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SharpCap - free Astro Webcam Capture Software

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Just bought a ZWOASI  071 CCD and been setting it up with SharpCap. Made a folder to save either FITS, PNG or an AVI and after some test shots, there was not one single saved file! yet the program shows it has the correct file path, directory etc. I use W10 OS.

If I use the cam with AA6 it saves, but not SharpCap. Anyone know why?  Seems there's no way to getting to the programmer either.  

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After a break from the scope for the last 6 months or so, I just got back to it and downloaded the latest version of 2.10, and wow... excellent job Robin!

I'm making notes on a very few issues I'm seeing, and will forward them in a week or two.  (I also want to get back to testing the Meade ASCOM stuff we were working on, especially now that you have added plate solving).

Nicely done sir ;)

Edited by calan

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Can someone give me a quick how-to on how to take and use flats with SC 2.10, as well as a quick explanation on why I would want to and what benefit they will provide?

I'm familiar with darks, histograms, gain, etc... but I've never taken a flat in my life. I'm using a ZWO ASI224MC on a 6" F/5 Newt... if it matters.

Edited by calan

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@calan

The flat capture tool will take care of all the software side of things for you like helping you adjust exposure, capturing multiple frames and averaging them, but you need to arrange for even illumination of the scope aperture - some people use light panels or clear blue sky or even uniform clouds.

Looking forward to seeing your notes on v2.10

cheers,

Robin

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Hi Robin

I'm building a Python script that I can use to operate SharpCap to take images with my ZWO ASI178MC camera (there are several examples to draw upon). I would like to use Live Stacking if I can.  The script will eventually interact with my own Control Program which controls slews to new targets, activates autoguiding and will trigger the Python script to take a set of images for the new target.   After acquiring the image set the script will then trigger my Control Program to continue with the next target (This should all be feasible)

 I can see how I can initiate Live Stacking, Clear the Current Stack, and later on how to Save Stacked Frames (at whatever frequency & format I like)

SharpCap.Transforms.SelectTransform("Live Stacking")
SharpCap.Transforms.SelectedTransform.FrameTransform.Reset()
SharpCap.Transforms.SelectedTransform.FrameTransform.SaveFrame(32,False)

However if Live Stacking becomes Paused, as it seems to do if Live Stacking is closed and then reopened, I'm unable to find a command that will Resume (ie Un-Pause).   I looked at and tried various commands that are listed when I  enter   SharpCap.Transforms.SelectedTransform.FrameTransform (dot)  in the Scripting Console, but nothing looked likely and nothing that I tried triggered a Resume.

Can you help ? Is there a Resume command ?

Richstar   (David)

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On 04/02/2017 at 04:34, Dark Matter said:

Just bought a ZWOASI  071 CCD and been setting it up with SharpCap. Made a folder to save either FITS, PNG or an AVI and after some test shots, there was not one single saved file! yet the program shows it has the correct file path, directory etc. I use W10 OS.

If I use the cam with AA6 it saves, but not SharpCap. Anyone know why?  Seems there's no way to getting to the programmer either.  

Sorry, didn't spot this - please send your log files to me via PM here on the forum and I will have a look at them (go to Help->Show Log in SharpCap after seeing the problem)

cheers.

Robin

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7 hours ago, Richstar said:

Hi Robin

I'm building a Python script that I can use to operate SharpCap to take images with my ZWO ASI178MC camera (there are several examples to draw upon). I would like to use Live Stacking if I can.  The script will eventually interact with my own Control Program which controls slews to new targets, activates autoguiding and will trigger the Python script to take a set of images for the new target.   After acquiring the image set the script will then trigger my Control Program to continue with the next target (This should all be feasible)

 I can see how I can initiate Live Stacking, Clear the Current Stack, and later on how to Save Stacked Frames (at whatever frequency & format I like)


SharpCap.Transforms.SelectTransform("Live Stacking")

SharpCap.Transforms.SelectedTransform.FrameTransform.Reset()

SharpCap.Transforms.SelectedTransform.FrameTransform.SaveFrame(32,False)

However if Live Stacking becomes Paused, as it seems to do if Live Stacking is closed and then reopened, I'm unable to find a command that will Resume (ie Un-Pause).   I looked at and tried various commands that are listed when I  enter   SharpCap.Transforms.SelectedTransform.FrameTransform (dot)  in the Scripting Console, but nothing looked likely and nothing that I tried triggered a Resume.

Can you help ? Is there a Resume command ?

