To take pictures of the Deep Sky
or do exposures of about .5 sec in Planetary Shots !

Dedicated to Stephen Chambers, UK, alias "Steve"
for his conception
which is surprising and extraordinary!

I also thank Bob for his generous help for turning my "bad english" legends into understandable ones !
I also warmly recommend his own very nice & helpful page concerning Steve's mod !

The normal Vesta pro !

VP-SC First light !

Orion Nebula, Celestron 8", 2 x Reduct 6.3 in ligne
giving F/D=4, IRB filter, 14 images combined with MDL,
no dark frame used

See the light pollution where images where taken !
Moreover Moon 1 day after full was at meridian !
Photo taken just behind scope, Orion is barely visible due to JPEG
(QV2800UX, in direction SE, just behind the telescope.

Saturn, C8, Barlow "Powermate 5x" -> Focal 10m
Instant of low turbulence
1 raw image not combined !!  VP-SC 1s exposure

Same image after treatement with unsharp mask and colors !
Note : this image is precious to sea the real thinness of Cassini division,
often to large in combined images

Saturne, C8, Barlow 3x Televue -> Focal 6m !
Raw image un-combined, normal VP minimum gain !

Saturn, C8, Barlow 3x Televue -> Focal 6m !
Raw image  un-combined, VP-SC minimum gain !

The Lyra planetary nebula,
C8 at primary focus, 60s exposure, combinaison of a dozen images

Saturn, C8 with two 6.3 reducer in line giving F/D=4,
1sec exposure

20011012 0157UT
Saturn, C8, Powermate 5x, no IRB
Vesta-SC in 320*240
From left to right :

1 Raw 400ms,
only 29 combined (out of 862 and after unsharp mask 2-300 in PSP) with Avi2bmp,
Correction of white Balance

! Additional pictures for TUCam modification !!

Surgery tools !

Soldering iron should have a thin tip and be low power (25W)

Little wire buckle for soldering on a ic support leg

1/2 brusselle n°5 bent jewelry pliers to lift pins or twist a buckle of wire


Bend a PC slot protector


Exacto with (indispensable) new very fine blade

Wrapping tool

A pair of thin (fi. iridectomy) scissors

Hot glue

(image to come)

(image to come)

Selected items :

Note: I have just bought stereo jacks with a cut switch. It should make it possible to switch the connection to leg 10 when the male plug of the jack is inserted while also providing the signal coming from pin 2 of the parallel port of the PC, and thus to eliminate the need from a switch ! Later with only 2 of them side by side all the signals from PC parallel port pins 2, 3, 4 & 5 could be brought in to implement the other functions ! Testing to follow!

Stereo jack with internal cut switch to allow the next version of the MOD to not have a switch

Stereo jack pin side, the pins on the left are used as a cut switch when the male jack is inserted.

The vesta opened

No  ! Nothing to see with Russian dolls!

The overview is on the left, the right is the detail of the shells.

These images show you how to open the Vesta using a watchmaker's

screwdriver by choosing the right places so you don't break anything !


Step by step photos showing how to open without breaking anything !

Internal view of spurs

Location of spurs from the outside !

Identification of spurs with precise measurements!

The process of opening
Used tools:
*Watchmaker's small screwdriver to slide in the precise positions seen on photos,
*Bent PC slot protector to use as a lever and press on the internal spur.

The wooden tooth-picks are used to hold it open. Please go slowly! Spurs release with a small brief click using the lever.

Turn over Vesta

camera opened !

With a little luck no spur is  broken !
Pay attention that the metal block with Kodak threads does not fall !


Overview of circuits

Vesta electronics

  Overview on main circuit

CCD pcb

The last version of the circuit diagram is at :

Dismantle by pulling slowly on the CCD PCB!

Both parts are connected by a white plastic connector Separate both parts by pulling slowly


Around USB connector


Remove this blue connector to work easily on the circuit. It cannot be

plugged back incorrectly.


The blue part was drilled (large holes) to allow fixation on the underlying wood below the binoculars.The grey cardboard protects the sides of the PCB

Sight of the post with the binding screw and its big slice allowing a precise location and a perfect rigidity !

DS16510 and it's environment



pin 1 is at low right
pins 8 & 10 are at upper right,
pin13 is at upper left


Near pins

8 & 10



Step by step description to make a
Vesta-SC (Steve Chambers)

Step 1 : lifting pin 10

Use the point of the Exacto below the pin to cut the solder gradually using small movements, being careful not to slip.

As the solder is almost completely removed, the pin will start to move very slightly.

Once the solder is completely cut under the pin, lift the pin to 45° with bent watchmaker's pliers.

