ASI Console is a free downloadable application that uses communication via serial port or virtual serial port (USB-serial adapter) to control, configure, and update firmware of ASI devices.
Whenever you launch ASI Console while connected to Internet, it automatically updates itself to the latest version from our website. That functionality is built into Microsoft .NET, the platform on which ASI Console is built. Knowing that you don’t like surprises, we only fix bugs and add features; we don’t make unnecessary changes.
In the update from version 1.5b to 1.6, we changed how we store your settings. Instead of using the Windows registry, we now use a new scheme that avoids the registry. We did this because some users were experiencing problems we traced to registry corruption.
In 1.5b and previous versions, if you had a registry corruption issue, the only way to get rid of it was to manually delete the ASI Console registry entries. Now if you have a problem with settings, you can clear them away by uninstalling and reinstalling ASI Console.
ASI Console runs with Windows XP (SP3), Vista, and Windows 7 (SP1). Windows edition and Service pack level can be found in Control Panel / System.
ASI Console also requires the use of Microsoft .NET Framework 4 or higher. As of this writing, you can download the latest .NET Framework version from here.
Note that Microsoft .NET framework 4 Client Profile is not correct and won’t work.
We recommend using the setup link above to guarantee that you are running the latest version of ASI Console, however we also supply a .zip version that can be downloaded from here.
If your computer is not connected to the internet, you can download this .zip file to another computer and copy it to the computer you want to use. You can run ASI_Console.exe with no further installation steps provided that Microsoft .NET Framework 4 is installed on your computer.
Connect a serial null modem cable to the ASI device. A USB cable may also be used for the MS-2000. The USB connection requires special drivers, available with complete installation instructions here.
When ASI Console is launched and the host computer is connected to the Internet, a brief event automatically checks for updates and downloads the latest version if needed. This operation, including optional installation, takes only a few seconds and ensures the best possible software performance. This is typical of some Microsoft .NET applications.
Launching ASI Console causes the Home/Exit panel to appear.
Figure 2 Home/Exit Panel at Application Launch
With a serial Null Modem cable connected to the computer, clicking the Connect button under the MS-2000 panel changes the display as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3 Home/Exit Panel with MS-2000 Connected
With the Home/Exit panel appearing as shown in Figure 3, click the MS-2000 tab near the top of the ASI Console window. The display changes to the MS-2000 panel as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4 MS-2000 Panel
When the MS-2000 is connected to the serial port, you can use the buttons to move the stage. Using the text window on the right, you can control and configure the MS-2000 by entering commands defined in the MS-2000 Operation and Programming Manual. That document also explains the functions of the HOME and ZERO buttons and all other functions of the MS-2000. You can set some configuration items by using the buttons, drop-down menu, and text box at the lower right of the MS-2000 panel.
In a similar way, the FW-1000 can be controlled and configured by using the FW-1000 panel.
The panel marked More… presents various other ASI product capabilities that you may need to use. At this writing these capabilities include updating MS-2000 firmware and operating the MS-2000 sequencer.
Clicking the button “Update firmware…” launches the ASI updater 6 wizard as shown in Figure 5.
After obtaining the needed firmware .HEX file and storing it on your computer, use the Browse button to locate the file. Alternately, you may have received three files with the suffix .H01 .H02, and .H03. Store these all in the same folder. When you browse, you will see only the .H01 file. Select that file. The updater software automatically locates and uses the other two files. Click “Next>”.
Figure 5 ASI Updater 6 Welcome Panel
Figure 6 ASI Updater 6 COM Port and Product Type Panel
The drop-down list “Select a COM port” displays all ports available and not currently in use by other applications. If you don’t see your preferred port on the list, then one of the following conditions exist:
Use the drop-down list “Select a product type” when you need to update firmware in a product other than the MS-2000.
Click “Next >”. The “Connect and Load” panel appears.
Figure 7 Connect and Load Panel
If you are using a USB connection, do not turn off the MS-2000. It must stay powered on throughout this porcedure.
When you click “Connect…”, a small dialog confirms your request.
Figure 8 Dialog: Erase code?
If the MS-2000 has working firmware in the right state, it will respond to clicking “Connect…” by switching to the display shown
Usually when you click “Yes,” the Connect and Load panel changes right away to look like Figure 9 or Figure 10.
If using a USB connection, do not disconnnect, turn off power, or otherwise interrupt the firmware loading when the panel looks like Figure 10. To do so will make firmware loading impossible with the USB connection.
Figure 9 Connecting…
Figure 10 Connect and Load, Loading firmware
If the panel looks like figure 9, then do one of two things, depending on what kind of connection you are using:
Note that as soon as the panel looks like Fogure 10 the firmware is being erased.
If using a USB connection, do not disconnect, turn off power, or otherwise interrupt the firmware loading when the panel looks like Figure 10. To do so will make firmware loading impossible with the USB connection.
If the direct USB connection stops working due to loss of firmware, the Keyspan USB-serial adapter will work.
Figure 11 MS-2000 Sequencer
This dialog prepares a set of commands used by the MS-2000 Sequencer firmware. Under control of Sequencer firmware, the MS-2000 can perform sequences of moves and emit triggering signals under the control of preloaded instructions. Those instructions include conditional statements based on internal and external events such as input trigger signals and counters.
The Sequencer was conceived as a way to do real time image acquisition controlled by camera triggering signals and millisecond resolution internal timers, thus bypassing unpredictable latencies characteristic of host computers.
The Sequencer firmware can be obtained from ASI and loaded into any MS-2000 controller whose Model identifier (on the bottom of the unit) is prefaced by “WK”. Some additional hardware is needed from ASI if multiple trigger signals are to be used.
Detailed documentation of the Sequencer firmware is available by request from ASI.
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