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Al.Grant

All Sky Cam: Scheduled Recording

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Al.Grant

I am using my ASI120mm as an all sky camera in a simple DIY enclosure.


 


I don't have an issue getting it working and recording using both FireCapture or SharpCap2, what I'd like to do is to be able to leave it either recording video or taking 20-30 sec exposures overnight .... but not all night, just during the darker hours over summer months or perhaps when I'm not in and there's an ISS pass due!


 


Does anybody know any way of using FireCapture, SharpCap or other suitable software that would allow me to schedule a recording window.


 


I've tried the 'Moving Object (Night)' Preprocessing option in FireCapture (ver 2.3) and not really had much luck with it, but that could just be my settings.


 


 


Cheers


             Al

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Al.Grant

I looked at a program called Total Recorder that has all the features needed.


I downloaded the trial version but although it recognised the ASI120mm it returned an error each time I tried to run a scheduled recording and on one occasion it caused Win 7 to do a BSOD :-(


 


The latest version of SharpCap2 has a Python scripting option, but I'm not exactly 'script friendly' - that said the author of SharpCap has sent me some script that I may be able to modify to allow it to only record between specific times.  


You'll find the other thread here   http://www.astronomyshed.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=24798


 


 


I'd still like to see this as an option is some software that works well with the ASI. 


 


Al

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Al.Grant

Why dont you try a CCTV software.

They can be set to do what you want.

 

Thanks  Definitely an option worth looking at.  Last bit of software I tried didn't seem to get along with the 120mm.

 

Got some CCTV software downloaded and will give it a go to see how it gets along with the cam.

 

Al

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stash

I use Ispy cctv s/w which is/was free but don't know if it can talk to ASI 


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Al.Grant

I use Ispy cctv s/w which is/was free but don't know if it can talk to ASI 

 

LoL   That's the one I've downloaded.

Want to plug it in and see if it looks OK before trying it outside.

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Al.Grant

Not looking good for iSpy.


ASI120mm plugged in but iSpy doesn't see it but it does find the laptop webcam.


Fired up SharpCap and Firecapture and they both see the ASI.

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TasKiNG

Not looking good for iSpy.

ASI120mm plugged in but iSpy doesn't see it but it does find the laptop webcam.

 

 

Just had a play with iSpy and I managed to get it to see my ASI120MC.

The ASI drivers must be 32bit as the 32bit version of iSpy sees it but the 64bit version doesn't.

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Al.Grant

Just had a play with iSpy and I managed to get it to see my ASI120MC.

The ASI drivers must be 32bit as the 32bit version of iSpy sees it but the 64bit version doesn't.

 

Ahh that might explain things ..... I'm on 64bit Win 7

I think I'll spend a bit of time tweaking the script for SharpCap2, at least then it'll be software that's designed for 'astro', so other features for the ASI will be supported.

 

Thanks.

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TasKiNG

Ahh that might explain things ..... I'm on 64bit Win 7

I think I'll spend a bit of time tweaking the script for SharpCap2, at least then it'll be software that's designed for 'astro', so other features for the ASI will be supported.

 

Thanks.

The 32bit version of iSpy runs fine on Windows 7 64bit ( that's what i'm using too).

Looks really good. You can set the resolution, gain, exposure and it even shows you the temperature of the camera. Looks like it has Time-Lapse settings too.

Scheduling works great.

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Al.Grant

The 32bit version of iSpy runs fine on Windows 7 64bit ( that's what i'm using too).

Looks really good. You can set the resolution, gain, exposure and it even shows you the temperature of the camera. Looks like it has Time-Lapse settings too.

Scheduling works great.

 

Excellent....

Uninstalled the 64 bit ver and installed 32 bit .... sees the ASI straight away.

 

Not had time to look at the gain, exposure settings yet. Will have a closer look tonight.

First impressions are good ... assuming no lock ups ect then the motion detection may be well suited for detection bright/moving night time objects as the program was initially written for spotting ufo's. There is also a video buffer to it will capture events a few seconds before the actual motion detection, that could be useful given the nature of meteor/fireballs.

 

The remote a login and alert stuff could be good if away from home and ability to automatically convert to different video/image formats (with smaller file sizes) and then auto upload to the web/remote storage or even youtube could be useful .

 

Certainly worth spending a bit of time on it and if it works then I might look at a full time skycam, plugged into the pc that runs my meteor detector.

 

Graham ... thanks for suggesting the CCTV route, I may well have missed this otherwise.