Step 2 : Cutting trace at pin 13

Where to cut

Work very slowly with the point of the Exacto. ATTENTION there is a trace hidden not far down! Stop as soon as the copper is cut and verify (infinite resistance or no beep) with ohmmeter.

It's done... clean with Q-Tip & alcool


Relax and prepare the 74HC00 circuit
One will use a 2x7 pins chip socket

Implementation of the resistor between  5-14 (Brown - black - orange 10Ko)

Prepare the resistor to facilitate soldering

Position and solder the resistor on the pins of the chip socket. Attention:
the notch of the socket is towards us !!

View of solder connections

Bend pins 1-2 3-4 and solder them together
Cut pins 8 & 11
Pass one wire around pins 7,9,10,13, and 13 and solder
Cut the excess

Gluing 74HC00 (DB = Dead bug)

Put IC in chip socket

Verify the notches are on the same end

Stick double sided tape and remove the excess with scissors!

Gluing at a precise place !
Notches (and Pin 1 &14) are towards D16510

Passage and connection of a wire at pin 13 via

Strip 5 mm at the two ends of a wire
Solder one end to pin 1 of DB
Pass the other end in the hole position 13
Since the wire is short, when soldered it will stay in place well

Connection between pin 8 of D16510 and pin 6 of DB

Solder one end to pin 6 of DB

Position wire on pin 8 and maintain with scotch tape

bend the end to follow pin 8 form,
See the presence of a mini-drop of solder at the end of the wire

Solder by contact of the mini-drop with the soldering iron. Naturally one does not bring supplementary solder ! Then remove the adhesive tape


Connection betxween pin 10 of D16510 and 14 DB
via a 100Ko resistor

Prepare resistor with wire

 Solder resistor to pin 14 DB

Cut excess

Solder the wire and leave an leave extra tail for later
Place other end on lifted pin 10 (at 45 °)
Maintain with the adhesive tape

Adjust the wire and solder on pin 10 (always with mini drop). Solder without pushing!

Put a big drop of glue to obtain a good stability

Detail of glue protection

Take a little rest: The "easy" connections between USB and DB

Put two wires of 5cm with a small hook at the USB connector

Solder "ground" to pin 4 and 7-9 DB

Solder +5v (red side on USB cable) and pin 14 DB

Adding a switch to change between
Vesta Pro normal mode and SC (long exposure) mode

PS : a new simplified approach using a phono jack is a capability:
No more switch: Axel Canicio has shown that only one wire from the PC parallel port (pin 2) is needed!
The jack, with an internal cut switch will do all of the work of the external switch!

Choose a small switch

Pass a wire through the via connected to pin 10 and located between the two IC

NOTE : see easier passage on new page with stereo jack !!

Overview after passing wire

Bend a wire, insert it into the VIA, and fix it with a drop of hot glue

Connect another wire to the tail of the 100Ko resistor
attached to pin 14 DB, and solder

Solder the wires to the switch, making sure that one is connected
to the central pin. Twist the wires together a bit.

Preparation of the jack for connection to the signal
of the PC parallel port (Pin 2)

Note: I have just bought stereo jacks with a cut switch. It should make it possible to switch the connection to leg 10 when the male plug of the jack is inserted while also providing the signal coming from pin 2 of the parallel port of the PC, and thus to eliminate the need from a switch ! Later with only 2 of them side by side all the signals from PC parallel port pins 2, 3, 4 & 5 could be brought in to implement the other functions ! Testing to follow!

For the now (until testing of cut switch), you may still use a mono jack without the cut switch. Test with an ohm meter which corresponds with the connections between the thimbles of the jacks male and female connectors. A reading of 0.00 is the sign of a direct contact !

Shown with separate connections: the pin on the side of
the female plug corresponds to the large thimble (ring)
of the male one (larger area)

Strip then installation of a shielded wire 1 conductor and the braid. Length used at home = 4m


Cut off the extra ends of wire, tighten the small anti-tension prongs and install the cap

Check with the ohm meter that the welding of the braid (shield) did not damage the transparent plastic sheath. 1 means infinite resistance, Good !
Also check that the connections are not shorted after installing the cap !

The male jack done. Red is signal

Prepare the length of the wire for the parallel port PC connector. Stripping. You can use Scotch tape to hold the wire down while working with the wire

470 ohm resistors

Prepare the resistor for a serial connection. Make two or three turns of stripped wire around the tail of the resistor


put an ad hoc length of heat-shrinkable sleeve

Heat the sheath with the lighter (without excess)

Twist the ground wire (shield). Put a little solder at end

put an ad hoc length of heat-shrinkable sleeve

PC parallel port plug

Position and solder the wire to the center of pin 2

Reinforce with hot glue

image  to come

Look for pin 21 (ground) and mark with marker pen Note: I did not test this yet... but this connection seems useless because it is redundant with the ground of the USB connector. You can test without!

