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INDI Library v1.9.8 Released (29 Sep 2022)

Bi-monthly INDI Library released with new drivers and bug fixes.

Zwo vs QHY

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Zwo vs QHY was created by Gonzothegreat

What the general consensus out there in the Indilib community about the Zwo cameras and the QHY ones?
I'm undecided between the two, moving away from an old CCD camera and entering the CMOS world... I heard bad and good stories about Zwo and QHY.

Anyone would like to share their experience, driver / reliability / customer support etc.. ?
Kstars Mac osx
Odroid C4 / WO Redcat51 / CEM25p / ZWO533MC / QHY5L-II-M (OAG)
1 year 6 months ago #71447

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Replied by Andrew Burwell on topic Zwo vs QHY

I have only ever used ZWO. I've owned about 6-10 of their cameras from inexpensive guide cameras up to the ASI6200. They're regularly updating drivers. They generally put out fixes very quickly. From what I've heard QHY has solid hardware, but issues writing software/drivers. I do have a pole master and the Mac software stinks. I tend to run it on a cheap PC laptop I have instead. ZWO is well supported on all systems, but I've seen a fair share of people getting hardware that's DOA, though in all cases, I've seen them get replacements. I personally have never had a bad camera from them. I'd be interested in hearing from QHY owners, as I like their cameras.
-Andrew
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Mac Observatory - All about using the Mac for Astrophotography: www.macobservatory.com
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1 year 6 months ago #71454

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Replied by Wouter van Reeven on topic Zwo vs QHY

I, too, have mainly used ZWO but also one old QHY camera. I agree with what Andrew says: ZWO cameras work flawlessly on Linux, QHY not always. On Windows QHY seems to provide much better drivers than on Linux. But I am very much biased towards ZWO and I, too, encourage you to wait for QHY users to chime in.
Wouter van Reeven

ASI6200MM and 7 slot 2" filter wheel with a SkyWatcher Esprit 80 ED on a SkyWatcher HEQ5-Pro
ASI1600MM-Pro Cooled and 5 slot 1.25" filter wheel with an 8" TS Ritchey-Chrétien on a SkyWatcher EQ6-R
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1 year 6 months ago #71455

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Replied by Thomas Stibor on topic Zwo vs QHY

I cannot comment on QHY, but only on ASI ZWO 130mm.
This camera just makes troubles on Linux, and no ASI SDK or firmware update so far solves it.
So in other words, one has to buy a new (guiding) camera or hope that it will somehow run
with the 8-Bit hack. I finally gave up, and bought a Starlight Xpress and do not regret that at all (although
more expensive than ASI ZWO).

Please also check some older GIT commits such as:

commit 47227c00a6accb102561cd68c7211d668905f035
Author: Jasem Mutlaq <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: Thu Apr 15 17:53:28 2021 +0300

Revert ASICAM camera SDK to 1.16 due to bugs and crashes

or

commit 247f92c9795dc7634670e447027804f76f655dd8
Author: Jarno Paananen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: Tue May 18 12:14:25 2021 +0300

Updates to ZWO SDKs (#403)

ASI Camera SDK 1.18
EAF SDK 1.4
EFW SDK 1.7

Unfortunately changelogs are just "Fix some bugs"

From my experience I would rather buy a slightly more expensive but very well supported camera,
such as Moravian Instruments or Starlight Xpress, rather than a ZWO, due to bugs in SDK.
I also have good experience with ATIK, no problems in several years and updates.

But please keep in mind, this is my biased opinion.
1 year 6 months ago #71460

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Replied by David James on topic Zwo vs QHY

It's not Indi or software-related, but as an owner of a QHY device (the QHY294C, from before the release of the -PRO variants - read on) and a QHY OAG I would point out that QHY has some very weird ways of attaching things together along with some embedded assumptions as to how that will happen. My OAG, the OAG-S, is oddly designed in that it defaults to a gender reversal on the threads: it has the M42f threads you'd expect on the upstream side, but then also has M42f threads on the downstream side. The default flange ring of the QHY294C was also M42f, so you have to buy a separate M42m flange ring. But that's not enough, as you now need spacers - which are attached by bolts - so the OAG doesn't strike the camera housing. They had two different pages on what adaptors you needed, and one of them was wrong. Anyway, when you assemble it all together and thread it on, the OAG just ends up at whatever random orientation it happens to end up at, including in my case at an orientation in which the pickup prism obscures a corner of the sensor. There's no built-in radial adjustment ability like on every other OAG.

