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A couple of Multicam doubts and general help

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Re: A couple of Multicam doubts and general help
« Reply #40 on: 27 / November / 2019, 04:58:59 »
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Ok, I've come across some of Andrew Stephens' posts during my time here. His skills are way beyond mine! But I see that quite a bit of the problem solving related to multiple cameras, comes from your conversations with him. The forum is certainly an incredible resource of info. What I find funny is that, every new hurdle, every new problem I find along the way, has already been resolved here in the forum. Prior to finding it, it's all mumbo-jumbo i cannot even undertsand, but once I find it, it all makes more sense. I'm learning so much in the process... :)
Regarding the actual problem, I'll first go the easy way and swap cables for new ones. If problem persists will try to catch the romlog in case it helps. I don't yet see how mc:check_connections is supposed to work, since my menu system just shuts down when the error happens. I suppose I'd need to implement it on a separate file and run it once the error happens, it should powercycle/restart the crashed cameras, wait 5 secs, and bring the whole system back up again? Or at least it kills the script on the connected cameras in order to have a fresh start in all of them...?
And one quick thing... Can't seem to find any options for white balance nor in mc:shoot nor in the Scripting Cross reference... Am I blind? Set_wb anywhere?!?!
Thanks!

Re: A couple of Multicam doubts and general help
« Reply #41 on: 27 / November / 2019, 10:33:44 »
Regarding the actual problem, I'll first go the easy way and swap cables for new ones.
Power or grounding issues are certainly a possible cause in a multicam rig, but there are plenty of "normal" bugs that can crash cams too.
I quickly scanned all your previous posts as I recall various conversations going back 5+ years.

It looks like your latest project is using a lot more cameras than previously? Typically problems with grounding and power distribution start happening more often as people try to build bigger rigs.  Can you provide a detailed description of how you are providing power to all those cameras and the USB connection scheme? While I can see some of that info in various recent posts, getting it all in one place might help us to diagnose your problems and make suggestions to get them fixed.
 
Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16

Re: A couple of Multicam doubts and general help
« Reply #42 on: 27 / November / 2019, 12:54:01 »

Hi waterwingz! Glad to have you around. Years ago you were really helpful in one of the early developments of the rig. As you can see now I'm operating the whole thing with multicam, at the time I used your usbptp.lua script and just switched the power strip controlling the usb hubs to trigger the cameras, and downloaded manually. Now it is a bit more complicated, but it's starting to work. I made two little schemes with the setup.


The biggest problems up to now have been:
- Had to switch from laptop to a desktop PC to prevent USB problems (too many connections or unrecognized devices). Up to now, seems like a did the right thing.
- Bad LED lights. I bought new powerful High CRI LED strips to replace these cheap ones. Noise (due to low power) and color reproduction are horrible with these.
- Power failures/unstable power with the A series cameras. I initially had 4 (the ii ones) of them into a 4.5V 2A power source. Today I split those 4 into 2 groups. Tested two connected to the a 1A source and seem to be working fine. Couldn't test both groups since one of the DIY battery dummies broke. I'll replace it tomorrow and try again. Batteries are actually 3.6V, but cameras seem to be acting normally and handling well the extra voltage. There's four more cameras still operating with batteries (and still quite a few more 12-15 to add to the rig)


Up to now, the most reliable cameras are the SX150is with their chinese couplers and power source, no problems whatsoever. The cameras on the right side (ii) with DIY battery dummies have been the problematic ones. I've had a couple of mishaps with the (*) ones on the extreme left too, I suppose it might be due to daisy chaining the USB hubs? Although they've only been problematic once the (ii) ones gave errors. I'm having two 5V 10A power sources with voltage adjustment delivered tomorrow in order to have a sturdier power source with the A2300-A2600s, will have to create better dummies with ground..?


Looking at the scheme, can you spot any future problems I might have to consider? Thanks a lot for your time. Will keep testing tomorrow.
« Last Edit: 27 / November / 2019, 12:58:04 by ikercito »

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Offline reyalp

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Re: A couple of Multicam doubts and general help
« Reply #43 on: 27 / November / 2019, 13:27:08 »
Regarding the actual problem, I'll first go the easy way and swap cables for new ones. If problem persists will try to catch the romlog in case it helps. I don't yet see how mc:check_connections is supposed to work, since my menu system just shuts down when the error happens. I suppose I'd need to implement it on a separate file and run it once the error happens, it should powercycle/restart the crashed cameras, wait 5 secs, and bring the whole system back up again? Or at least it kills the script on the connected cameras in order to have a fresh start in all of them...?
Ah right I didn't think of that. Mumbo jumbo ahead:
When you run a command from the cli with !, like !mc:shoot() it's "protected" from errors. That is, if there's an error during the shoot call, the shoot command ends wherever the error occurred, and you end up back at the command prompt. When you run your menu script, the entire script is protected, but individual mc: calls are not, so if there's an error, the script ends, and you would need to restart it.

