Flat box controller (FBC), regulates a flatfieldbox to emit light only when shutter is alredy open
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Lacerta Flat Box Controller - flat fires only when shutter is open
The Lacerta FBC triggers you flatfield device only after your shutter has opened, and ends exposure before the shutter has closed.
This avoids artefacts in your flats that result from slow or not precise shutters and/or slow mirrors, and allows for ultrashort flashes from your flarfield device.
what is the problem here, why does it make sense?
Flats are essential to calibrate your raw pics to correct vignetting, dust donuts and sensitivity differences. Only the best possible flats enable you to separate artefacts from real weak signal differences. Galactic cirrus (IFN nebula) or weak tidal streams or faint galactic halos will show up more clear. There are a lot of good flatfield devices today, but one source of errors remains widely unaddressed: The shutter. Flats are exposed much shorter than lights, and the mechanical slit shutter of a DSLR and mirror are precise enough for daytime photography but not for astrophotography. Small differences in parallelity result in non-uniform illumination, see the following example. With a 135mm lens at f/2 and Eos6d, one flat is taken the common way with a fast shutter time, and the other one using the FBC with longer shutter time but short flashing time of the flatfield box. Check out the difference:
For CCD cameras especially with mechanical shutter, the problem is even bigger. Flats must be exposed very long to avoid uneven illumination from the slow moving shutter. And then the flatfield device is much too bright and needs to be dimmed, sometimes a pack of paper is used to get brightness down to a useable level. With FBC, the shutter is opened in dark, and the ultra-short flash of the dimmed flatfield box does the job effectively.
So the solution is to fire the flatfield device when the shutter is open already!
This synchronisation is done by the smart FBC. There are 3 different modes it can be used. In Standalone mode you need to connect your remote control (or MGEN superguider), and set delay, fire time and brightness on the FBC box. In USB mode there is the little FBC App, that serves as a remote control and allows to program a complete flatfield sequence.
CCDs can be managed via Astrophotography Tool APT
CCD cameras can be controlled via the smart and affordable Astrophotography Tool - www.astrophotography.app.
Lacerta FBC is integrated into APT, and even compatible with the CCD
flatfield aid that determines the time settings for the desired
illumination value automatically. That eliminated the shading effects
of mechanical shutters effectively, and the ability to use ultra short
flashes of your flatfield device makes dimming using a pack of paper
history. See a picture of the APT surface with Lacerta FBC at bottom.
whats in the package:
To communicate with a Windows PC, the FTDI driver must be installed (same like MGEN or MFOC). get it here:
FTDI Treiber Installer (zip file)