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Another case of BYN locking up


belliott4488
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I experienced BYN hanging up last night and locking up my laptop. My problem might or might not have been related to the issue reported by ballbutt in this BYN thread, or maybe even to this BYE thread. I'm using BYN, but if this problem is hardware-related, as has been suggested, and if it happens with both Nikon and Canon cameras, it seems like that could be useful information to have.

I'll put the particulars of my case below, but first, here is the sequence of events as well as I can remember them:

  1. I set up my imaging rig, and after some initial trouble getting my auto-guiding to work (PHD2 reported that calibration had failed due to insufficient motion of the guide star) I was able to start my imaging session with no other issues.
  2. After it had run for a little under 20 minutes, I went out to check on it and saw that I had captured 17 frames by that point. Unfortunately, I also discovered that my framing was off by a good bit, which I later decided must have been due to the guiding software having successfully slewed the mount when attempting to calibrate but failing to detect the motion due to a frozen image. 
  3. I decided to abort the capture plan so that I could reframe the image for the remaining exposures. (I aborted rather than simply suspending the plan - which would have been my preference - because it did not seem possible to switch to the focus and framing tab otherwise.)
  4. I successfully reframed and then returned to the capture tab to restart the capture plan.
  5. After reducing the total number of frames, since I had already captured 17, I restarted the capture plan, and all seemed to be working.
  6. I left the rig working and after another ten or fifteen minutes went out to check on it again.
  7. What I found was that the same badly framed images were displayed with no new images having been added. Seeing that something was wrong, I tried to abort the session a second time.
  8. This time instead of aborting, the program began to sound the alarm chime repeatedly. While this was happening I was unable to interact with BYN at all. I could interact with Windows enough to attempt to switch to a different application, but I could not actually switch - I was stuck on the BYN screen.
  9. This ended on its own after a couple of minutes, and I was taken to the frame and focus tab, but any attempts at further actions resulted in the same behavior with repeated alarm chimes (one every 2 or 3 seconds) for a couple of minutes until BYN would eventually execute whatever command I had initiated.
  10. When I checked the log, I saw that all the images after the restart had produced the error message, "Image download timeout, process terminated after 119 seconds".
  11. I went on to try a variety of fixes, including disconnecting and reconnecting the camera, then closing and restarting BYN, but nothing fixed the problem, and I continually got the repeated chime alerts for a couple of minutes before any action would be executed, and if I did capture an image, it always produced the message about the download timeout.
  12. I eventually had to abandon my session and give up for the night.

After returning inside for the night, I checked this forum and read the threads linked above. After seeing the suggestion to whitelist BYN in the Windows Defender Firewall settings, so I did that. I won't know until my next attempt if that had a good effect.

Here are the particulars about my setup:

  • Camera: Nikon D5000, powered by AC adapter
  • BYN version: 2.1.2
  • Dell Latitude running Windows 10, powered by AC adapter
  • Camera connected to powered USB hub via Shoestring Astronomy DSUSB cable for shutter release and standard USB cable for data.
  • USB hub connections (two ports with DC power):
    • DSUB shutter release cable (connected to powered USB port)
    • Nikon camera USB data connection
    • ZWO ASI120MC camera (for guiding, connected to powered USB port)
    • iPolar camera (for polar alignment; inactive during imaging)
    • iOptron mount

This setup has worked successfully for me for previous imaging sessions.

I've attached the primary log file from last night. There were others produced after I stopped and restarted BYN, but this one shows the onset of the problem

I don't know if I can reproduce this problem or if I will ever see it again. I know that makes it very difficult to diagnose, but I've provided this information in case it is the same problem that others have seen and maybe this will shed some light on the general problem.

Thank you for any help you can offer,

Bruce

logfile-[20220220-19h36m49s662]-[5444]-2022-02-20.txt

Edited by belliott4488
Corrected typo.
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Bruce,

1) Insufficient motion of the guide star during PHD2 calibration could be due to a couple of factors a) PHD2 was unable to send movement commands to your mount because of a bad cable or that the movement settings were not appropriate for your setup. Was the guide camera connected to the autoguide port on the mount with the cable that came with the ASI120 (NOT some random telco cable)? Was PHD2 set up for guiding through the on-camera mount?

2) What does PHD2 say about the guiding corrections? If it calibrates correctly then you should not see a gross shift in the field of view, unless your polar alignment is way off and you are drifting further than PHD2 can correct for.

Neither 1 or 2 will interfere with BYN controlling the imaging camera, unless you have dithering enabled and the uncorrected drift is too great for PHD2 to settle after dithering. This could cause BYN to "hang" waiting for PHD2 to signal that dithering is complete.

3) You are correct. In order to switch from Imaging to Frame & Focus you must abort your capture plan. I have suggested imprlvements to the developers that would allow the plan to be suspended and then resumed after re-focusing. To date neither BYE nor BYN have been enhanced to support this.

It appears that the remainder of the reported items provided the same result.

If you are able to use BYN to capture and download images without any error, when not using PHD2 or dithering with BYN then I would suggest that PHD2 is the root of your issues. It is possible to misconfigure PHD2 to give the results that you are seeing. I would concentrate on achieving good guiding before moving on to imaging and dithering while guiding. If you are unable to get PHD2 working you need to post to the PHDGuiding support forum.

If you disable dithering then there is no connection between BYN and PHD2 and while you may see drift in the images, BYN should not lock up.

I hope this helps.

