Last updated: 31 October 2005
This page documents the Meade Deep Sky Imager and DSI Pro comments, tips, and photos. Contributions welcome. In order to showcase the DSI you may occasionally see images taken with other telescopes on this page.
Subject: DSI Blues Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2005 17:38:42 From: Bob Gaskin (email@example.com) Till I ran across this site, I figured I was the only one who had problems with the DSI. I finally mailed it back and am waiting to see what Meade says. My laptop is a new Gateway and the software loaded OK but I has not worked well at all. I see pics in all the astronomy mags about all these folks who just popped the DSI in and they got great imatges within 30 sec. Till I saw messages from folks on your site I though I was the only one who coujld not get the DSI to work properly. Am thinking of getting a SBIG MX -8 instead Bob Gaskin Desitn, DL Telescope: LX200 12" UHTC/GPSMike here: Keep in mind that generally people don't write to report things are working well; they write when having problems that they need help with. But yes, some users have problems. Using a powered USB hub can help in some instances.
Subject: Meade DSI and filters Sent: Friday, October 28, 2005 15:44:11 From: Lee R (firstname.lastname@example.org) re the last email i sent to you about the Meade DSI and can filters be screwed into the nosepiece. I done a bit of digging on the web and found out that the DSI does have thread in which you can screw filters into. I hope this is useful to anyone who read my email posted on your site recently...Wishing you all the clear skies possible from: Lee Ricketts, from Dover Kent UK :-)
Subject: Is my Meade DSI defective?? Sent: Friday, October 28, 2005 01:43:25 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) Jeanine here (French, over 70, retired lecturer of physics, husband Graham British, officially based in UK but wintering in Spain). Last August I bought my first telescope from a local retailer in UK (ETX125PE + DSI and Autostar Suite) and I have updated from Meade Web site. I first tried getting images of landmarks following the steps recommended in the Meade Manual, during daylight hours in August then now in October and these trials are not at all conclusive to carry on with the fascinating views I can get now of Saturn through my ETX. The problem is that the landmark images I am SOMETIMES able to get on the screen SUDDENLY DISAPPEAR and I then have a white to greyish mosaic screen, and if I adjust exposure or the sliders it moves from whitish to black, but in the process I can't get the image back!! Sometimes from the beginning to the end of a whole session I can't get any image at all: AUTO EXPO increase to 1, Gain stay at 100, Offset stay at 50, the screen is black. Image Process terrestrial with Kernel Filter. When I set manually the Auto Expo at around 0,0113 and gain around 100 and offset around 80, the Histogram is active, the Magic Eye Focus, (yellow triangles), shows a perfect focusing BUT the screen stays as a greyish active mosaic. Auto Contrast and Shadow Enhance manual setting are without any effect. Same problem with or without my powered 2.0 USB Hub,( Autostar control via Comm Port or Telescope Protocol None) My Laptop is new (Toshiba M300, Windows XP) Telescope, USB Hub, laptop are mains powered. I must say that I then discovered that I have no problem to get a splendid image of the same landmark with my Webcam TOUCAN Pro II PCVC 840 when it is attached to the ETX125PE! Last August and September my local telescope shop left me with a poor view of their customer support. Fortunately my favourite new British astronomy magazine "BBC Sky at Night" recommended your site in the October issue and before writing this message I read all your feedback pages; your website is a great help, as well as a relief to discover I am not the only one struggling to enjoy Meade modern technologies! I am looking forward for your suggestions; thanks Mike for your time. AND: About pointing true North, I wonder why not suggesting observing the sun at the time of its transit of the meridian; a transit post marking the Meridian is useful to get a precise direction of the true North. Any astronomy software or web site indicates the hour of the Sun transit given the date, the longitude and latitude of the observation site. Jeanine GOODWYNMike here: Thanks for the tip about True North. As to the DSI, I don't have a DSI but a similar problem was recently reported. So far I haven't received any update on that problem (the recommendation was to try a powered hub). But you've already done that. It could be that you have a defective DSI or a bad USB cable.
