Sunday, 7 August 2022

All in all your just another Brick in the Wall

Having modded my canon 450d a few days ago I tested it out in one of my favourite subject The Wall in Cygnus. This image was taken on a nice clear night setting were : ISO of 1600 40 two minute subs stacked with 20 dark flats and bias in deep sky stacker. I used dithering in APT which really helps reduce the noise levels in the final image and processing was done in PS.

I have also got myself a nice Ha filter which will be arriving this weekend so that will be my next blog update to show you the progress made using the Ha filter.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Modding a Canon 450d

Its time to modify that Canon 450d and get rid of the Filter that blocks off all that Ha signal we want so bad. Scared? you should be will you mess it up will the camera die on you have you got the nerves of steel to do this or are you a big girls blouse?

Ah who cares lets just do it.

Well I have modified a canon 350d in the past and that was harder then this so don't worry its not that difficult I did my mod in less then three hours and found it to be pretty easy. I just followed Gary Honis and his excellent tutorial

What tools will you need I just used a crappy Rolson Screw driver set and a craft knife and a tooth pick that was it. The Rolson screw driver worked great using the straight edge thin screw drivers they fit well in the tiny screws and got them out now problem the tooth pick is for pulling out the ribbon cables and a sharpie pen is used to mark the ribbon cable before you pull them out so you can put them back in at the correct depth handy tip.

Take your time and when your done if it doesn't come back on like it did for me three times aaaagh just take a deep breath and recheck those cables for me it was the first one you unplug but once they were all in correctly the camera came on and I now have a modded 450d excellent. Just remember when your doing this to stick all the screws to this guide print it out I just stuck them on with tape as I removed them so I knew exactly the order they went back in I have marked them with a yellow dot but you could just follow the video and stick them down on a note pad with some notes as you go along no big deal. Good luck.

Modding a Canon 450d

 Not that hard to do just take your time first remember to remove the battery and card


1.     Lift off the eye piece cover and remove three screws tape on this picture to remember where they go as some are longer or shorter.

2.     Next remove four screws from the bottom of the camera.

3.     Next remove a long screw from the right side of the camera

4.     Now remove two screws from the left side of the camera

5.     Next remove two screws found where the retaining straps go

6.     Now lift off the rubber cover on the back and remove one screw from there. It wasn’t there when I did mine but check any way.


7.     Ok now we can remove the back of the camera off.

Be careful as there is a ribbon cable attached on the lower right bottom side the first of many we will be unplugging.

Now we start unplugging ribbon cables use a small flat head screw driver and a tooth pick to wiggle them out be very gentle doing this.

Gently lift up the black push down clip to release this first ribbon cable. TIP use a sharpie marker pen to mark where it sits in the connector then when you put it back you can see exactly where it should be. If you don’t and the cables are not pushed in far enough the camera will not turn on trust me.


8.     Remove three screws from the circuit board

9.     Now we unplug all the ribbon cables take your time and be gentle. The first 4 are

 Labelled a, b, c, d in this picture unplug them all.

10.The next one is labelled E and just pops of with your finger nail.

The next one is labelled F and is a hinge type lift and remove

The next one is labelled G and H

Next is ribbon cables I and J

I is just behind ribbon cable G it’s a bit tricky but ok and J is just above Ribbon cable H


11.OK now all ribbon cables are removed and we take out one screw that was under ribbon cable G show here.

12.Now we bend back the grounding strap in the bottom left corner

13. Pull out the plug in connector in the top right corner

 14. Now carefully remove the circuit board it will lift out.

15. Now remove one long screw on the right side of the cmos chip as shown here.

16. And next unplug this small white ribbon cable

17. Next we remove a tricky long screw from the top left next to the view port not too bad just need a long screw driver to get to it.


17. Next is another long screw at the bottom left of the chip

18. Now two more small screws shown here. The second one might have some black gunk around it.

 Ok we can not take out the Chip hooray the rest is pretty easy so take a deep breath

Remove this screw then pop off the metal frame

That done lift off the first clear filter called the IR filter we will put this back again after removing the one behind it so put it in a nice dust free bag remember dust is your enemy we don’t want any on the filter or chip when we put it back.

Ok were nearly done time to cut out the offending Ha blocking filter the little bastard that it is.

