Friday, April 21, 2017

Heating Up My Old ATIK 16HR camera

Problem with the old but trusty ATK 16HR CCD camera is that it has a frost problem when it reaches maximum temperature of 25 deg C below ambient temperature. As the ccd front glass cover starts to frost, it will produce a small blur in the middle of the field of view thus hampering imaging session so one has to use a hair blower set at low setting to disperse the frost from the glass. But after another 30 mins or less, frost will return and one has to do again the dryer remedy and this is tedious. This wont occur if one is imaging in the city where temperature is high in our country. As long as the outside temperature doesnt fall below 25deg C, most of the time , one can get away with frost. But since one needs a dark sky to do serious deep sky imaging like in Caliraya, Laguna where average temp can go down to about 25 deg C in the summer and as low as 18 deg C during "Ber" months. This is trouble. But the modern CCD nowadays has a set temp mode which one can lessen the cold Peltier cooler. This is mostly remedied. But since I don't have resources to get a new one, I'm stuck with the use of dryer till I tested using a dew heater strip near the nosepiece of the camera and it does helps but problem is too many dangling cords around the camera and is prone to accidental snapping of wires thus when i hear ZWO made a cheap but reliable dew heater thin strip for their ASI cool camera. I tested one for my 16HR as their version is very thin but unfortunately, it doesn't fit into the back nosepiece of my 16HR as it is too thick and wide :( But i got to check that I can attach it directly to the T2 ring between the camera and the filter drawer or wheel and it is still close to the cover glass and the power is drawn together with the camera power by way of split wires with connector and after installing them last night. It looks like it is worth it and I hope to be able to test it on our upcoming Caliraya imaging session to see if it works under the condition there. Will give further updates after the test.

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