How to Use a Meade DSI Camera

Written by gerry arlen good
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How to Use a Meade DSI Camera
The Meade DSI camera is capable of taking time-lapse photographs of deep sky objects such as this star cluster. (m45 cluster - pleades image by FotoWorx from

The Meade Deep Sky Imager (DSI) camera is a high-performance Charge Couple Device (CCD) that allows amateur astronomers to photograph and process deep sky photographs of nebulae, star clusters, galaxies and planets. The Meade DSI connects with a PC via a USB 2.0 high speed connection, fits on any telescope and requires no batteries. Exposure time can be set from 1/10,000 second to one hour, allowing time-lapse photography.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Computer
  • Telescope

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  1. 1

    Turn on your computer and place the included Autostar CD into your computer's CD drive. Select "Install Autostar" when the Autostar main menu is displayed on the screen, then choose a directory (e.g. Autostar) when prompted and then select "Next." Choose to "Install" the Guide Star Catalog when the "Select Components" window displays and select "Next" when the "Start Installation" window displays. Select "Yes" when the "Microsoft Text to Speech Engine" window displays and then "Yes" when the "Microsoft.Net Framework installation" window displays.

  2. 2

    Select "OK" when the Microsoft.Net Framework has finished installing. Select "Next" when the "InstallShield Wizard for the Meade LPI" displays, then select "Complete" followed by "Install" to begin installation. Select "OK" when the "DSI Driver Installed" notice is displayed, then select "Finish" when the window display tells you that the Autostar Suite is installed.

  3. 3

    Connect one end of the USB to the DSI camera and connect the other end of the USB cable to your PC or USB hub. The notice "Found camera" will display at the bottom right-hand side of your computer screen after several seconds. Depending on the Operating System you have on your computer, one of several displays will appear.

    If you are using Windows XP or 2000, the "Install Software" option is checked as the default choice, and you only need to select "Next." If you are using Windows XP, the "Windows Logo Test" screen will appear and you must select "Continue anyway."

    If you are using Windows ME or 98se, select each item in the following sequence: select "Search for the best driver for your device", select "Next, " select "Specify a location," select "Browse" and then navigate to the driver directory "C:\Program Files\Meade\AutostarSuite\DSI\Driver\98-ME," then select "OK" followed by "Next."

  4. 4

    Select "Finish" when the "Driver installed" window appears. Then connect the camera to the telescope. Several configurations exist for physically attaching the DSI camera, depending on the make and model of the telescope. Instructions for attaching the DSI to a Meade ETX, to a Meade LX90/LX200 and to any other telescope follow in the next three steps.

  5. 5

    Connect the DSI to an ETX telescope so that the USB cable points to the left of the telescope's optical tube when inserted into a diagonal reflector or so that the USB cable points straight down when inserted in a "straight-through" configuration. Lock the camera in place using the eyepiece locking screw.

  6. 6

    Connect the DSI to an LX90/LX200 telescope so that the USB cable points to the right of the telescope optical tube when the camera is inserted into the eyepiece holder. Lock the camera in place using the eyepiece locking screw.

  7. 7

    Connect the DSI to any other telescope by rotating the camera until the image is upright on the computer screen. Lock the camera in place using the eyepiece locking screw.

  8. 8

    Open the DSI program within the computer menu. Select "Auto Exp" on the upper right-hand side of the DSI screen. Click on the combo box controls in the "Image Process" field, located along the top-centre of the screen. Type the name of the object to be imaged in the "Object Name" box. Click the "Save Process" button located in the upper right-hand side of the screen and select "JPEG" and then "Normal Operations."

  9. 9

    Click the "Live" tab, located in the upper left-hand side of the screen and an image will be displayed on the computer screen. Use the focuser on your telescope to focus the object being imaged. Start photography by clicking the "Start" button located in the upper right-hand side of the screen. The DSI will start taking photographs and will continue until you click the "Stop" button.

Tips and warnings

  • The Meade Deep Sky Pro CCD imager is backward-compatible with USB 1.1.
  • Photographs can be processed within the DSI software.
  • The recommended minimum system is a PC running Windows 98SE with 96 MB and 100 MB free space.
  • The Meade DSI camera is not compatible with 64-bit Windows XP/Vista Operating Systems.

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