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ASI1600MMC Beta test

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#1726 Jon Rista

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 04:52 PM

I have tried a total of 8 different programs between two computers and 3 operating systems.  The ZWO forum has one or two people reporting similar issues. I heard reports from night skies network that their cameras are buggy too.

 

It sounded like the laptop you used had it's own problems. Dan, I am very inclined to say the problems are the computers. So far, the only real hardware problem I have read about with the ASI1600 is that some people's coolers don't work right. I think one of those cases might have been user error, the other seemed quite legitimate. 

 

You are the only guy who has tried to use a Mac yet. In my personal experiences with a Mac, I seem to have a LOT of problems with the USB ports. My MBP is a little over a year old, from before they had full USB 3 ports. My bus seems to be USB 3 internally, but the ports only seem to support USB 2. They are quite quirky. I don't know if it's just that Apple does not care about USB and prefers everyone to use Thunderbolt with Apple-made decides or what, but I have really not been impressed with their USB capabilities. 

 

The other laptop you used had power connectivity problems and sounded quite ancient and very slow. I don't really think we can all your experiences with such a laptop indicative of a camera issue...I think you experienced laptop issues again. 

 

I think you could pick up a pretty nice laptop for about $200 if you really needed to. I do think that finding a more modern laptop that has true USB 3 support would change things for you, whether you buy or borrow. The ASI cameras are overwhelmingly coming as USB 3 native parts, and based on a number of things Sam has said, they really want you to use the camera with USB 3 computers using USB 3 cables and USB 3 hubs. 


 

#1727 A. Viegas

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 04:54 PM

I do see everyone here getting it working. Thank you for pointing that out. 
As if this isn't frustrating enough. I appreciate your expert advice.

Hi Dan

I feel for you...   I know you checked different computers.  One last idea here, how about trying another USB3 cable?  You can get the A-B cables pretty cheap on Amazon.  Maybe go ahead and order a slightly longer cable, it can come in useful in the future, meanwhile you can try and rule out this last link.  The fact that you are having all these issues and on different computers suggests strongly its either a camera issue or else its a linkage like the cable or USB ports/hubs.   I would try that, meanwhile I also suggest you contact OPT and ask about a return

Al


 

#1728 syscore

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 04:54 PM

I do see everyone here getting it working. Thank you for pointing that out. 
As if this isn't frustrating enough. I appreciate your expert advice.

 

My expert advice is that your computer is a complete mess at this point.

 

If you want to take a chance that I am right, and you need a decent capture computer anyways, then run down to Walmart and get one of these...

 

http://www.walmart.c...7935577&veh=sem


 

#1729 Jon Rista

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 05:15 PM

I believe I have found the gain setting I've been looking for. Looks like Gain 75 gives me almost exactly 12 stops of dynamic range, with 2.05e-/ADU gain and 2.05e- RN, with a 8402e- FWC:

 

BestGain75NoiseAnalysis.jpg

 

Next clear night I have I am going to give this setting a try for narrow band imaging. Hopefully it will avoid the clipping issues I was having before, while allowing longer exposures, so I don't need to acquire thousands of them to get a reasonable result. 


 

#1730 leemr

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 06:01 PM

 

Correct, I'm using the latest version of SGP, the ZWO ASCOM driver and the ZWO Camera driver. It's a bit different to the other reported issues (it doesn't crash, it just doesn't download the image, it times out), but similar to another issue reported by a user on the SGP forum.
 
I'm also using the same ASCOM driver with SharpCap and it works fine, so either an SGP bug or an SGP + ASCOM driver integration bug. It's also interesting that frame and focus works fine, but the sequencer bombs.
 
I was able to capture two sets of 200 bias frames and one set of 100 dark without a single glitch with SharpCap.

 
That is the same as one of the issues I have had. I do think that has to do with USB traffic. The 45 and 90 settings are not the only viable settings, so you may want to try experimenting with them to see if you can find a better one. A lot of people used 80 or around there, and some have used 70. You might try those.

In my case, I was seeing hangups in F&F, while sequence subs (so long as they were about 2s or longer) worked fine. I have not tried sub-second exposures since the new SGP update, but once my current sequences are done (soemtime tomorrow morning) I'll give that a try.

