RaceReplay hanging?

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SoloTSi97
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RaceReplay hanging?

Post by SoloTSi97 » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:34 pm

This is my fifth year running our pack's derby, and last year I added RaceReplay. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned ... we had problems with RaceReplay hanging the laptop we were using to run the race (GPRM & RaceReplay). This happened twice, requiring a forced powerdown/reboot to recover, at which point I just turned off the video replay. Randy was very helpful afterwards with suggestions to run GPRM/RaceReplay in Network mode rather than Local, and to try a different camera.

It would work great for a while ... usually getting through 10-15 heats ... then lock up (which figures, since it never happened in my testing before derby day!). Fast forward to this year, and I'm prepping for our derby here in a few weeks. And, I'm encountering the same problem!

I'm using a different laptop than last year. I started with the same camera, but have now tried two cameras (both are Firewire-equipped DV camcorders). Both are doing the same thing as last year. I'm about to pull my hair out!

I have discovered that running the software in Network mode prevents the entire laptop from hanging ... this is definitely an improvement. RaceReplay stops responding, though, and I have to force kill it. If I restart RaceReplay, though, it'll go on working for a while until it finally decides to stop again.

I figured I'd post here since I bugged Randy quite a bit about it last year. I'm wondering if anyone else out there has had this experience and how it was solved. Different camera? Different laptop?

Last year I was running 32-bit Windows XP. This year, it's 64-bit Windows 7. Firewire connection to the camera, USB->serial adapter connected to a Microwizard timer and solenoid starting line. I can provide any other info y'all need.

Thanks in advance!

-Bob



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Re: RaceReplay hanging?

Post by dschur » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:54 pm

Smells like a memory leak?



SoloTSi97
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Re: RaceReplay hanging?

Post by SoloTSi97 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:09 am

I'm not familiar with the internals of this software, but my laptop is not running out of memory (I have a desktop gadget up that shows it). Unless RR runs in a VM like a Java app would, I think it's not that. It feels more like a driver issue ... like RR is blocking waiting on something that never happens.

I'm going to try one more laptop, because both laptops I've tried so far are Dells with the same FireWire interface (different model laptops, but same 1394 interface according to device manager). Going to try a friend's tomorrow to see if it's something flaky with that. *shrug*



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Re: RaceReplay hanging?

Post by gpraceman » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:41 pm

RR does run using the .NET version of a VM.

How do you have your Storage Limit settings set in RR? What version of RR are you running? What version of GPRM? Is the freeze up only when using in conjunction with GPRM?


Randy Lisano
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Re: RaceReplay hanging?

Post by SoloTSi97 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:56 pm

Hey Randy,

Storage limit setting is "Limit to 5000MB" (about 60GB free on the drive). Warn before deleting is NOT checked. Send deleted files to Recycle Bin IS checked.

As this is not the laptop I used last year, I downloaded and installed GPRM & RR yesterday. RR version 2.0.2401.10, GPRM version 11.0.0906.14. (Note that last year, I was using the then-current version of RR 2.0 and GPRM 10.0).

I have only seen the freeze-up occur in conjunction with GPRM, but I haven't do much with RR apart from that. I am able to do a live video preview, record, stop, playback all within RR. But, I haven't played with it enough by itself to really answer with any degree of certainty, since even with GPRM it works fine for a while before hanging. What sequence of actions would I take in RR to mimic the actions that GPRM performs? I can do them over and over again to see if I can reproduce the problem independent of GPRM.

Based on the fact that GPRM goes on its merry way and only RR hangs, I suspect that the problem is isolated to RR (or, perhaps more accurately, to an issue between RR & the device). Is there any debugging information I can locate for you? Event viewer entries or anything?

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the other laptop to test with today ... hopefully tomorrow. I'll report back when I know more.

Thanks!

-Bob



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Re: RaceReplay hanging?

