Last updated: 31 March 2004
This page documents the Meade Lunar Planetary Imager comments, tips, and photos. Contributions welcome. I have posted a review of using the Autostar Suite and LPI on the Macintosh. In order to showcase the LPI you may occasionally see images taken with other telescopes on this page.
Subject: meade LPI Date: 3/31/04, 18:21 From: Gerald Jenny (firstname.lastname@example.org) i just loaded all the software from Meade Auto Suite and when I go to the LPI part I get a message that Meade LPI not found Reconnect LPI and try again , I did this several time with no response.Meaning I get the same message Meader LPI not found Reconnect and try again. Iooked in Meade web site and no help also on the help menu of the LPI nothing on trouble shooting. Do you have any Ideas on this problem Thanks Jerry PS great site as always. Gerald JennyMike here: There have been reports that connecting the LPI to a USB hub doesn't always work. Are you connecting direct to a USB port on your computer?
Yes I'am but I did find a trouble shooting guide thru google and it says to try and see if I have the latest ver of driect X I'll try that now and report latter thanks for the quick response JerryMike here: I mention that Guide in my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page. Let me know if that solves the problem.
Well I tried and downloaded Dir X ver 9 .0 and now the LPI progroam still says the same but it also says I need two files and they are dsnph71.ax and usnphv71.exe. I'am now in the process of trying to locate them. Boy What a chore.I hope ot all worth it Jerry
Subject: Jupiter - with LPI Imager Date: 3/31/04, 06:26 From: Karl Lovelock (email@example.com) Took this last night from North London with ETX-125 and LPI Impager, great 'seeing' for the evening:- Regards //Karl
Subject: Size of LPI CMOS photosites & its capability do autoguide Celestron CG-5 mount. Date: 3/29/04, 13:54 From: "Jose A. Hernandez" (firstname.lastname@example.org) My name is Jose Hernandez. I am planning to buy a Celestron CG-5 mount. Please, can you tell me: If LPI will guide this mount. The size of the CMOS photosites I am also buying a 125. Your site is incredible. Thank you for the effort. JoseMike here: The LPI can be used on any telescope but guiding requires equipment specific to your mount. Since the LPI works with the Autostar or Autostar II, only mounts that can use the Autostars will work. As to the CMOS, see the email topic "Meade LPI -- help with optical resolution calculation?" further down this page.
Subject: MEADE LPI Imager Date: 3/29/04, 07:48 From: Karl Lovelock (email@example.com) I guess this may be a stupid Question (but I always work on the premise that the 'only stupid question, is the one you never ask'). Can you use a 2 X Barlow with the LPI Imager ? Regards //KarlMike here: I haven't tried it but it should work. HOWEVER, the field of view will be even smaller, making it more difficult to center objects.
Subject: Attaching LPI to ETX-90? Date: 3/24/04, 16:51 From: Carole MacDonald (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have a really dumb question. I recently got the LPI and I can't figure out how to attach it to my ETX-90. When I remove the cover from the LPI, there is a narrow barrel that is much narrower than the eyepiece holder on the telescope. Tightening the screw on the holder doesn't help as it doesn't come close to the LPI barrel. Is it supposed to just sit loose in the holder? Am I leaving something out to attach it? I assume that the cover on the LPI is supposed to be removed, but even if I don't, then it is too wide to fit in the holder. Thanks, CaroleMike here: It sounds like you are removing the tube. Leave it on. See the photos on this page of my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh":
Thanks! I knew we were doing something dumb. It turns out that the cover was very, very stiff and wouldn't come off easily. Therefore, we assumed it wasn't supposed to come off and we were taking the tube off instead. Now I just need the clouds to go away so I can try it out again. Thanks again, Carole
Subject: First time LPI images Date: 3/23/04, 23:47 From: KlaraColli@aol.com I used my LPI for the first time on Saturday. I have included four pictures of Jupiter. After some trial and error, I found the system fun to use and the results very satisfying. The overall package is definitely crude with many things poorly or not explained at all, typos, etc., but it offers a lot of capability for only $149.00. Before the LPI was available, I was not even considering this kind of astrophotography. The manual has left me with many questions about the settings and filters in the LPI and Image Processing software. In your review you said many of these features are common with other programs. Is there a book or web site that explains what settings/filters do so I can have better understand of when and how to use them? Thanks again for your site. Tom Collins Chatsworth, CA
Mike here: The CD-ROM book "Photoshop for Astrophotographers" (see the Accessory Reviews - Books page) explains some of this but in the context of Photoshop. But some of that translates to the Image Processing app in the Autostar Suite.
Subject: Re: lpi imager Date: 3/20/04, 03:23 From: kenneth yanni (email@example.com) i recieved my booster and cat 5 cable,i hooked it all up,got a little better image but still the image was wavy and moves around in and out of focus,and after reading some of your postings someone had mentioned the usb cable supplied by meade was bad i went to radio shack and picked up a good quality cable,seemed to work out a little better,its still a bear to focus,but i shot a picture of jupiter,a little overcast but i stll got a fair image,looking at the live shot its still a little wavy not a crisp picture maybe im expecting to much from this set up,would the cold effect the camera?your web site has been a great help,keep up the good work. kenMike here: I also had a tough time focusing. But keep in mind that image stability can be due to many factors, including seeing, mount stability (even in a light breeze), and drive stability. A good DRIVE TRAINING and alignment are important.
