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What To Do If You Have No Video

How to Debug Video Problems

You must first run the demo/test program that is supplied by the frame grabber or USB camera manufacturer. This demo program must run in a completely satisfactory fashion before there is any reason to think about the FTA software or to bother to run the FTA software. FTA error messages have no usefullness when you can not run the demo program.

For the Leutron Vision PicPort frame grabber, the demo program is called Camera Editor in the Windows Start | Programs menu. Use the BW_RS170 camera type unless you know otherwise (e.g., a JAI camera), then click Try. Select the first connector on the list presented to you.

For the MuTech MV-510 frame grabber, the demo program is called MV-5XX Demo. Click Grab in the menu.

Further details about running these are in the HowToInstall.rtf document.

In general, you can divide the problems you see running the demo program into two sets:

  • You can not get all the way to clicking on the video run option before you get an error message. This means the board is dead, not seated firmly in its socket, or you do not have the correct frame grabber driver loaded. Basically the demo program can not talk to the board for some reason. You can check for the driver being loaded by going to Start | Settings | Control Panel | System | Hardware | Device Manager. A yellow question mark or a red X means there is a problem with the driver.

  • You click on the video run option, but nothing happens or then you get a message. The camera is not sending a video signal all the way to the frame grabber. The camera could be without power, it could be dead, or the cable to the frame grabber could be unplugged, partially plugged, or defective.

Once you are completely happy with the video from the demo program, move on to the Fta32 software.

My System Has Never Worked

The installation instructions, HowToInstall.rtf , that come with each instrument have detailed instructions for installing the frame grabber (or the USB camera). You must go back to them for help. However, please note the following cases.

  • An error message appears. Error messages come in two flavors: a) the software can not talk to the frame grabber or, b) the frame grabber can not find or synchronize to the camera. The second type of message will explicitly mention that maybe the camera is disconnected or not powered. If your message mentions cameras, make sure you have chosen the correct type in the Log-On screen and that indeed the camera cabling looks OK. The first type of message does not mention cameras because the fault is more fundamental. You must go back to the installation instructions to find where you went wrong.

  • You receive a DAO (data access object) error message when you click OK on the LogOn screen. You may not have sufficient user priviledge to run the program. See User Security Levels. You must be at least a "power user."

  • You receive a "method of object failed" message in "Fta 32 Video Start Preview" when you click the Video checkbox on the Video form to turn on live video. One cause of this error, but not the only one, is the same user priviledge issue. See User Security Levels.

  • You receive an "Error 91, object variable not found" in "Fta32 Video LoadVideoInterfaces" message when you click OK on the LogOn screen. This indicates the driver for the frame grabber is not loaded. Typically you did not correctly run the Windows Found New Hardware wizard. Go back through the installation instructions.

  • The Video Area on the screen turns black. Initially the image area is colored blue. Anything written to the screen by the camera turns it to black or a shade of gray. If the color changes but you see no image, you have signal from the camera but no light is reaching the camera's sensor. Check for any lens cover that must be removed, a closed aperture if your lens has one, or that there is no light source. Consider shining a light into the lens as a test.

  • If you need further help, send an email to FTA describing your problem and attach the following file (if it exists): c:\program files\fta32\fta.err. Do this before calling FTA, otherwise we have no idea what your problem is.

My System Used To Work But Does Not Now

  • Check the Log-On screen for setup changes, perhaps made by mistake.

  • If you get an error message, check Control Panel | System | Hardware | Device Manager to see if the frame grabber driver is still installed and working correctly. A yellow question mark indicates a problem. If the computer is moved, sometimes a board will come loose and the driver will be uninstalled when Windows next starts and finds the board no longer present.

  • The frame grabber has a test program supplied by its manufacturer (this is also true for USB cameras). Use Start | Programs to find the test program and run it. Your original installation instructions will help. This is discussed in detail in HowToInstall.rtf. If the test program does not run, the FTA software can not run.

  • If you need further help, send an email to FTA describing your problem and attach the following file (if it exists): c:\program files\fta32\fta.err. Do this before calling FTA, otherwise we have no idea what your problem is.

My System Works For A While Then Freezes

  • Do not initiate e-mail, network or Internet operations while video is live. Freeze video first. Normally networks and Internet connections are not a problem, but do this as a diagnostic if you have freezing.

  • Make sure your frame grabber card is firmly seated in its socket.