The Philips Toucam and Vesta series
of webcams have provided many highly detailed images of planets
over time. The new Logitech Fusion Webcam has some interesting
specifications and features that may provide improvements for
planetary, lunar and solar imaging. See the links to other pages
above that will be added as I test the Fusion for astro-imaging.
The Fusion is widely available at many retailers including Walmart
and also online and priced between $75 and $90. I recently purchased
an OEM package of the Fusion for $55.
The easiest way to convert a webcam
for telescope use is by purchasing a 1.25 inch adapter that can
be screwed into the webcam, after the webcam's lens is unscrewed.
Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, there is no commercially
available adapter for the Logitech Fusion. The adaptors that are
available use the standard micro video M12 X 0.5 mount thread,
which is a larger diameter than that of the Fusion lens. You can
see a comparison of the Fusion lens thread and the standard M12
X 0.5 thread (Vesta) HERE.
Luckily, Logitech has made it
very easy to take the Fusion apart. Fortunately, the Fusion's
circuit board fits perfectly in a plastic project box readily
available from RadioShack. The T-thread from any camera T-ring
can be mounted on the project box along with a T-thread to 1.25
inch adapter and the Fusion is ready for telescope use in any
USB 2.0 Cable:
The Fusion does have the advantage
of having a high speed USB 2.0 interface. The USB cable that comes
with the Fusion is six feet long. If this cable length will suit
your telescope setup, you can omit the steps below that explain
replacement of the USB cable. I use a 20 inch f/4.5 scope for
planetary imaging and need a longer USB cable, so in the instructions
I detail how to replace the six foot USB cable with a heavier-duty
sixteen foot cable. A high quality USB cable is recommended for
Very simple tools are needed:
Jeweler's screwdriver, razor knife, drill, small drill bit and
hot glue gun. Superglue and black paint.
RadioShack Project Enclosure Part
RadioShack 10mm Insulated Standoffs
Part No. 276-1381
Package of four: $2.79
16 foot High Speed USB 2.0 Cable - Walmart - $11.97
Camera T-ring: $10 to $20
T-ring to 1.25" adapter: $12
Nylon washer and tie wrap.
Opening the camera will void your
Logitech warranty and you may ruin your webcam. Proceed at your
own risk; I am not responsible for any damage to your webcam.
That said.......the webcam is very easy to open and you're just
mounting it in a plastic box.
Step 1. Remove
two screws as shown:
Step 2. The
two screws removed in step one will allow you to lift and remove
the cover on the opposite side with a small driver:
Remove four screws as shown:
Step 4. Remove
center screw as shown:
Lift the two metal hinges:
Remove the plastic part and two screws as shown:
Separate the webcam housing and remove the plastic switch cover
Slide metal clip off USB cable:
Remove screw that mounts circuit board to housing:
Lift circuit board off plastic post. I used an IC chip puller
to wiggle the board a bit while lifting it off the post.
The following Steps 11 through
15 are optional. They detail replacing the original 6 foot USB
2.0 cable with a 16 foot USB 2.0 cable. If you are not replacing
the USB cable, skip to Step 16.
Use small driver to slide open USB cable connector and remove
the original webcam lens by unscrewing it from its mount:
Remove the cable ground from the circuit board by applying a soldering
iron on the opposite side of the point shown here:
As heat is applied with the soldering iron, gently pull off the
Cut off the white plastic USB connector from the original USB
cable allowing enough wire for splicing to the new USB cable.
The wires are color coded. I used shrink wrap over the soldered
connection splices. Black electrical tape would work as a substitute.
Make sure the ground shield is long enough to reach the ground
point on the circuit board.
Resolder the new cable shield ground to the ground point on the
circuit board and reconnect the USB cable connector. Place electrical
tape to secure and insulate the connections. This is a good time
to test the camera's operation with your computer, either with
or without the lens installed.
Paint the two LED lights with black paint to avoid any stray light
inside the camera.
Drill a hole for the imaging chip as shown. It can be enlarged
to a size just large enough for reinstalling the original webcam
lens if you want. When unscrewing the webcam lens, be careful
the lens housing that remains on the circuit board stays affixed
securely to the circuit board.
The circuit board fits very well inside the plastic enclosure.
To help hold the circuit board in the center of the project box,
superglue two RadioShack standoffs as shown. The standoffs are
the exact length needed to serve as holddown posts. Superglue
two foam cubes in the position shown to help support the circuit
board. Note that the positions shown for the foam cubes avoid
contact with circuit board elements.
Cut a large nylon washer in four pieces. Drill a hole in the end
of two pieces and screw into the two standoffs as shown below.
The nylon washer pieces can be rotated over the circuit board
to hold the circuit board in place. Note that the nylon washer
pieces hold down the circuit board on areas that have no circuit
elements. Check alignment of the imaging chip with the hole in
the housing and tighten both screws to secure the circuit board
in this position.
To better secure the circuit board add a glob of hot glue here:
Remove the T-thread from a standard camera T-ring by loosening
the small set screws.
I made a small template to help center the T-thread around the
imaging chip. Superglue the T-ring to the project enclosure.
With a razor knife, cut a slot in the side of the plastic enclosure
for the USB cable. (If you kept the original USB cable, the
slot will be smaller. If you did not desolder the USB cable from
the circuit board, you will need to cut the original webcam housing
to remove it from the cable.)
Step 24. Drill
some holes in the enclosure for cooling. (Another option would
be to mount a small 5V fan powered via the USB cable - not done
Step 25. If
you kept the original cable, you could use the original strain
relief. For my 16 foot replacement cable I made a strain relief
by placing a tie wrap on the USB cable and hot gluing the tie
wrap around the inside of the project enclosure as shown.
Step 26. Close
up the project enclosure and install the four enclosure screws.
I added another strain relief by attaching a tie wrap tag (green)
to the USB cable and enclosure as shown. This is the completed
camera with the T-thread to 1.25 inch adapter installed.
If you completed the modification
and would like to let me know how it went for you, you can contact
me at the following email address:
Todd Freund modified a Fusion and his recommendations on the
above procedure are HERE.