 

 

Thanks Jon. I'm not convinced it's related to the USB traffic limit itself, since both the settings I tried worked when using different capture software. I've tried many times, and regardless of sub length, I've never been able to get more than one sub from a sequence, and F&F works fine every time. Jared from SGP has been able to replicate the issue but is finding it to be inconsistent.


 

#1731 telfish

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 06:05 PM

 

 

Correct, I'm using the latest version of SGP, the ZWO ASCOM driver and the ZWO Camera driver. It's a bit different to the other reported issues (it doesn't crash, it just doesn't download the image, it times out), but similar to another issue reported by a user on the SGP forum.
 
I'm also using the same ASCOM driver with SharpCap and it works fine, so either an SGP bug or an SGP + ASCOM driver integration bug. It's also interesting that frame and focus works fine, but the sequencer bombs.
 
I was able to capture two sets of 200 bias frames and one set of 100 dark without a single glitch with SharpCap.

 
That is the same as one of the issues I have had. I do think that has to do with USB traffic. The 45 and 90 settings are not the only viable settings, so you may want to try experimenting with them to see if you can find a better one. A lot of people used 80 or around there, and some have used 70. You might try those.

In my case, I was seeing hangups in F&F, while sequence subs (so long as they were about 2s or longer) worked fine. I have not tried sub-second exposures since the new SGP update, but once my current sequences are done (soemtime tomorrow morning) I'll give that a try.

 

 

Thanks Jon. I'm not convinced it's related to the USB traffic limit itself, since both the settings I tried worked when using different capture software. I've tried many times, and regardless of sub length, I've never been able to get more than one sub from a sequence, and F&F works fine every time. Jared from SGP has been able to replicate the issue but is finding it to be inconsistent.

 

 

 

Try running as administrator. Right click icon choose run as administrator then ok the popup box. SGP seems to have issues if permissions get scrambled. So write to disk gets difficult.


 

#1732 TimN

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 06:06 PM

Leemr I understand some people are having this issue with 1.0.2.7 - even if randomly - but not with 1.0.2.5. Have you tried both drivers?


 

#1733 leemr

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 06:12 PM

 

 

 

Correct, I'm using the latest version of SGP, the ZWO ASCOM driver and the ZWO Camera driver. It's a bit different to the other reported issues (it doesn't crash, it just doesn't download the image, it times out), but similar to another issue reported by a user on the SGP forum.
 
I'm also using the same ASCOM driver with SharpCap and it works fine, so either an SGP bug or an SGP + ASCOM driver integration bug. It's also interesting that frame and focus works fine, but the sequencer bombs.
 
I was able to capture two sets of 200 bias frames and one set of 100 dark without a single glitch with SharpCap.

 
That is the same as one of the issues I have had. I do think that has to do with USB traffic. The 45 and 90 settings are not the only viable settings, so you may want to try experimenting with them to see if you can find a better one. A lot of people used 80 or around there, and some have used 70. You might try those.

In my case, I was seeing hangups in F&F, while sequence subs (so long as they were about 2s or longer) worked fine. I have not tried sub-second exposures since the new SGP update, but once my current sequences are done (soemtime tomorrow morning) I'll give that a try.

 

 

Thanks Jon. I'm not convinced it's related to the USB traffic limit itself, since both the settings I tried worked when using different capture software. I've tried many times, and regardless of sub length, I've never been able to get more than one sub from a sequence, and F&F works fine every time. Jared from SGP has been able to replicate the issue but is finding it to be inconsistent.

 

 

 

Try running as administrator. Right click icon choose run as administrator then ok the popup box. SGP seems to have issues if permissions get scrambled. So write to disk gets difficult.

 

 

Thanks mate, I just tried that actually based off someone else's advice but no joy.

 

Leemr I understand some people are having this issue with 1.0.2.7 - even if randomly - but not with 1.0.2.5. Have you tried both drivers?

 

 

Cheers Tim. I never had 1.0.2.5 as 1.0.2.7 was the one available when I went first went to download the driver. I can't find prior releases on their site -- I even tried changing the version number in the URL path but got a 404.


 

#1734 glend

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 06:35 PM

I use V 1.0.2.5 with no SGP problems as you describe. Why not ask Sam directly to send you the previous driver (V 1.0.2.5) to try out, he should also be aware of your referral of that issue to the SGP guys.


