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SharpCap - free Astro Webcam Capture Software

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O many thanks for that Robin.  I've been messing with that for days and now

you have cleared up the mess. :smiley:

Great software.  Easy to use.  Only a shallow learning curve to climb. :grin:

Best regards.

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Hey !

I'm doing a video project. 

I've download SharpCap and for the next step I need to see the raw data form video output and I don't know how to do it.

Do SharpCap do this??

Any program or additional program to reach it??

Thanks in advance!

Tetris :)

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Hi - I recently purchased the orion 'all-in-one' camera, but Im having problems with sharpcap.  Orions software, 'astro-cap' is buggy and seems to lockup, so I was hoping to use sharpcap.    When I select the camera, it seems to select 1920x1080 resolution.  When I try to change the resolution, it then tells me I cant change the resolution - then it goes full screen,  and the only way you can fix it is by killing the application.

Any ideas?

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Hi toc,

sounds like the problem is with the driver for the orion camera most likely and the issues are showing both in their software and SharpCap. The message you are seeing means that SharpCap has asked the camera to change to a different resolution and frame rate and the camera has reported that it can't. This shouldn't (in theory) happen, because SharpCap only shows resolutions and frame rates that the camera claims it can support in the first place :(

The error handling around that failure point doesn't look correct, which is probably why the whole program hangs after the error happens - I will try to fix this in a future version.

There are some suggestions I can make :

* Try changing the frame rate first at 1920x1080 and then changing the resolution - this might just help.

* Try uninstalling any drivers/software installed by the Orion software. If the camera implements USB Video class, Windows may be able to access the camera without additional drivers, which can sometimes cause more problems than they solve.

* Look for alternate drivers - it may be a re-badged version of some other camera. The best way to work this out is to find the USB VID & PID for the device. Go to device manager, right click on the device and choose properties, go to the details and select 'Harware IDs' from the drop down. You should see a string like 'USB\VID_03C3&PID_120B' - search for this online and see what you find (yours will have different figures after the VID and PID - this one is for a ZWO camera).

hope this helps,

Robin

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Using Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 version 8.1.1.1100

Upon execution get the error "Retrieving the COM class factory for component with CLSID(C8D0A770-3023-4FA9-A03F-A02F21D1A711) failed due to following error: 80040154

Windows XP with NET 3.5 SP1

I have attached the error files provided by SharpCap.

Any help getting past this block would be appreciated.SharpCap2.docxShpcap1.docx

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Using Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 version 8.1.1.1100

Upon execution get the error "Retrieving the COM class factory for component with CLSID(C8D0A770-3023-4FA9-A03F-A02F21D1A711) failed due to following error: 80040154

Windows XP with NET 3.5 SP1

I have attached the error files provided by SharpCap.

Any help getting past this block would be appreciated.attachicon.gifSharpCap2.docxattachicon.gifShpcap1.docx

Hi,

go to add/remove programs in the control panel, find SharpCap in the list and choose to 'repair' the installation - that should fix it. If you have any trouble with that, just uninstall and reinstall which will *definitely* fix it. I made a bit of a mistake when I decided to allow SharpCap 1.5 and 2 to both be installed at once - if you install both then uninstall one you can end up with this problem because the uninstall removes some registry entries that the remaining version needs. I try to put a fix in the next update so that this will not happen in future.

cheers,

Robin

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Hi,

go to add/remove programs in the control panel, find SharpCap in the list and choose to 'repair' the installation - that should fix it. If you have any trouble with that, just uninstall and reinstall which will *definitely* fix it. I made a bit of a mistake when I decided to allow SharpCap 1.5 and 2 to both be installed at once - if you install both then uninstall one you can end up with this problem because the uninstall removes some registry entries that the remaining version needs. I try to put a fix in the next update so that this will not happen in future.

cheers,

Robin

Robin,

reloading SharpCap solved the issue, now I need the weather to cooperate to use the software

Thanks for your quick reply,

John

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Hi Robin, I'm still finding Sharpcap to be my favourite imaging and capture software for my DMK cameras, and although there are a few transform utilities to help with the view, I wonder if its possible to add an addition.

There is a frame stack option for stacking 5 or ten frames. I am not quite sure how these work, but it would be very useful to have more choice of frame stacking. Perhaps the option to average stack or to sum stack, and also to choose the number of frames to stack between 2 and 10.

This would be very useful for live viewing of dso's.

