OpticStar AG-131M Monochrome CoolAir Auto Guider Camera
The Opticstar AG-131M auto-guiding system includes everything you need to auto-guide any telescope with an ST-4 compatible port (this includes the vast majority of telescope mounts). A complete list of compatible mounts is included on this page. The AG-131M system includes the Shoestring GPUSB connectivity kit that interfaces the computer (USB 2.0 port) with the telescope mount (ST-4 port). All necessary cables are included.
The auto-guider system includes the Opticstar PL-131M monochrome video camera that connects to your computer's USB 2.0 port. For auto-guiding, the camera is software controlled by PHD Guiding that is included in the package. The telescope is also controlled by PHD Guiding. It is possible to use alternative auto-guiding software such as Guidemaster that is also included. There is also support for AstroArt and MaxIm DL. Both of these software packages can be used for auto-guiding and/or imaging. Plug-ins are included for both of them. Nebulosity Lite is also bundled with the AG-131M and it supports 2x2 binning, stacking and much more. Nebulosity Lite is well suited for image capture, lapse photography and basic image processing including frame stacking. The maximum exposure time in PHD Guiding, Nebulosity, AstroArt and MaxIm DL is 10 seconds (in native mode). If maximum frame rates are required (22 F.P.S. at 1280x1024) then the camera can be used in Windows DirectShow/WDM mode.
The PL-131M is high-speed, a high-resolution 1.3 mega-pixel monochrome camera that is sensitive and can be used to capture images of the planets, Sun and Moon. The camera is very easy to use and provides a quality, low noise affordable solution for viewing or capturing high quality digital video from the telescope and recording it to your computer at a maximum 1.3 mega-pixel resolution. In order to purchase just the camera without the auto-guider accessories please visit the Opticstar PL-131M camera page.
There is no infra-red (IR) filter in order to substantially increase sensitivity across the spectrum and the camera is thus well suited as a guider. The camera is cased in a robust metal body and can be connected to any telescope with a standard 1.25" drawtube. A PC with a USB2.0 port running Windows XP/Vista/7 is required. The PL-131M is powered by the USB port and therefore no power supply unit is required. The camera will operate at a maximum true resolution of 1280x1024 but lower resolutions of 1024x768, 640x480, 320x240 are also supported.
In order to auto-guide with the AG-131M auto-guider system you will also need:
- A telescope with an ST-4 (guide) port.
- PC or laptop computer running Windows XP/Vista/7.
With the Guidemaster software provided, the computer can control your telescope mount and direct it's motion. Many telescopes come with a six pin port that looks like a phone jack. This is called an RJ-12 connector. Typically, a hand controller is plugged into the ST-4 port. However with the AG-131M you can plug its RJ-12 cable to the hand controller which itself is connected to the mount. Depending on you telescope, you might have to plug the RJ-12 cable directly to the mount. Either way, Guidemaster on your computer will control the telescope based on the image that it receives from the Opticstar PL-131M video camera (part of the AG-131M system). The AG-131M system includes the Shoestring GPUSB interface box and needs a USB connection to your computer. If you do not want to plug it to a USB port, it is possible to replace the GPUSB interface box with a Parallel Port version, please see below.
The PL-131M CoolAir camera requires a fully featured, full speed USB2.0 port to take advantage of all the camera’s advanced features. Fully featured USB2.0 ports are rare in older laptops and not always present in entry level laptops. PCMCIA/CardBus USB2.0 cards typically do not deliver full USB2.0 speeds and will not work with USB2.0 high resolution video cameras including the PL-131M CoolAir. To resolve such issues an ExpressCard (with a USB2.0 port) could be used instead of a PCMCIA/CardBus card due to the ExpressCard's superior speed of 2.5Gbit/s (480 Mbit/s through USB 2.0) per slot. Express type cards use a 34mm slot where PCMCIA/CardBus cards use 54mm slots. An ExpressCard should be connected directly to the computer and not via a PCMCIA/CardBus card. Please note the ExpressCards will resolve USB related issues assuming that the laptop data bus can support full ExpressCard speeds and is fully implemented. Computers with slower USB2.0 ports may still be able to capture at full resolution but may be able to only transfer a user selectable area (ROI 640x480 or 320x240) to the computer while sustaining image resolution and high frame rates. This does not have a real effect when imaging planets where video capture should ideally take place at the smallest ROI size possible, typically 320x240 @ 220fps for focal lengths to around 6 meters for planets like Jupiter or Saturn. Always download and install the latest Windows and Direct X service packs.
The GPUSB guide port interface adapter plugs directly into a USB port on your computer or a USB hub attached to your computer. Using an RJ-12 cable, the adapter connects to the guide port of your telescope mount. This guide port interface uses optocouplers to electrically isolate the computer from the telescope, eliminating a possible source of electrical interference. This interface adapter requires no external power source since it receives its power via the USB cable. More information can be found in the user manual. The use of improperly wired cables with mounts can result in damage to the electronics in the mount, as well as damage to the interface adapter. The importance of using a properly wired cable cannot be stressed enough. It is strongly recommended to use only the cables included in the package. If your computer does not have a spare USB port but it has a parallel port, then you can use the Shoestring GPINT-PT Auto-Guider Kit that plugs directly to your computer's parallel port.
OpticStar AG-131M Monochrome CCD Camera Features...
- For all mounts with a Guide Port (ST-4)
- Max frame rate: 22 @ full res (WDM mode).
- Max exposure time: 10 seconds (native mode).
- Ideal for Planetary imaging
- Air-Cooled with internal fan
- Resolution: 1280 x 1024
- Binning: 1x1, 2x2, 4x4
- USB 2.0 Powered
- Computer controlled
- Complete guiding solution for telescopes
OpticStar Product Number: AG-131M
- Additional Information
SKU ONA-AG-131M Manufacturer OpticStar Series OpticStar PL Color or B&W? Color Warranty 1 Year Warranty Operating System Compatibility Windows Filter Wheel No
- Included Items
- OpticStar AG-131M Monochrome CCD Camera
- Shoestring GPUSB (USB version) auto-guide interface box with RJ-12 cable
- USB 2.0 cable to connect camera to computer
- Printed set-up guide
- Software bundle
- Questions & Answers
Product QuestionsHi, Can you tell me will this camera work with PHD 2 Guiding And if so do the drivers come with it.
Many Thanks, JohnQuestion by: John on Aug 14, 2015 3:15:00 AMCurrently, Stark Labs does not list this camera as compatible with PHD 2. To help you find a compatible camera, you will find the listed usable cameras on the following webpage:
http://www.stark-labs.com/phdguiding.htmlAnswer by: Jonathan Cheek (Admin) on Aug 17, 2015 10:53:00 AM
- Support / Downloads