1004x camera modification for satellite work

From: Willie Koorts (wpk@saao.ac.za)
Date: Thu May 29 2003 - 04:38:13 EDT

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    On Wed, 28 May 2003, Greg Roberts wrote:
    > (4) My partner in crime - Willie Koorts - has made a modification to
    >     his 1004x camera board which increases the brightness of fainter
    >     stars somewhat. He will be modifying my camera this week ( he has
    >     a steadier hand and better eyes than me as well as the proper type
    >     of soldering iron for working on SMT (surface mount technology)
    >     so hopefully I will gain a little magnitude as every bit helps.
    As Greg pointed out, I finally gathered enough courage to dive into my
    1004x low light surveillance camera and added two simple modifications to
    it with good results.  See  http://www.saao.ac.za/~wpk/1004x/index.html
    Compared to the "manual gain" mod which has an astronomical imaging
    application, the "boost"  mod has good potential for video satellite
    tracking where we prefer to run the camera at video rates.  This is
    particularly true for the accurate positional work Greg does where he
    timestamps each video frame to 1/10 sec, something that is not possible
    when integrating or stacking frames to obtain deeper penetration.  Thus,
    for satellite tracking, where we are forced to use short exposures (1/25
    or 1/30 sec), increasing the gain of the camera does slightly improve its
    limiting magnitude, even though it increases the noise.
    It will be very interesting to hear what Greg (or anyone else who does the
    same) finds after doing this modification.
    Hats off to Steve Chambers and Jon Grove for their pioneering work on
    hacking into these cameras with good success and for Greg Roberts applying
    these ideas, setting new trends and standards in high accuracy positional
    satellite tracking.  And last but not least, for Bill Turner bringing me 
    such a wonderful present on his last visit to SA.
    ps  For a very-much-in-need-to-be-updated site on what Greg and myself 
        have been up to the last few years, see 
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