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Difference between revisions of "AndorLaserCombiner"

(Better separation of install steps)
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<table><tr><td  valign=top >
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{| style="text-align: left"
'''Summary:'''</td><td>Interfaces with Andor laser combiner</td></tr>
+
!Summary:
<tr><td valign=top>'''Author:'''</td><td>Karl Hoover, UCSF - µManager device adapter<br>Pariksheet Nanda, Andor Support - this documentation and µManager device adapter code maintainer</td></tr>
+
|Interfaces with Andor laser combiner
<tr><td  valign=top >'''License:'''</td><td>BSD</td></tr>
+
|-
<tr><td  valign=top >'''Platforms:'''</td><td>Windows XP 32bit, Windows 7 32bit and 64bit (No Mac or Linux driver available)</td></tr>
+
!Author:
<tr><td  valign=top >'''Devices:'''</td><td>Andor laser combiners: ALC-401, ALC-501, ALC-601</td></tr>
+
|Karl Hoover, UCSF - µManager device adapter
</table>
+
|-
 
+
!Maintainer:
 +
|Pariksheet Nanda, Andor - this documentation and µManager device adapter
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
!Contributors:
 +
|Ed Simmons, ES Imaging - patch for GUI TTL outputs<br>Pedro Almada, documentation fixes
 +
|-
 +
!License:
 +
|BSD
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
!Platforms:
 +
|Windows (No Mac or Linux driver available)
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
!Devices:
 +
|LC-401, LC-501, LC-601 (only 4 laser LC-601 systems supported; 5 and 6 line support possible but not yet implemented)
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
!Since version
 +
|1.3.47
 +
|}
 
----
 
----
  
  
 +
== Installation ==
  
== Getting Started ==
+
In most cases the ALC will work "out of the box".
* The Andor Laser Combiner SDK, and consequently µManager which depends on it, can control the following models:
+
*# LC-401
+
*# LC-501
+
*# LC-601
+
* These models are  '''''not''''' currently supported:
+
*# LC-103
+
*#* Use the [[AA AOTF]] driver instead.  There is a an RS-232 connection on the front of the Andor PCU to interface to the AOTF controller.  However, switching lasers wavelengths and power using this method is much slower than using the analog interface.
+
*#* If you want proper analog control supported for fastest operation, i.e. using Andor's choice of DAC card, please [[#Laser Combiner questions|request Andor]]
+
*# External laser control via PCUV-101
+
*#* Use the [[AOTF|NEOS]] driver instead.
+
* You need to download a copy of the Andor Laser Combiner SDK (ALC_SDK).  It is not publicly available.  [[#Laser Combiner questions|Request Andor support]] to gain access to it, stating in the support request form you need the drivers for µManager.
+
* '''ALC_SDK 2.0 is the current version as of July 29, 2011'''
+
* This guide assumes you have a computer preconfigured with drivers, such as the computer Andor sells.  If, instead, you have a non-Andor computer please read the [[#Appendix|appendix]] to install the drivers and map the COM ports.
+
  
 +
But if you're setting up a brand new computer, continue on to [[#Configure ALC_SDK dependencies]], and for Micro-Manager versions than nightly build 1.4.16_20131025 follow the [[#Library installation for MM 1.4.15 and earlier]].
  
 +
== Hardware-based Synchronization ==
  
== Installing the Device Adapter ==
+
[[ESIOImagingControllers]] can be used with an ESio adapter cable for the ALC to run [[hardware-based synchronization]]The ALC lacks the onboard programming to allow the camera TTL synchronization used by the Micro-Manager architecture, thus another supported triggering device is needed.
=== Setup the ALC_SDK ===
+
* The Andor Laser Combiner SDK is packaged in a zip file.  Decompress to a folder on your C: driveCopy the location of the `Libraries' folder (e.g. C:\Andor\0.9\ALC_REV_SDK\Libraries).
+
[[Image:01- Decompress Andor SDK for Laser combiner.png|frame|center||Decompress the Andor Laser Combiner SDK from the zip file]]
+
  
