These instructions are for the standard video camera, with the supplied software.
If you have the slim USB CCD, you need these instructions instead.
If you have the High Resolution CCD, you need these instructions instead.
If you have the Macro x-ray camera, you need these instructions instead.
If you have the Laue camera, you need these instructions instead.
If you have the EMCCD camera, you need these instructions instead.

Support the camera securely

Do not support the camera from the small CCD unit - you risk breaking the CCD unit from the camera body. Use the four 4mm screws on the back of the camera body.

Plug the three cables into the CCD unit

  • The 16-pin exposure controller cable. Don't swap 120N and 120N+ controllers.
  • The bayonet video cable, which can be 20m or more long.
  • The 12V 250mA power cable. Use the supplied EU or US regulated transformer.
  • Do not allow these cables to pull on the CCD unit; you risk breaking it off.

If you have the Peltier Cooling option...

If you have the Peltier Cooling option make sure you use the included higher power supply (12v at 750ma), otherwise you may see noise bars across the video. When it is plugged in, the cooling diode will blink rapidly while cooling, and the fan will start after a few seconds. When the temperature of the CCD reaches 10C, the cooling diode will glow steadily. The CCD temperature will be stabilized at 10C, about 30C lower than the normal operating temperature of an uncooled camera. Most of the isolated "hot pixels" will disappear, and if necessary any remaining noise can be removed by applying the "Salt & Pepper" filter, or by subtracting a stable background image. When you have finished, press the diode to switch cooling off; the diode will blink slowly and then switch off after ~10 minutes when the CCD has warmed up. You can switch off the power while the CCD is still cold, but you risk eventually shortening its life due to thermal stress. See the Peltier User Guide for further details.

Adjust the exposure control settings

  • Press the red button to switch off the red "freeze" (FRZ) light if it is on.
  • Turn the exposure control to slow-5. The green light should blink at ~1 hz.
  • Turn the gain and gamma to "HI" if necessary to maximise efficiency.
  • Adjust the shutter speed, gain and gamma as appropriate. See the back of the control unit for shutter speeds. The iris control is not used.
  • "HI" gamma (contrast) may be needed for faint images, but if intensity permits, switch gamma to "LO" to obtain a better dynamic range.
  • For unlimited exposures, set the shutter position to "START" (top), expose for the required time, then press the red button to "STOP" and obtain the read out.
  • If you have the wireless remote control option, you have a much larger choice of preset exposures - from 0.0005 seconds to 90 minutes! You can also set the exposure, and it will remain set while the camera is powered on, even if the controller is switched off. A detailed manual can be downloaded. If you want to programme the wireless controller using its RS232 connection to a computer, you can learn how using our collection of controller scripts.
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Using unlimited timed exposures

Short exposures are normally sufficient, but to expose for more than 10 seconds:

  • The shutter position should be set to "START" (top)
  • Press the red button to start exposing; both red and green lights go off.
  • Press the red button again to stop exposing; both red and green lights go on.
  • While the red FRZ light is on, the image is stored (frozen) in the camera.
  • The stored image is only erased when the red light is off (or the power cut).
  • Remember, very long exposures result in electronic noise, even with cooling.
  • Use the "Salt & Pepper" filter in RoboRealm, or the "Despeckle" filter in ImageJ.
  • ImageJ has a very effective "Background Process" to eliminate CCD amplifier glow.
  • Try different USB ports! Some are noisy, even on expensive computers.

Use a video monitor/TV or USB-2 frame grabber

A small TFT monitor is an inexpensive solution for monitoring the image of the neutron beam, and if required can be used in parallel with a computer.

To record and analyse the image, a USB-2 video frame grabber is needed, such as the EzCAP capture device included from version-3 of the camera or available as an optional extra for version-2. Do NOT plug it in before installing the EzCAP driver from the NeutronOptics CD after reading the software help page.

You can locate the sample relative to a fixed position on the camera, either by gluing an indium wire cross-hair to the camera screen or by projecting a cross-hair onto the image viewed with acquisition software such as AMCap.

Physical rotation of the image

You can transform the image in RoboRealm or ImageJ, but as well the CCD unit can be physically rotated to invert the image or turn it through 90/270 degrees. After removing the CCD hood, the 3 small screws between the CCD unit and the camera body can be loosened using the supplied key, allowing the CCD unit to be rotated or removed completely. Take care that the exposed CCD chip is not touched, or exposed to dust or strong light. If light enters the exposed lens, you may see the remnant glow from the scintillator for several minutes after replacing the CCD unit. Don't disassemble the camera unless you really must; focusing can be degraded by imperfect re-assembly.
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