Please help - 'ASICameraException' from Unexpectedly in VideoMode when starting exposure

A place to report problems and bugs in SharpCap
Forum rules


If you have a problem or question, please check the FAQ to see if it already has an answer : https://www.sharpcap.co.uk/sharpcap-faqs

Please also read about Troubleshooting USB Issues before posting.

*** Please do not post license keys - please report any problems with licensing to 'admin' by private message ***

Please include the following details in any bug report:

* Version of SharpCap
* Camera and other hardware being user
* Operating system version
* Contents of the SharpCap log after the problem has occurred.
[If SharpCap crashes, please send the bug report when prompted instead of including the log]
Post Reply
Smoke
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 12, 2021 4:05 am

Please help - 'ASICameraException' from Unexpectedly in VideoMode when starting exposure

Post by Smoke »

Dear Admin,
Dear fellow astrophotographers,

I kindly ask for support. I use SharpCap for imaging and the last two nights I see one and the same error which prevents me from acquiring data and decided to ask for help.

Here is information for my system:
- Camera - ZWO Asi 2600 MC-PRO;
- Guiding camera - ZWO Asi 224 MC;
- PHD2 guiding on an iOptron CEM70 mount;
- Laptop used for telescope and camera control - Intel Core i5-3210M@3.1 GHz, 3MB cache, 4 GB Ram, Windows 10
- USB connection used - USB2
- version of SharpCap - 3.2.6480.0
- I use the latest version of ZWO camera drivers.

Mount control is connected to one USB2 port and the two cameras and a focus motor are connected to another USB2 port via the hub of the mount. All the equipment is powered by two power adapters - one for the mount which also powers the 224 MC and the focus motor and one dedicated solely to the 2600 MC.

Here is the problem that I observe - last two nights I targeted an object and left the system to image. In the morning I found out that it has taken several images and after that the images were not saved to the disk and updated on the screen. However SharpCap is performing as taking images - as the image acquisition progress bar is moving and is resetting. I image through Live Stack - there I have set the frames to be stored and reset every 60 minutes.

This morning when I went to collect my gear I found the same problem - about 10 images were taken, stacked and saved to the disk. After that the camera has continued to act if it was taking images but after the acquisition timer expires - image was not acquired, nor stacked, nor stored on the disk. Error message was not shown as well.

I clicked on the Cameras tab and at that moment in time cameras were not showing. I hit close camera. Then hit refresh camera list and the cameras showed up. I connected to the 2600 MC and it was working.

I have observed this problem some time ago on the ZWO Asi 533 MC-Pro as well but didn't act at that moment in time. The ASI 533 was connected directly to the laptop back then - so I guess the problem shows itself no matter if an USB hub is used or not.

I checked the logs as suggested on the forum. Here is the first error message that I find:
Error: 02:05:00.5607819 Thread:ASI Grab Thread#22 SharpCap.Cameras.ASI.ASICameraProxy.ActualGrabFrame() :: Exception of type 'ASICameraException' from Unexpectedly in VideoMode when starting exposure, trying again : Error 'ErrorVideoModeActive' from call to
ASIStartExposure(cameraId=0, isDark=False)
Stack Trace: at ZWOptical.ASISDK.ASICameraDll.CheckReturn(ErrorCode errorCode, MethodBase callingMethod, Object[] parameters) in C:\Documents\Source Code\SharpCap3.2\src\SharpCap.Cameras.ASI\ASICameraDll.cs:line 261
at ZWOptical.ASISDK.ASICameraDll.StartExposure(Int32 cameraId, Boolean isDark) in C:\Documents\Source Code\SharpCap3.2\src\SharpCap.Cameras.ASI\ASICameraDll.cs:line 787
at SharpCap.Cameras.ASI.ASICameraProxy.StartExposure() in C:\Documents\Source Code\SharpCap3.2\src\SharpCap.Cameras.ASI\ASICameraProxy.cs:line 829

I attatch the log as well.

Kindly ask for your support.

Thank you in advance!
Attachments
Log_2021-05-12T01_12_07-484.zip
(73.18 KiB) Downloaded 11 times
User avatar
admin
Site Admin
Posts: 6646
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:52 pm
Location: Vale of the White Horse, UK
Contact:

Re: Please help - 'ASICameraException' from Unexpectedly in VideoMode when starting exposure

Post by admin »

Hi,

sorry that you ended up losing observing time to this issue. I think I understand what is going on (at least partly).

The ZWO cameras in SharpCap run in video mode for exposure of under 2 seconds and still mode for longer exposures. That means that when you are dithering and SharpCap switches the camera to 1s exposure during the dither it ends up flipping into video mode and then it should flip back again at the end of the dither operation when the longer exposure is restored.

Now, for some reason it seems that after a while the flip back out of video mode into still mode is not happening properly.

I've looked over the code for 3.2.6480 and can't see any logic errors - the correct mode should be set before each frame starts, and the start exposure code where the problem happens should only run if the camera has been flipped back into still mode. I can only assume that the request for changing mode is being made by SharpCap but for some reason is not happening.

