Moravian instruments, Inc., source: http://www.gxccd.com/art?id=519&lang=409, printed: 25.2.2018 10:22:11

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SIPS v3.7
 Version 3.7 of the Scientific Image Processing System enhances camera handling interface. Internal enhancements would be appreciated mainly by programmers implementing drivers, but there is also new functionality available to users. New SIPS allows to define fixed configuration of cameras, to which should SIPS automatically connect regardless if particular cameras are online or not upon SIPS startup. This feature will be appreciated especially by astronomers using a fixed setup. And as usual, some problems identified in previous versions were fixed, improving overall SIPS reliability.

Even previous versions of SIPS remembered, which cameras are connected as main imager, guider and context camera. And if these cameras are online upon next SIPS startup, then they were automatically connected. But if any remembered camera was not connected to the computer (or powered up), SIPS could not immediately connect to it. In such case the camera identification was discarded and the user had to manually invoke scanning after camera was plugged (and powered up in the case of large cameras with dedicated power supply). Re-scanning of all cameras naturally caused disconnection of all currently selected cameras, so it was necessary to chose roles of respective cameras again (which camera will be used as imager, guider and possibly context camera).

New SIPS v3.7 allows users to check the Automatically Connect to Selected Iamaging/Guiding/Context Camera Only check box upon particular camera role selection. SIPS then remembers, which driver is responsible for handling of the selected camera and how the driver identifies this particular camera. This information is displayed in the Driver: and Id: lines on the top of the camera selection dialog box.

Remark:

Up to this version SIPS supported only numerical identification of each camera. SIPS originated as a tool to handle Gx series of astronomical cameras and each of these cameras has an unique identifier number, which allows users comfortably distinguish individual cameras, choose which camera to use in which role if multiple cameras are connected etc. This may seem obvious, but many camera systems are designed so it is virtually impossible for the user to distinguish them when multiple cameras of the same brand are attached to a single PC.

Beginning with SIPS v3.7, the camera identification can be also arbitrary unique text string, in addition to already existing unique number. This significantly simplifies e.g. handling of ASCOM connected cameras etc.

When the SIPS is launched and the particular camera is not online, SIPS has no means to determine actual camera designation, type, resolution etc. It only knows the driver and identification, so it displays the camera driver as camera name and indicates camera is not connected.

When the camera comes online, SIPS reads all necessary information from the camera to update GUI elements and switches states from (unplugged) to (connected). Camera is immediately ready to use, without any user intervention.

Hint:

Thanks to the above described camera handling changes, SIPS v3.7 newly allows usage of different cameras from different instances of SIPS running on the same PC.

Previous versions of SIPS “grabbed” for themselves all cameras attached at the instant of SIPS startup. If it was desired to handle one camera from one SIPS instance and a second one from another running SIPS, it was necessary to:

  • Attach (power on) one camera only, disconnect the other one.

  • Run first instance of SIPS and select the connected camera.

  • Only then it was possible to attach (power on) the second camera.

  • When the second instance of SIPS was launched, the second camera could be selected, because the first running SIPS instance did not see it during startup.

New SIPS v3.7 blocks only cameras, which are actually selected as Imager, Guider or Context cameras. All other cameras are leaved for usage by other SIPS or other software packages using e.g. ASCOM drivers.

Warning:

The functionality described above is available for cameras connected directly to the USB port of the host PC as well as for cameras connected through the Gx Camera Ethernet Adapter. But it is necessary to update the Ethernet Adapter device firmware to version 31 or higher.

Bug fixes

Majority of bug fixes are related to the Photometry tool:

  • When the photometry was run on images containing distorted star shapes (e.g. some software package zeros pixels, which should be saturated at value 65535, significantly distorting star profile and altering area statistics), newly introduced tests eliminate false stars with centroid coordinates out of expected range.

  • Fixed bug, which appear when an edit box, allowing to name a star in the star sheet, was not properly confirmed (closed) and new star was selected in the image.

  • Fixed bug leading to possible attempt to divide by zero when Photometry tool was used on Hi-DPI displays and the Light Curve pane was shrunk below allowed minimum.

One bug was related to camera driver configuration in 64bit version of SIPS:

  • The driver for Gx cameras connected through Ethernet Adapter failed to open Configuration dialog box in the 64bit version of SIPS.

SIPS is a freeware and can be downloaded from the Download section of this web site.