I first learned about this camera on QCUIAG and started to look around to buy one myself.
In February 2008 I was successful: my local shop happened to have them in stock and at a reasonable price too: Euro 29,99
The manufacturer does not say much about the specifications of this camera, but it has a CMOS sensor: 1280 x 1024 hardware resolution, which gives a whopping view of the moon!
IMPORTANT: as the USB cable of the WB-5400 is rather short you may want to use an extension cable. Make sure that you use a USB 2.0 cable or else you will have LOTS of dropped frames, especially when imaging in 1280x1024 pixel mode [I had 75% dropped frames].
With a 3 metres USB 2.0 extension cable I had zero dropped frames.
Specs of the SOI968 Sensor here.
Adapting the WB-5400 for astro-imaging (Moon and Sun) is easy, as you can see here:
|Step 1: use a small screwdriver to dismount the webcam from the fork mounting.|
Step 2: use the same small screwdriver to click the notches open.
Step 3: the inside revealed [3 small screws keep the board in place].
As a provisional 1.25 inch adapter I used a film cannister with a hole in the bottom: push fit over black lens tube [adapter not imaged].
Step 4: the rear side of the board.
Step 5: the sensor revealed.
Step 6: a closer look at the sensor. At the right are the snapshot switch and a very bright blue LED, which were expertly removed my Matthias Meijer.
Step 7: the improvised adapter: a shortened film canister with a hole in the bottom.
I shortened the canister so that I can reach focus with my PST.
I made this hole by rotating a pair of scissors, so that inside the film canister a flange came into existence: nice for a push fit over the camera lens holder.
The plug comes from the DIY store; designed to cover the South end of the leg of a chair ...
Step 8: the shortened film canister pushed over the camera lens holder.
|Step 9: the plug is a nice dust cover.|
Plato - Vallis Alpes - Cassini - Aristoteles - Eudoxus ...
February 15, 2008 19:56 UT.
First light for my Trust WB-5400 Megapixel webcam: 1280x1024 pixels, which gives a huge field-of-view.
Imaging: LX200, 10 inch, f/10 [focal length 2500 mm].
More lunar images like this one
Step 10: the camera rehoused.
The canister has a very firm fit with the cap [now converted into a ring], yet it can easily be removed from the camera, enabling access to the sensor: mandatory for cleaning !
Step 11: the camera in aluminium household foil.
Meanwhile I have found out that the white housing is not very suitable for solar imaging as light was seeping through, causing a greyish sky background.
Wrapping aluminium household foil around it made all the difference !
[The Televue cap is just a mere coincidence ...]
Using the WB-5400 is quite an experience, especially the driver is not very user friendly.
It pleases me enormously that Martin Burri has upgraded WcCtrl which makes controlling the camera a lot easier, so download the latest version of WcCtrl [must be version 1.6 or higher; in case of any doubt just mail Martin Burri].
Here are the camera settings I used to image the Southern part of the moon (Clavius etc.):
But: after tweaking the camera controls you are in for another shock: when you start the AVI the camera controls go haywire and the driver jumps into some kind of 'AUTO' mode, resulting in heavily overexposed frames.
After about 10-15 seconds the camera more or less 'remembers' the settings you had selected and then all is rather OK again. But: the first 30 frames of your AVI cannot be used, alas. But even after reaching a more or less stable situation the camera still shows a will of its own ...
Because of this strange behaviour the camera cannot be used for mosaics, as the frames differ far too much for a seamless stitching.
Communication with Trust about the driver
February 19, 2008 I have contacted Trust via their website and filed a formal complaint about the behaviour of the camera:
"Even with the camera settings in manual mode (so with Auto unchecked for USB bandwidth and with Auto unchecked for White Balance, the greyed out checkmark for Exposure I cannot uncheck) the camera behaves as still in some kind of AUTO mode. This is especially annoying when capturing an AVI: the first 10-15 seconds the camera is busy 'self-learning' and thus gives very bad frames during that period. And after capturing the AVI the camera has 'forgotten' my settings too and again goes through that 'self-learning' stage again.
