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GenICam Explorer - The Silicon Software Tool for Camera Control and Camera Configuration



The sections below provide information on the following topics:

Overview

The GenICam Explorer is a GUI tool for communication with GigE Vision, CoaXPress, and CLHS cameras. The GenICam Explorer provides direct access to the GenICam interface of the camera.

Using the GenICam Explorer, you can

  • adjust your camera settings via a graphical user interface.
  • configure the link topology of your vision system.
  • configure camera and firmware for using action commands (GigE Vision).
  • save defined settings for later re-use.

The GenICam Explorer comes as part of the runtime installation. Once you have installed your runtime, you can start the GenICam Explorer. The GenICam Explorer supports all cameras with CoaXPress, GigE Vision, and CLHS interface.


System Requirements

If you want to access a camera with the GenICam Explorer, make sure that

• Camera and frame grabber are plugged and powered (camera may be powered by the grabber via power over).

• The Silicon Software runtime software has been installed.

Please note: You can run GenICam Explorer and microDisplay simultaneously. Since Runtime version 5.2, you can make changes in the GenICam Explorer while an applet is loaded in microDisplay and the acquisition is running.


GenICam Explorer with GigE Vision Cameras

Configuring the GenICam Parameters of the Camera

As soon as the GenICam Explorer discovers a camera and connects to the camera, you have direct access to all GenICam Parameters of the Camera.

  1. Start the GenICam Explorer.

    After being started, the GenICam Explorer automatically discovers physically connected cameras and displays information on these camera(s).

    In the upper panel on the left, all frame grabber boards with their link groups are listed.

    In the bottom panel on the left, all detected cameras are listed. To get information on a certain camera, select the camera in this panel.

  2. Click on the Quick Connect button.

    Now, the frame grabber connects to the camera via its GenICam inferface.

  3. Go to the GenICam tab.

  4. Select our user role:

    You can choose between three display modes (right upper corner): Beginner, Expert, and Guru. If you set the display mode to Beginner, you can only see and alter the most important camera settings. In expert mode, most settings are enabled and in guru mode, all possible settings can be seen and adapted.

  5. Set all parameters to your needs. You find additional information on each parameter in the right hand bottom panel as soon as you click on the parameter.

  6. If you don't see the changes in your settings immediately, click on the Force Update button.


Saving a Particular Camera Configuration

You can save the configuration of a camera and re-use this particular configuration later. The configuration parameters are stored in a text file.

To save a configuration:

  • Click on the Dump Parameters... button and define the directory you want to store the configuration file in.

To re-use a configuration:

  • Click on the Load Parameters... button and select the configuration file you want to use from your system.


Setting Timeout and Number of Retries for Communication between Frame Grabber and Camera

To configure the timespan, after which timeout occurs, and the number of retries:

  1. Go to the Connection tab.
  2. Click on the Advanced Properties ... button.
  3. Adapt timout and number of retries to your requirements.

Configuring the Link Topology

To adapt the link topology of your vision system to your needs: 

  1. Open the GenICam explorer.
  2. From the Tools menu, select Hardware Setup.

    The Hardware Setup dialog opens.

  3. Check if you need to change the link topology.

    Note: Link No. 0 is the port that is physically placed farthest from the mother board, i.e., the link with the highest number is the port physically closest to the motherboard.

  4. Click on the Edit button to edit the link topology.
  5. Adapt the parameters to your needs.

    If you want to use Link Aggregation: In the field Link Groups, specify how many link groups you want to set up. Define which physical links belong to which link group.

  6. Click on the Apply button.



Sending Action Commands via Firmware

You can send action commands not only via software, but also via the firmware of your Silicon Software frame grabber(s) to the connected GigE Vision cameras. For each camera channel, one dedicated action command is available in the firmware. The content (function) of each action command is defined by software. The sending of an action command to the camera is triggered by the applet.

You use the GenICam Explorer to configure firmware and camera for this purpose. Fore more detailed information about configuring your system for sending action commands via firmware, see the according documentation Action Commands via Firmware.


Configuring Firmware and Camera

To configure firmware and camera for using action commands:

  1. Open the GenICam Explorer.

  2. Click on the Quick Connect button to connect to the discovered camera (if it is not connected automatically).



  3. After successful connection, go to tab Action Commands.

  4. Select the camera you want to configure.


  5. Under Firmware - Configuration, disable option Enable Action Commands:

    The upper part of the program pane allows you to enter the settings for the camera. The lower part of the program pane allows you to enter the according settings for the firmware. For each camera, exactly 1 dedicated action command is implemented in the firmware. The camera may offer more than one action command (in our example, the camera offers two action commands, Action Signal #0 and Action Signal #1).

  6. Enter the device key for the camera:

  7. Click the Apply button if it is active.

  8. Enter group key and group mask for the camera.

  9. Enter device key, group key and group mask for the firmware. Make sure you use exactly the same values you use for the camera. Otherwise, action commands will not be acknowledged by the camera.

  10. Click the Apply button if it is active.
  11. Optional: Optionally, you can define a time out threshold (tolerated time gap between the moment the firmware is sending an action command and the moment it is receiving an acknowledge from the camera). The default timeout is 250.000.000 ticks [1 tick = 16 ns]. This is 4 seconds.

  12. Click the Apply button if it is active.

  13. Under Firmware - Configuration, activate option Enable Action Commands:

  14. Repeat steps 4 - 13 for each connected camera.

Defining the Function of the Action Command on the Camera

To define what the camera actually has to do at receiving an action command, you need to configure the camera accordingly. (Since the firmware supports only one action command per camera, you do not need to specify which action command you are going to configure.)

