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SharpCap - free Astro Webcam Capture Software

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My first post.

My wife recently gave me a nice birthday present: the Revolution Imager package for use with my Celestron NexStar 8SE. Overall, I’m enjoying the product. I am, however, experiencing an issue with SharpCap that I haven’t been able to resolve. Both the manufacturer and distributor could not help me resolve this.

Following the instructions on RevolutionImager.com, I installed SharpCap (in this case version 2.8.2325, which is the latest). Then I connected the USB capture device to my Windows 7 laptop. Windows search for and installed USB drivers that show up in Device Manager as “OEM Capture".

With the Revolution camera attached to the USB, when I fire up SharpCap, the camera name appears in the Camera menu as "OEM Device", rather than "USB2.0 PC CAMERA” as RevolutionImager Web site says it should. SharpCap does display what the camera is seeing, and it appears that I can successfully execute a Snapshot. However, when I try to capture to an AVI file, no matter how many frames I select for the capture, it only creates an AVI file containing only a single frame, with a size of 875 bytes.

I tried this on another Windows 7 laptop and got the same results.

Are there additional drivers that have to be installed? 

As a note, when I do a capture using the laptop's builtin Webcam, SharpCap does produce an AVI file with the correct number of frames.

I am no expert in video technology, so if you have an answer, please err on the side of plain English. I will eventually pick up the technical nomenclature as I go.

Much obliged!

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Hi,

I'm afraid that this issue with the Revolution Imager has been reported before and is a known issue - something in the drivers for the USB grabber devices doesn't work nicely with the way SharpCap uses the device. I'm afraid this is something I can't really fix (certainly not without one of the offending USB devices to test with). Some people have got around the problem by buying a different USB grabber devices - these don't cost too much - £20 at most.

Alternatively, you could use a different capture application for capturing AVI - it's basically some of the more advanced stuff that SharpCap does like being able to start/stop capture without resetting the devices that is likely causing the problem. You can still use SharpCap for capturing still images or to use the live stacking feature as these should not be affected by the AVI issue.

cheers,

Robin

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Thank you Robin for the very quick reply. I'd really like to use SharpCap for AVI because the interface is straightforward and easy to use. Am trying the LiveStack feature in the meantime. And will keep plugging away to see if I can get it working with another combination.

You mention some people have gotten around the issue by using a different USB grabber. Do you have a recommendation on a USB grabber I could investigate?

Edited by Stout

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Grabbers... the problem is that they can often look the same but have different chipsets in or different drivers - particularly with the 'no name' brands from amazon/ebay.

One that avoids the 'no name' problem is this - http://www.ezcap.tv/usb-video-capture/ezcap116-capture-card - I have one of these and it works fine with SharpCap. Near the higher end of the price bracket however.

I also have one that works and looks like this - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tinksky-Easycap-Adapter-Capture-Support/dp/B00YA4QNW6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461934629&sr=8-1&keywords=easycap

 - however I believe that there are different chipsets inside cases that look just like this, so it's hard to be sure you're getting the same model. The one I have shows up as 'SMI Grabber Device' in Windows and does work with SharpCap.

cheers,

Robin

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Wow, thank you again. Will check these grabbers out, then let you know if I purchase and what the results are.

The only thing that gives me pause is whether the issue is the grabber or somehow the camera itself isn't playing nice with SharpCap. That's why I asked about missing drivers in my original post.

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@Stout, as far as I understand it the revoloution camera is an analogue camera so it doesn't interact directly with the computer - that means it has to be the grabber (grabber drivers) that have the problem. The camera itself has no idea of whether you are capturing or just watching the images, and viewing the images works fine.

There might just be newer/alternative drivers out there for the grabber that fix the issue, but I wouldn't like to bet on it.

cheers,

Robin

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Well, Robin, you are right about the grabber. I went to Best Buy and bought a Roxio Video Capture USB (which comes packaged with other software). SharpCap recognizes the Roxio USB and captures AVI files with the correct number of frames using the Revolution Imager camera.

