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SharpCap - free Astro Webcam Capture Software

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Yes, first of all you need to mod the webcam (SPC900/880 I presume), then in the SharpCap you need to select Options->Serial LX Configuration and select at minimum a serial port and the exposure control line (which pin on the serial port is controling the webcam exposures).

You may need to buy a USB-Serial adapter too if your PC has no serial port...

cheers,

Robin

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Yes, first of all you need to mod the webcam (SPC900/880 I presume), then in the SharpCap you need to select Options->Serial LX Configuration and select at minimum a serial port and the exposure control line (which pin on the serial port is controling the webcam exposures).

You may need to buy a USB-Serial adapter too if your PC has no serial port...

cheers,

Robin

I should be so lucky, it's a generic USB2.0 Webcam. I tried your VID search trick and got lots of hits that confirm it's a - USB2.0 webcam,  :-)

All the useful looking sites seem to be in Kanji!

I will dissect the camera when I'm less tired.

I ordered a 2x serial port board when I got my computer and was surprised to find it had one already :-)

I also have an array of USB-serial leads and chips about (even a USB - SPI one that I want to try soon).

Thanks anyway.

Edited by Stub Mandrel

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Ok, I think that I know what has happened now...

SharpCap by default only shows LX mode for SPC webcams... But some people (a very few) have modified other cameras in the same way, so SharpCap has a menu option 'enable LX mode on this camera'. This will make SharpCap show the LX option for that camera in future. It's like an expert mode thing and I have a suspicion that you've pressed it by mistake at some point, so that SharpCap is showing that option but to be honest I very much doubt that any modern camera can be LX modified (too much is now integrated onto single chips to do the sort of hack you could with the SPC)

cheers,

Robin

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Another problem I'm afraid Robin!

I upgraded to windows 10 yesterday and now Sharpcap just tells me it is detecting cameras.  I've left it for about 10 mins, but it hasn't changed.  When I try to select my camera from the drop down menu, I only get the option of ASCOM or CMOS.  If I choose either, I get an error message saying the camera is not available.

Any suggestions please?

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Thanks Robin,

Here's (yet another) suggestion: when upgrading, don't reset the tips to zero!

You do such a good job of responding to ideas with new versions, I never seem to get past the first lot of tips...

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Another problem I'm afraid Robin!

I upgraded to windows 10 yesterday and now Sharpcap just tells me it is detecting cameras.  I've left it for about 10 mins, but it hasn't changed.  When I try to select my camera from the drop down menu, I only get the option of ASCOM or CMOS.  If I choose either, I get an error message saying the camera is not available.

Any suggestions please?

I'd suggest trying an uninstall and then reinstall of both SharpCap and the camera drivers - see if that helps.

cheers,

Robin

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I'm quite please with myself as I have managed to fix it!

It just needed me to re-re-install the camera drivers again!  Why I didn't think of it before?!?

All working fine, sorry to trouble you.

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I'd suggest trying an uninstall and then reinstall of both SharpCap and the camera drivers - see if that helps.

cheers,

Robin

Crossed with my post, but much appreciated Robin.  Great minds think alike!

Have to say, I really enjoy using Sharpcap and am very pleased at the level of service you provide. Thank you.

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SharpCap 2.6.1711 Now Available

Big new feature this time round is support for live stacking - basically video astronomy - on ZWO, QHY, Altair and ASCOM cameras. So far no alignment algorithm, so each frame is added straight onto the stack without any alignment adjustment if the image has shifted, but that will come in the next version (already working on it).

Other notable improvemets include:

  • Support for Altair Astro GP Cameras
  • Frame timestamp option for ZWO and Altair cameras
  • New 'Display Controls' section lets you change brightness/contrast/gamma used for display without affecting saved images
  • Fix gremlins in new control UI including pressing enter now applies edited value
  • Fix bug with Bahtinov mask focusing routine which could lead to poor detection of the bahtinov spikes.
  • Various bug fixes

As usual, it's all available now from the download page, and will appear by auto-update in a week or two.

cheers,

Robin

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Updated it to 2.6.1671.0 and it picked the correct camera all on it's own. I'll play later with my artificial serial-port line, but so far so good.

