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themos

ToUcam arrived!

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A Philips ToUcam Pro has arrived in the mail! I plugged it into my Linux x86 box (USB) and ... I just get a grey image. This is a 2.6.16 kernel, the module is pwc

> /sbin/modinfo pwc

filename: /lib/modules/2.6.16.13-4-default/kernel/drivers/usb/media/pwc/pwc.ko

description: Philips & OEM USB webcam driver

author: Luc Saillard <luc@saillard.org>

license: GPL

vermagic: 2.6.16.13-4-default 586 REGPARM gcc-4.1

supported: yes

I used "mplayer tv://" to see the camera output.

I will play with a Windows XP lappy at home, later.

I do hope it's not a dud!

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Should be OK on windows hopefully..

Never had much luck getting a Toucam to work reliably

in Linux (tried very hard) :D

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Sorry mate but i am gonna be more honest than generous.....

For first time astro use its a Damn Fine AVI....WELL DONE.

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Thanks! In the original, the whole moon is "boiling" and the wind is shaking the tube (you can see it happening near the end of the video when Deshaker wasn't given enough pixels to correct the wobble). The most exciting part of it was that I had no idea how big the image was going to be on the ccd. And all for less than a hundred quid ( the laptop is my mother-in-law's).

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I used "mplayer tv://" to see the camera output.

I had a bit of trouble getting my toUcam III to work with Ubuntu. After drawing blood,

lots of swearing and "fiddling aboot", I managed to get it to work... :D

I can't remember how I did it, but something tells me it was using 'v4l://dev/video/video0'

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Deshaker is Gunnar Thalin's free-as-in-beer filter add-on for the Windows free-as-in-beer video editing suite VirtualDub. It was designed to figure out camera shake and compensate for it, a post-facto steadycam-in-software thingy.

more on http://www.guthspot.se/video/deshaker.htm

thanks for the hint, hairymunky, it makes all the difference knowing that someone's done it before. I run debian myself after saying bye-bye to SuSE.

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I just had a peep and the seeing is much better today and the wind is negligible. But it's too late , at least for me. I'm off to dream about that Intes 6" Maksutov-Newtonian...

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I'm off to dream about that Intes 6" Maksutov-Newtonian...

its still for sale......

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More experimenting yesterday with the ToUcam PCVC740K under Linux (x86, Debian Etch distribution). On the plus side, I can display the video with [tt]mplayer(1)[/tt] and I can capture 640x480 frames from the command line with [tt]streamer(1)[/tt]. On the minus side, some important controls (gain, shutter speed, white balance) are still a bit of a closed book.

[tt]mplayer(1)[/tt] means you can get help about the program [tt]mplayer[/tt] by issuing

man mplayer

at a text console and the man(ual) page is in section 1 (which holds executable programs or shell commands)

The device driver is [tt]pwc[/tt] (Philips Web Camera, strangely enough) and its website is here

The device driver is part of the kernel so you don't have to patch your kernel or compile it yourself.

Issue

find /lib/modules -name "pwc*

to check that it's there.

When the camera gets plugged in it should show up in

lsusb

which lists the USB devices, there should be a device file like

ls /dev/video*

which programs can open when they want to access the camera and there should be a relevant message in the output of

dmesg

which lists information that the kernel spits out as it goes about its business.

There is a command line program, [tt]setpwc[/tt], for changing the settings. It is included in Debian so install it in the usual way. website is here. A wiki site with documentation is here. You can find a mailing list about the driver on that site.

I will add more information as I find it. Apparently there used to be an older [tt]pwc[/tt] driver that handled more of the proprietary compression methods in the camera via an extension called [tt]pwcx[/tt] but it was kicked out of the official kernel tree because no source could be distributed for it. One can download that older driver still, though. I intend to try to do that and see if I can get more of the camera goodies that way.

I have discovered public domain software ImageJ, a Java image processing toolkit that can handle FITS images. The "Hands-On Universe, Europe" program has built on it to produce SalsaJ which seems to be aware of even SC modified ToUcams!

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A wee while ago, I found a site, dedicated to an astronomy based distro,

seems now its defunct, but one of the programs was "Qastrocam"...

http://3demi.net/astro/qastrocam/doc/

(The docs are in French, but there's a babel link to convert at the top-left)

I haven't tried it myself yet, but it might be worth a look :D

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