Subject: lpi imager Date: 3/18/04, 13:03 From: kenneth yanni (firstname.lastname@example.org) i tried to extend my usb to the lpi fifty feet,by buying three sixteen foot boosterd usb cables,i got an image but is was wavy and i couldnt focus the camera,so i sent the cables back and orderd a usb booster and fifty feet of cat five cable,what do you think, i only have a p.c. no lap top plus i like staying warm up here in maine. thanks kenMike here: Should be interesting. Let me know how it works out!
Subject: DS-90 LPI Images Date: 3/14/04, 00:09 From: Anthony Metcalf (email@example.com) I love your site. I got a DS-90 for Christmas from my wife and kids and since then have spent nearly every clear night with it. First let me say that if it werent for your site I'd be completly lost. Shortly after getting my telescope I bought the Autostar Suite with the LPI Imager. I am enclosing 2 pictures taken recently with the LPI. The Only correction made to the pictures was the increase to 192 DPI and the conversion to jpeg format from tif. I am extremly pleased with the quality considering its a beginners scope. Thanks again for all of your hard work. Tony Metcalf
Subject: LPI tp PC connection Date: 3/10/04, 13:27 From: Jim Beston (firstname.lastname@example.org) At the risk of tresspassing on your good nature.... I got a serial to USB connector so that I could connect my Laptop to the Autostar handbox as you said I had to in our recent communications on this subject. I have successfuly installed the device and it is indicated in the Laptops Device Manager as USB Serial Port (COM4) I have set the correct numbered Comm port Autostar suite tries to connect to it but I keep on getting a "Read timeout Communications timeout". I realise this may be slightly outside the normal range of subjects that you are asked for advice on but have you any idea why I'm getting this timeout? I'm begining to get a bit desperate!! (and broke). Thanks for any help. JimMike here: On the Mac is pretty easy; if you use Windows it may be more difficult. Was there a driver for your OS? Did you install it? You can check to see if the communications is actually occurring (see the article "Testing Autostar Communications" on the Autostar Info page). It could be that the cable is bad or perhaps even the Autostar itself.
And an update:
What an Idiot I am !! Trying to get used to my Laptop's touch pad - when selecting and highlighting the mode of communication between telescope & Laptop I forgot to press "enter" and was just "doubleclicking" on the touch pad controls. Pressing "enter" - it works. Everything now fine. What a burke! Jim
Subject: Fifth Jupiter moon and ETX, not possible... Date: 3/9/04, 05:47 From: Job Geheniau (job@Studioa.nl) To: email@example.com I am sorry, but I really doubt (!) that you've seen a fifth moon with the ETX especially NOT with the LPI imager. If you have seen the fifth moon it must be Amalthea, which has at opposition a magnitude of 14.1 ! It must be a star in the neighboorhood. Job Geheniau The Netherlands www.samage.net/~geheniau/astronomy2.html
Subject: LPI Images & Thanks Date: 3/7/04, 04:09 From: Jim Beston (firstname.lastname@example.org) I've got a couple of reasonable images of Saturn and Jupiter taken with the LPI Imager for your gallery. I've enhanced these a bit with Paintshop pro but I can't remember what I did to the originals!! A bit of "suck it and see" as I remember.Mike here: Yes, the Autostar will continue moving the telescope to compensate for the Earth's rotation.
I was astonished to see a fith moon of jupiter the other day - out of plane with the four Galleian moons. A really good view with the 40 mm eyepiece - nice and bright. Thanks for your advice on the use of the Autostar suite and my laptop. I have a USB to Serial adapter (inc software) on order. From what you said yesterday am I right in thinking that whilst the Autostar suite allows me to slew the telescope to objects selected on the starmap, the Autostar handbox that will still track the selected object? Best Regards Jim
Subject: LPI image processing question Date: 3/6/04, 07:25 From: M Allen (email@example.com) I stumbled upon your LPI website while searching for help with LPI image processing. I have called Ivar and Vincent at Meade technical support however after two weeks and many promises, they have not provided and answer. My camera takes very good images, however I am unable to bring up a completed image into the image processing window of the LPI software to do such things a unsharp masking and photometry. When I click on image processing, then select an image to work with, all I get is a small box of black and white vertical stripes in the upper left hand corner of the image processing window. Ivar at Meade got the same thing on his computer, and could not explain why. He thought there may be problems with the software design and said he would try to get an answer from their techs. He has not come through after three calls. While imaging I save my pictures in jpeg format, but he claims that would not make any difference to the software. Has anyone else had this problem with the image processing portion of the LPI software? Thank you in advance for any thoughts you can share. Mike AllenMike here: Try saving the file as BMP not JPEG. Then you should be able to open it.
