Modified Canon 450D DSLR for astro-imaging (August 2014)

Here is my most recent prototype of a Peltier-cooled Canon 450D DSLR intended for astro-imaging. The intention was to incorporate improvement into each version. In this particular prototype, the camera is housed in a smaller plastic case, making it more compact, lighter, and more sturdy.

modified_canon_450D_aug_2014
Modified Canon 450D DSLR for astro-imaging (August 2014) mounted on a Sky-Watcher 100ED refractor. View test shot here.

A custom-fabricated aluminum lens mount is used to allow the modified camera to accept standard Canon lenses and T-adapters. A Baader UV-IR filter is used to optimize sensitivity to H-alpha wavelengths, which also serves as the sealed chamber’s optical window. During operation, sensor temperature drops to 30 degrees C below ambient. To avoid dew from condensing on the optical window, coils of fine nichrome wire were used.

Dimensions: 16 cm x 12 cm x 7 cm case with 7.5 cm x 7 cm x 6 cm heat sink protruding on one side
Weight: approximately 1250 grams
Temperature: up to 30 deg C below ambient
Power supply: 12V 12A for the Peltier module, 8.4V 1.5A for the camera

To view other my other DSLR modification projects, follow the links below:
August 2014 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (improved sealed chamber prototype)
March 2014 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (sealed chamber prototype)
February 2014 Modified Canon 1000D DSLR (Baader BCF filter replacement)
December 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (custom-fabricated lens mount)
November 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for  Astro-imaging (sealed chamber prototype)
February 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging

For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
To visit my astrophoto gallery, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

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Modified Canon 450D DSLR (March 2014)

Modified Canon 450D DSLR (March 2014)
My most recent project: a camera that can take photos of deep space! It has special filters to make it more sensitive to galaxies and nebula, and operates at freezing temperatures to minimize sensor noise.

Shown in above is my most recent version of a TEC-cooled (Peltier) Canon 450D DSLR intended for astro-imaging. This one has been housed in rigid plastic case with custom-fabricated aluminum lens mount to accept standard Canon lenses and T-adapters. The camera’s stock filters (both the IR and the dust-cleaning filter) were replaced with a Baader UV-IR filter to optimize sensitivity to H-alpha wavelengths and also serve as the sealed chamber’s optical window. During operation, sensor temperature drops to 35 degrees C below ambient.

To view other my other DSLR modification projects, follow the links below:
August 2014 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (improved sealed chamber prototype)
March 2014 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (sealed chamber prototype)
February 2014 Modified Canon 1000D DSLR (Baader BCF filter replacement)
December 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (custom-fabricated lens mount)
November 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for  Astro-imaging (sealed chamber prototype)
February 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging

For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
To visit my astrophoto gallery, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Canon 1000D (Rebel XS) DSLR Modification

In this article, I will describe how I modified a Canon 1000D (Rebel XS) DSLR to become a dedicated astronomical camera, with all functions intact including its auto-focus capabilities, and thus, may still be used for non-astronomical purposes. The camera belongs to a fellow astronomy enthusiast and I was happy to accommodate the request to have it modified. It took me around 2 hours to complete the modification.

Canon 1000D Rebel XS DSLR Modification (1)
Canon 1000D DSLR modified for astrophotography

The modification involves the replacement of the camera’s stock (built-in) filter with a Baader BCF (Baader Conversion Filter). This filter allows greater sensitivity to H-alpha wavelengths emitted by most deep-sky objects, while at the same time eliminate unwanted UV and other IR wavelengths. This filter is necessary for any system that uses lenses in the optical train. To learn about the key steps involved in this camera modification, click here.

To view other my other DSLR modification projects, follow the links below:
August 2014 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (improved sealed chamber prototype)
March 2014 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (sealed chamber prototype)
February 2014 Modified Canon 1000D DSLR (Baader BCF filter replacement)
December 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (custom-fabricated lens mount)
November 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for  Astro-imaging (sealed chamber prototype)
February 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging

For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
To visit my astrophoto gallery, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Cooled DSLR with custom-fabricated Canon lens mount

Shown below is my most recent version of a TEC-cooled (Peltier) Canon 450D DSLR intended for astro-imaging. This one has been housed in an aluminum case with custom-fabricated aluminum lens mount to accept standard Canon lenses and T-adapters. The camera’s stock filters (both the IR and the dust-cleaning filter) were replaced with a Baader UV-IR filter to optimize sensitivity to H-alpha wavelengths and also serve as the sealed chamber’s optical window. During operation, sensor temperature drops to 35 degrees C below ambient.
Eteny_Canon450D_Dec2013