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Hi Allan,

The frame stacking is pretty simple - it just takes the brightness values for (say) 5 frames for each pixel and adds them up. In general, the brightness will be in the range 0-255 for each frame. If the total comes to more than 255, it gets chopped down to 255 (that pixel is overexposed in the stack).

I guess that to implement the sort of thing that you are suggesting I'd have to put some controls at the bottom of the screen like I do with the histogram and the focus score to let you control the stacking parameters - I don't want to have the dropdown of transforms full of 'Stack 2 Frames; Stack 3 Frames; Stack 4 Frames; ...'

So, if I put the control at the bottom, I could do this sort of feature, but I'm kind of struggling to see what it gains - why is a stack 7 frames option so much better than stack 5 or stack 10? Usually the camera will have some other control like brightness or gain that will allow you to tweak the image up/down to get the right brightness level.

Similarly, for the idea of an average stack, typically that would just reduce the random noise levels - is that important enough to be desireable?

Please don't take this as an 'I won't do this feature' response - it's just that I'm trying to understand the reasons behind it properly to be sure that any changes I do make will give a good solution to the right problem. I haven't used this particular feature to view DSOs, so I can't immediately connect with the things you are trying to achieve.

cheers,

Robin

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I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes a single image is not quite enough, but image boost is too aggressive and 5 frames is also too many. Just to have the option to stack 2 or 3 x 60sec subs would be better. For normal capture and stacking we can just use the normal capture features and process the images later.

This would be a feature more suited to using the cam and software for live viewing on the monitor. I think it might make the software more versatile.

Just my thoughts Robin.

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Ok, good point. I'll think about either a 2x option or a more comprehensive 'adjustable' option for the future. I'm hoping to get back to doing a bit of new SharpCap development at the end of the month once I've got a couple of other projects sorted out.

cheers,

Robin

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Just taking the opportunity to thank you for this indispensable piece of free software ...

Thank you

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Thanks for considering this Robin. As I mentioned, this small change to the stacking could make a big diference to those of us who use Sharpcap for electronically assisted observing with cameras instead of an eyepiece.

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Hello.

I've been using SharpCap 1.5.0.316 with a Basler Scout scA1400-17gm and pylon SDK x64 2.3.0.2279 with .NET options for some time now. Whilst it crashes when raising the exposure close to the upper limit, the combination generally works well, saving 12 (16) bit SER files. The main problem is the Basler limit of 10s exposure. {SharpCap 2 with pylon 4 doesn't crash, but the Genicam is limited to 8 bits depth (and 10s).}

When I try to use the Basler ... LX mode (hopefully to enable much longer exposures) SharpCap crashes every time I select the option. Is there any solution to this?

{The LX option does not show in SharpCap 2.}

I'm using a Win8 64bit pc

I attach the crash log.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated (even if "Don't waste your time - it doesn't work").

Regards

rplly

SharpCap Crashes with Basler LX selection.txt

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Hi rplly,

sadly, I don't think that the long exposure trick is going to work with your camera - it relies on a setting on the camera control interface called 'LineInvert' which allows you to switch between +ve and -ve triggering when using an external control line to control exposures. The error you are seeing seems to be happening because your camera doesn't have this setting available. It does (at least did) work with the Ace camera I use for testing, but I must admit that I haven't tried to use the Basler LX mode for some time, so it may be something that has changed in newer versions of the Basler drivers rather than something to do with the camera.

Thanks for letting me know that the Basler LX seems to be missing entirely in 2.0 - I will have a look to try to work out why, and also see if I can still get the LX mode to work on my camera.

cheers,

Robin

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Robin,

Thank you for your reply; I'll look into the external triggering options on my Basler. If I build some circuitry to control the exposure via (say) a USB to serial adapter, such as the LX modification I made to my Philips SPC900, could SharpCap control this O/P line?

(Just a general inquiry at this stage. First I need to show that it is possible; I'll first make some test circuitry and control it via a micro-controller (probably a PIC chip). I'll let you know if it works with my Basler.)

ps.

If I remember correctly, the Basler LX mode shows in SharpCap 2 if I have pylon SDK 2.3.... installed (which doesn't work with SharpCap 2, of course). It doesn't show when I have pylon SDK 4,0.... installed. 

Regards

rplly

(Why did I choose that silly username?)

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Hi rplly (yes, silly name ;) )

I can certainly write some code to drive an external exposure control - via a serial port maybe - just like I do for the SPC LX mode. The current versions of SharpCap won't handle it, but it won't be too hard if you get the hardware working.

