Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

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Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by Montana » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:02 pm

Can anyone help me, I have lost the will to live after 2hrs with the Hubby fighting with the Grasshopper 3.

Last summer my troubles started, the Grasshoppper 3 would work at 26fps start recording then after randomly 100 frames it would stop for a minute, then record a bit more, then stop for another random minute then record when it fancied. Then by September it decided it only wanted to run at 4fps. It kept saying that this device could run faster if you ran it as USB3. This is rubbish as it was always in my USB3 powered port. If in anger I pulled it out, shoved it in 10x it would eventually randomly run at 26fps.

I thought that my USB3 port was breaking. However I recently purchased a ZWO ASI174M camera and I managed to download the camera drivers and program first time (for a computer idiot that is a dream) and it ran straight away at 128fps no problem.

So as recommended (with the help of the hubby as this is too difficult for me) we uninstalled Flycapture, shut down and rebooted. We then downloaded the
Grasshopper 3
GS3-U3-28S5M-C
Windows 7 64 bit
Latest FlyCapture2 Full SDK
FlyCapture 2.13.3.31 SDK - Windows (64-bit) — 10/25/2018 - 305.1456MB

We then pressed install, we ticked the dlls thing and it installed. It didn't do a shortcut so we spent ages looking for the application file to open Flycapture but eventually found it (this is not at all helpful or user friendly to me because isn't it obvious you may want to run the program). It said my camera was:
GS3-U3-28S5M-C USB2.0 camera

This is new? since when did my camera suddenly become a USB2 camera? It will only run in Flycapture at 13 fps which I suppose is better than 4fps so that is an improvement (should be 26fps).

Firecapture - won't run at all, it won't even open. It says I haven't downloaded Flycapture or any dlls. What are dlls??? I have no idea.

Why is it that with PGR cameras it is the National lottery whether they will work or not. If my DMK41 can work first time and the ZWO can work first time with a user friendly software why do I have to be a computer programmer to get a PGR to work.

I have tried 3x to download everything and rebooted each time before and after and I still go round in circles. Flycapture kind of works with a USB2 camera?, Firecapture doesn't at all. It is all useless.

Any help would be very welcome but please keep it simple as I have absolutely no idea about computer programming, I can only do what is automatically done by the computer.

Many thanks
Alexandra

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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by bart1805 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:42 pm

Hi Alexandra, are you running the 32 or 64 bit version of FireCapture? Could it be that you are running the 32 bit version and downloaded the 64 bit version of the SDK?
Had the same problem, but after removing Firecapture and reinstalling the latest version, plus after that downloading the SDK you mention all went well for me. CS! Bart.

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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by marktownley » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:46 pm

What does your colour PGR camera do?
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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by MapleRidge » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:39 am

Alexandra...

Setup can be a real pain...went through many installs/re-installs a few years ago with the FireWire versions of the PGR cameras.

First, as Bart says, double check that you have the same version of the SDK/FlyCapture/Firecapture (all the same bit version). You should be able to run the camera form FlyCapture to verify the basic setup is working.

Another thing to check is the driver version in Device Manager...you can try to update the driver to be sure it has the current one. The driver DLL files are likely in the Programs Files Folder (again 2 folder options). A few years back Windows updates had a habit of replacing the driver and I constantly had to re-install them.

Once the drivers are setup properly FireCapture should find the cameras.

Hope you have good luck finishing the setup, and keep us appraised of the progress.

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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by Montana » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:17 am

Thanks guys for the tips, I will resume the fight this evening.

Mark, that horrible thought came to me last night as well :(

Alexandra

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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by PDB » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:18 am

Hi Alexandra,

complicated and probably more than one thing causing this.

