QSI - QSI RS 1.6s 1.6mp Cooled CCD Camera w/Mechanical Shutter

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Utilizing the hardware input trigger through the control port, exposures can be fired within 10μs. The connector panel is thoughtfully recessed into the body of the camera for protection and provides access for all external connections.

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Product Description

Engineered with extensive use of sophisticated CAD-CAM design tools, the QSI RS Series is CNC machined from aircraft grade aluminum alloy. The finely finished anodized body components are assembled with corrosion resistant stainless steel hardware throughout. The RS Series is designed to support image sensors with a maximum diagonal measurement of 22.5mm. For this class of camera they are surprisingly compact. At just 4.45" square, the Medium body camera is just 2.00" deep, occupying less than 30 cubic inches and weighing in at under 35 ounces. Keeping the depth of the camera to a minimum was an early design goal. Not only is back focus minimized, but the camera moment-arm is reduced resulting in greater stability. The shutter and filter wheel were placed inside the body, very close to the image sensor reducing backfocus and overall depth. The motion control electronics are actually buried in the 0.12" thick shutter/filter mounting plate to reduce depth further. Pulling the cooling fans and heatsinks into the body resulted in another significant reduction in depth. Finally, having all electrical cables and the optional liquid heat exchanger recirculation hoses exit the body in the same direction and perpendicular to the optical axis insuring an interference-free fit in tight spaces.

Key in the compact design of the RS Series cameras is a very efficient custom 2-stage thermoelectric cooler (TEC) subsystem. Intelligent, programmable cooling fans are integrated into the rear of the camera body to remove the heat generated by the cooler. Typically, forced air cooling lowers the regulated CCD temperature by up to 40°C below ambient utilizing 85% power. Tight +/- 0.1°C temperature regulation is maintained at temperature settings of 10°C below ambient and lower. A slim liquid heat exchanger  (optional) can be attached to the rear of the camera body to increase the cooling further, up to 45°C below the temperature of the circulating fluid.

A four channel optically isolated control port is accessible through a standard 6 pin modular connector. Two of the signals are used to control the input and output shutter triggers. Utilizing the hardware input trigger through the control port, exposures can be fired within 10μs.  The connector panel is thoughtfully recessed into the body of the camera for protection and provides access for all external connections. The two threaded holes on the back of the body are used to attach an optional cable restraint system to support the electrical connections as well as the recirculation hoses, if the liquid heat exchanger is employed. All QSI RS Series cameras utilize High Speed USB 2.0 port (USB 1.1 compatible) for connection to the host computer and imaging application software.  For telescope guiding the signal pin-out is compatible with most modern telescope mount drive correctors. The outputs can also be used for other control purposes when developing your own applications with the RS Series ActiveX software development toolkit.  Outputs are common emitter, open-collector and can sink up to 50ma.  Maximum voltage should not exceed 50V

Full Frame Image Sensor:
The Kodak KAF-1603ME image sensor has exceptional sensitivity across the visual band with peak quantum efficiency of 77% along with remarkably low dark current. The sensor also uses Micro-lenses to cover the surface of the CCD to focus the light into each 9.0µm pixel to increase optical response.

Mechanical Shutter:
The Model RS 1.6s camera incorporates QSI's proprietary internal, even-illumination mechanical shutter in the 'mid-size' camera body configuration.  The mechanical shutter is not only used for timing exposures, but can also be employed to cover the CCD and simplify the creation of Dark and Bias frames for subsequent image processing.  The shutter is rated for more than 1 million cycles. Exposures can be fired under software control or with the use of the hardware input trigger.
The RS Series achieves its compact size and unique configuration flexibility though an innovative shutter/filter subsystem. Both the mechanical shutter and filter wheel can be installed internally while keeping the growth of the camera dimensions at a minimum. This results in minimal loss of backfocus as these features are added. The compact design also reduces vignetting with fast optical systems.

Two separate analog processing chains, providing dual read rates, allow the QSI RS Series to meet two seemingly incompatible imaging goals. The QSI RS Series High Quality mode provides the highest possible Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) for applications that require the lowest noise and widest possible dynamic range. High Speed mode has a read rate of 8MHz providing high speed reads at multiple frames per second. The read mode is easily changed under program control providing exceptional flexibility in tuning the camera's performance to the desired imaging goals. 

High sensitivity, low noise, a linear response to light and precisely regulated cooling are four key traits of an Astronomy camera.
All are required in order to maximize the dynamic range of astro images. Given a constant signal, lower noise increases the Signal to Noise Ratio and dynamic range, allowing the system to produce better images in less time.
All significant performance characteristics, including Linearity,Read Noise, and Photon Transfer (Gain), are tested and confirmed as the last step in the manufacturing process. Each camera's timing and voltages are carefully set during manufacture to ensure maximum Charge Transfer Efficiency, and to minimize charge injection and other secondary noise sources. QSI's exclusive ResearchSpec® profiling ensures optimal performance in every camera.