 

#1735 CCDer

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 06:40 PM

I believe I have found the gain setting I've been looking for. Looks like Gain 75 gives me almost exactly 12 stops of dynamic range, with 2.05e-/ADU gain and 2.05e- RN, with a 8402e- FWC:

 

attachicon.gifBestGain75NoiseAnalysis.jpg

 

Next clear night I have I am going to give this setting a try for narrow band imaging. Hopefully it will avoid the clipping issues I was having before, while allowing longer exposures, so I don't need to acquire thousands of them to get a reasonable result. 

Great work Jon!

 

So we need to simply this to something like the "81-75-72 Jon Rista Rule"  81 subs at 75 gain gets (at least) 72 db DR  :D  :bow:


Edited by CCDer, 11 June 2016 - 07:07 PM.

 

#1736 mikefulb

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 07:08 PM

I wonder if it would help everyone if we ended this thread and created several new ones (just brainstorming - feel free to suggest others):

 

- ASI1600MM Camera Performance - put all of Jon's data in there and continue the thread with only discussion of technical topics like gain, read noise, etc

- ASI1600MM USB HW Troubleshooting - USB specific problems

- ASI1600MM Software/Driver Troubleshooting

- ASI1600MM Post Your Images!

 

 

 


 

#1737 Jon Rista

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 07:11 PM

 

I believe I have found the gain setting I've been looking for. Looks like Gain 75 gives me almost exactly 12 stops of dynamic range, with 2.05e-/ADU gain and 2.05e- RN, with a 8402e- FWC:

 

attachicon.gifBestGain75NoiseAnalysis.jpg

 

Next clear night I have I am going to give this setting a try for narrow band imaging. Hopefully it will avoid the clipping issues I was having before, while allowing longer exposures, so I don't need to acquire thousands of them to get a reasonable result. 

Great work Jon!

 

So we need to simply this to something like the "81-75-72 Jon Rista Rule"  81 subs at 75 gain gets (at least) 72 db DR  :D  :bow:

 

 

Hah! Kind of sounds like a fertilizer formula...(says the guy just walking in the door from some gardening. :lol:)

 

The Fertilizer Rule: 81-75-72 -- Make your pixels grow! :p


 

#1738 glend

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 07:22 PM

Do you have an Offset recommendation Jon to go with that Gain?


 

#1739 leemr

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 08:07 PM

I use V 1.0.2.5 with no SGP problems as you describe. Why not ask Sam directly to send you the previous driver (V 1.0.2.5) to try out, he should also be aware of your referral of that issue to the SGP guys.

 

Cheers Glen. I believe Jared from SGP is in contact with Sam regarding this matter.


 

#1740 KGoodwin

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 08:54 PM

Here's my initial quick and dirty processing of all three narrowband channels from 2 nights worth of data, acquisition and other details on AstroBin.

 

get.jpg


 

#1741 KGoodwin

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 09:06 PM

I have tried a total of 8 different programs between two computers and 3 operating systems.  The ZWO forum has one or two people reporting similar issues. I heard reports from night skies network that their cameras are buggy too.

 

The 1600 probably still has some software/driver issues to work out, but I think you should be careful about making blanket statements about ZWO cameras being buggy.  I've been using two of their other cameras for over a year with no issues at all.  I never heard of anyone having these sorts of issues with their cameras before the 1600, which is a new sort of camera for them, high megapixel and built for long exposure imaging.  When you buy the bleeding edge, expected to shed some blood.  I'm not trying to say there aren't issues or that they shouldn't be fixed, just that by now we should all know that there will be issues with any new technology.


 

#1742 KGoodwin

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 09:09 PM

 

 

 

 

It's hard to collimate an RC. I would bet it's collimation.

Amen, i have one of them, which mostly gathers dust for that reason.

I'll second that Amen. I love the resolution the RC offers, but mine won't hold collimation well. So I am constantly fiddling with it to get good results, which is really...never. I have never really quite liked my stars from the RC, always some aberration visible in the subs. I know people with SCTs complain about mirror flop...but after a year and three months with the RC, I think I'd happily take on mirror flop for the ease of collimating spherical mirrors.

