ASI 294MC Pro dropped frames

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Katherine.Tsai
Posts: 328
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:24 am

Re: ASI 294MC Pro dropped frames

Post by Katherine.Tsai » Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:46 am

Tapio wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:13 pm
In my experience, there's no temperature connection. Cooling is necessary to keep air circulating inside the heated dome enclosure to evaporate moisture from outside it. Also of course to keep the amplifier glow from ruining the picture at high gain (>400) needed to capture the stars to about mag 3-4 with exposure times less than a second. The exact target temperature is not critical, it's set so that the cooler is running at 10-20% most of the time and rarely below zero Celsius.

The frame dropping can start at any moment. Frame cropping is always on and 2x binning is used almost all the time, so there's not much data to deduce if those would be related to the problem. I start ASICAP without crop and no binning, after that SharpCap works again.
Best Regards, Tapio
Did you connect the camera directly to the computer or connect it through a hub?

Tapio
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:41 pm

Re: ASI 294MC Pro dropped frames

Post by Tapio » Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:23 am

Camera and computer are directly connected. No communication problems.

donstim
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:12 pm

Re: ASI 294MC Pro dropped frames

Post by donstim » Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:51 am

The camera is connected directly to the computer. The camera was taken from indoors at around 70 degrees F to the outside at about 55 degrees F when the session started. The outside air temperature cooled down to about 45 F degrees during the session. The camera was working fine at first, then started exhibiting the abnormal behavior. I was using the cooler with the temperature set to - 10.

It seemed like when the misbehavior started, turning the cooler off allowed it to work properly for a little while longer if I disconnected from SharpCap and reconnected (but I am not sure it actually made any difference). After a while, it didn't matter what I tried, the frame dropping occurred continously at all times, even after swapping back and forth with the 224MC camera, which worked fine. After bringing everything back inside, it continued to exhibit the abnormal behavior for at about an hour, but then began working normally again. (At that time, the temperature reported in the SharpCap camera thermal controls was 28.9, which seems rather high compared to the room temperature of around 67 degrees F.)

Katherine.Tsai
Posts: 328
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:24 am

Re: ASI 294MC Pro dropped frames

Post by Katherine.Tsai » Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:59 am

This is a very strange situation.
Does this problem also happened in ASICAP?
When you do not use cooling, does it also drop frames?
Can your power supply provide 12V power stably?

It is normal for camera temperature to rise after tha camera running for a while without cooling.

donstim
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:12 pm

Re: ASI 294MC Pro dropped frames

Post by donstim » Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:58 pm

Thank you Katherine for your reply. I agree that it seems to be a strange situation, but I have seen sporadic reports of similar issues when doing Google searches.

I don't have ASICAP, but I will download it and try it when I get back. I am out of town for the next week, and we are having dreadful weather at home.

I use the Celestron power lithium battery to supple the 12v power for the cooler. I always start with the cooler. Once I have encountered the issue, turning the cooler off has no effect.

Thanks,
Don

Katherine.Tsai
Posts: 328
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:24 am

Re: ASI 294MC Pro dropped frames

Post by Katherine.Tsai » Thu Oct 17, 2019 3:27 am

Thanks for the info, I will wait for your message, and please try it without cooling in the beginning, see if 294 will drop frames again.

donstim
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:12 pm

Re: ASI 294MC Pro dropped frames

Post by donstim » Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 am

Thank you for your help. I am back home, and the skies have been cooperative. I am afraid I have a camera that is dying and is now nearly dead. What used to be an intermittent problem has now become almost constant - where the camera seems unable to transfer images to the image capture software.

As you suggested I try, I started out not using the cooler. From the moment I connected the camera to my laptop and started SharpCap, SharpCap indicated that every frame was being dropped. I closed SharpCap and opened ASICAP. ASICAP indicated there were no frames being captured at all -- fps, total frames, and dropped frames were all zero. I plugged the cooler in and started it up and suddenly both SharpCap and ASICAP started showing frames being captured. However, this did not last for more than a minute or two. The situation returned to SharpCap indicating every frame being dropped and ASICAP indicating that no frames were being captured or dropped.

I brought out two more USB cables, one being the cable that came with my 224MC camera and the other being an older USB2 cable. I also brought out another laptop. I tried each USB cable in each USB port in each laptop, camera cooler on and camera cooler off. I tried fast and slow USB bus speeds, high speed and not high speed, various formats, and gain/exposure settings. Nothing made any difference. Occasionally, (seemingly randomly as I could never find a way to reliably reproduce it), the camera would start working for a short time, but then soon stop working again. The power LED light was on the whole time, and the camera was recognized at all times by both SharpCap and ASICAP. ( did not run these programs simultaneously. When switching between them, I would shut one down before starting the other one.)

Again, my 224MC camera functioned properly connected to either of the USB3 cables and either laptop. After bringing everything back inside, this time the issue did not resolve itself. A couple of times the camera started working again, but not for more than a minute or two at a time. Unless you have any other ideas, I believe I have a defective product that is less than a year old. It was purchased from High Point Scientific. I would like to know how I can get it replaced. Thank you.

[Edit]} Well, of course, just after I wrote this, the camera started working again and seemed like it was going to keep working. I actually put it in the freezer for a half hour to try to simulate being outside in the cold in case that's what is causing the problem, but after getting it out it still works.

[Further edit] It worked for about 3 or 4 minutes, but stopped working again for a few minutes, then started working again using ASICAP. I switched over to SharpCap and it stopped working and continued to not work when switching back to ASICAP. This intermittency is very frustrating. It makes the camera unusable on evenings where it behaves like this, but my fear is that If I send it in for repair or replacement, it may not display this behavior (at least not right away). Most nights (at least in the past), the camera would not exhibit this behavior at all. But on some nights, it did. Tonight it was significantly worse, especially in that it was not working right from the beginning, but I don't know whether that means it is likely not to get better, or if it may work fine tomorrow night.

Katherine.Tsai
Posts: 328
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:24 am

Re: ASI 294MC Pro dropped frames

Post by Katherine.Tsai » Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:42 am

Please send a email to support@zwoptical.com and may I remote control your computer to see what happened and try to figure out the problem?

donstim
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:12 pm

Re: ASI 294MC Pro dropped frames

Post by donstim » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:39 pm

Hi Katherine,

Thank you for your reply and your offer. After 2 nights of not working, the camera is now working fine again!! I assume it will only be worthwhile for you to remotely control my computer when the camera is not working properly. Since this is appears to be an intermittent issue, I don't know how to arrange that. I will also hold off on the email to support until the problem resurfaces.

Don

donstim
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:12 pm

Re: ASI 294MC Pro dropped frames

Post by donstim » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:26 am

After 2 nights of the camera working fine, without using the cooler, I decided to test it with using the cooler. The issue came back within a short time. I took the camera in, put the desiccant tablets in the microwave and reinstalled them. No change. I then used a hair dryer to heat up the camera. It then started working again, though I can't say it was definitely due to heating it up with the hair dryer. After finishing my imaging for the evening, I turned the cooler back on. The problem reappeared, and I quit for the night.

Tonight I decided to try to repeat the same experiment. However, I never got to the point of operating the cooler. Even with the cooler off, the issue reappeared. For a while, after disconnecting and reconnecting the camera within SharpCap, or switching back and forth between SharpCap and ASICAP, the camera would start working again. But after doing this a number of times, the camera would no longer recover.

Edited to add: Of course, it is the next morning and the camera is working fine again. It remains difficult to impossible to predict when (or why) the camera will malfunction.

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