Test & Measurement Application Case Study - Data Acquisition Video Testing / Optical Imaging

Test & Measurement Applications

Deep PCI Capture of Fast Charge-Couple Device (CCD) Array Data

Customer Case

A customer wants to digitize data from a 256x256 infrared charge-couple device (CCD) array. The array data is clocked at 4 MHz through two output channels. Exactly two clock cycles occur between 12-bit line signals, and a dozen or more clock cycles occur between successive frames. The customer wants to digitize the data for a minute or more. Since light level signals from the array can vary widely in amplitude, 12-bit resolution is required.

GaGe Case Solution

The customer will use the CompuScope 512/PCI with the External Clock option, operating in Hardware Rearm / PCI Real Time Transfer mode, together with a 2 GB MMD-5400 PCI memory board. The CS512/PCI is a 12-bit, dual-channel card that transfers data through the high-speed PCI bus in the PC. The two output channels of the CCD array are connected to the two input channels of the CS512/PCI, and the CCD clock signal is connected to its external clock input.

Most GaGe CompuScope boards may be operated in Multiple Record mode, in which multiple acquisitions are rapidly captured and stored in on-board memory. Between successive data captures, the board is hardware-rearmed for the next trigger within four data points, with no software intervention. The board cannot be rearmed between the two clock cycles that occur between successive CCD line triggers. However, the board can be rearmed during the dozen or more clock signals that occur between successive frame triggers.

In conventional capture and transfer mode, data cannot be captured while it is being transferred to PC RAM. This is unacceptable in this application, because the customer does not want to miss any CCD data. In Real Time transfer mode, however, captured data is placed directly on the PCI bus and concurrently transferred to PC RAM. With 2 channels and 2 bytes per 12 bit sample, the data rate is:

2 * 2 Bytes/S * 4 MS/s = 16 MB/s

This is far below the sustained 100 MB/s rate attainable by the PCI bus in the Pentium-based GaGePC.

The hardware rearm of Multiple Record and PCI Real Time Transfer are not mutually exclusive and are simultaneously invoked to meet the customer's requirement. The frame start TTL signal (and not the line start signal) is connected to the external trigger input of the CS512/PCI. Between 256x256 = 65536 sample PCI data bursts, the card is hardware-rearmed to await the next frame trigger. Since the customer knows that there are exactly 2 clock cycles between each line signal, the lines may easily be distinguished within a single frame capture. The 256x256 = 65536 sample frames are being captured through two channels at 4 MS/s by the CS512/PCI. If we ignore the small delays between lines and frames, then the frame refresh rate is:

2 * 4 MS/s / (65536 S/frame) = 122 frames/s

The target of the PCI Real Time Transfer is the 2 GB MMD-5400 PCI memory board. With a 16 MB/s data rate, over 2 minutes' worth of data may be captured and transferred to the MMD board. The fastest available hard drive should be able to empty the MMD board in under 5 minutes.

GaGe Case Recommended Products

  • CompuScope 512/PCI - 12-bit, Dual-Channel, 5 MS/s A/D and Scope Card for the PCI Bus
  • MMD-5400 - Memory Board for the PCI Bus with 2 GB of Memory

Test & Measurement Application Request

We encourage you to contact us and discuss your test & measurement application in more detail with our engineering team. GaGe can provide tailored custom data acquisition hardware and software solutions to meet specific application requirements:

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