Apogee Alta® Installation Guide

Apogee Alta® Installation Guide
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
Apogee Alta® Installation Guide
Version 1.1
Revision Date: September, 2006
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
Apogee Instruments Inc. assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this
document or the software which it describes. The user assumes all risks. There is no warranty of
fitness for a particular purpose, either express or implied.
The information contained in this document is assumed to be correct, but in no event shall
Apogee Instruments Inc. be held responsible for typographical errors or changes in the software
not reflected in this document.
The specifications contained in this document are subject to change without notice.
The Apogee Alta® Installation Guide is provided as a courtesy to our customers, and comes
without warranty of fitness for any purpose or application, either express or implied. The user
assumes all risk for the use of the information contained in this document and the software it
Copyright © 2003-2006 Apogee Instruments, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Alta is a registered trademark of Apogee Instruments, Inc.
The section “Using MaxIm DL/CCD” contains material copyright of Diffraction Limited.
All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners, and
are used herein solely for informational purposes only.
Apogee Instruments, Inc.
1020 Sundown Way Suite 150
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 218-7450
(916) 218-7451 (Fax)
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
1 Introduction and Setup
Thank you for purchasing the Apogee Alta camera system. Alta is the latest imaging
technology from Apogee Instruments. Like our previous AP and KX series of cameras,
Alta is a platform, not a CCD or specific interface type. Alta is designed for a variety of
imaging sensors, ranging from the smallest to those measuring 36mm on a side with 4096
x 4096 arrays. Alta is specifically designed for use as a world-class standalone imaging
system, as well as for integration into embedded and OEM architectures.
This installation guide covers Apogee Alta cameras used with the Microsoft Windows
family of operating systems. Alta USB and Ethernet systems are designed and tested
using the Windows 2000 and Windows XP operating systems, in order to assure the best
possible user experience and performance. Apogee Instruments, Inc. has not verified or
tested, and has no plans to support, the Alta platform on previous versions of Microsoft
Apogee Instruments recommends the following process for getting your new Alta camera
up and running as quickly as possible:
1) Install Maxim DL/CCD application software
2) Update Apogee Drivers, if required
3) Apply Power and Data Connections to the USB or Network camera
4) Begin using your Alta camera!
1.1 Install MaxIm DL/CCD
Your Apogee Alta camera may have included a copy of MaxIm DL/CCD image capture
and processing software, developed by Diffraction Limited. If you will be using the
MaxIm DL/CCD software, we recommend that you install it prior to setting up your
Apogee Alta camera. Please see the MaxIm documentation for specific instructions
related to installation of this software.
Apogee Alta cameras are supported by MaxIm DL/CCD version 3.21 and beyond.
1.2 Update Apogee Driver (Apogee.DLL)
The driver disk included with your Alta camera system may have included a more recent
copy of the Apogee Alta driver file, Apogee.DLL. The standard directory/path for the
Apogee.DLL file is C:\Program Files\Common Files\System.
Consult the driver kit included with your Alta camera for instructions on how to update
this file.
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
1.3 Apogee Alta USB 2.0
Apogee Alta USB cameras are optimized for the high speeds of the USB 2.0 interface,
while also supporting backward compatibility with older USB 1.1 connections. The first
time an Alta USB camera is attached to your computer, the computer’s operating system
will recognized that the camera was attached, and will ask you for an appropriate driver.
Please insert your Apogee Alta driver disk, and then use the Windows’ utility to
“Browse” to the file “AltaUsb.inf”. Follow the instructions given by Windows to
complete the installation.
Alternatively, MaxIm DL/CCD have also have stored a copy of the driver on your
computer. Apogee Instruments recommends using the driver disk that was shipped with
your camera system, rather than using the drivers shipped with MaxIm, since the driver
disk will contain the most recent driver version. However, if you wish to use the drivers
shipped with MaxIm, browse to “C:\Program Files\Diffraction Limited\MaxIm DL
V3\INF” and select the “AltaUsb.inf” file. Note that the MaxIm path given here is the
default location for MaxIm—if you specified a unique location during the MaxIm
DL/CCD, adjust the directory name accordingly.
