ORBIT 1 XY Stage

Technical Note: 264
Reads: 6995
Creation Date: 14/12/2001
Modification Date: 12/02/2004



ORBIT XY1 controller with XY cards fitted. This Orbit I controller is taller than the original Orbit I controller, at the same height as the ORBIT II.

One of the following stages with stepper motors: H101 - 4"x 3" for Upright microscope. H105 – 6"x 6" for Upright microscope. H107 – 4"x 3" for inverted microscope.

H381RevC Stage cable.

Orbit I RS232 serial interface cable (Improvision part number 1170) via a Keyspan USB to twin serial (Mac) adapter (Improvision part number 294).

X-Y joystick with focus control knob inbuilt.


Connect the stage to the port on the back of the Orbit 1 controller marked stage using teh H381RevC Stage cable. Connect the serial cable via the Keyspan adapter to a free USB port on the Macintosh. Remember or make a note of the port number (on the adapter not the computer) that the cable from the microscope plugs into.


You will need Openlab version 3.0.4 or later Orbit Hardware Support version 1.1.3 XY Stage Module version 2.2.1

Configuring the Openlab Preferences

Start up Openlab and open the Openlab Preferences dialog. Choose Edit>Preferences. Choose the option Serial Ports from the list on the left hand side of the dialog. From the pop-up next to the device name "Orbit" select the name of the port that the serial cable is plugged into. In the XY Stage palette window, select "Orbit XY stage" from the menu Device.

Please see the supported hardware list for tested configurations.


XY Stage Palette and Stage Manager window. Show graphical representation of the stage area and the movement of a cross hair for current location.

General operating guidelines


To guarantee accuracy of movement of the stage, the calibration step should be carried out before each session. On the XY Stage Control Palette, select Calibrate from the Control menu. The stage will then travel to the bottom right limit before returning to its original position. An alert will appear on the screen warning that the stage is about to travel and users should ensure that objectives, sample holders etc. are clear of the stage at this time to avoid damage to stage or other microscope components.

Speed of movement

The Orbit XY stage may be controlled at any one of four different speeds. The speed used is determined by what is set in the Openlab preferences. Open the preference dialog Edit>Preferences, and scroll down the list on the left hand side to find the Orbit preferences. Click the icon and use the pop-up labelled ‘XY stage speed’ to chose from the following speeds fast, medium, slow and very slow. If fastest is speed S, medium is S/2, slow S/10 and very slow S/20


Joystick Direction

If you move the stage using the joystick, observing the stage directly, the 'X' axis on inverted stages and 'Y' axis on upright stages will appear to be going in the wrong direction. This is correct behaviour, for the stage is moving according to the view down the microscope eye pieces.


The stage only finds the bottom right end limit. This is the correct behaviour.