On the subject of the missing LX mode, I can't see any good reason why that wouldn't be there - the code that scans for Basler cameras for LX mode is just the same as for normal mode, and both work for me with the Pylon 4.0.2 drivers installed (remembering to install the .NET runtime).

I have fixed a number of bugs in the released version of SharpCap (mostly from bug reports submitted online) and will be releasing a new update with these fixes in over the next day or two - I just want to get some sanity testing done first to make sure I haven't introduced any new silly bugs. One of the bugs was with setting the exposure in Basler LX mode, so it should actually work properly when I release the new version - honest!

cheers,

Robin

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SharpCap 2.0.816 now Released

SharpCap 2.0.800 (only available by auto-update) and 2.0.816 are bug-fix releases that fix the majority of bugs that have been uploaded via the crash reporting tool.

In particular, the following issues are fixed in 2.0.816

  • Fix crash when saving to AVI from ASI/QHY cameras on machines with missing AVI compression CODECs
  • Fix stack overflow crash when changing exposure on Ascom and Basler LX cameras
  • Stop application getting into an inconsistent state (preview showing, no controls) when there are problems with focuser or filter wheel control
  • Fix rounding error that was sometimes putting some of the controls just out of range, resulting in a crash
  • Fix crash when starting capture in SPC900 LX mode before a frame had been previewed
  • Re-order colour space list on ASI cameras to put RGB24 and Mono first

2.0.800 also resolved the following issues

  • Improve the reticule so that it stays over the same point on the image if you resize, zoom or scroll the preview window
  • Check for and warn about a missing/read only capture folder when starting a capture
  • Fix a number of crashes from bug reports
  • Add additional diagnostic logging for some bug report issues that are not clear cut
  • Fix crash in auto-update that seems to be occurring on Windows XP
  • Fix crash when the histogram is closed with the 'x' button and then re-opened
  • Fix crash on auto-update if download of new version fails
  • Fix crash with LX mode webcam if capture is started before a preview frame has completed
  • Remove 'Beta' text from installer and Start Menu links

Please continue to submit crash reports - I can generally resolve about 80% of issues that are reported just based on the report information.

Those of you on SharpCap 2.0 builds before .800 should upgrade - manually if the auto-update doesn't work - I'm still getting lots of bug reports from build 787 for bugs that are fixed in build 816.

Robin

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Hello Robin,

1/ The missing LX mode - this was resolved following a re-boot of my pc. (I hope you didn't waste too much time on this.)

2/ BX mode can work with my Basler Scout. (I'm using "BX mode" for the Basler scA1400-17gm extended exposure mode to avoid any confusion with SharpCap LX mode.) I include the incantation used at the end of this message. The hardware modification is a simple one, but will need one control line (O/P) from the pc, controlled by SharpCap. (I can willingly supply details, if requested.)

After much playing about with 4 pylon SDKs and 3 SharpCaps I conclude the following.

a) I could have extended exposures with pylon 4 + SharpCap 2, using GenICam; but only 8 bits deep.

B) I could have extended exposures with pylon 2.3 + SharpCap 1.5, using Basler (non-LX) and 12 bits deep.

Being greedy, I want BX mode and 12 bits deep images.

I'm sure you do not want to maintain SharpCap 1.5; however when I use SharpCap 2 with pylon 2.3, SharpCap crashes if I select the Basler camera (ID 83101 & 62407). (UPDATE SharpCap 2_0_816 crash report 33599.)

What I would really like (please) would be a modified SharpCap which, when Basler BX mode is selected:-

* Sends the incantation commands to the Basler {optional, since these can be set via the Video Capture Filter}

* Allows the user to select an exposure duration (seconds to 10's of minutes)

* Controls an O/P line (similar to SPC LX control lines) such that it goes high at the start of an exposure, stays high throughout the exposure, and goes low at the end of the exposure; repeating as required for multiple exposures. (The logic could be optionally inverted, to suit external hardware.)

* Works with pylon 2.3 SDK, so 12 bit SER files can be saved.

If you could incorporate some or all of the modifications, it would be wonderful.

(p.s. it would be nice if the Video Capture Filter setting for 'beginner ... guru' was persistent.)

BX mode incantation

--------------------------

1/ Need to set a minimum exposure time.

