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SIMS v1.1.7 is available for download
 New version 1.1.7 of camera control and image processing software SIMS (Simple Image Manipulation System) is available for download. This release can keep selected imager and guider camera identifiers during multiple sessions, fixes CCD chip cooling behavior and updates telescope and GPS driver serial line handling.

Selected Imaging and Guiding camera identifiers are preserved among sessions

When SIMS was launched, it went through all available (connected) cameras, for which a driver was installed, and chose the first one as default imager. This behavior was OK if only one camera was connected at startup, but if both imaging and guiding cameras were connected, it was only a matter of chance if SIMS chooses e.g. guiding camera as imager. Then the user has to open “CCD Camera” tool and choose proper imager and guider cameras.

New version 1.1.7 of SIMS software stores identifiers of previously selected imaging and guiding cameras and tries to find them among all connected cameras. If it is able to find cameras with proper identifier, if selects them for the role they were used during previous sessions. It is of course possible to select different cameras anytime later.

Camera cooling and heating slopes

SIMS version 1.1.7 also eliminates irregular cooling/heating slopes. It is always better to cool down or heat up the camera only at certain speed (expressed in degrees Celsius per minute). Rapid cooling causes thermal shocks to CCD detector and can also lead to increased number of hot pixels or can even damage the CCD chip package itself. This is why SIMS offers the user to define the cooling/heating speed in the “Cooling” tab of the “CCD Camera” control tool. However, previous versions of SIMS could not follow the desired slope properly, the temperature changes was usually slower then required and often irregular. New release fixes the problem and follows the desired CCD temperature accurately.

Irregular cooling slope (left) and fixed one (right)

Another fixes, enhancements and function changes

The following functions were added or updated:

  • GPS and telescope drivers communicating over serial line (COM port) do not try to open a line upon driver initialization. If multiple drivers, stated in the sims.ini file, tried to open one serial line, the second (and all subsequent) driver naturally failed to open the same serial line, already occupied by the first driver. New behavior is the driver opens the line only when the user selects it in the GPS or telescope control tool. Other driver stay passive and do not try to open the line, check the presence of the hardware etc.

  • Changes of the automatic stretching of newly captured/opened images, introduced in SIMS version 1.1.6, could cause improper rendering of images during focusing (displayed in the “Focus” tab of the “CCD Camera” tool window). New version fixes this problem and renders focusing images according to preferred automatic stretching options.

  • Fixed problem in Garmin GPS USB driver, which occurred when the driver was selected, but no GPS device was connected to USB port.

  • Although Gx camera driver (g3ccd.dll) needs a proper .ini file (g3ccd.ini) to enumerate filters installed in the particular camera, the number of installed filters reported to SIMS no longer depends on parsing of the .ini file, but it is read directly from the camera, so it represents real number of filters.

  • Median combine tool could caused overflow of bright pixels (bright portions of images appeared dark) when a “Level image means” option was selected.

  • The last problem was not in SIMS software itself, but it was caused by Gx CCD camera system drivers. Still we notify it here to let users know the problem is already fixed.

    The communication with Gx CCD cameras could hang-up when a small sub-frame of certain sizes was captured and read from the camera. Unfortunately the Focus sized sub-frame (192 x 192 pixels) also could cause hangup when read as normal exposure. The problem was fixed in the G2 Rev.3+/G3/G4 driver g3ccd.sys version 1.4 and higher and in the G2 Rev.1 and 2 driver g2ccd2.sys version 2.7 and higher. We recommend to download latest system driver package from this web site and to update system drivers to the latest version.

SIMS v1.1.7 can be freely downloaded from the download section of this WWW server.

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