- The most advanced wireless controller ever developed for an astronomical video camera system or any video camera system.
- No other manufacturer comes close to the perfomance of the wireless remote or the performance of the StellaCam3 camera system!
- This is the wireless StellaCam 3 Controller with a range of up to 1000 feet.
- This wireless controller will control the StellaCam3, Watec 120N+, StellaCam II, and Watec 120N.
- SEE THE ONLINE MANUALS ON THE NEXT PAGE FOR FULL DETAILS ON THE MULTITUDE OF WIRELESS FEATURES
The StellaCam Wireless Controller consists of two components: a transmitter handbox unit and a receiver unit. The receiver unit plugs into the R/C control input of your camera. Power for the receiver is supplied by the camera through the R/C connector therefore, the receiver must be connected to the camera before applying power to the camera. When powered on, the transmitter handbox unit sends commands to the receiver over a wireless RF data link. The handbox may be turned on either before or after the receiver/camera is on.
Each transmitter/receiver pair are matched by a unique ID address, however the receiver unit can be automatically re-programmed to match its ID with any other StellaCam wireless transmitter, see section IV for a description of this capability
(1) Exposure / Expose Timer Display:
- Displays exposure time in minutes and seconds.
- Displays exposure countdown timer when selected by Timer Display Switch.
(2) Gain Display:
- Displays video amp gain as a percentage of full gain.
(3) Exposure Control & Timer Display Switch:
- Controls exposure time when rotated.
- Toggles display between exposure time and exposure countdown timer when pressed
(4) Gain Control & LED Intensity Adjust:
- Controls gain of video amp when rotated.
- Controls intensity of LED displays when rotated while being pressed down.
(5) Video Frame Read Display & Freeze Switch:
- Flashes green when a video frame update occurs.
- Turns red and freezes the current video frame when pressed. Unfreezes and starts a new exposure when pressed again.
(6) Iris Control Switch:
- Enables or disables camera control over the iris of an external lens.
(7) Gamma Control Switch:
- Switches gamma correction between Off, Low and High.
(8) RS232 Data Port:
- Provides connectivity to a host computer using the supplied RS232 interface cable.
(9) Power On/Off Switch:
- Turns power on or off when pressed.
(10) External Power Port:
- Provides operation by using an external power adapter ranging from 6vdc up to 35vdc.
- Uses standard 2.1mm power connector with center positive polarity.
- Disables the battery saving timeout when external power is connected.
The transmitter handbox can operate up to 200 hours on 2-AA standard alkaline batteries (depending on LED intensity setting) or indefinitely from its external power input. You can also use 1.5v lithium AA batteries for much longer operation. Power is applied by pressing the POWER On/Off button. When operating on batteries and the power is left on, a battery saving timeout feature will automatically turn the handbox off if no settings are changed within a certain timeout period. The timeout period is factory set to 30 minutes, however the user can change it from 1 minute up to 2 hours, or disable the timeout such that it will not automatically turn off. While external power is connected, the timeout feature is automatically disabled. Battery saving timeout control is accessed over the serial RS232 data link (see Computer Interface section).
A Batt Lo indication is momentarily displayed at regular intervals when the battery voltage drops down to 2.7v or less. The handbox will operate for several hours following a Lo Batt warning, however it is recommended that either external power be applied or that the batteries be replaced when possible.
The handbox supports two different modes of operation: StellaCam II mode and StellaCam3 mode. The default is StellaCam3 mode. The operating mode is displayed on the LED readout immediately after power is turned on. The StellaCam II mode is indicated by SC-2 and the StellaCam3 mode is indicated by SC-3. The two modes of operation are identical except for the exposure times that are supported. In the SC-2 mode, only the StellaCam II exposure times of .017sec to 8.533sec are allowed. In the SC-3 mode, exposure times ranging from .0005 seconds to 90 minutes are allowed. It should be noted that either operating mode will control all of the supported cameras, however only the exposure times appropriate to the camera being used will actually be implemented. The operating mode can be changed by accessing it over the serial RS232 data link (see Computer Interface section).
All handbox settings are stored in non-volatile memory so when you turn the power on, the settings will be the same as they were the last time it was used â€" including the LED intensity setting.
