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Hack/Mod of a webcam for astro-photography

 
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technewson
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Joined: 03 Nov 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:55 pm    Post subject: Hack/Mod of a webcam for astro-photography Reply with quote

The Logitech Quick Cam Express (will refer as QC for the rest of the post) is a CMOS camera; not a CCD one which is the one that is recommended. Even so, the QC will be good to do planetary shots. The QC is not recommended for the Nebulas and/or DSOs (Deep Sky Objects) because is not sensitive enough. The modification will be done in steps. The one for this post will cover the first steps on modifying a web cam. Nothing fancy will be done, just a simple modification.


Materials
1) A web cam
2) A 35mm film canister (I used a piece of pvc)
3) Tape/glue or something to attach the canister to the cameraís body
4) A Screw driver

Cam without modifications




Step 1
Open the web cam. This is done by removing the screw from one of the sides. Once this is done, you will end up with 2 parts of the body and the camera lens attached to a PCB.



Step 2
Remove the lens from the PCB leaving the sensor exposed. There is also a black plastic covering the sensor. Itís used to protect the sensor from the cameraís body. The plastic cover can be removed if desired; but make sure that the sensor is always protected.



Step 3
The PCB can be placed back onto the body (egg shell) in order to handle it, or it can be placed in another case if you have one.



Step 4
Now that you have the camera assembled is time to add the film canister or the PVC in this case. For that you can use tape or any type of clue. I donít recommend glue just yet, unless that you have glue that is not too strong and that you can easily remove the canister without breaking it. This is because the web cam can be modified more, a different case, cooling fan, and for long exposure. You will notice that the PVC is long; it has to be at least 1/4″ shorter than the one on the picture. Otherwise focusing and capturing light will end up causing problems.




Step 5
Testing the modified camera on the telescope.

Notes:

The 35mm film canister is about the same diameter as the EP (Eye Piece). I used PVC because I could find one with the same diameter of the EP. So that will allow taking all the light that the scope is receiving and it will be better when focusing. A piece of metal pipe will also work, but I didnít want to add more weight. If you decide to use a pvc or metal pipe, remember that it has to be shorter than the one on the example, as in film canister size.

Feel free to ask any questions or add suggestions.

Results (Moon shots)







I was having problems with the images, if you cant see them let me know so that i can fix the problem.
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Alan
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Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 1399
Location: Winnipeg, MB

PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice hack, those pictures turned out fantastic!
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