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SBIG ST Parallel Port Cameras

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astroshot's picture
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SBIG ST Parallel Port Cameras

Hi,

I have a SBIG ST-1001E camera, which is quite a few years old now but still in good working order.

It has a parallel port and requires a 32-bit processor PC, 32-bit OS and a built-in parallel port to operate.

PC hardware and software have moved on quite a bit in recent years and the 32-bit PC in the observatory has died, so I've replaced it with a cheap modern 64-bit PC.

WRT to getting the camera to function, I understand the following:

1) Standard Serial to Parallel port adapters do not work 

2) A SBIG E2P Ethernet to Parallel Port adapter does work but they seem to be rarer than hen's teeth

Anyone here encountered the same issue and found a work-around?

Regards & Thanks,

Michael.

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Just a thought
astroshot's picture
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Hi Grant,

Hi Grant,

They won't work either unfortunately.

Thanks anyway,

MIchael.

Grant Privett's picture
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Worst Case Scenario

I'm with Callum on this, buy a cheap 32 bit used laptop for £60 and use that to run the camera only? 

Have you established why the adaptors do not work?

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bit twiddling

Hi Grant,

I think the SBIG driver does bit twiddling with the parallel port directly that the converters don't support. 

Callum

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Try Jim Garlick

There is a guy in the US that made a parallel port for a raspberry pi and updated the Sbig drivers for INDI to use it, and possibly other Linux LPT drivers.

I don't think he has any solutions for Windoze world though.

Checkout https://github.com/garlick?tab=repositories

Only other solution really is to find an old Win 7 PC.

Cheers,
Callum

Robin Leadbeater's picture
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PCI board ?

How about a proper PCI board parallel port if you can fit one? They seem to still be available for 64 bit and up to win 10 eg

 https://www.startech.com/uk/Cards-Adapters/Parallel/1-Port-EPP-ECP-PCI-Express-Parallel-Card-~PEX1P

Robin

astroshot's picture
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Thanks.

Thanks for the replies folks.

@Robin: that solution won't work I'm afraid as the camera only has 32-bit drivers and needs to be on a 32-bit PC (i.e. installing a 32-bit OS on the 64-bit chip won't suffice)

To give a bit more detail perhaps:

I use my observatory PC with TheSkyX to control both by Paramount ME and camera.

During the summer months: Paramount ME + TEC140 + DMK Camera (Solar & Lunar Imaging) or SBIG ST8XME usb (Deep Sky Imaging)

Winter months: Change the OTA over to a C14 + Watec910HX/RC (Occultation imaging) or SBIG ST1001E (deep sky).

When not imaging, I also use the same PC for a meteor camera and meteor radio detection with a FunCube Dongle, Spectrum Lab and homemade yagi.

So, the PC needs to reasonably decent with the latest version of TheSkyX as far as I am concerned and so I don't want to be rolling back to an older slower version.

@Callum - I like your suggestion, thanks. I will explore it. I wonder if there is a way of using the pi (or other means) of becoming a relay for the camera to talk to the PC? i.e. replacing what the SBIG Ethernet2Parallel unit previously did. I really would like to be able to use the camera in TheSkyX for plate solving etc.

Many Thanks,

Michael.

Xilman's picture
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Rreplacement hardware.

I could well have an old PC with installed // port in my collection of antiques. If so, and it meets other hardware requirements, you can have it for the price of shipping --- free if you are willing and able to collect.

Contact me by email if you're interested.

(Added in edit: A very quick rummage in the loft unearthed a Pentium-II system. Unfortunately it doesn't have a PSU but I may be able to find one. Alternatively, perhaps just the motherboard may be sufficient and you could use the rest of your old kit to complete the system.

BTW, how did your old system die? It may well be reparable with components from my parts collection.)

astroshot's picture
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Thanks

Hi Xilman,

Thanks for the offer.

I had some good communication with Jim Garlick re his pi systems, but they don't quite do what I wanted.

I'm going to investigate another possible solution before I go any further.

Thanks,

Michael.