1004x ExView CCTV board camera,
Long Exposure modification for Astronomy
The 1004x ExView CCTV camera is a small PCB camera, which uses a Sony ExView HAD sensor to provide excellent light sensitivity extending into the near infrared. However, for deep-sky imaging, the camera really needs to be able to collect light for a long period of time. This project describes how to modify the 1004x module to take long exposures, allowing for some superb results considering the low cost of these modules.
You will need to be comfortable with soldering small components, and some degree of electronics knowledge will be required. The circuit board is small, and the components smaller still - so good vision or a magnifying system will be useful.
The modifications described on these pages are the result of much experimentation, investigation and plain hard work. I am making these details available to other enthusiasts, on the understanding that:
- No responsibility can be accepted for injury or damage to equipment caused by following, or attempting to follow, the instructions presented here.
- Whilst I have made every effort to ensure that the information presented is accurate, there are no guarantees concerning its correctness or suitability for any purpose. If you discover any errors, please email me.
- The information presented is not to be used for financial or material gain without my express permission.
- These pages are Copyright © 2021 Jon Grove. You may link to them from other Web pages if you wish, but you may not reproduce or copy them in whole or in part, other than as a single private copy for reference purposes.
I am indebted to Steve Chambers for his suggestions, experiments and general help in realising this project. Thanks also to Dr Steve Wainwright for his enthusiastic support and encouragement, and to QCUIAG for providing a forum for discussing ideas and presenting results.
Equipment You Will Need:
A 1004X (or 1004XA) camera. These are available in the UK from RF Concepts.They also supply a cased version, but I believe the PCB layout is slightly different. The XA version has a small audio daughterboard attached, which is not relevant to this modification and can be used as-is or dispensed with.
Solder and a fine-tipped soldering iron. Some of the components have pins with a 0.5mm pitch.
A magnifier of some sort. Possibly one of those things with a lens and some crocodile clips to hold your work would be useful. A powerful hand lens is really useful, essential even, for inspecting your work and looking for bad joints or solder bridges.
Some of these may be purchased in the UK from Maplin. Maplin codes are provided where known.
- 3 x 12V subminiature SPCO relay, part number UG42V
- 1 x SN7406 hex O/C inverter, part number QX75S
- 4 x small diode. I used 1N4148, Maplin don't seem to stock them. Try 1N4001, part number QL73Q
- 1 x 10K resistor, part number M10K
- 1 x 0.1uF polyester capacitor, part number BX76H
- Piece of stripboard about 2"x2", maybe a bit bigger to be on the safe side, part number FL17T
- Some ribbon cable for connecting the daughterboard to the camera PCB. At least 7-way, possibly 10-way.
- Connector of your choice for connecting to the PC. Needs to be able to carry the following signals:
- +12V power to camera
- Video output
- 4 data lines from parallel port
Note that I used bits that I had lying around for some of the above. I am assuming that if you are going to tackle this project you have some experience of electronic assembly and are capable of laying out the circuit on whatever piece of stripboard you may have, or designing your own PCB.
I also found it convenient to use a plug/socket to connect the daughterboard to the camera. I used a DIL IC socket cut in half lengthwise which made both a plug and a socket, but not all socket types will be useable. A 10-way IDC ribbon cable connector would do instead, or you can get away with 7-way if you use the 3-way power/video/ground connector on the camera PCB as well.