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Take a ZWO test exposure to confirm camera data download

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#1 arrowspace90

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 12:42 PM

Last night, having learned how to set up and polar align, I tried to start a session for the first time.

 

After SharpCap polar align I went to NINA and wanted to start out by letting it get me through some flats/dark with its "Wizard".

 

But it reported a main camera download data issue, as in, no download data.

 

This morning I have brought the camera and laptop inside, where I hookup power (A/C) and a different data cable, a USB 2.0 instead of a 3.0.

But I can't get NINA to let me take a test exposure with the cooler not enabled and the telescope not connected.

 

I also have SharpCap, is there a simple way to take a test exposure and just confirm that there is not a problem with my ASI533?

If it was the cable, or just my newbie software issues, that would be a relief.



#2 925chicago

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 12:56 PM

Since you have a ZWO camera you can use ASICAP to test the camera. It's a free download from the ZWO site.


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#3 arrowspace90

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 01:03 PM

Since you have a ZWO camera you can use ASICAP to test the camera. It's a free download from the ZWO site.

Thank you.  I don't see ASICAP on their webpage.  ASIStudio??



#4 wrnchhead

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 01:06 PM

Yes. It’s one of four programs in that software package.

#5 Noah4x4

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 01:09 PM

The headline description of an ASI533 on any vendor site suggests USB3. I don't know if that is sacrosanct, but I doubt if your cable is at fault and USB2 may make it worse. However, USB3 also suggests it is resource hungry. 

 

As an ASI533 is 9 megapixel and will need a decent processor, decent graphics and sufficient RAM. If you struggle to quickly diagnose this problem, don't dismiss the possibility that you might need more computing resources. I have a 16 megapixel resolution camera and this caught me out, and I blamed everything except computer. Megapixel cameras can demand surprising computing ooomph.



#6 arrowspace90

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 01:19 PM

The headline description of an ASI533 on any vendor site suggests USB3. I don't know if that is sacrosanct, but I doubt if your cable is at fault and USB2 may make it worse. However, USB3 also suggests it is resource hungry. 

 

As an ASI533 is 9 megapixel and will need a decent processor, decent graphics and sufficient RAM. If you struggle to quickly diagnose this problem, don't dismiss the possibility that you might need more computing resources. I have a 16 megapixel resolution camera and this caught me out, and I blamed everything except computer. Megapixel cameras can demand surprising computing ooomph.

It is an old computer.  It has a Core i3 processor. ??

However, I went to the ZWO ASICAP in Studio.  The test screen shows white, but I don't have a good exposure in there.  It is reporting however that 390 frames and dropped 271.  Is that a good sign?  At least it is communicating with the camera?


Edited by arrowspace90, 28 February 2020 - 01:20 PM.


#7 jmiller1001

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 01:29 PM

Also, was the laptop on battery vs. plugged in?  If on battery power, check your settings to ensure that the USB port was not powered down - this bit me once.


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#8 jmiller1001

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 01:30 PM

Yes - that's a good sign.  I had a ASI1600 that I was testing yesterday in the sunshine and Sharpcap was dropping 50% of the frames in the daylight.  It did not drop any frames at night.


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#9 925chicago

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 01:30 PM

Turn down the gain is ASICAP until you see an image. Not sure why you are dropping so many packets...


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#10 Noah4x4

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 01:58 PM

It is an old computer.  It has a Core i3 processor. ??

However, I went to the ZWO ASICAP in Studio.  The test screen shows white, but I don't have a good exposure in there.  It is reporting however that 390 frames and dropped 271.  Is that a good sign?  At least it is communicating with the camera?

Can you be more specific, what actual processor? Generation of i3 and model number (example i3-4370T @ 3.3Ghz). You can check via Windows Settings/About. Also how much RAM? It being an older laptop might support my theory there is  need to investigate and eliminate this as a possibility.

 

There are over 100 x "i3" processors. An early generation i3 processor will probably be too slow perhaps having a CPU Benchmark around 2935.  A top end latest generation i3 will be 10000. To eliminate the possibility that computer resources is the issue, we need to know where your CPU lies along this scale. But don't rush out and buy a new laptop! Let's simply evaluate what you have (and RAM) and hopefully eliminate it as a causation.

 

An all white (or even all black) image usually simply suggests over exposure, which is common under daylight. Dropping so many frames is most likely to be caused by poor seeing or poor focus. However, it might further suggest that you need more computing resources. Rapidly stacking short exposures from a megapixel camera can involve huge amounts of data processing. 


