Artemis CCD Camera - Preface camera
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Cam Basics

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Cam assembly

Explanations for the techno speak here

Back last year (2004) when Steve C. asked for beta testers for the 16bit camera project I put my name on that very list..... well once in a while you've get some luck!

The manual stated the first time the new name for the camera as 'Artemis' that is what you will read from now on. (

Below what I wrote down while building the Beta Kit of this camera - read on or click to one of the topics to the left. Right now there are different retail kits available.

One day in January 05 the beta kit arrived - All the electronics were neatly packaged and labeled - professional looking. Also the housing, a machined part and some software which was supposed to drive the cam once finished.

At the workbench: Reading the included manual was not only fun but it also provided information about what I am going to build and how. Well structured and cut in manageable pieces - not to forget the tests to do after finishing each step.

Starting with the power supplies (there are some to drive the camera) one could get a grip on these small parts - but soldering SMD parts on a PCB is not as hard as lifting the leg of a vertical driver of a QC3000. If you take your time to do it properly the power supply is finished and tested in about 5 hours working time - 2 evenings maybe.

Next stop, the microprocessor and all the things needed to drive such a camera. Again the manual leads in steps and tests. Now I had to solder the more challenging parts with a glorious ADC that is 40 pins at 0.5mm pitch as the last step. May take 3 up to evenings depending on your condition.

As a refreshment there was need to put a peltier and other mechanical parts in place. The housing of this beta cam was not yet finished so I could add some paint to the case. - Arthur's comment: QuackCam - but yellow goes nice together with the LX90 blue...

Well, in the end there was the camera sitting on the bench ready for the first exposure.

In my case the result was not really an image but a grey soup of pixels - it was late (early to be correct) so I decided to start debugging the other day. A quick check on the CCD side revealed a missing signal and voila one of those little pins was not connected anymore - I had tested it with the included diagnostic software but when I put the board into the cam it must have become loose. A short dip with the solder iron and then the cam was working.

If you think about such a cam without pre-assembled boards it is a good idea to start now with some exercises in SMD soldering. Get the appropriate tools for the SMD parts and do some practice. Also needed is a multimeter to test and adjust and a 12V power supply or battery.

A first night usage:

Artemis equipped with the smallest supported CCD, an icx255, with Canon 85mm lens mounted with a Witty on an LX90. Artemis is use from UT 18:30 to 23:00. Outside temp ~0 deg C - no wind. Moon 95% Newest soft i.e. firmware 1.5 and Acquire 1.1.

Setup of the cam was easy and straight forward, cabling length (power and USB) can be chosen by the user which is nice. I've used a 2.5m high grade USB 2.0 cable with ferrite at one end. I also used a switching power supply at 12.5 V and checked the voltages for increased noise or ripples but I could not find an increased level on the test points compared it with the LabSupply I used on the bench (the field supply is not exactly a quite one - carries some 0.1V noise). The whole thing looks quite professional now!

Neither the size nor the weight of the cam was an issue and it seemed to carry the lens quite well (no feeling of - should I place a mat under the scope if something breaks).

Focusing was easy up to 1 sec frames. Taking images worked well and reliable.

No comments so far on sensitivity or other imaging parameters - it was just to let it see the sky .....

--> all in all a really nice experience and a reward after soldering 0.5mm spaced ADCs to the board!! Looking forward to do more imaging with this Artemis camera.


Cam Basics