You can verify the correct installation of the USB driver, by looking at the Windows
Device Manager. The Device Manager can be accessed by clicking the Start button, then
“Settings”, and the “Control Panel”. Select the “System” applet within the Control Panel,
and click on the “Hardware” tab. There should be a button for the “Device Manager”.
The Device Manager should show a window similar to the image below.
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
Note the “Apogee USB Interface” and “Apogee Alta USB Camera” entries in the device
manager. Both entries will be present for a single camera. Multiple USB cameras,
connected to the same computer, will appear as separate camera entries under the
“Apogee USB Interface” heading. Also note that these device entries should not have
any yellow exclamation marks (!) or question marks (?) next to the Apogee entries.
One you have verified that the USB camera has been correctly recognized by the system,
you are ready to begin using your application software. Please see the section “Using
MaxIm DL/CCD” for an overview of using MaxIm DL/CCD with your Apogee Alta
1.4 Apogee Alta Network
Apogee Alta Network cameras are not attached to any one particular computer, but are
instead unique devices on the local network. Since they are not attached to a single
computer, they do not appear in the Device Manager as USB camera systems do.
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
Network cameras simple plug in to your local network, by using a network cable to
connect the camera to a hub, router, or switch that already exists on the network. You
network must have a router or server that automatically assigns address (IP addresses) to
computers and devices on the network. This process of automatically assigning
addresses is call DHCP—Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. Verify the presence of
a DHCP router or server by checking your router/server documentation, or consulting
your network administrator. DHCP routers and servers are very common, so if you use a
local network, you are probably already using DHCP addressing. If, for some reason,
you do not have a router, it is relatively inexpensive to purchase one (approximately USD
You can verify the correct installation of the Network camera by using the AltaFinder.exe
applet included on the driver disk. A screenshot of the utility in action (after having
located a camera on the network) is shown below.
Network cameras, by default, receive their addresses automatically from a router.
Therefore, you will probably not know the address of the camera in advance. AltaFinder
makes locating your camera quick and easy.
The AltaFinder utility searches your local network, and displays a list of the cameras that
it finds. AltaFinder is configured to search the 192.168.0.x subnet, as this is a common
default for many commercial routers. However, you may change this value (called the
“Network Mask”) to reflect your own local network settings. Consult your router
documentation, or network administrator, for your exact network settings. Note that the
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
“Network Mask” field is, indeed, a mask, so make sure that all network devices will be
queried—usually this involves setting the final number in the mask field to 255.
Press the “Search” button to begin searching the network for Alta cameras. When an
Apogee Alta camera is found on the network, it will be listed in the search box, along
with other identifying information. Make a note of the camera’s IP address. The address
will be needed for configuring the camera system (see the section “Network Camera
Settings”). The search process will take approximately 10 seconds.
One you have verified that the Network camera is installed and functioning correctly on
your local network, you are ready to begin using your application software. Please see
the section “Using MaxIm DL/CCD” for an overview of using MaxIm DL/CCD with
your Apogee Alta camera.
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
2 Network Camera Settings
Apogee Alta Network cameras are configured through any common web browser on the
computer. In order to access the camera settings, you need to know the camera’s IP
address. If you do not already know the address, you can use the AltaFinder utility to
help locate the camera.
Once you have obtained the IP address, enter it into the Address bar of your Internet
browser. The camera will reply with its own web page of settings, as shown in the screen
capture below.
The camera home page contains a
snapshot of useful information about
the system, including the number of
images the system has captured,
hours it has been operational, and
versions of the internal firmware.
This information may assist Apogee’s
technical support, should you ever
require service on your camera
The camera home page also contains
links to other page for configuring
network settings, serial ports, reboots,
etc. When you click one of these
links, the camera will present you
with an authentication dialog box.