So the issue would be with the USB grabber that comes with the Revolution Imager. It’s hard to account for why it would produce AVI for some and not others. The vagaries of Microsoft Windows perhaps?

OK, now I am just waiting for some good weather so I can have some fun with all this.

Thank you again!

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Hi,

glad that you are now all ready to go. I think the problem with the revolution grabber is in the drivers that it comes with. They've probably only made a small mistake in it and it works with most software, it's just that SharpCap uses it in a slightly different way and that's enough to reveal the bug.

cheers,

Robin

 

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Robin:

I've noticed over on Cloudy Nights that the latest beta release apparently has a digital gain switch in the alignment tab of the live stack that increase the brightness image for star detection.  The posting was with respect to a ZWO ASI224 camera.  

When running an analog camera through a grabber, I can't seem to find any such switch.  Is this something implemented only on the USB cameras ?

best

john 

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Hi John,

That feature will be in the next beta build I release - it's going to appear on the live stacking configuration with the other options used for star detection and alignment. One or two people who have been trying things out for me have the build, although it turned out there were a few bugs in it.

cheers,

Robin

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I am new to imaging and was trying to install SharpCap on my laptop with Win 10. I shut off my Kaspersky and Windows Firewall. I downloaded several 2.8** and 2.9.2349.0 versions. None of them show any downloading in progress or get past the initializing window. I have already installed and set up Registax and AutoStakkert. I don't seem to see any specific version of SharpCap for Win 10. Am I missing anything? Here is the error message:

[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:45:59]i201: Planned package: vc120, state: Absent, default requested: Present, ba requested: Present, execute: Install, rollback: None, cache: Yes, uncache: No, dependency: None
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:45:59]i201: Planned package: SharpCapInstall.msi, state: Absent, default requested: Present, ba requested: Present, execute: Install, rollback: Uninstall, cache: Yes, uncache: No, dependency: Register
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:45:59]i299: Plan complete, result: 0x0
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:45:59]i300: Apply begin
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:45:59]i010: Launching elevated engine process.
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:50:59]e000: Error 0x8007041d: Failed to launch elevated child process: C:\Users\Bob\AppData\Local\Temp\{7963c8c7-9b2f-4daa-b9bc-fc6dadff9e02}\.be\SharpCapInstall.exe
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:50:59]e000: Error 0x8007041d: Failed to elevate.
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:50:59]e000: Error 0x8007041d: Failed to actually elevate.
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:50:59]e000: Error 0x8007041d: Failed to elevate.
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:50:59]i399: Apply complete, result: 0x8007041d, restart: None, ba requested restart:  No

 

 

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Bob

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Bob, 

I've moved your post into the Sharpcap thread. Sharpcap should install on win 10 with no problems, this could be something specific to your computer. A little more info about the computer (make, model, specs and the version of win 10) might be helpful.

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1 hour ago, bobbie said:

I am new to imaging and was trying to install SharpCap on my laptop with Win 10. I shut off my Kaspersky and Windows Firewall. I downloaded several 2.8** and 2.9.2349.0 versions. None of them show any downloading in progress or get past the initializing window. I have already installed and set up Registax and AutoStakkert. I don't seem to see any specific version of SharpCap for Win 10. Am I missing anything? Here is the error message:

[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:45:59]i201: Planned package: vc120, state: Absent, default requested: Present, ba requested: Present, execute: Install, rollback: None, cache: Yes, uncache: No, dependency: None
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:45:59]i201: Planned package: SharpCapInstall.msi, state: Absent, default requested: Present, ba requested: Present, execute: Install, rollback: Uninstall, cache: Yes, uncache: No, dependency: Register
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:45:59]i299: Plan complete, result: 0x0
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:45:59]i300: Apply begin
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:45:59]i010: Launching elevated engine process.
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:50:59]e000: Error 0x8007041d: Failed to launch elevated child process: C:\Users\Bob\AppData\Local\Temp\{7963c8c7-9b2f-4daa-b9bc-fc6dadff9e02}\.be\SharpCapInstall.exe
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:50:59]e000: Error 0x8007041d: Failed to elevate.
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:50:59]e000: Error 0x8007041d: Failed to actually elevate.
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:50:59]e000: Error 0x8007041d: Failed to elevate.
[4B80:295C][2016-05-11T11:50:59]i399: Apply complete, result: 0x8007041d, restart: None, ba requested restart:  No

