STT-8300 Guide Chip Issue

Discussion in 'STT Series' started by Erik_Monteith, Aug 12, 2020.

  1. Erik_Monteith

    Erik_Monteith Standard User

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    His Guys. Im the owner of a used STT-8300M with self guiding filter wheel. It has developed an issue with the guide chip not capturing any images. It began after a bad cable connection caused the cameras USB connection to drop in and out. Immediately after the guide frames returned only static. I have updated the camera firmware, and SBIG drivers with the driver checker and all is in order.

    When I capture an image with the guide chip in CCD Ops, its blank, histogram values of 0...The main imaging CCD works fine as far as I can tell.

    EDIT: The shutter over the guide chip opens perfectly and the sensor is clearly visible.

    Also previously when I used to power up the camera, the filter wheel would rotate, quite loudly. It doesn't anymore, and my filter positions have been lost. I haven't checked the HDMI cable yet, but that's next.

    Any advice would be great!

    Thanks
     

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    Last edited: Aug 12, 2020
  2. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    First I would check the HDMI cable.

    The filter operation is completely independent of the guide camera. Check the I2C cable also. I trust you haven't hot plugged the I2C cable...?
     
  3. Bill

    Bill SBIG Service and Repairs Staff Member

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    It doesn't appear that you're using the guider as "External". I notice in the lower right corner of the screen shot it says "Res: Tracking-Auto", it should be "Res: Ext. Tracking-..." in order to use the FWG.

    -Bill
     
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  4. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    Good catch!
     
  5. Erik_Monteith

    Erik_Monteith Standard User

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    Hi Doug, I will find a new HDMI cable and try today. And I haven’t touched the Ic2 cable.

    Bill, I’ll look into this also. It did occur to me last night that maybe that “internal external” setting may be wrong, but I never changed anything. I will certainly check that too.

    Will let you know the outcome in a few hours!

    Erik
     
  6. Erik_Monteith

    Erik_Monteith Standard User

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    Ok, so I replaced the HDMI cable, and now in CCD Ops the guide chip appears to be working! Getting data on the histogram now anyway. However in PHD I’m not getting an image....all the settings are set for internal guide chip also.

    I might try re installing PHD and the API guiding plugin.

    Erik
     
  7. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    You should set for External guide chip. It's in the wheel, not the camera!
     
  8. Erik_Monteith

    Erik_Monteith Standard User

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    Hi Doug, yep, makes sense! So....I have made some progress, but I'm still baffled as to what is going on....I hope this makes sense! So:

    1.Replaced HDMI cable. Getting an image in CCD Ops, but not PHD
    2.Checked CCD Ops settings, and setting the tracking CCD to "Internal" or "External" doesn't change anything, still getting an image in CCD Ops with either setting.
    3.Tried PHD again and now getting an image but only on exposures of .5 seconds or less. Anything higher gives me an image with ZERO data. Dropping back to below 1 second instantly shows an image, but inconsistently.
    4.Changed camera settings in Sequence Generator Pro between "Internal" and "Remote Guide Head" (WAS AND HAD ALWAYS BEEN SET TO INTERNAL WHEN WORKING)
    5.Now I can see a an image in PHD with exposures up to 3.5 seconds. Anything higher, and it dies again, but still inconsistently. Sometimes it will still give me a random blank image.

    So I did some experimenting with light sources and software, and I can only conclude that in CCD Ops, no issues. PHD, bright light sources kill the sensor?

    However now I am getting a starry image in CCD Ops, AND PHD, with exposures of up to 10 seconds. So I don't know what happened that first night, but the problem appears to have resolved it self, for now?

    Thanks for your help so far. Maybe it was just a software glitch? If it happens again I'll reach out again.

    Erik
     

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  9. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    Since it's working properly in CCDOPS, we can be pretty certain the hardware is working correctly. You do only appear to be having trouble with PHD, so...

    Have you tried updating the SBIG Drivers via SBIG Driver Checker?

    Was PHD previously working? Perhaps you should reach out to the PHD authors for assistance?
     
  10. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    Are you trying to use two different programs accessing the same camera body ?
     
  11. Erik_Monteith

    Erik_Monteith Standard User

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    Dough, yes that seams reasonable to me too. Yes, I updated the drivers via the driver checker, and updated the camera firmware. At first there are some errors saying that access to the SBIG files was denied, but eventually it worked...

    Yes PHD was previously working fine. although when I think back, occasionally a frame would drop out, but maybe only once or twice during an imaging session. I will post on the PHD forum too I think.


    Colin, I am primarily using Sequence Generator Pro to access the camera body. Only used CCD Ops to trouble shoot. Not trying to use Two programs at the same time though.



    Erik
     
  12. Erik_Monteith

    Erik_Monteith Standard User

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    I also wanted to add. I made a mistake in my original post stating that the cameras USB cable was the cause of the problem. I discovered later that the USB connection was secure! I have the camera connected to the onboard USB hub provided on the mounts (Paramount MX) Versa Plate, which also provides 12V power to my focuser. What was happening was that the 12V AUX power connector between the Versa Plate and focuser had a bad contact. When it lost contact, the focuser would loose power obviously, but also strangely, the mount would power down very briefly and then restart, which would cause the camera to loose its connection to the PC, as it is essentially connected to the mount. Also the mount and camera both have independent power supplies.

    Erik
     
  13. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    There are many people who report the Paramount Versaplate hubs are adequate for slow USB1.1/2.0 devices like focusers, but not cameras which will use up to 480mpbs, the maximum speed of USB2.0.
    I always recommend a direct cable from the camera to a USB port on the rear of the PC.
     
  14. Erik_Monteith

    Erik_Monteith Standard User

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    Probably a smart move Colin. Ill run a separate cable and see how it goes.
     

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