Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Camera Link Products


Product Update

Camera Link Products

by Rich Handley

October 2002

It became apparent to many, in late 2000, that customers were having problems interfacing cameras and frame grabbers. Soon after PULNiX released its TMC-6700 and TMC-1000 cameras, others began expressing interest in Channel Link, the digital transmission method used in those cameras. A committee of industrial camera and frame grabber manufacturers investigated the feasibility of adopting Camera Link as an industry-wide standard, an idea which was well-received (though still has not been adhered to universally). The Camera Link specification defines a standard connector on both camera and frame grabber; a standard cable connecting the two; formats for transmitting image data from camera to grabber; four standard camera control inputs; a standard method for transmitting serial communication data between them; and a standard chip set used in both camera and grabber for image data transfer.

Camera Link is based on the new Channel Link LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signaling) chip set manufactured by National Semiconductor. LVDS, the most common means to transmit digital data in recent years, has several major drawbacks, however. First, it requires a pair of wires for transmission of each data bit, creating bulky cables prone to breakage if stressed. Also, the maximum data transmission rate of LVDS is 400 MB/s, fast enough for today's applications, but limiting for tomorrow's requirements.

Channel Link technology offers many advantages over the RS-644 LVDS technology that pre-dated it. Channel Link can transfer 28 bits of data over just four pairs of wires, with a fifth pair used to transfer a required clock signal. This compares very favorably with the 56 wires needed with RS-644 LVDS for the same job, and Camera Link is capable of much higher data rates than standard LVDS. A single chipset can transfer up to 2.38 Gbits/sec, and the Camera Link standard allows the use of up to two chip sets. This high bandwidth capability is more than enough for current needs and allows for future expansion. The following are just a sampling of the many cameras and frame grabbers to adapt the Camera Link standard......


Adimec 1600mThe A1600m from Adimec Advanced Imaging Systems B.V. (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) is a 2 Megapixel camera based on Interline Transfer technology, with a resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels. The A1600m, the second of Adimec's cameras to feature an industry-standard Camera Link interface, is geared toward machine vision professionals who work with AOI and 3D measurement. Those customers using the model released last year-the A1000m-can continue to use their existing software when upgrading their system to the newer camera.

Indicate 201 under October 02

Basler's A102K CameraBasler Vision Components (Ahrensburg, Germany) has introduced a new addition to its A100 camera series, the Basler A102k. This camera is a 14.8 frames per second, 1392 x 1040, progressive scan CCD camera with a built-in Camera Link interface. Available in a monochrome version, the A102k includes such features as electronic exposure time control, selectable 8- or 10-bit output, a flash/strobe trigger output, binning, smear suppression, and test images. The camera also has an area-of-interest scanning capability and can run at higher frame rates when operating at lower resolutions.

Indicate 202 under October 02

1 2 3 4 next

Subscribe to our RSS Feeds