Agree with Mark & Bart about the mix of FC and FlyCapture that causes FC not to start. A DLL is just a function library, in this case containing the code to talk to the hardware of the cam. They come in 32bit & 64bit versions. If you install the 64 bit DLL and try to access it from 32bit FC, it does not work, so download the 64 bit FC.
Flycapture but eventually found it (this is not at all helpful or user friendly to me because isn't it obvious you may want to run the program). It said my camera was:
GS3-U3-28S5M-C USB2.0 camera
That's a different story. If Windows and Flycapture only sees an USB2 device there is something wrong with the hardware (or you installed the 32bit DLL from FlyCapture. But then the problem above would be opposite: FC 64bit Flycapture 32bit ....) The port on your PC is OK, that is proven by the other cameras. Then probable causes:
- The cable
- The port on the camera (or futher down in the hardware)

The way a computer distinguishes the difference between USB2 an USB3 is by 2 extra wires in the cable/port. If these signals are not there, the computer switches to USB2. (In real life it is a bit more complicated, but basically that's it)

Think you should try this cam on a PC that has a PGR cam working with same and other cables (if you can find one ...) to see if there is an issue with the cam. If it works there, then problem is somewhere in the software installation on your computer. If it fails, cam is defective.

Regards,

Paul

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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by marktownley » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:04 pm

Definitely double check FC is 64bit like the PGR software...
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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by Montana » Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:58 pm

Update

Yes both Firecapture and Flycapture are 64bit on my Windows 7 64 bit.

I followed the Firecapture instructions of copying every single dll from the Flycapture folder and putting them in the Firecapture folder (it never said where in the folder so I just dumped them in the folder). Still doesn't work.

I plugged in the Blackfly with the said cable in the USB3 socket and it works fine in Flycapture at USB3 and 42 fps. I then tried Firecapture, it no longer worked, no dlls again.

So the hubby has just done a system restore back to yesterday morning. So Flycapture 2.11 is back and the Blackfly worked brilliant and works brilliant on Firecapture.

However the Grasshopper is still USB2 and gets 13 fps in Flycapture and a poor 4fps in Firecapture.

At least I am now in less mess than I was before and back to the problem Grasshopper again and not problem everything. So does that mean my Grasshopper is broken?
All my problems started last summer when I bought a cable from Rupert to power the Grasshopper from my battery. I really wish I had never done this as it is now looking like this has broken my Grasshopper. I am so upset.

I guess I need to contact FLIR for help? I have no idea :( but I do know never to upgrade Flycapture to version 2.13 !!!

Alexandra

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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by bart1805 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:40 pm

Hi Alexandra, I don't know if it is the cable to externally power your PGR is the cause of the problems. I bought the same, have used it with the camera, and have the camera working again. FLIR released the new update in october last year. Was it then that the problems started?
I had to remove my 2.6 version of FirecCapture and install the same version again to get the camera running. Lost all my settings by doing that, but at least the Grasshopper is working as it should. Did you already try that?
Good luck! Bart.

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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by Montana » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:57 pm

Bart, no, I haven't tried doing that. I dare not try anything again. At least I am now back to the beginning again rather than in a worse situation. I don't fancy making a mess of Firecapture as well.

My problems started in the summer. The new cable I bought would always fall out and never stay in the camera, so mid run it would drop out. I don't think PGR cameras like that, they need to be turned off properly before disconnecting rather than being disconnected mid run. I have heard before that you can cause the chip to get corrupted by not shutting the camera down properly but at least I don't have that. I think this cable dropping out has somehow corrupted the camera mechanics. That is just my gut feeling. After things started going wrong I have stopped using external power and use the powered USB3 socket again.

Before last summer the Grasshopper worked for years no problem with Firecapture 2.3. After external powering with the battery it immediately would not work in Firecapture 2.3 and I had to load Firecapture 2.5 last summer to get it running again, but then it was recording in the wrong bit depth, then it started hanging, now it thinks it is USB2. It seems to be a slow decline, perhaps dementia. Somehow I seem to blown the camera brain up.

Alexandra

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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by PDB » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:58 pm

Lost all my settings by doing that
Bart,

to avoid that I always save a copy of firecapture.ini

After re-install copy the saved one in the new installation (make a copy of the new ini file first to be on the safe side)
That should give you back all your settings ...

