GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Discussion of features and issues relating to Altair Astro Cameras
User avatar
admin
Site Admin
Posts: 6621
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:52 pm
Location: Vale of the White Horse, UK
Contact:

Re: GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Post by admin »

Hi Richard,

that does sound very much like a power saving related issue – does it help a tool to put the laptop into 'performance' mode in the Windows power plan settings?

One of the things that worries me a bit is that there is so much junk software nowadays that gets installed on brand name laptops (Dell, Lenovo, etc). Once upon a time I would get a new laptop and then reinstall a new version of Windows onto it to make sure that I only got the software that I wanted and not half a dozen Dell/Lenovo/IBM/etc applications that do things that you're not even sure you understand. The problem is now that all that rubbish seems to come in via Windows update, so it's much harder to avoid.

I could certainly imagine the possibility of some sort of battery life extension application that has been designed by the laptop manufacturer causing the sort of problems that you are seeing. I'm sure it works great when you only have a keyboard/mouse attached.....

Cheers, Robin
Hoppy
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2020 8:17 pm

Re: GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Post by Hoppy »

Hi,
I have tried the performance mode in the power plan settings and the settings made on pervious pages of this thread, it does not seem to make any difference.
Another option I will explore is the "always on USB" setting. This is supposed to be for charging devices via USB with the laptop power off.

I'll try that, but normally it's disabled because otherwise the laptop battery goes flat when powered off in a couple of days (no device connected), due to a poor implementation somewhere!

I totally agree with your frustration of all the miscellaneous junk which installs automatically and has a mind of its own and interferes with the computer for an enhanced user experience.
User avatar
admin
Site Admin
Posts: 6621
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:52 pm
Location: Vale of the White Horse, UK
Contact:

Re: GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Post by admin »

Hi,

rule of thumb...

If you don't remember installing it yourself and it doesn't list 'Microsoft' as the manufacturer then uninstall it unless you can see a good reason not to :)

cheers,

Robin
SteadyMercury
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:47 pm

Re: GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Post by SteadyMercury »

Hi,

Have the exact same problem with GPcam 290C, i have a lenovo and tried to optimise power performance, USB 2.0 hub but no avail. Been struggling with this for a few months and not finding a solution.
Hoppy
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2020 8:17 pm

Re: GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Post by Hoppy »

The reliability seemed to improve slightly when the "always on" USB function is enabled either with Lenovo Vantage or via the BIOS.
This has the downside that the battery slowly discharges when the computer is off.

Maybe it will work for you?

On occasions, the camera has worked at 17.5fps in 8 bit mode and long exposures not dropped with the USB slider set to 2.
But not always.
It is very frustrating! It's maddening that it works on a 15 year old laptop perfectly.
I suspect something on the computer is trying to be too clever for its own good.
User avatar
turfpit
Posts: 1443
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:13 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Post by turfpit »

Try working through this viewtopic.php?f=35&t=2590

Dave
Hoppy
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2020 8:17 pm

Re: GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Post by Hoppy »

It's a good guide for maximising the frame rate, but that doesn't directly seem to be the problem here. I just use 17.5fps at 8 bits/1920x18080 as a surrogate for seeing that the camera is working. If it is doing that then it seems reliable. I don't image with the camera at a high frame rate, only for small deep sky objects or for guiding with. Using a small ROI does allow the frame rate to increase but I've not tried planetary imaging which would benefit from this increased frame rate as my telescope focal length is very short.

According to SharpCap, no dropped frames are being reported at all for my camera, the frame rate just varies erratically.

Eg a 15 second exposure reaches the end, then the counter keeps on going for approx another 20 seconds then it starts a new exposure. The previous one is not flagged as dropped, it just never seems to arrive. Very occasionally, some frames seem to be double exposed, as if the second exposure was added to the first.

I could cope with one dropping now and again, but sometimes 50% of them vanish which makes the whole acquisition process a bit pot luck. I don't bother with longer exposures because I just lose too much imaging time. According to the SharpCap smart histogram, I don't need particularly long exposures anyway, just lots!

PHD seems to work OK with it with the Altair driver (the Ascom one is erratic), but perhaps that is asking for individual frames as a snapshot rather than a video sequence (at a slow frame rate), I don't know how it works, that doesn't seem to lose frames.

SharpCap and Altair Capture both have the same underlying behaviour.
User avatar
turfpit
Posts: 1443
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:13 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Post by turfpit »

SharpCap and Altair Capture both have the same underlying behaviour.
In that case the problem lies with a common element - hardware (PC, camera, cable, hub), software (operating system, driver, antivirus).

Have you looked at viewtopic.php?f=18&t=349&p=1556#p1556 ?
The first post, Robin's, has a good systematic list of troubleshooting steps to follow.
The second post, mine, takes troubleshooting further but requires some effort to gather information. These steps came about because I had problems with an i7 laptop (cost over £1,000 when new) and a USB3 camera. In the end it turned out that a poorly implemented USB chipset was the cause of the problem.

Dave
spica
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2021 5:33 am

Re: GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Post by spica »

Hello,

I face an issue with a gpcam2 290m, which looks very similar to the ones described in this thread. meaning:

with brand new laptop + window 10 + USB2 port:
on Sharpcap, 4 frames properly recorded then dropped frames for about 30s then resumes erratic records.
on PHD guiding: does not work at all. Camera automatically disconnected after 17s because 1s shot has not been finished before 16s default max waiting time, a PHD parameter.

with prehistoric laptop +window10+ USB2 port:
on Sharpcap, frame rate is slow but it works.
on PHD guiding, works fine for about 20s then camera disconnected for the same reason as above but PHD succeeds in reconnecting the camera automatically. However, it is obviously poor behavior for guiding.

Remark: I am able to run normally an ASI2600C camera with much more heavy frames on both laptops...

I've tried everything described in that thread as USB port settings, energy saving parameters, batterie saving parameters, desinstall + reinstall every drivers and programs, change USB port, change USB cable. All the same.

I haven't try:

- a usb cable extension with its own power supply
- a desktop computer (to avoid battery saving tricks)

Intending to make the second trial on the desktop computer, I can no longer download the gpcam2 driver from Altair website, where their link seems to point to an empty file...
Opened a ticket at Altair, which has automatically been recorded at low priority...so little hope of having an answer before the end of Covid crisis :mrgreen:

Does anyone knows where to find this Altair cam driver somewhere else on the web?

Appart from that, I found 3 persons on french forums who faced the same trouble, tried the same trick and some of them gave up with that camera...
Last edited by spica on Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
turfpit
Posts: 1443
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:13 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: GPCAM2 290C Dropping Frames

Post by turfpit »

Have a read of viewtopic.php?f=35&t=2590. When you run the tests, attach the camera directly to the laptop using the manufacturer supplied cable. Tests can be run in the house with the camera cap on.

Dave
Post Reply