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Celestron NexImage Astrophotography Camera Teardown

Celestron NexImage 10 Astrophotography Camera - Airplanes and Rockets

Celestron now has a NexImage 10 Astrophotography Camera, which is 10 Megapixels, for $309.

Celestron NexImage Camera - Airplanes & Rockets

Celestron released the NexImage camera sometime 2008. I bought it in 2012 for around $100 ($133 in 2023 - a 33% increase due to inflation!). It has the following specifications:

Sensor: 1/4" format, HAD (Hole-Accumulation Diode),

             color CCD chip

Resolution: VGA 640x480 pixels

Sensor Size: 3.6 mm x 2.7 (4.5 mm diagonal)

Pixel Size: 5.6 micron square

Sensitivity: <1 lux

USB Cable: 7ft

Software: AmCap

As with most things, if you read online reviews for the NexImage, most people either love it or hate it. My own experience is that the frustration I had initially was due to inexperience in setting up the software and with getting a good focus on the telescope. Once those two obstacles were overcome, I began getting some really good images of the moon and planets.

Celestron NexImage Camera Teardown - Airplanes & Rockets

Printed Circuit Assembly Front Side

Front Side of Both NexImage Printed Circuit Assemblies - Airplanes & Rockets

Front Side of Both NexImage Printed Circuit Assemblies

Back Side of Both NexImage Printed Circuit Assemblies - Airplanes & Rockets

Back Side of Both NexImage Printed Circuit Assemblies

Celestron now has a 10 Mpixel version of the camera out called the NexImage 10. It costs $309. I have learned a bit more about imaging CCDs and will do a bit of shopping around first. I really do not want to get a DSLR because they are big and heavy. What would be nice is to buy a medium quality telescope camera for doing deep space imaging and another for planetary work. The investment would be around $1,000, which is what an acceptable DSLR would cost. However, the DSLR will not come with software and, especially for the deep space work, will probably not have as good of a low light level capability as a camera designed for astroimaging.

See moon, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, and Mars images that I got using the NexImage and my Celestron NexStar 8SE telescope.

Since the warranty period is over on my NexImage camera, I decided to go ahead and open it up to see what's under the hood. The pictures below show the components on the printed circuit assemblies, and identify most of the major components. There were a couple that I could not find datasheets for, but of those I could find, there are hyperlinks to them.

If you are interested in seeing the guts of a Celestron NexStar 8SE, please read my teardown report on it. It has since been sold.

Celestron NexImage Astrophotography Camera

 - Airplanes and Rockets

NXP SAA8116HL04 Digital PC-Camera SPU Microcontroller and USB Interface

 - Airplanes and Rockets

Philips (NXP) TDA8787A 10-bit, 3.0 V, 18 Msps A/D Interface for CCD Cameras

NXP PCF8594C-2P 512 x 8-bit CMOS EEPROM with I2C Bus Interface - Airplanes & Rockets                                   Global Semiconductor GS34063 DC-To-DC Converter - Airplanes & Rockets

NXP PCF8594C-2P 512 x 8-bit CMOS EEPROM           Global Semiconductor GS34063 DC-To-DC Converter

Sony CXD1267AN CCD Vertical Clock Driver Block Diagram - Airplanes & Rockets

Sony CXD1267AN CCD Vertical Clock Driver



Posted December 29, 2023
(updated from original post on 5/20/2012)

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Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD ...

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