Webcam Update

I was given a Samsung SDN-520PH CCTV camera sometime ago – thanks Mark! . It was brand new and still in its box, it is just like the one below except that mine came with no lens.

I thought it might come in handy at some point for a little astronomical experimentation. That hasn’t happened yet though as I don’t have any facility to track with either of my telescopes.

Another small problem was the output from the camera; instead of being the standard webcam USB connection, being CCTV, this device has a BNC connected composite video output.

I used a BNC/RCA (phono) adaptor at first to prove the camera was OK with the composite input to an old TV tuner card and that all worked fine. Next was to find a solution that would work on a laptop; that meant converting to USB somehow.

After a fair bit of net searching I came across a device called EasyCap, which despite very mixed reviews on Amazon was very cheap and as some reported it as being easy to use I ordered one on Friday. It arrived on Saturday!

This morning I tried it and it works just about perfectly with both PC (Windows 7)  and Mac (Snow Leopard). Once the drivers were installed I found software could see it and my free webcam software allowed me to stream the output with no problems – you can see the output here (assuming I’ve got it switched on!).

With a small adapter, converting the C-type lens thread to a more usual 1.25″ barrel, I can now slot the camera straight into the eyepiece holder of a telescope and use that as the camera lens. I am using a small telescope for the job at the moment, a Meade 4500 reflector (dia: 114mm, len: 910mm at f8). Focusing works a treat and I can’t wait to get star-gazing with it all.