Hardware:Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by JimLafferty » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:48 pm

Yeah Stephen, I agree--I think so much depends on "what" you want to capture and how much (and in what way) you want to process. I noticed that the images that are captured with proms and disk together make for a bit of a washed out disk, but "inverted" they are wonderful to work with.
Everyone have fun:) we are are definitely learning something everyday, and while the "math" doesnt always match the eye, thats ok.
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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by JimLafferty » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:52 am

After 4 VERY frustrating days trying to deal with the finicky Grasshopper 3 I'll be calling Pt Grey tomorrow again. Out of a total of about 7 hours of imaging time, the camera connected and worked about 20 minutes. Sorry, but if I have to buy another new machine just so it has the right motherboard for this camera, its the camera that is going bye bye. There are too many other products that will be more dependable. My time is too important to play "tech support" and then hope it works the "next time I want to image". Time for a cool brew--maybe things will look better in the morning.....
Sorry--rant is over :)

Jim
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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by solar » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:33 am

I really wish I had not read your last Jim. I though you had it sorted.
I just bought a PGR2.8 Firewire from another imager over here. :(
Vixen 130ss SolarMax 90 BF30 EQ6 Pro, LX200 12", C8 CG5, Megrez80, SBIG2000 MXC,

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by RobBower » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:54 am

Yeah thats a shame indeed! Ive been getting nowhere as I mentioned in a fifferent thread before

Change has got to happen. There is something to be said for dendability and reliability
If I can still buy a new one.....Im not afraid to rip this 1 apart!



Island Grove Observatory on the south shores of Lake Simcoe

Ls60pt/Ls50DS, Lunt 2" HW, PGR Flea3-DMK51

Meade 127mmED Triplet NEQ6 Pro

127mm PST mod. 950mm Meade Series 5000 Triplet

http://www.flickr.com/photos/98998648@N07/

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by JimLafferty » Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:19 pm

I have the USB3 version, which I still suspect is the issue, firewire probably works great.....

Jim
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Lunt 100T/Ha

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by colmic » Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:43 pm

For Alexandra i post here how i proceed with my Grasshopper3 (ICX674), perhaps this may help some users. I have no problem with it, all works well, BUT... some times (very few times) i have a blue screen with restarting of the PC. I don't know if this is due to camera, to software, to driver, or to my USB interface with the mount. I have downloaded the new version of Firecapture and i'll check if the blue screens occur again.

Here is my protocol:
- I bought 3 and 5 meter USB3 cables to PGR, these cables are certified
- Download Flycap 2.5 beta on PGR website => 32 bits version only, NOT 64 BITS VERSION, as mentioned on Firecapture website
- Download Firecapture 2.3 beta 13 (but I used to date version 2.3 beta 08, will test if this version 13 is better)
- Connect the camera to an USB3 port (there is a risk that the usb3 port does not supply enough power on some PCs, mine was ok)
- Make a test with Flycap 2.5 once to see if the camera is running (if yes never touch again to Flycap)
- Launch Firecapture with the camera connected, Firecapture will detect the camera, launch the Flycap 2.5 driver, and start
- You should see an image on the preview window. If not, there is a problem, quit Firecapture, disconnect the camera, reconnect it, launch again Flycap 2.5 to see if you have an image.

=> Firecapture settings:
- tick the 16 bits mode (for myself)
- tick Histogram
- tick Autoguide if you have an USB driver for your mount as me, and just after uncheck it
- tick Flip X if you use a BF or a diagonal
- Record in .SER mode

There are some tips about Firecapture i discovered:
- at starting, the exposure range is not good, it goes to 5ms to 200ms but you see the first range (0.1ms to 30ms). Tick the 5-200ms line and just after tick on the 0.1-30ms line, and all goes ok.
- sometimes the checkboxes Gamma, Exposure, etc.. are ticked, uncheck them.
- sometimes the Grashopper is limited to 9fps in place of 26fps, you can see it on the 'Data' window. Check if the exposure ckeckbox is unchecked, if yes there is a problem with Flycap driver. So quit Firecapture, lauch Flycap, verify the fps, quit flycap and return to Firecapture. For me this problem occured just once on my first tests.

