Which NI Camera Link Boards Support Routing to the Camera Control (CC) Lines?

Updated Apr 4, 2019

Reported In

Hardware

  • PCI-1426
  • PCIe-1427
  • PCIe-1429
  • PCIe-1430
  • PCIe-1433
  • Camera

Software

  • Vision Assistant
  • Vision Software Suite
  • Vision Development Module

Driver

  • IMAQ Vision

Issue Details

I have a camera that I would like to route an external signal (such as an encoder input signal from my NI motion controller board) to the Camera Control (CC) lines over a Real-Time System Integration(RTSI) line. I cannot find a VI or function that allows me to configure the signal to be routed, and I don’t know if I have to set this up in my camera file or not. Does my image acquisition board support routing external signals to the camera control lines? If the board I have supports this feature, how do I configure everything to be able to use this in my program?

Solution

Table 1: Framegrabbers that support CC routing
 
The image acquisition boards that support routing signals to the Camera Control (CC) lines are the PCI-1426, PCIe-1427, PCIe-1429, PCIe-1430 and PCIe-1433.

The PCI-1426 and the PCIe-1427 support routing External Triggers 0-3 to CC Lines 1-4 respectively. For these cards, you can either specify a default source for all four lines or individually configure every line to use either a default source or an External Trigger. The default source is a pattern specified in the camera file.

The PCIe-1429, PCIe-1430 and PCIe-1433 support routing External Trigger, International Organization for Standardization(ISO) In, and RTSI signals to the CC lines. For these cards, there is a CC Source Type and a CC Source Number. The CC Source Type is the source type of the selected Camera Control Line. The Source Type can be Default, External, RTSI, or ISO In. The Source Number is the number of trigger lines that is routed to the control line. The valid range of values depends on the trigger type you choose. Any trigger line can be routed to the CC line, but the value is limited to the number of lines available in the specified source. For example, there are seven RTSI lines on the PCIe-1429, so the valid range is 0-6 when RTSI is specified as the source.

For these cards you can configure routing signals to the CC lines in the Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX). On the Camera Attributes tab, you will find a section named Camera Control Lines Source. This is where you configure the signal you want to route to the CC lines.
(If you use MAX version 18.0 or later, please refer to How Can I Read and Route Trigger Signal Directly to My Camera Link Camera via the Camera Control Line (CCL)? article.)
Figure 1: CC routing configuration in MAX
Camera Files
If you just want to send a simple pulse over the CC lines, you can set this up in the camera file. The camera file supports defining specific behavior of the CC lines whenever an acquisition is performed. This behavior could be sending serial commands to the camera, or sending a simple TTL pulse. For more control over the CC lines using external signals, configure the camera control lines in MAX, and then configure the external signals as you would like them.

In most cases, you do not actually need to route trigger lines to CC lines to trigger your camera. When you set up an acquisition to be triggered, the board waits for a trigger. Once it sees a trigger, it initiates the pattern generation that is configured according to the camera file (PG section). 

For example, if the camera requires a trigger on CC1 when it is in a certain triggered mode, the camera file's PG section is set up to send out a pulse (of a certain width and period) whenever the board wants an image. The board in turn is set up to wait for a trigger on any of the trigger lines. 

In some cases, the shape of the trigger matters (when it is controlling the exposure time for example). The IMAQ cards pattern generation does not have the capability to dynamically change the shape of the pulse. In those cases, we want to send the actual incoming physical signal to the camera instead of doing it in a domino fashion (you trigger the board, which triggers the camera which sends an image).

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