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Category: Pre-purchase Questions
What is the difference between the ION and Quantum
Posted on Apr 25, 2011, 3:29 pm Author: Jen Winter

DayStar Filters offers 2 different styles of housing options; the ION and Quantum housing.

Both ION and Quantum offer temperature tuning control for operation in all climates for on-band performance.

Quantum Housing: 
The Quantum was introduced in 2007 to replace the older 110VAC housing options of the ATM.  These housings are for 32mm clear aperture optical assemblies and control temperature by heat only.
The Quantum housing offers a very precise PID tuning system which regulates to +/- 0.1°F or 0.005Å. Available in SE or PE grade, the Quantum is offered for amateur and professional clients.
The Quantum electronics provide a live LCD digital readout of the CWL being transmitted through the filter. 

When first plugged in, the unit will report the bandpass specification of the filter with "0.7A quantum SE" and then report the current CWL being transmitted.  On startup, the quantum will read below 6562.8 because it has not yet heated the optics up.
A status indicator light will be yellow to demonstrate that the filter is not yet ready.   Once the cell surrounding the optics has reached 6562.8, the digital display will give this reading.   However, the glass requires up to 8 minutes to settle this heat temperature through the glass, as it is slow to change temperature.   A timer of 8 minutes starts once the desired temperature is measured at the slug.   After this time is up, the yellow light will turn green.  This means that the filter is on temperature and fully settled for the desired wavelength.   Users can tune the filter in increments of 0.1Å up and down in red or blue wing shift up to 1.0Å in each direction.   To change CWL , the user presses any button until the numbers blink.  Blinking numbers are the TARGET wavelength.  While blinking, the users presses the up(red) button or the down (blue) button to change the TARGET wavelength desired.   The blinking will soon stop and the heater will affect changes to reach the newly desired wavelength.  Once again, the light will turn yellow until the desired temperature is reached - and until the glass has settled.   Each and every time the wing shift buttons are pressed, the light will change from green to yellow, settling green again in time.

The Quantum also offers the feature of remote operation through its serial port.  The serial port and associated Quantum control software allow users to access the wing shift commands from a distance.  Quantum control also allows users to power the unit on and off; and to "sleep" the heater.

Also, within the firmware of the Quantum, the factory can encript owner specific data such as serial number, owner/dealer name and service history.  This helps protect the integrity of the Quantum against risk of theft and optical or label tampering. 


ION Housing: 
More of an entry-level design,  ION housing is quite different than Quantum.   While it also controls by temperature, it has the capacity to control by heat AND cooling through TEC heat exchangers and fins.   The ION body style also has a smaller, 20mm clear aperture. We invested more money into electronics and less money into glass to help keep ION prices down.
This means that on larger telescopes over ~75mm apert ure, the entire sun may not pass through the ION.  This can cause vignetting of the image in eyepieces and imaging sensors above 20mm in size.

ION Electronics are vastly simplified and have no LCD screen, no numbers or readouts of the filter. The ION housing instead has the same status light and a single wing shift knob.  That knob has a center detent stop position that vividly identifies where the Zero-point of optimum on-band tuning is.   The ION is plugged in, the light goes from yellow to green as the temperature settles; and is ready to view through.     The tuning knob allows for up to 0.5Å of wing shift in red and blue.  This means that in either direction, the user can only tune so far.  With the natural wing shift of light on the Sun from the leading to following edge of the Sun, ION owners will never be able to tune entirely off the Halpha band for the entire sun.  That is to day, an ION owner will never "loose" h alpha if the power is on and light green, no matter where the knob is set.   

The ION does not have an LCD screen
The ION does not offer Serial port remote control
The ION has a 20mm clear aperture and can vignette the field of view on telescopes over 75mm.
The ION has a smaller 1.0Å total wing shift capacity
The ION will not show the filter's specification on startup.
ION Electronics also do not regulate as accurately as the Quantum.

The ION housing is available as an upgrade for T-scanner owners who would like to operate in all climates and seasons.



Tagged Keywords: housing, ion, quantum, comparison, difference, body, daystar

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