Paul

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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by marktownley » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:02 pm

Have you got your 64 bit downloads (FC & FlyC) in the 'program files' folder on your hard drive?

Program files (x86) folder is for 32 bit downloads, program files folder is for 64 bit downloads.
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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by marktownley » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:10 pm

Montana wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:57 pm

My problems started in the summer. The new cable I bought would always fall out and never stay in the camera, so mid run it would drop out. I don't think PGR cameras like that, they need to be turned off properly before disconnecting rather than being disconnected mid run. I have heard before that you can cause the chip to get corrupted by not shutting the camera down properly but at least I don't have that. I think this cable dropping out has somehow corrupted the camera mechanics. That is just my gut feeling. After things started going wrong I have stopped using external power and use the powered USB3 socket again.

Before last summer the Grasshopper worked for years no problem with Firecapture 2.3. After external powering with the battery it immediately would not work in Firecapture 2.3 and I had to load Firecapture 2.5 last summer to get it running again, but then it was recording in the wrong bit depth, then it started hanging, now it thinks it is USB2. It seems to be a slow decline, perhaps dementia. Somehow I seem to blown the camera brain up.

Alexandra
I'm trying to get my head round this, you say the cable was falling out of the camera, my GH power cable screws into the back of the camera, did your's not do this?

I know with my GH3 I have to power it up first (with battery) then connect usb, it doesn't like it the other way round.

Mark
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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by PDB » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:16 pm

Well guess what. Plugged in my ZWO cam in the front USB-3 of my desktop and got "this device can run faster if you plug it in an USB3 port"
After rebooting the computer, it worked again until the PC got to sleep mode and woke up. Then same problem, cam at USB2 7 fps speed.

I know that USB port is not in good shape (can't get my Seagate USB drive working on that). It seems that it does not provide all the current as needed in USB3 specs and some devices therefore fail.

So that might also be the case on Alexandra's PC. Don't know how much current a Grashopper needs, but if the current is to low it might act as an USB2 device. Other cam's with lower power consumption might still be working then.

So lots of possibilities why.

Paul
Last edited by PDB on Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by bart1805 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:29 pm

PDB wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:58 pm
Lost all my settings by doing that
Bart,

to avoid that I always save a copy of firecapture.ini

After re-install copy the saved one in the new installation (make a copy of the new ini file first to be on the safe side)
That should give you back all your settings ...

Paul
Thanks Paul, I am going to write that one down for next time!

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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by Montana » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:37 pm

Mark, yes both programs are in the 'Programs folder'.
No my cable won't screw on, it doesn't fit. You can push it in but the ring is too small and won't therefore allow you to screw it down. I had to not move very much otherwise it would just drop out. That is next to impossible when focusing and changing barlows.

I have just done a fault report to FLIR and see if they have any tips.

Paul, there seems to be no problem with power to that socket as both the PGR Blackfly and ZWO work super fast in that socket.

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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by marktownley » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:46 am

Montana wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:37 pm
Mark, yes both programs are in the 'Programs folder'.
No my cable won't screw on, it doesn't fit. You can push it in but the ring is too small and won't therefore allow you to screw it down. I had to not move very much otherwise it would just drop out. That is next to impossible when focusing and changing barlows.

I have just done a fault report to FLIR and see if they have any tips.

Alexandra
That's not good! It sounds like you have totally the wrong cable, the sleeve should just screw down onto the camera no issue. When you look in the back of the jack socket / connector on the wire how many pins does it have? are all these straight? Does the socket on the back of the camera have the same number of holes as the cable has pins?
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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by MapleRidge » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:18 pm

Alexandra...

The way you describe the cable not connecting tightly to the camera certainly sounds to be a problem. I assume that you have the connection on the camera side that accepts this style of cable with the connects that thread on to make a tight fit?
0002527_usb-31-3m-type-a-to-micro-b-locking-cable_772.jpeg
0002527_usb-31-3m-type-a-to-micro-b-locking-cable_772.jpeg (32.17 KiB) Viewed 246 times
If possible I'd look for a replacement cable...that style of connector isn't common on the shelf at computer suppliers over here, but generally available to order.

