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Moravian Instruments G2-1600 CCD Camera with KAF-1603ME CCD and 6-pos Filter Wheel

Moravian Instruments G2-1600 CCD Camera with KAF-1603ME CCD and 6-pos Filter Wheel

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Moravian Instruments G2-1600 Monochrome CCD Camera with Low Noise, High Quantum Efficiency Kodak KAF-1603ME CCD Sensor and 6-POSITION FILTER WHEEL
for SCIENTIFIC and Narrow-Band ASTROPHOTO Imaging

Sensor: Kodak KAF-1603ME Monochrome CCD
Resolution: 1536 x 1024 pixels
Quantum Efficiency: 83% max
Pixel Size: 9 x 9 µm
Interface: USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 compatible)
Cooling: Two-stage Peltier up to -50°C
Available on back order. Usual delivery time: appr. 4 weeks

Shipping and Packaging
G2 CCD cameras are supplied in a foam-filled, hard carrying case containing:

  • Camera body with a optional telescope adapter. The standard 2" barrel adapter is included by default. If ordered, the filter wheel is already mounted inside the camera head and filters are threaded into place (if ordered).
  • A 100-240 V AC input, 12 V DC output “brick” adapter with 1.8 m long power cable.
  • 5 m long USB A-B cable for connecting camera to host PC.
  • A CD-ROM or USB Flash Drive with camera drivers, SIPS software package with electronic documentation and PDF version of User's Manual.
  • A printed copy of camera User's Manual

G2 CCD cameras are shipped in the foam-filled carrying case (left), larger case is used if camera is ordered with external filter wheel (right)

Further product information about the G2 Series CCD Cameras
The enhanced series of G2-CCD cameras feature highly sensitive, low noise Kodak Full-Frame CCD detectors. High-speed USB 2.0 interface minimizes download time and advanced analogue electronics ensure very low read noise.
Efficient two-stage Peltier cooling keeps detectors cold to minimize dark current. Compact and robust camera head integrates all electronics, shutter and optional 5 or 6-positions filter wheel.

Number of features of cooled, slow-scan G2CCD cameras with USB 2.0 interface support demanding scientific applications:

  • Very high sensitivity with peak QE above 80%.
  • Lowest possible system read noise, limited by CCD chip itself.
  • High dynamic range (16-bits digitization) and linear response.
  • Efficient and precisely regulated cooling.
  • Optional heat exchanger for liquid coolant.
  • Ability of unattended operation enabled by integrated shutter and filter wheel supporting UBVRI or narrow-band filters.

But G2CCD cameras are also designed with the needs of amateur astronomers in mind:

  • Compact camera head, small and lightweight enough to be attached even to small telescopes.
  • Integrated all-in-one design with USB and power connectors directly on the camera head.
  • Integrated shutter not to bother with covering the telescope when taking dark frames.
  • Integrated filter wheel for standard filters to take (L)RGB or narrow-band images.
  • Single-voltage power supply enabling operation from 12V battery or “brick” adapter.
  • Plug and play installation.
  • Robust construction to sustain every-day usage.
  • Rich software support.

No matter if your target is reliable scientific data or beautiful images of deep-sky objects, G2CCD cameras are able to provide both.

G2 CCD camera head

G2 CCD camera head shown on above image

G2CCD series of CCD cameras include three models:
Model      CCD Chip      Resolution    Pixel size         Imaging area Download time
G2-0402 KAF-0402ME 768 × 512      9 × 9 μm          6.9 × 4.6 mm      ~ 0.6 s
G2-1600 KAF-1603ME 1536 × 1024 9 × 9 μm        13.8 × 9.2 mm      ~ 2.1 s
G2-3200 KAF-3200ME 2184 × 1472 6.8 × 6.8 μm 14.9 × 10 mm       ~ 4.8 s

Download times are valid for G2 cameras revision 3 and higher. G2 cameras revision 1 and 2 need approximately 2× longer time to download full resolution image.

G2CCD cameras are designed to work in cooperation with a host Personal Computer (PC). As opposite to digital still cameras, which are operated independently on the computer, the scientific slow-scan, cooled cameras usually require computer for operation control, image download, processing and storage etc. To operate G2 CCD camera, you need a computer which:

 1.  Is compatible with a PC standard.

  2. Runs a modern 32-bit Windows operating system.
G2 camera USB driver is designed for Windows 2000 and better operating systems (e.g. Windows XP). Older 16/32-bit systems, like Windows 95/98 and Windows Me, are not supported. G2 CCD cameras cannot properly operate with such operating systems.