QSI RS 1.6s  Included Items:

  • Fitted Foam Pelican Case
  • T-Mount camera adapter
  • 12V DC / 90-240VAC power supply 
  • Mechanical Shutter 
  • 10' USB Interface cable
  • 10' 6P6C Control port cable 
  • QSI Software Installation software 
  • Micro-Manager Camera control software 
  • LabVIEW and MATLAB support 
  • Windows COM and Linux Developers Toolkit
QSI RS 1.6s Additional Features:

  • Compact, refined design
  • MAR-coated fused silica window
  • Configurations available for UV to NIR applications from 240nm to 1100nm
  • Selectable ROI and binning
  • Input and output triggers
  • PIV (Particle Image Velocimetry)  exposure mode for flow visualization
  • Dual read rates up to 8 MHz
  • High-speed USB 2.0, full 16-bit output
  • Air and liquid cooling to >50C
  • Micro-Manager Microscopy Software New!
  • COM-compatible Windows API
  • Linux drivers and API
  • 1.60 megapixel Kodak KAF- 1603ME sensor
  • 9.0µm pixel provides high resolution
  • High Speed USB 2.0 and read rates up to 8 MHz
  • 2-Stage TEC w/ cooling to 45°C below ambient
  • Broad Software support
  • ASCOM-compatible Windows COM API




Model RS 1.6 CCD Image Sensor Data: 
Feature Standard Optional
CCD Manufacturer & Model     Kodak KAF-1603ME        Kodak KAF-1603E       
CCD Architecture Full Frame Full Frame
     Blue Enhanced Yes Yes
     Microlens Yes No
     Anti-blooming No No
Imager Size: (WxH) 13.8mm x 9.2mm 13.8mm x 9.2mm
Pixel Array (WxH): 1552x1032 total pixels,
1536x1024 active (visible)
1552x1032 total pixels,
1536x1024 active (visible)
Pixel Size: 9µm x 9µm 9µm x 9µm
  Typical Values
Pixel Full Well Depth 100,000 electrons 100,000 electrons
Absolute Quantum Efficiency Peak: 77%
400nm: 45%
Peak: 65%
400nm: 30%
Pixel Dark Current <1.0 electron per second at 0°C
<0.1 electron per second at -25°C
Dark Current Doubling 6.3° C 6.3° C
Intrinsic Read Noise 15 electrons RMS 15 electrons RMS
Dynamic Range 76db 76db
Charge Transfer Efficiency >0.99999 >0.99999

Model RS 1.6 Series Camera:    

Feature Model RS 1.6s Model RS 1.6ws(-8)
CCD Image Sensor KAF-1603ME
Electronic Shutter Mechanical, exposure range: 0.03 seconds to 240 minutes
Mechanical Shutter Yes Yes
Internal Color Filter Wheel No ws    - 5-Position CFW
ws-8 - 8-position CFW
Holds 1.25" or opt. 31mm filters
Camera Body Configuration Medium
Dimensions W4.45” x H4.45” x D2.00”
(add 0.225" for T-Mount)
5-pos, W4.45” x H4.45” x D2.50”
8-pos, W5.86” x H5.56” x D2.50”
(add 0.225" for T-Mount)
Weight, without Nosepiece 34 oz.  /  950g 5-pos, 40 oz.  /  1130g
8-pos, 51 oz.  /  1450g
Optical Back Focus
(w/o Filters in path)
0.90" w/ T-mount adapter
0.68" w/ C-mount adapter
0.68" w/ no adapter
1.40" w/ T-mount adapter
1.18" w/ C-mount adapter
1.18" w/ no adapter
Thermoelectric CCD Cooling Temperature regulation +/- 0.1°C, @ 0°C  to -40°C CCD temperature
In free air, 
Fans @ Full Speed
Typically 45°C below ambient air temperature with 85% cooling power
With Opt Liquid Cooling - Fans Off Typically 52°C below circulating liquid with 85% cooling power
(adds 0.75" to camera depth)
Cooling Fan Control Intelligent, user configurable
Read Rate User Selectable High Quality mode at 800KHz, High Speed mode at 4MHz
Camera Gain 2.6 electrons per ADU
Digital Resolution 16 bits (both High Quality and High Speed mode)
Total System Read Noise Typically 15 electrons RMS (CCD specification limited) in High Quality mode
Typically 25 electrons RMS (CCD specification limited) in High Speed mode
Pixel Dark Current <1.0 electron per second at 0°C
<0.1 electron per second at -25°C
Full Image Read and Download Time Typically <3 second (host computer dependent) in High Quality Mode (800KHz)
Typically ~0.3 second (host computer dependent) in High Speed Mode (8MHz)
Image download times will be reduced with binning and/or subframe (ROI)
Binning Modes Symmetrical and Asymmetrical binning up to 9 pixels horizonally or vertically
Status and Notification User configurable multi-color LED status indicator and multifunction
audible beeper. Over-temperature and high/low voltage alarms.
Power Consumption 12v, 2A (24 watts) at max cooling, max fans and filter moving
(25 watts max with included 90-240V AC power supply)
Operating Environment Temperature: -20°C to 30°C, Humidity: 10% to 90% non-condensing
Computer Connectivity USB 2.0 High Speed (USB 1.1 compatible)
Other Ports Optically isolated 4 channel control port for telescope guiding
or input/output shutter trigger  






Name QSI - QSI RS 1.6s 1.6mp Cooled CCD Camera w/Mechanical Shutter
Manufacturer QSI
Model QSI-RS1.6s


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