Subject: LX200/DSI focusing Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2005 20:18:58 From: R.L. Creedon (email@example.com) After months of struggle have just got my first image, far too bad to publish, ten 15 sec. exposures. Tried M13 & could not bring to good focus with almost infinitesmal adjustments, 1 degree on focus knob. Magic eye function was inoperable. Ranged around the other controls, picture went from black to white with hard to find faint fuzzy image in between not, as far as I could tell, focusable. At late twilight could terrestial focus DSI to perfection. Am using 4 port powered USB hub on a Dell/ Windows Professional laptop. A big single improvement is use of mouse instead of touch pad which is too touchy. I thought use of twilight brought things together. Found out the hard way that system reaction time to practically anything is at least 15 seconds... don't rush. Badly in need of help on the, to me, intractable focus problem. At 15 seconds could not M13 have been overexposed hence blurry, I thought the way to clarity lay in lots of very brief exposures with the best ones pulled out & overlaid so that you got lucky with atmospheric messiness. Lew CreedonMike here: I don't have a DSI so can't help directly but focusing is a challenge. If the Magic Eye doesn't work for you you might want to try a Hartmann Mask (see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page on my ETX Site).
Subject: DSI Problems and missing library item Sent: Monday, October 24, 2005 01:35:54 From: Wally Allen (firstname.lastname@example.org) I purchased the DSI recently and have been using it with a Windows based laptop. I am not a fan of that OS, so I bought an iBook G3 and VPC which runs Win 98. When I start the DSI program and select the camera I get a message "MSCOREE.DLL not found". An additional message says "Cant find the DSI module". I checked my Device Manager running on VPC and it says that DSI is working properly. My USB runs at 500 mA. I know the DSI works on the other laptop, so it is not malfunctioning I have downloaded the update from Meade and have rebooted the iBook, but the same message appears. Wally Allen LXD 55 SNT 8Mike here: I doubt that the iBook G3 has enough processing power under VPC to use the DSI. As to the DLL, I don't know if your version of Win98 is supported (since I use Mac OS X); from Meade's site it says "Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP (Windows XP recommended), USB 1.1 (2.0 recommended)". Also, note the USB 2.0 recommended comment.
Subject: Meade DSI and filters Sent: Sunday, October 23, 2005 16:26:02 From: Lee R (email@example.com) Hi Mike after asking you about the DSI and the SAC 4 II i've decided to go for the DSI. I've not examined one up close as yet but my question is: Does the DSI have a thread like the SAC does to screw in filters into it's eyepiece tube?? As i wish to use my ATIK focal reducer and other filters too... Wishing all the clear skies possible from Lee Ricketts Dover Kent UK...Mike here: I'm not certain (I don't have one) but I would suspect it does.
Subject: ETX-70 Deep Space Photos Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 04:58:50 From: Alex Gonzalez (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hi weasner nice too see your site floureshing, I send 1 pic taken last night (October 19), It's the Double Cluster, i know it's not very good but this is my first DSI-Color photo with the ETX-70, here are the specifics: Location: Monterrey, Mexico Scope: ETX-70 Weather:Clear with full moon on sky and very igh light pollution. Aligment: Alt/Azm Object:The Double Cluster, taken 20 pics at 13 secs each on Fits Format, align and combine and histogram tweakening on IP software. Furter gama, saturation and contrast on Irfanview freeware photo software. I send My second pic taken last night (October 19), It's the Pleiades, i know it's not very good but this is my second DSI-Color photo with the ETX-70 and DSI-C, here are the specifics: Location: Monterrey, Mexico Scope: ETX-70 Weather:Clear with full moon on sky and very high light polluted. Aligment: Alt/Azm Object: The Pleiades, taken 20 pics at 13 secs each on Fits Format, align and combine and histogram tweakening on IP software. Furter gama, saturation and contrast on Irfanview freeware photo software.Mike here: You got some field rotation in the Double Cluster photo; that happens when in Alt/Az mode and you make a "long exposure".
