FAQ

General (16)

A Frame Grabber is an computer accessory that usually takes the form of an electronic circuit board that plugs into the motherboard of a Personal Computer. The purpose of a frame grabber is to capture images from a camera and put those images in the host memory of the PC. There are may different standards for transmitting images between a camera and a Frame Grabber. These standards include everything from analog low resolution RS-170 (basically TV from the beginning of the 20th century through very high speed digital serial standards transmitted over copper or fiber. The purpose of the Frame Grabber is the same, acquire images from the camera and make them available to programs running on the PC. Frame Grabbers can also control the cameras (depending on the interconnect standard) and interact electrically with the environment though various I/O signals.

Category: General

BitFlow currently makes Frame Grabbers for acquiring  data from cameras with the following interfaces

  • Camera Link
  • CoaXPress
  • Differential (LVDS/RS-422)
Category: General

Camera Link is Machine Vision camera to frame grabber digital interconnect standard. Camera link use a serializer/deserializer to use transmit high speed digital data over a very small number of wires. Camera Link comes in three versions: Base (up to 24 bits), Medium (up to 48 bits), Full (up to 64 bits) and 80-bit (up to 80 bits, duh). The maximum Camera Link data clock is 85 MHz. This means the maximum data rate of Camera Link (using 80 bit mode) is 850 MB/S.

BitFlow’s Neon and Axion families are Camera Link frame grabbers.

Camera Link is standard hosted by the Automate Imaging Association. For more information on the standard please visit https://www.visiononline.org/.

Categories: Camera Link, General

BitFlow offers cameras files for almost all of the current Camera Link and CoaXPress cameras that are on the market. In addition to this, you can have camera files for various options that the cameras offer, things like triggers (HW and SW), free running, different ROI to what the sensor offers etc.  In the part we have offered camera files for Analog and Differential cameras.  These files are still available today.

The table here shows which camera files are associated with with frame grabbers

Frame grabbersTypeAssociated file extension
Cyton CXP
Aon CXP
CoaXPress.bfml
Axion CLCamera Link.bfml
Karbon CL
Neon CL
Camera Link.r64
Alta AN*Analog.anlg
Karbon CXP*CoaXPress.kcxp
Neon DIFDifferential.NDif
R2/R3*Differential.cam
R2/R3*Camera Link.rcl
 

When you download the SDK the camera files will be stored on your hard drive in the following folder
C:\BitFlow SDK 6.30\Config\FRAME GRABBER TYPE FILE\FILES
The naming convention is as follows
Manufacturer-Model-Resolution-BitTap-Mode.EXTENSION

Where:
Manufacturer – Camera maker
Model – Camera model
Resolution – Size of acquired image
BitTap – Bitdepth (E = 8 bits, T = 10 bits, W = 12 bits, F = 14 bits, S = 16 bits) and Number of taps (2 – 10)
Mode – Triggered and/or encoder mode

An example would be the following
Hitachi-KP-FM400WCL-E8-TTLTrigger.r64

Category: General

First, you need to know the clock speed of the camera, as different frequencies can affect the cable length.
With Camera Link Base, the max cable length is 10m, regardless of the clock speed.

For the other camera link modes, (Medium, Full, 80-bit), the max length at 85 Mhz is 5m, at 66 Mhz is 7m and at 40 Mhz is 10m.

Please note that the max. cable length may vary from cable to cable. BitFlow recommends cables purchased from the following companies

CEI, 3M, Hewtech, Intercon1

Category: Camera Link

CXP has several different speeds (data rates) and these determine the length of cable required.

For CXP1 or CXP 2.5 or CXP3, the max cable length is 105m
For CXP6 or CXP12, the max cable length is 40m

Category: CoaXPress

Neon CLB, CLD – MDR
Neon CLQ, Axion 1xE, Axion 2xE – SDR

Category: Camera Link

For the Aon, Cyton (2 and 4) – DIN 1.0/2.3
For the Claxon – Micro BNC

Category: CoaXPress

The BitFlow SDK comes in two flavors, drivers only (which is free) and the full development version, which is paid for.