* Right-click the My Computer icon on the desktop or start menu, click properties and on the advanced tab choose Environment variables. On the system variables list, find "Path" or "PATH" and click edit. DO NOT DELETE ANYTHING. Just add ;C:\YOURFOLDER on the end of the line on the edit window. Of course, remember to change the folder to where you unzipped the SDK. Also, remember to include the semi-colon (;) or you might break something on your windows installation.  Now, reboot your computer.
+
== Hardware Configuration Wizard ==
[[Image:02- Put Andor SDK libraries folder in Path.png|frame|center||Add the Andor Laser Combiner SDK `Libraries' folder to the Windows PATH so that MicroManager can find the DLLs]]
+
  
 +
Description of devices available in the Hardware Configuration Wizard:
  
 +
{| class="wikitable"
 +
!style="width: 20%;"| Available Devices
 +
! Description
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| AndorLaserCombiner
 +
| Main device required for your hardware configuration.
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| Piezostage
 +
| Enable Andor's analog BNC control for your Piezo Z device.  Generally, confocal systems have this configuration since it moves the Piezo faster than RS-232 serial control.  If you are unsure about this, look at the front of your Andor Precision Control Unit (PCU)- if you see a BNC cable connected from A5 of the PCU to your Piezo Z controller, you should enable this option.  If you see the A5 BNC sealed off, you have a 6 laser system that therefore does not have this feature.
 +
|}
  
=== Configuring Micro-Manager ===
+
{| class="wikitable"
 +
!style="width: 20%;"| Initialization Properties
 +
! Description
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| MultiPortUnitPresent
 +
| Leave as the default "0" (false) if you only see a single fiber optic connected horizontally to the front of the laser combiner.  Otherwise select "1" (true) if you see the multi fiber optic switcher attachment.
 +
|}
  
* Get the latest nightly build to run the Andor laser combiner in uManager.
+
For <code>Auto-Shutter</code> setting in Step 3 of 6, set the <code>Default Shutter</code> to the <code>AndorLaserCombiner</code> and in Step 4 of 6 use the default <code>Delay [ms]</code> of <code>0.0</code> since a fast AOTF gates the laser output.
  
* When configuring your hardware setup, remember to add the AndorLaserCombiner and AndorLaserCombiner Piezostage (if you have a piezostage). Also, the configuration wizard will ask if you have a multiport unit present. If you have a FRAPPA unit or TIRF setup, you do and should set it to "1" (true). Other than those cases you probably don't have it, set it to "0" (false).
+
== Device Properties ==
[[Image:03- HW cfg part 1.png|frame|center||Add the Andor Laser Combiner to the Hardware Configuration]]
+
[[Image:04- HW cfg part 2.png|frame|center||Finalize configuration settings]]
+
  
 +
{| class="wikitable"
 +
!style="width: 20%;"| Property
 +
! Description
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| Enable
 +
| Logical shutter to allow selection of laser line.  It can also set the laser to TTL mode, if the laser supports it.  TTL mode requires firmware 2.  When creating laser imaging channels, you should add the <code>Enable</code> properties for each laser wavelength to turn on only the wavelength(s) you need.
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| SaveLifetime
 +
| Allows lasers to be put in standby mode to preserve lifetime hours.  Changes to this property are saved onto the device memory, so the setting is persistently between Micro-Manager sessions.  Since going into and coming out of standby can take a few seconds, best practice is leave this property "global" by not including it in channels.  Instead, one could add these properties to the <code>System</code> <code>Startup</code> preset, or just create shortcuts by creating groups with only the SaveLifetime setting(s).
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| IsLinear
 +
| Reads whether linear correction algorithm is being applied to AOTF by <code>PowerSetpoint</code>, otherwise AOTF laser power output is sigmoid.
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| PowerSetpoint
 +
| AOTF intensity setting.  Actual power output may or may not be linear depending on the value of <code>IsLinear</code>.
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| PowerReadback
 +
| Current laser head power output. Output of 0, could be due to laser being put in Standby using SaveLifetime, or a fault with the laser head.  If power is more than a few percent lower than MaximumLaserPower, it also indicates a faulty laser head, but some lasers can take up to 5 minutes to warm up (most warm up in 2 minutes).
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| MaximumLaserPower
 +
| Laser rated operating power in milli-Watts.
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| Hours
 +
| Indicates laser expired life to plan warranty contracts. (Unfortunately this always shows a value of "0" because the feature is not yet implemented by the Andor ALC SDK)
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| WaveLength
 +
| Wavelength of laser line.
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| LaserState
 +
| Laser state: "0" indicates off, "1" warm up (if <code>SaveLifetime</code> is set to "PowerOn") or standby (if <code>SaveLifetime</code> is set to "Standby"), and "2" is stable output.
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| NLasers
 +
| Number of lasers available.
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| LaserPort
 +
| Multi fiber port unit control.
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| DOUT
 +
| Digital 8-bit output from Precision Control Unit.  The lowest 2 bits are not accessible if a multi fiber port unit is present.
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
| DIN
 +
| Digital 8-bit input from Precision Control Unit.  Reads TTL input signal state.
 +
|}
  
