Focusmax, tricks, Aluma camera?

Discussion in 'Aluma AC Series CMOS' started by mike shade, Feb 21, 2021.

  1. mike shade

    mike shade Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2015
    Messages:
    75
    I seem to be having an issue in getting the new camera to work with my older version of Focusmax. There will be a nice bright star dead center on the chip (17" telescope). An image through the camera shows star, when taken through Maxim. When focus is attempted in FM, it seems that it can't decide on the frame size. In looking at the camera control window EXPOSURE, under the subframe section, the X, Y, W, and H numbers change as it is trying to focus. The image will go white, then horizontal lines in the image, then noise and then the message that the star is not bright enough. It will not focus. FM worked flawlessly with the STL6303E two night ago, I had none of these issues.

    Is there something to set in FM with this camera?
     
  2. William B

    William B Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2015
    Messages:
    378
    Location:
    Christchurch, Dorset UK
    Have you created a profile for the new camera in FocusMax?

    How old is your copy of FocusMax, which build, exactly..?

    FocusMax needs to characterise the complete optical system, including camera, to build a specific V-curve response for autofocus.
    If you change the old camera for a new one that has a different sensor size, pixel size, pixel ratio, binning ratio, well depth, sensitivity, wavelength response, etc, then the existing FocusMax profile for your old camera will no longer match the response of your new one and FocusMax will be unable to find an exposure time or binning setting to begin running a focus sequence.

    If you change any component in the optical chain then you must create a new FocusMax profile and characterise the system.

    Instructions how to do this are in the FocusMax help.
     
  3. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2014
    Messages:
    5,207
    Location:
    Earth
    Recommend you have 4.1.0.102 as it includes an important fix related to start download in MaxIm.
     
  4. mike shade

    mike shade Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2015
    Messages:
    75
    Thanks for the replies. I have been using an old version, 3.XX which has performed flawlessly. I ran a new series of v-curves (12) for the new camera. My old version of FM worked fine with the current version of Maxim, 6.26 with the STL camera. It is not with the ALUMA camera. I have also downloaded the latest version of FM, it is having the same problem. In working on this, it seems that there are two issues; it will try and focus and continue running the exposures until it is stopped OR it will try and focus, either say that it can't measure or find the star (there is a bright star in the center of the field, say mag 6) or the frame will continually change size, go blank, have excessive noise or horizontal lines across it. Then it reverts to the previous focus position. In running this say 30 times or more it has not focused once. The frustrating part of all of this (there are some issues with guiding with the SC3 that Collin is looking into), two nights ago I had a system that would focus precisely and guide accurately (STL 6303E). Now it will do neither and I am spending hours (12+ at this point) trying to get the system up and running. When I transferred from the ST10 to STL years ago it was running in about two hours.
     
  5. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2014
    Messages:
    5,207
    Location:
    Earth
    Mike, we're going to have a look at your settings posted related to guiding, and that may give us a clue as to what is happening here.
     
  6. William B

    William B Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2015
    Messages:
    378
    Location:
    Christchurch, Dorset UK
    Mike.

    As you are also having guiding issues with the ALUMA then possibly the FocusMax issue is connected but just in case you missed this....

    You most likely know this already but when you ran the V-curve for the new camera had you completed the first essential step of measuring the HFD for the new system?
    If this is missed then FocusMax will hunt backwards and forwards to measure the V-curve but will be unable to characterise the focuser + camera response.

    The HFD measurement is a prerequisite, prior to beginning the V-curve measurement, and is found under the 'First Light Wizard' (for details see under Help - Tutorials).

    Edit:
    I forgot to add that setting up a CMOS camera with FocusMax is a mare of a job, (wasn't a SBIG camera by the way).
    Did one last year and it took many nights.
    Had to create a separate system profile for each camera gain and offset setting that the system operator wanted to utilise, six in all.
    If the operator switched camera gain and offset in the capture program (via the driver) then we had to also change to the matching profile in FocusMax otherwise FocusMax could not focus the system.

    William.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  7. mike shade

    mike shade Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2015
    Messages:
    75
    This is turning into quite the saga. I am going to work on FM V4 tonight and go from the "first light wizard". Perhaps this will rectify the problem. Not quite sure what you mean when you offer camera gain and offset setting, in the driver. I know there are various modes in Maxim, HDR and so on. Is this what you are referring to?


     
  8. William B

    William B Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2015
    Messages:
    378
    Location:
    Christchurch, Dorset UK
    Mike.

    I’m not sure about the various capture settings for the ALUMA CMOS camera and how that might affect FocusMax.
    The camera we were setting up was a ASI ZWO CMOS and in the camera driver you were free to configure camera amplifier gain and AtoD convertor offsets however you wished.

    The user of that camera had determined that they wanted to use six different gain and offset settings to match the image target and type of filter used so as to get the maximum signal from the camera but we found changing those values also changed the way FocusMax interpreted the star profile while measuring the V-curve which led to a poor focus result.

    I guess that with the ALUMA it will be a case of setup FocusMax using the camera mode settings that you will most likely use for most of the time and if that works well then test with the less frequently used capture modes when you get the time and if the FocusMax results are not so good then create separate FocusMax profiles for those capture modes too.

    William.
     
  9. mike shade

    mike shade Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2015
    Messages:
    75
    Thanks...bigger problems, can't connect at all. Camera powers up, can comes on, filter wheel turns but am getting an error message "error opening filter wheel" and in the information window in the setup tab "error in camera pluging calibration" and "error in guide camera plugin". It is possible that I hot plugged the filter wheel (I don't think likely but possible), this might have done something. I also did a disc cleanup, don't know if this might have done something. My old STL6303E connects fine, wit the right drivers. At this point I have no idea, thinking of reloading drivers maybe, I have no idea.
     
  10. William B

    William B Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2015
    Messages:
    378
    Location:
    Christchurch, Dorset UK
    You just caught me as I was about to turn in for the night....

    Quite possibly running Disk Cleanup on Windows 7 and/or unplugging the camera without shutting down has corrupted the software and/or drivers.

    With the camera disconnected uninstall the SBIG and ALUMA drivers and MaxIm via the add-remove programs tool in Windows settings, reboot the computer and then reinstall the drivers package first followed by MaxIm then reboot again.

    Start up MaxIm one time with Administrator rights (mouse-right-click the desktop shortcut to MaxIm and select “Run as Administrator” from the context menu) allow MaxIm to load fully, wait for a few seconds then close it again.
    Finally, restart MaxIm normally (not “As Administrator”) and see if you can connect to the ALUMA.

    Your existing MaxIm settings will be maintained during reinstallation as they are stored separately to the programme.

    If still no luck then you will have to wait for help from the Diffraction Limited staff, as I don’t own or run any SBIG / Diffraction Limited cameras and have little knowledge of the current line-up.

    William.
     
  11. mike shade

    mike shade Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2015
    Messages:
    75
    It is likely a hardware problem according to Doug. I have tried what he suggested, namely using another usb port...nothing. Tried reloading the drivers...nothing. I am not amused as you can imagine...

    Thanks...
     

Share This Page