DIY Logitech 4000 SC1 mod (Serial Port)

This is an update to my previously-built Logitech 4000 SC1 modification in 2011. Note that the modification was originally designed to work with Parallel ports. Since such ports are now obsolete, changes to the circuitry have been implemented to allow the modified camera to be connected to newer laptops via USB ports (by using a USB-to-Serial Port adapter).

DIY Guide Camera (Logitech 4000 SC 1 modification)-post
Modified Logitech 4000 web camera

It is strongly recommended that you read the article about the previous version of this camera (link provided above) along with the comments left by the readers as this will give you a brief background as to why this update is necessary. A lot of details in this article will not make sense if you are not familiar with the history of the project.

To proceed to the article, click here.

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© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

 

 

Logitech 4000/3000 Long Exposure Modification (SC1)

A simple hardware modification allows the modest web camera to detect faint targets like galaxies and nebula by using a computer to externally control the camera’s exposure time. It involves severing some electrical connections and then soldering wires onto the camera’s circuit board in an attempt to bypass the web camera’s internal clock and image processor. This modification allows the web camera to take full advantage of its far more sensitive sensor — a CCD — to be used as an imaging camera, or as a dedicated guide camera for autoguiding purposes. In this article, I will describe how a Logitech Pro 4000/Logitech Pro 3000 can be modified for use in long-exposure and deep-sky photography.

A web camera modified for deep-sky/long-exposure photography

Below is a comparison between two images taken before and after the modification. An unmodified webcam (see left image) can only be exposed for a maximum of 1/5 of a second, too short to register an image in an extremely low-light situation (e.g., a room with the moonlight shining through a window as the only light source). A modified camera however (see right image), may be exposed for as long as desired (in this case, for about 60 seconds), and thus capable of collecting enough light to reveal ample amount of details. This newly-added feature is very useful for deep-sky photography where exposure of  a few minutes or more is not uncommon.

Shots taken before and after the modification: 1/5 second exposure (left), 60 seconds exposure (right)

To learn more about this web camera modification, 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.
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© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Imaging Planets Using Webcams

Two of the most popular webcams used in astrophotography: Logitech Pro 4000 (left) and Philips SPC900NC (right).

The modest web camera (or webcam) quickly gained interest among amateur astronomers and is now considered as the equipment of choice for planetary imaging because it has two characteristics that are very much useful in astrophotography: (1) its lens can be removed much like the lens of a DSLR, making it possible to easily connect the webcam with any telescope and (2) it can record a huge number of still frames even in a short span of time (1-2 minutes), a feature particularly useful in a post-processing technique called registering and stacking.

saturn_may8_2016_logitech4000-2
Photo of Saturn taken on May 8, 2016. Image captured through eyepiece projection method with a 4-in f/9 refractor, UV-IR filter, a 5 mm eyepiece, and a Logitech Pro 4000 web camera. Processed using AutoStakkert and Registax.

In this article, I intend to describe how to image planets using a web camera as the main imaging device and then provide a brief overview of the post-processing technique. Read more.

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.