The default user name is admin. The
default password is configure. Enter
these into their respective fields and
press the OK button.
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
The Network page contains the TCP
settings for the camera. From this
page, the camera can be configured
for a static IP network setup. Also on
this page, the camera name can be
selected (the camera name/ID defaults
to the system’s Ethernet MAC
The Serial page lists all of the
settings related to controlling the
camera’s on board serial ports. The
user can switch between Serial Port A
and Serial Port B by changing the
port from the drop down list.
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
The Password page is used for
setting a new password on the camera
system. This page also contains a
network timeout number. The
timeout can be used to control how
long a session can remain inactive
before it is automatically closed. This
is useful when the camera is in a
remote location, and being controlled
by multiple users. By setting an
appropriate timeout value, a user will
not inadvertently retain control of the
camera system because the session
was never closed.
The Reboot page may be used to
issue a software reboot to the camera
system. This may be used as an
attempt to clear a camera network
error, although a power cycle is the
most thorough solution.
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
The Advanced page is primarily used
for updating the camera’s firmware.
This page can also be used for
opening and closing camera sessions,
or sending simple read/write
operation to verify connectivity.
The Help page contains useful
information regarding the usage of
the other configuration web pages,
and how to modify the camera
Consult the Help page for additional
details regarding the configuration of
your Alta network camera.
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
3 Using MaxIm DL/CCD
MaxIm DL/CCD, a product from Diffraction Limited, is a powerful camera control and
image processing package. The MaxIm DL/CCD software package has an extensive
user’s guide, which provides details into setting up the software and getting started. This
section covers a quick reference of the specific Alta functionality in MaxIm.
The information in this section contains specific MaxIm DL/CCD screenshots. These
screenshots were correct and accurate as of MaxIm v4.56, the current shipping version at
the time of writing this document. It is possible that user’s with other versions of MaxIm
DL/CCD may notice slight layout changes from what is described here.
To begin, consult your MaxIm documentation and launch the MaxIm CCD Control
window. This window contains a Setup button. Click the Setup button and then select
“Apogee Alta” from the list of camera models.
For this driver, please select Apogee Alta on the Setup tab.
All settings for the Apogee Alta are in the Apogee Alta Configuration dialog, accessed
from the Advanced... button. This dialog is also available while the camera is connected,
by clicking the Options button on the Settings Tab and selecting the Camera Settings
The first step is to specify the location of the camera. For cameras with a network
interface, select Ethernet, enter the IP address of the camera, and set Device Number to
its TCP port number. If the camera is selected as USB, only the Device Number control
is available; set it to the camera identifying number, as enumerated by the operating
While the camera is connected, the Interface controls are not available; they are replaced
by a Status area.
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
If you do not know the location of the camera, you can search for it using the Discover
button. See below for an explanation of the camera discovery feature.
Alta cameras connected via USB can operate in two Digitization modes. The 12-bit
mode provides the highest speed, while the 16-bit mode provides the highest dynamic
range. Cameras connected via Ethernet support only 16-bit mode.
Fan Setting controls the camera's fan speed. Higher speeds provide better cooling, but
may result in slightly more noise and vibration.
The Configure… button in the Advanced Settings group allows you to access some
advanced camera control parameters, described below. Note that most of these are
intended for laboratory environments, and inappropriate use may adversely affect
camera performance and image quality.
Color Synthesis is used to adjust automatic color generation settings. Some cameras
include Bayer matrix color filters, and are capable of "one shot color". If the Bayer matrix
is not properly aligned, the color may come out wrong. This can be corrected adjusting
the X and Y offset controls. The Use Bgd option automatically tries to adjust the
background level to neutral during the conversion process.
