A wide range of brushed DC servo motors and associated actuators are available, each with its own operational specifications. For this reason, the apt™ DC Servo controllers are fully configurable (parameterized) to support different motor/actuator combinations. Key settings such as PID control loop values, min and max stage position, leadscrew pitch, and limit switch configuration are exposed through the supplied apt™ software. Moreover, relative and absolute motion can be initiated with move profiles set using velocity profile parameters. Homing sequences for establishing a zero datum are also fully configurable for a particular stage or actuator. For simplicity of operation, the apt™ software incorporates pre-configured settings for each Thorlabs' stage and actuator including the DRV414 actuator.
All key parameters can be adjusted through direct interaction with the graphical software panels supplied. However, for custom motion control applications, all controller settings and commands are also accessible through the ActiveX ® programming libraries. These programming libraries are very comprehensive, providing hundreds of functions and parameters that can be accessed from user-written programs. They are language independent in nature and consequently are supported by a large variety of programming environments that are ActiveX ® compliant. These include LabVIEW, Visual Basic, C++, Matlab, and HPVEE.
Note that all such settings and parameters are also accessible through the ActiveX® programmable interfaces for automated alignment sequences. Refer to the Software tab for further information on the apt™ software support for the BDC100 series.
Full Software GUI Conrol Suite & ActiveX® Controls Included
A full and sophisticated software support suite is supplied with the BDC103. The suite includes a number of user utilities to allow immediate operation of the unit without any detailed pre-configuration. All operating modes can be accessed manually and all operating parameters can be changed and saved for next time use. For more advanced 'custom' motion control applications, a fully featured ActiveX® programming environment is also included to facilitate custom application development in a wide range of programming environments. Note that all such settings and parameters described above are also accessible through these ActiveX® programmable interfaces. For further information on the apt™ software support for the BDC10x refer to the Software tab. Demonstraton videos illustrating how to program the apt™ software are also available for viewing from the Video Tutorial tab.
The ActiveX® apt™ system software shipped with these units is also compatible with other apt™ family controllers including our multi-channel rack-based system and smaller optical table mountable T-Cube Controllers. This single unified software offering allows seamless mixing of any apt™ benchtop, table top and rack based units in any single positioning applicaiton.
The key innovation of the apt™ range of controllers and associated mechanical products is the ease and speed with which complete automated alignment/positioning systems can be engineered at both the hardware and software level. All controllers in the apt™ range are equipped with USB connectivity. The multi-drop USB bus allows multiple apt™ units to be connected to a single controller PC using commerical USB hubs and cables. When planning a multi-channel application, simply add up the number and type of drive channels required and connect together the associated number of APT controllers.
Encoded Feedback - Positioning Accuracy
The BDC100 series controlers also support encoder feedback on each channel through dedicated quadrature encoded pulse (QEP) inputs. A built in algorithm can be enabled to allow the servo system to reach and maintain an encoded position through a highly configurable iterative move sequence. For custom closed loop algorithms the apt™software exposes the encoder position for access through the ActiveX® programmable interfaces.
Software Developers Support CD
A developers’ kit is shipped with all of our apt™ series controllers. This additional software support is intended for use by software developers working on large, system integration projects that incorporate apt™ products. The kit contains an extensive selection of useful code samples as well as a library of Video Tutorials.