Troubleshooting Guide

Most support cases can be resolved following this guide

Maybe you just bought a new camera and can't wait to start capturing stunning night sky images, but something isn't working as expected. Or perhaps everything was fine the other night, but now your equipment is acting up. Maybe you've been using gear from another brand, and your new gear isn't quite cooperating. We get it – these things happen! Most of the support messages we receive describe situations just like these.

We understand how frustrating it can be when technical issues get in the way of your astrophotography journey. This troubleshooting guide has been created from our experience helping customers like you, and it is here to help you quickly identify and resolve common problems so you can get back to enjoying your astronomy hobby as soon as possible.

Whether it's a connectivity issue, a software configuration problem, or a hardware malfunction, we’ve got you covered with step-by-step solutions to get your gear up and running smoothly. Let's get started!

Documented Issues and Fixes

Please note that the online manual pages of some of our devices contain a section for known issues. Before troubleshooting, checking whether the problem and a fix have been documented for your device is a good idea.

Tracking Down the Cause

When doing astrophotography, you work with multiple interconnected devices. The camera is just the entry point for the digital path. Anything in the path between the camera sensor and the computer's hard drive can cause a bad image. 

Often, MiniPCs use a very slow hard drive, and we have seen problems resolved when the user adds a faster hard drive to their MiniPC. For example, some users have been doing astrophotography with a MiniPC or an older laptop for a long time. Then, they buy a new camera that has a higher resolution, and things don't work as expected; logically, they blame the new camera. However, when they upgrade the hard drive or switch to a newer computer, the problems go away. The takeaway is that just because your system always worked with an older camera, it shouldn't be expected to work with a newer camera that produces larger files and requires faster data transfers.

The cause of most problems in astrophotography can be attributed to:

  1. The user (this isn't very pleasant to say, but when we're frustrated or excited, we can't see the important checkbox or read the text below),

  2. any of the devices (including the computer you use), 

  3. the connections that link them, 

  4. the power supply units that power them, or

  5. the software you use to run them.

Take a Deep Breath

Taking a deep breath can help you see a checkbox you may be missing or a cable you didn't plug in. This can happen to anybody. There's no shame in it!

Astrophotography is a hobby where the rewards are stellar, and the pain is astronomical—there's no middle ground!

Now, let's look for the cause of the problem in the following order:

Operating System (OS) Malfunctions

  • Ensure your operating system is up-to-date with the latest updates and patches.

  • Restart your system to clear any temporary issues.

  • Some negotiation happens internally when a new USB device is connected to a computer. Reconnecting your USB cables can clear most issues.

Driver Issues

  • If you are using an astronomy control software natively integrated with our products, you are NOT using an OGMA driver; you are using drivers that come with the operating system. In this case, there is no reason to suspect our driver is bad. Restarting the OS may fix your problem.

  • Again, ensure your operating system is up-to-date with the latest updates and patches.

  • On the other hand, if you use our ASCOM driver, verify that you have installed the latest version.

  • Reinstall the drivers if you suspect they are malfunctioning.

Power Supply Problems

  • Make sure your MiniPC or computer has a stable power supply. Insufficient power can cause malfunctions in other devices and their communication.

  • Avoid using low-power or underpowered USB ports, which might not provide enough power for the camera to operate correctly.

  • If you connect multiple devices to a camera's USB Hub and these devices draw too much power, you may experience difficulties. If you have power-hungry devices that consume energy from USB, buy a powered USB Hub.

USB Port and Cable Issues

  • Check for any loose or faulty USB connections. A secure connection is essential for proper camera function. 

  • If you use a MiniPC, watch out for loose USB port soldering, which can result in intermittent connectivity. 

  • Use high-quality USB cables. Inferior cables can cause connectivity issues and data transfer problems. The USB cables we provide are thick, heavy, and stiff for a reason. Don't use lighter, thinner USB cables, as they may suffer from interferences.

Software Configuration

  • Double-check the configuration settings of your camera control software to ensure everything is set up correctly. Certain configurations must be changed when you switch to a new camera model and brand.

Isolate the Source of the Problem

For example, if you suspect that a new camera is the cause of the problem, remove it from the rest of the gear and take it to a different computer. Try to take a few frames and see if it works. If the camera works, then another device may be the cause of the problem. You may want to try using a different astronomy control software on this computer just in case the software is the problem.

If you've checked all these areas, tried to isolate the cause, and are still experiencing issues, don't hesitate to contact us for support.