Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_beauty_night_skies.thumb.jpg.2711ade15e31d01524e7dc52d15c4217.jpg

rwg

SharpCap - free Astro Webcam Capture Software

Recommended Posts

Issues with ASI1600MC-Cool

I'm using Win 7 and latest Ver. 2.9.2709  USB 2. 

1. If PHD2 is open and I start SC it will cause PHD2 to become corrupted and require a restart for PHD2.    I can get PHD2 to work only after SC is open.  I believe this started in late June with ver. 2.9.2644 or 2.9.2672

2.  I can't get bin 1 to work in RGB24,  System hangs, bin 2 or greater work in RGB24.

3. Using bin2 and RGB24 I start out in 8bit mode.  Trying to run in 12 bit mode I went to Raw16, bin 2 and set Debayer to On, but system acts like it's in bin 1 and Auto Color Balance doesn't seem to work and no change in any higher bin settings.  Is it possible to run in 12bit mode bin 2 with a debayered image in the preview?

Don

Edited by DonBoy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Don,

thanks for the report - some initial thoughts...

1 - I presume that you are using a different ZWO camera in PHD? Does PHD2 fall over the moment that you start SharpCap or when you connect to the ASI1600MC camera? I'm trying to work out if it is simply SharpCap querying for the list of ZWO cameras that is doing it (happens at startup) or if it is starting the camera that causes the problem. If you have the two cameras on a hub then that might be the issue - try bringing them both back to separate USB ports on the PC.

2 - Does the whole application or computer freeze, or is it that you just get no frames?

3 - not sure about this just yet.

I do wonder if it might be to do with USB2, which limits the data rate badly on this camera. Have you any way to try with a USB3 port?

cheers,

Robin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

1 - I presume that you are using a different ZWO camera in PHD? Does PHD2 fall over the moment that you start SharpCap or when you connect to the ASI1600MC camera? I'm trying to work out if it is simply SharpCap querying for the list of ZWO cameras that is doing it (happens at startup) or if it is starting the camera that causes the problem. If you have the two cameras on a hub then that might be the issue - try bringing them both back to separate USB ports on the PC

 

I am using a different camera for PHD.  The two cameras do share the same USB hub, and will try to run two separate USB cables to see if that eliminates the issue.  PHD2 display is corrupted and becomes unusable and needs to be restarted.  This wasn't a problem a few updates ago.  This wouldn't be much of an issue but SC crashes a few times while trying to experiment with different settings and PHD2 has to be started each time. 

Quote

2 - Does the whole application or computer freeze, or is it that you just get no frames?

I get no frames and the countdown timer hangs at completion of the exposure and I can't do anything but restart.

Quote

I do wonder if it might be to do with USB2, which limits the data rate badly on this camera. Have you any way to try with a USB3 port?

I can't get Windows to work with USB 3.0, so that is something that needs to be investigated.  Unfortunately I've tried two different manufacturer's USB 3.0 boards and neither one works and they can't solve the problem.

 

Thanks for getting back to me Robin.  I'm trying out the ASI1600 MC to show a few folks how it can be used and hopefully with future updates and me getting over the learning curve the combination of this camera and your software will be the way to go.   Thanks for all you do.

Regards,

Don

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Don,

right, so with my 1600MM, I get about 2.2fps on USB2 - that means that at that frame rate the camera is using pretty much all the bandwidth of USB2. If you have another camera on the same hub, it's not surprising that it plays up as it won't be getting the bandwidth. The first thing is to remove the hub and wire both back to the PC, which should cure the PHD problems - if it doesn't, try swapping ports as you may have picked two ports on the same internal hub.

Next possibility is to try turning down the 'Turbo USB' parameter down in the camera controls - turn it off auto first and then turn it down to minimum (40). This may fix your issues with no frames at full resolution, although the frame rate will be low.

Finally, you really want to get the USB3 working. I have had some success with both Via and Renesas USB3 chipsets for PCIe cards, although you have to get the right drivers - for instance one of my Via cards will only work with the Via drivers, if you use the Microsoft ones (which show as version 0.96) it doesn't work. Another via card shows as version 1.0 with the microsoft drivers and works with them... Don't forget to reboot after changing drivers otherwise you might not be getting the right results.

cheers,

Robin

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

I just love Sharpcap for controlling my solar timelapses. Thanks.

