Please note that you do the cleaning at your own risk!
Because the (webcam) lens has been removed the CCD is no longer continuously protected against dust, and when bright objects (sun, moon, planets) the dust particles on the sensor show up as ugly big blobs.
First: PREVENT that the CCD gets dirty
- Always use a dust cap so that dirt cannot reach the CCD
- Make sure that the adapters you use have no loose particles inside: inspect this with a magnifying glass or clip-on magnifier and a bright (halogen) lamp
- It has become my practice to mount an IRB filter on top of the 1.25" adapter and I seldom remove that filter, as it also doubles as a dust protector.
- When swapping SLR Photolenses/filters/adapters hold the camera with the CCD pointing DOWNWARDS so that not dust particels can drop on the sensor
CLEANING the CCD: I have (alas) done this often so I have some expertise ....
- As a tool I use an empty black film canister with a small hole in the bottom: I used the same canister as a tool to collimate my Newtonian telescope.
- I take the film canister in my hand and with the film canister - bottom up - I cover the CCD as good as I can, so that no other light falls on the CCD.
I aim the cannister's pin hole towards a bright light.
With the camera running (in Auto mode) and my favourite capture program (K3CCDTools) running I look at the preview screen while moving the film canister slowly around
- As the light is falling through the small hole it is forced sideways and voila: there are the dust parts!
- Now I remove the film canister and I use a new Q-tip to sweep the CCD in firm strokes but in one direction only.
- When the sweeping has been completed I once more take the film canister in my hand and with the film canister I cover the CCD as good as I can, so that no other light falls on the CCD.
I aim the canister's pin hole towards a bright light.
With the camera running (in Auto mode) and my favourite capture program (K3CCDTools) running I once more look at the preview screen while moving the film canister slowly around: aha, the dirt has gone and I am are happy. Or ... if there still is some dirt - or maybe my sweeping introduced new dirt - I have to sweep again. Etc.
- Repeat the above until you are happy.
- In addition to the above I sometimes use a can with pressured air (easily available at your local computer shop).
Important: DO NOT SHAKE this can and only use it in upright position, else it might spray some liquid on the CCD and you do not want that!
- The above procedure has not failed me yet and so far I have never used any liquids or detergents to clean the CCD.
I experimented with Pritt Poster Buddies - a kind of adhesive gum - as I had read that others had successfully used Blu Tack to pick up dust particles from the surface of the CCD, but with disappointing results: Pritt Poster Buddies leaves small particles behind, and that is exactly what we do not want.
So I will continue to use Q-tips !
How to clean the CCD of the ATK16IC camera
Please note that you do the cleaning at your own risk
and that opening the camera might void the warranty!
A closer look at the CCD of the ATK16IC camera, which is protected by optical glass against dust. Should any dust migrate behind the optical glass just remove the ring holding the optical glass and turn the camera upside down, gently tap on the backside of the camera and the optical glass will fall out (so be careful !!).
Now you can reach the CCD; to clean I use Q-tips and my clip-on magnifier for visual inspection.
More about sensor cleaning [the interesting stuff starts on page 11 ...]
Steve Chambers recommends: To test the 16IC you could use a M42 thread camera lens stopped to f16; you can use it in daylight: just aim it at a plain surface (wall,
I found out that while imaging the Sun with my PST and ATK16IC combo the 'donuts' are very nicely visible on the Preview screen. And of course the results of a cleaning operation can immediately be verified: it is nice to be able do this it in daylight :o)