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#11 arrowspace90

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 02:24 PM

Can you be more specific, what actual processor? Generation of i3 and model number (example i3-4370T @ 3.3Ghz). You can check via Windows Settings/About. Also how much RAM? It being an older laptop might support my theory there is  need to investigate and eliminate this as a possibility.

 

There are over 100 x "i3" processors. An early generation i3 processor will probably be too slow perhaps having a CPU Benchmark around 2935.  A top end latest generation i3 will be 10000. To eliminate the possibility that computer resources is the issue, we need to know where your CPU lies along this scale. But don't rush out and buy a new laptop! Let's simply evaluate what you have (and RAM) and hopefully eliminate it as a causation.

 

An all white (or even all black) image usually simply suggests over exposure, which is common under daylight. Dropping so many frames is most likely to be caused by poor seeing or poor focus. However, it might further suggest that you need more computing resources. Rapidly stacking short exposures from a megapixel camera can involve huge amounts of data processing. 

It says, "i3-3120 CPU @ 2.50 GHz?  Installed memory, only 6GB



#12 Noah4x4

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 02:48 PM

An i3-3120 @ 2.5Ghz is quite an old generation and has a CPU benchmark of merely 3229. With only 6 Gb RAM it is possibly a fraction too slow for a 9 megapixel resolution camera that is rapidly stacking short exposures. But it is a marginal call. The last thing we want is for you to unnecessarily buy a new laptop, albeit an upgrade to more RAM might be worth exploring as that cost is usually modest.

 

My 16 megapixel camera would occasionally splutter with a seventh generation i5 processor having a benchmark around 6,850 and 4 Gb RAM. I had to upgrade to 8 Gb to enjoy any stability, and eventually to 7i7 before I achieved the performance that I desired. Your camera is a bit less demanding, but you will see the likelihood that this might possibly be the cause of your data download issues. Also, how long are your USB cables? Even 'active' USB3 suffer problems beyond 3 metres.

 

Have you access to a newer laptop that you can try? I stress I could be on the wrong path, but I spent ££££'s replacing USB cables and upgrading WiFi when all I needed was a £20 RAM upgrade. 



#13 OldManSky

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 02:59 PM

NINA will let you take any exposure without the cooler being on and without a telescope connected.  Just connect the camera in the Equipment tab.  Then go to the Imaging tab.  Look for the Camera control box.  Set the exposure time and gain.  Click the button to take an image.  It will take it and download it and display it.

 

What you can't do is run the Flats wizard or take darks through the sequencer without setting a temperature (turning the cooler on, etc.).  Because they're temperature dependent.  For those you need to turn the cooler on and set a temperature.  You don't need a scope attached unless you've got the sequencer set to slew to a target, though.

 

Oh, and use the native ASI driver when you connect to the camera instead of the ASCOM driver, if it's available.  It's faster. :)



#14 arrowspace90

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 04:05 PM

NINA will let you take any exposure without the cooler being on and without a telescope connected.  Just connect the camera in the Equipment tab.  Then go to the Imaging tab.  Look for the Camera control box.  Set the exposure time and gain.  Click the button to take an image.  It will take it and download it and display it.

 

What you can't do is run the Flats wizard or take darks through the sequencer without setting a temperature (turning the cooler on, etc.).  Because they're temperature dependent.  For those you need to turn the cooler on and set a temperature.  You don't need a scope attached unless you've got the sequencer set to slew to a target, though.

 

Oh, and use the native ASI driver when you connect to the camera instead of the ASCOM driver, if it's available.  It's faster. smile.gif

 

NINA will let you take any exposure without the cooler being on and without a telescope connected.  Just connect the camera in the Equipment tab.  Then go to the Imaging tab.  Look for the Camera control box.  Set the exposure time and gain.  Click the button to take an image.  It will take it and download it and display it.

 

What you can't do is run the Flats wizard or take darks through the sequencer without setting a temperature (turning the cooler on, etc.).  Because they're temperature dependent.  For those you need to turn the cooler on and set a temperature.  You don't need a scope attached unless you've got the sequencer set to slew to a target, though.

 

Oh, and use the native ASI driver when you connect to the camera instead of the ASCOM driver, if it's available.  It's faster. smile.gif

Yeah, a guy showed me that on the forum, but it still didn't seem right.  I'm so new at this, guys perhaps assume I am knowing to do things that in fact I don't.  But I will take it out in the dark tonight and see how far I get with everything connected.  Eventually, probably not today, I will climb a rung up the ladder.  I need to be able to take pictures, even if they are terrible.


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