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README.913C

/* This is a supplemental README file for libgphoto2/camlibs/sq905, dealing
 * specifically with support for sq913 cameras. This file is an 
 * integral part of the libgphoto2/camlibs/sq905 library source and is 
 * distributed with that source under the LGPL license. a copy of which 
 * license may be seen in any of the source files in libgphoto2/camlibs/sq905, 
 * or in the head directory of libgphoto2.
 */ 


INTRODUCTION

The Argus DC-1730 apparently uses the sq913 chip and has Vendor:Product
number 0x2770:0x913c. It provides 640x480 or 320x240 resolution, optional
compression setting, and capture mode. The camera also has an LED thumbnail
display and a flash, which the user can turn off to save power. Even with
these new features, the camera still retails for under $50 (US). This new
camera (presumably along with any other 0x2770:0x913c cameras which may
exist) uses the same command set as the existing sq905 cameras, and thus it
is supported simply by adding its ID to the models list in sq905/library.c.
It also has the new chip or model ID 09 13 06 67, but it seems to be
supported well enough under the options used for SQ_MODEL_DEFAULT.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SQ913 AND  SQ905 CAMERAS

As already mentioned, these new cameras have an LED display on the rear and
also have a flash. Two other differences are not so readily visible. 

First, the sq905 cameras have a "video clip" feature. If this feature is
set, the camera will shoot frames repeatedly, until its memory is full. The
Argus DC-1730 does not have this feature; on similar button setting it will
shoot three frames only, and then stop. 

This functional difference also is reflected in a slightly different format
for the configuration data presented by the camera. 

The most major consequence of this change in the configuration data is
that sq_postprocess ( ) must be completely rewritten before it can be used
with these cameras; the meaning of entries 7 through 15 in each line of
config data is now wrong. For this reason, sq_postprocess ( ) is turned off
in CVS for now. 

Repeating myself: If you are running an existing version of camlibs/sq905
and want to just add the new ID number 0x2770:0x913c instead of upgrading,
then be sure to comment out the call to sq_postprocess ( ) in the download
routine, or rewrite it. Otherwise you will get very funny-looking photos
from your Argus DC-1730. 


HARDWARE COMPATIBILITY ISSUES AND PROBLEMS WITH THE ARGUS DC-1730

The addition of support for 0x2770:0x913c cameras has been delayed somewhat
by some rather strange hardware problems which seem to be related to the USB
controller chipset on the computer and/or to the length of the cable used to
connect the camera. Here, then, are my experiences.

The first computer on which I tested my new Argus DC-1730 is an old Dell,
which has in it a Pentium III (Coppermine) 1Ghz and a board with Intel
USB controller. I had no problems at all. Everything was quite routine, and
I was about to commit the code to CVS.

Then, I checked my work on machines and got mixed results:

On an Athlon 1Ghz on an FIC AZ-11 board, with VIA KT166 chipset, the camera
misbehaved. It dropped data blocks while downloading and got jammed,
requiring battery removal to clear the jam. However, removal of an extension
cable seemed to clear up the problem.

An old Micron "barebones" system, again with a VIA chipset, seems completely
unusable with this camera.

I have also tested the camera with a Dell Inspiron 7500 laptop. No problems,
even with the extension cable. 

Finally, the camera was tested again on the first machine. the Dell Pentium
III, using the extension cable which had caused problems previously. Again
no problems.

Gphoto2-libgphoto2 is installed on all of these computers. No such problems
have ever been noticed with any other camera on any of the machines. If you
are similarly unlucky with an 0x2770:0x913c camera, it would seem that the
only possible cure might be to install another USB controller on an addon
card, to use an external USB hub, to take extra precautions about cabling,
or in the most extreme circumstances to buy a new computer. You may have no
problems. It could be that I just got one bad camera or one bad USB cable to
go with it. But in case you do, you are hereby warned.
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