  3. Provides at last one free USB port.
The current series of G2CCD cameras are designed to operate with USB 2.0 high-speed (480 Mbps) hosts. Although they are fully backward compatible with USB 1.1 full-speed (12 Mbps) hosts, image download time can be somewhat longer if USB 1.1 connection is used.

G2CCD Cameras Technical Specifications
CCD Chip

G2 cameras use high sensitive and low noise Kodak KAF Full Frame CCD detectors. Advanced manufacturing techniques like transparent electrodes and microlensing ensure up to 80 or 90 % peak quantum efficiency. The inherent dark current of these detectors is very low compared to other scientific-grade CCDs, so the resulting image S/N ratio is very good. Anchor

Model G2-1600 (KAF-1603ME CCD chip specifications)

G2-1600 model uses 1.6 MPx Kodak KAF-1603ME Class 1 or 2 CCD chip.

Resolution 1536 (H) × 1024 (V) pixels
Pixel size     9 μm (H) × 9 μm (V)
Imaging area 13.8 mm (H) × 9.2 mm (V)
Full well capacity ~100,000 e-
Output node capacity ~220,000 e-
Dark current 1 e-/s/pixel at 0 °C
Dark signal doubling temperature 6.3 °C

KAF-1603ME CCD chip and its Quantum Efficiency shown on the above graph

Camera Electronics
16-bit A/D converter with correlated double sampling ensures high dynamic range and CCD chip-limited readout noise. Fast USB interface ensures image download time within seconds. Maximum length of single USB cable is 5 m. This length can be extended for instance to 10 m by using single USB hub or USB active extender cable. Up to 100 m extension can be achieved with third-party extender.

ADC resolution 16 bits
Sampling method Correlated double sampling
Read modes Standard (STD)
Low-noise (LN)
Horizontal binning 1 to 4 pixels
Vertical binning 1 to 4 pixels
Sub-frame readout Arbitrary sub-frame
TDI readout Yes, 2 ms resolution
Computer interface USB 2.0 High Speed
USB 1.1 Full Speed compatible

Image download time depends on the CCD chip used in particular camera model. Also the read noise depends on the chip as well as on the read mode.

  • Standard read mode provides system read noise approx. 1 e- above CCD chip read noise.
  • LN (Low-noise) read mode is somewhat slower (approx. 1.2×), but ensures system read noise equal or smaller than the manufacturer-specified chip read noise.

Model G2-1600
Gain 1.5 e-/ADU (1 × 1 binning)
2.3 e-/ADU (other binnings)
System read noise 12 e- RMS (LN read)
16 e- RMS (standard read)
Full frame download 2.5 s (LN read)
2.1 s (standard read)

Binning can be combined independently on both axes
ULN read noise depends on the CCD chip itself. If the read noise of the particular chip is 11.5 e- RMS, the system read noise is also 11.5 e- RMS.
Download times are valid for USB 2.0 host and may vary depending on host PC. Times stated here were measured on 1.5 GHz Pentium M based laptop computer.
Download times can be somewhat longer when connected to USB 1.1 host.

Power and USB connectors on the bottom of the camera head

Above image shows power and USB connectors on the bottom of the camera head

Chip Cooling

Regulated two-stage thermo-electric chip cooling up to 50 °C below ambient temperature with forced air cooling and 0.1 °C temperature precision ensure very low dark current for long exposures.

Chip cooling specifications
CCD chip cooling Thermoelectric (Peltier modules)
TEC modules Two stages
Max. delta T 50 °C below ambient maximum
45 °C below ambient typical
Regulation precision 0.1 °C
Hot side cooling Air cooling (50 mm fan)

Fans and air output vents on the back side of the camera

Image shows fans and air output vents on the back side of the camera
It is not recommended to cool the chip to the maximum temperature difference, else the camera cannot guarantee temperature stability when the ambient air temperature rises. It is usually practical to set the temperature so the cooling utilization varies around 90%. This provides enough reserve in cooling power to keep the CCD temperature even if the ambient temperature rises several degrees Celsius.
Water-assisted cooling is available for all G2CCD cameras. Contact the manufacturer for details.
The cooling performance depends on the environmental conditions and also on the power supply. If the power supply voltage drops below 12 V, the maximum temperature difference is lower.
One 50 mm fan is used in G2 cameras revision 3 and higher. Older revisions used two 40mm fans.

