Building a Astrophotography CCD out of the lowly webcam

The one thing I really wanted to get away form was the fighting over who got to look into the eyepiece. I figured to solve this by getting a CCD system. I realize that this would cost more then the telescope and started hunting around. After finding several references to webcams I found the QCUIAG website . Who would have thought that a lowly webcam could house the 'Mother of all CCD's'. I found that my local computer parts store had a brand new Logitech QuickCam VC (parallel port) for $40. That level of financial commitment seemed right in line with my needs. I decided to stick with the black golf ball look for phase one rather then go the fan cooled route. I'm sure that will come later when I get bored.

First I released the tabs inside the shell by carefully pushing in the little hole in the crease. It will release, but just barely. You will have to carefully pry it apart and place something into the gap to keep it open. Having done this, do the two other tabs on the opposite side.

Now the shell pops open to reveal the board and lens system. Simply unscrew the lens out of the holder. This is done by removing the two little screws near the center of the board.

Now carefully unscrew the two small screws from the back of the board to remove the lens holder. Glued into the back of the lens holder is a small IR filter with cork. Remove this filter.

Now replace the lens holder back onto the board. This will help protect the CCD as well as give you a base to add one of the specially made eyepiece holders that are made for this conversion.

I tried using the film canister conversion, but found that the canister is just too flimsy for the job. I went to the local hardware store and found a 3/4 to 1/2 PVC plumbing adapter that is just a bit too big. After a little grinding on the PVC, it was just right. I applied a little flat black paint and presto, a solid and secure mount for the camera. Be sure to remove the paint where you will be glueing the camera to the holder. Use super glue (Cyanoacrylate) to attach the eyepiece holder to the camera body.


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