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G1-0301: new autoguider with large detector, big pixels and high sensitivity
 New autoguiding camera G1-0301 has the same resolution like the G1-0300 model, but it has bigger pixels and thus also bigger CCD detector. Greater detector area (6.5 × 4.9 mm compared to 4.9 × 3.7 mm) and especially 80% larger pixel area bring proportionally higher sensitivity compared to G1-0300. This is why G1-0301 can be used with guiding telescopes with long focal length and also with Off-Axis Guider adapters.

Amount of light, gathered by each pixel, is proportional to its area. G1-0301 camera pixels with 9.9 × 9.9 μm dimensions offer 1.8 times the area of 7.4 × 7.4 μm pixels of the G1-0300 model (and almost 7 times greater area than the G1-1200 pixels). G1-0301 was designed for long focal length guiding telescopes and also for usage with Off-Axis Guider (OAG) adapters. The guiding camera uses the same optics like the main imaging camera when attached to OAG.

Comparison of G1-0300 (left) and G1-0301 (right) shows greater detector area

Comparison of G1-0300 (left) and G1-0301 (right) shows greater detector area

Relatively large package of the ICX414 CCD does not allow its placing inside the small head of G0 cameras. The 0301 model is available in the larger G1 camera head only.

The G1-0301 camera head is identical to all G1 cameras...

...including the “tripod” thread (left), USB and standard “autoguider” port (right).

The G1-0301 cameras are available in both color and monochrome variants:

Model CCD detector Chip architecture Color filters Resolution Pixel size Image area Download time
G1-0301 ICX414AL progressive none 656 × 494 9.9 × 9.9 μm 6.5 × 4.9 mm ~ 0.05 s
G1-0301C ICX414AQ progressive RGBG (Bayer) 656 × 494 9.9 × 9.9 μm 6.5 × 4.9 mm ~ 0.05 s

Image digitization speed can be chosen between 2.5 MPx/s and 8 MPx/s. The whole image can be downloaded in a fraction of second, which is particularly important for automatic guider. Analog/Digital converter resolution is 16 bits (65,536 levels), which is even more than the dynamic range of the used CCD detector.

Remark:

Slower readout can be beneficial e.g. when the G1-0301 camera is connected through USB hub together with another USB device and not enough bandwidth is available. Slower read then leads to uniform image fields without artifacts caused by interrupted transfers.

The CCD detector is equipped with electronic shutter, which allows capturing of very short exposures (shortest exposure is 125 μs). Longest exposure is on the other side limited only by the detector saturation, which allows automatic guiding using much dimmer stars compared to the best web or TV cameras. When coupled with a guiding telescope with focal length around 30 cm and diameter around 8 cm, G1-0301 can detect guiding star after several seconds of exposure time almost anywhere on the night sky.

As well as other G0/G1 cameras also the G1-0301 is equipped with standard “autoguider” port. This port allows direct connection of camera and telescope mount compatible with this standard, introduced by SBIG. The G1-0301 camera has mount switching circuits isolated from the rest of the system (camera itself, USB and host computer), which enhances reliability and noise resistance. Maximum switching current is 150 mA and on state resistance around 10 Ω.

1 R.A. + (Right)
2 Dec + (Up)
3 Dec – (Down)
4 R.A. – (Left)
5 Common (Ground)
6 Not connected

G0/G1 camera autoguider port pins

The guiding itself is performed by the SIPS (Scientific Image Processing System) software or by other camera control software, for which G0/G1 camera driver exists (e.g. The Sky or MaxIm DL) or which is capable to use general ASCOM camera drivers. Automatic guiding running in SIPS utilizes the computational power of modern PCs to achieve sub-pixel precision of star position, so it can guide very precisely even if a guiding telescope with short focal length is used.

Guiding setup tab in the CCD Camera tool of SIPS software

Guiding setup tab in the CCD Camera tool of SIPS software

SIPS software performs not only guiding, but also allows automatic calibration independently on camera orientation, recalculates calibration parameters when the telescope is moved to different declination so no calibration is needed. The guide star can be kept on defined pixel coordinates, which allows placing of the guide star on the same position during subsequent observations etc. Differences from reference positions are displayed graphically and all guiding actions including measured differences and performed corrections are logged into text window and can be saved into text file.

Guiding tab in the CCD Camera tool of SIPS software

Guiding tab in the CCD Camera tool of SIPS software

Remark:

The G1-0301 cameras are software compatible with G1-0300 cameras and use the same system drivers and user applications' drivers. It is not necessary to install new drivers for G1-0301 when a software support for G1-0300 is installed. But it is highly recommended to work with latest drivers. The SIPS software package and drivers for other programs are available for download from this WWW server.

 
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