 

 

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Bob

Looks like it is failing to run the actually installation engine 'as administrator' for some weird reason. I'd only expect to see this if you clicked 'No' to the allow this program to make changes to your computer prompt.

Probably the easiest thing to do is to try right-clicking on the installer and selecting 'Run as Administrator' which will hopefully sidestep the whole problem.

Robin

 

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Hi, I'm using a Lenovo T410 on windows 7 professional with a ZWOASI120MM. When using Sharpcap my computer will frequently crash hard, that is, I have to pull the battery out and reboot. This is guaranteed to happen if I'm trying longer exposures, but can also happen when the program is simply running. It's much more likely to happen if I'm using the camera's maximum resolution. 

I emailed Robin about this last year, but because I can't make an error log there was not much we could do about it. I really want to get Sharpcap working reliably because it's the only image capture software I've used that's remotely intuitive, and to be honest, I hate learning new software. 

Any thoughts wold be appreciated. 

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12 minutes ago, Splittersplatter said:

Hi, I'm using a Lenovo T410 on windows 7 professional with a ZWOASI120MM. When using Sharpcap my computer will frequently crash hard, that is, I have to pull the battery out and reboot. This is guaranteed to happen if I'm trying longer exposures, but can also happen when the program is simply running. It's much more likely to happen if I'm using the camera's maximum resolution. 

I emailed Robin about this last year, but because I can't make an error log there was not much we could do about it. I really want to get Sharpcap working reliably because it's the only image capture software I've used that's remotely intuitive, and to be honest, I hate learning new software. 

Any thoughts wold be appreciated. 

Moved to the Sharpcap thread

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1 hour ago, Splittersplatter said:

Hi, I'm using a Lenovo T410 on windows 7 professional with a ZWOASI120MM. When using Sharpcap my computer will frequently crash hard, that is, I have to pull the battery out and reboot. This is guaranteed to happen if I'm trying longer exposures, but can also happen when the program is simply running. It's much more likely to happen if I'm using the camera's maximum resolution. 

I emailed Robin about this last year, but because I can't make an error log there was not much we could do about it. I really want to get Sharpcap working reliably because it's the only image capture software I've used that's remotely intuitive, and to be honest, I hate learning new software. 

Any thoughts wold be appreciated. 

Jog my memory... was it that the computer actually crashed (blue screen of death, reboot, etc) or that it froze up so you couldn't do anything with it?

Either way, worth upgrading to the latest/greatest versions of both SharpCap (2.9.x beta) and the ZWO driver in case that's any help.

cheers,

Robin

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12 hours ago, rwg said:

Jog my memory... was it that the computer actually crashed (blue screen of death, reboot, etc) or that it froze up so you couldn't do anything with it?

Either way, worth upgrading to the latest/greatest versions of both SharpCap (2.9.x beta) and the ZWO driver in case that's any help.

cheers,

Robin

Hi, usually the computer just freezes hard. I downloaded some newer zwo drivers and the 2.9 beta, and I think it was a bit more stable than usual, but it did eventually freeze, and when I rebooted and tried again I got BSOD, which is far less common. The blue screen said BUGCODE_USB_DRIVER. My limited IT skills tells me it might be something to do with a bug in the usb driver. Any thoughts?

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Hi,

actually the BSOD is useful, since it may have created a crash dump file somewhere on your disk (look in c:\windows\minidump). If you find a crash dump file there it would be worth trying to get it to ZWO via their forum as maybe they can use it to track down the bug in the USB driver.

