Thursday, June 2, 2016

Problem with the cooling fan of the SBIG ST10-XME

After a very wet day the sky finally cleared up after dusk so I went out to Kumeu to take back the Optec TCF unit that had been recently upgraded to be re-installed and tested, the first thing I noticed was that the cooling fan of the SBIG ST10-XME CCD camera was no longer working, at first I thought the camera was dead as it was not making any sound (the fan is quite noisy) but after having a look with the hand torch I could see that the camera was on and it was just the fan that wasn't moving, it would occasionally do a turn or two but only slowly and intermittently, there has been at least two power cuts out at Kumeu since I've got back from the RASNZ conference so I'm not sure if that was the cause or if it's just that the fan needed replacing after not being used for years, certainly the cooling of the camera has been an issue as I have reported in previous posts, with the camera not being able to get down to -20 over Summer or Autumn.

Seeing as I had the dome open already I took some images with the camera to just confirm that it's still working and thankfully everything seems fine except for the fan, not wanting to try cool the camera down without the fan I just tested the TCF with the camera at ambient temperature, the upgrade of the TCF seems to be working fine, although I didn't get great focus thanks to passing clouds and what looked like some bad seeing (the stars seemed to be scintillating a lot which is a sure sign things aren't steady up there) but at least the auto focus worked fine so hopefully the upgrade will see an improvement in the performance of the TCF from now on, I will have to ask Grant and Steve's advice on how to proceed with the camera's fan, hopefully it just needs a new fan but I can't rule out that it may be an internal electrical fault, I think it would be wise to install some form of power surge protection in the near future to just safe guard the equipment, I hope we can get this sorted quickly and that it won't cause too much of a delay in our progress out at the observatory.

Posted by Jonathan Green

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