SSM FC Plugin Problems

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Christopher
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SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by Christopher » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:51 am

As mentioned in my 12/26 Prom Animation post I've had some issues with FireCapture (FC) since installing the Solar Scintillation Monitor (SSM) Plugin. The issue with a camera freeze was already discussed in the prior post so I won't dwell on that here except to say that if possible I will try to disable and reenable the plugin in order to unfreeze the camera. I'm also having several other issues possibly related to the plugin. I say possibly because I've had some stability issues with FC in the past but managed to resolve them. These all showed up post SSM plugin installation.
-the SSSMon Plugin is sometimes throwing an error which upon receipt prevents you from proceeding any further into the application (e.g. accessing the Pre-processing and Plugins list). Sample log entry at end of post.
-the SSSMon Plugin won't run a series greater than 1. It doesn't matter how short the delay between captures is set to or how many captures are set in the series, the series will always end after one frame "stopped".
-The frame rate on the PGR camera now seems woefully slow. In prior sessions I could easily get 90fps with shorter exposure times. Now it never seems to get above 19fps even with the exposure set to the lowest setting.
-I've lost the ability to control gamma with the PGR. I had it, now it's gone, greyed out.

I love the interface for FC and I love the SSM. I want to love them all together! I've considered Genika as an alternative but I'm gathering from other posts that FC may be the better solution. As previously mentioned I've sent a message to Joachim Stehle the plugin developer and am awaiting his response. But we (SSM?FC users) are a small user community and I'm guessing many of us are on this forum so I thought it might be worthwhile to post it here as well. It might be of benefit to others as well.

Sample log entry showing SSM plugin error
Dec 26, 2018 11:43:56 AM de.wonderplanets.firecapture.log.Log logError
SEVERE: grabImage
java.lang.NullPointerException
at de.joachim_stehle.firecapture.plugins.sssmon.SSSMonPlugin.isConnected(SSSMonPlugin.java:491)
at de.joachim_stehle.firecapture.plugins.sssmon.SSSMonPlugin.getCurrentValue(SSSMonPlugin.java:195)
at de.wonderplanets.firecapture.gui.PreProcessingPanel.filterDone(PreProcessingPanel.java:330)
at de.joachim_stehle.firecapture.plugins.sssmon.SSSMonPlugin.computeMono(SSSMonPlugin.java:280)
at de.wonderplanets.firecapture.capture.Capture.frameAcquired(Capture.java:215)
at de.wonderplanets.firecapture.gui.CamWorker.grabImage(CamWorker.java:138)
at de.wonderplanets.firecapture.gui.CamWorker.run(CamWorker.java:101)

Thanks,
Christopher

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Re: SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by PDB » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:48 am

Hi Christopher

some ideas
the SSSMon Plugin won't run a series greater than 1. It doesn't matter how short the delay between captures is set to or how many captures are set in the series, the series will always end after one frame "stopped".
Did you check that the capture limit is set to unlimited. Capture settings can conflict in how the plugin starts and stops recording
The frame rate on the PGR camera now seems woefully slow. In prior sessions I could easily get 90fps with shorter exposure times. Now it never seems to get above 19fps even with the exposure set to the lowest setting.
Does this also happen with all plugings disabled? If yes I suspect something is wrong in your PGR drivers installation. (Version mismatch with FC version?)
Capture Programs do not talk directly to the cam, but thru the vendor supplied interface. So reason could be there. Also watch for high cpu processes using taskmanager. (If you see something eating all cpu that can also explain slow fps)

I must say not seen the errors you describe with my ZWO cams.

Maybe i should start working again on my SSM monitor ans FC interface I once started but was left unfinished (90% ready) ...

Regards,

Paul

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Re: SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by MapleRidge » Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:47 pm

Hi Guys...

Thanks for the details listed about possible problems with the SSM plugin. I have been intending to set mine up in FC but never been able to get around to it. I plan to make use of it in 2019 and will have a few things to keep an eye on thank s to the notes here.

