DIY Guides

Converting Nikon D7000 to an Astro Camera

Here, we are going to convert the Nikon D7000 into an astro camera.

Unscrew all the screws. First, we need to take out the bottom panel. There are two screws that we need to unscrew to be able to take out the LCD panel. Disconnect the two ribbon cables and take the LCD panel out.

Disconnect all the ribbon cables from the logic board, including the thick two-wire cable. Unscrew all logic board screws. Remember which one goes where.

Carefully take out the logic board. Disconnect the ribbon cable from the sensor. There will be a screw on the left side panel. Unscrew it and take the panel out. Disconnect the two cables that go to the panel.

You can also take out the front panel.

Use electrical insulation to cover all high-voltage cables. There will be one on the top right side. Also, I would cover any wire that is thick, as it most likely has a connection with the flash capacitor.

Use some sort of measuring tool to measure the sensor’s position. This is necessary in case one or two sensor sides are within a different distance from the chassis. Write down those three numbers.

Unscrew the three sensor screws and take it out.

Use a drill to file down those three bumps. They are exactly 3 mm thick and will serve for our sensor repositioning. We need to shift the sensor to the front by 0.15 mm.

If we file down those bumps, then the sensor will shift 0.3 mm to the front. If we have three shims or washers of 0.1 mm thickness, we can adjust the sensor more precisely. I believe shims are more precise than washers. You can get shims of 0.1 mm and 0.2 mm thickness on AliExpress.

Take out the sensor filter. We do not need it anymore and will replace it with a Canon filter. We will need 3M double-sided tape to tape the sensor and attach the filter to it.

Taping is easily done by using a caliper and a cardboard cutter.

After we have the 2 mm wide strips attached to the sensor, it’s time to make sure the sensor and the filter are clean. Find any dust particles using an LED flashlight and blow them out using a blower.

I recommend keeping the sensor in the camera and taking it out just to put on the tape and the filter. If it gets dusty, it’s difficult to clean it.

Stick the filter onto the sensor and double-check that there is no dust inside.

Place the sensor in the camera and tighten it. Take the sensor height measurements again in the same spots. Look whether there are any differences in those three numbers. If one side says it’s higher by 0.1 mm, make the other two sides higher by using two 0.1 mm washers. The purpose of this is to make the sensor level as it came from the factory.

The camera would still focus to infinity as camera optics have the ability to focus further if needed.

If those measurements differ only by 0.05 mm or less, you probably do not need to use any adjustment shims or washers. There will be no notable difference.

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