 

Al

Edited by Al.Grant

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stash

Never tried it but you may be able to use the s/w detection in Ispy to catch changes in the Sky (Meteors etc) - unfortunately it will pick up planes,clouds,birds,flies,spiders etc but may help with the amount of frames stored. Just a thought ;)


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Al.Grant

Never tried it but you may be able to use the s/w detection in Ispy to catch changes in the Sky (Meteors etc) - unfortunately it will pick up planes,clouds,birds,flies,spiders etc but may help with the amount of frames stored. Just a thought ;)

 

I'm at work at the moment but having a quick look at it here and the motion detection seems to be quite configurable.

The sensitivity is easily adjusted via a slider so hopefully that should take care of the smaller objects, planes are going to be picked up on just about any software and I doubt there'll be anything that could be done about that .......  cloud movement is something I'd not considered    :blush:   but could certainly be a problem!

 

At the very least it should allow me to do what I initially wanted and that's just to be able to schedule the imaging on/off at specific times.  So just the dark hours during the summer and if it can automatically compress the video then that's a space saving bonus.

 

Al

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Al.Grant

I've had iSpy running all day with the ASI on my home laptop without any crashes or lock up etc.  Using Teamviewer to log in and check whilst at work.


 


All looks pretty good at the moment and recording still/video is working, although I'm only seeing 13-14 fps at the moment.  Probably need to play with some settings.

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Graham

I used to run Ispy on my cctv on the workshop.


Its a brilliant program.


Only advice I will give you Alastair and all others using it and that is to disable the auto update.


Keep using the same version.


The one I used on the workshop updated to a newer version automatically and down loaded a virus in the new version that some scroat had hacked and placed on there.


Cost me a new hard drive and a couple of hundred quid to get my accounts recovered.  :angry:


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Al.Grant

Thanks Graham .... I've now disabled the auto update feature.


 


Giving it a try tonight to see if I can capture the ISS pass shortly .... not sure if focus is right but we'll see.


Then IF we get any stars I can fine tune the focus later.

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Al.Grant

I had iSpy and the ASI120mm up and running last night. I wanted a quick test to see if it could do what I'm looking for and it worked well.


 


I had it scheduled to record only between specific times and tried out the time lapse feature and the auto video codec. one of the issues with some of the capture software is the huge uncompressed file size.  


 


As a first test I set it to take 1 frame every 20 secs for a period of 3hrs and set for 10fps - so ended up with 3hrs of night sky (and cloud) compressed into a 56 sec, 6.8meg video file.


Stars, Jupiter and passing aircraft all showed up well.  Some settings need changing, but not looking too bad ......  less cloud would also be nice!


 


I also want to try the time lapse taking still images and test it's ability to take darks and automatically subtract them from the saved image.


 


Al

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Graham

Sounds like you are making great progress with it Alastair.


Cannot wait to see some results posted up  :2thumbsup:


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Al.Grant

Having looked at iSpy for a little longer and played around with a few settings, I think it certainly has its uses but don't think it will replace things like SharpCap or FireCapture.


However that's not what I was looking for .......  Where it will come in useful it on occasions like tonight where my local weather forecast is for cloudy skies until about 1am and then clear through until morning.


 


I don't fancy sitting up until 1am just to press the record button, so tonight I'll use the scheduler/time-lapse features of iSpy.


If I was around then I'd stick with SharpCap as the controls for exposure/gain etc are just easier to use, other than that there seems to be very little in it.


 


iSpy does seem to be a bit heavier on the cpu/memory but I'm guessing that's because it's converting the compressing the video in real time (much smaller files), although this can be switched off to record uncompressed avi in the same way as SharpCap. Not tired that to compare yet.


 


What I hope to do this weekend is do a quick 10 min recording (uncompressed) in SharpCap / FireCapture / iSpy and compare the results for image quality and file size.


 


Al

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Al.Grant

Gave it another go last night and the iSpy worked fine .... only problem was the dome got hit with condensation, so going to give it a try with a dew heater band inside the enclosure.


 


Took a quick screen grab before switching it to 'scheduled' recording. 25 sec exposure & forgot to remove the overlay text at the bottom.


Top of the screen is East


 


2015-04-19_21-41-06_671.jpg


 


 


Al

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Graham
On 15/04/2015 at 21:30, Al.Grant said:

 

 

 

Ahh that might explain things ..... I'm on 64bit Win 7

 

I think I'll spend a bit of time tweaking the script for SharpCap2, at least then it'll be software that's designed for 'astro', so other features for the ASI will be supported.

 

 

 

Thanks.

 

Trying to get my ASI120 to work with I SPY without success .

Tried downloading the 32 bit version but still no joy.

Where did you get the 32 bit drivers from.

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Graham

Sorted it out last night. 

Just waiting for the other bits to arrive so I can assemble the unit. 

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