Richstar   (David)

Hi David,

not a pretty solution as there is no function call to do this, but the following ought to work

SharpCap.Transforms.SelectedTransform.FrameTransform.Parameters.Paused = false
SharpCap.Transforms.SelectedTransform.FrameTransform.ViewModel.IsPaused = false

the first line should unpause the stacking and the second should update the UI to match. Not tested this, but some variation on the above should be workable. Note that this is starting to dig into the internal specifics of how the live stacking works rather than using the designed API for controlling it. I don't have a problem with this but there's no guarantee that this sort of stuff will continue to work unchanged in future versions of SharpCap.

cheers,

Robin

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3 hours ago, rwg said:

Hi David,

not a pretty solution as there is no function call to do this, but the following ought to work


SharpCap.Transforms.SelectedTransform.FrameTransform.Parameters.Paused = false
SharpCap.Transforms.SelectedTransform.FrameTransform.ViewModel.IsPaused = false

the first line should unpause the stacking and the second should update the UI to match. Not tested this, but some variation on the above should be workable. Note that this is starting to dig into the internal specifics of how the live stacking works rather than using the designed API for controlling it. I don't have a problem with this but there's no guarantee that this sort of stuff will continue to work unchanged in future versions of SharpCap.

cheers,

Robin

Thank you Robin, you put me on the right path.   I found that I had to use a '0'  in the first line (instead of  'false') and I didn't seem to need the second line. 

The following line successfully resumes Live Stacking (if it's become paused)

SharpCap.Transforms.SelectedTransform.FrameTransform.Parameters.Paused = 0

Cheers
Richstar (David)

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Hi Robin,

firstly wanted to thank you for Sharpcap - it's a great piece of software. 

I'm having problems with my new QHY 5 III 174C which I was trying on the polar alignment routine. I set it up in daytime using pinhole in foil and it worked fine with sharpcap but I wasn't really pushing the settings. Come night time when I was pushing up gain / exp it either froze or crashed. I installed all the latest software and drivers but no luck. I swapped to a QHY 5 II mono and it worked fine. Any thoughts?  

Thanks

Edited by Macster18

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Just an update to say that there is now a SharpCap User Manual available - you can find it here

http://docs.sharpcap.co.uk/2.9/

I want to say thank you to the SharpCap users who have helped get this manual written - particularly DavidR(@turfpit)  who has spent countless hours on the project and without whom the manual would certainly not exist today!

I am posting fewer updates here about SharpCap new releases, but they are still happening. To keep up with SharpCap news and updates, you could follow SharpCap on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sharpcap/.

The best place to get support for SharpCap is now the SharpCap Forums at http://forums.sharpcap.co.uk. (Hopefully the admins will forgive me for including that link just the once!) The reason for a dedicated forums site is to try to reduce the amount of time I spend answering questions and therefore increase the amount of time spent writing new features! Having questions spread across this site, various other forums and Facebook meant I would end up answering the same question more than once.

There will very shortly (next few days) be a new release of SharpCap 2.9 which will include the user manual and have numerous bug fixes.

The release of SharpCap 3.0 will also happen soon - probably within the next couple of weeks. SharpCap 3 contains a whole range of new features including improved focus assistance, live flat frame correction, improved polar alignment, plate solving and much more.

cheers,

Robin

 

Edited by rwg
Fix link

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Thanks Robin, looking forward to the new one. When are you adding easy autoguiding :-)

Edit - your link to the sharpcap forum is actually sending me to Farcebook >spit<

Edited by Stub Mandrel

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Ooops, copy-and-paste error on the link... fixed now.

One of the things on my to-do list post 3.0 is what I'll call 'Dynamic ROI' for now - this is for high speed planetary imaging and it will automatically move the ROI around to keep the planet in the ROI region (but no mount guiding). Actually guiding the mount for planetary/solar/lunar/live stacking will follow on from that.

cheers,

Robin

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13 hours ago, rwg said:

@turfpit...

, plate solving and much more. ...

 

Uh! That makes me curious! I was recently (finally) able to use Astrotortilla and this is sooooo good. Beeig sure in my light polluted area to aim right is essential no more relying on my wacky goto. Plate Solving together with the live stacking could make guiding unneeded for us short exposure video cam astronomers :-)

Thanks!

Carsten

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SharpCap 3.0 is now available!