Brian
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Re: SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by Christopher » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:20 pm

Hi Paul,
Did you check that the capture limit is set to unlimited. Capture settings can conflict in how the plugin starts and stops recording
I'm sure that is the issue. This was not specified in the instructions and I was attempting to use the FC limit parameter in conjunction with the SSM limit parameter in a "whichever occurs first" configuration which it appears is not supported. Sounds like you are working on your own FC SSM plugin Paul. If so, that might be something to look into. Or better still, just have the SSM limit parameter be user configurable to either time or frames.
Does this also happen with all plugins disabled? If yes I suspect something is wrong in your PGR drivers installation. (Version mismatch with FC version?)
Capture Programs do not talk directly to the cam, but thru the vendor supplied interface. So reason could be there. Also watch for high cpu processes using taskmanager. (If you see something eating all cpu that can also explain slow fps)
A quick test shows that FPS is normal with plugins disabled so it probably isn't the camera drivers. CPU and RAM usage are on the low end. The very concept of frame rate morphs a bit with SSM since frames divided by time will often produce a lesser number with an SSM run than without. But my thinking here is that if seeing permits and SSM is running the camera "wide open" so to speak that the frame rate with or without SSM should theoretically be the same. I will try to set up such an experiment and observe the results.
Maybe i should start working again on my SSM monitor ans FC interface I once started but was left unfinished (90% ready) ...
I vote YES. If you need a beta tester count me in!

Loss of Gamma control remains a mystery to be solved but it may be unrelated to SSM.

Thanks so much for the insights Paul. :bow2
Christopher

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Re: SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by PDB » Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:49 am

I vote YES. If you need a beta tester count me in!
Got my development up and running again with the correct software version and started development again. Need a few days if all goes well to finish this version. (Stripping a lot of unnecassery code that made things complicated ...)

Will let you know

Regards,

Paul

Update: sneak preview, still some work to do ....
preview1.jpg
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Re: SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by bart1805 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:28 am

Hi Paul,
Very interested, so if you need another beta tester let me know.
CS! Bart.


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Re: SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by marktownley » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:41 am

Yes, looks good Paul, happy to beta test too if it helps.
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Re: SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by PDB » Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:21 am

Ok guys, got my pre release ready :band

There are still a few issues. One has been sent to Torsten (FireCapture) because it looks like a problem in FC.

If you want to try you can find the software on GitHub: https://github.com/paul-db/SolarMonitor ... ag/A.01.01
(Download the zip file and unpack it as in the instructions on that page ....)

Attached a quick instruction manual on how to use it. There probably are still some issues, if you find some, let me know.

Good Luck ;)
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Re: SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by Christopher » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:57 am

Paul,
I’ll be giving it a go. I’ll report back. Congrats on the pre-release!
Thanks,
Chris
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Re: SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by marktownley » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:38 pm

I'll give it a try, but will be later in the year when the sun is higher.
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Re: SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by Christopher » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:28 am

Hi Paul,
Managed to install and get it running. Will have to wait for a sunny free day now. Quick question: it appears that a single read instance of seeing below the threshold will trigger recording to begin. There does not appear to be a stabilization threshold to set. Am I correct?
Thanks,
Christopher

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Re: SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by PDB » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:47 am

Hi Christopher,

Thanks for testing.

This is the way it works: Starting and stopping recording is handled in FireCapture itself, not from the plugin. The plugin will only tell FireCapture when an image can be saved to the recording file. No records will be released until the seeing falls below the the trigger value. Images will then be released until seeing is above the treshold value. (Then trigger becomes active again)

So this is what will happen (in worst case you end up with an empty recording file)
From a log file (Shows date/Seeing/Input/Moving Average). I added when image will be saved (depending on capture fps there can be more than 1 image for a good seeing event)

