Mallincamsky DS26c cannot make flats

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DanK
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:58 pm

Mallincamsky DS26c cannot make flats

Post by DanK »

Dr. Glover:

I keep beating the bush with you about fixing the incompatibility between SC 4.0 32 bit and 64 bit and you keep blaming 'weaknesses' in Mallincamsky DS26c ASCOM drivers. Given the time and effort I have put into this and my perhaps misplaced loyalty to your product your answer is unacceptable. CCD Ciel can do it why can't Sharpcap???

Let me tell you I tried to make flats in bot SC 4.0 32 bit and 64 bit and the program doesn't even begin to execute a frame exposure countdown!

I had expectations of doing a sensor analysis on these cameras but I now see that you are either not up to the challenge or you wish to pursue bigger buck$.

I am more than a bit disappointed in your behaviour. Don't count on my renewal next year.

Dan Kahraman
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Re: Mallincamsky DS26c cannot make flats

Post by admin »

Hi Dan,

sorry that you are disappointed. As you know I don't have access to the camera you are using (or any Mallincam cameras for that matter), so the only way I can deal with bugs relating to using the cameras is by working through log files that show the problem happening to see if it is possible to determine what is going wrong.

Unfortunately your issues seem to have been more around reliability than a simple failure to work at all. These are often the hardest to diagnose - if SharpCap asks the camera to capture an image 5 times, and it works the first 4 times and fails the 5th, what does that tell us? Much less than if every image capture failed sadly.

While writing this reply I have tested capturing flat frames with 4 different cameras via their ASCOM drivers. I had no problems at all with Altair, ZWO and QHY. I initially had problems with a PlayerOne camera with freezing and no frames, but I then realised I had an out-of-date version of their ASCOM driver. After updating to the latest version, capturing a flat also worked fine with this camera. I hope this illustrates that the way that SharpCap works with ASCOM cameras is generally solid. Unfortunately a malfunctioning or unreliable ASCOM driver is something that I cannot work around - my out-of-date PlayerOne ASCOM driver never reported that a frame was ready to display, so SharpCap could never capture any images from the camera using that driver.

I'm still happy to investigate issues that you run up against, but cannot guarantee that they are things that I can fix. The best way to ensure that I get full information on what happens is to do the following

1) Run a screen recording of the PC while you are testing (for example using OBS Studio - https://obsproject.com/)

2) After testing and seeing a failure, capture the full SharpCap log.

Send me both the screen recording video and the log - that way I can see exactly what you did and what you saw, as well as tying those things in to the entries in the log.

cheers,

Robin
DanK
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:58 pm

Re: Mallincamsky DS26c cannot make flats

Post by DanK »

Hi Robin:

I will try that. As a very last resort, would sending you the camera help? I am so exasperated by the ASCOM issues with these cameras! I just ran an Altair 183c and making flats and darks was a pleasure. I even did a maiden sequence run in SC 4.0 32 bit a few days back with the Altair 183c and I was quite pleased with the preliminary results...paradoxically this has increased my frustrations with the Mallincams, the DS26c being the worst.

I have e-mailed Rock about the flat and sensor analysis inability in SC with the DS26c and the need to update the ASCOM drivers. I hope I hear from him.

Dan Kahraman
DanK
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:58 pm

Re: Mallincamsky DS26c cannot make flats

Post by DanK »

Hi Robin:

Here are two attempts * two attached zipped log files at making flats with SC4.0 54 bit on the Mallincamsky DS26c:

This is what happens:

1) The camera/software is very slow at responding to changes in the exposure settings (brightness)
2) Most of the time either the counter doesn't start when the flat capture is set up. The attached log files do not show this. That was my experience last night
3) If the counter does work, based on the histogram giving the OK (have my doubts...but seems to be in the 25% region of the white peak in the histogram) then it won't stop and do the averaging. If you hit the stop capture button the program to prompt it to average the frames, SC will crash.

Hope it helps...I have to figure out how to use OBS yet

Dan Kahraman
Attachments
Log_2021-06-21T12_03_37-6928.7z
(4.98 KiB) Downloaded 7 times
Log_2021-06-21T11_38_22-4432.7z
(6.63 KiB) Downloaded 6 times
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Re: Mallincamsky DS26c cannot make flats

Post by admin »

Hi Dan,

thanks for sharing the logs, I see two interesting things

1) In both logs the camera seems to initially fail to connect but then succeeds. What might be going on here is that SharpCap will try to connect the camera first, then if that fails it will show the ASCOM driver setup window and after that is closed connect again. If you are seeing the setup window for the Mallincam ASCOM driver every time you open the camera then that would explain this part of the log - it's a little annoying for you, but shouldn't cause further problems

2) In the longer log there are some interesting entries

Code: Select all

Warning	11:40:30.187913	#23	ASCOM camera is no longer exposing (cameraIdle) and has not signaled image ready, assuming frame lost
What *should* happen is that SharpCap asks the ASCOM driver to start an exposure. After that the status of the driver should go to a different state to indicate that it is busy (there are states like exposing, reading, downloading, etc). Then after the exposure is complete the camera should signal a frame is ready and then go back to the idle state.

I wonder if the Mallincam driver is either not updating its state at all (always stays as Idle) or if it goes back to the idle state before it signals the frame is ready. Either of these could make SharpCap think that the camera has failed to grab the frame.

I will change the code to be more forgiving in the case that the camera does not signal its state correctly and we can see if that helps at all.

cheers,

Robin
DanK
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:58 pm

Re: Mallincamsky DS26c cannot make flats

Post by DanK »

Hi Robin:

A big thank you for your expert analysis. I have crash reports that are also posted on my desktop. They were posted there since I don't have internet where the DSc camera is located.

I will post these here later. It may provide you with further insights.

Once again thank you,

Dan Kahraman
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Re: Mallincamsky DS26c cannot make flats

Post by admin »

Hi Dan,

those errors are a secondary effect from the bias frames failing to capture. Basically SharpCap isn't quite dealing with the missing capture files properly and creates the error report rather than showing a message box saying 'Failed to capture bias frames'.

I will fix this crash for the next update, but sadly it's not the root cause of the problem. Hopefully my changes to the ASCOM camera handling might help.

Robin
DanK
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:58 pm

Re: Mallincamsky DS26c cannot make flats

Post by DanK »

Thanks for all your work. Rock has not had the courtesy of even responding to my e-mail. This won't be forgotten nor forgiven!

Dan Kahraman
DanK
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:58 pm

Re: Mallincamsky DS26c cannot make flats

Post by DanK »

Robin:

When is the next update? I see an update dated June 23rd 2021. Is this it?

Dan Kahraman
Last edited by DanK on Fri Jun 25, 2021 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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