STARFRAME Computer Controlled Imaging Flip Mirror for Dual Remote Camera Application
This novelty is a result of co-operation between 365Astronomy and one of our good customers who has been working few decades in automation and also happen to be an enthusiast amateur astronomer.
Currently there are two versions available:
version 1 called STARFRAME: comes with remote controlled motorised flip mirror with simple attachments for the cameras and
version 2 called STARFRAME DUO: comes with remote controlled motorised flip mirror AND remote controlled motorised helical micro focuser.
This product listing is for:
STARFRAME Computer Controlled Imaging Flip Mirror for Dual Remote Camera Application (only the flip mirror is motorised and there is no helical microfocuser)
Further below you will read the description for both versions, so please refer to the above description and product title to confirm which version you are buying.
General Description & Typical Use
The ability to switch between two cameras and focus one of them remotely is very useful, this enables the astronomer with a remote control set-up, to carry out flipping and focussing operations without the need to continually visit the telescope.
The positions of the astrophotography camera and the DSLR camera on the flip mirror assembly can be interchanged, but lack of a liquid crystal display on the astrophotography camera prohibits local focus adjustment without the use of a computer screen to view the image.
Light losses and distortion through the flip mirror assembly are minimal, so high quality images are possible in either orientation. However to use the auto focuser it is necessary to attach the astrophotography camera in the position with the mirror in the light path.
The current trend towards armchair astronomy requires complete control of equipment by computer from a remote location. This assembly provides computer controlled, remote flipping and focusing as a low cost, reliable, solution.
Please Note: Additional back focus of 60mm is required.
This multifunction integrated flip mirror and focuser (STARFRAME DUO ONLY) allows two cameras, or one camera and an eyepiece, to be selectively introduced into the light path of a telescope. The focuser option (STARFRAME DUO ONLY), if purchased, allows a camera or eyepiece to be remotely focused independently, with the mirror in the light path.
Focus is achieved by a motor driven toothed belt that adjusts a non-rotating, helical focuser (STARFRAME DUO ONLY)
The switching and focus functions are controlled either locally by the operation of push switches, or remotely by computer over a USB connection.
At the heart of the unit is an Arduino micro-computer controlling two actuator motors, one to change the position of the flip mirror and the other, when fitted (STARFRAME DUO ONLY), to focus a camera or eyepiece. Each actuator is controlled over a USB port by software running on a locally or remotely connected computer.
No additional power supply is required as the micro and actuators are powered over the USB port.
The software presents the user with a simple to use, on screen graphic, see Fig 1. that controls the flip and focus facilities and controls the USB connection, acknowledging each command sent and received. The flip function is labelled as MIRROR IN or MIRROR OUT and the focus function is labelled as course IN or OUT and fine IN or OUT (STARFRAME DUO ONLY).
Additionally there are two LEDs, one red (Mirror out) and one green (Mirror In), to indicate the position of the mirror locally. The brightness of the LEDs is adjustable through software by selecting LED HI or LED LOW.
The focus function moves a non-rotating helical focuser by small or large steps to achieve sharp focus (STARFRAME DUO ONLY).
The software is compatible with windows 7, 8 and 10.
- Remote control of a flip mirror over a USB connection, by computer
- Remote focusing (when fitted) of a CCD camera by remote computer (STARFRAME DUO ONLY)
- Course and fine focussing (when fitted: STARFRAME DUO ONLY)
- Local at the telescope flip and focus (STARFRAME DUO ONLY) control by press buttons
- Software mirror status acknowledgements of commands issued
- Local LED indication of mirror position
- Allows user to switch between two CCD devices
- Ideal for finding and centering objects
- No additional power supply required (runs over the USB or a local powered hub)
- Open Source software
- Runs on Windows versions 8 and 10
Images are for demonstration purposes only.
Below image shows an application of the computer controlled flip mirror with also computer controlled helical microfocuser. (note: this product is the version without the helical micro focuser...)
A ZWO ASI1600MC Cooled camera (red body) is being used for imaging here. it is attached to the helical micro focuser, so focus can be remotely adjusted. A cheap uncooled Canon EOS camera with a larger sensor (and thus larger field of view) is in the right angled position being used for locating and framing the object. This setup is especially convenient when the imaging camera's field of view is much smaller and would be much more difficult to find and center the object, i.e. a small and faint galaxy...