 

Category: Software

Starting with SDK 6.11 we are signing our kernel driver with a SHA-2 certificate. Microsoft is phasing out SHA-1 certificates. Unfortunately Windows 7 as it was originally released did not support SHA-2 certs. There is a patch which was released some time ago and you should have it on your system if you have automatic updates turned on. However, we understand why a machine vision system might have automatic updates turned off. The simple solution is to install just the following Microsoft patch, this will fix support for SHA-2 certs.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=46148

After you install this patch, reboot your system and the driver should work.

We are sorry about the inconvenience this has caused, but Microsoft is really forcing our hand here.

This problem does not exist on Windows 8 and 10.

Category: Software

Windows caches drivers and by default always uses the one with the newest version number regardless of what is most recently installed. The good news is that you can roll the system back to any driver version you want. The procedure is below:

—————–

To roll back to an older driver

The solution is simple, you just need to manually tell Windows to use the older driver. Here are the instructions:

1. Open the Device Manger
2. Search the list for “Imaging devices”, then “BitFlow XXXXX”
3. Right click on the Karbon and select “Update Driver Software”
4. Select “Browse my computer for driver software”
5. Select “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”
6. In the next dialog, look in the list for “BitFlow Frame Grabber Version X.XXX”, select this item and hit Next
7. The older driver will be installed
8. You must then reboot your computer

When your computer reboots, run our utility VerCheck and make sure the DLLs and the Driver are all the exact same version.

Category: Software

Windows 10 support requires BitFlow SDK 5.90 or later.  However, if your PC is running Windows 10 with secure boot mode, then you will require SDK 6.20 or later.

Category: Software

The Axion 1xE has 1 Tri LEDs while the 2xE has 2.  Tri LED1 is related to VFG0 and Tri LED2 is related to VFG1

Note the following color/flash rate meanings

Blinking Blue – PoCL “hunt” mode, looking for a camera to see if it needs power
Blue – PoCL power is being provided to camera (this stage does not last long)
Green – Pixel Clock from camera received
Blinking Green – LVAL from camera received

Category: Camera Link
Tag: Axion

OVS (OVerStep) is a phenomenon where the DMA engine cannot keep up with the data stream from the camera. The most common reasons for this are:

  • The BW of the camera video stream is higher than the BW of the PCI interface
  • The MB bridge(s) will not give enough access to the PCI for frame grabber DMA engine

Obviously, high activity on the MB will generate OVS. We always suggest to customer to stop activity while acquiring data from the camera. Access to disc or high intensity graphics are the usual suspects.

Category: Software

The Neon supports up to 256 kb . You can modify the baud rate in BFCom via the File > Com properties menu command.

The command to make the same change in the camera depends on the camera protocol. It’s different for every make of camera. You need to change the camera, then change BFCom to match.

Categories: Camera Link, Software

Each CoaXPress board has one Tri LED per link. Tri LED1 refers to VFG0, Tri LED2 refers to VFG1 etc. Typically all boards flash together if one camera is connected.

Note the following color/flash rate meanings

Blinking Red – Problem with the PCIe interface
Blinking Blue – Looking for a link to see if it needs power
Solid Blue – Link is powered, but not aligned
Blinking Green – Link is aligned and receiving packets
Solid Green – Link is aligned

Category: CoaXPress

Camera Link (5)

Camera Link is Machine Vision camera to frame grabber digital interconnect standard. Camera link use a serializer/deserializer to use transmit high speed digital data over a very small number of wires. Camera Link comes in three versions: Base (up to 24 bits), Medium (up to 48 bits), Full (up to 64 bits) and 80-bit (up to 80 bits, duh). The maximum Camera Link data clock is 85 MHz. This means the maximum data rate of Camera Link (using 80 bit mode) is 850 MB/S.

BitFlow’s Neon and Axion families are Camera Link frame grabbers.

Camera Link is standard hosted by the Automate Imaging Association. For more information on the standard please visit https://www.visiononline.org/.

Categories: Camera Link, General

First, you need to know the clock speed of the camera, as different frequencies can affect the cable length.
With Camera Link Base, the max cable length is 10m, regardless of the clock speed.

For the other camera link modes, (Medium, Full, 80-bit), the max length at 85 Mhz is 5m, at 66 Mhz is 7m and at 40 Mhz is 10m.