My question is:
1. What am I doing wrong ?
2. If I am doing nothing wrong - which I think is the case - then obviously the driver is faulty."
February 20, 2008 Trust Customer Care (Veronika Mikhaylichenko) replied: "Please check on a right hand of WB, USB settings etc. if it's not marked as Automatically, if yes remove the mark."
Now, that was not very helpful, as I this was exactly the problem as reported to Trust; so I have invited Trust for a better solution.
February 25, 2008 Carolina Füzer (Trust International service center) writes: "It appears that the software for the product has not been installed correctly. This may be because software for other (older) products is still installed or the way in which the software was installed."
I must go into Safe Mode and delete all drivers for all imaging devices, an advice which I did not wished to follow though.
Instead I removed the Trust webcam software via the Control Panel and also in the Registry - with Regedit - I removed all entries related with 15007 (the factory identification for the WB-5400).
I was to download the latest drivers for the cam from "www.trust.com/15007", and then unzip etc. Alas: via "www.trust.com/15007" I can only download an exe file (15007_03.exe) which invokes the Trust wizard to install the drivers (sic.)
Next I had to connect the cam and then a popup window for new hardware would appear and then I could point at the newly received (and unzipped) drivers.
That popup window did not appear, which is just as well as I had no unzipped drivers available (see before).
February 26, 2008 I have mailed the above to Carolina Füzer and asked for further instructions.
I am pleased that I did not delete all drivers for my nicely running cameras !
February 27, 2008 Carolina Füzer (Trust International service center) offered to mail me a new installation CD, and I gladly gave my address, so now I am waiting for the new installation CD to arrive.
February 29, 2008 Just received the installation CD and did a full re-install. Things seem to be better now, but the ultimate test will be when I use the webcam on my telescope when I image the moon, so we will have to wait for the moon to reappear in the skies and also it must be clear.
March 5, 2008 I did a daylight test and mounted the WB-5400 on my ETX-70 and aimed at a far away chimney.
I unchecked the AUTO boxes of the camera settings, manually tweaked the settings, selected 1280x1024 pixels as frame size @ 5 fps and captured a 30 seconds AVI.
Not surprisingly the AVI consists of 150 frames, but about 25% of the frames is dropped.
The camera settings were not changed by the driver at the start or end of the AVI, so this is a step ahead.
Alas: another problem popped up. While capturing the AVI suddenly the driver decides to change the camera settings, and after a while also changes back to my settings! Strange indeed.
I have decided to let it rest till the moon is in the skies again: the main reason why I bought this camera anyhow.
Note: I am quite pleased with the responsiveness given by Trust: very promptly and friendly!
March 18, 2008 I did some work on the camera and it appears that I kind of destroyed it, so I am considering to buy another one ...
March 27, 2008 I bought a replacement Trust WB-5400 at only Euro 23, because the price had gone down since I bought the first one. I rehoused this cam and it is operational, so now I wait for clear skies.
Meanwhile I downloaded the latest drivers from this site (I assume this might be the orginal manufacturer of the WB5400):
The rehoused WB-5400 focuses nicely with my Coronado PST
Sun in Ha
March 29, 2008 10:02 UT.
To my joy the Trust WB-5400 webcam - which I had rehoused - focuses nicely without any modification to the PST.
Imaging: Coronado PST in prime focus and Trust WB-5400 webcam in b/w mode [1280x1024 pixels], no additional filters.
Adding false colours for the Sun - when imaged in b/w - in Photoshop:
Field-of-View of the PST with WB5400 webcam:
Field-of-View of the LX200 10" f/10 with WB5400 webcam:
A Big Blank Sun.
March 13, 2009 08:49 UT.
Imaging: Coronado PST piggybacked on LX200; prime focus with Trust WB-5400 webcam, no additional filters.
Camera settings of the above image [as recorded by WcCtrl]:
Please note the checkmark for Capture Startup Message box !
This means that K3CCDTools will start the actual imaging only AFTER you hit OK, which gives the WB-5400 time to obey your camera settings, though a bit slow ..