The Exposure and Shutter Options include a camera Mode dropdown whose entries
depend on the specific camera in use. In Normal mode the software controls both the
start time and duration of the exposure. In TDI (Time Delayed Integration) mode, the
camera operates continuously, shifting out new row of data at a specified interval: this is
appropriate if the image is moving smoothly across the CCD sensor. In Kinetics mode
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
the sensor must be masked so that a specified number of full-width but reduced-height
images known as sections can be rapidly acquired on a single CCD frame. Readout
occurs only after all requested sections have been imaged. For further information,
consult the documentation for your camera.
For cameras with firmware v17 and later, the exposure process can be further modified
by the Exposure Triggering options. The instrument waits for a TTL signal pulse before
starting the exposure if First is checked. A separate pulse is required for each subsequent
TDI row or Kinetics section if Next is checked. Cameras with earlier firmware do not
support TDI or Kinetics, but provide a separate Triggered exposure mode equivalent to
Normal with First checked.
The next two options modify the duration of the exposure. External Shutter Signal
allows the shutter to be gated open by an external TTL-level signal, with readout
occurring at the trailing edge of this pulse. Ext. Shutter and Readout is similar but
readout is controlled by a separate TTL-level signal, allowing the shutter to open and
close more than once during the same exposure. In either external shutter mode, the
Enable Amp Output checkbox disables the CCD voltage while the shutter strobe input
is high.
IO Port Settings displays the Apogee Alta I/O Port Settings dialog box. This allows
you to configure each I/O pin for a predefined function. These should be selfexplanatory; for advanced use please contact Apogee Instruments for assistance.
Open Shutter opens the shutter for inspection or cleaning.
The two Status Indicator lights can be configured to provide basic status information.
To prevent light contamination under very low-light imaging conditions, you can select
OFF when exposing. You can also select Always OFF or Always ON.
The two Light Emitting Diodes (LED A and LED B) can be configured individually.
They can be set to illuminate when the camera is in Expose mode (unless disabled by
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
OFF when exposing), when the camera is Active, during Flushing to remove charge
from the array, at Wait Trigger to show when the camera is waiting for a trigger, when
an Ext Trigger is received, Ext Shutter to show the state of the external shutter, Ext
Readout to show the state of the external readout trigger, and when the camera has
stabilized At Temperature.
The Shrink button toggles between the full size dialog box and just the Interface or
Status section.
NOTE: In earlier versions of this plug-in, a Readout on Stop checkbox specified the
disposition of exposures aborted via the Stop button. This capability is now controlled
from the Options menu of the Settings tab in the MaxIm CCD window.
The settings on the Alta Advanced Setup dialog are intended for advanced users.
The Gain and Offset for Twelve-bit digitization mode can be changed from their factory
values: you must unclick the Defaults button to unlock the edit boxes. The Gain for
Sixteen-bit mode is not adjustable, but its value is displayed. You can also indicate
whether to Digitize Overscan (the part of the CCD sensor surrounding the imaging area
which is covered by an opaque mask). In some applications the overscan region is used as
part of the calibration process.
Post-Exposure Delay (s) allows you to set the time delay at the end of the exposure, in
seconds. The time delay ensures that the shutter is completely closed before readout
commences. For certain camera models this may be fine-tuned to accelerate readout;
please consult Apogee Instruments for more information.
Use the Kinetics Parameters to specify the Section Height in pixels and the Number of
Sections; these values will be determined by how your CCD chip is masked. Set the Rate
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
to the time interval in seconds per section. Note that the timing implied by these controls
takes precedence over the exposure time specified elsewhere in MaxIm CCD.
Flush Vertical Binning allows you to override the vertical binning factor used during
camera flushing. Ordinarily you should use the Default setting.
The Apogee Alta Camera Selection Dialog is displayed when the Discover... button is
clicked. Select USB 2.0 and/or Ethernet. If Ethernet, you must specify a Network
Mask, which limits the subnet that is searched.
When you click Search... the software will generate a list of available cameras, if any.
You can select the camera by clicking on it in the list and then clicking OK.
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
4 Updating USB camera firmware
The Alta camera firmware can be updated using the Alta USB Update Utility, available
from the Apogee Instruments web site. A screenshot of this utility is shown below.
