Live Stacking unresponsive

Discussion of using SharpCap for Deep Sky Imaging
psy1280
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Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by psy1280 »

Although I’m still a beginner, I’ve had numerous experiences using LiveStacking. Last night was something that’s never happened before. Whenever I tried to do any LiveStacking nothing would happen, i.e., frames were neither stacked or ignored. This is a total mystery to me.

It was also the first time I’ve ever tried the Smart Histogram. My readout was to use 70 second exposures with 119 gain. When LiveStacking wouldn’t stack I tried increasing the gain (especially since I saw the hot pixel warnings). I tried manipulating the various options (star size, black threshold, etc.). All in all, it was a horrible night.

My primary question is: Why was LiveStack neither stacking frames or ignoring them? Total mystery to me.

One step forward, 35 backwards,
Joe
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by admin »

Hi Joe,

do you have the SharpCap log from the problem session? That may contain info that helps understand what went wrong.

You can find the logs from previous runs of SharpCap in this folder

C:\Users\<your user name>\AppData\Local\SharpCap\logs

cheers,

Robin
psy1280
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by psy1280 »

Thank you Robin,
Unfortunately, I only seem to have access to my last LiveStack. This was a bright globular cluster. I guess there isn't any way to retrieve the previous attempts from last night. I see from this log there was a problem of not detecting stars, but in the past I would always get "# frames dropped" not zero.
Cant tell you how grateful I am for you to look into this
Joe

11:26:26 PM NOTE Live stacking activated
11:26:28 PM INFO PHD connection failed.
11:26:45 PM NOTE Initializing stacking
11:26:45 PM NOTE Clearing stack
11:26:47 PM INFO PHD connection failed.
11:27:16 PM INFO Detected 3 in the stacked image, mean FWHM is 7.195132
11:27:16 PM INFO Detected 3 stars in the frame image, mean FWHM is 9.146647
11:27:16 PM ERROR No potential transforms remaining after filtering for scale
11:27:16 PM WARN Failed to align with the reference frame.
11:27:16 PM ERROR Failed to calculate alignment.
11:27:16 PM WARN Frame not stacked because : Could not align
11:27:47 PM INFO Detected 3 in the stacked image, mean FWHM is 7.195132
11:27:48 PM INFO Detected 2 stars in the frame image, mean FWHM is NaN
11:27:48 PM ERROR Less than 3 stars found in the frame image
11:27:48 PM ERROR Alignment failed
11:27:48 PM ERROR System.InvalidOperationException: Less than 3 stars found in the frame image - cannot align.
at SharpCap.ImageProcessing.Aligner.CheckFrameStars() in C:\Documents\Source Code\SharpCap3.2\src\SharpCap.ImageProcessing\Aligner.cs:line 252
at SharpCap.ImageProcessing.Aligner.GetFrameTriangles() in C:\Documents\Source Code\SharpCap3.2\src\SharpCap.ImageProcessing\Aligner.cs:line 241
at SharpCap.ImageProcessing.Aligner.GetAlignmentMatrix(Boolean lockToScaleOne, Int32 width, Int32 height) in C:\Documents\Source Code\SharpCap3.2\src\SharpCap.ImageProcessing\Aligner.cs:line 130
at SharpCap.ImageProcessing.Aligner.GetAlignmentMatrix(ICapturedFrame frame, Boolean lockToScaleOne) in C:\Documents\Source Code\SharpCap3.2\src\SharpCap.ImageProcessing\Aligner.cs:line 115
at SharpCap.FrameTransforms.LiveStacking.LiveStackProcessor.CalculateAlignment(ICapturedFrame frame) in C:\Documents\Source Code\SharpCap3.2\src\SharpCap\FrameTransforms\LiveStacking\LiveStackProcessor.cs:line 509
11:27:48 PM ERROR Failed to calculate alignment.
11:27:48 PM WARN Frame not stacked because : Could not align
11:33:53 PM NOTE Clearing stack
11:35:41 PM NOTE Live stacking deactivated
11:35:41 PM INFO PHD disconnected due to live stack close/camera close
11:35:41 PM NOTE Clearing stack
psy1280
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by psy1280 »

Robin,
Not sure if this adds anything
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by admin »

Hi,

the screenshot looks as if you haven't got a camera open, so nothing would happen at that point because there are no incoming frames. Of course it may be that you closed the camera earlier for some reason and we are just looking at the result of that. You can also end up with the camera closing if SharpCap detects that it has disconnected from USB.