Subject: Re: DSI & LPI no images on screen Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2005 19:47:18 From: Siginsdon@aol.com (Siginsdon@aol.com) I removed the camera from the telescope but didn't get an amage. Tonight I aimed the telescope at a house about five hundred yards away. I set it for land use--called it house. Checked the Live button and hit the auto exposure--no image. I then played with the exposure time, but no image. I played with it for about an hour--at one point, it looked like I had one straight line that may have been the rain gutter going around the house but nothing else was in focus and I really couldn't make it out. The best exposure time seemed to be between .313 nad .625--1.0 was all greyish. The magic triangles seem to pulsate back and forth between small and large, but even when they are close together--there's no real image. Is there some way to test whether or not the camera is actually working? I also fiddled around with the offset and gain to no avail, and the histro sliders didn't help either. What are the setting that you have used to capture the moon? I figure that if I use some proven settings on the moon and can't get any image, I may just have a bad camera. What do you think? Thanks, Don SigginsMike here: When you say you didn't get an image when the imager was removed from the telescope, do you mean it was black or white? It sounds like you could have a bad camera, a bad cable, or a bad USB port. There is another possibility for no image; no power. It could be that your USB port isn't supplying enough power to the imager. You could try connecting the imager to a powered USB hub.
I did not think of that. I will buy a USB powered hub. Thanks, Don
Subject: Re: DSI & LPI no images on screen Sent: Friday, October 14, 2005 17:02:08 From: Siginsdon@aol.com (Siginsdon@aol.com) When I connect it I get a white to grayish screen, and if I adjust exposure or the sliders it moves from whitish to black, but in the process I do not get an image. Any suggestions? Thanks, DonMike here: If you did the remove from the telescope tip I suggested you won't get any image, or rather you will get a WAY out of focus image. But it sounds like you are getting something. Now attach the imager to the telescope and try to image a bright well defined object that is some distance away. Adjust the exposure until you get some hint of shape, then SLOWLY turn the focus knob until you get it more in focus, then adjust the exposure some more. Keep working at it, you'll get it.
Subject: Re: DSI Pro Suitability for a Celestron Sent: Friday, October 14, 2005 12:00:28 From: Stephen Bird (email@example.com) Manny, The DSI / DSI Pro were designed primarily for use with Autostar controlled telescopes, in particular the Drizzle features. The Autostar Suite software that comes with the DSI / DSI Pro contains the Drizzle software module, and is written specifically for the Autostar controlled telescopes. In order to achieve the 3 main Drizzle functions, the software sends Autostar Suite autoguiding instructions to the Autostar (in the case of an ETX) derived from what I call "guiding frames" each shot between a series of exposures. These signals move the Meade scope in such a way as to produce an effective higher resolution picture, or a larger image scale, or a mosaic image, though I confess I do not know in exactly what manner it moves the scope for each feature. Since Autostar suite is written to produce only Meade proprietary control commands, they do not work as far as I know with other scopes. The field derotation feature will work with other scopes as it relies only on each resulting image and two stars within each such image. As long as these stars do not move out of the image frame over the course of taking the image set, the feature will continue to work. you can even apply this feature to a set of previously taken images. Even without the Drizzle features, the DSI / DSI Pro still represents good value when compared to other cameras in the price range, as they will not give you the Drizzle features that Meade offer. Regards Stephen Bird ----- Original Message ----- From: Manny Hi Stephen, I will keep looking, and research more into it, one big + was the use of this software. May be is a way around it. Keep sending me updates and your own experiences. Thank you and have a great week! Manuel
Subject: focal reducer recommendation Sent: Monday, October 10, 2005 12:58:33 From: Gadi Karmi (firstname.lastname@example.org) Fantastic site, I really appreciate it. Could you make a recommendation for a focal reducer for use with an ETX-125 and DSI? Many thanks, Gadi.Mike here: I have only used the Shutan Wide Field Adapter (but not with a DSI); see the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page. Scopetronix has a focal reducer that should also work.