== Resources ==
+
== Troubleshooting (known issues and fixes) ==
=== Laser Combiner questions ===
+
For contacting Andor product support regarding any questions, use this [http://www.andor.com/contact_us/support_request/documentation/default.aspx?product=Revolution%C2%AE%20XD Andor Product Support link]
+
  
 +
=== No laser, but laser emission LEDs are illuminated ===
 +
{| class="wikitable"
 +
!style="width: 20%;"|Description
 +
|The hardware appears to be operating correctly, but there is no laser output.  The camera is running live, feeding the Active Blanking signal.
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
!Cause
 +
|DEMO-BOARD device listed in InstaCal
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
!Workaround
 +
|Delete the DEMO-BOARD device by opening InstaCal from <code>Start Menu > Programs > Measurement Computing</code>
 +
|}
  
=== Development support ===
+
=== Microsoft Visual C++ error(s) opening HCW ===
This driver is not actively maintained by the Andor software team.
+
{| class="wikitable"
For feature requests or bug reports, please liaison with µManager developers on [[Micro-Manager_Community|the mailing list]] and Pariksheet Nanda.  
+
!style="width: 20%;"|Description
 +
|Opening the <code>Hardware Configuration Wizard</code> shows one or more of the following error windows, and closing the window immediately crashes µManager:
 +
[[File:Alc_mscv_error.jpg|frame|Figure: Error due to incorrect internal laser power setting]]
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
!Cause
 +
|Bug in ALC_SDK (Laser power setting exceeding rated value) <!-- TODO: Add Andor's Bugzilla bug number -->
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
!Workaround
 +
|Request Andor support to remotely connect to each laser head and adjust the "set power" (using the <code>p=</code> serial command) to the rated value of the laser head.
 +
|}
  
 +
=== Hang due to USB power saving ===
 +
{| class="wikitable"
 +
!style="width: 20%;"|Description
 +
|Micro-Manager hangs during acquisition.
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
!Cause
 +
|Windows Vista and newer enable USB power saving, even in the "High Performance" power plan, by default.
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
!Fix
 +
|[[Personal computer setup#Power_Options|Disable Windows "USB selective suspend setting"]].
 +
|}
  
 +
=== Hang due to incorrect Prolific USB-Serial driver ===
 +
{| class="wikitable"
 +
!style="width: 20%;"|Description
 +
|Micro-Manager hangs during acquisition.
 +
|- valign="top"
 +
!Cause
 +
|Buggy Prolific driver (version 3) bundled by Windows 7.  In the Device Manager when you right-click on the Prolific serial port:
 +
  Ports (COM & LPT)
 +
        ...
 +
        Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port (COM201)
 +
        ...
  