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41 minutes ago, astroman133 said:

Bruce,

1) Insufficient motion of the guide star during PHD2 calibration could be due to a couple of factors a) PHD2 was unable to send movement commands to your mount because of a bad cable or that the movement settings were not appropriate for your setup. Was the guide camera connected to the autoguide port on the mount with the cable that came with the ASI120 (NOT some random telco cable)? Was PHD2 set up for guiding through the on-camera mount?

2) What does PHD2 say about the guiding corrections? If it calibrates correctly then you should not see a gross shift in the field of view, unless your polar alignment is way off and you are drifting further than PHD2 can correct for.

Neither 1 or 2 will interfere with BYN controlling the imaging camera, unless you have dithering enabled and the uncorrected drift is too great for PHD2 to settle after dithering. This could cause BYN to "hang" waiting for PHD2 to signal that dithering is complete.

<snip>

If you are able to use BYN to capture and download images without any error, when not using PHD2 or dithering with BYN then I would suggest that PHD2 is the root of your issues. It is possible to misconfigure PHD2 to give the results that you are seeing. I would concentrate on achieving good guiding before moving on to imaging and dithering while guiding. If you are unable to get PHD2 working you need to post to the PHDGuiding support forum.

If you disable dithering then there is no connection between BYN and PHD2 and while you may see drift in the images, BYN should not lock up.

I hope this helps.

I don't use the ST-4 cable for guiding; my guide camera is connected to my laptop by USB, and then ASCOM commands drive the mount. I don't think the mount cable was to blame, since the slewing was fine for other movement.

As I suggested above, I suspect that PHD2 was not getting updated star images when it slewed for calibration. I noticed that the image didn't appear to change at all - not even the usual wavering due to seeing, so maybe it was the USB cable from the guide camera that was at fault. Whatever the reason, I retried the calibration several times, so if the mount was actually moving, but PHD just couldn't detect it, then it could be that the accumulated effect of three or four attempts messed up my framing. 

(Lesson learned: calibrate guide camera before framing imaging camera.)

Once I disconnected and  reconnected PHD, so that it would not force the calibration, it actually worked fine using my last calibration (nothing had changed; I usually recalibrate out of caution, in case something got bumped). Once I started guiding my RMS errors were around 1 - 2 arc seconds, which is about as good as I get with this setup if the seeing supports it.

I thought I had been dithering, but at one point I noticed that the toggle was switched to "Off", so it's possible I had accidentally disabled it. In the past I've had good success auto-guiding with dithering, most recently two weeks ago.

If I have time to trouble-shoot this, I suppose I could try imaging without auto-guiding at all. We have so few clear nights where I live, however, that I'm fairly resistant to potentially losing an imaging session to a failed experiment. Of course, if the problem persists, then I can't image anyway, so I have nothing to lose!

FWIW, BYN has worked great for me up to last night. I've used it for maybe five or six sessions now, and I love the control and automation it provides, especially compared to the intervalometer I had been using previously. This is one of those problems where I can't think of anything that's different from previous successful sessions (even the target was the same).

I'll report back whenever I have another opportunity to capture some data - at least a week or two, from the looks of the current forecasts.

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According to the log file, the camera, the plan ended abruptly due to a camera error, it did not provide an image to download withing 59 seconds of a picture being taken, and any commands sent to the camera after that failed because the camera is busy providing the image.... but it never does :(

2022-02-20 21:25:50,615 [CameraTakePictureOnMessageRecieved] INFO  - Image download timeout, process terminated after 119 seconds
2022-02-20 21:25:50,631 [CameraTakePictureOnMessageRecieved] INFO  - DSUSB cable is CLOSED!
2022-02-20 21:25:50,631 [CameraTakePictureOnMessageRecieved] INFO  - Timespan 181.218
2022-02-20 21:25:58,835 [Main] DEBUG - ButtonPlus_MouseClick(btnAbort = 'Abort')
2022-02-20 21:25:59,804 [Main] INFO  - -----------------------------------
2022-02-20 21:25:59,804 [Main] INFO  - Application state changed: 'ImageCapture'
2022-02-20 21:25:59,819 [Main] INFO  - Imaging session completed successfully
2022-02-20 21:25:59,835 [Main] INFO  - CameraPropertyChangedArgs fired: ImageQuality         = 'RAW'
2022-02-20 21:25:59,835 [Main] INFO  - CameraPropertyChangedArgs fired: MirrorLock           = '0'
2022-02-20 21:26:01,372 [Main] DEBUG - ButtonPlus_MouseClick(btnFrameFocus = 'Frame & Focus')
2022-02-20 21:26:01,434 [Main] INFO  - Camera action fired: 'LiveviewStart'
2022-02-20 21:26:01,575 [Main] INFO  - CameraPropertyChangedArgs fired: Tv                   = '1'
2022-02-20 21:26:03,762 [NikonScheduler worker thread] WARN  - Camera busy, try again in 1 second.
2022-02-20 21:26:07,008 [NikonScheduler worker thread] WARN  - Camera busy, try again in 1 second.
2022-02-20 21:26:10,215 [NikonScheduler worker thread] WARN  - Camera busy, try again in 1 second.
2022-02-20 21:26:13,408 [NikonScheduler worker thread] WARN  - Camera busy, try again in 1 second.
2022-02-20 21:26:16,602 [NikonScheduler worker thread] WARN  - Camera busy, try again in 1 second.
2022-02-20 21:26:19,804 [NikonScheduler worker thread] WARN  - Camera busy, try again in 1 second.
2022-02-20 21:26:23,001 [NikonScheduler worker thread] WARN  - Camera busy, try again in 1 second.

...

 

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