Progress Update

Regular readers of my blog will know that I’ve been working on building a satellite tracking system. The plan is to end up with a fully automatic Pan/Tilt positioning system with a high sensitivity video camera, millisecond accuracy video time overlay, and automated image processing of automated frames.

I’ve been busy the last two weeks converting code and waiting for deliveries to arrive.

I finally received the 50mm F1.4 lens I ordered off ebay. This lens is a lovely unit, especially for US$50. It’s nice and heavy with manual aperture and focus controls. A quick test on the light polluted skies of Auckland resulted in me being able to image stars of Magnitude 4, so it’s well within the limit for the project.

The 50mm F1.4 Lens attached to the CCD Camera


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Jan
13
2011
1

Adding Custom Characters to the MAX7456 Video Overlay Generator

I’m playing with the Maxim MAX7456 Video On-Screen Display Generator for my Satellite Tracking Camera project. I’m wanting to use it to overlay accurate (GPS locked) time stamps onto each individual field of a PAL or NTSC video signal.

The Chip has a font set of 256 12×18 pixel characters of which most of them are Japanese characters and of no use to me. It’s surprisingly easy (albeit convoluted) to update the characters to something more useful. Of particular note, simple images spanning multiple characters and rows can be displayed as there is no invisible space between rows or colums.
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Jan
11
2011
1

AVR Pulse Per Second & NMEA simulator

As part of building my Satellite Tracking Camera, I’m building a GPS time inserter to insert accurate time stamps on a video feed.

I’m unable to get GPS reception in my test/development area, so I decided it would be easier to simulate the GPS with a microcontroller.

This circuit simulates a PPS (Pulse Per Second) output and the GPGGA and GPRMC NMEA sentences.

The circuit is pretty simple.

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Jan
06
2011
0

ASCOM and Communications protocols

I hope you all had a great New Year and have big plans for 2011.

I don’t have much new to report on the Satellite tracking platform.

I’ve been looking into equipment for the system and at communications protocols.
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Dec
13
2010
1

Removing Excess Weight

I carefully looked over the entire mechanism to decide which parts to keep.

The main circuit board worked and using serial could be commanded to go to a position or even store positions, but it lost out due to not supporting the speeds I wanted to control. I specifically wanted to be able to go from 1 revolution per day (About 0.0007 RPM), up to about 15 RPM.

Even if the board couldn’t be used whole, it still contained bipolar stepper motor drivers. It used matched pairs of L297’s and L298’s. I quickly decided against using these due to the simplicity and size of the EasyDriver.

Out came the 48VAC to 24VAC toroidal transformer and I was left with this:
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Dec
11
2010
2

New Project – Satellite Tracking Camera

I recently acquired a second hand Pan Tilt mechanism from a CCTV camera system.


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