== Appendix ==
+
... it will show a newer driver version than 2.0.13.130.
=== Setting Micro-Manager but not iQ ===
+
|- valign="top"
If you want to run Andor's iQ software as well on this computer, skip to the [[#Setting Micro-Manager alongside Andor iQ|the next section]]
+
!Workaround
 +
|
 +
# Install Prolific driver  [[:File:PL2303_DriverInstaller_v1413_20110219.gz|version 2.0.13.130]]
 +
# Disable Microsoft server driver installation.  When Windows says it's searching for drivers, it fetches them from the Microsoft server.  Turn off this driver updating behavior because if e.g. the USB bus glitches for whatever reason it will try to reinstall the buggy version 3 drivers (you have to do this step even if you have Windows updates disabled) via the Start menu > (Type in the "Search programs and files" box) change dev > Change device installation settings > No, Let me choose what to do > Never install driver from Windows Update
 +
# In your Device Manager, right-click on the Prolific ports and check the driver version.  The good version is 2.0.13.130.  Most likely you will see something like 3.4.48.272.  Right-click on the Prolfic entry in the Device Manager > Uninstall > Delete the driver software for this device > OK.  Repeat for all Prolific COM20x ports.  Then to pick up the next available driver in Windows, in the Device Manager click Action > Scan for hardware changes).  Until you get 2.0.13.130, repeat the above of uninstall+deleting the driver.  You will then need to reassign the COM ports to 20x which is detailed in [[AndorLaserCombiner#Configure_ALC_SDK_dependencies]].
 +
{{Note|Andor's ALCs have since switched to using FTDI USB-serial convertors because Prolific considers the PL-2303 an obsolete product and Prolific won't fix the issue with Microsoft distributing faulty drivers.}}
 +
|}
  
Specific driver versions are required.  Do not rely on the manufacturer websites for these drivers.  The ALC_SDK version 2 now bundles all the drivers you need to install to get the ALC running.  Install the drivers bundled with the ALC SDK zip file for your flavor of Windows:
+
== Resources ==
  
      .\ALC_REV_SDK\Drivers\
+
=== Laser Combiner questions ===
 +
For contacting Andor product support regarding any questions, use this [http://www.andor.com/contact_us/support_request/documentation/default.aspx?product=Revolution%C2%AE%20XD Andor Product Support link]
  
=== Setting Micro-Manager alongside Andor iQ ===
+
{{Listserv_Search|Andor}}
Andor completes the steps described in this section in their factory.
+
If you are setting up an Andor laser combiner on a new computer, only then do you need to follow this section.
+
  
When you start Windows, ignore the Found New Hardware Wizard.
+
=== Development support ===
Also when installing, ignore the driver requests to restart your computer.
+
This driver is not actively maintained by the Andor software team.
 +
For feature requests or bug reports, please liaison with µManager developers on [[Micro-Manager_Community|the mailing list]] and Pariksheet Nanda.
  
# (Optional for testing) Dongle Driver
 
# [http://www.andor.com/software/iq/ Andor iQ]
 
#* Necessary because iQ installs the driver to recognize the DeVaSys microcontroller in the combiner
 
#* (Optional for testing) iQ would also serve to test that communication and control of the combiner is possible
 
# [http://www.mccdaq.com/software.aspx Instacal] for the Measurement Computing DAC card driver
 
#* Recognizes the Andor Precision Control Unit (PCU) box which controls the laser combiner Acousto-Optic Tunable Filter (AOTF)
 
# Prolific PL-2303 USB to RS232 driver.  '''For Windows 7 do not use Prolific's public driver.  It will lock up Windows.  Use the version bundled with the ALC SDK instead'''.
 
# Restart your PC
 
# Let Windows Found New Hardware wizard finish for all hardware
 
# Start menu > Measurement Computing > InstalCal, to register the PCU DAC card
 
#* Running InstaCal creates a new configuration file which is used by iQ
 
#* Simply running the program once and closing it creates the file
 
#* Do not delete the DEMO board.
 
