Note: This is a work in progress. Updates to come.
A DSLR is a good start for astrophotography imaging. One of the biggest drawbacks is the Signal – Noise Ratio (SNR). As the camera is taking a photo, the sensor warms up and causes dark current noise, reducing the SNR and making it more difficult to photograph celestial objects. A sensor cooling device improves the SNR by keeping the sensor nice and cool.
I bought a used 1000D for $100 CAD because I was concerned that the modification would ruin the camera. There are much better DSLR’s out there for astrophotography, but I will start with a cheap one. I did not photograph the disassembly process, but there are 1000D disassembly guides to be found.
On a side note – Japanese cameras don’t use Phillips screws. Those little guys are Japanese Industry Standard (JIS) screws. Before proceeding, pick up a set of JIS screwdrivers. A Phillips screwdriver will likely ruin a screw or two.
The external trigger board was permanently removed from the camera and the frame was modified to allow a ‘cold finger’ to access the sensor from the left side.
A small piece of C11000 copper was sourced. This alloy has excellent thermal conductivity properties. The cold finger’s mounting frame was made from multiple pieces of aluminum. Lots of thermal paste was used.
Top and side views of the sensor. You can see where the cold finger sits on the sensor, behind the circuit board.
The side mounting plate installed on the camera. The cold finger slides into the slot in the side mounting plate. A mounting block screws onto the camera’s chassis just inside the side mounting plate.
The cold finger installed using lots of thermal paste. The paste does not conduct electricity, but I still tried not to make a huge mess. You can see the white DS1620 temperature sensor mounting finger in the second photo (printed ABS).
The cold plate is a piece of aluminum which will interface with a heatsink or Thermo-Electric Cooler (TEC). Holes were cut in the side mounting plate to allow the USB cable and DS1620 wires through.
To be updated