As Mark says, make sure the cable or camera connectors aren't damaged in any way that prevents the cable form seating tightly. At least the computer port sounds to be OK with the 174 chipped camera running as it should. The tech staff at PGR were great to deal with back when I was having troubles.

Best of luck,
Brian
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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by Montana » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:51 pm

Thanks Brian, yes I do have that blue cable and use the fasteners. It is the cable I was given to power the Grasshopper to my battery (a round pin type) that fits but you can't fasten it down.

I have had an initial response from FLIR, they want me to update the firmware, no idea how to do that, will find out tonight when I try. They also suggest a shorter cable (not got one) and a different computer (again not got one). We'll see...

Alexandra

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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by marktownley » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:41 pm

Let us know how you get on :)
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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by PDB » Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:08 pm

Mark, yes both programs are in the 'Programs folder'.
Unless it is different for a Flir camera, it does not really matter where the FireCapture software is placed. With the newer versions you just unzip the FireCapture folder somewhere on your computer, and then you can have and run different versions of FireCapture (64bit, 32bit, beta ...), as long as you unzip (or extract) in a different folder. (Of course you need to start the correct shortcut for the version you like to run, and the needed camera drivers need to be installed. Did not find any problems doing that for ZWO cams, but can't speak for others. (selecting the cam for Flir seems a bit different)
For older versions of FC that still had the setup program this will not work this way, but these were 32bit only.

Anyway let us know what Flir comes up with:
supprised they only suggested another cable, another computer and install firmware.

Usually first answers from support organization usually say:
- did you try ctl-alt-del
- did you run a virus scan
- is your system up-2-date

blabla blababla
All essential questions for buying time. (I know, did it myself sometimes when I had to give support :oops:

Regards,

Paul
(sorry buy I am in a sarcastic mood)

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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by Montana » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:31 pm

Update:

Mark I have checked the cable and my Grasshopper has 1 pin then 2 sets of 3 pins then 1 pin. The grey cable is exactly the same, it fits but the fixing ring doesn't.

I followed Kevin's advice from FLIR and replied:

I currently use the 3m cable which the Grasshopper 3 was supplied with, although I do have a 1.7m cable and I have tried this in the powered USB3 and the camera is still registering as USB2.

Unfortunately I only have one USB3 powered port on my computer and our other computer is an Apple Mac and we have just discovered that we cannot download FlyCapture for this computer so we are unable to test it in another port/computer.

We have updated the firmware to v 2.33.3.0 we then restarted the computer and checked the camera again and unfortunately FlyCapture still says it is USB2 and still getting speeds of 14fps rather than 26fps. In my astronomy software Firecapture I can only achieve 8fps so this is half speed again from FlyCapture.

I enclosed a report from the configuration analysis tool that Kevin sent and also the RMA form to enquire about how much it may cost to fix.

I will wait for his next reply (probably overnight again).

Alexandra

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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by marktownley » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:02 pm

Montana wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:31 pm

Mark I have checked the cable and my Grasshopper has 1 pin then 2 sets of 3 pins then 1 pin. The grey cable is exactly the same, it fits but the fixing ring doesn't.
That's the right connector, however very weird the locking ring doesn't lock. Where my mind was going with this was maybe you'd got a Blackfly cable (different pin configuration). The power cable continually falling out (because it couldn't be fixed) could well be a contributing factor to the erratic camera behaviour. An arcing 12v feed (as the power cable fell out of the back of the camera) would certainly drop spiking voltage into the camera circuit.

I'm sure Bob Yoesle has posted before PGR cameras have a 'fixed price' for fixing etc, let me do a search....
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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by bart1805 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:10 pm


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Re: Grasshopper 3 / Flycapture / Firecapture woes

Post by marktownley » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:18 pm

Thanks Bart!
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