Subject: lpi Date: 3/6/04, 04:02 From: kenneth yanni (firstname.lastname@example.org) great site,i just recieved my lpi,software loaded ok no problems yet.but i was disapointed with the length of the cables,how long of acamera cable can you use without losing signal quality,do you need boosters?as far as the scope cable,its custom made,so i guess i will lenthan it my self.maybe you canhelp me out with some info. thanks keep up the good work. ken hartland maineMike here: As I noted in my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page, the supplied USB cable is rather short so I added a USB extension cable. The one I have is 6-foot. I believe the USB spec allows longer cables but I forget the exact length.
Subject: LPI with Linux Date: 3/5/04, 20:11 From: clay (email@example.com) I must say, your site is very helpful for me. I do have a question though. Has any one that you have heard of used the LPI with Linux? I Trying to write my own driver, but If someone has done it why reinvent the wheel... Thank you. ClayMike here: I haven't heard of any Linux use; but I've used it with Mac OS X (the Unix OS) but with VirtualPC (running Windows 2000).
Subject: Meade LPI -- help with optical resolution calculation? Date: 3/5/04, 09:57 From: Dave Wallace (firstname.lastname@example.org) Does anybody know the pixel spacing or the sensor dimensions in mm for the LPI imager? Meade doesn't specify the LPI in that detail (they just say it's comparable to a 6 mm eyepiece). But if you are interested in calculating the imager resolution in arc-seconds per pixel you need the pixel spacing (or the dimensions of the sensor in mm), as well as the number of pixels wide and high (640 x 480). Working backward from the field of view and number of pixels wide and high, I deduce that the sensor in the LPI has a pixel spacing of 5 microns (.005 mm). On my ETX 90, that would work out to about 0.83 arc-seconds per pixel. As confirmation, a recent image of Saturn I captured was 25 pixels (not counting the rings), which would translate to 21 arc-seconds. This is close enough to the right (19.5 arc-seconds) size to allow me to chalk up the error to crude methods (and poor seeing / focus). That would also imply a sensor that was 3.2 by 2.4 mm. By comparison, my digital camera (a Canon Digital Rebel / 300D) has a sensor that is 3072 x 2048 pixels and is 22.5 x 15 mm (which works out to a pixel spacing of 7 microns). Its resolution is 1.2 arc-seconds per pixel -- about 2/3 as fine -- but it has a field of view about 4.5 times larger than the LPI -- more like that of the 26mm eyepiece.Mike here: I don't recall seeing that info anywhere. You could disassemble the LPI (destroying the warranty in the process) and measure the CMOS chip.
Okay, thanks for your time. I'll see if I can first measure these parameters in a less destructive way (by optical means). If I succeed, I'll let you know what the numbers are in case other astrophotographers ask.
Subject: Trick with LPI Imager Sent: Tuesday, March 2, 2004 13:46:17 From: "John Kalantzis" (email@example.com) I got this picture of Moon with my LPI Imager customized on a 400mm KENLOCK telephotoinstalled on the LXD55 mount ( in the place of the telescope ) . I had a magnification of about 65X. Best regards from Volos-Greece. I am a daily reader of your excellent web site. JOHN KALANTZIS
Subject: Photo for your Lunar Gallery Date: 3/1/04, 13:29 From: Becky (firstname.lastname@example.org) Please could you include this photo on your gallery. It is my first attempt using the LPI Imager with ETX 105. No Barlow and no processing was done. It was taken around 22:00 on 28 Feb 04 in the UK. Many Thanks Becky (from Gosport, UK)
Subject: Meade's LPI Imager: First shots of Jupiter & Saturn. Date: 3/1/04, 02:25 From: Jim Beston (email@example.com) Attached are my first shots of Jupiter & Saturn using Meade's LPI imager. You might like to include them in your Astrophotography gallery as an encouragement to anybody who wants to try this remarkably good imaging system which, even in the U.K. is very good value for money. Saturn a was my first shot followed by Jupiter 11. I was astonished to see 3 of the Jovian moons appear - I have not been able to find which they are yet. In jupiter 12 I reduced the gain (for want of something to try!) and you see that the detail in Jupiter was increased at the expense of loosing the moons. All these were taken with a Meade ETX 105AT UHTC, no Barlow - I forgot about that in my excitement! Seeing not brilliant, high wispy clouds which limited the evenings session to only an hour before snow. To see these images build-up as the LPI did it's work was fantistic! Nice one of the moon as well - I must learn a bit about the crater and mare names. Clear Skies! (You have to say this a lot in the U.K.) Jim Beston
Subject: LPI Not Recognised Date: 2/29/04, 15:35 From: Colin Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am sure you will have seen other postings indicating that the "LPI not recognised - reconnect and try again" message which some users refer to can be due to the need to install DirectX on the PC. This was the reason for the message on my PC and was fixed when DirectX was installed (free download from the Microsoft site). ColinMike here: Thanks for the reminder! That is in the Troubleshooting Guide on Meade's Site (http://www.meade.com/autostar/tsguide.html). I refer to it in my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh".