Post by gpraceman » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:46 am

All GPRM does is send messages to RR. Start recording, stop recording and start the replay. RR takes it from there. These can all be done manually from RR. After a replay, RR will do file cleanup, if necessary.

I am wondering if the issue resides with the file cleanup. You can up the storage limit to see if that increases the time before a freeze occurs. Also, try not sending the files to the recycle bin. That will be one less operation to worry about causing a problem.


Randy Lisano
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Re: RaceReplay hanging?

Post by SoloTSi97 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:16 am

I was able to reproduce the problem without GPRM running. I was just sitting here hitting ctrl-r & ctrl-s to start/stop recording and letting the replay happen.

On the 9th attempt, RR appeared to hang for a few seconds, then an error message window popped up. I typed a bunch of detail into it and then I think it emailed it to you. If you need more detail than what was in that report, please let me know.

So, the problem is definitely independent of GPRM. The error that popped up was complaining that it was unable to initialize video playback, and mentioned something about corrupt memory. *shrug*

This testing was done on the "other" laptop that I borrowed to see if it resolved the hangups on my laptop. Before this happened, I *did* reproduce the same hangup using GPRM/RR together, which is when I started trying this manual testing.

-Bob



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Re: RaceReplay hanging?

Post by SoloTSi97 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:49 pm

Randy,

I did the same test (manual recording/stopping in RR) on the original laptop I tried, with two different firewire cameras as well as the "integrated webcam", just for grins. I sent you a couple more error reports from within RaceReplay, but the integrated webcam testing didn't pop up the error reporter ... just the "RaceReplay has stopped working" notification from Windows 7.

Thank you very much for your help! I wish I got this kind of support for every software vendor I have worked with. :mrgreen:

Please let me know what else I can do to help.

-Bob



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Re: RaceReplay hanging?

Post by gpraceman » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:01 pm

It will take me a little while to digest what all you sent me.


Randy Lisano
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Re: RaceReplay hanging?

Post by SoloTSi97 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:23 pm

Hey Randy,

I just wanted to pop in here and let you know that I continued with some additional testing and have had some success. I took one of my laptops and booted it in "diagnostic mode" (disabling all non-essential services and all startup items). Where I have never before gotten past about 15 heats before it locked up, I ran through 50 heats straight with no issues tonight! It's not a problem to use this approach on race day.

I'm going to repeat the test again, but at this point I'm chalking my issues up to a conflict with other software on the machines I tested with. In case anyone else happens upon this thread with similar issues, try disabling all other software.

Thank you very much for your help!

-Bob



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Re: RaceReplay hanging?

Post by PeterT » Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:29 am

Hi-

Just to throw my hat in the ring, we also had quite a few RaceReplay related crashes during this past weekend's Pinewood Derby.

Our setup was a little different in that both GPRM and RR were running on the same machine, an AMD quad core 3.2GHz Windows 7 machine with 4gb ram, and nearly a full TB of free space. We typically went through 10-15 races before RR would crash. At no point did I need to reboot the machine, and GPRM never crashed (although at one point of troubleshooting I shut it down and restarted GPRM alongside RR).

The symptoms were that GPRM would not advance to the next round as it normally does - as we use handsfree racing this is quite noticeable. I would go to the machine, and RR had either crashed (ie crash message on screen) or more typically had a black screen and was non-responsive. RR typically would minimize after playing a replay, and if restored would show the blue background. In this case it was black. I would force quit RR, wait a few moments then restart it, then click on GPRM to restart the current heat, and everything would work again for another 15-20 races. This probably happened 5 or 6 times over 86 races.

Notably we do have EVERY race recorded by RR (IE even with the crashing we have 100% of races in AVI files on the drive, even the crashed races).
In case this is useful:
Our camera is a Micro$oft branded USB based HD camera connected over 2x 15' long active USB extenders (the computer is by the start lane, this is so the camera can be by the finish). We use a 12 year old "the judge" timer via a generic serial to USB connector. Our timer was rebuilt by the manufacturer last year to bring it to current specs.
While getting ready for the races the host computer had all external networks disconnected (wired and wireless all gone) as well as all extraneous services shut down - except Norton antivirus.