I'll third that Amen. I sold one for that reason. It's a pain to collimate, but like anything, with practice it's not hard to get good at it. The frustrating thing is that it doesn't hold collimation, even across the sky, because of the way the AT RC mirror cell/focuser attachment is designed. Apparently the newer truss versions have fixed this issue, but mine is long gone. I like wider field and shorter focal length better, anyhow. I'm a refractor guy at heart.

Have the newer open truss versions really fixed this and now they hold collimation? They were on my list but reading all the horror stories about collimation I don't know anymore.

I had to collimate my SCT, it was pain, had to buy an artificial star generator then somehow find enough room indoor to use the thing. At least it was a one time deal.

 

 

An RC is not for you if you found collimating an SCT to be a pain, regardless of how much the system has improved and how well it holds.  An RC was not for me, and I find collimating SCTs to be very, very easy.  It's a whole other ballgame.  You really have to want it, I think.

 

Never mind the collimation, flexure and such is an issue too.  There's just so many gremlins to conquer on those AT RCs.


 

#1743 telfish

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 09:18 PM

I bought an AT RC. Had it for 3 weeks, sold it and bought a 6 inch APO. Could see a whole lot of frustration in my RC future, though people do  get great images with them.


 

#1744 FiremanDan

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 10:23 PM

Just to clarify, I didn't say it was buggy. I said others said it was buggy.
I realize there will be growing pains with new grear.
I don't mean to come across as hostile. But all I'm doing is reporting my findings and asking for help. Right now, I am out trying to sort out tilt issues because I've given up on the software issues. It'll work when it wants to. I've accepted that.

MOST people on here are very helpful and I am very greatful for their help and insight.

I'm going to go out on a limb and buy a new computer (despite not having the money for it, yay Best Buy card!) Monday when I get off shift. Even though I think it's a driver issue not playing nice with Macs, it'll be nice to have a capture computer and I can reclaim the drive space on my MBP.

I'm a big fan of this camera and I'm not trying to come across like I have a problem with the camera or ZWO, or APT, or SharpCap, or AstroLive.

I am really sad I'm losing a night of clear skies on problem solving and not at least turning my elephant trunk into a bi-color. But I finally have a cooled mono camera and I'm beyond stoked. This camera bumped up my ability to do NB by AT LEAST a year, probably more!
Even with all the problems, that Elephant mono image I posted has me beyond excited for a new chapter in my AP.
 

#1745 Jon Rista

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 10:44 PM

Do you have an Offset recommendation Jon to go with that Gain?

 

Yes, sorry. I've been using an offset of 12. I have not scientifically determined that, more just best guess. 


 

#1746 Jon Rista

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 10:55 PM

After a whole lot of bias frame testing today, I've noticed that there do seem to be glow discrepancies between biases. About 2 12-bit ADU or so for 81 frame master biases from different USB Limit settings, and a bit under 1 12-bit ADU for 81 frame master biases from the same USB Limit setting, but taken after disconnecting the camera. 

 

Jason has seen larger discrepancies that resulted in vertical banding. I have been unable to replicate that, however I don't know what may have caused it, so I am still testing.

 

Anyway, in light of bias discrepancies, and considering that this camera will likely be used with shorter exposures at unity gain, I am inclined to recommend a different calibration approach with this camera. The dark current seems to be pretty low...~0.008e-/s or less. Dark subtraction for the purposes of reducing noise from high hot pixel counts is not really necessary. The primary reason to use dark subtraction is to eliminate the glows. So using high-count master biases is probably not necessary, despite the possible increase in random noise. 

 

I think the following calibration flow might work best with this camera:

 

1) Acquire light frames

2) Acquire 9-16 matching dark frames

3) Acquire flat frames

4) Acquire 9-16 matching flat dark frames

5) Integrate master_flat_dark

5) Calibrate flats by subtracting master_flat_dark (this removes bias as well!)

6) Integrate master_flat

7) Integrate master_dark

8) Calibrate lights by subtracting master_dark and dividing master_flat

 

This takes generating the master bias out of the picture entirely. I've been using about 15-30 second flat frames with my LRGB filters and even longer with the NB filter, and my new makeshift diffuser (which isn't really serving the purpose I'd hoped it would, I still seem to have reflections or some other problem with my flats that don't quite match with my lights), and that is long enough for the brighter part of the right side glows to just start to show. So I think calibrating the flats with flat darks rather than just a bias is warranted. Once you calibrate the flats with flat darks, then you don't really need the master bias. You remove the bias when you subtract an uncalibrated master dark anyway. 

