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A new enclosure for my Watec 802H board camera


When I obtained a Watec 802H a while ago to start asteroid occultation work. I made a primitive case out of a spare plastic tape cartridge box. This box has worked well enough but it doesn't protect the camera very well, nor does it provide a lot of thermal drain to keep the camera cool. So the other night I grabbed a spare project box and started drilling. Here are a few pictures to perhaps inspire someone else to do the same.


I used a Jiffy Box part number J-870 box which can be pulled apart and put together without tools. This box is made by LMB Heeger, their website wasn't accessible when I tried. There should be no need to open the camera in the field because it's already optimally configured for low light astronomy tasks but it's nice to know it's possible to change the settings as needed. To aid in cooling I mounted a spare heatsink and fan from a graphics card to the back of the camera. Unfortunately the heatsink was specifically designed for cooling a chip so it had a small protrusion in the center. Still, with some thermal conductivity paste I'm confident there is at least some heat transfer from the camera to the heatsink. At the very least it looks cool :)


On this picture the sensor housing, video out and 12V in connectors are visible. On the back is the fan. You can just seen a bit of white thermal paste between the 1.25" camera ring and the housing. This further helps in the cooling of the sensor.

housing with fan

The 12V power for the fan is fed through a small hole in the side of the camera. I used a nibbler to make the small notch. A nibbler is a great tool for little tasks like this. I intend to add a switch and blacken the inside of the sensor housing. It was suggested to me that there may be a need to have easier access to some of the DIP switches. This makes sense when you frequently change the target type. For now I'm focused on dim stars but if it turns out that I have to keep disassembling the case to get to the switches I may add some external switches.

inside view

The view inside the camera.


The CCD visible through the port. As you can see the hole I cut in the case isn't too neat. I had tried to drill a hole but it ended up too far of center. I have a drill press but because of the folded aluminum I had to hold it in my hand with a small block of wood. So I used the nibbler to make the hole big enough. No one can see this in the dark anyway :) The slight white smudges are thermal paste. Cleans of nicely with alcohol.

with focal reducer

The 1.25" outer mounting ring is great but a little short so it doesn't quite fit in my 2" diagonal's 1.25" adapter. So I took a crummy barlow I had and took out the lens. Instant extender. Here I've added a GSO 0.5x Focal Reducer from Agena Astro. Inside the diagonal is an Antares 0.5x FR, also from Agena. I don't know yet if these can work together.


Based on advise from the IOTA yahoo group I decided to add external switches to control certain parameters of the camera. That also gave me an opportunity to add a switch for the fan and to take a picture of the mount without the camera:


Here are the thin (30 AWG) wires painstakingly soldered to the DIP switch:


Finally the assembled camera. Needless to say I need to add some labeling. I had to move the video out connector to make room for the switches. The hole allows for hot air to escape so I decided to leave it.


Next up is adding flocking on the inside to reduce reflections and adding a peltier cooler to really crank this camera down to below 5C in hopes of reducing hot pixels and increasing sensitivity. I may also add some dedicated heatsinks to some of the hotter chips.


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