About this series
Simplify your industrial, medical, or semiconductor imaging application with BitFlow’s Neon-CLB, the easiest to use and most reliable Base/PoCL Camera Link frame grabber available anywhere. The Neon-CLB captures images at the camera’s highest frame/data rate, with precision image acquisition suitable for the most demanding applications.
The Neon-CLB is designed for the OEM customer looking for the performance of the PCI Express bus, BitFlow’s famous industrial quality, and one of the lowest price points in the industry. The Neon-CLB can acquire from ALL Base CL cameras and has enough industrial I/O to handle even the most complicated synchronization tasks.
Adding the Neon-CLB to your application is simple with our SDK, which supports both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems. The SDK provides high-level APIs for sophisticated buffer management and low-level direct access to the board for speedy custom control.
If you need the simplest, most reliable, and best performing Base Camera Link and PoCL frame grabber, call BitFlow today to get our OEM-priced Neon-CLB, BitFlow’s 4th generation of robust, industrial Camera Link imaging products.
Power over Camera Link
Power over Camera Link (PoCL) is an extension of the Camera Link specification that allows for frame grabbers to provide power to small cameras over the Camera Link cable. PoCL provides many advantages to the OEM. First, the cabling is vastly simplified, as only a single cable is required for data, power, and control to the camera. This provides all the convenience of Firewire or USB cables schemes with the addition of industrial cabling and much higher data rates. Another advantage is that, because only a single cable is required, the camera footprint can be greatly reduced. For the first time, the so called “dice camera” format factor is supported by an industrial, digital interconnect.
PoCL Safe Power
The baseline PoCL specification only outlines the basic requirement of the frame grabber providing power to the camera. However, without some protection, there are many situations that can occur where both the frame grabber and/or the PC the board it is installed in can be damaged. To overcome these problems an ancillary provision was added to the PoCL standard called “Safe Power”. The Safe Power specification takes into account every possible situation that might occur on the CL power lines and protects both the frame grabber and the PC. Safe Power also provides a path for backwards compatiblity with non-PoCL cameras and non-PoCL cables. Considering the risks, it makes little sense to buy a PoCL frame grabber unless it supports Safe Power.
For more than a decade, BitFlow’s camera interface products have been built around our revolutionary FlowThru architecture. Comprised of a user-programmable Video Pipeline, a flexible Camera Control Unit, efficient high-speed video FIFOs, and a highly-optimized scatter/gather DMA engine, the FlowThru architecture allows the Neon-CLB to control, acquire, reformat, and transfer video data directly into the user’s application at camera speeds with zero latency or CPU usage. Our FlowThru architecture has been continuously optimized and enhanced to support a wide variety of imaging applications, such as document/package processing, semiconductor, continuous web inspection, sequence capture, and motion analysis. It can easily be adapted to the specific needs of your application.
The Neon-CLB is supported by the BitFlow Software Development Kit (SDK), which is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows platforms. The SDK is board family generic and will work with all of BitFlow’s frame grabbers (making future migrations to other families trivial). The kit provides drivers, DLLs, and configuration utilities for people interested in using third party software. For customers interested in developing their own applications, the SDK provides header files, libraries, and huge amounts of example code. The SDK provides a wide range of Application Programming Interfaces (API), from low-level direct hardware access to high-level automatic buffer management (ring or sequence). Every line of code has been engineered for reliability under the toughest industrial conditions. At the same time, a priority has been put on ease of use and short development times. With the BitFlow SDK, you’ll have the Neon-CLB integrated with your application in no time.
PCI Express Interface
The Neon-CLB uses a x4 PCI Express bus interface. The PCI Express bus offers huge increases in DMA performance over the PCI bus. However, what is less well known is that the PCI Express bus is always peer to peer. This means the Karbon-CL does not share the bus with any other devices. In most motherboard architectures, it will talk directly to the PCI chipset that is on the memory bus. This direct connection equates to higher sustained DMA bandwidths regardless of system load. Most motherboards support concurrent full DMA speed on all of their PCI Express slots. The board will work in any slot that it fits in. This means not only x16, x8 and x4 slots, but also, as is becoming the trend, x1 slots that use x4 (or larger) connectors. The performance will be degraded in an x1 slot, but the board will work fine in applications that don’t require maximum data rate.
Camera Control and I/O
Supported by a GUI camera file editing utility (CamEd), the Neon can acquire fixed or variable size images and features a programmable ROI (Region Of Interest) sub-windowing capability. The board provides a full set of camera control signals (CC1, CC2, CC3, CC4) and sync inputs (LVAL, FVAL, PCLK, trigger, and encoder) for total camera and acquisition control. These signals are completely independent, although there are provisions for driving all cameras from a signal set up encoder/trigger signals. There is also a large number of programmable general purpose outputs and inputs that are not tied to the camera’s timing. The Neon-CLB board, as with our past interface products, supports not only simple triggering modes but also complicated, application-specific triggering and control interactions with your hardware environment.