The handbox contains rotary knobs and switches allowing the operator to control the following camera parameters:
- Exposure Time
- Freeze Frame
- Iris Control
- Gamma Setting
Exposure times are displayed on a 4-digit LED readout. The exposure times are dialed in by turning a rotary knob to the desired setting. Exposure times ranging between 1 second and 5 minutes are selected with a 1-second resolution. Exposure times from 5 to 90 minutes are selected with a 1-minute resolution.
The rotary knob used for setting the exposure time also doubles as a push button switch for displaying an exposure countdown timer. When pressed, the LED readout toggles between displaying the exposure time and displaying the exposure countdown timer. If the rotary knob is turned while the countdown timer is being displayed, then the new exposure time is momentarily displayed exposure countdown resumes after the new selection is made.
When exposure times are changed, the current exposure is adjusted to satisfy the new setting. For example, suppose the exposure time was set to 40 seconds but changed to 50 seconds. If the current exposure had been running for 20 seconds, then it will now continue for an additional 30 seconds to give you a 50-second exposure. Now suppose the 40-second exposure setting was changed to 30 seconds. If the current exposure had been running for 20 seconds, then it will now continue for only 10 more seconds to give you a 30-second exposure.
The camera's gain is displayed on a 2-digit LED readout. The gain settings are dialed in by turning a rotary knob to the desired setting. The gain setting ranges from 00 to 99 corresponding to the camera's video amplifier gain of 8dB to 38dB. Therefore the gain resolution is 0.3dB per step change. The gain setting can be interpreted as a percentage of the camera's gain range - going from 0% (8dB) to 99% (38dB).
The gain rotary knob also doubles as an LED intensity adjustment. When pressed down while rotating, the intensity of the LED displays (including the Freeze/Read LED) is adjusted. Turning the knob clockwise increases LED brightness, turning it counter-clockwise decreases LED brightness.
When the exposure has finished (countdown goes to zero) the READ LED will flash green indicating that the camera video frame has been updated with a new image. The READ LED doubles as a Freeze Frame control switch. When pressed, the LED turns red indicating that the camera's video image has been frozen indefinitely. When pressed again, the red LED turns off and a new exposure begins.
The Iris Control switch enables or disables camera control over the iris of an external lens. When a lens with auto-iris capability is connected to the auto-iris control port of the camera, the control feature of the camera can be enabled or disabled. With the Iris Control switched to the OPEN position, the camera control is disabled forcing the lens iris to be fully open. With the Iris Control switched to the CTRL position, the camera will have auto control over the lens iris, adjusting the iris opening based on the intensity of light.
Gamma correction is used to compensate for the non-linear voltage/intensity response of a monitor displaying an image from the camera. Gamma correction basically controls the overall brightness of the image.
The Gamma Setting switch allows you to choose three different levels of gamma correction to the video image. Setting the switch to the OFF position disables gamma correction (gamma = 1.0). Setting the switch to LO applies a gamma correction of 0.45 to the video image (increased intensity). Setting the switch to HI applies a gamma correction of 0.35 to the video image (highest intensity).
B. Receiver Unit
The receiver unit performs all of the camera control operations. It comes standard with an external 1.25 whip antenna, but is optionally available with an internal planar antenna. The internal antenna version has about 12% less range than the external version, but may come in handy for applications where space is limited or a small cross-sectional area is desired (i.e. reducing aperture blockage with HyperStar mounting).
The receiver unit receives commands from the transmitter handbox over a wireless RF data link. All of the camera control parameters are saved in non-volatile memory so that when you turn the power on, the settings will be the same as they were the last time it was used. If the handbox is turned off or automatically shuts down, the receiver will continue to control the camera based on the last settings it received from the transmitter.
The receiver automatically detects which type of camera it is connected to and controls it based on the commands received by the transmitter along with the camera's capabilities. Upon power up, the receiver's LED will flash three times if it is connected to either a StellaCam3 or Wat-120N+. The LED will flash twice if it is connected to either a StellaCam II or Wat-120N. This indicator tells the operator that the receiver has correctly detected the camera type and is functioning properly. If the receiver's LED does not exhibit this when power is applied, then either the camera's power plug should to be pulled out and re-connected or the camera's power source should be turned off and then back on.
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