Dual camera failure

Discussion in 'STT Series' started by Starboy, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. Starboy

    Starboy Standard User

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    I will try to make this complicated problem as simple as possible:

    I have two SBIG cameras:

    1) A ST2000XM purchased many years ago

    2) A STT-8300M purchased last year

    I use exclusively Windows XP Professional computers, except when communicating on the Internet (e.g. downloading drivers) I use Windows 7.

    Both cameras have worked extremely well operating under both CCDOps and Maxim 6.0 (Pro). In particular, for the last year I have used the ST2K extensively for guiding on target and guide stars with my 30-inch Dobson and multichannel photometer.

    In all previous cases I have used separate computers when operating both cameras at the same time. The current, very perplexing, situation has arisen since I now need to operate both cameras in a single computer under Maxim (as part of an autonomous system). The plan is to operate the 8300 as Camera 1 (ignoring the guide chip) while using the ST2K for guiding as Camera 2. To make sure I was using the correct drivers for this new configuration I downloaded “SetupDriverChecker64.exe” on October 10 and upgraded the drivers in one computer (deleting old ones) using this driver checker, and then activated both camera USB connections using the appropriate 32 bit\pro option. Maxim was able to find both cameras and connect, but since then the results have been very frustrating:

    1) Although both cameras were found by Maxim, every exposure with Camera 2 was blank, as if the shutter didn’t open.

    2) I tried various combinations of disconnecting cameras, but the ST2K frames were always blank, even in CCDOps

    3) After restoring the computer to its earlier drivers, the ST2K worked fine with Maxim and CCDOps. I was able to connect to the 8300 on the same computer using different drivers, but in this case Maxim was not able to find both cameras.

    4) Besides not working well in the two camera mode, I have found that this configuration is also unstable. On one occasion, after shutting the system down and then rebooting normally, Maxim could not find the ST2K. On another occasion, exposures with camera 1 stopped after a while due to a reported filter problem, although no filter operations were performed.

    Clearly this experience has been very frustrating, stopping my automated system plans in their tracks. Can you suggest/supply some drivers that will reliably operate both cameras in the described computer environment? I would be very grateful.

    Sincerely, Richard Stanton
     
  2. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    First of all, please make sure that you have the latest version of MaxIm DL. Older releases may have problems running two SBIG cameras if threading is enabled.

    As for the driver situation, that is odd. We do have an ST-2000XM, so I'll ask Adam to test it with an STT-8300M to make sure there isn't some kind of driver incompatibility.
     
  3. Adam Robichaud

    Adam Robichaud Staff Member

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    As a follow up, we haven't had any other customers report issues connecting two cameras up in that configuration before. Can you divulge some information about your setup?
    • Are you using a USB hub?
    • What firmware versions are you running on each camera?
    • What version of SBIGUDrv does Driver Checker 64 report on your active computer?
     
  4. Starboy

    Starboy Standard User

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    Here are initial answers:
    (1) Not running a USB hub but do have an active relay for achieving 35' distance from scope to computer. Use two of these and never had a problem in ~3 years
    (2) Not sure where to find this information
    (3) sbigudrv 4.88 Build 11 10-9-15
    Thanks for your help!
     
  5. Starboy

    Starboy Standard User

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    In re- reading my first post, my description may have been misleading. The ST2K frames are not blank--They look very much like dark current frames as if the shutter didn't open.
     
  6. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    Please double-check that the 2K is working properly when operating by itself.

    FYI, extender cables contain one port mini-hubs. It's worth removing it as a check that it is not causing problems.
     
  7. Starboy

    Starboy Standard User

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    ST2k was definitely working properly by itself when I re-loaded the old drivers--this showed me that the shutter was still OK. The ST2K did NOT work properly by itself with the new drivers, even when switched to CCDOPS. In all cases it gave frames (light and dark) that looked like dark frames.
    I can try the experiment which I think you are suggesting: Remove camera, bring it close to computer and connect with simple USB cable. This will take a while--let you know when have results.
     
  8. Adam Robichaud

    Adam Robichaud Staff Member

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    I just finished running a test with an STT-8300, and an ST-2000XM in your configuration, with MaxIm DL 6.10, and SBIGUDrv v 4.88 build 11. Everything ran smoothly, and I didn't see any issues with dark frames. Let me know how that test goes.
     
  9. Starboy

    Starboy Standard User

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    Thanks for checking this--encouraging that everything works with these drivers on your system. Was it an XP Pro computer?
    My tests were less successful. The first computer (both cameras with new drivers) continued to act flaky and eventually crashed. I'm abandoning this computer until I can revive it (reload windows?) This problem may have caused of some of the Maxim flakiness, not vice versa. Didn't get to the straight cable test.
    Turned to the second computer, one with both cameras operating but with different vintage drivers. With both cameras connected, Maxim could always find the ST2K but not the ST8300. (in fact it was fine with camera 1 and 2 connected to the ST2K) . With the ST2K unplugged it found and connected to the ST8300 w/o difficulty. As soon as the ST2K was plugged back in the 8300 was no longer available. I will retry using the new drivers with the ST2K but am pretty sure that will return to the "no shutter" problem.
    After that, I've decided to raise the white flag and try connecting everything with my Windows 7 Pro computer. I assume that in this case I use the 64 bit\pro file.
    Thanks again--will report back, probably tomorrow, after I load SW, move computers and switch.
     
  10. Adam Robichaud

    Adam Robichaud Staff Member

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    It was a Windows 10 computer, but I don't suspect upgrading to Windows 10 will solve your problems unless your PC is on its last ropes... In which case, it may be a good idea to try it on your Windows 7 PC. I suspect you'll have more luck. Let me know how it goes.
     
  11. Starboy

    Starboy Standard User

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    OK. Same drivers downloaded on Oct 10 loaded in windows 7 computer, cameras connected and Maxim upgraded to 6.02. Results:
    (1) Both cameras found by Maxim, Camera 1=8300; Camera 2 = ST2K
    (2) Both cameras seem to operate normally, BUT the ST2K does not see light, as if the shutter never opens. 8300 always works fine. ST2K always works the same regardless of Maxim configuration
    (3) Configuration is stable through power cycling and computer reboots. Previous instability was probably due to all the different driver configurations I tried
    SO, I come back to my original position
    (1) My ST2000 clearly doesn't work correctly with the new drivers, although it is still working fine with old drivers
    (2) Do you have any drivers available (from the past?) that might simultaneously operate both of my cameras?
    (3) Did your test of my two camera configuration verify that light was being detected with both cameras?
    Thanks again--will wait for your reply
     

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