GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Discussion of features and issues relating to Altair Astro Cameras
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DaveFrost
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Problem with Altair GPCAM2 290C, in the cold?

Post by DaveFrost » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:50 pm

Hi,
A few weeks ago I purchased a GPCAM2 290C. I also have a new laptop a Fujitsu Lifebook an A557.
Due to cloudy weather I have only been out for a limited number of sessions, and it has been VERY cold on some of those sessions. On about half of the sessions, whilst using Sharpcap3, the camera has initially delivered a few frames (say 15 or so), and then started dropping frames rapidly, and eventually stopped sending frames. If I try in PHD2 instead of Sharpcap, after the failure, it delivers frames only occasionally.

On one of those sessions, I was running on battery, and plugging in the mains lead to the laptop, all burst back to life.So I went in to the power management on the laptop, and changed all settings on battery to be the same as those on mains. The camera continues to work on battery. Problem solved, I thought BUT ..

I have tried it twice since, once in the daytime ( a very cold day) and I was trying to do some solar work, and the again it dropped frames, even in the day. That very same night I was outside again, and all ran well, on battery, for over four hours and it was really cold. SO there;s not a clear picture here.

So, I think it's a cold related item, and not sure whether its the camera, laptop or, more likely a combination of the two. Not sure how to proceed.. I have
1)Read the Troubleshooting USB Issues topic. Nothing immediately come from that, I am using short cables (2 metres-ish) and have checked the driver for the camera is up to date
2)Read Set Better Frame Rates from your Astro Camera topic. I am unsure what to set the USB slider to. It defaults to 1, and the only options I seem to have are 0, 1 o r 2

Any suggestions would be gratefully received
Dave Frost

DaveFrost
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:12 am

GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Post by DaveFrost » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:56 pm

Hi,
A few weeks ago I purchased a GPCAM2 290C. I also have a new laptop a Fujitsu Lifebook an A557.
Due to cloudy weather I have only been out for a limited number of sessions, and it has been VERY cold on some of those sessions. On about half of the sessions, whilst using Sharpcap3, the camera has initially delivered a few frames (say 15 or so), and then started dropping frames rapidly, and eventually stopped sending frames. If I try in PHD2 instead of Sharpcap, after the failure, it delivers frames only occasionally.

On one of those sessions, I was running on battery, and plugging in the mains lead to the laptop, all burst back to life.So I went in to the power management on the laptop, and changed all settings on battery to be the same as those on mains. The camera continues to work on battery. Problem solved, I thought BUT ..

I have tried it twice since, once in the daytime ( a very cold day) and I was trying to do some solar work, and the again it dropped frames, even in the day. That very same night I was outside again, and all ran well, on battery, for over four hours and it was really cold. SO there;s not a clear picture here.

So, I think it's a cold related item, and not sure whether its the camera, laptop or, more likely a combination of the two. Not sure how to proceed.. I have
1)Read the Troubleshooting USB Issues topic. Nothing immediately come from that, I am using short cables (2 metres-ish) and have checked the driver for the camera is up to date
2)Read Set Better Frame Rates from your Astro Camera topic. I am unsure what to set the USB slider to. It defaults to 1, and the only options I seem to have are 0, 1 o r 2

Any suggestions would be gratefully received
Dave Frost

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Re: Problem with Altair GPCAM2 290C, in the cold?

Post by admin » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:05 pm

Hi,

could it be a slightly dodgy USB cable? If you have a different one it would be worth testing - a loose connection could show the symptoms you report.

The USB Speed slide is documented here - https://docs.sharpcap.co.uk/2.9/#Altair ... 20Controls - setting it lower usually increases stability but reduces frame rate.

cheers,

Robin

DaveFrost
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Re: GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Post by DaveFrost » Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:03 pm

OK thanks. Just a little sure of the choices of speed that there are there, 0,1,and 2 only. If the problem re-occurs, I'll try changing that on the fly.

The lead is brand new, and came supplied with the camera. Wonder if anyone has any magical thoughts about USB or power settings that I need to be aware of?

Thanks

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turfpit
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Re: GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Post by turfpit » Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:44 pm

David

Have a look in

Control Panel > Power Options > Change plan settings > Change advanced power settings

Look at USB settings > USB selective suspend setting

This is usually set to Enabled. (with an option to disable)

With a laptop on battery, USB ports could be suspended to save power, hence affecting power to the camera and data flow.

I have seen on tablets, no USB setting option, in this case, a registry key entry is needed to bring the menu option back.

It might not be the answer to this problem but is one to be aware of.

Dave

DaveFrost
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Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:12 am

Re: GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Post by DaveFrost » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:47 am

Hi Dave, got you reply on the Altair forum, replying here for completeness.

Dave,

Thanks. Did another four hour session on battery last night, and no issues. This is going to be hard to track down



Under USB..

1)Selective Suspend was already set to be disabled.

2) I also under each USB chip, under Power Management, unticked the box which says "allow the computer to turn off this device to save power"



Under Power Management,battery

1)Hard disk, which is an SSD, is set to never turn off, so files or cache can be stored OK

2)Sleep set to never

3)Allow hybrid sleep set to 'Off'

4)Hibernate after set to 'Never'

5)PCI power management

Min processor state 5%

System cooling policy set to active

Max processor state set to 100%

6)Never turn off the display

7)Enable adaptive brightness to 'off'



BATTERY

1)Critical battery action - hibernate

2)Low battery level 10%

3)Critical battery level 5%

4)Low battery notification 'On'

5)Low battery action 'Do nothing'

6)Reserve battery level 7%



If any of these look wrong, or you can think of any other settings I should address, please let me know



Thanks

Dave

Dave Frost

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Re: GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Post by turfpit » Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:17 pm

I think you have been very thorough with the relevant settings. Everything looks sensible.

I use older laptops for imaging - eBay specials. When I get them I always upgrade the battery to a 9-cell to get more storage capacity. It doesn't look good with the battery sticking out of the back but it is to do a job. That way I have a spare as well. I have a feeling (not actually measured) when it is cold (sub zero) that last 10 - 15% of battery does seem to get used quicker than the rest.

This is a case of monitoring conditions, cables, ports and see if anything stands next time you get an 'event'.

Dave

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