To view other my other DSLR modification projects, follow the links below:
August 2014 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (improved sealed chamber prototype)
March 2014 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (sealed chamber prototype)
February 2014 Modified Canon 1000D DSLR (Baader BCF filter replacement)
December 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (custom-fabricated lens mount)
November 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for  Astro-imaging (sealed chamber prototype)
February 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging

For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
To visit my astrophoto gallery, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

TEC (Peltier)-cooled Canon 450D DSLR

TEC (Peltier)-cooled Canon 450D DSLR
TEC (Peltier)-cooled Canon 450D DSLR

Here’s an upgrade of my previous TEC-cooled 450D project. It uses a cold copper plate mounted directly at the back of the imaging sensor, which is then cooled by a stack of 2 Peltiers, one being more powerful than the other (40 mm and 30 mm modules). Non-electrically conductive thermal paste (Zalman) has been used to promote effective heat transfer and yet avoid electrical hazard.  A12V 12A DC adapter powers the fan, Peltiers, and the heater.  A standard Canon adapter powers the camera. Read more.

To view other my other DSLR modification projects, follow the links below:
August 2014 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (improved sealed chamber prototype)
March 2014 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (sealed chamber prototype)
February 2014 Modified Canon 1000D DSLR (Baader BCF filter replacement)
December 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (custom-fabricated lens mount)
November 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for  Astro-imaging (sealed chamber prototype)
February 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging

For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
To visit my astrophoto gallery, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Telescope Counterweight

For telescopes with equatorial mounts, adding more equipment to an imaging setup would require heavier counterweights. Accurate tracking of celestial objects is greatly dependent on proper telescope balance. If the telescope’s counterweight is not heavy enough, it may cause strain to the mount that will lead to poor tracking and eventually damage to the gears that drive the mount. Having access to a machine shop, I can easily fabricate metal parts ranging from gears, to T-adapters, and to any telescope part for that matter, including counterweights.

 

For other DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

How to Construct a Filter Cell

Observing the sun requires a special type of protective filter called a solar filter. Such filters work by passing sunlight through specialized layer of metal, placed in between layers of glass or plastic film. Solar filters block more than 99.99% of sunlight, and must be placed on top of the telescope’s objective (on the main aperture of the telescope) to reduce the sunlight’s intensity before it gets focused by the telescope. Without a solar filter, sunlight’s intensity will be high enough to cause loss of vision and damage to equipment.

filter_solar
Observing and imaging the sun require a solar filter

To learn how to construct a mounting frame (also called a filter cell) for a solar filter, which will help protect the delicate film and allow safe viewing (and imaging) of the sun, click here.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Timing Astronomical Events Using CHDK

Occultations and transits are the two events popular in amateur astronomy that would benefit from timed observations. While it is possible to observe such occurrences by timing the start and the end of the event using a simple stopwatch, a better and certainly more accurate alternative would be to use a camera with a timer to time such events.

2ndcontact_venustransit
A timing observation for the 2012 Transit of Venus

Fortunately, a simple setup for timing occultations and transits may be assembled using a telescope, an external video recorder, and a “hacked” point-and-shoot camera using CHDK, a free software that can greatly enhance the capabilities of a number of Canon PowerShot cameras.

To learn more on how an ordinary camera may be used as a timing equipment, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Improved Field Battery

Improved field battery
Improved field battery

The field battery is the most essential component of any portable imaging setup. Since battery power is everything in the field (no power means no pictures), it must be well-built and well-designed, providing enough power without sacrificing portability.

After 2 years of using my DIY field battery, I realized that some improvements must be incorporated to the original design to allow a means to separate the individual batteries and recombine them as needed, thus, minimizing the hassle of having to carry unnecessary weights. To learn about the improved portable power supply, click here.

DIY Serial-to-Parallel Port Adapter

The parallel port is one of the easiest computer ports to interface with. It allows any computer to ‘talk’ with other devices like turning on and off a light bulb, or any other electrical appliance for that matter. Obsolete as it may seem, the parallel port is still used today to perform tasks such as controlling a telescope during autoguiding operation and controlling the precise timing of relays in a dedicated long-exposure camera used in astrophotography.

Serial-to-parallel_converter
A DIY serial-to-parallel port adapter essentially allows a camera or a telescope requiring a parallel port to utilize a computer’s serial port instead.

Most computers produced nowadays, however, are no longer equipped with parallel ports. To learn more on how to work around this problem, click here.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)