|Camera Link Technology
|There are many manufacturers that now offer line scan and
area scan cameras using the new industry standard Camera Link interface. If you have
struggled in the past with the complexities of interfacing an industrial camera with a
frame grabber, then you will appreciate the advances incorporated in Camera Link cameras.
Some of the advantages of the new Camera Link interface are:
- Much easier camera/frame grabber
integration. Since the connectors, cables, data format, and control signals are defined,
many of the problems seen in the past are eliminated.
- Since the cables are an industry
standard, users will be able to take advantage of competitive pricing.
- Camera Link cables are smaller, more
flexible, and less prone to breakage than in the past.
- The high data rates of the chip sets
used in Camera Link compatible devices can easily handle current image data transmission
requirements and allow great expansion for the future.
If you are interested in the
benefits of Camera Link technology and want to see if it can improve your system
performance, call us today!
Evolution of Camera Link
In late 2000, it became apparent to industrial camera manufacturers and frame grabber
manufacturers alike, that customers were experiencing great difficulty interfacing cameras
and frame grabbers. An ad-hoc committee was formed to investigate the possibility of
developing a standard camera/frame grabber interface specific to the vision industry. The
result of that investigation is the Camera Link standard. This new specification defines:
- A standard connector that will be used on both the camera
and the frame grabber
- A standard cable to connect the camera and grabber
- Formats for transmitting image data from the camera to the
- Four standard camera control inputs
- A standard method for transmitting serial communication
data between the camera and the grabber
- A standard chip set that will be used in the camera and
the grabber for image data transfer
The Channel Link Chip Set
In recent years, RS-644 LVDS technology has been used to transfer digital data. With
RS-644 LVDS, a pair of wires is needed to transmit each data bit. This leads bulky cables
that are expensive, prone to breakage and difficult to interface. Also, the maximum data
rate in a typical camera application was limited to about 400 MBits/sec.
Camera Link is based the new Channel Link LVDS chip set manufactured by National
Semiconductor. A Channel Link chipset consists of a transmitter and a receiver and is used
to transfer digital data. This technology offers many advantages over the RS-644 LVDS
technology. With Channel Link, 28 bits of data are transferred over just 4 pairs of wires
and a fifth pair is used to transfer a required clock signal. This compares very favorably
with the 56 wires that would be needed with RS-644 LVDS to do the same job. Channel Link
is also 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.
Camera Link Downloads
Basler has prepared a Camera Link Technology Brief, which
explains Camera Link technology and describes how this technology has been implemented in
To download this document, use the link below.
Link Technology Brief (329 KB - PDF File)