Flats generation can be a challenging operation. Most astrophotographers use an instrument called flatbox, which is an uniformly illuminated light source that covers the aperture of the telescope. The flatbox light is strong, and the exposure required for a flat frame is in the order of a few seconds, while a light frame usually is exposed for several minutes.
This difference is relevant because, in a few seconds exposure with strong light, the opening and closing movement of the shutter, which are not very fast and often not perfectly uniform, could generate unwanted gradients of light in the flat frames. Of course this is not true with light frames, where exposure is much longer than the shutter movements and the light level hitting the sensor is low. The normal solution is to dim the light of the flatbox and keep the exposures long enough to avoid gradients.
The flatbox controller is a new way of taking flat frames: with this small box your AST8300-B or AST16200-B will directly power your flatbox and switch it on and off when needed.
AST8300-X integrates this function, so no further accessories are needed to control the flatbox with the camera.
When taking flats using the flatbox controller and the Flat Maker app, the exposure is done switching on and off the flatbox light instead of opening and closing the shutter of the camera. This way there are no shutter movements, so no gradients can be generated and flats are always perfectly uniform, even with sub second exposures.
The flatbox controller box must be plugged to the ext2 camera connector, and has a cable that must be connected to the flatbox in place of its power supply using one of the four interchangeable plugs. To be compatible with the controller, the flatbox supply must be 12V.