  1. In the GenICam Explorer, select the camera you want to configure the action command for.

  2. Go to the GenICam tab. Which parameters are available here depends entirely on the camera model.



  3. Configure the trigger source. Make sure you specify the action command you configured under tab Action Commands (in our example signal #0). Which parameter on the camera allows you to do this depends on the camera model. Refer to the camera documentation for details.



  4. Select which action the camera has to carry out when receiving the specified action command. Which parameter on the camera allows you to do this depends on the camera model. Refer to the camera documentation for details.



  5. Make sure the camera is configured to generally receiving and operating on action commands. (For example, if the camera is set to Free Run, all action command configurations have no effect.)



  6. Repeat these steps for each connected camera.

More detailed information about configuring your system for sending action commands via firmware, including a camera example, you find in the according documentation Action Commands via Firmware.


Configuring the Applet

To configure an applet for using action commands sent by firmware:

  1. Open microDisplay.

  2. In the right upper panel of the program window, select the camera channel (CAM Port A, B, C, or D) you want to configure:



  3. In the Applet parameters panel, go to parameter Area Trigger Mode and select Generator.



  4. Set parameter Trigger State to Active.






  5. In Parameter Frames/Sec, define the frequency of the action command generation.






  6. Repeat steps 2 to 5 for each connected camera.


Saving a Particular Link Topology Configuration

You can save the configuration of the link topology and re-use this particular configuration later. The configuration parameters are stored in a text file.

To save a configuration:

  • Click on the Save Configuration... button and define the directory you want to store the configuration file in.

To re-use a configuration:

  • Click on the Load Configuration... button and select the configuration file you want to use from your system.

IP Configuration

To configure the IP address of your frame grabber, use the options in the Hardware Dialog:
  1. Open the GenICam explorer.
  2. From the Tools menu, select Hardware.
  3. Adapt the IP configuration to your needs.


GenICam Explorer with CoaXPress

When working with a CXP camera and frame grabber, the GenICam Explorer discovers connected cameras automatically and provides direct access to the GenICam interface of the camera.


    GenICam Explorer connected to a CoaXPress camera


    Automatic Actions at Program Start

    As soon as the GenICam Explorer is started,

    • the start window of the GenICam Explorer opens.
    • the GenICam Explorer starts the automatic camera discovery.
    • the GenICam Explorer connects to the discovered camera.
    • the GenICam Explorer opens a window where you can directly adapt the GenICam parameters of the camera to your needs.

    You can define if you want the GenICam Explorer to take all this steps automatically. If you prefer user interaction, you can configure the program behavior (see below).


    Configuring the GenICam Parameters of the Camera

    As soon as the GenICam Explorer discovers a camera and connects to the camera, you have direct access to all GenICam Parameters of the Camera.

    1. Go to the GenICam tab on your program window.
    2. Select your user role: You can choose between three display modes (right upper corner): Beginner, Expert, and Guru. If you set the display mode to Beginner, you can only see and alter the most important camera settings. In expert mode, most settings are enabled and in guru mode, all possible settings can be seen and adapted.
    3. Set all parameters to your needs. You find additional information on each parameter in the right hand bottom panel as soon as you click on the parameter.
    4. If you don't see the changes in your settings immediately, click on the Force Update button.



    Saving a Particular Camera Configuration

    You can save the configuration of a camera and re-use this particular configuration later. The configuration parameters are stored in a text file.

    To save a configuration:

    • Click on the Save Parameters... button and define the directory you want to store the configuration file in.

    To re-use a configuration:

    • Click on the Load Parameters... button and select the configuration file you want to use from your system.


    Configuring the Link Topology

    To adapt the link topology of your vision system to your needs: 

    1. Open the GenICam explorer.
    2. From the Tools menu, select Hardware Setup.

    The Hardware Setup dialog opens.

    1. Check if you need to change the link topology.
    2. Click on the Edit button to edit the link topology.
    3. Adapt the parameters to your needs.
    4. Click on the Apply button.


    Saving a Particular Link Topology Configuration

    You can save the configuration of the link topology and re-use this particular configuration later. The configuration parameters are stored in a text file.

    To save a configuration:

    • Click on the Save Configuration... button and define the directory you want to store the configuration file in.

    To re-use a configuration:

    • Click on the Load Configuration... button and select the configuration file you want to use from your system.


    Starting Layout Discovery Manually

    If the current link topology cannot be detected or after you changed cable connections, the following message may appear:


    If this message appears, simply:

    1. Click on Start Full Discovery.

    Otherwise (if this message does not appear):

    1. From the Tools menu, select Hardware Setup. The Hardware Setup dialog opens.
    2. In the left upper corner, select the frame grabber you are working with.
    3. Go to the Link Configuration tab.
    4. Click on Restart Layout Discovery.
    5. Wait until the process is finished. You get an according message. The current link topology is displayed now.



    Re-Starting the Camera Manually

    To restart the camera: 

    1. From the Tools menu, select Hardware Setup. The Hardware Setup dialog opens.
    2. In the left upper corner, select the frame grabber you are working with.
    3. Go to the Link Configuration tab.
    4. Click on the Power Cycle button.



    Configuring Program Behaviour at Program Start

    To configure the program behavior at program start:

    1. In the File menu, select Preferences.
    2. Select the options according to your needs.


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