Ouster LiDAR initialization issues


Having trouble initializing some Ouster sensors - they’re very stable and run for hours once online, but it can take several minutes to get there.

Almost aways see a format warning when an Ouster TOP is first created (“Warning: Incoming lidar data does not match expected format. Ensure device is configured properly.”), even though I have all the correct modes set. When this happens I enter configuration mode; change a resolution and let it reinitialize; sometimes toggle the OP Active off and on; delete and re-create the OP, etc. It’s quite fiddly, but after a few re-initializations it will eventually come online and then stay online.

TouchDesigner 2022.24200
Ouster OS0 (Rev-D) devices currently have firmware 2.0.0 and 2.3.1 (2.3.1 takes longer to initialize, generally)

Any ways to initialize Ouster devices quickly and consistently? I feel like the devices should already be running and TouchDesigner is just “plugging in” to the data stream without needing to reinitialize several times.


In the first generation Ouster sensors (v1.x firmware) they had a constant data format so that when you dropped a new node into TouchDesigner it could immediately listen and process any incoming data.

However, after version 2 firmware Ouster changed it to a dynamic format based on the settings and sensor model which means the node generally needs to get configuration data from the sensor before it can read the incoming data properly. For example, the node defaults to assuming 128 vertical samples, but this could also be as 32, 64, etc based on the sensor model.

The node will save the configuration data when you save your project, so existing nodes should start up more smoothly. You could try creating a simple component with an ouster node in it and save that as a tox file after it has connected properly to the Ouster. Then you could drag that tox file into new projects and it would already have the configuration for your particular Ouster sensor.

This usually happens when the Ouster TOP sends a configuration command to the device, which triggers a sensor reboot. To work around this I just disable the “Configure Device” par on the Ouster TOP once it has successfully connected to the sensor for the first time. The Ouster device retains its last known config so it connects immediately to TD when the project is opened.

Another option is to forego TD configuring the device at all, and simply configure it via the device’s web config page.

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Bingo - thanks, Rob. I have a few sensors so just saved each initialized Ouster TOP to its own .tox. Works brilliantly, no load time!

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