Meade Instruments Corporation
Telescopes · Binoculars · Microscopes

Meade Pictor XT-Series CCD Autoguider/Imagers
 Getting Started
IMPORTANT NOTICE! Never use a telescope or spotting scope to look at the Sun! Observing the Sun, even for the shortest fraction of a second, will cause irreversible damage to your eye as well as physical damage to the telescope or spotting scope itself.

Congratulations on your purchase of a Meade Pictor CCD Autoguider/Imager. Pictor 208XT and 216XT are the finest CCD imagers ever developed in their respective price classes. The Pictor 416XT and 1616XT provide larger chip areas and even more functionality; they are among the worlds finest imagers available to the amateur astronomer or small college astronomy program. Coupled with the enclosed PictorView XT software, the Pictor becomes a powerful device for the imaging of the Moon, planets, or deep-space.

The Pictor 208XT is an 8-bit imaging camera. The 208XT's chip is 324 x 242pixels in size and permits 256 gray-levels—i.e., it permits 256 shades of gray between pure white and pure black. The 208XT is a black-and-white imager only, and cannot be used for color imaging.

More advanced imaging is possible with the Pictor 216XT, for the 216XT permits65,536 gray-levels, and, in addition, allows for connection of the imager to the Meade #616A Color Filter System for tri-color CCD imaging. Both the208XT and 216XT include automatic or manual cooling of the CCD chip down to 25° below the ambient (e.g. outdoor) temperature. Both models can be operated in either a stand-alone autoguider mode (to automatically guide long-exposure astronomical photographs) or as an autoguider or imager in conjunction with a personal computer (PC) and the PictorView software.

The Pictor 416XT and 1616XT are also 16 bit cameras that can provide tri-color images, long exposures, and other advanced features. Their primary imaging advantage is that they have much larger CCD chips and larger well capacities, allowing the user to image larger portions of the sky for longer periods of time. Also, both of these cameras feature SCSI connector ports which provide very rapid image downloads.

This manual is divided into several sections. The first is this introduction, and the unpacking and assembly instructions. The second section is an overview of CCD imaging; background and theory. The third section introduces PictorView, its installation and use, and taking images with the camera. The next section deals with using the Pictor in stand alone autoguiding mode (no PC attached). Finally there are several appendices which include useful information such as imaging tips, a sample imaging checklist and log sheet, troubleshooting, technical specifications for the entire Pictor family, technical support, and other useful information.

Advantages of the Pictor * Charge Coupled Device (CCD) chip:

The CCD chip is what enables the Pictor to detect light and, subsequently, the movement of stars. The chip is highly sensitive, enabling the Pictor to image and track very faint stars.

* Customizable options:

The Pictor enables you to customize the way it autoguides a telescope. You can set the exposure time, delay periods, and telescope calibration.

* Advanced imaging functions:

The Pictor family provides advanced imaging functions including shift and combine, anti-blooming, binning, and image processing using the enclosed PictorView XT software. For even more advanced image processing, a specialized package such as Meade's Epoch 2000ip may be used.

* Single button simplicity: (208/216XT)

A single button is all you need to operate and customize the Pictor for autoguiding.

* Full compatibility with telescopes:

Completely compatible with Meade LX50 and LX200 telescopes.

Using the optional 520 Electronic Relay, the Pictor may be used with other Meade telescopes, as well as telescopes from other manufacturers.

* Preset exposure setups:

The PictorView XT software comes with 8 preset exposures to get you started quickly. Presets are provided for deep-sky objects, the Moon and planetary nebulae.

* Custom exposure setups:

The PictorView XT software allows you to edit the preset options or create your own, for a total of 15 different setups.

Unpacking and Setup

Before you can start exploring all the features of your new Pictor, you must unpack the camera and set it up properly. IT IS CRITICAL TO FOLLOWTHESE INSTRUCTIONS. FAILURE TO DO SO MAY DAMAGE THE CAMERA.

Warning: For safety reasons, only a laptop PC should be used in the field, since this type of PC can also be powered from the 12v.DC auto cigarette lighter plug. (AC-powered PC's are not designed, and are not safe to use outdoors.)

208/216XT Assembly Instructions:

1. Make sure all required parts are present. (See enclosed packing list.)

2. Screw the imaging barrel into the front of the Pictor.

3. Take the end of the power cord that has locking mini-DIN 8 on it and plug it in to the back of the Pictor. THIS MUST BE DONE BEFOREPLUGGING THE POWER SUPPLY INTO A POWER SOURCE.

4. Connect one end of the black coiled autoguiding cable to the socket on the Pictor marked "CCD," and the other end to the CCD socket on the LX200 (for use with other telescopes, see Appendix E). If you will not be doing autoguiding, you may skip this step.