When updating firmware using this utility, no other applications should be open (MaxIm
DL, for example). In addition, only the camera that the user wishes to update should be
connected to the PC. Multiple USB cameras should not be attached to the PC during a
firmware update.
Note that the utility lists certain values which will be programmed to the camera system.
These values are only used internally, during some interactions between the software
driver and the camera firmware.
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
5 Updating Ethernet camera firmware
Ethernet camera firmware is updated directly from the camera’s internal web page. To
update the firmware, first the user must know the IP address of the camera on the local
network, enter the IP address into a browser and go to the Advanced page.
Under “Update Firmware” click Open to start a session. If successful, a screen similar to
the following will be returned (the SessionId will vary).
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
Press the browser’s Back button. Browse to the firmware update file and click Upload.
A new screen will be returned to the user, indicating the file name that was uploaded.
Again, press the browser’s Back button. Now click the Write link in the update
firmware section. The camera will send back the final confirmation screen below.
At this point, the new firmware has been loaded into the camera. The camera system
should be power cycled for the new update to take effect, and the process will then be
complete. On the next power up of the camera, the new firmware will automatically be
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
6 Driver Updates (USB and Ethernet)
Both the Ethernet and USB cameras use the Apogee.DLL driver for controlling the Alta
camera system. However, Ethernet cameras only require Apogee.DLL, while USB
cameras also require another driver called AltaUsb.sys, of which AltaUsb.inf is the
installation file for that driver.
To update Apogee.DLL in a typical situation, the file is already installed on the user's
system. Before updating, the camera should be powered off or disconnected, and all
camera-control applications should be closed. The normal location for the Apogee.DLL
file is C:\Program Files\Common Files\System. The user should replace the copy of
Apogee.DLL in that directory, with the new version included with this release kit.
The remainder of this section details the specific steps required in case the user needs to
update their USB driver (AltaUsb.sys).
To update the USB driver, first open the System applet in the Control Panel. Select the
Hardware tab, and then click on the Device Manager button. A screenshot is below.
The Device Manager will open. Expand the Apogee USB Interface entry, and then
right click on Apogee Alta USB Camera. Select the Update Driver… option.
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
The Windows Update Wizard will launch…
Select the “No, not this time” option to manually give the new driver location to the
update wizard. Click the Next button.
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
Select the option to “Install from a list or a specific location (Advanced)”, and then click
the Next button.
Click the Browse button to select the location of the new AltaUsb.sys and AltaUsb.inf
file. Note that these two files must be located in the same directory for a correct update
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
The wizard will search the specified location for the file update, and then will complete
the installation process automatically.
The Alta USB driver is now updated. Click Finish to complete the wizard.
Apogee Alta Installation Guide
7 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
7.1 Network Cameras
No lights/No fans
Check to make sure the device is powered.
One of the green lights keeps blinking and does not turn off
First make certain that the camera is connected to the network using a network cable.
If the connection appears okay, it is possible that the camera is not being assigned an IP
Address. When a camera is first connected to a network, it requests to be automatically
given an IP Address by the local network server or router that assigns addresses. This
process is called DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). The blinking green
light indicates that the camera is requesting an address. Make sure you have a router or
server on your network that is capable of assigning new IP addresses using DHCP.
Cannot find camera when using AltaFinder
The AltaFinder search process takes approximately 10 seconds to complete. In extremely
rare circumstances, the camera may take longer than 10 seconds to respond. If the first
attempt to find the camera fails, try a second time. If the second attempt fails, the
“Network Mask” field may be incorrect. Verify the correct network mask and try again.
Can the camera be assigned a Static IP address?
Yes. See the previous section on the web page settings for the Ethernet cameras. Note,
however, that the first time the camera is connected to the local network, it must be
assigned a DHCP address by a router or server.
7.2 USB Cameras
No lights/No fans
Check to make sure the device is powered.
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