Subject: Jupiter Date: 2/27/04, 11:02 From: Yoshi-K (email@example.com) It is Jupiter photoed in Yokohama Japan. Photography data.... Date: 27/02/2004 23:40(JST) GMT+9 ETX-105EC, 2.5xPowerMate(Televue), Meade LPI Camera Capture: K3CCDTools, Processing: Registax2 + Photoshop 1173 frame Composite Regards, --------------------------------- Yoshikatsu Kida http://starimpact.com/ http://etx.galaxies.jp/
Subject: Autostar Suite - Bad Pixels on LPI Camera? Date: 2/14/04, 11:53 From: Stephen Bird (firstname.lastname@example.org) I think I have two areas on the LPI sensor with a group of bad pixels. One area is constant in size, shape and density regardless of focus, and uniformly dark. The other though similar but smaller has a white border around it. Again any change in focus does not alter the appearance of the marks or their position. I don't see these marks through an eyepiece and there is nothing obvious dispite a careful examination of the corrector plate and flip mirror. Is there any test I can do to see if these are bad pixels or someother problem? Thanks for any help as always. Regards Stephen BirdAnd:
Hi, I checked this a little more. Holding the camera up to the light, out of the scope, the marks show up exactly the same. So it is not dust or dirt on the scope which agrees with the independant of focus issue. I have carefully checked the sensor and glass cover and there is no visible dust on it. The marks are on all images from when the LPI was straight out of the box. so it looks like a warranty situation.Mike here: I'm a little confused. Are you seeing this by looking at the chip or at images? If the images show consistent problems, it could be either a bad chip or something in the other electronics. If you see a distortion ON the chip, that may or may not show up in images.
Hi, the fault is a feature of the LPI, I think it must be a bad chip. With the LPI attached to the PC, two groups of dark pixels appear on every image on the live or composite images. Always the same pixels, always on every image. At first I thought it was dust on the scope, so I turned the LPI upside down in the eyepiece, if it was dust the dark areas would have moved accordingly, but the dark pixels were in the same place. I altered the focus, as dust goes in and out of focus, but the dark pixels remained the same regardless of focus. I examined the chip with a magnifier, and there was no dust or visible damage on the chip itself. Finally I connected the LPI to the PC, but did not insert it in the eyepiece, I held it up to the light to get a live image on screen straight into the LPI, and the dark pixels were still there, absolutely identical.. The large bad area is about 10 x 10 and the small area is about 5 x 5 pixels. Shame, I was just getting to grips with the LPI and Autostar Suite. Looks like another trip back to the supplier! Regards Stephen BirdMike here: Yep, sounds like an exchange is in order.
Subject: Great Red Spot Date: 2/13/04, 20:39 From: Jody Miller (email@example.com) ETX 90EC Meade LPI 300 stacked pics 2-02-04 This is a pic I took of Jupiter with the GRS visible in the left part of the picture. South is up. ===== J.Miller
Subject: Petavius LPI Date: 2/13/04, 15:56 From: Alan Leutloff (firstname.lastname@example.org) Here is a great shot of the moon using my LPI imager and my ETX 125. Took one pic and processed using the image processor provided with the LPI (Sharpen Filter). This shot pairs up nice with the Sky and Telescope article on the crater Petavius in the March 2004 issue pg 121. Really happy with the ease of the LPI Imager.
Subject: LPI Imaging with the ETX 105 Date: 2/11/04, 13:42 From: Kevin Roberts (Kevin.Roberts@NBPCD.com) Well after too many nights of dangerously cold temps and windchills, we now have some decent evening temps outside. Last night (Feb 10th), after a quick review of autostar and scope alignment basics here at Mike's incredible site, I was able to get out in the backyard with my ETX 105UHTC and "play". I desperately wanted to try my LPI imager and laptop setup on something other than the moon, so I set my sights on Saturn. Leaving the program software setup on the default settings, I was able to get the following shot of our ringed neighbour. Thought I'd post it so others might see what the little LPI can do. It is only the 3rd time I've tried using the imager/software. Jupiter is next! No barlow was used. 65 images were automatically stacked by the program and nothing further was done. Seeing was quite good but my scope was only outside around 20mins to acclimatize beforehand. Cheers and clear skies all! Kevin Thunder Bay
Subject: LPI UPDATE Date: 2/8/04, 04:11 From: "Robert J. Brich" (email@example.com) I have continued to experiment with the LPI mode and my 125 using XP OS since last e-mail. I found that when I upgraded the USB cable from that supplied, my problems with the LPI camera disappeared. I no longer experience problems with the camera dropping off line or not responding. I can hit abort, close the program, open the program, disconnect the camera and re-connect without having to reload the driver. Prior problems would not allow any of the above. I purchased gold tip USB cable (10') and it appears to maintain power and data exchange to the camera via the USB port. I am using a Toshiba Lap Top with XP OS for my capture. See attached as two of the first captures to show that LPI was really working. Taken this 4:30AM.
