K-Cube™ and T-Cube™ USB Controller Hubs
- Provide Power and Communication for up to Three or Six K-Cubes or T-Cubes
- Install T-Cubes Using KAP101 or KAP102 Adapter Plate
- USB 2.0 Interface
KCH301 Mounted Vertically with K-Cubes and T-Cubes Installed (KAP101 Adapter and AP90 Bracket Not Included)
|Housing Dimensions (without Mounting Brackets)||193.5 mm x 70.0 mm x 24.0 mm
(7.62" x 2.76" x 0.94")
|376.5 mm x 70.0 mm x 24.0 mm
(14.82" x 2.76" x 0.94")
|Weight||0.3 kg||0.5 kg|
|Input Power Requirements||15 V, 10 A (Max)|
|Output Power||+15 V, 6 A (Max)
-15 V, 1 A (Max)
+5 V, 5 A (Max)
|USB Hub Circuit||Fully Compliant USB 2.0 Hub|
Click to Enlarge
The controller hubs contain M6 taps on the bottom, allowing them to be mounted vertically using the AP90(/M) Right Angle Bracket (sold separately).
|K-Cube™ Motion Control Modules|
|Brushed DC Servo Motor Controller|
|Brushless DC Servo Motor Controller|
|Fiber Alignment Controllers|
|Four-Channel Piezo Inertia Actuator Controller|
|PSD Auto Aligner|
|Single-Channel Piezo Controller|
|Single-Channel Strain Gauge Reader|
|Stepper Motor Controller|
|Compact Light Source & Driver Modules|
|Laser Diode Driver|
|Compact Temperature Control Module|
- Enables Communication between K-Cubes™, T-Cubes™, and Host Control PC
- Supports up to Three (KCH301) or Six (KCH601) K-Cube or T-Cube Controllers
- Compact USB 2.0 Platform
- Horizontal or Vertical Mounting to Optical Tables
- Single USB Cable and Single Power Cable for all Connected K-Cubes and T-Cubes
- Second USB Port for Connecting Multiple Controller Hubs
- Fully RoHS Compliant
These USB Controller Hubs have been designed specifically with multiple K-Cube and T-Cube operation in mind. They simplify issues such as cable management, power supply routing, and multiple USB device communications. In addition, they make it possible to mount the electronic drivers on the optical table, next to all of the other mechanical components required to build an automated optomechanical application.
Each USB Controller Hub comprises a slim base-plate type carrier with electrical connections located on the upper surface. It contains a fully compliant USB 2.0 hub circuit and provides all communications and power distribution for up to three (KCH301) or six (KCH601) K-Cubes or T-Cubes, using only a single power connection. The hub draws a maximum current of 10 A; please verify that the cubes being used do not require a total current of more than 10 A. See the table to the right for output power specifications. The hubs are shipped complete with the power supply and horizontal mounting brackets.
The hub vastly reduces the number of USB and power cables required when operating multiple K-Cubes or T-Cubes. Furthermore, a USB output connector can be connected to the USB input on another unit, allowing multiple controller hubs to be connected together while still only using a single USB cable from the host control PC. As an added feature, the controller hub, when combined with devices that work in a closed loop such as the K-Cube Piezo Controller and the
A KAP101 or KAP102 Adapter Plate (sold separately below) is required for each T-Cube to operate on the controller hub. The KAP101 is designed to adapt 60 mm wide T-Cubes to the hubs, while the KAP102 is designed to adapt 120 mm wide T-Cubes to the hubs.
An array of mounting holes on the bottom of the USB Controller Hubs enables them to be mounted in multiple configurations to both imperial and metric tables. The hubs are shipped complete with mounting brackets that allow horizontal mounting; these brackets are compatible with both imperial and metric screws and allow the hub to be mounted flat on the optical table, much like the mounting plates of the individual cubes.
Alternatively, the AP90(/M) Right Angle Brackets, sold separately, can used to mount a hub vertically, thus saving space on the optical table. Two M6 cap screws are required to attach the right angle bracket to the hub.
The hubs also have two (KCH301) or three (KCH601) magnets on the bottom to temporarily secure the hubs in place on the table.