                I use "Exposure Timebase"=2440 {allows up to 10s exposures for setup}

                and "Exposure Time (Raw)"=123 {~0.3s min)

Camera.ExposureTimeAbs.SetValue(300000);

2/ "Line Debounce Time Abs"=20000 {20ms is usually adequate for a electromechanical switch; could be less for serial port electronics, but 20ms in 10's of seconds is irrelevant.}

3/ "Line Selector"="Input Line 1"

4/ "Line Mode"="Input" {sometimes seems to be set automatically, following 3/}

5/ "Trigger Selector"="Acquisition Start"

Camera.TriggerSelector.SetValue(TriggerSelector_AcquisitionStart);

6/ "Trigger Source"="Line 1"

Camera.TriggerSource.SetValue(TriggerSource_Line1);

7/ "Exposure Mode"="Trigger Width"

Camera.ExposureMode.SetValue(ExposureMode_TriggerWidth);

8/ "Trigger Activation"="Rising Edge"

Camera.TriggerActivation.SetValue(TriggerActivation_RisingEdge);

With "Trigger Mode" still set to "Off", normal camera (10s max) operation is continued.

9/ "Trigger Mode"="On" {BX mode active - exposures initiated/controlled by Line 1}

Camera.TriggerMode.SetValue(TriggerMode_On);

To revert to normal mode, set "Trigger Mode" back to "Off"

To avoid the need to monitor the TrigRdy camera O/P line during multiple exposures, I suggest a simple time delay, sufficient to upload the image, be instigated.

Good Luck

rplly

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Phew! That's going to take some time to think my way through. Let's see if we can fix the SharpCap 2/Basler4 problem first. I have been to look for the error report codes that you gave and found an empty upload directory - not good... After a little tinkering with the php script that handles the uploads I seem to be able to upload reports again, so maybe you could try crashing SharpCap2 again and re-sending the reports - hopefully they will arrive correctly this time!

cheers,

Robin

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Hello Robin,

I don't have a problem with SharpCap 2/pylon 4 (apart from GenICam=8 bits only)

SharpCap 2_0_816 opening Basler Camera (non LX mode) - pylon 2.3 API/SDK with .NET installed.

(A very polite) crash as soon as Basler selection clicked in "Cameras" sub-menu.

I hope the error report arrives OK. If not, see below or ask me for specific details as shown in the error report.

Some content from Error report #97356

System.MissingMethodException

Method not found: 'Boolean PylonC.NET.HandleBase.op_Inequality(PylonC.NET.HandleBase, PylonC.NET.HandleBase)'.

Void Grab() @ PylonC.NETSupportLibrary.ImageProvider

rplly

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Hello, currently using v. 2.0.816. After Sharpcap starts up, the auto updater alerts about v 2.0.832 update available. I choose update, then it downloads the new version, but when it tries to execute the installer, an error message appears, saying:

"The installer package cannot be executed. Check if package exists or if you have permission to access or contact software dealer and check if package is a valid Widows Installer."

The message is translated fro hungarian to English, so the original Englist text may be different. :)

Win7, 32 bit

Cheers,

Gabor

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Sounds like you either have a corrupt download or something on your machine preventing the extracted msi from running. I have just re-downloaded the installer and checked it and it seems fine to me, so I don't think the file on the server has a problem.

If you search for 'installation package could not be opened' (the english version of the text you are seeing) you will see lots of posts about this issue suggesting many different causes.

Probably the best bet is to try downloading and installing manually. Here is the link for the .832 installer : http://www.sharpcap.co.uk/SharpCapInstall-2.0.832.0.msi.zip

Robin

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Hi. I have just acquired a Basler Scout colour camera. It connects to my laptop by firewire,...well eventually it did :angry8:.

When using SharpCap 2, the camera does not appear in the 'cameras' drop down list. My MS Lfecam cinema does, as does my Logitech.

The only reference to Basler in the camera options is Basler Genicam. If I click this I get: 'Error HRESULT E_FAIL has been returned from a call to a COM component'.

The Basler Scout appears at the top of the list in device manager with the model number etc, as does Basler Pylon 1394 Bus OHCI TI and VIA OHCI Compliant IEEE Host Controller. [The last two appear under the 1394 bus host controllers] whatever they mean?

There are no yellow splodges by the devices etc listed in device manager and it also says each device is working correctly.

I've tried re-installing the latest drivers several times [and also opted to install runtime.net each time] but with no luck.

If I use Pylon Viewer I can get an image from the camera on screen.

The same happened in Sharpcap 1 as well. Any suggestions...please....this is becoming really time consuming.....at least there are clouds about though. :angry:

PS...running MS XP SP3 as my aging laptop won't run anything else.

Howard

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Hi Howard,

replied in detail to your post over on the AstronomyShed forums.

cheers,

Robin

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