1546850535450;2019-01-07T08:42:15 UTC; 0.97; 0.70; 0.00;
1546850536247;2019-01-07T08:42:16 UTC; 3.23; 0.70; 0.00;
1546850537052;2019-01-07T08:42:17 UTC; 1.59; 0.60; 0.00;
1546850537848;2019-01-07T08:42:17 UTC; 0.78; 0.60; 0.00; Start Recording: trigger 1.2" treshold 1.5"
1546850538645;2019-01-07T08:42:18 UTC; 3.99; 0.60; 0.00;
1546850539442;2019-01-07T08:42:19 UTC; 0.74; 0.60; 0.00; Release Image
1546850540255;2019-01-07T08:42:20 UTC; 1.28; 0.70; 0.00; Release Image
1546850541052;2019-01-07T08:42:21 UTC; 3.33; 0.60; 0.00;
1546850541848;2019-01-07T08:42:21 UTC; 1.37; 0.60; 0.00;
1546850542645;2019-01-07T08:42:22 UTC; 0.46; 0.60; 0.00; Release Image
1546850543458;2019-01-07T08:42:23 UTC; 3.44; 0.70; 0.00;
1546850544255;2019-01-07T08:42:24 UTC; 0.95; 0.60; 0.00; Release Image
1546850545052;2019-01-07T08:42:25 UTC; 2.69; 0.60; 0.00;
1546850545848;2019-01-07T08:42:25 UTC; 3.88; 0.70; 0.00;
1546850546661;2019-01-07T08:42:26 UTC; 2.18; 0.60; 0.00;
1546850547458;2019-01-07T08:42:27 UTC; 2.49; 0.60; 0.00;
1546850548255;2019-01-07T08:42:28 UTC; 2.66; 0.60; 0.00;
1546850549052;2019-01-07T08:42:29 UTC; 2.79; 0.70; 0.00;
1546850549864;2019-01-07T08:42:29 UTC; 3.55; 0.70; 0.00;
1546850550661;2019-01-07T08:42:30 UTC; 3.82; 0.70; 0.00;
1546850551458;2019-01-07T08:42:31 UTC; 0.58; 0.70; 0.00; Release Image
1546850552255;2019-01-07T08:42:32 UTC; 3.28; 0.60; 0.00;
1546850553067;2019-01-07T08:42:33 UTC; 1.62; 0.60; 0.00;
1546850553864;2019-01-07T08:42:33 UTC; 2.90; 0.60; 0.00;
1546850554661;2019-01-07T08:42:34 UTC; 1.65; 0.60; 0.00;
1546850555458;2019-01-07T08:42:35 UTC; 0.50; 0.60; 0.00; ReLease Image
1546850556255;2019-01-07T08:42:36 UTC; 3.66; 0.60; 0.00;
1546850557067;2019-01-07T08:42:37 UTC; 2.27; 0.60; 0.00; Stop Recording
1546850557864;2019-01-07T08:42:37 UTC; 0.44; 0.70; 0.00;
1546850558661;2019-01-07T08:42:38 UTC; 1.96; 0.70; 0.00;
1546850559458;2019-01-07T08:42:39 UTC; 1.53; 0.70; 0.00;
1546850560270;2019-01-07T08:42:40 UTC; 0.55; 0.70; 0.00;
1546850561067;2019-01-07T08:42:41 UTC; 0.99; 0.70; 0.00;
1546850561864;2019-01-07T08:42:41 UTC; 1.64; 0.60; 0.00;
1546850562661;2019-01-07T08:42:42 UTC; 2.85; 0.60; 0.00;


...

I have been thinking about a stabilizing parameter, but think it does not make sense since start recording is not controlled by the plugin. Different from Joachims plugin where stabilizing is used to start actual recording. (Starting / stopping from withing the plugin is what gives problems with timed recordings in FC so wanted to avoid that) Another reason is I do not want to loose good images while capturing. Comments appreciated.

If you want to test how it works without sunshine available, you can always use the built in Simulator device. It will emulate random seeing and allows to see how it interacts with FC.

Kind regards,

Paul

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Re: SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by Christopher » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:20 am

Hi Paul,
Good. I didn’t want to assume. Yes in concept I think I like your approach (ignore stability) in comparison as it should improve effective FPS while doing nothing to decrease the average seeing captured. I will have to give the simulator a try. What better way to ride out the approaching snowstorm. :lol:
Thanks!
Christopher

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Re: SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by marktownley » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:59 am

Simulator sounds fun, i'll give it a try later in the weekend.
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Re: SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by Christopher » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:07 am

I tested the new SSM FC plugin using my PGR Grasshopper 3 and the SSM simulator and it worked flawlessly. Very nice integration. I also hooked up the actual SSM and was able to establish connectivity using the plugin. I did notice that the scale for Input Value in the software is different than the native scale on the SSM. I'm wondering if they can be calibrated to be the same or if there is an equivalent acceptable range of operation (AiryLabs says .5 to 1.0). Beyond that, I'll be waiting for a clear free day to perform further testing at the telescope. So far things are looking quite good.
Christopher

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Re: SSM FC Plugin Problems

Post by PDB » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:17 pm

Hi Christopher,
I did notice that the scale for Input Value in the software is different than the native scale on the SSM
suppose you mean this colored indicator?
Meter.JPG
Meter.JPG (10.88 KiB) Viewed 845 times
These values are hardcoded. I already changed it in my source code now to become red below 0.5 instead of 0.6 but haven't published that version yet.
I am now working on the Linux version (working but need to test it on a "fresh installed" Linux) and a Mac version (the plugin by itself seems to work, but need to cross-compile the monitor program. Challenging since I have little or no experience with Mac development ...)

Will make a new post on the forum when the version is ready. (But a little bit busy coming week with other things)

Regards,

Paul

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