STT1603 dropping connections over Ethernet and USB

Discussion in 'STT Series' started by George Caplin, Nov 3, 2020.

  1. George Caplin

    George Caplin Standard User

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    I've had this camera a few years with few issues, but it's suddenly showing "SBIG Driver Receive Timeout Error 30008" in TheSkyX, sometimes after an hour, sometimes after just a few frames.

    I shut down TheSkyX, power fail the camera, fire up CCDOps, and it exhibits similar behavior. An exposure will just stop and I get a dialog box saying "Driver not open".

    In both cases the recovery method is to reboot the camera, which doesn't get me far as the same behavior reoccurs. This is over an ethernet connect.

    If I switch to USB, I get the same issue. In the case of USB, I don't get any error message, the imaging just stops. This is using either a USB2 or USB 3 cable going directly in the PC, no hub involved.

    I've updated the drivers using the SBIG Driver Checker utility, and have successfully updated the firmware. STTUSB.bf2 is v 1.1o, STTGA.bf2 is v 2.66. Tried on on Windows 10 and two Windows 7 machines, same behavior. In the driver checker, I have checked the async usb I/O box.

    This happens regardless of if the camera is on the 'scope, or (as it is now) being bench tested inside.

    Suggestions?

    Thanks,

    George
     
  2. George Caplin

    George Caplin Standard User

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    OH...I've swapped both ethernet and USB2/3 cables, problem persists.
     
  3. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    Check the power supply - are there any LEDs lit on the side of the camera?
     
  4. George Caplin

    George Caplin Standard User

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    The green status LED flickers when the camera is taking images, then when comm drops out it goes steady green. No other LED's are lit (at least on the bench test) at any time.

    The camera draws between 0.9 and 1.2 amps when taking images (at 13 volts), and when comm drops out the current draw steadies at 0.9 amps.

    Thanks,

    George
     
  5. George Caplin

    George Caplin Standard User

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    Another observation, when comm drops out, I can still ping the camera FWIW.
     
  6. George Caplin

    George Caplin Standard User

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    One more observation, when the camera drops comm, the shutter stops.
     
  7. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    I suggest you give CCDops a shot. It's much simpler and does contain feautres like a filter wheel exerciser etc.
    Run a few hundred short images.

    Power problems usually show up when the camera is under full load, will all accessories attached, and cooler running at 100% power.

    Since this is a Windows environment, has anything changed recently? eg. new Windows Feautre Updates installed?
    A common problem we've seen over the past few years is Windows Power Management enabling USB Selective Suspend, and this powers down something in the USB chain.
    Since you're saying it happens on Ethernet as well, am not sure if Device Manager will show you any power management settings for your network hardware.
    Is the camera on a shared network (eg network switch/rouer) with many devices on it?
     
  8. George Caplin

    George Caplin Standard User

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    As reported earlier, I have been testing with CCDOps (one second images). Same result...it just says "Driver not open" when the comm problem invokes itself. I would run a few hundred short images, but it shuts down long before reaching that threshold.

    This issue happens on Windows 7 and Windows 10. Windows 7 hasn't been updated in quite some time, and the last time Windows 10 received an update was maybe one or two weeks ago, well before this issue appeared.

    Shared network? It's just a "home" network, a few other PC's on it but nothing more elaborate than that.

    The camera is just that, the camera. No filter wheel, no AO unit. The power supply at the telescope can deliver 40 amps (amateur radio power supply), and the power supply on the bench will do 5+ amps. Most of my testing has been done with camera cooling off, so it's hard to imagine that power supply issues are the problem. I have a third power supply I can throw into the mix, and out of desperation I will probably do that, but I'm not hopeful that will serve as the solution.

    No other devices, either USB or Ethernet, are experiencing any issues.

    So, I feel that I can rule out power supply issues (two power supplies have been used) and cable issues (all have been swapped out more than once).
     
  9. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    Can you try the camera on its original AC power supply and see if an issue shows up?
    I'm going to ask @Bill our repair wizard to take a look at this thread, and determine if the camera needs to go in for service.
     
  10. George Caplin

    George Caplin Standard User

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    I can't do that since I don't have the original AC power supply.

    Can you tell me why you think that might be the issue since the camera has worked for a few years on power supplies other than the one that came with it? The manual for this camera says "A 12VDC power cord is available for field operation directly from a battery", so there doesn't seem to be any particular qualification for a specific power supply. If you can suggest a specific voltage/current that the camera should be provided with I can dial those in on my bench power supply.
     
  11. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    Can we get the serial number of the camera? That would give us some insight into any history.

    The reason for the power questions - trying to eliminate common causes of faults.
    It sounds like you know what you're doing. Many of our customers are not hardware experts.

    Power supply low-voltage, ripple beyond perhaps 100mV P-P, noise, RFI and EMI, and poor electrical grounding or ground loops can affect camera operation.
    A battery source is the cleanest power.
    I'm a ham myself, and some Mighty Fine Junk switching power supplies have terrible RF hash and poor output filtering.
    The power supplies we ship are quite clean and are tested.