Maximum temperature drop -50°C provides little room for regulation

Maximum temperature drop -50°C provides little room for regulation

Power supply

The 12 V DC power supply adapter enables camera operation from arbitrary power source including batteries, wall adapters etc. Universal 100–240 V AC/50–60 Hz, 60 W “brick” adapter is supplied with the camera. Although the camera power consumption does not exceed 30 W, the 60 W power supply ensures noise-free operation.

Camera head supply 12 V DC
Camera power consumption 15 W without cooling
40 W with 100% cooling
Adapter input voltage 100-240 V AC/50-60 Hz
Adapter output voltage 12 V DC/5 A
Adapter maximum power 60 W

Camera power consumption is measured on the AC outlet of the 12 V power supply.
The camera contains its own power supplies inside, so it can be powered by unregulated 12 V DC power source—the input voltage can be anywhere between 10 and 14 V. However, some parameters (like cooling efficiency) can degrade if the supply drops below 11 V.
G2 CCD camera measures its input voltage and provides it to the control software. Input voltage is displayed in the Cooling tab of the CCD Camera control tool in the SIPS. This feature is important especially if you power the camera from batteries.

12 V DC/5 A power supply adapter for G2CCD Camera

Image: 12 V DC/5 A power supply adapter for G2CCD Camera

The power connector on the camera head uses center-plus pin. Although all modern power supplies use this configuration, always make sure the polarity is correct if you use own power source.

Mechanical Specifications

Compact and robust camera head measures only 114 × 114 × 77 mm (approx. 4.5 × 4.5 × 3 inches). The head is CNC-machined from high-quality aluminum and black anodized. The head itself contains USB-B (device) connector and 12 V DC power plug, no other parts (CPU box, USB interface, etc.), except a “brick” power supply, are necessary. Integrated mechanical shutter allows streak-free image readout, as well as automatic dark frame exposures, which are necessary for unattended, robotic setups. Integrated filter wheel contains 5 positions for standard 1.25" threaded filter cells. A variant of filter wheel with 6 positions for 1" “glass-only” filters is also available.

5-positions filter wheel and blade shutter inside the G2 camera head

Above image shows the 5-positions filter wheel and blade shutter inside the G2 camera head

Internal mechanical shutter   Yes, blade shutter
Shortest exposure time         100 ms
Longest exposure time        Limited by chip saturation only
Internal filter wheel 5 positions for 1.25" threaded filter cells
6 positions for 1" bolt-secured filters
Head dimensions 114 mm × 114 mm × 77 mm
Back focal distance 29 mm
Camera head weight 1.1 kg

Slightly slimmer variant of the camera head without internal filter wheel is available. The head dimensions are 114 × 114 × 65 mm (approx. 4.5 × 4.5 × 2.5 inches). This variant allows attaching of external filter wheel with 10 or 12 positions for D36 mm or D31 mm filters.

Above: G2 CCD camera with external filter wheel attached

Above: External filter wheels for 10 filters D36 mm (left) and for 12 filters D31 mm or with M28.5 × 0.6 threaded cells (right)

Head dimensions 114 mm × 114 mm × 65 mm
Back focal distance 29 mm
Back focal distance 16.5 mm
Back focal distance from external filter wheel 33.5 mm
Weight of camera head 0.9 kg
Weight of camera head + external filter wheel 1.7 kg

Shortest exposure time 100 ms is available on G2 cameras revision 3 and higher. Shortest exposure time of older revisions was 175 ms.

Software Support

Powerful SIPS (Scientific Image Processing System) software supplied with the camera allows complete camera control (exposures, cooling, filters) with automatic sequences and complete image calibration. SIPS also supports advanced tools like Image Add tool with automatic sub-pixel image alignment, (L)RGB Add tool, Image Blink tool, image filters and many more functions.

Simple Image Manipulation System

Drivers for third-party software are also available (e.g. MaxIm DL, AstroArt, etc.). Visit the “download” portion of the manufacturer web site for current list of available drivers, please.

