Live Stacking unresponsive

Discussion of using SharpCap for Deep Sky Imaging
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by admin »

Hi,

good to hear that things are working well so far in testing - do be sure to test in (as close as possible) the same circumstances as you will use for imaging - same USB cables, same camera exposure, etc.

cheers,

Robin
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by psy1280 »

Robin,
The plot thickens! Last night, trying to stack the Whirlpool Galaxy, I ran into the same problems, i.e., after (maybe) one saved frame (other times, no saved frames) the stacking “stalled/froze.” Although the exposures were looping, neither the frames saved nor the frames ignored changed (both zero, zero; and only one time it was 1 capture, zero ignored, which didn't change over time). This scenario seemed “frozen”….no matter how many exposures…it was just stuck on this.

Consistent with the above was the ‘hot pixel’ warnings. No matter what I tried I couldn’t remedy this. Finally, I thought maybe I should try my old laptop. And to my astonishment, the old, much slower (Windows 10) laptop stacked flawlessly (without detecting how pixels!!). After 15-20 minutes of stacking (with only a couple of ignored frames) I called it a night. The old laptop had stacked 35, 30s exposures!!

To my horror, my new, quite expensive, gaming laptop (very fast) seemed to be the problem! In this screen capture (this was early in the stacking) the number of “dropped” frames (from the box at the lower left) just kept piling up. Every attempt showed this same scenario—frames constantly being dropped.

This morning I set up again (with the new, fast computer—also Windows 10) and shot out the window using the same exposure and gain (i.e., 30 second, 450 gain) I thought maybe the length of the exposure was a variable, however, it wasn’t as the laptop stacked every one! No problem!
Which leave me with the follow issues:

1.) Since the new, fast laptop Live Stacks (alignment tab off) perfectly during the day (two times I experimented with this), and totally “hangs up” at night (zero captures, zero ignored)…AND since there was a consistent “hot pixel” warning…could the problem be the hot pixels? However, wouldn't hot pixels be reflected in increasing number of "ignored frames?" And yet the old, slow laptop did not have a pixel problem??? None!

2.) If, in fact, the problem lies in my new laptop, is there any hope of remedying this? (I shutter to think my wife’s reaction when I tell her the new laptop is the problem!!!, LOL)

Best of luck trying to grapple with this mystery...hopefully, there's a way to not have to sell my laptop :-(
Joe
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by psy1280 »

Robin,
Just a couple of follow thoughts to yesterdays post. If the new laptop is able to work flawlessly doing daytime LiveStacking (with alignment box unchecked), then there's probably nothing wrong with the laptop, right? The fact that it 'hangs up' wile doing imaging at night suggests it has to do with alignment. As mentioned previously, I tried everything I could think of in the 'Alignment' tab, (increasing digital gain, minimum star size, etc., etc.) including 'resetting' all the numbers to default. The biggest mystery is why the new laptop showed hot pixels and the old laptop did not. Is there any further experiments I can try? Perhaps I need to coordinate the alignment settings in both laptops to verify why one is showing hot pixels and the other isn't. Also, as mentioned yesterday, even with the hot pixel warning...shouldn't LiveStacking show frames that are "ignored" (rather than zero captured, zero ignored)?

Thank you for any advice or speculation,
Joe
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by turfpit »

Joe

You say:
  • the old laptop will Live Stack without issue but the new laptop has issues
  • the new laptop will work during the day
This is what I would do.
  • Install the same version of Sharpcap on the new laptop that you have on the old laptop.
  • At night get Live Stack working with the old laptop.
  • Note all the settings for the camera (gain, exposure etc).
  • Note all the settings in Live Stack for Alignment and any other relevant settings.
  • Swap out the old laptop for the new laptop, keeping the same USB cable if possible.
  • Replicate the camera and Live stack settings
  • See what happens with Live Stack.
This will eliminate the camera, USB cable, Sharpcap version. See what happens. When you report back be sure to include all relevant settings on both laptops with supporting screen shots for Live Stack tabs, camera settings files.

Dave
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by psy1280 »

Will do, thanks for troubleshooting this Robin, much appreciated.
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by admin »

Hi Joe,

unfortunately your screenshot was such a tiny image that it was impossible to read the stacked frame/ignored frame count, but if neither is going up then the problem is that frames are not coming from the camera, rather than an alignment problem.

That being said, the fact that you are aligning at night and not during the day could be significant - alignment increases the CPU load during the stacking procedure and maybe that has an impact on the communication with the camera.

I do think that you don't need to worry about the hot pixel warning - that is just telling you that your star detection settings could lead to hot pixel problems, not that it is actually happening - if you copy the detection settings from the old laptop to the new then the warning will go away.

Perhaps try checking the power profile settings of the new laptop - set it to 'performance' rather than 'power saver' and see if that helps. You could imagine that in power saver mode the extra calculations due to the alignment may be too much?

cheers,

Robin
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by psy1280 »

Robin,
Much thanks for staying with me on this. Unfortunately, it may be awhile before I get some clear skies to make your suggested checks. I just changed the setting on my computer to ‘Ultimate Performance,’ hopefully that may be significant. Also, the old laptop has version 3.2.6480, while the new, problem-laptop has version 3.2.6482. You say to install the “old” version onto the new laptop. How does one install an older version?

Yours,
Joe
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by turfpit »

Joe

https://www.sharpcap.co.uk/sharpcap/downloads scroll down the list until you find the right version. Alternatively, given that the versions are so close together then for now continue on the new, problem-laptop with version 3.2.6482. When you have the old laptop live stacking just swap to the new laptop using all the same settings in the camera control panel and live stack tabs.

Dave
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by psy1280 »

HOPEFULLY THIS HELPS:
I just mad a comparison of the “old” (working) laptop, with the new one. All the settings were the same except for:

Camera Control
Frame Rate Limit. (old) “maximum”.
(New) 240 FPS

Misc Controls
Auto exposure maximum gain: (old) 300
(New) 100

Although the old was imaging at RAW 8 and the new at RAW 16 and the old was using SER file and the new was using PNG, I don’t think these are as significant as the above.

Fingers crossed this may shed some light,
Yours,
Joe
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Re: Live Stacking unresponsive

Post by admin »

Hi Joe,

sadly I don't think those control changes will have much significance - for instance the frame rate limit would only make a difference if you were running at more than 100 frames per second, and the auto exposure maximum gain only applies in auto exposure mode.

Let's hope that the power settings make a difference - otherwise please try SharpCap 4.0 (lots of bug fixes there) and if still no help then we will capture a log and investigate further.

cheers,

Robin
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