Meade Pictor Connections

5. Connect the flat black serial cable to the socket on the back of the Pictor marked RS-232. Connect the other end of this cable to the serial plug. The cable should look like the photo when you are done.

6. Connect the serial plug to the comm port (or serial port) on your PC. If you are not sure which port is the comm port, check the user's manual for your PC.

7. Plug the power cable into a power source. The Pictor enables you to get power from an automobile cigarette lighter plug (if you're going to use the Pictor in a remote location), or from an AC power source (such as a wall plug) using a Meade AC adapter.

To use a cigarette lighter plug for power, use the cord connected to the power supply.

Connect the mini-DIN 8 to the power connector on the Pictor.

Plug the male cigarette lighter plug of the power supply into your cigarette lighter. Power will come on automatically; you do not need to turn on a power switch.

Note: If an AC adapter will be used with the Pictor, be sure to plug the adapter into an indoor AC power source, such as a wall plug or power strip. Do not plug the adapter into an outdoor AC receptacle. If you cannot use an indoor AC source, it is recommended that a DC source be used to power the Pictor 208XT/216XT.

8. The Pictor display should read "P1," then change to "FF," and the button will begin blinking.

9. If this does not happen, unplug the power supply from the power source, check the cable connections, and try again. Remember, NEVER unplug the power to the back of the Pictor unless it is unplugged from the power source first.

10. If the problem persists, contact technical support.

11. Install the PictorView software as described in Section 2.

12. You are ready to begin imaging. To connect the Pictor for autoguiding, see the Autoguider Section 14.

416/1616 XT Assembly Instructions:

1. Set up your telescope.

2. Locate the CCD cable.

3. Connect the straight end of the CCD cable to the CCD connector on the control box.

4. Connect the right angle end of the CCD connector to the back of the Pictor camera unit.

If you are using a Meade LX200 or other Meade CDS telescope such as the Meade APO refractor, complete steps 5-8, otherwise go to step 9.

5. Locate the black phone type cable.

6. Connect one end of this cable to the RS-232 socket on the LX200.

7. Connect the other end to the LX200 connector on the control box.

8. Continue to step 12.

If you are using a telescope other than a Meade LX200, you will need the pinout of the telescope's connector to determine the correct way to connect the Pictor to your telescope. Appendix B shows the pinout for the Pictor cameras.

9. Locate the gray phone cable.

10. Connect one end of this cable to the Guiderport on the Pictor control box.

11. Connect the other end of the cable to the connector of the 520 relay system that connects to your hand controller (Note that the 520 relay system is an optional Meade accessory; see your dealer or the Meade catalog for ordering information).

12. Connecting to your PC. The Pictor 416/1616XT cameras support two methods of connecting to a PC: serial and SCSI.

SCSI connection:

If your PC is equipped with a SCSI port, you should use this method, as it is many times faster than a serial connection. You may need to purchase a special SCSI cable to connect your PC to the Pictor. Check your computer's manual to determine if you have a SCSI port, then look at the SCSI connector on your PC and on the Pictor (Figure 1.14) to determine kind of SCSI cable you need. If your computer does not have a SCSI connector, SCSI cards are available at most computer stores for reasonable prices. The Pictor should work with most major SCSI cards including the Adaptec 1540/1542, 2940, and SlimSCSI series. The SCSI card you purchase must be ASPI compliant; check with your computer dealer if you have any questions on a specific SCSI card.

Important Note: When installing the SCSI card software under Windows95, be sure to install the 16 bit (Windows 3.1 or 3.11) drivers as well as the Windows 95 drivers.

Serial Connections:

To connect using the serial link, locate the RJ12-DB9 connector. Connect this adapter to your computer's serial port (you may need an adapter for this; see your computer's users manual for more information).

Next, locate a black phone type cable and connect one end of it to the RJ12-DB9 connector. Connect the other end to the RS-232 connector on the Pictor control box.

13. You are ready to power on the Pictor. The Pictor may be powered by a 12-volt DC source such as an automobile cigarette lighter, or through a standard AC electrical outlet.

12-volt DC power:

To use a cigarette lighter for power, locate the control box power cable. Connect the small end of the cable to the 12vDCconnector on the control box. Plug the remaining end of the power cable into your cigarette lighter. The camera will power on automatically.

AC Transformer power:

Locate the power transformer. Connect the transformer to the 12vDC connector on the Pictor control box. Locate the wall adapter cable. Connect the adapter to the power transformer. Plug the cable into a wall outlet, power strip, etc. Power will come on automatically.

14. Assembly is now complete.

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