Suggest others having problems with the LPI camera try the same USB cable solution. Neither XP or the LPI camera are the problem. Best/Bob Brich
Subject: First LPI Jupiter Date: 2/5/04, 12:16 From: Alan Leutloff (firstname.lastname@example.org) Here is my first pic of Jupiter with the Meade LPI at prime focus. Nice think about this package is that the moon's showed up on the pic w/o overexposing Jupiter. The tracking software on the LPI worked nice too...tracked well dispite clouds blowing across sky. Feel free to post if you like. Alan
Subject: The LPI doesn't like being on a hub Date: 2/5/04, 11:43 From: Howard Visser (email@example.com) I read the earlier note and had a thought as to how to resolve the hub issue. I just went through this with my Logitech Quick Cam 4000 and a USB to Serial adapter I wanted to connect via a USB Hub to my computer (also a Dell laptop). First the Hub has to be powered to drive the camera, second I had to remove the hardware and software and reinstall with the web camera attached to the Hub. My problems went away and now use one USB connection to support both the web camera and the link to the Autostar through the Hub. Hope this helps.And:
From: Dave Wallace (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks, Howard. That seems to work for me as well, except I have to perform that step every time I want to use the LPI, whereas when the LPI is *not* connected via a hub the hardware and software need not be removed and reinstalled. Perhaps I need to connect the LPI and hub to the computer before I boot XP. I'll try that next.And:
Dave, I haven't tried going back to the direct off the back of the computer connection since I hooked the hub up. It's probably safe to assume that it is going to have to be one way or the other but not both. I'll try my setup tonight when I get home and see if I run into similar issues. I'm also running 2000 professional but have a hard time believing that XP has anything to do with this and that the detection of the Hub whether at boot or a post boot connection shouldn't matter one way or the other but hey its Windows and stranger things have been known to happen. I'll see if I turn something up as well when I test it out and let you know. Clear Skies! Howard
Subject: The LIP doesn't like being on a hub Date: 2/2/04, 13:17 From: Dave Wallace (email@example.com) I don't know if I just happen to have a less-than-perfect hub or if this is a generally-known but un-acknowledged problem. But I've found that my Dell Inspiron 1100 running XP Home will not recognize the LPI (camera) if I try to connect it to the laptop through a USB hub. And it makes no difference whether the hub is powered or unpowered. I can run the LPI on the far end of a 5 meter cable, but not on the far side of a hub, no matter how short the cables. Just thought I'd pass this observation along. On another subject: the 26mm eyepiece can be made parafocal with the LPI, but you wind up with so little barrel left that the setscrew won't engage if you try to use this eyepiece in a Barlow or Moon Filter. The other 4000-series Plossels have longer barrels and aren't a problem that way.Mike here: Is the USB-hub bus-powered or does it have its own AC power? I suspect the LPI needs more power than it is getting.
It didn't work either way. This particular hub could be operated with or without the "wall wart" and I tried it both ways. XP saw the hardware but it was non-operative. The LPI works fine without the hub. Other USB devices work fine with the hub. I don't know enough about the USB specification or how well the LPI conforms to that to explain this issue, but it might have to do with signal delay through the hub (and it could be specific to this particular brand of hub). I just wanted to report that the LPI might be allergic to operating on the far side of a USB hub so that other users might be wary of this configuration.
Subject: Jupiter pic Date: 2/1/04, 20:35 From: Jody Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org) Meade ETX 90EC polar align 2x Barlowed Meade LPI 300 stacked pictures 1-29-04 Hey Mike here is a pic of Jupiter I took the other night. J.Miller
Subject: MEADE LPI IMAGING Date: 2/1/04, 18:38 From: "Robert J. Brich" (email@example.com) I recently purchased a Meade ETX 125 and the LPI image system. I am having a problem with the the camera and XP software. The camera appears to start imaging but will freeze after a few minutes. In order to regain the camera, I have to remove and reload the driver for the LPI camera Is there an update to the software to become an XP approved driver? R/Bob BrichMike here: The only update I know of is on Meade's site as I mention in my article on using the Autostar Suite with the Macintosh (on the Autostar Information page).
Have you or any of the contributors had problems with the LPI camera system in the XP operating system? I looked on the site but did not find other than photos from LPI users.Mike here: Other than a USB hub issue (to be posted on the next update), the only others are on the Autostar Suite feedback page for December 2003 (in the Feedback Archives).
Thanks for the responses to my questions. I have continued to review your site and find that others are having similar problems with the LPI driver and dropping off line in particular the one listed below: Subject: Autostar Suite and LPI Sent:Saturday, November 15, 2003 20:53:56 From: Lrv64@aol.com I am having similar issues with the software driver for the camera further compounded by the fact that it is not certified for use with XP. I suspect that persons using LPI are having similar problems with the camera and its characteristics of not responding. Can only hope that Meade will provide an update to the driver and resolve the problem.
