Cooling ZWO 120MM-S

I bought a ZWO 120MM-S camera a couple of months ago. I had a lot of fun using it for my planetary targets. It was another milestone for me as it’s a totally different way of capturing and processing planetary image. My Jupiter capture was pretty good as it doesn’t need any guiding. Most are just lossless video then process and stack. Working with filters was also fun until the time I moved to long exposure photographs. First I can’t find a good software that supports the camera for long exposure. The max that my current software support is 15 seconds which is nothing at all for capture very faint deep sky objects. It was a frustrating experience for me and waiting for that software to fully support it until last month (sept 2015). It took almost a month for me to get used to this kind of process, the workflow is different. Another complications was using filters specially that I’m living in a very light polluted area.

With all the new skills and new equipment and new software, I can’t still get a very good photo, most of the images I took are all very noisy. Then I realized that it was the camera and the weather affecting it. So I decided to do something un-intrusive to the camera by getting an old peltier I bought before and an old CPU cooling fan and heatsink. I’m pretty surprised with the result of the new images that I took after the cooling has been installed but of course during this course I have faced a lot of new problem like making sure the dew doesn’t reach the sensor or the sensor window as I have noticed during my first tests as I was able to go down to -1C. Solution that I did was to add a couple of desiccant on a specially made T extension tube attached to the camera. It did well again. Below are some of the images of the ZWO 120MM-S camera with the BLACKs from 31C to 3C.

ZWO 120MM-S
ZWO 120MM-S

In action

ZWO 120MM-S
ZWO 120MM-S

You can see the dew from the camera as an effect of the peltier cooling.

Noise Before, camera at 31c

DARK_120s_50gain_31c
DARK_120s_50gain_31c

Noise After, camera at 3c

DARK_120s_50gain_3c
DARK_120s_50gain_3c

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