Robot Camera Images Not Appearing in FRC Dashboard

Updated Apr 8, 2019

Reported In

Hardware

  • roboRIO-FRC

Software

  • FRC 2019 Software

Issue Details

I'm working with a camera on my FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) robot, but I'm not seeing any images coming from my roboRIO to my dashboard. It may be blank, or it may be showing text or numbers counting down, instead.

What can I do to make my camera feed show up?

Solution

There are many potential causes for webcam difficulty, but the following steps will help you identify and resolve the most common issues:
  1. Check whether your Driver Station can communicate with your roboRIO.
  2. Does the behavior remain constant between two different computers? If not, there may be an issue with your software’s installation. Reinstall your FRC software, and make sure you have the latest versions on your computer and your roboRIO: 
    1. FRC Update Suite will include the latest versions of FRC software, roboRIO images, and firmware.
    2. Download and install the Dashboard 2019.2 update which fixes the timeouts used for the camera's connection and allows for more reliable connections.
    3. Reimage your roboRIO with the new firmware and image versions that came with the Update Suite. You can check the roboRIO's image version in the Driver Station as shown in the image below:
  3. If you are using an IP camera (Axis, Raspberry Pi, Limelight, etc), try power cycling it.
  4. Navigate to the Diagnostics tab of the Driver Station and select Restart Robot Code to query the cameras once more from the roboRIO.
  5. Verify whether coding mistakes may be part of the issue. Make sure you're testing with a default dashboard and a default robot project when you test to rule out any potential programming errors affecting your results.
    1. If the camera communication does not work with the default robot project and dashboard, you may be missing important VIs, such as the NT Tables connection or send camera to PC VIs.
  6. If you’re still not seeing images from your camera with the default robot project, you may be running into issues with the network. 
    1. Make sure you can see the NT Tables LED turned on in the Default LabVIEW dashboard. Look also for errors in the FRC Driver Station (common ones include Error 1003 Open VI Reference in NT Server.vi ).
    2. If you’re seeing your camera in the list, but the images aren’t loading, you may be running into your bandwidth limit. Try lowering your framerate and increasing your compression, as shown below:
  7. If adjusting your frame rate and compression settings did not cause your images to show up, take a look at the text displayed where the image should be. There are different steps you should try, depending on what it says:
    1. If the messages in the camera display toggles between robot addresses without counting down or showing the name of the camera, restart your robot code.
    2. If the message in the camera display indicates it is waiting for network tables, close the Driver Station and the Dashboard, and then re-open them.
  8. Determine if the camera is communicating with the roboRIO by running the Camera Compatibility Test tool on your roboRIO. This will connect to your camera and run through all of the different configuration options.
    1. While the test is running watch the stream on the left to make sure the camera feed is coming through.
    2. When the test is done, check if any modes are listed as successful. Try setting your camera to one of these modes.
  9. If none of the modes are successful and you still don't see any images on the camera stream, the camera may not be working correctly. Plug the camera directly into your PC to verify that the hardware works.
    1. If you have LabVIEW installed on your computer, you have access to a tool called NI MAX. This tool will not only allow you to test whether your camera captures images, but also allows you to manually adjust the camera's settings for more in-depth testing. Use NI MAX to test your camera's hardware.
    2. If you do not have LabVIEW installed, you can use any programs installed on your PC that use a webcam (like Skype, Debut, Windows Camera, etc) to test.
  10. If the hardware works when plugged into the PC, try plugging it into your roboRIO, and accessing it there through NI MAX.
    1. Rather than My System, look under Remote Devices for your roboRIO.
    2. You should see the roboRIO in the list. Expand the roboRIO using the arrow next to it, and select your camera.
    3. Run through the Grab/Snap steps just like before. 
  11. If the camera appears to work when plugged directly into your PC, but does not send images when tested with the roboRIO, you may need to reimage it.
    1. Start with the roboRIO imaging tool that comes with the FRC Update Suite software.
    2. If the issue persists, try reimaging while the roboRIO is in Safe Mode.
  12. If none of the above has worked for you, please contact NI for further assistance.

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