Subject: LPI resolution Date: 2/1/04, 10:29 From: marcus windrich (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks for getting back to me so quickly on the 640x480 resolution issue. Any idea why everyone uses such small resolution? Even some of the SBIG professional grade CCD cameras use 640x480. Doesn't anyone ever want to print out their images!?!? The resolution on the LPI and others is WAY to small to print even a decent 4x6. Does anyone besides me dream of taking a great astrophoto, printing it on a glossy 8x10, putting a frame around it, and hanging it up!?!? Sorry about the rant, haha....................................Mike here: Cost is the issue. You can spend several thousand dollars for large CCDs that do what you want.
Subject: Images with LPI and Camera Question Date: 1/28/04, 21:18 From: Jeff Wilhite (email@example.com) I purchased an ETX 105-EC for Christmas, and I have to say, your site has been an invaluable reference tool for me. You have saved me more than a few times just when my frustration level was about to reach its peek! After a month of trial and error, I finally think I know what I'm doing. I purchased the LPI a couple of weeks ago and have been breaking it in. Compared with the images taken with 10 and 11inch scopes in your LPI section, mine don't look that great. But I think they are just about as good as the ETX 105 can do. The images of Jupiter and Saturn were taken with 2x Barlow. The 3 moon images are just LPI. All images received slight adjustments w/ Photoshop. I am a professional photographer by trade and a trying to figure out a way to attach my Fuji S2 Pro camera to the 105. I believe the S2 will be too heavy for the 105's motors. Do you have any suggestions???? Once again, I want to thank you for your awesome site!! Thanks, Jeff Wilhite Rock Hill, SC
Mike here: I have no familiarity with the Fuji camera but if you think it could be too heavy, it probably is unless you counterbalance it.
Subject: Meade LPI Date: 1/26/04, 04:18 From: marcus windrich (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have been thinking about purchasing the Meade LPI and Autostar suite for use with my ETX-90EC and my LX-50. I love your website and I was happy to see a new section devoted to the LPI. I do have a question that I couldn't find the answer to though.......how big is the image the LPI takes? I would very much like to print out 4x6 photos of images I take. Is this possible without losing resolution? I realize that an image of Saturn may take up a very small space on a 4x6, with lots of empty black space around it, but I would like to try anway. So has anyone ever tried printing your astrophotos? Thanks!! Marcus WindrichMike here: 640x480.
Subject: LPI camera usb extension Date: 1/21/04, 19:57 From: Sid (email@example.com) Hey! Have you heard of anyone using a USB extension cable for the LPI camera (autostar suite)? I've found quite a few but didn't know if they would actually work with the camera. Here's the one I was looking at: www.usbcable.com/item341.htm Thanks!Mike here: As I mentioned on my comments on the Autostar Suite (on the Autostar Information page) I used one.
Subject: Re:LPI- SATURN Date: 1/20/04, 07:09 From: GMCStudio@aol.com Love the Web-Site, nice job. Here's a pretty good Saturn image via the Meade LPI system. I know there have been some "Bugs" in the software end of these units but I have to admit all in all Meade has (at least in theory) a great concept. For several years I have been using two video-cam systems from Adirondack Video Astronomy. The "Astrovid 2000" and the "Color Planet-Cam." I was very content to capture streams of video and then "Pick" through the recording and stack good images. As any one with experience with real time video information knows the single frame character of each image of these cameras is fairly "noisy." Also, the process of selecting "Good" frames is rather bothersome, though with the creation of programs such as "Registax" this greatly helped in this endeavor. Without sounding too prophetic, I actually predicted that it wouldn't be long till someone or company would come out with a color unit that would do it all. Sure enough, no sooner had the words left my lips than Meade announced the LPI Image Package. It took some time to get it, but I think we are all a bit spoiled when it comes to ordering products via the phone or web, and once it did arrive the disc had a problem, which Meade took care of with a replacement, promptly. They also offered "Excellent" tech support via the 1-800 number to get it up and running on my laptop. This story has a very happy ending in that I was really pleased with even my first efforts. Like any new "Toy" it takes some using to really understand the levers and buttons, but without to much agony I started "capturing some great images. I have included one of Saturn created with the LPI Package via my C-11 and a two power barlow. There is some tweaking done through "Photoshop" as any image might be these days but the images accumulated by LPI are really super to begin with. Very low noise, with nice color sensitivity. I love watching the images stack up on the laptop getting clearer and sharper and the read-outs as it chooses the best of the best frames. For the remarkable some of only 149.00 (Amazing ! ) You really can't go wrong. Meade must have read my mind, they have come up with a system that in so many ways is a little "Quantum Leap" in the area of backyard planetary imaging. Greg Mort Ashton, Maryland
Subject: Jupiter with LPI Date: 1/18/04, 23:57 From: Lrv64@aol.com Attached are two pictures I just finished taking with the LPI by Meade. One is a monochrome and the other is color. Both were taken about 30 minutes ago with my ETX-125 and the Meade LPI. I saved as JPEG rather than TIF in order to e-mail these. The LPI software works great, as long as you don't slew to a different object with the camera on. I have found out that if I shut the program down, then slew and restart the program I am getting decent results from the program. First time I have been able to use the scope in about a month, due to work and clouds. I have been reading about your experiences with the LPI, and have wondered if you have run across the problem of the program not responding when you slew to a different object? Or do you do as I do, just shut the program down, slew then re-start? Focusing is a bear, but one of the tricks I learned is to "bracket" my shots slightly adjusting the focus for each set of shots, I usually set quality at 85% and every 10 images. Along with an occassional set of photos using monochrome and/or hard edges. I hope people don't think that these are the only two pictures I have taken. I took about 20 different sets, each about 50-60 stacked images, with quality set high, so it took a bunch of time, but ETX-125 kept Jupiter in the pc screen with very few slight adjustments for ALT-AZ mounting. Looking forward to your pictures using the LPI, especially of Messier objects. Luis
Mike here: I only had one experience of the system going off but then I've only had limited usage due to weather and schedules not cooperating.