Thank you!

Dave

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Hello Robin,

Here's hoping for frame stacking for 'mere mortal' cameras :-)

Trying to get long exposures on my two reasonably usable cameras (lifecam and a.n. other) They both seem to be limited to about 7 fps.

If I fiddle with the frame divisor it starts reporting long exposure times, but the image shoes it is clearly capturing at significantly above 1fps.

Is there a way to get a Lifecam to do ~1 second exposures, I'm sure I have seen others claiming they can do this in sharpcap and this would be very helpful if I am to use it for guiding?

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Hi,

there's no way that I know of to extend the exposures on the Lifecam or most other webcams. When you turn on the frame divisor, you're basically telling SharpCap to skip all but 1 frame out of every N (N is what you've set the frame divisor to). So, you get less frames coming through to the display and output file (great for timelapses) but it doesn't actually increase the exposure time (even though the status bar might say it has - must fix that!)

I probably will implement live stacking for webcams in the future, but more targeted at astro cameras being used via their webcam drivers. I'm not sure that with an actual webcam, with the exposure limited to 1/10s or 1/20s or thereabouts that there will be enough data in the individual frames for stacking to give any decent results.

cheers,

Robin

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That's more or less what I assumed, still it's nice to hope. What about making the webcam capture do a non-rolling 10x stack a bit like the effect preview?

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How does the live stacking work? Is it automatic or do you have to check some boxes? Looks pretty good though!

Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk

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That's more or less what I assumed, still it's nice to hope. What about making the webcam capture do a non-rolling 10x stack a bit like the effect preview?

I think it's best to wait and see what the live stacking looks like when I do enable it for webcams - who knows... it might just work :)

How does the live stacking work? Is it automatic or do you have to check some boxes? Looks pretty good though!

Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk

http://www.sharpcap.co.uk/sharpcap/features/live-stacking

cheers,

Robin

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Hi Robin,

Congratulations the Sharpcap is a great software.

I have interest in create scripts  for Sharpcap, I'm making a allsky camera using a ZWO ASI130MM. I need save the images in two formats files FITS and PNG,  you have a documentation with a specifications of the classes and methods do Sharpcap?

Thank you,

Edison

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Excuse me the  correct is

you have a documentation with a specifications of the Sharpcap classes and methods?

Thank you,

Edison

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Hi Edison,

there isn't a way at the moment to capture the same frame into two different formats, but you can change the format easily in the script.

SharpCap.SelectedCamera.Controls.OutputFormat.Value = "Fits files (*.fits)"

The value you set is just the same as the text for the format you want on the Output Format dropdown.

Hope this helps,

Robin

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SharpCap 2.6.1835 is Now Available

This is an interim release that fixes a number of issues and adds some minor improvements to the live stacking functionality. Bigger changes to live stacking are coming soon, in particular much of the work for auto-alignment is done but there is still another week or two of changes and testing to do before this will be ready to release.
 

This release also contains a significant change if you have a ZWO ASI174 camera - ZWO have released a new version of their SDK which massively reduces the amp glow that has been experienced in the past with this camera when taking long exposures. The difference is really very impressive, as you can see in some test dark shots that I took here. This change somewhat reduces the maximum exposure that you can get to 300s, but given the massive reduction in noise it's a great improvement as far as I can tell.

For full details, see the changelog.

cheers,

Robin

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I think that the problem is that your output format control looks like it is set to auto (on the right hand side, behind the console window). That means that it will select the best output format (what it thinks is best) based on your exposure length - short exposures get avi/ser for video capture, longer get png or fits.

Anyway, your control looks like it has chosen avi, but you are trying to save to a fits file. Actually, it won't try to use avi as that is a video format and no good for taking a snapshot, but if the selected format is a video format it then selects PNG if possible, so to use fits ou need to set the output format control to non-auto and choose fits.

Robin

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Is this built with the 0803 version of the ASI SDK Robin, or is there a later one?

James

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Hi James,

I have used ASICamera2.dll 1.10.0.36 (dated 24/9/2015) in the latest build of SharpCap, but I received an  even newer build from Sam this morning that I haven't had a chance to look at yet - apparently a couple of bug fixes in it.

cheers,

Robin

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