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SharpCap - free Astro Webcam Capture Software

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Thanks, that's all the info I needed - I had the wrong condition on whether to install that component in my installer. Your install of the x64 version was tricking it into thinking it wasn't necessary I think.

I'll have it fixed in the next version, in the meantime, install the download from this link and all should be well : https://download.microsoft.com/download/2/E/6/2E61CFA4-993B-4DD4-91DA-3737CD5CD6E3/vcredist_x86.exe

cheers,

Robin

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That worked, thanks Robin.

Ironically the first thing the working version did was open a folder with the bug report in it ;-)

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Glad it's working :) - just popped a new build up which has this bug fix and a few others in.

Someone out there reported a bug with a NexImage Burst - if they see this, please retest with the new build. Even if this build doesn't work quite right I've added more diagnostic information which should help me track down the issue.

cheers,

Robin

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Hi

I use a intel I5, windows 8 laptop with 8gb RAM yet I am having issues with Sharpcap 2.6 which I have just downloaded.

I have followed one of Astroshed's tutorials by Dion in converting my Philips SPC 900 webcam to be my polar alignment webcam (to save the knees!!)

The webcam has opened up in sharpcap however, on 4 occasions now the program has crashed and shut down my computer.  I have not got any error message other than a screen before shut down saying windows was sending off the log files which I assume is standard when a windows based laptop crashes?

The only other program open at the time was CDC running through Eqmod.

Has anyone else had this issue?

Thanks :grin:

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Hi Julian,

I do recall issues like this hitting some people with the SPC900 years ago. It's a driver bug with the SPC drivers, although possibly triggered by the way that SharpCap commands the camera in order to get access to the cameras control values. I've never seen it happen to me, in spite of testing with what seemed to be the same OS version etc as those who had the issues, so I've been unable to fix the issue.

All I can suggest is checking that you have the correct up to date version of the drivers for the SPC.

cheers,

Robin

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Thanks Robin, the drivers would be a few years old when I first got the camera and use dit to good effect with planetary work.  Then I got into DSOs and did not use it for a few years until i decided to change teh camera to my Polar alignment camera.

Do you know how I can check my drivers and where I could get upto date drivers for the SPC 900?

Julian

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Hi Julian

I've been using the Windows 7 drivers from this page - http://www.p4c.philips.com/cgi-bin/cpindex.pl?ctn=SPC900NC/00&hlt=Link_Software&mid=Link_Software&scy=NL&slg=AEN- for Windows 7, 8 and 10. You should be able to see the date and version number of the current drivers in the device manager (right click on device, select properties, then the driver tab).

cheers,

Robin

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I have tried to connect the camera through a separate USB port on the laptop rather than through the USB 7 port hub.  It seems ot be working now without crashing, what a strange hobby, trial and error!! :rolleyes:

Thanks for your help and guidance as ever :grin:

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I have tried to connect the camera through a separate USB port on the laptop rather than through the USB 7 port hub.  It seems ot be working now without crashing, what a strange hobby, trial and error!! :rolleyes:

Thanks for your help and guidance as ever :grin:

If it is an unpowered hub it may not be able to supply enough current for all the devices attached to it. Devices that get told there are not sufficient 'units' of current available from eth USB connection will usually shut down. If so,  consider getting a powered hub.

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Thanks Guys, but it is a powered hub however, I had more issues when I used it powered than I did unpowered, so I stopped powering it.  The USB cables are 15m in length with the active repeater.  Maybe I will try powering the hub againa nd see if those old issues persist.  :smiley:

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I was sure SharpCap did auto dark frame subtraction but I cannot find that option now - did it ever used to? Whilst not necessary for very short exposure planetary imaging it is essential for longer exposure meteor/AllSky cam recordings. Any chance this can be included?

ChrisH

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> more issues when I used it powered than I did unpowered

That suggests a possible issue with the power supply.

I have never been able to get USB to work at over 9m without a repeater, you may be pushing the limits.

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I was sure SharpCap did auto dark frame subtraction but I cannot find that option now - did it ever used to? Whilst not necessary for very short exposure planetary imaging it is essential for longer exposure meteor/AllSky cam recordings. Any chance this can be included?

ChrisH

Hi Chris,

dark subtraction is currently only available in live stacking mode in the 2.7 beta series. I'm sure it will make it into normal mode one day :)

cheers,

Robin

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Hi Robin, 

I was running my QHY5-IIL on the latest 2.7 beta release and that was a breeze ...then the beta expired and I installed the latest 2.6 version available .... from that moment I ve been unable to use sharpcap as every time I try to initialize it I ge a blue Windows error message that goes " DRIVER IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL"  and the windows reboots ..

I run an XP SP3 on Fusion 5 over a mackbook ....any Idea what might be happening ?