    Powering up the cooler usually brings out power supply faults such as low voltage under load.
    +12 to +13V at 5-8A is within the normal range.
    Since you've probably wired up your own power cord, make sure all pins are properly connected, and make sure there is no connection between the power ground (0VDC, black wire), and the metal shell of the power connector.

    A heat-related failure in the on-board electronics or a miniscule crack in a PCB trace could account for the faults you are seeing.

    When you have it connected via USB, do you hear the Windows USB disconnect tones through your PC speakers when the disconnection occurs?
     
  12. George Caplin

    George Caplin Standard User

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    Ha...no MFJ products in my shack! The power supply at the 'scope is an Alinco 32 amp (not 40 as stated above) unit. It's no problem to put it on a 12 volt battery, I have a few of them sitting around for various project. On the bench I'm using an Extech power supply.

    While I did wire my own power cord at the 'scope, here on the bench I'm using pre-wired units. I'll try swapping those too.

    I normally have my audio turned down as I don't need to hear everything that Windoze wants to tell me, but I'll turn the audio up and report back.
     
  13. George Caplin

    George Caplin Standard User

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    Of course it can never be easy...

    Hooked up a 12 V 12 Ah battery to the camera and ran images over USB. It took 2000 1 second integrations without missing a beat, so I guess my power supplies *may* be questionable. That isn't really a problem since it's easy enough to power the camera with a battery by the telescope.

    However, when I do the same test over ethernet, it fails well short of 100 integrations. The battery is showing 12.3 volts, but to be through I'm charging it now, as well as swapping ethernet cables. The only component between the camera and my PC is a Netgear 4 port unmanaged switch which I will also swap out.

    The ethernet is what I really need to work, since I can't run USB from my PC to the scope. I've only heard of mixed results with USB extenders, but if you have any suggestion along those lines I'd like to hear them.

    Again, I'm doing all the testing with CCDOps to keep the variables down to a minimum.
     
  14. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    Powered, industrial USB Hub people seem to like, and I personally have had great success with:
    https://www.startech.com/en-ca/cards-adapters/st7200usbm

    As far as Power Supplies go, perhaps filtering or better grounding is necessary. I have 3 Alinco DM-330MV 30A supplies. One of them wasn't properly grounded from the factory - the case was floating at about 70VAC ! It was literally a shocking discovery. Another one put out a lot of RFI. The most recent of the 3 was quite good.

    You could try a flipped (cross over) Ethernet cable directly between the PC and the camera, to eliminate the switch.
    Also check Ethernet card hardware drivers are up-to-date. There were some really bad broadcom drivers out there for years.

    Am really stumped on the Ethernet issue though - it generally works 100% or it doesn't work at all.
     
  15. George Caplin

    George Caplin Standard User

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    Recharged the battery, same story...USB is chugging along fine, but ethernet fails within a minute.

    I'll make a crossover cable later today, and will check that drivers are current.

    Concur with you comment, ethernet either works or doesn't. I was in the hardware side of IT for some time and my experience was the same.

    Have you had any feedback from customers about USB to ethernet extenders? I'm talking about higher end units like Digi manufactures, not the $12 stuff Amazon sells. I need to go about 50 feet.
     
  16. Tim Povlick

    Tim Povlick Cyanogen Customer

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    Long ago I used USB over UTP wire (35') with an STL11000, mount and focuser. It worked fine but this was very slow USB 1.0 ?
    You can try VirtualHere USB over IP. Using a raspPi 4 the same equipment combo above works fine over true a Ethernet connection.
    One can download the VH server/client and try a single USB device on trial basis. Not sure about USB-3 however as it seems VH (???)
    is having a problem.

    Perhaps try setting the Ethernet card to 100mbps only.

    As to power supplies, one can have an 80A unit and if there is excess voltage drop on the cable it won't help. A remote sensing power supply may be in order.

    I think I'm preaching to the choir however!

    Good Luck // 73's

    _..--
    TiM
     
  17. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    Tim - STL cameras were USB 1.1.

    Some folks have said extenders using Shielded CAT6 cable running true 1000BaseT ethernet (GigE); the ones that just are line boosters and can't keep up with the 480Mbps rate of USB 2.0.
    It's usually cheaper to put an Intel NUC or a fanless POS PC on the telescope and connect to that - all cables are short.

    George - what version of TheSky X were you using specifically - e.g. 10.5.0 Daily Build 12545 or something earlier? We've had a couple of reports of issues with 12545.
     
  18. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    BTW Tim - thanks for chiming in. The VH is a neat idea. USB 2.0 is all it needs to be.
     
  19. George Caplin

    George Caplin Standard User

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    Not sure offhand what version of TheSky X I'm using (not at that PC) but if it won't work with CCDSoft it probably won't work with TheSky.

    Crossover cable and such were no help. Apparently it's just not going to work over ethernet anymore, unless I run shielded CAT6, invest in a NUC, put an old PC at the 'scope and figure out how to control its environment, provide it with an expensive power supply or with a battery that will run it all night and a way to charge the battery...or, just buy another camera which is probably what I'll do.
     
  20. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    I wouldn't give up so easily - send Bill (at) SBIG (dot) com and email and see what he thinks.
     

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