Click to Enlarge
The KAP101 Adapter Plate (sold separately below) is required for mating 60 mm wide T-Cubes with KCH series hubs.
Click to Enlarge
The KAP102 Adapter Plate (sold separately below) is required for mating 120 mm wide T-Cubes with KCH series hubs.
Click to Enlarge
Each controller hub includes horizontal mounting brackets for securing the hub to an optical table or breadboard.
|Pin||Description||Minimum||Maximum||Max Operating Current|
|A||15 V||14 V||16 V||10 A|
|B||15 V Return||-||-||-|
|C||15 V Return||-||-||-|
|D||15 V||14 V||16 V||10 A|
This port can be connected to the USB IN on another Hub or other USB device, allowing multiple Controller Hubs to be connected together, thereby requiring only a single USB cable from the host control PC.
Provides communication to the host controller PC.
Thorlabs offers two platforms to drive our wide range of motion controllers: our Kinesis® software package or the legacy APT™ (Advanced Positioning Technology) software package. Either package can be used to control devices in the Kinesis family, which covers a wide range of motion controllers ranging from small, low-powered, single-channel drivers (such as the K-Cubes™ and T-Cubes™) to high-power, multi-channel, modular 19" rack nanopositioning systems (the APT Rack System).
The Kinesis Software features .NET controls which can be used by 3rd party developers working in the latest C#, Visual Basic, LabVIEW™, or any .NET compatible languages to create custom applications. Low-level DLL libraries are included for applications not expected to use the .NET framework. A Central Sequence Manager supports integration and synchronization of all Thorlabs motion control hardware.
Kinesis GUI Screen
APT GUI Screen
Our legacy APT System Software platform offers ActiveX-based controls which can be used by 3rd party developers working on C#, Visual Basic, LabVIEW™, or any Active-X compatible languages to create custom applications and includes a simulator mode to assist in developing custom applications without requiring hardware.
By providing these common software platforms, Thorlabs has ensured that users can easily mix and match any of the Kinesis and APT controllers in a single application, while only having to learn a single set of software tools. In this way, it is perfectly feasible to combine any of the controllers from single-axis to multi-axis systems and control all from a single, PC-based unified software interface.
The software packages allow two methods of usage: graphical user interface (GUI) utilities for direct interaction with and control of the controllers 'out of the box', and a set of programming interfaces that allow custom-integrated positioning and alignment solutions to be easily programmed in the development language of choice.
A range of video tutorials is available to help explain our APT system software. These tutorials provide an overview of the software and the APT Config utility. Additionally, a tutorial video is available to explain how to select simulator mode within the software, which allows the user to experiment with the software without a controller connected. Please select the APT Tutorials tab above to view these videos.
Thorlabs' Kinesis® software features new .NET controls which can be used by third-party developers working in the latest C#, Visual Basic, LabVIEW™, or any .NET compatible languages to create custom applications.
This programming language is designed to allow multiple programming paradigms, or languages, to be used, thus allowing for complex problems to be solved in an easy or efficient manner. It encompasses typing, imperative, declarative, functional, generic, object-oriented, and component-oriented programming. By providing functionality with this common software platform, Thorlabs has ensured that users can easily mix and match any of the Kinesis controllers in a single application, while only having to learn a single set of software tools. In this way, it is perfectly feasible to combine any of the controllers from the low-powered, single-axis to the high-powered, multi-axis systems and control all from a single, PC-based unified software interface.
The Kinesis System Software allows two methods of usage: graphical user interface (GUI) utilities for direct interaction and control of the controllers 'out of the box', and a set of programming interfaces that allow custom-integrated positioning and alignment solutions to be easily programmed in the development language of choice.