Please note that the max. cable length may vary from cable to cable. BitFlow recommends cables purchased from the following companies

CEI, 3M, Hewtech, Intercon1

Category: Camera Link

Neon CLB, CLD – MDR
Neon CLQ, Axion 1xE, Axion 2xE – SDR

Category: Camera Link

The Axion 1xE has 1 Tri LEDs while the 2xE has 2.  Tri LED1 is related to VFG0 and Tri LED2 is related to VFG1

Note the following color/flash rate meanings

Blinking Blue – PoCL “hunt” mode, looking for a camera to see if it needs power
Blue – PoCL power is being provided to camera (this stage does not last long)
Green – Pixel Clock from camera received
Blinking Green – LVAL from camera received

Category: Camera Link
Tag: Axion

The Neon supports up to 256 kb . You can modify the baud rate in BFCom via the File > Com properties menu command.

The command to make the same change in the camera depends on the camera protocol. It’s different for every make of camera. You need to change the camera, then change BFCom to match.

Categories: Camera Link, Software

CoaXPress (3)

CXP has several different speeds (data rates) and these determine the length of cable required.

For CXP1 or CXP 2.5 or CXP3, the max cable length is 105m
For CXP6 or CXP12, the max cable length is 40m

Category: CoaXPress

For the Aon, Cyton (2 and 4) – DIN 1.0/2.3
For the Claxon – Micro BNC

Category: CoaXPress

Each CoaXPress board has one Tri LED per link. Tri LED1 refers to VFG0, Tri LED2 refers to VFG1 etc. Typically all boards flash together if one camera is connected.

Note the following color/flash rate meanings

Blinking Red – Problem with the PCIe interface
Blinking Blue – Looking for a link to see if it needs power
Solid Blue – Link is powered, but not aligned
Blinking Green – Link is aligned and receiving packets
Solid Green – Link is aligned

Category: CoaXPress

Software (6)

The BitFlow SDK comes in two flavors, drivers only (which is free) and the full development version, which is paid for.

 

Category: Software

Starting with SDK 6.11 we are signing our kernel driver with a SHA-2 certificate. Microsoft is phasing out SHA-1 certificates. Unfortunately Windows 7 as it was originally released did not support SHA-2 certs. There is a patch which was released some time ago and you should have it on your system if you have automatic updates turned on. However, we understand why a machine vision system might have automatic updates turned off. The simple solution is to install just the following Microsoft patch, this will fix support for SHA-2 certs.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=46148

After you install this patch, reboot your system and the driver should work.

We are sorry about the inconvenience this has caused, but Microsoft is really forcing our hand here.

This problem does not exist on Windows 8 and 10.

Category: Software

Windows caches drivers and by default always uses the one with the newest version number regardless of what is most recently installed. The good news is that you can roll the system back to any driver version you want. The procedure is below:

—————–

To roll back to an older driver

The solution is simple, you just need to manually tell Windows to use the older driver. Here are the instructions:

1. Open the Device Manger
2. Search the list for “Imaging devices”, then “BitFlow XXXXX”
3. Right click on the Karbon and select “Update Driver Software”
4. Select “Browse my computer for driver software”
5. Select “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”
6. In the next dialog, look in the list for “BitFlow Frame Grabber Version X.XXX”, select this item and hit Next
7. The older driver will be installed
8. You must then reboot your computer

When your computer reboots, run our utility VerCheck and make sure the DLLs and the Driver are all the exact same version.

Category: Software

Windows 10 support requires BitFlow SDK 5.90 or later.  However, if your PC is running Windows 10 with secure boot mode, then you will require SDK 6.20 or later.

Category: Software

OVS (OVerStep) is a phenomenon where the DMA engine cannot keep up with the data stream from the camera. The most common reasons for this are:

  • The BW of the camera video stream is higher than the BW of the PCI interface
  • The MB bridge(s) will not give enough access to the PCI for frame grabber DMA engine

Obviously, high activity on the MB will generate OVS. We always suggest to customer to stop activity while acquiring data from the camera. Access to disc or high intensity graphics are the usual suspects.

Category: Software

The Neon supports up to 256 kb . You can modify the baud rate in BFCom via the File > Com properties menu command.

The command to make the same change in the camera depends on the camera protocol. It’s different for every make of camera. You need to change the camera, then change BFCom to match.

Categories: Camera Link, Software

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