If you use the ground connection, position the wire in the
center as you did for pin 2.


Protect with hot glue... All done

Install a protection cap

Roll up a little Scotch tape for electrician to increase the thickness

set up the plug and the accessory of security

Close everything with screws

Test pin 21 and jack ground with the ohm meter. Check for shorts and good connections

Test pin 2 and the red (tip) point of jack

All done for the male part !

Studying the female plug

Solder 2 wires, one black for ground, one white for signal

Solder the white wire from pin 2 to 5 of DB
Solder the black wire from pin 21 to 7-9 of DB

The command signals wires for the PC parallel port is done!

Now turn over the circuit board over and tighten it up at an angle of about 30°. Always use cardboard to protect it

Overview of working zone

For the two VIAs, cut the extra length of the wire sticking out 3mm left for soldering

Scrap the varnish a little (be careful, it really should not be needed as the solder will run inside the VIA). This shows the wire passed through the VIA at pin 13
Bob has noticed that it even works WITHOUT solder at all!!!

Same for via at pin 10

Final soldering complete! Clean the circuit with a compressed-air bulb to eliminate all droplets. All that remains is to check the assembly carefully under the magnifying glass to locate possible bridges of solder or bad connections

NEW VERSION with more simple link to PC

A lot more simple !!

and a single wire simplifies the link to parallel port pin 2 of PC

See brand new detailed description !!

Solder the wires of the standard mod to the pins at the bottom.

The wire coming from 5 DB (was white) is soldered to thye upper pin. No more ground wire (black) needed !

Cut a 6mm hole at the place suggested here :

Introduce female jack taking care pins are away from Vesta circuitry !

Only one wire goes to PC // port pin 2. The other end is soldered to the pin shown at right (most in the center) !

When put into the female part, the Vesta will enter SC mode !

After soldering at pin 2, add a small nylon rope as shown. Add hot glue.

The nylon rope is my last trick to pull easily off the connector after use !

Look at the final aspect ..clean, no ?

Drilling the case and completing the mod (old version)...

Drill the half of the shell with the label, drill the two holes as indicated with the diameter needed

Place female jack and the switch

After reconnecting the main PCB to the secondary PCB (CCD head) and the USB wire, place it carefully in the shell. Check that the new wires are not within proximity of the case spurs which could damage them during closing

Don't forget the metal block with Kodak thread

Close carefully

All Done !

Welcome to the world of the VP-SC users!


1) Solder a leg !

A stress free method I just made up for this mod !

It gives a clean result without much risk of making annoying solder bridges

A binocular is recommended but your cheap 3 dioptry glasses are Ok.

Strip a length of 30 gauge wrapping wire for about 5mm at both ends.
Solder one end on the ad hoc pin of the LS7400 socket.  
Now cut the free one to leave only 1.5mm unstripped at the other end. Use small cissors to do it !

Hold the wire steady with a "third hand" tool or scotch tape.
Put fresh solder in contact whith the wire and touch it with the soldering iron whitout touching the wire.
The solder melts and a droplet forms on the colder wire (see pic below)

Gluing and soldering the wire on IC

The best glue to use is hot glue. Hold the wire with scotch tape on the IC
while leaving the outstretched bare end above the leg and hanging over the IC.
Use a drop of melted glue to secure in place

After the glue has hardened, bend the end of the wire towards the bottom
(note in the case of a lifted leg like at pin 10, just use slight contact)
and push rather firmly the end of the wire in between two legs of the IC.
Then pull it back a little and push it sideways to have it in good contact with the leg.


Clean the point of the iron with fresh solder and shake once to remove excess.
Come in contact with the wire while holding the iron with both hands
then avoiding hand shake and working stressfree !
The solder minidrop around the wire melts instantly a gives a shining perfect soldering !

2) A leg is accidentally broken just outside the IC,
Do I have to buy another Vesta ? No ! just fix it !

Dig into the IC black material with thin jewelry pliers above the broken leg
in order to make about 1mm of copper appear.

Apply fresh solder to the soldering iron. Take a few cm of wrapping wire.
Strip a couple mm and dive it in the solder.
Pull and leave a droplet at end. Put it at 45° between pad and IC freshly uncovered copper. 
Hold wire with scotch tape on the PCB. Touch breafly with soldering iron hold with both hands.
Cut excess wire with iridectomy scissors or small cutter blade.


Images et textes copyright S. WEILLER, 2001-2010