The T-Cube Solenoid Controller (TSC001) is a new very compact single channel controller for easy manual and automated control of solenoid operated shutters, and other such products. Designed to operate 15V solenoid actuated devices, this mini controller is fully featured, possessing an embedded DSP processor to provide a multitude of flexible operating modes. Embedded software functionality allows this unit to be used to control solenoid devices manually (using panel buttons), automatically with DSP timed operation, or via external trigger signals for operation with third party equipment. A trigger out connection allows multiple T-Cube controllers to be connected together for multi-channel 'synchronised' operation.
TSC001 Solenoid Controller T-Cube
This unit has been designed generically to operate with third party solenoid operated devices operated at 15V/1A (peak). Thorlabs offer a solenoid operated beam shutter (SH05) which is fully compatible with the TSC001 Solenoid Controller.
TSC001 Solenoid Controller and SH05 Shutter
Joining the apt™ Family
The T-Cube drivers are the newest members of the apt™ family of controllers. The apt™ family includes a range of high specification motor and piezo controllers (both in bench top and rack based formats) specifically aimed at high resolution positioning applications. By inheriting much of the functionality developed for these high end variants, the T-Cube drivers are built on a flexible and powerful motion control capability with full and complete software support. It is perfectly feasible to mix operation of the TSC001 unit with any other member of the apt™ controller family through the same unified software interfaces, both graphical and programmable. For the first time, positioning and motion control applications deploying any of the complete range of Thorlabs motorized/piezo actuated nano-positioning and opto-mechanical hardware is easily achieved in minimum time via a common PC software platform.
TSC001 Rear Panel
The TSC001 Solenoid Driver T-Cube is contained in a very compact 60 x 60 x 47mm (2.4" x 2.4" x 1.8") housing incorporating easily accessible local controls for manual operation. We have taken care to keep the footprint to a minimum allowing the possibility, in many opto-mechanical applications, of locating this driver on the optical table in close proximity to the solenoid equipped apparatus being driven. A base plate option allows easy mounting to optical tables in a stacked side by side configuration for control of multiple motor channels. Use of this driver solution within the photonics R&D environment is further considered by an overall black finish and by elimination of any stray light generation associated with LEDs often found on the front panel which can be disabled by using a software command.
T-Cube Controller Hub
As a further level of convenience when using the new T-Cube Controllers Thorlabs also offers the new T-Cube Controller Hub. This product has been designed specifically with multiple T-Cube operation in mind in order to simplify issues such as cable management, power supply routing, multiple USB device communications and different optical table mounting scenarios. The T-Cube Controller Hub comprises a slim base-plate type carrier (375mm x 86mm x 21.5mm, 14.75" x 3.4" x 0.85") with electrical connections located on the upper surface to accept up to six T-Cubes. Internally the Controller Hub contains a fully compliant USB 2.0 hub circuit to provide communications for all six T-Cubes - a single USB connection to the Controller Hub is all that is required for PC control. The Controller Hub also provides power distribution for up to six T-Cubes, requiring only a single power connection. In addition the Hub routes digital and analogue signals between T-Cubes allowing deterministic inter-Cube operation in certain applications.
Vertical and Horizontal Mounting Options
Note when operatiing the TSC001 T-Cube standalone (in absence of the TCH001 Hub) a separate power supply is required. A compact multi-way power supply unit (TPS008) is available from Thorlabs allowing up to 8 individual TSC001 Drivers to be powered from a single mains outlet (see picture below). A single way wall plug supply (TPS001) is also available for powering a single Driver.
TPS008 Power Supply
Automated (PC) Control
For automated remote operation, the TSC001 is fitted with a USB port for connection to a host control PC. In this way one or more drivers can be connected together easily via USB hubs for control from a single computer. To enable easy and flexible simultaneous control of multiple units, a full software control suite (the apt™ System Software) is supplied by Thorlabs. This software was originally developed to provide sophisticated PC control of the full range of apt™ bench top motion controllers and has now been fully updated to provide support for the T-Cube drivers. Using this feature rich apt™ system software the full control capabilities of the TSC001 are exposed through very intuitive graphical user control panels, allowing solenoid activity to be initiated and monitored very easily. All operating parameters can be easily accessed and changed “on the fly” in order to fine tune operation as required. Multiple graphical panels displayed within the software allow control of multiple T-Cube Drivers simultaneously, in an easy and intuitive way.
TSC001 Software GUI
Full Software GUI Conrol Suite & ActiveX® Controls Included
A full and sophisticated software suite is supplied with the TSC001. It comprises a number of 'out of the box' 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 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 T-Cube drivers refer to the Software tab. Demonstraton videos illustrating how to program the apt™ software are also available for viewing from the Video Tutorial tab.
Typical ActiveX Control View
The ActiveX® apt™ system software shipped with the TSC001 is also compatible with other apt™ family controllers including our multi-channel rack-based system and the higher power benchtop controllers. This single unified software offering allows seamless mixing of any apt™ benchtop, table top and rack based units in any single positioning application.
The APT Family
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.
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.