Perhaps I may have forgotten some details, don't hesitate to ask me :)
Michel Collart
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Takahashi TSA120 on Vixen Sphinx NexSXD
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Intes Hershel prism
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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by JimLafferty » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:00 pm

After last night's post above I tried the camera again and now it looks like some kind of hardware failure with the camera--First the right half of the chip got real noisy, then a few minutes later it blacked out. A few minutes after that the whole chip went dark--showing no sensitivity to light at all. It was still reporting 26fps capture, but absolutely no video coming through the preview, and no response to changes in gain, exposure, etc. I called PGR this am and they are having me send the camera back for repair.

There is now an application note (dated july 18, 2013) on their site listing various chipsets, various motherboards, and processor configurations that are a problem for their usb3 cameras.

Jim
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Redlands, California

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Lunt 100T/Ha

Coronado 90/DS

Luntanado

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by solarchat » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:52 pm

Hey Jim,

Sorry to hear all that.

I have seen at least one 5MP Grasshopper where some of the quadrants became black or extremely shifted. This is what causes the little black line in some peoples images. The camera uses 2 quadrants in the 2.8 or 5MP version and 4 quadrants in the 9.1MP version. These are carefully balanced in preship quality checks but I have seen them become out of balance. Any sort of electrical shock, like unplugging it in the middle of capture or whatever, can cause the quads to become imbalanced.

I also have a Scorpion where the line is out of balance.
Stephen W. Ramsden
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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by gabrieli » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:40 pm

Just as an addition to the frame rate drop on startup. I experience the same thing sometimes with both the 2/3" and the 1" version where the frame rates drop to 18 frames/s and 8 frames /s resp. on startup. I solve the problem just by clicking on ROI and then clicking back on full frame. This fools the camera into jumping back up to 26 frames/s and it stays there. I have no idea why this is necessary, but it works.

When I experience a crash requiring a restart, I sometimes have to shut down and reboot, not just a restart.

Michel: When the "blue screen of death" comes up, it lists the ehc (Intel extensible host controller) as a problem.
On my laptop, my USB3 port sometimes becomes unresponsive (to any USB3 device). Then, I have to go into Device Manager and disable and then reinstall the ehc. That works. Why it becomes corrupted: I don't know.

Sometimes I miss that machine called DMK41 that just does its job. Period.

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by RobBower » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:41 pm

Im hoping to get my usb3 flea3 working tomorrow..... But ill start with the"always works" DMK51, then switch over to WL and the flea..... Then....... Well.... Who knows
If I can still buy a new one.....Im not afraid to rip this 1 apart!



Island Grove Observatory on the south shores of Lake Simcoe

Ls60pt/Ls50DS, Lunt 2" HW, PGR Flea3-DMK51

Meade 127mmED Triplet NEQ6 Pro

127mm PST mod. 950mm Meade Series 5000 Triplet

http://www.flickr.com/photos/98998648@N07/

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by donatpointgrey » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:52 pm

Hi all... the Point Grey lurker chiming in again (I hope there isn't a lynch mob forming! :))

Jim - I'm sorry to hear about your camera! But I see the RMA process is started, so hopefully they can get your camera back to you quickly.

Gabrieli - that Intel EHC issue was just recently fixed. I would recommend you contact support@ptgrey.com for the details of how to upgrade your drivers. This was a bug in the Intel driver, but we've worked with them to get it resolved and a fix is out. (It is always gratifying when we can get the Big Boys to fix their problems! :))

Re: Firecapture interactions - I've sent an email to Torsten but he is away on vacation now. What our preferred solution would be is to work with Torsten to smooth out any issues between Firecapture application software and Point Grey underlying software. This would be the best solution for Firecapture users as they could continue to use the software they prefer without having to resort to a simplfied FlyCapture application. Support is also going to install Firecapture here for internal testing so we can be more proactive in identifying any problems.