From what I can see of the log, about 20-30 minutes before you took the screenshot, SharpCap was having trouble stacking because it wasn't finding enough stars to align with. There are adjustments you can make in the alignment tab to try to fix this.

Robin
psy1280
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by psy1280 »

Thank you Robin,
I will need to see if I can replicate this going forward. The image on my screen was quite apparent prior to live stacking. I'll check back after another trial, but thank you for taking a look.

Joe
psy1280
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by psy1280 »

Last night was the first night out since my last problem with Live Stack not stacking (i.e., zero captures, zero ignored) Not sure if this is a camera problem, a cable problem, or a SharpCap problem. All three of the following scenarios (see below) took place last night. It would appear that SharpCap was not receiving (or intermittently receiving) images from my camera. I was not using an extension cable—I was plugged right into my laptop. Tried plugging into different ports. Tried logging out of SharpCap and starting over.
1.) What would account for LiveStack to not stack, i.e., exposure after exposure happening but LiveStack showing zero images captured and zero images ignored?
2.) What would account for blank/black screen on the view screen regardless of exposure or gain?
3.) What would account for LiveStack beginning to stack (9 frames) then every other frame ignored regardless of changing exposure or gain or manipulation of variables, i.e., digital gain, black level threshold, minimum star width, etc.,

Might it help to uninstall Sharpcap and reload it? Can’t think of anything else to try. Trying to figure out the most likely cause.

P.S. I doubt the last log would be telling as it happened to be the only time Live Stack actually stacked before ignoring all future exposures. Scenario #1 above was the most persistent problem through the night. This is quite disturbing.
psy1280
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by psy1280 »

P.S. I sincerely hope this isn't the problem, however, the above problems both happened since the purchase of my new (and expensive) laptop! Could the laptop be the problem?
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by admin »

Hi Joe,

problems #1 and #2 sound very like the camera was dropping frames - SharpCap will either get a failure from the camera directly or notice that the expected frame is very overdue and will try to start another frame capturing. If this is happening the number of dropped frames (shown in the lower left corner of the SharpCap window) will go up.
Capture.JPG
Capture.JPG (11.37 KiB) Viewed 352 times
Sometimes you may get a situation where some frames are dropped, sometimes all frames - watch the two counts to see which is increasing. These counts track frames direct from the camera, so are worth keeping an eye whether you are live stacking or not.

If you are getting dropped frames then it is worth looking at the log - SharpCap categorizes dropped frames into one of several categories - the count onscreen does not show these categories, but the log does, and knowing which category can help understand what is going on.

It seems most likely that your dropped frames are down to camera communications (USB) issues - it would be worth looking through the USB troubleshooting guide, just in case any of the suggestions there help : viewtopic.php?f=18&t=349&p=1556#p1556

Uninstalling and reinstalling SharpCap is unlikely to change anything, but it might help to open the camera with <CTRL> pressed - that will prevent previous settings from being restored for the camera, which might (just possibly) help if you had adjusted some setting that is actually causing the problem.

Do make sure that the Windows drivers from the manufacturer are up to date and also test on another PC if you can. Since it sounds like you are having problems even without bringing live stacking into the mix, you should be able to test during daylight - just plug in the camera and set your normal camera settings and see if you can reliably get images flowing from the camera to SharpCap.

Finally, on your issue #3 - it could be that the camera ran normally for a while and then went into dropped frame mode, but it is hard to be sure.

cheers,

Robin
psy1280
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by psy1280 »

P.P.S. I'm running a daytime test. So far 12 minutes with over a thousand frames captured with no ignored subs. I did try to re-download everything including Sharpcap/ZWO and followed the USB recommendations you suggested. Tonight I will venture out again. All very confusing.

Thank you for being there Robin...especially for a novice like me, sometimes these frustrations can get under you skin, big time! LOL
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