So if you wanted to handle errors in your script more cleanly, some options would be
1) Arrange for the menu file to call stuff protected,
2) Make it so that re-running the script allows you to pick up where you left off
3) Add your menu options as chdkptp cli commands
All of these require a bit of programming. Not having your current script, I'm can only give general advice.

For #1, you could change something like
Code: [Select]
elseif option == '5' then
  mc:shoot()
 elseif option == '6' then
To
Code: [Select]
elseif option == '5' then
  cli:print_status(pcall(function()
   mc:shoot()
  end))
 elseif option == '6' then
pcall calls a function in protected mode http://www.lua.org/manual/5.2/manual.html#6.1
the function() ... end is an anonymous function that lets you just past the code that you already had into the pcall
cli:print_status() expects status, error return values like pcall produces, and prints the error if there was one (actually, it prints the second value regardless, but from pcall it should only be an error)

For #2, if your script doesn't keep much state, you might just be able to add a menu option to do check_connections instead of the initial setup. So your procedure would be  on error, run menu .lua and then choose recovery instead of start & sync.

Complications: Focus and zoom settings would be lost on the crashed camera unless you added code to save them. You'd also need to include init_sync in the recovery command, since the reconnected cam wouldn't be synced.

#3 requires more code, but I can provide examples if you want.

Quote
And one quick thing... Can't seem to find any options for white balance nor in mc:shoot nor in the Scripting Cross reference... Am I blind? Set_wb anywhere?!?!
You can't set custom white balance values. You can set white balance mode with something like
Code: [Select]
mc:cmdwait('call set_prop(props.WB_MODE,1)')
1 above would be daylight. For older cameras like yours, the numbers will probably be
0 = Auto, 1 = Daylight, 2 = Cloudy, 3 = Tungsten, 4 = Fluorescent, 5 = Fluorescent H, 7 = Custom
Don't forget what the H stands for.


Re: A couple of Multicam doubts and general help
« Reply #44 on: 27 / November / 2019, 14:04:13 »
Hi reyalp! Thanks for the explanation! Not so mumbo-jumbo... I managed to understand it! :) #1 seems somehow doable. But on one hand, I'm 100% sure I'm going to make many mistakes, and on the other, first I need to solve the hardware issues and tidy up the menu system and options before committing to something more advanced. I keep in mind your suggestion from #28, I will eventually go for it too.


But for example white balance seems easy to implement (and will do tomorrow). Have you looked at the diagram/scheme I made for waterwingz? Any suggestions? Thx.

Re: A couple of Multicam doubts and general help
« Reply #45 on: 27 / November / 2019, 14:54:30 »
Looking at the scheme, can you spot any future problems I might have to consider? Thanks a lot for your time. Will keep testing tomorrow.
Comments and questions below - thanks for those diagrams.  That's a good start.

Quote
I bought new powerful High CRI LED strips to replace these cheap ones. Noise (due to low power) and color reproduction are horrible with these.
Have you noticed if your connection issues seem to occur more frequently if the LED strips are on or off?

Quote
Power failures/unstable power with the A series cameras. I initially had 4 (the ii ones) of them into a 4.5V 2A power source. Today I split those 4 into 2 groups. Tested two connected to the a 1A source and seem to be working fine.
I'd say a nominal 1A power source might be okay for 1 camera, which can briefly pull 1.5 amps during certain operations. I would not recommend two or three hooked up to that same power supply.

Quote
Up to now, the most reliable cameras are the SX150is with their chinese couplers and power source, no problems whatsoever.
That's one bit of good news then ...

Quote
I'm having two 5V 10A power sources with voltage adjustment delivered tomorrow in order to have a sturdier power source with the A2300-A2600s, will have to create better dummies with ground..?
Good!  See my previous comment. Budget 2 amps per camera (or 5 -6 cameras maximum per power supply).

Regarding USB connections, I've had to swap my laptop for a more powerful desktop, to overcome numerous connection issues.
By "more powerful" I assume you mean software power not electrical power?