#* Two boards should exist, the DEMO board #0 and your installed board #1
 
# Start Menu > Andor Bioimaging > ConfigurationManager
 
#* Create a new configuration with a Kinetic Dummy Camera and the Andor laser combiner
 
  
=== Mapping COM ports ===
+
== Appendix ==
# Remap the USB-to-Serial COM ports in your Device Manager to 201-204
+
=== Library installation for MM 1.4.15 and earlier ===
#* iQ reserves these specific port numbers for the combiner
+
* In older versions of Micro-Manager, the ALC_SDK library files were not included in the main Micro-Manager directoryFor convience the files have been uploaded (with permission) to this wiki:
#* (Right-click) on My Computer > Manage to invoke the Device Manager
+
#* See screenshots below to change COM ports.  By unplugging the USB cable from the front of the Andor combiner we know that Windows has enumerated the COM ports for the lasers from COM 7 to COM 10 (since these port numbers disappear from the Device manager when we unplug the combiner and reappear when we plug it back in) [[Image:AB-1-com-ports.png|frame|center||Step 1:  After restarting Windows with drivers freshly installed, the device manager can list the COM ports of the laser combiner out of order i.e. it orders alphabetically instead of numerically. In this case COM10 should not be made 201, but COM7 would be 201]] [[Image:AB-2-reassign-com-port.png|frame|center||Step 2: Process of reassigning the COM port from COM 7 to COM 201.  (Right-click) on the port > Properties > Port Settings (tab) > Advanced > change the COM port number]] [[Image:AB-3-reassigned-scan.png|frame|center||Step 3:  After 201-204 have been resassigned, click on scan for hardware changes to refresh the window]] [[Image:AB-4-new-ports.png|frame|center||Step 4:  Result of COM port changes]]
+
 
+
=== Testing ===
+
# (Optional for testing) Now start iQ with your new laser combiner configuration and test.  The ALC_SDK also includes a test program which turns lasers on sequentially and then off:
+
  
      .\ALC_REV_SDK\Libraries\ALC_REVTest.exe
+
{| class="wikitable"
      .\ALC_REV_SDK\Libraries\ALC_REVTest64.exe
+
!
 +
! ALC Driver Pack
 +
! Visual C++ 2008 redist<br/>(Only for MM 1.4.14 and earlier)
 +
|-
 +
! 32-bit
 +
| [[:File:libalc_x86.tar.gz|ALC_SDK Libraries 2.0 (32-bit)]]
 +
| [http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=11895 vcredist_x86.exe]
 +
|-
 +
! 64-bit
 +
| [[:File:libalc_x64.tar.gz|ALC_SDK Libraries 2.0 (64-bit)]]
 +
| [http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=11895 vcredist_x64.exe]
 +
|}
  
 +
* Unzip the <code>ALC_SDK Libraries</code> to a new folder and [[Personal computer setup#Add_device_libraries_to_Windows_PATH|add it to the Windows PATH]]:
 +
          C:\ProgramData\Andor_ALC_library\
 +
* If you already have control of your ALC in another software, your ALC_SDK installation is complete because all the Windows device drivers would be installed.  Otherwise continue on to [[#Configure ALC_SDK dependencies]].
  