Now, the interesting thing is the camera not showing - did the camera have a problem internally which caused the problem in SharpCap with the mode not changing or was it the other way round - did SharpCap's changing of the mode cause the problem with the camera.

SharpCap 4.0 has a 'still mode' (https://www.sharpcap.co.uk/sharpcap/sha ... s/4-0-beta) which makes the ZWO camera always run in still mode even for short exposures, but unfortunately at the moment live stacking puts the camera back into live mode (for the continuous flow of frames), so even if that might help in theory, it probably won't fix the issue in practice.

It may be worth trying 4.0 anyway to see if the problem is resolved - there have been lots of bug fixes and improvements and it is possible that the issue has gone away as a result of one of those.

If you still encounter the problem in 4.0, let me know, and I will investigate further.

cheers,

Robin
Smoke
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 12, 2021 4:05 am

Re: Please help - 'ASICameraException' from Unexpectedly in VideoMode when starting exposure

Post by Smoke »

Thank you Robin for your great reply.

I have observed this happening for example when I switch to 1s exposures in order to perform an auto focus. Or if I perform a platesolve and sync operation at 1 s. exposures and then leave the camera running in order to calibrate PHD2. Usually when I return to Sharpcap after a PHD2 calibration the image is frozen. I close the camera and reconnect again and everything goes to normal.

Regarding your question - Now, the interesting thing is the camera not showing - did the camera have a problem internally which caused the problem in SharpCap with the mode not changing or was it the other way round - did SharpCap's changing of the mode cause the problem with the camera.

I don't know the answer.

As I see it I have two options but have two questions as well:

1/ Option 1 - stick with 3.2.6480 and turn dithering off. However I will still image in Live Stacking mode - does this mean that the camera will still be in Video mode because I use Live Stacking?

2/ Option 2 - try version 4. Can I use the sequencer there and program the dithering to be done outside of the Live Stacking area so that "still mode" can remain enabled?

Looking forward to your reply.

Best regards,
Ivan
User avatar
admin
Site Admin
Posts: 6646
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:52 pm
Location: Vale of the White Horse, UK
Contact:

Re: Please help - 'ASICameraException' from Unexpectedly in VideoMode when starting exposure

Post by admin »

Hi Ivan,

if you use the v4.0 sequencer then you can certainly set up the sequencer to do dithering and keep the camera in Still mode. It's probably easiest to start with the sequence planner tool, but you can use the full sequence editor if you need more flexibility.

In 3.2 (and 4.0 in 'Live View' mode) the camera automatically transitions between its internal video and still modes based on the exposure time ( 2s or less => video mode; >2s => still mode). If you keep the exposure above 2s then you avoid the transition.

Just to check - do you have any USB extension cables/hubs in your wiring to the camera? This sort of problem with camera reliability can be related to cable runs that are pushing the limit (about 3-3.5m is the limit for reliable USB3 operation).

cheers,

Robin
Smoke
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 12, 2021 4:05 am

Re: Please help - 'ASICameraException' from Unexpectedly in VideoMode when starting exposure

Post by Smoke »

Dear Robin,

Thank you for the reply. I will test next time when I can and report back.

I am using USB2 - these are the ports on my laptop and my mount.

Regarding cabling - here is my setup:
- ASI 2600 - 2m to the USB hub on the mount and then 1.5m from the mount to the Laptop.
- ASI 224 - 2m to the USB hub on the mount and then through the same 1.5m from the mount to the Laptop.

Regarding power - the 224 draws power from a powered USB port and the 2600 draws power from a dedicated power port (through a separate cable) which on the other hand is powered by a dedicated power brick.

In addition I have observed this problem on an ASI533 which was connected to the laptop itself but didn't react back then because I hadn't lost a lot of data.

Do you think that the cabling and the USB2 pass-thru may be a problem?

Best regards,
Ivan
User avatar
admin
Site Admin
Posts: 6646
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:52 pm
Location: Vale of the White Horse, UK
Contact:

Re: Please help - 'ASICameraException' from Unexpectedly in VideoMode when starting exposure

Post by admin »

Hi Ivan,

hubs and extension cables can certainly cause all sorts of problems (not that they always cause problems, but they should always considered a possible cause if you see odd behaviour). I have seen a whole range of different failures from bad USB connections ranging from complete failure to spot the camera, through the camera being opened but no frames ever working and on down to unreliable operation or perhaps even just reduced frame rates.

If at all possible test to see if you get different results with a simpler USB setup - a direct cable from the laptop to the camera. If you have USB3 then it is worth trying that too. A short (1-1.5m) extension added to the default cable that comes with the camera is often a better bet than adding a hub into the equation (although I've also seen hubs fix problems too - unfortunately the world of USB tends to be one of trial and error). Do have a look at the USB troubleshooting guide if you haven't already : viewtopic.php?f=18&t=349&p=1556#p1556

cheers,

Robin
Post Reply