Quote
But next up I've had the same type of error on two A2400s using their own original battery.
This is the most worrying part electrically. I've assume the USB shield and/or 0V pin is the common ground for all the camera. If the A2400's on battery power are not behaving then we might have to think about that.
Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16

Re: A couple of Multicam doubts and general help
« Reply #46 on: 27 / November / 2019, 15:38:37 »
Hey, thanks waterwingz!! I don't recall any difference with strips being on or off, but will test further tomorrow. I changed to desktop cause the laptop would start giving connection issues with just 7 devices connected. Brought one of my desktop rendering nodes to the studio and since then I've had no issues. I suppose it's related to internal hubs and power distribution (or something else, they're generally finicky, it's not the first time I encounter USB issues on laptops).


2A per camera is quite a bit! I based my numbers in the designation of the NB-11L batteries that says 680mAh.. In any case I'll follow your advice and give them some excess amperage. Regarding the battery powered cameras, let's wait til I have the new power sources installed to draw conclusions... Only time they caused errors was after the powered ones failed.


And yeah... mighty old sx150, I'm trying to source more of them but they are scarce. Not the best image quality with the zoom wide open, but very similar to A2300-A2600s that are really abundant (and cheap). Do you guys happen to know any affordable Canons (under 100€, I'm finding them in pawnshops) that might give a little better quality? I was never a Canon user, so don't know their hierarchy/designation regarding better quality (I only knew the G series). In any case, from experience, in very bright scenes the quality improves quite a lot, so once the new lights are in place I'm sure it'll improve.


Will keep testing tomorrow and report back. Thanks!!


**BTW, I'll probably will be redoing most of my electrical wiring, I should make sure all my cameras are grounded right?


***I just saw a pretty good offer on a Canon DSLR, and went to check Magic Lantern. I was shocked to see that CHDK is miles further developed and much more reliable! Then I quickly forgot about DSLRs :D
« Last Edit: 27 / November / 2019, 16:23:51 by ikercito »

Re: A couple of Multicam doubts and general help
« Reply #47 on: 28 / November / 2019, 13:47:25 »
Ok, first a reminder... 1) I have no coding skills 2) I am not an electrician


So... I have fried two cameras. Yup... gone, forever. :(

Today I received the power sources I mentioned: 5V 10A 50W, brand new.. I connected the mains cabling and measured with the voltmeter. At first it was giving around 5.3V so I turned it down to the minimum, and it was around 4.6V. I checked the cameras and at the bottom it says 4.3V so thought the cameras could well withstand a little bit more tension and proceeded to plug one of them. Just as i turned on the power strip I thought I heard a very tiny pop and went to check the camera, it wouldn't turn on... Mmmm, maybe the dummy (the old one, without ground) had slipped inside? Or maybe (remember I don't have much of a clue about electricity, voltage, tension, amps...) maybe i should plug two of them so the excess voltage is split? Plugged both, turned on and... a very tiny pop again, and cameras off. Oh my... :(

So I unhooked them from the rig, removed the tape that held a nut on the power button, inserted a battery, and... Wont turn on. Fried. Bye bye...

Seems like that 0.3V excess was too much to withstand. Now the rig has two less cameras, and two power sources I don't know what to do with. The wonderful world of tinkering with stuff you don't know. (no facepalm icon here? it would be very appropiate for this moment)  :'(


Re: A couple of Multicam doubts and general help
« Reply #48 on: 28 / November / 2019, 13:54:01 »
Today I received the power sources I mentioned: 5V 10A 50W, brand new..
Can you post a link to the units you purchased?

Quote
Seems like that 0.3V excess was too much to withstand.
So here's the big question.  Are you absolutely certain you got the polarity correct? An extra 0.3V over the nominal battery voltage of 4.3V is quite unlikely to damage anything.  Reversing the polarity can be fatal though.

Edit :
Quote
maybe i should plug two of them so the excess voltage is split?
It does not work that way.
« Last Edit: 28 / November / 2019, 13:56:48 by waterwingz »
Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16

Re: A couple of Multicam doubts and general help
« Reply #49 on: 28 / November / 2019, 14:06:16 »
It does not work that way.
Yeah, I see that now... That gives you a clue about my electrician skills.


This is the model
https://www.amazon.es/XKTTSUEERCRR-Alimentaci%C3%B3n-Transformador-cConvertidor-Vigilancia/dp/B07DQKM9P7


A friend of mine just texted me the same about polarity. I'm pretty sure that's the reason... But given the fact that I don't even know which one is which in the voltmeter... At least I'm happy I (still) didn't get any electric shocks with all these cables lying around  ;)


Noob mistake, will never happen again. Will check polarity 20 times before plugging something, I promise.

 

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