Atik Horizon and Sharpcap -- no light

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Pieter
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Joined: Thu May 09, 2019 9:36 pm

Atik Horizon and Sharpcap -- no light

Post by Pieter » Wed May 22, 2019 5:30 pm

I am unable to get Sharpcap Pro to show light from Horizon camera. By "no light" I mean screen remains dark, no matter what light is entering camera.
Sharpcap works fine with ASI120MC using Zwo's native driver.
Horizon works fine with Infinity software using native driver.
Installed latest Ascom environment on HP Win 10 laptop. Installed Ascom driver when installing Atik software (from download, not included disk).
Sharpcap pro connects to Horizon, can control cooler, can't get any light.
On another PC (where I have MaximDL) MaximDL connects via Ascom, shows light, but Sharpcap does not.
I will append my Ascom definition of the Horizon below.
Can't tell if this is Horizon problem, Ascom problem, Sharpcap problem (or user error!)
Any clues greatly appreciated.
-Pieter
PS am also attempting to post this topic on Atik users forum, but connection to their database fails. ?

Create Creating device
Connected Connecting to device

Name Atik Cameras: Atik Horizon (289)
Description Atik Cameras: Atik Horizon (289)
DriverInfo ASCOM driver version 7.0.8.25151
Camera Atik Cameras: Atik Horizon (289)
Sensor Name , Type RGGB
ATIK API version 7.41 HSC
DriverVersion 7.0
InterfaceVersion 2
CameraXSize 4644
CameraYSize 3506
BinX 1
BinY 1
MaxBinX 8
MaxBinY 8
HasShutter False

Connected Disconnecting from device
Dispose Disposing of device
Dispose Completed disposal
ReleaseComObject Releasing COM instance
ReleaseComObject Completed release. Count: 0
GC Collect Starting garbage collection
GC Collect Completed garbage collection


<Default> Atik Camera 2
BayerOffsetX 1
BayerOffsetY 0
CheckExposureRange True
HighPriority False
IsColour True
ReadCoolerInfo True
SetTemperatureEnablesCooling True
TargetCcdTemperature 0.0
TraceState False

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admin
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Re: Atik Horizon and Sharpcap -- no light

Post by admin » Wed May 22, 2019 6:04 pm

Hi,

It may be worth you checking through the content of this thread – viewtopic.php?t=1429 – it looks like the user who reported this problem initially had a similar issue to yours which was fixed with an update to the Ascom driver.

Cheers, Robin

Pieter
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 09, 2019 9:36 pm

Re: Atik Horizon and Sharpcap -- no light

Post by Pieter » Thu May 30, 2019 9:05 pm

I've made some progress, (seeing light!), but with problems.
First I thought, due to some remarks re Ascom driver and Dusk (which I am not using), I thought the correct Ascom camera to select might be Atik Camera instead of Atik Camera 2, which I had been using. Set up Atik Camera (which for ease of comprehension I'll call Camera 1), but still no light.
I should mention I set up LX90 during day, focused on a house on a mountain 2 miles away, mildly overcast weather. Ran tests via Horizon and Infinity software, no problems.
Then I bounced the laptop and connected Sharpcap to Camera 2, since nothing had worked when I tested with Camera 1.
Fooled around a bit. Nothing.
Then I set the exposure to the minimum, 1.0 ms, and saw a vague image of the house. Fooled around some more. Increasing exposure did not help. Found the histogram, and set histogram stretch on, and image became brighter. Then set binning from 1x1 to 2x2 and then 3x3, and with 3x3 and an exposure of 6 ms I got an adequate image of the house. This doesn't make much sense to me -- you would think that with binning 1x1 and an increased exposure I should see a brighter image, but no such luck.
I should note that in the Ascom description Preset is set to low. The Horizon has low, medium and high exposure presets. I would expect them to show up in Sharpcap to be selected, but could not find them.
If the clouds every drift away I will test against real DSOs, but in the meantime:

Why does my ZWO camera work just fine in Sharpcap, but the Horizon needs binning 3x3 to produce any image at all? Could this be some problem with the Atik Ascom driver? Some setting in Sharpcap I am missing?

Clues greatly appreciated!

--Pieter

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Re: Atik Horizon and Sharpcap -- no light

Post by admin » Fri May 31, 2019 9:02 pm

Hi,

When you are in a position that you can actually see something on the screen using the display stretch and the binning, does the brightness of the image on the screen change if you alter the exposure? In other words does a longer exposure brighten things up a bit and a shorter exposure dim them down?

If the answer to that question is no then it would seem that SharpCap is having trouble controlling the exposure of the camera. If the answer is yes then keep an eye on the histogram and gradually increase the exposure through tens of milliseconds up to significant fractions of a second. As things brighten the histogram should move to the right, but does it get stuck may be only 1/4 or less of the way across and not move any further to the right? I am wondering if the Ascom driver is reporting to SharpCap the wrong value for the maximum pixel value that the camera can create. So perhaps the Ascom driver reports that the camera can produce pixel values of up to 65,535, but in fact it only produces values up to perhaps 4095 which would mean that SharpCap would end up showing even pixels that were nearly saturated as being very close to black.

Cheers, Robin

Pieter
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Joined: Thu May 09, 2019 9:36 pm

Re: Atik Horizon and Sharpcap -- no light

Post by Pieter » Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:59 pm

Thanks, Robin. I will work this again next time I get to try, hopefully tomorrow. I think that the answer was yes, altering the exposure brightened up the image, but only with binning set greater than 1x1.
In the meantime, I have discovered that I might not have the most recent ASCOM drivers installed (due to confusion on their download page). Since I have one more PC I can install on, am working that, and will see if the other set of drivers helps. Naturally, nothing is ever simple, it is a Vista PC, and so I had to install an earlier version of Sharpcap.
I appreciate the support. The Infinity software is nice, but Sharpcap is much more versatile, and I want to have the ability to exploit those features.

--Pieter

Pieter
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 09, 2019 9:36 pm

Re: Atik Horizon and Sharpcap -- no light

Post by Pieter » Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:51 pm

Sorry it took me so long to respond. Weather issues.
Updated to the latest Ascom drivers from Atik. Bench-testing issues made me lose faith, but I kept at it.
As far as I can tell, the issue lay in my not adjusting the histogram stretch. In my experience with other software packages I found the software almost always starting with a reasonable stretch for the given camera. For whatever reason, this didn't happen here. So I have learned to greatly expand the screen stretch first, and then I can find my object, focus, and determine a reasonable exposure.
So to be clear: I have no reason to believe that there is a problem with the latest (2019) Ascom driver from Atik.
Sharpcap has a lot of cool features, so I will persist.

--Pieter

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Re: Atik Horizon and Sharpcap -- no light

Post by admin » Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:57 pm

Hi,

SharpCap starts with no default stretch applied to the image – you just see the data that come straight off of the camera sensor. I'm reluctant to apply a stretch initially as I've already seen cases where people have applied a stretch and forgotten about it and then captured images thinking they were well exposed based on what they could see on screen but were actually badly underexposed. This problem be even worse if there was an image stretch applied without the user having done anything.

Cheers, Robin

Pieter
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Joined: Thu May 09, 2019 9:36 pm

Re: Atik Horizon and Sharpcap -- no light

Post by Pieter » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:47 pm

No worries! I have learned what I need to do, so will click the stretch button first so I can see what the heck is going on!

Thanks, Robin!

--Pieter

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