Control Cameras with NI Vision Software and NI MAX Using Camera Files

Updated Jul 10, 2018

Reported In

Hardware

  • Frame Grabber Device

Software

  • Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX)
  • LabVIEW

Driver

  • Vision Acquisition Software

Issue Details

  • I am trying to connect to my camera in Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX) and snap or grab an image, but I am not able to do so or am getting an incorrect wrong looking image back.  I see that I can select a camera file from my frame grabber interface, but what is a camera file?  
  • I do not see my camera listed when I right-click on it in MAX and navigate through the list to try and find a camera file for it.  How can I obtain a camera file?
  • I get Error: 0xbff60092 or Error: 0xBFF60022 when I try to snap or grab from a camera in NI MAX.
  • I have a frame grabber for my Camera Link camera and my camera shows up and is usable in the software provided by the camera manufacturer.  However, I need the camera to show up in NI MAX and work in LabVIEW and other NI vision software.

Solution

A camera file is a file that allows MAX and National Instruments software to interpret the information it receives from your camera. Depending on the type of camera you are using, the camera file may also include commands to control the operation of your camera. Camera files are also called Interface Control Documents and have .icd as their file extension. The .icd file is an NI file extension but each camera has its own settings file that can be used to build the .icd file for use with National Instruments software.

Below are a few options of how you can obtain a camera file (ordered from least effort to most effort):

 

Install the VAS (Vision Acquisition Software) Driver

National Instruments includes a variety of camera files with the NI-IMAQdx driver that is included in the VAS driver, including the generic camera files for CCIR, NTSC, PAL, and RS170 cameras. You can select from these files by right-clicking your camera in NI MAX under your IMAQ frame grabber and selecting Camera then navigate to your camera model as shown below.
MAX navigate to camera file

 

Search the NI Camera Network

If the camera file for your specific camera is not installed with the NI VAS Driver, you may be able to locate it on our website. National Instrument's Camera Network allows you to search for camera files using the manufacturer and model number of your camera. After you download the camera file, you may find Where Do I Place My Camera File Once I Download It? useful in determining where you need to place your camera file.

 

Browse.../camera_files at ftp.ni.com

If you were unable to locate your camera file on our website, it is possible that the camera file may exist under camera support on our FTP site. National Instruments periodically creates new camera files as we release new IMAQ boards. Here you will find two folders; one for analog and the other for digital cameras. Each directory contains a set of folders with .icd files by camera manufacturer. The location of the camera files depends on your operating system and version of NI-IMAQ; for details, refer to Where Do I Place My Camera File Once I Download It? 

 

Generate a camera file using the NI Camera File Generator

National Instruments does not provide a camera file for every camera available. For Camera Link and parallel digital cameras that NI has not provided a camera file, a custom camera file will need to be generated in order to configure the frame grabber to communicate with the camera.

The NI Camera File Generator is a menu-driven, configuration environment for generating new camera files to equip cameras for which National Instruments does not have files or adding features to existing NI camera files. The NI Camera File Generator is a free, stand-alone piece of software, which you can download by going to NI Camera File Generator, selecting the Resources tab, and downloading the software.


A timeout (Error: 0xBFF60022) may still occur even after you have uploaded the proper camera file. If any other computer resources are accessing the file when you are trying to acquire an image, you may still get this error. Make sure no other software or drivers are actively accessing the camera before acquiring an image. 

Additional Information

Analog cameras generally do not let you change the camera attributes programmatically and hence use generic camera files based on the analog standard that they use, viz. CCIR, NTSC, PAL or RS-170.

Parallel Digital and Camera Link cameras have parameters that can be changed programmatically by writing commands to the camera. Since these commands are camera specific, these cameras need very specific camera files. Typically, these camera files have the same name as the camera (this name includes manufacturer and model number).

Firewire (IEEE 1394) and GigE cameras usually store all camera specific information on the camera itself and hence do not need manually specified camera files to work with National Instruments software.

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