Using Roper (Princeton Instruments) cameras with the PVCAM Video module

Technical Note: 187
Reads: 11866
Creation Date: 05/02/2001
Modification Date: 12/02/2004

In 1998, Princeton Instruments and Photometrics were acquired by Roper Industries Inc. and became Roper Scientific. This gave Roper two product ranges:

Princeton Instruments (PI) Cameras

MicroMAX PentaMAX ST-133 ST-138

Photometrics (PVCAM) Cameras

Quantix SenSys CoolSNAP CoolSNAP FX

Openlab supports most PI cameras through the "PI Video" module, and all PVCAM cameras through the "PVCAM Video" module. For a full list of supported cameras and CCDs, see the "Openlab Supported Hardware List" which is available on ITIL.

Certain PI cameras do not work with the "PI Video" module because they are not supported by the Macintosh driver that this module uses. It is however possible to use these cameras with Openlab using the "PI to PVCAM shim", which is a special driver that allows PI cameras to be used through PVCAM.

Cameras that are not supported by the "PI Video" module but that will work with the shim include:

MicroMAX with 5MHz ADC Newer CCDs such as the EEV 512x512 FT B 57

Note: The "PI to PVCAM shim" has never been officially released by Roper and is not supported by them. Improvision cannot support this software as Roper cannot guarantee to provide driver updates or solve problems. The shim must be used at the customer's own risk. The shim will work in Mac OS 9 only, it will not work in Mac OS X.

To install the shim:

(1) Download the shim installer from:

(2) Run the installer by double-clicking on it.

The installer may ask you to locate your copy of Openlab. It installs some files in the Openlab folder and two drivers in the "Extensions" folder. It also removes the extension "PI CCD Camera" as this conflicts with PVCAM. Finally it installs two applications in the same folder as Openlab - "DynaPIE" and "CamTest". These are Roper applications that can be useful for troubleshooting.

Note: If you re-install Openlab you will need to re-install the shim as well.

You will also need to remove the "PI Video" module from your "Openlab Modules" folder and ensure that the "PVCAM Video" module is in your "Openlab Modules" folder.

When you start Openlab, you will be able to choose "PVCAM" in the "Video Settings" dialog, and choose "Princeton Instruments" as the camera.

There are some known problems with the shim:

- If the camera is not plugged in and turned on when you start Openlab, your machine will crash. This is a fault in the shim.