I've recently updated to both 2.8 and now 2.9 and the camera control panel no longer allows me to change the gamma setting of the camera. (version 2.0 does so I've been using that) 

I updated the driver for the DMK so the issue shouldn't be there. 

I also have a ZWO 174 (USB 3.0) driver and camera. Though I don't use them at the same time. I have no idea if that is relevant information or not. 

Im on a dell alienware with windows 10.

I reported it as a bug i think through the software but i have no idea whether that went through as there is no request for an email address. 

thanks again

 

cheers

Karen 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Robin,

 

I was able to get a computer to work using USB 3.0 and was able to run successfully Raw 16 bin 1, but going to Raw16 bin2 or bin3 or bin4 caused no change in the binning and operated like it was still bin 1.   I tested this also with just the supplied USB 3.0 cable that came with the camera and there was no difference in operation.  

Any additional thoughts or steps I should take to get the software to work with Raw16 bin2?

Don

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Don,

just a silly check the plug suggestion - SharpCap now has an 'Auto' zoom mode that will automatically scale the camera image to fit the available screen space - is it possible that the binning was working for you but that the auto-scaling made each mode look just the same? Another thing to try would be to change the 'hardware binning' option from on to off (or vice versa) to see if that has any effect.  In 16 bit mode you probably want hardware binning set to off as I think it drops the DAC to 10 bit mode.

cheers,

Robin

PS. realize that it is not quite the same, but I have just tested with my 1600MM cool and binning seems to work fine in all the modes I have tested.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@SUNGRAZER65

Sorry, this one slipped past me - what camera are you having trouble with the gamma control on? Is it an Imaging Source or Celestron model? I updated to the latest Imaging Source SDK in version 2.9, which is probably the root cause of the problem. Anyway, I will have a look when I get a moment.

cheers,

Robin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Hi Don,

just a silly check the plug suggestion - SharpCap now has an 'Auto' zoom mode that will automatically scale the camera image to fit the available screen space - is it possible that the binning was working for you but that the auto-scaling made each mode look just the same? Another thing to try would be to change the 'hardware binning' option from on to off (or vice versa) to see if that has any effect.  In 16 bit mode you probably want hardware binning set to off as I think it drops the DAC to 10 bit mode.

cheers,

Robin

PS. realize that it is not quite the same, but I have just tested with my 1600MM cool and binning seems to work fine in all the modes I have tested.

 
 
 

Robin,

With Hardware Binning set to Off in Raw 16 going from bin 1 thru bin 4 all I saw was image scale changes, there was no change in the image brightness. Attached are three .fits images with Hardware binning Off in Raw16 bin1, bin2 & bin3 all at the same exposure setting.  In RGB24 or Raw8 doing the same binning changes did make a big difference in image brightness and required greatly reduced exposure as one increased binning.  But when I set Hardware Binning to On in Raw16 then binning settings made big differences in the preview images.   If Hardware Binning is not set to On in Raw16 there is no value to using binning. 

Also in Raw16 the Auto Color Balances don't function.  I have to got to RGB24 and let the software color balance and then use those settings in Raw16.

 

Don

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.49.28 PM.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Don,

actually, the binning is working nicely there for you... You can see that as the binning goes up the noise is going down a lot and that's the key. Lots of people misundestand this, but binning isn't about brightening an image (you can do that by turning up the gain). Binning is about increasing the signal/noise ratio. There are two ways you can do this

1) Add the binned pixels together - this increases the signal by a factor of B squared (if you are doing B by B binning) and increases the noise by a factor of B. So you get an increase in S/N ratio by a factor of B

2) Average the binned pixels - this leaves the signal unchanged, but reduces the noise by a factor of B, again increasing the S/N by a factor of B.

Looks like the ZWO camera is taking the second approach - that's fine, binning is still working for you. If you want a brighter image from binning then just turn the gain up - the gain will increase the noise, but you're already on reduced noise from the averaging, so it will all work out OK in the end.

cheers,

Robin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Robin,

Then why don't I see the same effect in RGB24 & Raw8 with Hardware Binning Off but I see big changes in the image as I go thru the 4 bin settings?  