Subject: LPI Imager - The first attempt Sent: Sunday, January 18, 2004 10:41:18 From: "John Kalantzis" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello Mr Mike from Greece With a lot of pleasure I sent you two pictures of Saturn This is my first attempt to ccd photo with my LXD55 SC8'' scope and my new LPI Imager. I took them under the city lights of Volos. The atmosphere conditions were not bad and the weather was too cold ( about 4C ). I dit no image processing. Best regards John Kalantzis from Volos - Greece ( Volos is one of the five Olympic cities for the next Olympics )
Subject: Virtual PC still can't find LPI Date: 1/17/04, 20:13 From: William Wilson (email@example.com) I'm sorry for being a pest, but your site is the only one around where anyone seems to have the foggiest idea that Mac owners might try to use the LPI via VirtualPC. Still no luck in getting the LPI software to "find" the LPI--even though it's connected directly to my PowerBook and the red LED is illuminated. I've attached a PDF snapshot of the VirtualPC configuration. I've even detached the external mouse and keyboard in case it was sucking some power from the other USB port. And, yes, I'm plugged in and running the PB on highest performance. I'm stumped. Bill Wilson firstname.lastname@example.org ...the more we are protected, the more we're trapped within... http://homepage.mac.com/wlwesq/iblog/index.html
Mike here: When you installed the Autostar Suite software did you get the camera driver install step per the instructions?
I believe so. This morning I went to the control panels for scanners and cameras. The LPI showed up in the control panel, and the test reported that it found the LPI and it passed. But still the Meade software can't find it. So, I deleted the camera from the control panel and unplugged and plugged it back in. The wizard came up and reinstalled the drivers. The Meade software still can't find it, even though the OS can. It's rather odd, but at least I know it's a Meade software issue and not a Mac OS X/VirtualPC issue.Mike here: I saw a report sometime back that a camera was bad and Meade replaced it. One test you might try first: see if one of the Mac, but preferably Windows, video apps sees it.
And this came in:
From: "Wayson, Craig" (email@example.com) Great page! I just bought a new LX200 that came with the Autostar Suite and you have saved me hours of tinkering. One thing I found though was that running VPC 6.1 on a 15 Powerbook 1.25Ghz with (originally 512MB RAM) 1GB of RAM and 10.3.2 was this: When trying to get the LPI running under VPC with XP Pro, I could not get am image. It wasnt until I installed 1 GB of RAM and upped the VPC RAM to 512 MB that the LPI began to work just fine. XP Pro emulates faster than Win 2000, but it appears that it is more of a memory hog and needs plenty of physical RAM devoted to it. Thanks for maintaining a great page! Craig W.And:
From: William Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Might be worth trying...I'll let you know what I find out.
Subject: LPI Focusing Issue Date: 1/15/04, 11:39 From: "Day, Mike" (email@example.com) I've got a problem I'm hoping you can help with. I received an LPI for Christmas and thought that I'd get started on it right away. I decided to come up to speed on the software and the camera during the day, so I targeted a mountain top about 25 miles away and tried to focus in and get some photos. Unfortunately, I found out two things: 1) the image was incredibly unstable; and 2) I could not focus the image. Since that day, I've spent more than a few hours trying to get an image focused on my computer screen of both terrestrial and astronomical targets with little success. I bought a new, longer cable for the camera, but that didn't help either. I inspected the camera and noticed something that seems odd, but since I have no other camera to campare it with, I'm not sure if its ok or not. What I found is that there is no lense above the CMOS chip, even though it looks like something should screw into the barrel of the camera. So my question for you and the other LPI owners is, "Is there supposed to be a lense in the LPI?" I have an ETX-125EC and I'm using the LPI in the normal eyepiece location. I did try using it through an erecting prism, but that didn't help either. I don't have any trouble focusing a 9mm eyepiece, either, so I don't think its an issue with the scope. I wouldn't rule out operator error, however. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks, Michael Day Littleton, COMike here: As I noted in my article on the using the Autostar Suite on the Macintosh, focusing is a challenge. If you are touching the telescope to focus then you really have to make focus changes in VERY SMALL increments, then wait for the image to stabilize before making the next focus adjustment. Even using the electric focus will require small changes and then waiting for the image on the LPI live window to update. Just part of the normal process of using an imager. And there is no lens on the LPI; the telescope is the "lens".