 

Since this camera is low noise, both low read noise and low dark current, even though subtracting a 16 frame master dark will add some random noise, it wouldn't be as significant as with most other CCD cameras. And clean, random noise is far, far easier to deal with than patterns and glows. With so few dark frames to acquire, it should be possible to acquire them each session, to get better matching with the bias glows and dark amp glows, which should produce better-calibrated lights and flats. This assumes that a 1-2 ADU discrepancy even bothers you. If not, then you should be fine just generating a master_dark and master_flat_dark, and reusing both for a while, maybe a month, before regenerating. 


 

#1747 keithlt

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 10:57 PM

Jon Rista, on 11 Jun 2016 - 8:44 PM, said:

 

glend, on 11 Jun 2016 - 5:22 PM, said:

Do you have an Offset recommendation Jon to go with that Gain?

 

Yes, sorry. I've been using an offset of 12. I have not scientifically determined that, more just best guess. 

 

are these settings specific to your optical system or general good settings for using the asi1600mm ?


 

#1748 Jon Rista

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 11:09 PM

 

Jon Rista, on 11 Jun 2016 - 8:44 PM, said:

 

glend, on 11 Jun 2016 - 5:22 PM, said:

Do you have an Offset recommendation Jon to go with that Gain?

 

Yes, sorry. I've been using an offset of 12. I have not scientifically determined that, more just best guess. 

 

are these settings specific to your optical system or general good settings for using the asi1600mm ?

 

 

These should be general for the ASI1600. This is mostly dark and bias frames. I have acquired flats while connected to my AT8RC, but I could just as easily unscrew the camera, drop a piece of paper over the pupil, and get flats that way. I don't believe that would change the results much, if at all. 

 

These settings will give you the full 12-stops dynamic range, same as the zero gain setting, however it uses a lower gain of ~2e-/ADU (which should be better for quantization noise/posterization), and it has about 1.5e- lower read noise than zero gain at only 2e-. It's also only got about 0.4e- read noise more than unity gain. It gives an 8400e- FWC, vs. the 4095e- FWC at unity gain, so more than double. It's a little less than half the 19.7ke- FWC at zero gain.

 

I think an 8400e- FWC will be pretty good for most use cases. The QSI 6120 has an FWC of only 9000e- and similar read noise levels, and people get some amazing NB images with that. It's the only other camera I know of that people use shorter NB subs and relatively short total integration times with on a regular and consistent basis, which is why I think these settings will work well for the ASI1600. The biggest difference between the ASI1600 and QSI6120 would be the bit depth, and to get ideal results with the ASI, you'll just need to integrate more subs. So instead of 10-20x600-900s per channel, maybe 40-80x300s per channel. 


Edited by Jon Rista, 11 June 2016 - 11:30 PM.

 

#1749 wenjha

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 03:49 AM

 

I use V 1.0.2.5 with no SGP problems as you describe. Why not ask Sam directly to send you the previous driver (V 1.0.2.5) to try out, he should also be aware of your referral of that issue to the SGP guys.

 

Cheers Glen. I believe Jared from SGP is in contact with Sam regarding this matter.

 

here is a new version suppose to fix this problem

please try, thanks

http://astronomy-ima...up V1.0.2.8.exe


 

#1750 pedxing

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 04:06 AM

I wonder if it would help everyone if we ended this thread and created several new ones (just brainstorming - feel free to suggest others):
 
- ASI1600MM Camera Performance - put all of Jon's data in there and continue the thread with only discussion of technical topics like gain, read noise, etc
- ASI1600MM USB HW Troubleshooting - USB specific problems
- ASI1600MM Software/Driver Troubleshooting
- ASI1600MM Post Your Images!


I agree, there's lots of great info in this thread, but it's going to be pretty useless to anyone in the future unless they're willing to wade through 1700+ (and counting) posts.

The SNR could be a lot better if this discussion were to be split out into separate threads.
 


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