The reason this happens is that they seem to have designed the system with the assumption that their filter wheel will be inserted between the OAG and the camera, and it's within the filter wheel that the radial adjustment exists. But as an OSC, there's little reason for the 294C to be employed with a filter wheel.

Which brings me to support. I've raised this issue on their forums and with their Twitter account to no avail. Someone else asked about inserting a filter between an OAG and a 294C. No response there either. Another was attempting to use a puck-style guide camera. The design of their OAGs do not allow that, but that's never explicitly stated anywhere in the documentation and again no response. They don't seem to respond to "peripheral" issues.

And it goes on: when the mono and colour -PRO versions of the 294 came out, my old 294C was discontinued. But on their website they didn't just add a new page for the new versions; no, they actually rewrote the old 294C page so you now can't get the specs and info for the old camera... the same now seems to apply to the 174 that was reissued. Not that the specs were always precise: I variously found my camera listed as having a 17.5 mm or 18 mm back focus. Well that kind of matters if you've got a flattener or coma corrector in optical path ahead.

From most accounts the cameras themselves seem to generally work all right, but there's definitely an aura of disorganization to the point of contradictory information hanging over their documentation along with some ill-thought out accessories and attachment methods. There's even a line somewhere on the website that you may need to get some "factory to custom build a connector". Umm, ya.

So if you're planning a setup that is anything more complicated than attaching the camera directly into the drawtube, be ready for some confusion and hair-pulling.
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1 year 6 months ago #71624

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Replied by Mohamed on topic Zwo vs QHY

I met a friend at a star party last month, and he was using QHY294 color pro, and we compared my ASI183MM pro & ASI533MC pro vs the QHY294 color. The conclusion was:
1- Both companies use the same sensors from Panasonic and Sony
2- ASI has a little advantage of having auxiliary USB ports in the back of the camera which act as a free USB HUB and thus reduces the burden or cables a little

Other than that, both have the same features, and ASI for me works very well with INDI/KSTARS as well as QHY to my friend with KSTARS...
 I use the QHY Polemaster, and I was surprised by the quality of this small camera...

In general, IMO they are neck to neck in the race...
Clear Skies!
Mohamed

Permanent
C9.25 f/10, HEQ5, MyFocuserPro2, OAG, ASI174MC guide, ASI533MC Pro

Portable
WO Z61, iOptron SmartEQ Pro+, MyFocuserPro2, OAG, ASI120MM guide, ASI183MM Pro, EFW
The following user(s) said Thank You: Gonzothegreat
1 year 6 months ago #71625

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Replied by Andrew on topic Zwo vs QHY

Yes the ASI120MM has issues with Linux. It is a hardware issue with the USB controller. ZWO is aware of the issue, but no firmware fix is possible.
It may be possible to compile a custom Linux kernel with a single edit to the USB Core module to handle the non-standard packet sizes normally.
That being said, I have one, and it works well enough with a Raspberry Pi4 for me with just the compatibility firmware.
INDI/KStars on Raspberry Pi 4, 4gb
Raspbian Buster with AstroPi3 script configuration
Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro Mount
Canon 600D Camera
Orion SSAG/ASI120mm @280mm Guide Scope
PHD2
Waveshare Stepper Motor Board - DIY Focuser
Adafruit GPS Module
Generic Bluetooth Joystick.
Startech 7 port powered USB Hub.
1 year 6 months ago #71629

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Replied by Wouter van Reeven on topic Zwo vs QHY


True. however, it should be pointed out that the ASI120MM/MC are no longer sold by ZWO. Nor is the ASI130MM which is a very old camera. AFAIK it is a firmware issue and not a hardware issue. There is a so called compatible firmware that can be loaded into the ASI120MM/MC but then imaging is limited to 8 bit only if you manage to get it to work at all. I never did for example though success stories can be found on this forum. In short: these old cameras should be avoided because of the USB issues.

The ASI120MM/MC-S (USB3) work flawlessly (apart from the occasional driver issues which usually get solved very quickly).
Wouter van Reeven

ASI6200MM and 7 slot 2" filter wheel with a SkyWatcher Esprit 80 ED on a SkyWatcher HEQ5-Pro
ASI1600MM-Pro Cooled and 5 slot 1.25" filter wheel with an 8" TS Ritchey-Chrétien on a SkyWatcher EQ6-R
1 year 6 months ago #71642

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Replied by Thomas Stibor on topic Zwo vs QHY

Yes it is a firmware issue and not hardware issue. The so compatibility firmware just makes sure that the max packetsize follow the USB 2 specification and is 512 rather than 1024 bytes.
However, the issues are still remain. Switching to 8 Bit helps but there are also randomly issues (and it is for sure not the cable).
In 16 Bit mode it is like tossing a biased coin, towards not working.


