With CCDciel you can use any device with a ASCOM, INDI or Alpaca driver.
The program is made to be totally independent of the device itself and only use the standard properties published by this drivers. This ensure the developement I make using my devices will work with any device that use a ASCOM or INDI driver.
As an application developer I cannot develop driver for every existing device because I not have the time and I not own them to make any testing.
You must check before to buy if the device include the required ASCOM, INDI or Alpaca driver. This is the only way you can ensure the device will work with any software.
Beware many ASCOM driver work only with 32bit application, even on Windows 64bit.
CCDciel must show an explicit message in this case, and the ASCOM Chooser can show an error with: “System.BadImageFormatException”, “Incorrect format”.
The solution is to ask the device manufacturer for a 64bit or universal driver. In the mean time you can install the 32bit version of CCDciel as a work around.
You can set the gain and offset in CCDciel, in Preview, Capture and Sequence step.
But to avoid unwanted effect this setting is hidden by default, in this case the gain always remain what you set in the driver. This is the recommended way to use the camera.
If you really want to set the gain in CCDciel you have to check “Manage the Gain and Offset if available” in the camera preference.
Beware you must be sure to configure the gain/offset to use for the different operation in the program. You must also fully understand all the effect of this setting before to use it for other purpose than camera testing.
Yes CCDciel support DSLR using INDI or ASCOM driver.
For ASCOM see ASCOM.DSLR - ASCOM driver for dslr cameras (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony)
For INDI, CCDciel support image type of FITS or native RAW or JPEG, you must set it in the INDI panel with all the other option you need, then save the setting in the Option tab. Sure use JPEG only for preview.
See: Indi DSLR documentation
To reload this settings every time you connect the camera to CCDciel you have to check “Load configuration on startup” for the INDI camera
In every case CCDciel save the image file in FITS format to take advantage of the information stored in the header. Most EXIF tags are recorded as FITS keywords.
To be able to change the ISO in CCDciel you have to unlock the Gain setting.
LiveView is supported by the Video tool.
This problem is typically encountered when the camera is connected by INDI to a Raspberry Pi and CCDciel run on another computer. The same issue can be expected with Alpaca camera.
The network speed is the critical point in this case, specifically with big sensors. Remember a 20Mpx camera will produce a 40MB FITS file to transfer over the network. And this network time is added to the “USB time” to transfer the image from the camera to the RPi.
This is very critical when using a WiFi connection, in this case it can take about 8 seconds if the signal is very good but can take up to 40 seconds if it fallback to 11Mbps, and even more if retries are necessary.
The best solution in this case is to replace the WiFi connection by a direct Ethernet cable between the RPi and the computer, just configure a static IP address in the same range on both computer. No router is required so this work fine even in the field.
With this cable you can expect a download time of 3-4 seconds for the same image.
If using a DSLR you can set the image type to native RAW, this make the data size two or three time smaller than FITS.
This is normally not to the imaging application to do that, but if you not have another solution process as follow.
With INDI use the options in the “Site management” tab to set this position.
With ASCOM create a script named for example setpark.js with notepad and add the following content after replacing My.ASCOM.Telescope.Driver by the name of the driver for your telescope:
var driver = "My.ASCOM.Telescope.Driver"; var telescope = new ActiveXObject(driver); telescope.SetPark();
Orient the telescope at the desired position and double click to run this script. After that a Park command will return to this position. You only need to do it once and it changes the parking positions permanently.
If you want to run it from CCDciel create an internal script with the following content:
begin run('C:\Windows\System32\cscript.exe C:\Users\username\Documents\scripts\setpark.js'); end.
The object coordinates set in the sequence must be ICRS/J2000 because this is the standard with current catalog. This way the sequence is not dependent of the date, you can reuse the same sequence file next year or in 10 years without problem.
But the real sky is not J2000, it is represented by the Local coordinate system that depend on the current date because the Earth orientation change with the time and so the polar axis of the telescope mount.
The main difference between J2000 and the Local system are because of the precession, nutation and aberration.
Most of the telescope use naturally the Local system so the program automatically convert the coordinates from J2000 to Local to slew the telescope. This make the number for RA and Dec you see in the log to be different to what you setup, but this ensure the telescope is finally pointed at the right position.
There is two possible case:
You set a too small value for the target precision that cannot be reached by your mount because of backlash, flexion, or other mechanical problem.
You use a pointing model using N stars alignment and the weight of the new point you sync near the target is insufficient to influence the pointing result. When using plate solving it is best to disable this pointing model, or at least make the new points to not be added to the model but used as an offset.
For Eqmod ASCOM:
In the Alignment/Sync box click the two button with a red cross “clear align data” and “clear sync data”.
For User Interface select “dialog based”, for Alignment Behavior select “nearest point”.
For Eqmod INDI:
In the Sync tab set “sync mode=standard sync” and click “clear sync delta”.
In the Align tab for “manage list” click “clear list” and set “alignment mode=nearest point”.
First read again the documentation from your device manufacturer and how to
set the device configuration and preferences in CCDciel.
Also be sure you installed the latest version for any required driver.
Many devices issues are because of bad cable or insufficient USB power. Be sure to test with a different cable, with and without a powered USB-hub, and by connecting only this device to the computer.
We can never exclude a device failure, try with another software, on another computer. With INDI you can exercise all the device functions with a simple INDI client.
Try the same operation in CCDciel with a simulator, this is the first thing to do to isolate the problem. Both ASCOM and INDI have many simulator drivers for all kind of devices. If you can reproduce the error with the simulator please open directly a new issue in the CCDciel bug tracker, otherwise see below.
If you think there is compatibility issue between the device and CCDciel do the following depending on the kind of driver you use:
You must not run this software or any other astronomy application with administrator right. CCDciel will refuse to start if you try, this is to help new user to do it right from the start.
If you are currently running your astronomy software in administrator mode it is time to change because this is totally useless and create many unwanted issues.
The important point is you run all your software with the same user. But running all with the standard user is much simpler and better than running all in administrator!