Subject: Re: DSI Pro Suitability for a Celestron Sent: Monday, October 10, 2005 15:18:26 From: Stephen Bird (email@example.com) Manny, In addition to my review of the DSI Pro on Mike Weasner's ETX site you will find a number of other reviews, articles and pictures taken with the DSI / DSI Pro. You can also check out the specification and find further examples of what is possible with a DSI / DSI Pro on Meade's own website, www.meade.com. Also at that website you can download the DSI user manuals which will provide further detail on the camera. I am sure that all of this will allow you to decide as to whether the DSI Pro is the right camera for you. What I would say though, is that some of the features of the DSI / DSI Pro software (Drizzle) may not be available to you with a Celestron telescope, as they require the Autostar controller / interface found only on Meade telescopes. These features may include (though I have no facility to check this), Drizzle Resolution, Extended View, Pixel Fraction and Field Derotation. You will need to check the specification carefully before you purchase the camera to satisfy yourself that all of the DSI / DSI Pro features you expect to be available will in fact work when connected to your non Meade telescope. Regards Stephen Bird ----- Original Message ----- From: Manny Hi Stephen, I want to thank you for the great review on the DSI Pro. I am thinking on purchasing one some time this winter. If you have any more information before that, please feel free to send me something. I have a Celestron Nexstar GPS 11 Sincerely, Manuel
Subject: DSI & LPI no images on screen Sent: Sunday, October 9, 2005 21:10:39 From: Siginsdon@aol.com (Siginsdon@aol.com) I jst purchase an LIP and a DSI-Pro. I installed the autosuite 2.0 version. The cameras are recognized but I can't get anything like an image to focus. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks, DonMike here: Have you tried using them (especially the LPI) in the daytime? Have you tried adjusting the exposure settings; it could be that you are over or under exposing so can't see anything.
I tried using both cameroas in the daytime- No luck. I did not adjust exposure time, as the instructions stated it should be automatic, and I have lttle experience with exposure times. Where would i adjust it? Should I push the number higher or lower. I'll try it both ways, but it would be real good if they had a trouble shooting section in the manuals. Thanks, Don SigginMike here: If you remove the imager from the telescope and hold it up to a bright source (like a window in the daytime) can you see any light on the screen or is it black?
Subject: Meade Deep Sky Imager (DSI) Sent: Thursday, October 6, 2005 18:02:16 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I've sent you a few e-mails in the past in regards to my Meade ETX-125 telescope. I also own a 2120-LX3 10" scope by Meade. I recently read the review in Astronomy Magazine on the Meade DSI, and have just ordered one today from a telescope company. I read several reports on this new item. Some say it is hard to use, others say they did great work the first night out. I don't quite understand what they are talking about by connecting the DSI to your computer. GHEEZE!!!...my computer is in the house! How can I run it from the back yard? Maybe I should get a reasonable laptop computer? Or...are images stored on the chip until you can get into the house and download them? Any light you can shed on this would be greatly appreciated. As Always, kindest Regards, John WaltersMike here: The images are sent from the DSI to your computer and stored on your hard disk. So, yes, you and your computer need to be at the telescope OR you need a really long USB cable (and possibly some powered hubs along the way).
Subject: Will Meade's DSI work on my G5 Mac Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2005 16:26:27 From: Spoolman Nancy (email@example.com) I called Meade and I have been searching your site to find out if the Deep Sky Imager from Meade will work on my G5 PowerMac or my G4 Alubook with some other software than their PC software. I cannot find anywhere where it actually says the person has a Mac, an ETX-125 and a DSI from Meade and that they work! I want one so bad I can taste it, but I certainly don't wish to buy one if the Mac does not recognize it. I find it difficult to believe you can't just plug the DSI into the Mac, launch BTV Pro or some other capture program and look to the stars! Is there anyone out there who has bought a DSI and used it on their Mac? Thanks for any information you can give me. Nancy S.Mike here: I have used the LPI on a PowerBook 17" 1GHz with Virtual PC 6. But I doubt that 1GHz emulating a PC will be enough horsepower for the DSI. However, it is possible that a G5 Power Macintosh might have enough with VPC. As yet, there are no OSX drivers for the DSI (but there is for the LPI).
Subject: ETX125 experiences Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2005 08:43:12 From: Harri Hytnen (firstname.lastname@example.org) I purchased ETX-125EC a month ago and so far have been pleased with this scope. Despite some backlash in the RA and some focus shift with high magnifications there have been no major concerns. I take it that this amount of backlash and focus shift are "normal" with this price-category scopes. I did three times have a situation where the scope decided to start slewing just randomly. That happened twice in a case when I was using AC power and once while using power from car battery so in my case the problem was not because of non-stable current, I think. In my opinion the slewing started when I was moving the autostar around so I thought the problem might be with loose connection with the cable. I replaced the cable with a self made 3 meter CAT5 and new connectors and the problem has not repeated any more. A bit later I decided to buy some acessories like a dew shield, electronic fucuser, visual back, more eyepieces and Meade DSI. Here is a sample picture of M57 from my second night with DSI. It was taken in our backyard with quite much scattering from nearby street lights. The exposure consists of only 9x15s shots with a 0.66x reducer attached to the DSI and the DSI itself attached to the rear port of the ETX. I must say that it is advisable to use the flip mirror since it is there. It is much easier to first locate the target with a say 26mm eyepiece and when centered just flip the mirror so that the DSI becomes in charge. That is much easier than constantly switching between an eyepiece and DSI in the *same* port. I was absolutely amazed to discover how faint stars can be reached with this relatively modest configuration! The central star in M57 is clearly visible and also (in the original BMP at least) one nearby 16.6mag star just and just visible. The first impression is that the max. exposure is around 15s because of RA drive inaccuracies (at least with relatively rough polar aligning). I will try later more accurate aligning and PEC and then see what can be achieved.Mike here: Keep in mind that when switching power sources you need to CALIBRATE MOTORS.