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Re: RaceReplay hanging?

Post by SoloTSi97 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:49 am

Hi Peter,

Our setup is basically the same as yours ... both GPRM & RR are running on the same machine (though set up in "Network mode" as recommended, using 127.0.0.1 as the IP). Your experience sounds like our experience last year, except that we were using "Local mode" last year. When using "Local mode", RR hanging will cause GPRM to hang as well. So, that's the improvement I spoke of in my first post in this thread ... the use of "Network mode" even though RR is running locally.

As I was testing RR this year, at Randy's suggestion, I did a bunch of testing simply using RR. With RR running, I repeatedly had it start/stop recording, which triggered the replay, repeat. With this approach, after 10-15 cycles I would get an error pop up that indicated that RR was "unable to initialize video playback" when I stopped recording and it tried to start playback. This sounds like the same thing you're experiencing. Note that, when using GPRM/RR together, I never saw any sort of error popup like this ... it just hung. It was this detail, that video playback was the problem (and not a problem with camera communication, etc.), that led me to try a "clean boot" approach to avoid conflicts with other software.

Obviously, this doesn't help for this year, but it may be worth checking out to see if it helps alleviate the issues you had since they sound very similar.

-Bob



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Re: RaceReplay hanging?

Post by PeterT » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:24 am

Hi Bob-

I guess I missed that in your first post. I may try the "local network" setup next year. Since RR was only causing GPRM to stop handsfree racing, and not to actually crash, I may just leave it alone. If RR crashes and I don't notice and racing just continues on we will be missing many of the RR videos. We tend to make videos after the races using this snippets, so I would hate to lose any!

RE: your comment that the replay part was what was crashing: I think you may be on to something here. I wonder if it has something to do with the codec being used, and perhaps the codec software was not resetting fast enough... or...?

thanks for your thoughts,

-Peter



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Re: RaceReplay hanging?

Post by SoloTSi97 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:44 am

Well, I'll post back after our derby on the 28th and let you know how it goes. We run our derby by rank throughout the day, so I'll have 5 separate races, ranging from ~40 down to ~15 entrants. So, overall we'll run a pretty large number of heats.

-Bob



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Re: RaceReplay hanging?

Post by PeterT » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:58 am

We ran two events - the main races - with 71 racers using dens and GPRM's master scheduling so racers mostly faced other cubs from the same den. We used to run dens separately but discovered due to down time between dens the event took an extra 2+ hours.

We then do "grand finale" races with the top three racers from each den. The top racer always stays the same each year, but we always see shakeup in the #2-#4 place racers from one to the next. The Finales are both a tradition - and a distraction of sorts while the design judges do their thing. Our local rules have a stipulation that design awards cannot go to performance winners (a way to distribute awards to a greater group of boys). We don't know who they are until the main racing is done, so the Grand Finale races stay!

back on point: in between the main 71 races and the 15 races of the Finales I completely restarted the desktop and had ZERO crashes in RR during the 15 races of the Finale.

Another tip: we use two computers, but in a non-standard way I think. In addition to the machine running GPRM and RR, we have a second older laptop running a prebaked powerpoint slideshow (set to automatically advance and loop). Whenever I need to do something with the main machine or during any down time I'll quickly move the VGA/video cable over to the second laptop so that the audience never has to see me working, never look at a boring status screen, watch a reboot, crash, etc. This also helps to cover up unplanned reboots/restarts etc. Once started I never touch the second machine except to move the VGA cable back and forth.

The slideshow is made up of fun Derby facts pulled off the web or our own pack's data (fastest time on our track etc), photos from last year's event, cartoons about PW Derby found on the web, logos from our Pinewood Derby corporate sponsors, etc.

Sorry to get off topic a bit... Curious to know how things go!



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