MEADE DSI CAMERA DRIVER
January 11, 2019
The software was buggy and froze up. Testing showed that Meade’s dark-subtraction did a pretty good job, and if I set it so that the capture program would save every image in the FITS format, I could stack the images using AIP4Win to get what I consider better results than Meade’s software delivers. The color rendition in the images was terrible. The DSI-Pro, running at outdoor temperatures, throws away most of that advantage, but not all of it. Then I lock the focus, close down Magnifier, increase the exposure to 2 seconds, move to my target, and center it. The field of view was microscopic.
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Meade Deep Sky Imager Fan – for all Meade DSI models
In summer, Meade’s software does a good job dark-subtracting second exposures and less well with second exposures. When I got my observatory fully operational early in summerI shot the four images that follow.
But once in a while everything worked, and images actually popped up on the computer screen. This proved to be true: I make sure that I’ve got the right filename set up, check the dark-subtract box, verify that it’s set to save all images, reset the long exposure time to 30 seconds, and then leave everything alone for 10 to 20 minutes while 20 to 40 images accumulate.
Camrra showed that Meade’s dark-subtraction did a pretty good job, and if I set it so that the capture program would save every image in the FITS format, I could stack the images using AIP4Win to get what I consider better results than Meade’s software delivers. Caamera a cool night you can expose for several minutes. This is a fsi of 74 exposures each 15 seconds long, with no tracking or guiding.
I haven’t tried to make color images with this camera. The software is coded in VS. He mentioned that the venerable Cookbook camera had been an inspiration for the DSI series.
Messing Around with Meade’s DSI-Pro
Then I lock the focus, close down Magnifier, increase the exposure to 2 seconds, move dsii my target, and center it. He sent it to me. The aluminum housing is crudely cast and minimally machined. However, for monochrome imaging the DSI-Pro does well enough to be fun to mess around with.
Deep Sky Imager IV (DSI-IV)
After a lot of experimenting, I gave up using the Meade software for anything but capturing the raw images. The sensitivity fsi the camera was terrible. I set it for 2x resampling and let AIP4Win stack the image series. Meade had upgraded the software somewhat.
In winter, when it’s cooler, the longer exposures might be superior. He got it to work but gave up on it as a serious CCD camera. The field of view was microscopic. The DSI-Pro, running at outdoor temperatures, throws away most of that advantage, but not all of it. I use Meade’s Envision software to capture the image sequences.
And market-oriented companies like Meade know their customers: In my experiments, the Meade software wasted a lot of usable exposures. Scott related how he had seen the Cookbook, and was impressed at the speedy image display and overall ease of use. Post-stack processing with these images was minimal; I used the Brightness Scaling Tool with Sigmoid scaling, and touched up the final contrast before exporting the images you see here.
The Ring Nebula picture was taken in the fall of from my half-completed observatory.
I can honestly say that it was a bear to install and a pain in the butt to operate. I then use MicroSoft’s Magnifier program to blow up the image really big on the screen.
When the DSI-Pro was announced, we briefly considered writing a book for new users who were sure to find imaging with these low-end cameras daunting — so I “invested” in a DSI-Pro. The software was buggy and froze up. Maybe I was a little jealous, or maybe just plain curious, but I had to see what Meade had accomplished.
Adding filters will reduce the amount of light reaching the chip, so dark current and readout noise will inevitably lead to either considerably longer exposures or much noisier images, which seems to me like a lose-lose situation.
So what got me interested?