My final followup:
My setup an usage of the ZWO native driver has been flawless these last 4 nights.
Nothing really change except for one key change in my process:
My normal process is to use SharpCap to Polar Align and then platesolve. Then switch over to SGP and let it do it’s thing.
As I was trying to troubleshoot the issue I recalled that in the past, if just shutdown SharpCap and then went into SGP - sometimes I had trouble getting good images and got really dark images - but not black.
A related issue was that on other occasions after doing something with my astro laptop and would just leave and let the laptop sleep then often my ASI1600 or 183 would exhibited similar issues: no image or really dark.
To address the latter issue, I long ago just started shutting down my astro laptop instead of letting it sleep between sessions or usage. I have a bios setting set to power up the laptop after a power off automatically so I just use my remote start switch to apply power to the laptop and it comes up on its own.
To address the former issue, I tried to make sure to disconnect the camera from SharpCap prior to shutting down SharpCap. I hadn’t been doing this recently. Though the resulting issue is different, it’s similar and I’ve updated SharpCap several times over the past few months.
So in the end my theory is that SharpCap can leave the camera (when using SharpCap with the ZWO native driver) in a funky state unless one officially disconnects from the cam prior to exiting. When this happens and I can back into SharpCap and it works ok, but not SGP or other app.
Lastly, in all cases, the only way to resolve the issue once it has occurred is to completely remove all power sources from the cam (no 12v input and no USB input) and then reboot the system. Let the system come back up and then plug everything back it and the camera recovers. Since this is the only fix, the camera is clearly also in a funky state as well.