Multiple DMK's for Solar Viewing

Blogged by John Berryman on July 9, 2007 and tagged with FAQ, Sun.

Recently a customer inquired about connecting more than one DMK cameras to his telescope system and I thought this may be a good FAQ blog. Jeff Barton is obviously a solar outreach fanatic like myself working in the Southwest United States.

Jeff writes:

I have a 21F04 mono and two 21AF04 color cameras, each of which is attached to a different type of solar telescope (PST Ha, PST CaK, 40mm MaxScope Ha), all on the same EQ mount for solar imaging. These are going to be connected to monitors inside a blacked-out cargo trailer to allow small groups of students to watch a short solar video followed by seeing (directly observing) three different views (wavelengths) of the Sun "live".

My question is whether I can use Window XP and multiple monitor cards to provide the displays from a single computer, or whether it would be better to use three separate computers , each with its own monitor?

Jeff, the problem you may run into is a bandwidth jam. Although it is possible to have more than one DMK from The Imaging Source connected to your computer, at high frame rates, it is not possible to "push" that much information through the PCI bus. In other words, you get a data traffic jam.

To alleviate this problem, start both cameras out on very low frame rates and step them up carefully. But be forewarned, Windows does not like this traffic jam, so do not increase both to the 60 FPS setting or else Bill (you know who), the traffic cop will pull you over! It is most definitely better to use an additional PC, if possible for this application.

Check out the very neat programs that Mr. Barton and the Texas Astronomical Society are conducting for the public and junior astronomer through the Three rivers Foundation for the Arts and Sciences! Profjohn and The Imaging Source hope to see some of their work at the next Texas Star Party.