 +
=== Configure ALC_SDK dependencies ===
 +
* There are 3 dependency drivers:
 +
** DeVaSys (for front USB control to enable interlocks)
 +
** Prolific PL-2303 USB (for laser serial communication).  On the ALC-601 these have been replaced with standard Tronix FTDI drivers which don't require driver installation as they are bundled with Windows 7.
 +
** Measurement Computing (for PCI DAC card)
 +
:Install them from:
 +
{| class="wikitable"
 +
! OS version || DeVaSys || Prolific || Measurement Computing
 +
|-
 +
! 32-bit
 +
| [http://devasys.net/support/current/usbi2cio/software/UsbI2cIoDrivers0500x86.msi UsbI2cIo 5.00 (32-bit)]
 +
|rowspan="2"| [[:File:PL2303_DriverInstaller_v1413_20110219.gz|Prolific 2.0.13.130]]
 +
|rowspan="2"| [ftp://ftp.mccdaq.com/Archive/InstaCal/Archive_6.10/icalsetup.exe InstaCal 6.10]
 +
|-
 +
! 64-bit
 +
| [http://devasys.net/support/current/usbi2cio/software/UsbI2cIoDrivers0500x64.msi UsbI2cIo 5.00 (64-bit)]
 +
|}
 +
* The devices will be detected in the Device Manager as:
 +
      DAS Component
 +
        PCIM-DDA06/16
 +
      DeVaSys USB Interfaces
 +
        USB-I2C/IO Board
 +
      ...
 +
      Ports (COM & LPT)
 +
        ...
 +
        Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port
 +
        ...
 +
* Run Instacal from Windows Start Button > All Programs > Measurement Computing.  You will see the "Plug and Play Board Detection" window finding your PCIM-DDA06/16 card.  Click OK and Exit Instacal.  This has now written your DAC card configuration file.
 +
* Open the Device Manager to check the COM port numbers for the USB-to-Serial COM ports built into the ALC.  Andor's library reserves specific port numbers for the combiner and expects them to be COM201-206.  Change the port numbers as follows:
 +
** Unplug the blue USB cable from the front of the ALC and check if any such ports remain, to confirm if you have other Prolific USB-to-Serial devices attached.  If see some still left, make a note of their COM numbers so that you don't change them.  Plug the ALC back in and note the new COM numbers.
 +
** For each of your reappeared COM ports, check the port physical location by (Right-click) > Properties.  On Windows 7, the "Port" is immediately visible under <code>Location</code> in the <code>General</code> tab.  Search the <code>Properties</code> of all the Prolific USB-to-Serial devices until you see <code>Port_#0001</code>.  That port will need to be changed to COM 201.  Note the corresponding <code>Hub_#</code> number of that port.
 +
** Reassign your COM ports number by (Right-click) > Properties > Port Settings (tab) > Advanced > change the COM port number to 201
 +
**  With your <code>Hub</code> number of COM 201 noted above, reassign the remaining <code>Port_#0002, Port_#0003, Port_#0004</code> for that Hub as COM 202, 203, 204 as above.
 +
**  If your sled has 5 or 6 lasers you will be left with two more Prolific USB-to-Serial ports.  You will need to reassign <code>Port_#0002, Port_#0003</code> as COM 205 and 206, respectively
 +
* Restart the computer to apply the COM port changes
  
[[User:P.nanda|P.nanda]] 14:39, 29 July 2011 (PDT)
+
{{Devices_Sidebar}}

Latest revision as of 08:15, 23 December 2014

Summary: Interfaces with Andor laser combiner
Author: Karl Hoover, UCSF - µManager device adapter
Maintainer: Pariksheet Nanda, Andor - this documentation and µManager device adapter
Contributors: Ed Simmons, ES Imaging - patch for GUI TTL outputs
Pedro Almada, documentation fixes
License: BSD
Platforms: Windows (No Mac or Linux driver available)
Devices: LC-401, LC-501, LC-601 (only 4 laser LC-601 systems supported; 5 and 6 line support possible but not yet implemented)
Since version 1.3.47


Installation

In most cases the ALC will work "out of the box".

But if you're setting up a brand new computer, continue on to #Configure ALC_SDK dependencies, and for Micro-Manager versions than nightly build 1.4.16_20131025 follow the #Library installation for MM 1.4.15 and earlier.

Hardware-based Synchronization

ESIOImagingControllers can be used with an ESio adapter cable for the ALC to run hardware-based synchronization. The ALC lacks the onboard programming to allow the camera TTL synchronization used by the Micro-Manager architecture, thus another supported triggering device is needed.

Hardware Configuration Wizard

Description of devices available in the Hardware Configuration Wizard:

Available Devices Description
AndorLaserCombiner Main device required for your hardware configuration.
Piezostage Enable Andor's analog BNC control for your Piezo Z device. Generally, confocal systems have this configuration since it moves the Piezo faster than RS-232 serial control. If you are unsure about this, look at the front of your Andor Precision Control Unit (PCU)- if you see a BNC cable connected from A5 of the PCU to your Piezo Z controller, you should enable this option. If you see the A5 BNC sealed off, you have a 6 laser system that therefore does not have this feature.
Initialization Properties Description
MultiPortUnitPresent Leave as the default "0" (false) if you only see a single fiber optic connected horizontally to the front of the laser combiner. Otherwise select "1" (true) if you see the multi fiber optic switcher attachment.

For Auto-Shutter setting in Step 3 of 6, set the Default Shutter to the AndorLaserCombiner and in Step 4 of 6 use the default Delay [ms] of 0.0 since a fast AOTF gates the laser output.