Any chance I could use version 2.7 again ? 

rgards 

pf 

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I was sure SharpCap did auto dark frame subtraction but I cannot find that option now - did it ever used to? Whilst not necessary for very short exposure planetary imaging it is essential for longer exposure meteor/AllSky cam recordings. Any chance this can be included?

ChrisH

If you have a dark capture you can use PIPP for dark frame subtraction until Robin updates SharpCap to support it.  PIPP will also do flat frame calibration if you want to go that far.

Cheers,

Chris

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If you have a dark capture you can use PIPP for dark frame subtraction until Robin updates SharpCap to support it.  PIPP will also do flat frame calibration if you want to go that far.

Cheers,

Chris

Thanks Chris, yes I know there are work-arounds but for the AllSky camera I like to keep an eye on what's happening throughout an imaging session and without realtime dark frame subtraction it's difficult to differentiate between stars and hot pixels! With the camera running in high res I can look to see exactly where the scope is pointing and what's going on in that area, it just makes it a bit more confused without a clean image. I use FireCapture with a QHY5L-II but that program doesn't support Altair's GPCAM - whereas SharpCap does ;-)

ChrisH

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Hi Robin, 

I was running my QHY5-IIL on the latest 2.7 beta release and that was a breeze ...then the beta expired and I installed the latest 2.6 version available .... from that moment I ve been unable to use sharpcap as every time I try to initialize it I ge a blue Windows error message that goes " DRIVER IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL"  and the windows reboots ..

I run an XP SP3 on Fusion 5 over a mackbook ....any Idea what might be happening ?

Any chance I could use version 2.7 again ? 

rgards 

pf 

Hi,

you can keep using 2.7 - you just need to download the very latest version from the web site - that one runs until the end of this month.#

The way I make the beta builds work is that each build has a time limit on it, but I will always release a new build with a longer date before the existing one runs out. The time limit is designed to stop people using beta builds for ages and then reporting bugs that have already been fixed in later versions.

cheers,

Robin

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Hi Robin,

I am thinking about getting a Mallincam SkyRaider AG mono (which I believe uses the same Aptina MT9034 sensor as the Altair GPCam Mono, ASI120MM and QHY5lL-II mono). Any way, I saw another thread that suggests SharpCap will work with the AG since it recognizes the SkyRaider AG mono as an Altair GPCam Mono. I wanted to confirm if this is actually the case before running out and buying one. Can any SkyRaider AG SharpCap users also confirm this? Also, I'd be interested to know if any users of the AG are successfully using  the Live Stacking feature of  vs 2.7. Thanks in advance for your help, and also thanks for developing this software. I'm eager to try it out once I have a camera that I can use it with.

Regards,

Errol

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Hi Errol,

I've also heard of people getting the Mallincam to work with SharpCap as an Altair GPCam, but I've no experience of it myself. I don't have any Mallincam cameras to test with, so I can't check.

You might be better off asking somewhere like CloudyNights - this is a largely UK forum and Mallincam don't have much market presence here, so you may not find any users of the SkyRaider cameras who have tried SharpCap.

cheers,

Robin

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Hi Robin,

Another question, but this time it is about hardware requirements for live stacking in vs 2.7 of SharpCap. For live stacking of 1.2megapixel deep sky images taken  with any of the 1.2megpix cameras (like the ASI120MM, ASI224, GPCAM, or SkyRaider AG, QHY5L-II, etc), what would you say the shortest exposure length in seconds that SharpCap's live stack can keep up with if running on a Windows 10 machine with the following lowly specs: 2GB RAM, Intel Atom quad core 1.33GHz base CPU (CPU is Intel Z3735F), and 32GB solid state drive ? For example, live stacking of 10sec exposures would require the software to do all its stacking magic and re-adjust the stack in no more than 10 secs to keep up. I ask the question because I think I need a new machine for astro use, and it would be nice if it could handle live stacking at say every 10 sec (faster would be better!). Also does SharpCap's Live Stacking take advantage of multi CPU cores during, or does it run on just a single core? Thanks for the info.

Regards,

Errol

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Hi Errol,

so the current code on my CPU (https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7-4790K+%40+4.00GHz) takes about 180ms to align and stack each 1280x960 frame. The stacking code is largely single core (although other parts of SharpCap take good advantage of multiple cores, particularly when working at high frame rates). So, if we look at the single thread benchmark for my CPU of 2530 and compare it to your Atom CPU (https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Atom+Z3735F+%40+1.33GHz - scores 334), I'd expect your processing time to be roughly 8 times slower (although in real life I wouldn't be surprised by anything between 5 times and 20 times).

I guess the likely results are that you are probably going to have trouble at 2s exposures, will probably be OK at 4-5s and should certainly be fine with 10s.

cheers,

Robin

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Thanks, Robin. Very helpful. I guess dark frame subtraction during stacking would be incorporated in your test speed estimates, and reading/writing to a hard drive vs solid state drive makes no real difference at these >1 sec exposure rates?

Regards,

Errol

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