The troubleshooting process I would recommend is

1 - always let support@ptgrey.com know if you are having a problem - we do our best to resolve issues - really!
2 - if you are seeing blue-screen-of-death issues - it is almost always a driver issue - contact support@ptgrey.com
3 - if you can't see images in the Point Grey FlyCap application - then it is a Point Grey problem - could be a problem with the hardware, the driver, or the software installation - contact support@ptgrey.com
4 - if the camera works in Point Grey FlyCap but doesn't work in 3rd party software - it is a software interaction issue. You can still contact support@ptgrey.com as we would like to know if there are incompatibility issues. However, this is also a good time to talk to your 3rd party software provider for ideas.

I appreciate all the community support you guys provide each other, and all the critical feedback.

I hope this helps.
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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by colmic » Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:45 pm

For information: today (the sky was overcast so i work as i can!) i made some tests with Firecapture and different drivers from Point Grey.

So what is working well:
- Firecapture 2.3 beta 13 works well with the Grasshopper3 ICX674
- It works well with the new Flycap 2.5 release 4 x86 version (32 bits) but you must install the Flycam.dll from Firecapture website
- Firecapture still doesn't works with the 64bits version of the new Flycap 2.5 release 4

It looks like to be more stable... Need more tests to confirm...
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Takahashi TSA120 on Vixen Sphinx NexSXD
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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by Montana » Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:13 am

OK, so you guys know this was coming ;)

Flycapture works fine, see an image on the screen.

Firecpature won't recognise the camera :(

We followed Michel's hint that we should download the Flycam.dll from the Firecapture website but not where to put it?

We first replaced the Flycam.dll in Firecapture then realised that the vague instructions seem to indicate it should go in an FC folder in Flycapture and replace in there. However, we have an FC1 folder but not an FC folder? in there, there are no drivers called Flycam.dll so it is difficult to replace it as we don't have one to replace? What do we remove from the FC1 folder to replace with this Flycam.dll?

any help would be most welcome.

Kind regards
Alexandra

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by colmic » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:00 pm

Alex, Flycam.dll must be on:
- Firecapture folder (program file(x86)/Firecapture
- Flycapture2 folder (program file(x86)/Point Grey Research/Flycapture2/bin

This Flycam.dll is downloadable here: http://firecapture.wonderplanets.de/patches/FlyCam.dll

If you don't have flycam.dll on one of these folders, copy it to.
If you have one, replace it by the one here.

Did you install the correct versions of Firecapture and Flycapture i told above?

You have received the Grasshopper?
Michel Collart
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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by Montana » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:15 pm

Hi Michel,
We followed your instructions exactly. We have the Firecapture and Flycap you said and placed the dll in both places. It still doesn't work :(

I guess it's not going to work and I'll have to learn Flycapture :(

Alexandra

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by RobBower » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:30 pm

Flycap must be on for the grasshopper to work! But at the telescope really is a frustrating time to play around with pc settings! In order to get the dmk working flycap must be set up correctly or it takes over your entire pc! So to save the session.... You can delete it and get it again later!

Been through this before.

You also need to be running the beta version of firecapture and download the 2.4 beta verion of the flycap which in itself has the .dll you need acopies it automatically! The trick is.... Have your dmk41 plugged in where you have a usb 2 port and plug the grasshopper in a usb3 port. Then run flycap for the first time! Otherwise is disables EVERY unused usb on your computer! Great program ay?
If I can still buy a new one.....Im not afraid to rip this 1 apart!



Island Grove Observatory on the south shores of Lake Simcoe

Ls60pt/Ls50DS, Lunt 2" HW, PGR Flea3-DMK51

Meade 127mmED Triplet NEQ6 Pro

127mm PST mod. 950mm Meade Series 5000 Triplet

http://www.flickr.com/photos/98998648@N07/

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by Montana » Sat Aug 24, 2013 2:22 pm

Thanks Rob, it's cloudy today (as usual) so we thought we would set it all up as Monday is forecast to be good.