Automatic guiding
SIPS software package allows automatic guiding of the astronomical telescope mounts using separate guiding camera. Proper and reliable automatic guiding utilizing the computational power of Personal Computer (e.g. calculation of star centroid allows guiding with sub-pixel precision) is not simple task. Guiding complexity corresponds to number of parameters, which must be entered (or automatically measured). And the number of necessary parameters lead to splitting of the “Guiding” tab in the SIPS into two separate tabs. The first one is called “Guiding setup” and it summarizes all parameters necessary for proper autoguiding setup.

Guider setup tab of the SIPS CCD Camera control tool

Guider setup tab of the SIPS CCD Camera control tool

The second tab called “Guiding” thereafter allows switching of autoguiding on and off, starting of the automatic calibration procedure and recalculation of autoguiding parameters when the telescope changes declination without the necessity of new calibration. Also swapping of the German Equatorial mount no longer requires new autoguider calibration.
This tab also graphically displays time history of guide star offsets from reference position in both axes. The length of graph history as well as the graph range can be freely defined, so the graph can be adjusted according to particular mount errors and periodic error period length.

SIPS automatic guiding

SIPS automatic guiding

Complete log of calibration procedure, detected offsets, correction pulses etc. is also shown in this tab. The log can by anytime saved to log file.

G2 cooled imaging camera with G0 high-performance guider

Image Gallery

G2 CCD cameras with KAF detectors are primarily intended for research work. They are only occasionally used for “aesthetics astrophotography”. Following examples represent both science observations and astrophotography images.

Astronomy research
G2 cameras are appreciated by both professional researchers and amateur astronomers involved in scientific observations. Here are only a few examples, chosen from huge amount of observations, be it extragalactic novae discovery, minor planet photometry and astrometry, variable star discovery and regular observations, exoplanet transit observations etc.

Object WASP 12b exoplanet transit observation
Author Pavel Cagas
Camera G2-3200
Telescope 250mm f/5.4 reflector
Only 0.8mmag RMS difference from ideal light cure

Object Two new novae in M81 galaxy discovered within three days
Author Pavel and Petr Cagas, Vaclav Pribik
Camera G2-3200
Telescope 265mm f/8 reflector
This discovery is a record in the size of telescope, used to discover nova in M81. The second smallest has 750mm diameter.

Object New discovery of HADS (High Amplitude Delta Scuti) variable star
Author Vaclav Pribik
Camera G2-1600
Telescope 254mm f/4.7 reflector

Object 5 new variable stars discovered during HAT-P 20b exoplanet transit observations
Author Vaclav Pribik
Camera G2-1600
Telescope 254mm f/4.7 reflector

Object 9 novae in M31 galaxy
Author Kamil Hornoch
Camera G2-3200
Telescope 650mm f/3.6 reflector

Object Minor planet 2007/TU24 passing close to Earth
Author Peter Kusnirak
Camera G2-3200
Telescope 650mm f/3.6 reflector

Microscopy and material science

Object Solar cell sample—visible light
Author Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication, Brno University of Technology
Camera G2-3200

Object Solar cell sample—near IR, conductive direction
Author Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication, Brno University of Technology
Camera G2-3200

Object Solar cell sample—near IR, micro-plasmas in barrier direction
Author Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication, Brno University of Technology
Camera G2-3200

Near-IR radiation of semiconductor (solar cell) samples

Object Palladium layer on the tungsten sample covered by tungsten oxide
Author J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry
Camera G2-0402
Field emission microscope images, camera field of view is 800nm (1.5nm/pixel).


Object M57 "Ring" nebula
Author Pavel Cagas
Camera G2-3200
Telescope 265mm f/8 Newtonian

Object M27 "Dumbbell" nebula
Author Pavel Cagas
Camera G2-3200
Telescope 265mm f/8 Newtonian

Object M101 galaxy
Author Martin Myslivec
Camera G2-3200
Telescope 185mm f/3.9 astrograph

Object Comet "Holmes"
Author Pavel Cagas
Camera G2-1600
Telescope 265mm f/8 Newtonian

Object Globular Cluster M13
Author Pavel and Petr Cagas
Camera   G2-3200
Telescope   265mm f/8 Newtonian

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