So we remove two small screws shown here

 Then we prize off the cover carefully like this

Now we remove the original IR cut filter from its frame by cutting away the adhesive in the corners and gently lifting it out shown here


When it is out just put everything back reversing the procedures above and your done



Some important tips learned from doing this the first time.

Be gentle don’t force anything especially the ribbon cables and make sure they all go back in correctly make a mark on them with a black sharpie pen so you know where they are supposed to fit back. If the camera won’t work when you’re done it’s more than likely the ribbon cables so check them again.

No special tools were used I just had a crappy Rolson screw driver and a craft knife and a tooth pick.



This is the video to watch as you do it from Gary Honis excellent instructions


Thursday, 4 November 2021

North American Nebula in Cygnus
This is one of my favourites had a couple of attempts on it and finally got a very nice clear night. 34 lights at an ISO of 1600 180 sec exposures guided and processed in PS.

And for comparison here is the same subject done with my modded 450d 40main subs with 20 darks flats and bias and ISO of 1600 and each shot was two minutes long also I used dithering in APT to get rid of the noise which works really well.


Thursday, 8 July 2021

Eastern Veil Nebula and freinds

 A two-hour session from midnight to 2am on a rare clear night. ISO of 1600 on my canon 450d unmodded and 37 shots all 3minute long. Guided with PHD2 using multi-star guiding.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Making it easy to set up with a few simple ideas

Astrophotography is never easy so making it less complicated is going to save you a lot of hassle. I don't have time to build a separate observatory so instead, I have opted for a lighter setup from that of the past. Here is my skywatcher 200p on the eq5 pro mount with the finder scope adapted to use a ZWOI120 guide camera. I don't use the syn scan hand controller instead I use an eq direct cable that goes straight from the control box to my pc which is kept in the shed opposite. All the cables from my camera my guide camera and the mount feed straight into my shed through the sidewall and into my pc.

Once it's all switched on via the pc in the shed I can link up to that with my laptop using TeamViewer and control it all from indoors in the warm. So no hand controller to deal with everything controlled by the computer and I can go inside and stay warm while the camera and mount get on with the job of imaging.

One big difference to making this all easy to set up is to have three bricks set into the ground that has a hole in each one for the legs of the mount to sit in. I have lined them up carefully so that the mount is perfectly lined up with the north position and have made sure that my polar alignment is spot on using PHD to do the polar alignment with its very good drift alignment tool and my guide camera.

It takes a bit of tweaking but once it is all set up correctly its just a matter of taking the mount outside and placing it in those hole in the bricks and I am ready to go each night without the hassle of having to re polar align the mount a big time saver.

Because I am using a large Newtonian telescope the skywatcher 200p I check the colmination regularly with a laser collimator and check the focus each night with a bahtinov mask. Dew is kept at bay with a yoga mat stitched up to form a tube that is placed over the front of the scope and a small dew strap is placed on the guide scope. Simple and effective, my camera is an unmodded 450d.

With good views of the northeast and south, the mount is positioned to make the 
most of the night skies and key targets

The eqdirect cable replaces the hand controller and just goes straight into the pc its 10 feet long the same as my guide camera and cannon camera cables so easily goes into the side of my shed to the pc

Three bricks embedded in the ground with holes for the tripod legs to fit in saves time
and allows you to set up in minutes without the need to polar align each time or having to reposition the mount.


Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Galaxy time

M101 M51 and the Needle Galaxy from the last few weeks. It's been difficult at times with strong winds and snow showers to contend with but having got my guiding sorted out it is now much easier to get longer exposures and gain more data for the final images. M101 was done with my 450d ISO 1600 4 minute subs about 4 hours worth. M51 5 minute subs one hour's worth and last night the Needle Galaxy two-minute subs about 30 of them. One of the most useful discoveries of late is using dithering with my images something I never really tried before but it really makes a big difference to the final stacked image so well worth trying it out.


Saturday, 13 March 2021

Leo Triplets

Lots of issues to contend with when doing astrophotography but if you persevere and keep at it you can be rewarded for your efforts. This shot of the Leo Triplets is only 13 shots each 2 min long and an ISO of 1600 it was quite windy tonight so I had to throw out quite a few of my shots that were ruined by gusts of wind knocking the telescope about. I now have a guide camera set up so can get longer exposure which is great. 
My guide camera is a ZWOI120 and I have attached it to my skywatcher finder scope to use as the guide scope which works very well.