Computer Crash while taking Dark Frames

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bpm990d
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Computer Crash while taking Dark Frames

Post by bpm990d » Mon Mar 23, 2020 1:45 pm

Hello,

I was imaging the other day and ran into several computer crashes while taking darks. I'm using Windows 10 Remote Desktop from my office into get into the computer that is on the mount. It almost looks like the remote desktop freezes, but I think that is because RD just shows the last image it received and it takes a while for it to time out. It's clearly a reboot, because it takes about 2 or 3 minutes to get back in, and then nothing is running. SharpCap has been working flawlessly for about six months although I generally update it when it tells me there is a new version.

I was taking 20 dark frames that were six minutes each with a gain of 122. It would start out fine and after a few captures I would lose the remote desktop connection and when I managed to get back in the system had re-booted.

I attached a truncated log file. The one I got from the recent crash was too large to upload. I can certainly provide the whole thing if you need it via drop box or a .zip file.


REMOTE SYSTEM:
Minix N42C-4 - Quad Core @ 1.1Ghz base & 16Gig of RAM
Win. 10 Pro. V 1909
OS Build 18363.720
Gig Ethernet connection into the house.
ZWO 294MC Pro cooled

SharpCap Pro V. 3.2.6269.0 - 3/16/2020
ZWO camera Driver - v3.0.0.7
ASCOM 6.4.1.2695

Any help would be appreciated.

Brian
Maine USA
Attachments
SHORTENED Log_2020-03-23T08_15_12-8384.log
(359.88 KiB) Downloaded 12 times

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Re: Computer Crash while taking Dark Frames

Post by admin » Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:19 pm

Hi,

If your computer is crashing then you would probably be better off looking in the Windows event log to see if there's anything recorded there that might have gone wrong at the system level.

SharpCap as a user application cannot (in theory) crash a Windows computer, although it is possible for the drivers for a camera to do that and of course that sort of camera driver related crash may only happen when the camera is used in particular ways.

The log does cut off abruptly without any sign of SharpCap shutting down or generating an error inside the application, which does tie in with something bringing the whole computer down unexpectedly.

Cheers, Robin

bpm990d
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Re: Computer Crash while taking Dark Frames

Post by bpm990d » Tue Mar 24, 2020 12:05 am

Robin,

Thanks for the quick reply. I did look through the SharpCap event logs and didn't see anything but probably wouldn't know what I was looking at. I had hoped someone had a similar experience. I didn't realize that the program itself couldn't cause a system crash.

I'll have a go at looking at the Windows logs, but I'm not even sure I know what to look for. I did find the windows event viewer, cleared the Windows logs under application and system. I then re-created the crash event while attempting to take darks. There was some windows gobbledygook in the system logs about a thermal event which was kind of odd since it's just above freezing in the garage. I did have the computer apart two weeks ago and inspected everything and noting looked out of the ordinary. The small heatsink and fan was firmly attached.

I'm running the dark frame captures again and all seems to be going fairly well as I'm on 12 of 20 captures. The CPU seems to be running at a nominal speed of 1.10Ghz and only throttling up on occasion. The funny thing is that the camera worked fine for taking lights and I managed to collect 40 exposures last night and they look fine. Early this morning was when I tried to capture the darks and got the numerous crashes.

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Re: Computer Crash while taking Dark Frames

Post by admin » Tue Mar 24, 2020 6:49 pm

Hi,

It could be that the calculations required to average the dark frames once they have all been captured are putting a higher load on the CPU than normal usage. Even live stacking might not have as much effect as if you are taking 30s frames, it only has to do the complicated calculation for stacking once every 30s. When you capture lots of dark frames though it processes them all in one go.

If you can run the computer with the lid off it would be worth checking that the fan is actually working properly and spinning up. It does sound as though there could be a problem with the CPU overheating.

Cheers, Robin

bpm990d
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Re: Computer Crash while taking Dark Frames

Post by bpm990d » Wed Apr 08, 2020 3:23 am

I just wanted to report back about what was happening. I'm not sure I know exactly what it was but this is what I have figured out so far.

I upgraded my Minix N4200 computer with 2X8 sticks of GSkill RAM. The computer ran just fine with no issues. Ran a Mem test program, not sure which one but it worked well. With a variety of typical tasks the computer seemed to be working perfectly except for the crashes that I noticed in SharpCap and posted above.

About a week and a half ago I set everything up and could not get the thing to boot and stay powered up and connected. I run it headless and use Windows Remote Desktop and could not get into it. So I finally brought it inside and tried to hook up a screen and get it to work. Nothing, it would act like it wanted to boot, but then nothing.

Anyways I thought it was dead and even ordered part for a new computer. On a lark I decided to see if anything was burnt or loose inside so I pulled it apart and it looked fine so I thought that was strange. Ok one last chance, found the old ram sticks and installed them to see if she would start up and low and behold it's working perfectly. Just spent about three hours looking at M81 & M82 and it seems to be working.

One caveat, the live stacking seems to have somthing going on because I got three crashes of SharpCap. Not sure what's causing that but at least it's not re-booting.

B

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Re: Computer Crash while taking Dark Frames

Post by admin » Wed Apr 08, 2020 4:29 pm

Hi,

Thanks for the update – I guess it's certainly possible that if the RAM was right on the edge of working or not working then the heavy loading on it that the live stacking calculations cause might just be enough to push it over the edge. Once over the edge, all bets are off – if memory becomes corrupted then it could just as easily be memory used by the operating system for critical data as image memory used by SharpCap.

If you are getting SharpCap crashes during live stacking, is it offering to send bug report? If it is, please send the report and then let me know (ideally include a screenshot of the report just before you send it which will help me find the report in amongst all the others).

Cheers, Robin

bpm990d
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Re: Computer Crash while taking Dark Frames

Post by bpm990d » Wed Apr 08, 2020 5:57 pm

Yes it did offer the crash report and I did write in the comment box that it was during live stacking.

I left the computer out and running all night and had no problems using Demote Desktop to get into it this morning so it seems stable. Although the other RAM modules seemed stable at first too.

When you get a crash report, is there any thing you need like mouse clicks or key strokes or is that included in the report automatically?

Brian

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Re: Computer Crash while taking Dark Frames

Post by admin » Wed Apr 08, 2020 6:21 pm

Hi,

The crash report includes a good deal of information, like what the application was trying to do while it crashed and the full log up to the point of the crash. Usually this is enough information to work out where the problem is.

Cheers, Robin

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Re: Computer Crash while taking Dark Frames

Post by nexusjeep » Sun Apr 12, 2020 9:14 am

Hi Robin not sure if it is related but lately whilst live stacking Sharpcap will crash on me intermittently with an out of memory error usually whilst I am adjusting the image histogram for some reason, I can report this in a different thread if you want and add the error log assuming something has been saved to it. The machine is Win10 2.8ghz processor 16gb memory and 32 bit SharpCap with the ASI2600MC Pro when I see the error.

Cheers
Nick

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Re: Computer Crash while taking Dark Frames

Post by admin » Sun Apr 12, 2020 10:17 am

Hi Nick,

Your use case of a high megapixel camera with live stacking is really one where you should switch over to the 64-bit version of SharpCap. A single 16-bit frame with three colour channels from that camera will be about 150Mb - the in process live stacking data will be at least twice this, four times this if you are using sigma clipping. When you add on the fact that some of the adjustments mean that multiple copies of the frame need to be worked on at once, you can end up in a situation where SharpCap can't find a block of memory big enough for the work that it needs to do. Switching to the 64-bit version should eliminate this problem.

Cheers, Robin

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