./zwo_FWTool_USB2 -i ../../../firmware/USB2.0/ASI130MM.iic -t li2c
[36233.666737] usb 1-1.2: new high-speed USB device number 8 using ehci-pci
[36233.919714] usb 1-1.2: config 1 interface 0 altsetting 0 bulk endpoint 0x82 has invalid maxpacket 1024
[36233.921050] usb 1-1.2: New USB device found, idVendor=03c3, idProduct=130a, bcdDevice= 0.00
[36233.921054] usb 1-1.2: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
[36233.921056] usb 1-1.2: Product: ASI130MM
[36233.921058] usb 1-1.2: Manufacturer: ZWOptical company
[36233.921060] usb 1-1.2: SerialNumber: 00000

./zwo_FWTool_USB2 -i ../../../firmware/USB2.0/ASI130MM-compatible.iic -t li2c
[36214.974532] usb 1-1.2: new high-speed USB device number 6 using ehci-pci
[36215.188389] usb 1-1.2: New USB device found, idVendor=03c3, idProduct=130a, bcdDevice= 0.00
[36215.188393] usb 1-1.2: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
[36215.188395] usb 1-1.2: Product: ASI130MM
[36215.188397] usb 1-1.2: Manufacturer: ZWOptical company
[36215.188398] usb 1-1.2: SerialNumber: 00000

The binary diff between the two firmwares is:

$ cmp -l ASI130MM-compatible.iic ASI130MM.iic | awk '{printf "%08X %02X %02X\n", $1, strtonum(0$2), strtonum(0$3)}'
000001FA 02 04
000002A6 02 04
0000031A 02 04
0000038C 02 04
00000958 02 04
00000B48 02 04

One can for fun, change the "02" to "01", then the USB kernel layer complains:
config 1 interface 0 altsetting 0 bulk endpoint 0x82 has invalid maxpacket 256

Anyhow, it is still a shame, that ZWO is not able to fix the firmware. At least they could release the code and somebody would for
sure fix it for them. Just search on github.com for ASI120mm, you will find some projects reverse engineered the SDK library.

I am wondering how many INDI users had to sell (stop using) there 120/130mm cameras.
I bought a used Starlight Xpress guider and did not regret it. 130mm was my only and last ZWO product.
1 year 6 months ago #71643

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Replied by Gonzothegreat on topic Zwo vs QHY

Interesting replies there, thanks all for sharing your experiences with Zwo - QHY products, I see that like on CloudyNight it's a toss up between the two brands. 
Some have great experience with one and bad ones with the other, and vice versa. The thing is as usual on the Internet we're always quick to complain about something broken but slow to praise something good.
 
Kstars Mac osx
Odroid C4 / WO Redcat51 / CEM25p / ZWO533MC / QHY5L-II-M (OAG)
1 year 6 months ago #71654

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Replied by Ron DeBry on topic Zwo vs QHY

I have been very happy with the 2nd-hand QHY183C I use with my Z61. I have encountered zero INDI/Ekos issues. The image scale would be a nice match to the Redcat, but you might be looking for a larger sensor even if it means larger pixels.
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1 year 6 months ago #71658

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Replied by Andrew on topic Zwo vs QHY

The compatibility firmware helps but it is not a true solution to the fundamental issue. Which is that the USB controller hardware sends non-standard packet sizes.
Those packets work ok on Windows because they are not handled as a security vulnerability the way the Linux kernel does.
Link rot is an issue, but I managed to dig up the old discussions I found on the issue.
bbs.astronomy-imaging-camera.com/d/6901
bbs.astronomy-imaging-camera.com/d/7132
I never managed to compile and install a custom kernel for myself. But it would be nice to know if someone can try and report back.

But the bottom line in regards to the main topic. I believe they would've fixed it if they could, so I would not hold it against them.
INDI/KStars on Raspberry Pi 4, 4gb
Raspbian Buster with AstroPi3 script configuration
Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro Mount
Canon 600D Camera
Orion SSAG/ASI120mm @280mm Guide Scope
PHD2
Waveshare Stepper Motor Board - DIY Focuser
Adafruit GPS Module
Generic Bluetooth Joystick.
Startech 7 port powered USB Hub.
1 year 6 months ago #71662

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