Experiences with the easycap DC60 audio and video capture adapter on Linux

This Blog is dedicated to all owners of the STK1160 chip based EasyCAP (or identical) devices, who want to use it under Linux.

Activating audio for the STK1160 device: read the this post

German speaking users: read my article on ubuntuusers.de

The EasyCAP DC60 and its clones are cheap little USB analogue capturing devices which can be used for viewing and recording video under Linux from different sources like VHS tape recorders, satellitereceivers, camcorders ...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Always on top


This is a short guidepost for people who come here the first time.

What this blog is about.

In April 2011 I started this blog to support the usage of STK1160 based devices (EasyCAP DC60) on Linux.

If you are new to analogue capturing devices on Linux start reading on the Quickstart page.

Activate audio for the STK1160 device.


You must activate audio for the stk1160 driver in the mixer settings
  • when you use your STK1160 device the first time,
  • on a fresh installed/ upgraded Linux system.
Read on this post how to activate audio in the mixer settings.

Note: Only devices with builtin AC'97 chip have audio support on Linux.
Read more about the different devices on this page.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Activate audio for the STK1160 device

The stk1160 module registers a control-only alsa soundcard. This sound card is called 'stk1160-mixer'.
The real sound capture is done through the 'Controlle' soundcard which is also created after plugging in the EasyCAP.
To get a list of the registerd ALSA soundcards, run the following command:
cat /proc/asound/cards
Sample output:
  0 [Intel          ]: HDA-Intel - HDA Intel
                      HDA Intel at 0xf0580000 irq 44
 1 [stk1160mixer   ]: stk1160 - stk1160-mixer
                      stk1160 ac97 codec mixer control
 2 [Controlle      ]: USB-Audio - USB 2.0 Video Capture Controlle
Syntek Semiconductor USB 2.0 Video Capture Controlle at usb-0000:00:1d.7-1.1, h

Activate audio

To enable sound capture you have to open alsamixer when the EasyCAP is plugged in and select the 'Line' item on the capture menu for the stk1160-mixer device:
1. start alsamixer
2. select stk1160-mixer sound card (with F6)
3. select capture controls (with F4)
4. select "Line" output (with space key) 
You can do this on the commandline as well with this line:
amixer -c stk1160mixer sset Line unmute cap 

Note! In the viewing- or capturing program you must then select the 'Controlle' soundcard or its number to hear sound!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Issue tracking for stk1160 github repository disabled

Ezequiel requests to inform anybody using the stk1160 driver, that stk1160 github issue tracking is *GONE*. 

"Stk1160 is a regular kernel driver, so it's not special and there's no reason
in having a special bugzilla/forum/mailing list or issue tracking."


Nevertheless, the sourcecode will still be available on stk1160 github for people who want to use the stk1160 driver with kernels 3.2 up to 3.6.

If you have questions concerning driver issues or want to report a bug please visit this link: http://linuxtv.org/lists.php
or use the video4linux mailing list (linux-media@vger.kernel.org)
or try asking in the IRC channel (#v4l).  

" The regular kernel channels work just fine, and you can get answers from developers. "

Friday, April 5, 2013

Stk1160 on ARM devices

Inbetween there are many Linux friendly boards and products out there for usually less than $200.
Here are three lists of Linux friendly boards and mini PCs.
Please report in a comment if anyone uses the STK1160 with success on one of these products.

Ezequiel mentions that *any* Linux board with a USB 2.0 capable host
controller and enough RAM will work fine with STK1160 devices
.
Currently there are some USB related problems on the Raspberry Pi. Read more on this post: However, if the USB has some bandwidth limitation (some USB 3.0 are showing this) then it can have problems with the STK1160. 