We first loaded Flycapture 2.5 v4x86 (32bit). It had a bit where it said if you load our drivers nothing else will work in your USB3. It didn't give another option so we just said yes and it downloaded the software. We then downloaded Firecapture 2.2, copied the files, then downloaded the Firecapture 2.3 beta and exchanged the file (as instructions).

We then added flycam.dll to the Firecapture folder (replaced the one in the folder).

Then turned on Flycapture and it worked great. We then tried Firecapture and it doesn't get past the start as it says there is no camera there. We then put the flycam.dll in the Flycapture folder, still no joy.

Then tried the DMK41 and it didn't work, so we rolled back the driver to the original (removed the PGR) from the system file and the DMK41 worked again.

The Grasshopper still works in Flycapture after this roll back but still Firecapture does not. We have tried every combination :( so I guess we have a duffer.

I notice that Flycapture only records in Windows movie player avi and not Ser, guess I will have to see how it goes.
Alexandra

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by RobBower » Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:01 pm

I know its a real bummer Alexandra.... But it will work! And will work with firecapture! Its just a pain getting there! Today I was able to get my Flea3 capturing at 75 frames per second in firecapture! A month ago I was ready to set it on fire!

You are sooooo close to getting the combo! If you feel strong willed enough to battle the beast! Ill lay out the steps how I beat the beast!

Remove any and all point grey software via uninstall in control panel!
Once done. Plug in your dmk41 and open firecapture with the firecapture start exe. Not the tis short cut.
Your dmk 41 should be working! ( and I mean with the 2.3 Beta version!)
Then turn it off. It now knows the dmk41
Download flycapture 2.4 release 11 for windows must be 32bit
Once you have that. Plug in both cameras before running the flycapture install! This is crucial!
It wont over write the usb port with the dmk41 plugged in!
Go through the set up mode... Then close off and un plug cameras
Reboot laptop and plug in dmk41 and test Firecapture! Then unplug dmk41 and plug in grasshopper to the same port it was in during install process. Dont copy any dll files or other... Just open firecapture by clicking the point grey short cut!

Choose 16 bit in upper left corner to increase frames per seconds while recording!

This got my usb3 running at 75 per second!

Good luck! Well wishes....
May the force be with you! :whistle:
If I can still buy a new one.....Im not afraid to rip this 1 apart!



Island Grove Observatory on the south shores of Lake Simcoe

Ls60pt/Ls50DS, Lunt 2" HW, PGR Flea3-DMK51

Meade 127mmED Triplet NEQ6 Pro

127mm PST mod. 950mm Meade Series 5000 Triplet

http://www.flickr.com/photos/98998648@N07/

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by RobBower » Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:02 pm

Hmmmm just a though..... Update the firmware for your camera if you havent already! Simple process but very important......
If I can still buy a new one.....Im not afraid to rip this 1 apart!



Island Grove Observatory on the south shores of Lake Simcoe

Ls60pt/Ls50DS, Lunt 2" HW, PGR Flea3-DMK51

Meade 127mmED Triplet NEQ6 Pro

127mm PST mod. 950mm Meade Series 5000 Triplet

http://www.flickr.com/photos/98998648@N07/

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by Montana » Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:08 pm

Right, I left the hubby with the cameras and computer and he has got them working. This is what he said he has done:

1. Removed Flycapture and Firecapture.
2. Plugged in the DMK41
3. Loaded Flycapture, this time ONLY clicking the top driver out of the choice of 2.
4. Downloaded Firecapture 2.2, renamed it 2.3 and added the update pack.
5. He didn't change the Flycap.dll at all

It then worked and he has no idea why.
Many thanks for everyone's help, let's hope the weathermen are right about Monday.

Alexandra

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by colmic » Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:49 pm

This is the reason I think that Point Grey should contact Torsten Edelmann from Firecapture to make an offer of trade agreement.

This will be a win-win for all.
- Torsten could win a little money
- Point Grey could offer a real software with his cameras
- The user could use something wich works well!