The summary is that ETX125 and DSI seems to cope together quite well. Better than I actually expected. Thanks for the great site, Harri Hytonen Espoo, Finland
Subject: Attaching DSI pro to ETX90 Sent: Monday, October 3, 2005 02:18:48 From: Michael & Sabina (email@example.com) I just received a ETX90 to use as a guidescope with a Meade ADSI Pro as the autoguider. I wanted to lock the ETX90 at infinity so I don't need to refocus and also minimize mirror flop. I'm having a hard time trying to work out what parts I need to attach to the photo port of the 90 to mount the Dsi and also reach focus. I have never used a etx before so would appreciate your help or any recomendations. Cheers MikeMike here: The simplest way to attach the DSI to the rear port would be to get a "Visual Back". This allows you to attach an eyepiece (or any 1.25" accessory) to the rear port of the ETX. You should be able to get a focus with the DSI. See the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page. And:
Thanks for the info Mike. Just a quick question, I read somewhere that using the visual back changes the etx90 to an f7 or something like that. Is this true? I cant see how the F of a scope can be changed without using some sort of lens. Cheers MikeMike here: A "focal reducer" does that, not a Visual Back.
Subject: Using a series of USB Cables for DSI Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2005 14:02:15 From: Anna316@wmconnect.com (Anna316@wmconnect.com) I was wondering if anybody has tried using a series of USB cables with their LPI/DSIs. I've treid calling Meade about this and get nebulous answers. My idea is to run about 40' connected cables to my main computer(don't have a laptop). I have heard everything from connecting (3) 15' 'active' cables and then heard that I would need 'hubs'. Can you help? Thanks, Tom HanniganMike here: The USB spec defines a limit (check the USB.org page for the specifics). But yes, adding powered hubs will help.
Subject: DSX125 & Meade DSI Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2005 11:32:58 From: SpiritHDMC@aol.com (SpiritHDMC@aol.com) I have a Meade DSX125 Telescope. It is an ETX-125 scope mounted on a DS2000 mount and uses the Meade #497 AutoStar. I'm wanting to purchase a Meade DSI in order to take pictures through the telescope. I have an HP Pavilion Notebook that I wish to connect the entire system together. I also have the #505 cable connector. I have no serial port on my Notebook, however, I have found several USB to serial connectors. In reading the PDF manual for DSI it states that I will need an "off-axis guider" in order to use the DSI as an autoguider. Is this correct? I would like to take long exposure pictures with the DSI. Do I need an off-axis guider? I thought that the DSI had this capability on it's own. I've spent a ton of money on this so far. I admit that I am please. I've had great slews and views! I've seen most of the plants, the Andromeda Galaxy, Great Orion Nebula, and many star clusters. The weather has prevented the observations of much more. To keep the tracking "dead" center will I need more than the DSI? Will I need an off axis guider? Thanks, Rick Anderson Jackson, TennesseeMike here: I don't have a DSI so can't comment on that. You will need to polar mount the DSX (not certain how you'll do that though) to avoid "field rotation" in the long duration exposures.
Return to the top of this page.
Go to the August-September 2005 DSI Page.
Go to the June-July 2005 DSI Page.
Go to the May 2005 DSI Page.
Go to the March-April 2005 DSI Page.
Go to the January-February 2005 DSI Page.
Go to the 2004 DSI Page.
Go back to the Astrophotography Page.
Go back to my ETX Home Page.