For a collection of example projects that can be compiled and run to demonstrate the different ways in which developers can build on the Kinesis motion control libraries, click on the links below. Please note that a separate integrated development environment (IDE) (e.g., Microsoft Visual Studio) will be required to execute the Quick Start examples. The C# example projects can be executed using the included .NET controls in the Kinesis software package (see the Kinesis Software tab for details).
|Click Here for the Kinesis with C# Quick Start Guide
Click Here for C# Example Projects
Click Here for Quick Start Device Control Examples
LabVIEW can be used to communicate with any Kinesis- or APT-based controller via .NET controls. In LabVIEW, you build a user interface, known as a front panel, with a set of tools and objects and then add code using graphical representations of functions to control the front panel objects. The LabVIEW tutorial, provided below, provides some information on using the .NET controls to create control GUIs for Kinesis- and APT-driven devices within LabVIEW. It includes an overview with basic information about using controllers in LabVIEW and explains the setup procedure that needs to be completed before using a LabVIEW GUI to operate a device.
|Click Here to View the LabVIEW Guide
Click Here to View the Kinesis with LabVIEW Overview Page
The APT video tutorials available here fall into two main groups - one group covers using the supplied APT utilities and the second group covers programming the APT System using a selection of different programming environments.
Disclaimer: The videos below were originally produced in Adobe Flash. Following the discontinuation of Flash after 2020, these tutorials were re-recorded for future use. The Flash Player controls still appear in the bottom of each video, but they are not functional.
Every APT controller is supplied with the utilities APTUser and APTConfig. APTUser provides a quick and easy way of interacting with the APT control hardware using intuitive graphical control panels. APTConfig is an 'off-line' utility that allows various system wide settings to be made such as pre-selecting mechanical stage types and associating them with specific motion controllers.
APT User Utility
The first video below gives an overview of using the APTUser Utility. The OptoDriver single channel controller products can be operated via their front panel controls in the absence of a control PC. The stored settings relating to the operation of these front panel controls can be changed using the APTUser utility. The second video illustrates this process.
APT Config Utility
There are various APT system-wide settings that can be made using the APT Config utility, including setting up a simulated hardware configuration and associating mechanical stages with specific motor drive channels. The first video presents a brief overview of the APT Config application. More details on creating a simulated hardware configuration and making stage associations are present in the next two videos.
The APT Software System is implemented as a collection of ActiveX Controls. ActiveX Controls are language-independant software modules that provide both a graphical user interface and a programming interface. There is an ActiveX Control type for each type of hardware unit, e.g. a Motor ActiveX Control covers operation with any type of APT motor controller (DC or stepper). Many Windows software development environments and languages directly support ActiveX Controls, and, once such a Control is embedded into a custom application, all of the functionality it contains is immediately available to the application for automated operation. The videos below illustrate the basics of using the APT ActiveX Controls with LabVIEW, Visual Basic, and Visual C++. Note that many other languages support ActiveX including LabWindows CVI, C++ Builder, VB.NET, C#.NET, Office VBA, Matlab, HPVEE etc. Although these environments are not covered specifically by the tutorial videos, many of the ideas shown will still be relevant to using these other languages.
Part 1 illustrates how to get an APT ActiveX Control running within Visual Basic, and Part 2 goes on to show how to program a custom positioning sequence.
Full Active support is provided by LabVIEW and the series of tutorial videos below illustrate the basic building blocks in creating a custom APT motion control sequence. We start by showing how to call up the Thorlabs-supplied online help during software development. Part 2 illustrates how to create an APT ActiveX Control. ActiveX Controls provide both Methods (i.e. Functions) and Properties (i.e. Value Settings). Parts 3 and 4 show how to create and wire up both the methods and properties exposed by an ActiveX Control. Finally, in Part 5, we pull everything together and show a completed LabVIEW example program that demonstrates a custom move sequence.
Part 1: Accessing Online Help
Part 2: Creating an ActiveX Control
Part 3: Create an ActiveX Method
Part 4: Create an ActiveX Property
Part 5: How to Start an ActiveX Control
The following tutorial videos illustrate alternative ways of creating Method and Property nodes:
Create an ActiveX Method (Alternative)
Create an ActiveX Property (Alternative)
Part 1 illustrates how to get an APT ActiveX Control running within Visual C++, and Part 2 goes on to show how to program a custom positioning sequence.
For assistance when using MATLAB and ActiveX controls with the Thorlabs APT positioners, click here.
To further assist programmers, a guide to programming the APT software in LabVIEW is also available here.