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Becker & Hickl DCC and DCU

Summary Becker & Hickl DCC and DCU Detector Control Cards/Units
Author Mark A. Tsuchida
License BSD
Platforms Windows
Devices DCC-100 (PCI, PCIe); DCU-400, DCU-800 (USB)


  1. Install the latest TCSPC Package from BH. This includes drivers and control apps for TCSPC cards as well as DCC/DCU. The installer allows you to select components to install. You should select at least DCC and DCC DLL. No license key should be needed for DCC control.
  2. Copy the DCC DLL (C:\Program Files (x86)\BH\DCC\DLL\dcc64.dll) to the Micro-Manager install folder.


  1. In the Hardware Configuration Wizard, add BH_DCC_DCU > DCCHub or BH_DCC_DCU > DCUHub.
  2. Set the pre-initialization properties for the hub. Select whether to use software simulation of the devices (only useful for testing), and select the modules to control. If you only have a single device, you can accept the default settings.
  3. When the list of peripherals is shown, check the box for each module (DCCModule1, etc.).

Up to 8 DCC devices and up to 4 DCU devices can be controlled on the same computer.


If you are new to these devices, it is best to first familiarize yourself with their behavior using the manufacturer-provided applications (DCC or DCU).

Each device (module) has a number of connectors (3 for DCC; 5 for DCU), each with a number of features: a subset of +5V, -5V, +12V, Gain/HV, cooling, and digital output. In Micro-Manager, these are each controled using a separate property: for example, the C1_GainHV property sets the detector gain control voltage (percentage) for connector 1.

Note that power and control outputs are not activated until the EnableOutputs property is switched on. (DCU models have a separate property for each connector: C1_EnableOutputs, etc.) Whether the cooler power supply is under the control of the EnableOutputs property may depend on the exact version of your device; see the manual or contact the manufacturer.

Gain/HV properties

The GainHV property (of each connector) is a percentage (0-100). (The actual voltage range of the control output depends on which output pin is used. See the manufacturer documentation.)

It is possible to set an upper limit in the device’s nonvolatile memory (EEPROM). Setting the Gain/HV limit is not supported in Micro-Manager; use the manufacturer-provided control program. The allowed value range in Micro-Manager should reflect this limit.

Detector overload

For connectors that have a GainHV property, there is an input for a detector overload signal (provided, e.g., by a preamplifier). When this input (which uses inverted logic) goes low, the Gain/HV and other outputs are shut off.

(Exactly which outputs are shut off in reaction to which overload signals is a little complicated; make sure to check the manufacturer documentation.)

When an overload is detected, it is indicated by the read-only properties C1_Overloaded, etc. (These are updated approximately once per second.)

To reset the overload state and reactivate the power and control outputs, set the ClearOverloads property to Clear (it will toggle back to a blank value). In the case of DCU, there are separate properties for each connector: C1_ClearOverload, etc.

Cooler current limit

The cooler power supply allows setting a voltage (e.g., C3_CoolerVoltage, in volts) and current limit (e.g., C3_CoolerCurrentLimit, in amperes), aside from an on/off switch (e.g., C3_Cooling).

If the current limit is reached, this is indicated by the read-only property C3_CoolerCurrentLimitReached. (As with detector overload, these are updated approximately once per second.) There is no manual reset for this state; it will go back to No when the current limit is no longer being reached.

Digital output

The digital output property (DCC: C2_DigitalOut; DCU: C5_DigitalOut) is an 8-bit binary mask: 0 means all bits off, 255 means all bits on.

Example: 7 (= binary 00000111) will turn on bits 0, 1, and 2 and turn off bits 3-7.


BH_DCC_DCU is not available in the Hardware Configuration Wizard

Make sure that you have copied the dcc64.dll file to the Micro-Manager folder.

If the problem persists, maybe try also copying the file C:\Program Files (x86)\BH\DCC\DLL\64b\ftd2xx.dll to the Micro-Manager folder. (I didn’t need to do this, but this DLL (the FTDI USB-serial D2XX driver) is installed by various programs so it’s possible that I didn’t see what would happen on a fresh system.)

“DCC (DCU) module is in use by another application”

If you get this error message:

  1. Make sure you are not running any other program that accesses the DCC or DCU (such as the BH DCC or DCU app or another copy of Micro-Manager).
  2. Open the BH DCC (or DCU) application. Select the module(s) in question and click “Apply”. Confirm forced initialization if asked.
  3. Close the BH DCC (or DCU) app.
  4. Restart Micro-Manager or reload the hardware configuration.