Subject: Meade LPI and autotracking Date: 1/14/04, 19:14 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I enjoy your informative website and wanted to share this picture of Saturn taken with an LX-90 and Meade LPI (9 Jan in Oxford, MS). I used a 2x Barlow and the Align & Combine feature at 50% quality and about 50 images. I did this 4 times, then combined the images and sharpened with Registax. I would like to know if anyone else is having problems with the LPI software, specifically the auto-tracking feature. I have the latest download (v3.1e) for the #497 controller, have retrained and recalibrated the drives, and fiddled with the backlash settings. However, the autotracking works for about 15 seconds, then seems to be "chasing itself" as the star it is tracking shifts off the screen. Autotracking was an important feature for me, but so far is disappointing. Also, there is no documentation for what the Corr Gain spin button does -- I have seen no effect from changing it. thanks for the great web site!
Subject: LPI question ... Date: 1/12/04, 13:40 From: mconsidine (email@example.com) I was looking through your webpage on Meade's LPI/Autostar offerings and had a couple of questions I hoped you could answer: 1) Is the imaging software that is on the LPI CD different than what is available as part of the Autostar Suite? 2) Will the imaging software recognize other cameras, or is there some driver/code/firmware that is needed that is Meade-specific (e.g. could a Phillips camera be used, as long as it handled things according to the MSFT video-for-windows rules...) Thanks in advance. And thanks for maintaining your site! Regards, Matt Considine Doylestown, PAMike here: The Imaging Software COMES on the Autostar Suite CD-ROM and is part of the "Suite". I don't know if the LPI software works with a different USB camera but I doubt that all the features would work. But since the LPI is included with the Autostar Suite you don't need a different camera.
Subject: Meade Autostar Suite Date: 1/10/04, 11:48 From: Bill Corbin (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello, great site... Bought an Autostar Suite for ETX-90AT and have two questions I haven't seen listed... (1) The LPI doesn't seem to fit all the way into the regular eyepiece holder (finderscope thumbscrews get in the way) pointing straight forward and (2) The LPI doesn't seem to fit in any way into the hole on the back of the ETX-90AT (too small or too long with or without the plastic tube). Is there something else I need to get? Okay - three questions... (3) You mention in your book using a star diagonal in order to use two eyepieces concurrently with the flip mirror. What do you suggest? The Meade 918A isn't listed as an accessory for the ETX. Will it work? Will it interfere with the telescope movement when looking at the zenith? Keep up the great work. William E. Corbin Saylorsburg, PAMike here: Mine went in all the way if I slightly rotated it. To use the LPI at the rear port you would need a "Visual Back"; see the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page. I use a Wide Field Adapter (see the Showcase Products page) at rear port as a "star diagonal". You could also use the Erecting Prism from Meade (see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page). And yes, if mounted in Alt/Az mode, there won't be enough clearance for these.
Subject: Meade LPI Tech Specs Date: 1/10/04, 08:45 From: Andres Valencia (email@example.com) Happy New Year! I have not been able to find any Meade LPI Technical Specifications. Do you know anything about this alleged CMOS chip? I would like to know is size, number of pixels and more. Anything on the Web? Andrs Valencia Observatorio ARVAL Caracas, Venezuela http://www.oarval.orgMike here: It is a 640x480 imager. Size is small. That's all I've investigated as far as specs go. You might want to see the Email "Concerning the CMOS chip in the LPI" on the 2003 LPI page.
Thanks, I've read all the postings in http://www.weasner.com/etx/astrophotography/lpi.html in search for the size of this "small" chip. I've looked everywhere else too ;-( In http://www.meade.com/autostar/lpi.html Meade says the LPI is equivalent to a 6 mm eyepiece. I have a Supercircuits PC23C TV camera with a 1/3" B/W CCD chip: Picture Elements: 510 (H) x 492 (V), 250,920 pixels (~ 3x4mm, 5mm diagonal). This frame almost fits inside the field of the Meade 6.4mm Super Plsl eyepiece that I use for precisely pointing my 8" SCT LXD55 telescope. So, I'm inclining to believe the LPI also has a 1/3" chip. Isn't it incredible that Meade sells such an accessory without Tech Specs? I have the feeling its all about the software with this LPI camera. I am very impressed with the Nov. 21 '03 images by firstname.lastname@example.org, the Nov. 24 '03 LPI Faint Objects by Steve Gauss and the Dec. 22 '03 Saturn by Craig Schriever, the best I've seen! Thanks for your excellent Web sites! Best regards, Andrs ValenciaMike here: No, it is not surprising there are no tech specs. The software is pretty nice!
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