Device Properties

Property Description
Enable Logical shutter to allow selection of laser line. It can also set the laser to TTL mode, if the laser supports it. TTL mode requires firmware 2. When creating laser imaging channels, you should add the Enable properties for each laser wavelength to turn on only the wavelength(s) you need.
SaveLifetime Allows lasers to be put in standby mode to preserve lifetime hours. Changes to this property are saved onto the device memory, so the setting is persistently between Micro-Manager sessions. Since going into and coming out of standby can take a few seconds, best practice is leave this property "global" by not including it in channels. Instead, one could add these properties to the System Startup preset, or just create shortcuts by creating groups with only the SaveLifetime setting(s).
IsLinear Reads whether linear correction algorithm is being applied to AOTF by PowerSetpoint, otherwise AOTF laser power output is sigmoid.
PowerSetpoint AOTF intensity setting. Actual power output may or may not be linear depending on the value of IsLinear.
PowerReadback Current laser head power output. Output of 0, could be due to laser being put in Standby using SaveLifetime, or a fault with the laser head. If power is more than a few percent lower than MaximumLaserPower, it also indicates a faulty laser head, but some lasers can take up to 5 minutes to warm up (most warm up in 2 minutes).
MaximumLaserPower Laser rated operating power in milli-Watts.
Hours Indicates laser expired life to plan warranty contracts. (Unfortunately this always shows a value of "0" because the feature is not yet implemented by the Andor ALC SDK)
WaveLength Wavelength of laser line.
LaserState Laser state: "0" indicates off, "1" warm up (if SaveLifetime is set to "PowerOn") or standby (if SaveLifetime is set to "Standby"), and "2" is stable output.
NLasers Number of lasers available.
LaserPort Multi fiber port unit control.
DOUT Digital 8-bit output from Precision Control Unit. The lowest 2 bits are not accessible if a multi fiber port unit is present.
DIN Digital 8-bit input from Precision Control Unit. Reads TTL input signal state.

Troubleshooting (known issues and fixes)

No laser, but laser emission LEDs are illuminated

Description The hardware appears to be operating correctly, but there is no laser output. The camera is running live, feeding the Active Blanking signal.
Cause DEMO-BOARD device listed in InstaCal
Workaround Delete the DEMO-BOARD device by opening InstaCal from Start Menu > Programs > Measurement Computing

Microsoft Visual C++ error(s) opening HCW

Description Opening the Hardware Configuration Wizard shows one or more of the following error windows, and closing the window immediately crashes µManager:
Figure: Error due to incorrect internal laser power setting
Cause Bug in ALC_SDK (Laser power setting exceeding rated value)
Workaround Request Andor support to remotely connect to each laser head and adjust the "set power" (using the p= serial command) to the rated value of the laser head.

Hang due to USB power saving

Description Micro-Manager hangs during acquisition.
Cause Windows Vista and newer enable USB power saving, even in the "High Performance" power plan, by default.
Fix Disable Windows "USB selective suspend setting".

Hang due to incorrect Prolific USB-Serial driver

Description Micro-Manager hangs during acquisition.
Cause Buggy Prolific driver (version 3) bundled by Windows 7. In the Device Manager when you right-click on the Prolific serial port:
  Ports (COM & LPT)
        ...
        Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port (COM201)
        ...

... it will show a newer driver version than 2.0.13.130.

Workaround
  1. Install Prolific driver version 2.0.13.130
  2. Disable Microsoft server driver installation. When Windows says it's searching for drivers, it fetches them from the Microsoft server. Turn off this driver updating behavior because if e.g. the USB bus glitches for whatever reason it will try to reinstall the buggy version 3 drivers (you have to do this step even if you have Windows updates disabled) via the Start menu > (Type in the "Search programs and files" box) change dev > Change device installation settings > No, Let me choose what to do > Never install driver from Windows Update
  3. In your Device Manager, right-click on the Prolific ports and check the driver version. The good version is 2.0.13.130. Most likely you will see something like 3.4.48.272. Right-click on the Prolfic entry in the Device Manager > Uninstall > Delete the driver software for this device > OK. Repeat for all Prolific COM20x ports. Then to pick up the next available driver in Windows, in the Device Manager click Action > Scan for hardware changes). Until you get 2.0.13.130, repeat the above of uninstall+deleting the driver. You will then need to reassign the COM ports to 20x which is detailed in AndorLaserCombiner#Configure_ALC_SDK_dependencies.
Note
Andor's ALCs have since switched to using FTDI USB-serial convertors because Prolific considers the PL-2303 an obsolete product and Prolific won't fix the issue with Microsoft distributing faulty drivers.