Alex I'm looking forward to see your first results :)
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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by RobBower » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:09 am

I wanted to test fate again after getting my usb3 flea working in firecapture.
I was able to get it running up to 75 frames ps. But my other usb3 ports would not work and if not installed with the dmk plugged in the usb2 ports during the flycap initial set up....the dmk cameras would not work either!
So after Alexandras hubby got her camera running this afternoon...i did an experiment of my own.

Again uninstalling the flycapture stuff.
Re downloading it. Plugging in my dmk my flea and my external hard drive. This time did NOT install the usb3pro driver during the process. Only the first driver for pgrusb.

Both cameras work the flea now hits 96 frames per second at 16bit and full resolution... And the external drive runs as well. So the program did not take over all usb plugs.

The usb3pro driver seems to be the monster in the mix!

If youre having issues..... Give this a try!
If I can still buy a new one.....Im not afraid to rip this 1 apart!



Island Grove Observatory on the south shores of Lake Simcoe

Ls60pt/Ls50DS, Lunt 2" HW, PGR Flea3-DMK51

Meade 127mmED Triplet NEQ6 Pro

127mm PST mod. 950mm Meade Series 5000 Triplet

http://www.flickr.com/photos/98998648@N07/

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by RobBower » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:46 am

I know this has been a major pain for many people!

At first nothing would work for me. Then i could get the flea running but the dmk wouldnt work. Then i got both cameras but the usb3 hard drive would recognize. So I stopped trying and just accepted using the laptop to save and transfer. But it takes too much time. So after chatting a bit with Alexandra, and seeing her hubby get her kit running.... Seemed like a good time to try one more change.

That seems to be the monster! Hope its the last one moving forward!
If I can still buy a new one.....Im not afraid to rip this 1 apart!



Island Grove Observatory on the south shores of Lake Simcoe

Ls60pt/Ls50DS, Lunt 2" HW, PGR Flea3-DMK51

Meade 127mmED Triplet NEQ6 Pro

127mm PST mod. 950mm Meade Series 5000 Triplet

http://www.flickr.com/photos/98998648@N07/

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by solarchat » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:46 am

of course, you know I have to bring this up...

EVERY Point Grey camera I ever owned (over 20) DID indeed "just plug in and work" with ASTRO IIDC on any and every Apple computer I ever owned. There are no silly drivers, .dll files, usb drivers, unusable vendor software, etc... They all just worked immediately, and have never stopped working. NO ONE WOULD BUY IT at $99 for the first copy and $49 for the second! so the guy went out of business....

Point Grey is not about to invest any money into an astronomical interface when they might sell 5 or 10 of these cameras a year to astronomers and 1500-2000 to the people who like the current interface. Imaging Source gave up and sold out to Celestron because they couldn't sell enough to justify keeping their astronomy line open. We hobbyists just expect everything to be free and to be catered to but it just doesn't make any business sense when 10 out of 10,000 astronomers is willing to buy any software or pay the increased price for its development.

We need to spread this hobby as much as possible and make it profitable to develop new stuff for it, not tell everyone how to make the scopes and cameras for free using old parts.

just my opinion of course, and I know it is not the majority opinion but Im putting it out there... :)
Stephen W. Ramsden
Atlanta, GA USA
Founder/Director Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project
http://www.solarastronomy.org

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Re: Thoughts on the Grasshopper 3

Post by RobBower » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:51 am

Honestly Stephen..... If I didnt already have all windows machines I would buy Apple right away just to have no issues!
Id pay the guy 10 times the cost for a copy of that program fir my machines! Anything to make it fun again!
If I can still buy a new one.....Im not afraid to rip this 1 apart!



Island Grove Observatory on the south shores of Lake Simcoe

Ls60pt/Ls50DS, Lunt 2" HW, PGR Flea3-DMK51

Meade 127mmED Triplet NEQ6 Pro

127mm PST mod. 950mm Meade Series 5000 Triplet

http://www.flickr.com/photos/98998648@N07/

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