SGP and new SBIG firmware update


#1

Has anyone updated their SBIG firmware using the 05-17-16 release and successfully connected to SGP? While I trust the new driver, I am hesitant to update the firmware until tested with SGP or successfully used with SGP. Thanks in advance,

Frank


#2

also holding off - sorry :upside_down:


#3

YES. It connected with NO problem HOWEVER, I have not had the opportunity to image with it . I am using SBIG 8300 M


#4

Waiting for clear skies… but from the readme

SBIGUDrv Version History:
Version 4.92 Build 1 5/17/2016
· Bug fixes pertaining to USB communications, and firmware version checks to protect people with out-of-date drivers.


#5

Yes, the driver update is safe looking but it now checks the firmware version which has also been updated. The new firmware allows some user selectable parameters related to “RBI” if I recall correctly. My fear is that the SGP interface to the SBIG driver/firmware may no longer function correctly. I don’t really understand how those things work but I believe that software developers like to test their software against new releases that provide a new feature or function. Just sayin!

Frank


#6

I’m not sure if I would say we “like” testing stuff like that :slight_smile:

I believe most SBIG cameras get their FW loaded into them on connect. So it should be pretty safe to test and downgrade if the new drivers have issues. I have not had time to test the SBIG drivers with my STL-11000 and probably won’t have time to test them if I’m being honest with myself.

Thanks,
Jared


#7

it would appear that there are even newer SBIG drivers/firmware announced yesterday. this line in the announcment worries me a little bit:

STT, STXL, and STX models get improved shutter handling. Autoguider shutters and main camera shutters are now fully decoupled. This reduces unnecessary shutter operation. (Your control software may require an update for this feature to work.)

given that the STT needs the SGP API Guider for the OAG to work, i wonder if @Jared can comment on this. @Andy might be interested as well. to be honest i’m not sure what problem they were trying to solve: currently if the main shutter is closed, then the guide shutter opens and closes with each exposure. if the main shutter is open, the guide shutter stays open (and presumably the guide chip has an electronic shutter). with this update, perhaps they are allowing you to open the guide shutter and leave it open during guide-only exposures, which would eliminate the clickity-clack we get right now. in that case the shutter is only for darks, i guess. at any rate it seems to me this update could break one or both of PhD2 or the API Guider.


#8

The STT doesn’t have an internal guider does it? Only the Remote Guide Head?

The RGH should be able to trigger the shutter with each exposure regardless of what the main shutter is doing. I’m somewhat certain that is how my STL works with the RGH but to be completely honest it’s been about 4 years since I used the RGH with my STL.

A while back SBIG changed their meaning of “Internal” and “External” guiders. It could be that we think the RGH for the STT is an external guider? In SGP do you select “External” or “Internal” for the guider settings in the SBIG settings?

Thanks,
Jared


#9

The STT does use the RGH as part of the CFWG.

The new firmware seems to change the dependency of the RGH shutter with the main camera shutter. The original post from SBIG states that “your acquisition software may require an update”. They did update the MaximDL software.

Frank


#10

tonight i will check what i have selected. as frank says, the STT-FW8G filter wheel has a built in pickoff prism and guide chip. both the main imager and the guide imager are behind the same USB interface, hence the need for the API guider when using PHD2. i thought that the RGH was a yet another thing, like in the STF cameras which have a port on the camera/filter wheel for an external guide camera… but i’m not up on all of SBIG’s terminology.

the problem, as always, is that i’m pretty sure that once these updates are applied there’s no going back to an older firmware/driver. this makes “non-destructive” testing almost impossible. i wish these guys were more organized about huge changes like this.


#11

From my understanding SBIG has 3 options for guide cameras:

  • Remote Guide Head - Plugs into camera can be used with OAG or Guide Scope
  • Internal Guider - STL Series Only (?) Has a second chip right next to the main chip…behind the shutter and filter wheel.
  • Filter wheel guider - Pickoff prism in front of filter wheel but integrated with camera. I believe this is still exposed as a RGH or “EXTERNAL TRACKING CCD” as SBIG calls them.

I’ll update my drivers and see how the STL performs as well as read over the docs (yay). Hopefully this evening but at least by this weekend. I can’t promise that it will be the same behavior as an STT or STF…but it “should” be.