Another think to check for would be to make sure that you have the latest version of the drivers for your computer's USB chipset - have a look on the Lenovo site - usually you can enter your model code and it gives you a list of drivers and downloads.

cheers,

Robin

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1 hour ago, rwg said:

Hi,

actually the BSOD is useful, since it may have created a crash dump file somewhere on your disk (look in c:\windows\minidump). If you find a crash dump file there it would be worth trying to get it to ZWO via their forum as maybe they can use it to track down the bug in the USB driver.

Another think to check for would be to make sure that you have the latest version of the drivers for your computer's USB chipset - have a look on the Lenovo site - usually you can enter your model code and it gives you a list of drivers and downloads.

cheers,

Robin

Thanks again. I will get the minidump over to zwo. If you don't mind could you have a peek at this blue screen report, just to see if anything jumps out at you?

Problem signature:
  Problem Event Name:    BlueScreen
  OS Version:    6.1.7601.2.1.0.256.48
  Locale ID:    2057

Additional information about the problem:
  BCCode:    fe
  BCP1:    0000000000000005
  BCP2:    FFFFFA8008D591A0
  BCP3:    0000000080863B3C
  BCP4:    FFFFFA800A1B6758
  OS Version:    6_1_7601
  Service Pack:    1_0
  Product:    256_1

Files that help describe the problem:
  C:\Windows\Minidump\053116-16676-01.dmp
  C:\Users\laptop\AppData\Local\Temp\WER-45973-0.sysdata.xml

 

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2 hours ago, rwg said:

Hi,

actually the BSOD is useful, since it may have created a crash dump file somewhere on your disk (look in c:\windows\minidump). If you find a crash dump file there it would be worth trying to get it to ZWO via their forum as maybe they can use it to track down the bug in the USB driver.

Another think to check for would be to make sure that you have the latest version of the drivers for your computer's USB chipset - have a look on the Lenovo site - usually you can enter your model code and it gives you a list of drivers and downloads.

cheers,

Robin

Oh, and by the way, updating the chipset drivers seems to have made a marked improvement on fps, by about four or five times, so hopefully there'll be further improvements. Thanks

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If you send me the .dmp file from c:\windows\minidump via PM then I will see if there is any info to be gained from it - it doesn't take long and you usually get to find out which driver crashed.

cheers,

Robin

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Hi,

I think SharpCap is great, however I have two problems (or one, and one suggestion)

Whatever I do with LiveStacking, using my ASI120MC or a Dummy/Test Cam I can't get the Frame align to work. Log says Alignment failed, Failed to calculate Alinment. And in the Status tab there is "Frame not stacked because: " and then a german Error "about the arithmetic calculation caused an overflow error". I am lost.

Second is that it would be nice to genereate quickly a dark frame for using. Like in FireCapture, put a cap on the scope, enter how much frames you like to use, start, beep, use the image.

Cheers,

Carsten

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Hi Carsten,

the dark frame capture is there in recent versions - go to the capture menu and choose 'Capture Dark'.

For the overflow error, I will be releasing a new 2.9 beta in the next day or two which will put extra info in the Log tab which should help me to track down the arithmetic error - have a go with that version when it is available and please report the full text from the Log tab.

thanks,

Robin

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Ah, thanks! Found it with your help :-)

Also found the "ROI". May I suggest to be able to set it in the preview window? Or maybe it is also hidden somewhere.

For the Aligning: It works now in the latest Beta!

Thanks,
Carsten
 

 

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Hi Carsten,

It turned out that the problem with the aligning was down to the regional settings on the computer - if you had '.' as the decimal separator (ie 1.23) then it worked, if you had ',' (ie 1,23) then it didnt. That's now fixed in the latest beta as you spotted.

Can I ask you to explain a bit more what you mean by " May I suggest to be able to set it in the preview window? " for the ROI ? Are you suggesting that you could set the camera to (say) a 600x600 ROI by dragging an area in the preview window?

thanks,

Robin

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