The STK1160 was successfully tested on these boards by Ezequiel:
  • ISEE IGEP v2 (Texas Instruments SoC)
  • Plathome Openblocks AX3 (Marvell SoC)
Ezequiel Garcia wrote:
"If any user wants to support STK1160 he can send me hardware.
(Another RPI would be nice :-) Also, I would love to have a non-ARM
non-x86 board, like a MIPS or something like that."
You can contact Ezequiel via github: https://github.com/ezequielgarcia

Friday, March 29, 2013

Features of the stk1160 driver in the kernel

Update June 15

The stk1160 driver in the kernel (3.7 and upward) supports:
  • video capturing
    • PAL at 25 fps at 720x576
    • NTFS at 30 fps at 720x480
    • S-Video from input Nr. 4
    • the CVBS + S-Video model and 
    • the four CVBS model (all four channels) 
  • audio capturing
    • must be enabled in the mixer settings
    • audio capturing only from the CVBS + S-Video model with built in AC'97 chip (3 chip Easycap; 48000Hz model) is supported
Good to know
  • The Easycap works even if it is connected to an USB 2.0 hub.
  • Some USB 3.0 hosts may have bandwith limitation, then it can have problems with stk1160.
Probably supported but not tested:
  • Two (or more) stk1160 devices working side by side on one system
    (If this is not possible, it's not a driver issue, but rather about USB bandwidth)
Not supported: (but supported by the legacy easycapdriver)
  • Famescaling
    Only full PAL or NTFS frames can be captured
    (this is important e.g. for settings in Zoneminder)
  • audio capturing from the 8000Hz Easycap
    The stk1160 driver doesn't support audio on
    the four CVBS model and on
    the the CVBS + S-Video model where the AC'97 chip is missing.
    (Adding support for the 8 bit ADC in the stk1160 chip is planned in the future.)
Known issues
  • Some  stk1160 based Easycaps don't work on the stk1160 driver but on the legacy easycap driver. (will be solved in kernel 3.12 !)
    Read more on this post:
  • Easycap device issues on the Raspberry Pi
    Read more on this post:

The stk1160 regression problem

Update Feb 13 2014

This issue described below is solved in kernel 3.12 (not 3.11). It affects Easycap devices with gm7113 chip, which is a clone of the Philips saa7113 chip.

I cannot verify by myself, so please report, if this problem is solved in kernel 3.12.
Thanks
_______________________________________________________________________

Ezequiel Garcia wrote:(28. 03. 13)

"There are a batch of stk1160 Easycaps that don't work on stk1160 but do work
on the legacy easycap driver. This is a known issue since Nov. 2012."

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Raspberry Pi and Easycap devices

Update Feb 13 2014


Some hints for checking:
  • Use a powered USB hub to conntect the STK1160 device to the RPI because Raspberry pi is not strong enough to power usb easycap directly.
  • Try the -zoom option in your mplayer command.
    The stk1160 driver in the kernel doesn't support (hardware-) framescaling.
    from mplayers manpage:
    −zoom  

    Allow software scaling, where available. This will allow scaling with output drivers (like x11, fbdev) that do not support hardware scaling where MPlayer disables scaling by default for performance reasons.
    Example:
    mplayer tv:// -tv driver=v4l2:device=/dev/video0 -vf scale=400:300 -zoom
  •  You can try mplayer2 instead of mplayer.
It would be nice, if someone could report if these hints are useful/ working.
Thanks


____________________________________________________________________________
legacy Information:

Summing up all the comments below this post and some forum posts I've read about that issue, I can say that many USB video capture devices and webcams are not working at all (or only at a very low resolution) on the raspberry pi because of a rpi related USB issue.

These USB problems on the rpi are still pending and I couldn't find any report that the stk1160 device or any other Easycap device is working acceptably on the RPI.

Mainly USB webcams which are supported by the uvcvideo driver (many but not all) are working on the pi. List of pi verified USB webcams

More information about the rpi USB issue
In this thread on the raspberrypi.org forum  (page 12 to 16)
In this thread on raspberrypi.stackexchange.com 
success with a modified em28xx driver

_________________________________________________________________

more legacy information:

Easycap devices (stk1160, empia, somagic) currently are causing some problems with standard Linux disributions on the Raspberry Pi because of some RPI related USB issues.
However, enhancements are in progress.

The Easycap device registers properly like under any other Linux system (when the driver is in the kernel), but the video data transport through the RPIs USB system doesn't work.
I suppose this issue affects many other v4l2 devices plugged into the RPIs USB.


Ezequiel Garcia reported to me the following:

"The problem with the RPI is that it has a crappy USB driver and USB hardware.
When that is solved, stk1160 will work. Probably will take a long time
because synopsis USB datasheet is not public."


Note: The RPI branch on Ezequiels github https://github.com/ezequielgarcia/stk1160-standalone/tree/rpi is broken and doesn't work at all!


Andrew