My STF8300 started behaving badly

Discussion in 'STF Series CCD Cameras' started by Stanley Fertig, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. Stanley Fertig

    Stanley Fertig stan in Brooklyn Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Messages:
    33
    Hi, I’ve recently begun having some serious problems with my STF 8300m.

    1. Although it used to work fine, I’ve recently been unable to use it for astrophotography.
    2. Various errors occur but not systematically. For example, using kStars on a Mac, I can occasionally get one or two preview frames alright, then it stops working for additional frames. The error messages typically say TX Timeout or Could not Get Temperature Reading. The frames appear to be taken but the download just hangs.
    3. I’ve tried the camera on the Mac with kStars. I’ve also tried the camera using MaximDL6 and even CCD Ops. The same problems occur.
    4. I just tried to update the firmware (currently 2.4) but I can’t get the firmware updater to work on my MacBook Air.
    5.. I even completely erased my MacBook Air (which had been running Catalina, that’s another story) and re-installed Mac OS Mojave and each application, etc. Still don’t work.
    6. Today I tried it again (without telescope, during the day). Got 1 or 2 "normal" preview frames. Then I got the attached frame...

    I’m at my wit’s end. Does this sound like anything you’re familiar with?

    Thank you,
    Stanley Fertig
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,751
    I suggest you try a Windows machine and CCDOPS and test the camera.
    The sample image is weird, but I can't tell what you grabbed with it.
    I suspect the shutter is not fully opening; or a USB bus problem; or both.
    Get rid of any hubs, change the cable, and test with the simplest possible setup.
     
  3. Stanley Fertig

    Stanley Fertig stan in Brooklyn Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Messages:
    33
    Thanks, Colin, for your very quick reply.
    I don't have a Windows computer, I can ask some friends I guess. But the cable is more problematic--I was using the USB cable directly from the camera to the computer. Is the end that fits in the camera a standard cable i could find a replacement for? or do I need to get it from SBIG? Regarding the image, that was taken without a telescope with the camera sitting on a desk with the cover slightly on/off (I wanted to see if it could at least see light). I neglected in my earlier description to mention that sometimes when I try to take a preview, I get a completely black image--when the download doesn't hang. Lots of problems all at once but the one constant is the inability to get a temperature reading.

    After I hear back from you regarding the cable, I'll do as you suggested. That may take a few days...

    thanks again,
    sf
     
  4. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,751
    The cables are commonly available from just about any computer store or office supply.
    It's a USB type A to USB type B cable. Commonly used with printers.

    For another test, put the camera on the workbench (kitchen table), and take a 10 second exposure. Look into the nose of camera to see if the shutter opens fully and closes.
    If there's a filter wheel attached, you'll need to spin it to the Luminance or Clear filter so you can see through it.
     
  5. Stanley Fertig

    Stanley Fertig stan in Brooklyn Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Messages:
    33
    Thank you, Colin. I realized after reading your message that I have a cable to a scanner which fits the bill. So I tried connecting to each of my iMac (Catalina) and MacBook Air (Mojave) to do the test you suggest. Things have gotten worse since yesterday: neither computer can detect the STF8300 any longer, regardless of what I do.

    The details:
    I tested with both cables (the original and the scanner cable) and tested both cables with the scanner. Both are fine.

    On the Mac side:
    1. I re-installed the Mac camera drivers on both computers (in the case of Catalina, using Don's instructions).
    2. CCDOps doesn't run under Catalina, but it does under Mojave. So on the Air, I tried the latest version of CCDOps and it could not "see" the camera, nor could the firmware updater.
    3. On each computer I tried kStars and it could not see the camera either.

    On the Windows side:
    4. On the iMac, I tried both Windows 7 and Windows 10. On the Air, just Windows 7. All that using Parallels, which has always worked perfectly before with this camera.
    5. I tried CCDOps in each case and it could not see the camera. Nor could Maxim DL.
    6. On each computer, I re-installed the latest version of Ascom and updated the camera driver with the 64bit Driver Checker. The camera still remained invisible to Windows in every case.
    7. I even un-installed the Line6 drivers which I had recently updated, thinking that might have interfered somehow. Didn't change the situation.

    So this is definitely worse than yesterday, when I could at least see the camera in either Windows or OS X. My camera's ills appear to be progressive.

    Unfortunately I don't have easy access to a Windows computer; Covid makes that difficult right now in NYC. Should I not just ship the camera to SBIG for examination?

    Thanks again,
    stan
     
  6. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,751
    My colleague @Bill can assist with checking the camera out. He handles all service and repair, and is in California.
    You can send him an email to bill (at) sbig (dot) com
    He will then give you instructions to send it in for service.
     
  7. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,751
    Also, when you were running Parallels, did you remember to install the SBIGDriver Checker and see if it would get the firmware version from the Camera?
    Or check the Windows Device Manager to see if that camera was listed?
     
  8. Stanley Fertig

    Stanley Fertig stan in Brooklyn Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Messages:
    33
    Thanks, Colin. I had not checked the firmware through the Driver Checker. I just tried to do so and got the message: "Could not Establish a link to the Camera. Please make sure it is attached via USB and try again." Also tried again on the Mac side with kStars and got the (same) message:
    "2020-06-14T16:38:58: [ERROR] Failed to connect CCD at port USB 1
    2020-06-14T16:38:58: [ERROR] OpenDevice: CC_OPEN_DEVICE 32514 -> (Device not Found)"

    Just can't seem to connect via USB any longer. So yes, I'll contact Bill. Many thanks again.
    -stan
     
  9. Stanley Fertig

    Stanley Fertig stan in Brooklyn Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Messages:
    33
    Forgot to mention, I checked the Device Manager and the camera is nowhere to be seen. I checked the COM 1 Port and it is "working properly."
     
  10. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,751
    COM1: is a serial port and has nothing to do with your STF camera.
    You should be seeing something along the lines of SBIG USB Camera with Firmware
    Under MacOS I have no idea.
     
  11. Stanley Fertig

    Stanley Fertig stan in Brooklyn Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Messages:
    33
    Thanks, Colin, please forgive my ignorance. But in any case that was extraneous info. I checked every line in the Windows Device Manager and there is no mention of anything like SBIG or a camera, etc. anywhere. And the DriverChecker cannot connect to the camera under the firmware tab. Using each computer, Windows 7 and Windows 10. I'm going to send it in for service.
     
  12. Bill

    Bill SBIG Service and Repairs Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2014
    Messages:
    479
    Stan,

    Send me an email, bill@sbig.com, and I will give you the details for sending it in.

    -Bill
     
  13. Stanley Fertig

    Stanley Fertig stan in Brooklyn Cyanogen Customer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Messages:
    33
    Done. Please let me know if you haven't received it.
    Thanks,
    stan
     
  14. Bill

    Bill SBIG Service and Repairs Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2014
    Messages:
    479
    I have not. If you clicked the highlighted address, I'm thinking that might be why. Try typing in the address. Or just call me, 805 308-6979.

    -Bill
     

Share This Page