It’s been a LOOOOONG time since I did the SBIG guider implementation. I do seem to recall now that the shutter was a little weird when using the remote guide head…but it’s honestly been too long to recall.

Thanks,
Jared


Filter wheel connects but no response
#12

OK - no huge rush, i learned my lesson a while back and don’t apply SBIG driver/firmware updates until it’s clear that they’re not borked. since the STT-8300M is my only camera i have to be wary of this stuff :slight_smile:


#13

In a related issue – I normally image with a QSI camera but I own an older SBIG ST-2000XCM. After seeing all the new software and firmware releases from SBIG, I decided to connect up my ST-2000XCM to SGP (2.5.1.14) and test the camera’s operation. I updated everything to the newest SBIG drivers and installed SGP API.

SGP connected to the camera and PHD2 Guiding (2.6.1dev8) also connected to the SGP API ASCOM camera. PHD2 had no problem getting frames from SGP and I never saw any failures in PHD2. However, when trying to get bias and dark frames from the ST-2000XCM, SGP would randomly crash. Using a sequence file with an event for bias frames and an event for dark frames, sometimes all the frames (64 each) would take and download but other times the sequence would take a few frames and crash.

Most of the time I had to cycle power on the camera and restart SGP before SGP could reconnect to the camera.

I’m primarily interested to see if anyone else is using SGP with the ST-2000XCM camera successfully. This is a somewhat old camera and it is possible there are issues with the camera itself or perhaps it’s just not fully compatible with the new SBIG drivers or SGP.

Having PHD2 running or not running did not seem to have any effect on whether SGP successfully took and downloaded frame or not.

I’m not planning on any serious imaging with the ST-2000XCM and the new version of CCDOps seems to work OK. But it would be nice to tell a prospective buyer that it works with SGP.

Charlie


#14

I just checked - in my system (STT-8300M + FW8G-STT) i have the guider set to “Internal”.


#15

Hm, ok. Well that explains the shutter behavior you’re seeing. We may need to add an option like “Internal Separate Shutter” or something like that. Currently “Internal” assumes that the guider is behind the main shutter like the STL.

Jared


#16

so should i try changing the setting? somehow i thought it had to be set up like this to use the API guider. i don’t know if the main shutter actuates when no exposure is in progress and a guider exposure is taken (main shutter is silent), but the guider shutter definitely opens and closes when the main shutter is closed (it’s pretty loud).


#17

No, if you change it you’ll likely get an error when you attempt to connect. Like I said, been a while since I looked at that code. Does the guide shutter open and close when the main imager is exposing?

Thanks,
Jared


#18

no - the guide shutter stays open when the main shutter is open - i’d be long since insane if the guider were doing that all the time :smile:

i guess i imagined that it was the camera firmware causing this behavior and so due to the changes SBIG has made, i could see the guide shutter either not opening or click-clacking all night when the main imager shutter is open… hence my reluctance to apply the firmware update.


#19

As long as you’re connecting to an “Internal” guider we won’t close the shutter while the main camera is imaging. If the imaging camera is idle we will open/close the shutter. Essentially we’re treating it like it’s behind the main shutter and doesn’t have it’s own shutter (like the STL).

So it sounds like, at least from your perspective, that this should not change. I’m interested to hear what others with STTs or STFs think. We may need to create another guide option that is something like “Internal w/Own Shutter” for those that do want the guider to open/close the shutter.

Thanks,
Jared


#20

This is my understanding, hopefully it is correct.

Before the most recent update, the SBIG driver caused the behavior you described, that is, it acted like the guide sensor was literally “internal” whether it was actually behind the shutter or in front of the filters. On the SBIG forum at the time, they stated that this was necessary to keep the driver compatible with older style cameras/guiders.

Mine behaves just like @pfile mentioned. Guider shutter opens and closes on every exposure until an image starts.

I took the recent SBIG release description to mean that this has finally been decoupled so that the driver now knows that it does not need to open any shutter to capture a guide frame. I haven’t had a chance to update the driver and try it, but I hope to over the weekend.

Hope this helps,
Craig


www.mainsequencesoftware.com