It may have taken rather longer than I expected, but it's done now. New features include

  • Live flat frame correction (even at high frame rates if you have a fast CPU). Make those dust donuts disappear.
  • Plate solving with AstroTortilla, AnSvr, ASPS - requires a connected ASCOM mount.
  • Point Grey Camera Support
  • Webcam improvements - now supporting dark subtraction, flat frame correction and other tools.
  • Focus assistance when using an ASCOM focuser
  • Polar Alignment, Live Stacking and other improvements.

Find out more about what's new in SharpCap 3.0.

Or just go straight to the downloads.

cheers,

Robin

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I think I understand why you've decided to charge for the full function version of  Sharpcap, if nothing else it must be encroaching on the day job.

Nonetheless I am disappointed that a function that was free (Polar Alignment) is now only available to those who are prepared to pay.

Dave

 

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14 hours ago, rwg said:

SharpCap 3.0 is now available!

It may have taken rather longer than I expected, but it's done now. New features include

  • Live flat frame correction (even at high frame rates if you have a fast CPU). Make those dust donuts disappear.
  • Plate solving with AstroTortilla, AnSvr, ASPS - requires a connected ASCOM mount.
  • Point Grey Camera Support
  • Webcam improvements - now supporting dark subtraction, flat frame correction and other tools.
  • Focus assistance when using an ASCOM focuser
  • Polar Alignment, Live Stacking and other improvements.

Find out more about what's new in SharpCap 3.0.

Or just go straight to the downloads.

cheers,

Robin

Thanks Robin. 

Ive just paid for the Pro version, although the licence is showing in my wife's name cos there can't be a joint PayPal account but hey ho. 

 

I am by no means an expert and have been using SharpCap & FireCap along side each other and always seem to find I'm using SC far more. For me SC is more intuitive & it was a non-starter to pay the small fee to have the Pro version.

i was wondering though, where is the setting up options for AstroTortilla?

I have AstroTortilla installed and setup to be used with BYEOS ( not tried it yet ) but SharpCap does not appear in the dropdown list in AstroTortilla. 

Regards..,

 

Kirk

 

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The AstroTortilla integration is actually the other way round - you kick it off from SharpCap by pressing the GPS style button in the ASCOM mount controls. When you click that it will plate solve the next frame and resync your goto mount.

cheers,

Robin

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@rwg: I understand your step doing a pro version. However as amateur I am not quite happy with a yearly licence cost. I may be interested in a pro function but then I am maybe paying without even using it a year, because of other things. I guess it would be more nice/fair to pay for a timely unrestricted function specific version which I could than use as long as I need. Yes if I need more functions later I may have to re-buy, but that is mostly connected with new hardware (telescope, camera what ever) so that would not matter much.

I don't see the Plate Solving in the list of Pro features, so I guess it is a free function?

Cheers,

Carsten

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Hi Carsten,

Plate solving does not require a license. I'd rather not have the other discussion here as I feel it would break (or skirt very close to the edge of) the forum rules. Happy to have it elsewhere.

cheers,

Robin

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42 minutes ago, rwg said:

The AstroTortilla integration is actually the other way round - you kick it off from SharpCap by pressing the GPS style button in the ASCOM mount controls. When you click that it will plate solve the next frame and resync your goto mount.

cheers,

Robin

OK thanks Robin

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1 hour ago, rwg said:

Hi Carsten,

Plate solving does not require a license. I'd rather not have the other discussion here as I feel it would break (or skirt very close to the edge of) the forum rules. Happy to have it elsewhere.

cheers,

Robin

Do you mean politcs or religion? :-)

For me there is no need for discussion, your software your decision! I can talk freely here, and so just take it as thoughts/critics from a satisfied user (so far not a customer).

Best,

Carsten

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Purchased well worth it ,we all like owt for nowt but now and again  we need to invest in these small acorns :icon_salut:

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Thanks again for the update.
This is the first time I had seen anything about a "Pro" Version and thought I would take a look at it
Looking at the feature list for the pro version it states about the guiding stage of the polar alignment routine.
Is this something new or is this the same feature that was in the old free version?
I used an older version only the other night and that does guide you in and gives live updates as to how far away you are?

I am just trying to figure out if its worth upgrading or sticking with the free version (or even roll back to an older version).

Thanks in advance and keep up the great work
 

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The same functionality as the polar alignment in 2.9 but it is improved in 3.0 with better star detection, better indication of when you have achieved 'good enough' alignment, more accurate calculation of whether to move up/down/left/right if you have an ASCOM mount attached and other tweaks and bug fixes. There will be further updates in future too.

It's entirely up to you which version you decide to use.

cheers,

Robin

Edited by rwg
brain not in gear

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