Resources

Laser Combiner questions

For contacting Andor product support regarding any questions, use this Andor Product Support link

Click here to search for Andor on the Micro-Manager mailing list archive.

Development support

This driver is not actively maintained by the Andor software team. For feature requests or bug reports, please liaison with µManager developers on the mailing list and Pariksheet Nanda.


Appendix

Library installation for MM 1.4.15 and earlier

  • In older versions of Micro-Manager, the ALC_SDK library files were not included in the main Micro-Manager directory. For convience the files have been uploaded (with permission) to this wiki:
ALC Driver Pack Visual C++ 2008 redist
(Only for MM 1.4.14 and earlier)
32-bit ALC_SDK Libraries 2.0 (32-bit) vcredist_x86.exe
64-bit ALC_SDK Libraries 2.0 (64-bit) vcredist_x64.exe
         C:\ProgramData\Andor_ALC_library\
  • If you already have control of your ALC in another software, your ALC_SDK installation is complete because all the Windows device drivers would be installed. Otherwise continue on to #Configure ALC_SDK dependencies.

Configure ALC_SDK dependencies

  • There are 3 dependency drivers:
    • DeVaSys (for front USB control to enable interlocks)
    • Prolific PL-2303 USB (for laser serial communication). On the ALC-601 these have been replaced with standard Tronix FTDI drivers which don't require driver installation as they are bundled with Windows 7.
    • Measurement Computing (for PCI DAC card)
Install them from:
OS version DeVaSys Prolific Measurement Computing
32-bit UsbI2cIo 5.00 (32-bit) Prolific 2.0.13.130 InstaCal 6.10
64-bit UsbI2cIo 5.00 (64-bit)
  • The devices will be detected in the Device Manager as:
     DAS Component
        PCIM-DDA06/16
     DeVaSys USB Interfaces
        USB-I2C/IO Board
     ...
     Ports (COM & LPT)
        ...
        Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port
        ...
  • Run Instacal from Windows Start Button > All Programs > Measurement Computing. You will see the "Plug and Play Board Detection" window finding your PCIM-DDA06/16 card. Click OK and Exit Instacal. This has now written your DAC card configuration file.
  • Open the Device Manager to check the COM port numbers for the USB-to-Serial COM ports built into the ALC. Andor's library reserves specific port numbers for the combiner and expects them to be COM201-206. Change the port numbers as follows:
    • Unplug the blue USB cable from the front of the ALC and check if any such ports remain, to confirm if you have other Prolific USB-to-Serial devices attached. If see some still left, make a note of their COM numbers so that you don't change them. Plug the ALC back in and note the new COM numbers.
    • For each of your reappeared COM ports, check the port physical location by (Right-click) > Properties. On Windows 7, the "Port" is immediately visible under Location in the General tab. Search the Properties of all the Prolific USB-to-Serial devices until you see Port_#0001. That port will need to be changed to COM 201. Note the corresponding Hub_# number of that port.
    • Reassign your COM ports number by (Right-click) > Properties > Port Settings (tab) > Advanced > change the COM port number to 201
    • With your Hub number of COM 201 noted above, reassign the remaining Port_#0002, Port_#0003, Port_#0004 for that Hub as COM 202, 203, 204 as above.
    • If your sled has 5 or 6 lasers you will be left with two more Prolific USB-to-Serial ports. You will need to reassign Port_#0002, Port_#0003 as COM 205 and 206, respectively
  • Restart the computer to apply the COM port changes
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