Does that mean that ZWO is using the 1st binning method for 10bit mode and the 2nd averaging method for 12 bit mode?    So what bit mode am I getting in Raw16 with Hardware Binning?   And what bit mode is RGB24 with and without Hardware Binning?  Confusing to say the least!

Also  the Auto Color Balance not working in Raw16?

 

Don

Edited by DonBoy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don,

I'm trying to follow this discussion, but I don't see an "Auto Color Balance" function in SharpCap. Can you tell me where it appears on the screen?  I've never been able to adjust colour in SharpCap, and thought I must be missing something.  I'm only looking at the test camera at the moment. Thanks.

 

Errol

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Errol,

different cameras, different options - SharpCap largely shows what the camera manufacturers offer, rather than adding things like colour balance itself. So, ZWO have an auto color balance, but other brands (including the test cameras) don't.

cheers,

Robin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SharpCap 2.9 Announcement (slightly late...)

Looks like I never got around to making this announcement here for some reason - I thought I had, but obviously not!

SharpCap 2.9 (in fact I've just released an update with a few bug fixes) has a whole host of improvements, new features and bug fixes - the most important of which are listed below.

http://www.sharpcap.co.uk/sharpcap/downloads

New Feature:

  • Polar Alignment - select Tools -> Polar Align and read the on-screen instructions

Live Stacking:

  • Save to 16 bit fits by default (32 bit option in drop down)
  • Many options now persisted
  • Pause button added to temporarily stop adding new frames
  • Better file naming
  • Add digital gain and other new star detection tweaks.
  • Stretching changed to a simple gamma stretch with white/black levels
  • Histogram stretch settings automatically saved/restored
  • Negative pixel values supported in the stack which improves dark frame subtraction effectiveness
  • Fix dark subtraction in live stacking when using RAW capture mode

Focus Score:

  • History Chart completely re-written - more detail, more interactive, can now pan & zoom
  • Add new focus score measurement based on image contrast range
  • Add new focus score measurement based multi star FWHM
  • Add new Fourier Transform Focus Score
  • Add smoothed trace to bar chart
  • Add mean value to bar chart when using an ASCOM focuser
  • Add new graph of score vs position when using an ASCOM focuser
  • Remember size/position of selection area
  • Bahtinov mask focus score now has standard history chart like other score methods

Cameras & Hardware:

  • QHY Cameras - Updated SDK - Support QHY5III cameras
  • ZWO Cameras - Updated SDK - Fix bugs and support new models
  • Altair Cameras - Updated SDK - Fix bugs and support new models
  • Celestron Cameras - Updated SDK - Fix bugs and support new models
  • Test Cameras - Improved planetary test camera
  • RAW Mode - Option to force debayer pattern in raw modes for cameras that lie about their pattern
  • Hardware - Mount control via ST4 support added on ZWO, QHY, Altair cameras (Experimental)
  • Hardware - Focuser Control - You can type a value in the focuser position box

UI:

  • Fix remembering size of docked controls and other UI bugs
  • Add hot keys for Quick Capture (Alt-Q), Live Stack (Alt-L), Snapshot (Alt-A)
  • Control Panel - Groups can be re-ordered with drag and drop. Order saved per camera, can be reset from Options menu
  • Old style UI controls and the options to enable them removed
  • Auto option added to the Zoom drop down that will fit the frame in the available space
  • Reticules - add more outer rings on the circular reticule - helpful for collimation
  • Show countdown of frames being written to disk at end of capture
  • Histogram - do not show jagged histograms in 10/12 bit modes
  • Histogram - option to choose between Logarithmic and Linear vertical scale
  • Histogram - Exclude the value for the blackest level to avoid a big spike at that point in linear mode
  • Histogram - Fix vanishing histogram bug

Misc:

  • Scripting - many improvements and bug fixes to enable more use of Python scripting
  • File Naming - creates sequentially numbered files instead of multiple files called 0001 in different directories
  • File Naming - more informative name for single frame captures.
  • Dark Subtraction - Fixes to dark subtraction applied incorrectly in RAW mode
  • Dark Subtraction - Fix colour order wrong in dark stacks on colour cameras
  • Dark Subtraction - Fix dark creation in 16 bit mode (was half intensity)

Bug Fixes:

  • Bug fix - polar alignment with non-English numeric settings
  • Bug fix - incorrect bayer pattern saved to SER file when using horiz/vert flip on ZWO cameras
  • Bug fix - ensure only a single frame is captured when taking a snapshot on high speed cameras
  • Bug fix - focuser in/out buttons were not working
  • Bug fix - fix issue where memory could become exhausted if the UI became bogged down
  • Bug fix - changing colour space could sometimes cause a crash
  • Bug fix - capture time limit display incorrect
  • Bug fix - number of frames captured during dark capture and other limited frame captures was incorrect
  • Many other minor bug fixes

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if this has been reported but... the timestamp on the latest beta 2.9.2672 is an hour behind that shown by the PC clock.

ChrisH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, ChrisLX200 said:

I don't know if this has been reported but... the timestamp on the latest beta 2.9.2672 is an hour behind that shown by the PC clock.

ChrisH

I think the timestamps may be UTC which is an hour behind BST

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

I think the timestamps may be UTC which is an hour behind BST

Ah, OK I didn't know that. I've been used to FireCapture which just prints the PC time.

ChrisH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, it's definitely UTC being used.

I can't quite decide whether this is how it should be or not - there is an option in the filename settings page that lets you select UTC or local time for filenames and I'm wondering if this should also affect frame timestamps? Maybe for the timestamps that are in the actual frame image, but almost certainly not for the timestamps that go into the file metadata (each frame in an SER file has a timestamp for instance). I presume that you are looking at the timestamps embedded in the frame images?

cheers,

Robin

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, rwg said:

Yep, it's definitely UTC being used.

I can't quite decide whether this is how it should be or not - there is an option in the filename settings page that lets you select UTC or local time for filenames and I'm wondering if this should also affect frame timestamps? Maybe for the timestamps that are in the actual frame image, but almost certainly not for the timestamps that go into the file metadata (each frame in an SER file has a timestamp for instance). I presume that you are looking at the timestamps embedded in the frame images?

cheers,

Robin

 

 

Astronomers are one of the few groups likely to be creating date-stamp critical content at the time when the clocks go forward or backwards. I suggest keep using UTC to guard against being caught out! At least for the filenames as these are what I use with WinJuPos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not a problem now I know! You could perhaps add the option to print UTC as part of the timestamp text?  Posting a frame grab of, say, a meteor event might cause some uncertainty over the actual time of the event. I propose to use SharpCap to run my AllSky camera which will be monitoring for meteors too.

Trying out a ZWO ASI178MM last night, I find SharpCap's dark frame subtraction very useful! Here I was using 20sec captures, saved as PNG files and later converted to an AVI using VirtualDub.

ChrisH

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice video Chris - would you mind if I shared it on the SharpCap facebook page?

cheers,

Robin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, rwg said:

Nice video Chris - would you mind if I shared it on the SharpCap facebook page?

cheers,

Robin

Of course you can Robin :)

ChrisH

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still haven't resolved an issue with Auto White Balance not working with the ASI1600MC-Cool in Raw16.  A fellow ASI1600MC-Cool user also found the same issue.

Is this a driver issue or a software issue? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Don,

I have just tested with a 174MC and for that camera auto white balance also does not work in RAW16 mode, but it does in RGB and RAW8. This is going to be either a bug or a deliberate limitation in the ZWO camera driver or SDK - probably best to raise this issue on the ZWO forum and see what they say about it.

cheers,

Robin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A Downloaded the latest version again last night to have another shot at the polar alignment feature.
Having followed the instructions and correcting it was giving me a error of a few seconds (<10) which I was happy with.

PHD is reporting a much larger error (a few minutes).
Is there anything I should be aware of or need to start looking to correct to get sharpcap to be more precise?
I am really hoping to be able to use this rather then spend far to much time drift aligning.

 

Any help or advise would be great and thanks again for the continued hard work

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.