mca Release Notes

Release 7-9 (23-Nov-2020)

Release 7-8 (9-Aug-2019)

Release 7-7 (8-Sept-2017)

Release 7-6 (8-Dec-2014)

Release 7-5 (27-June-2014)

Release 7-4 (10-June-2013)

Release 7-3-1 (8-March-2013)

Release 7-3 (28-February-2013)

Release 7-2 (6-September-2012)

Release 7-1 (2-November-2011)

Release 7-0 (04-Aug-2011)

SIS3801 and SIS320 multi-channel scaler support

The SIS3801 and SIS3820 support has been completely rewritten. In previous releases the driver was "synchronous", meaning that the MCA records blocked while the arrays were read from the FIFO on the VME modules. FIFO reads were done with VME program I/O, which can only do about 1000 32-bit words per ms. This was acceptable if the arrays were small (e.g. 2048 channels) because it only took a few ms to read each array. However, some users were beginning to use very large arrays (e.g. 2,000,000 channels). In this case it took several seconds to read each array. Because the MCA records were synchronous, this blocked execution of other EPICS records and tasks while reading the hardware. This was unacceptable, leading to channel access disconnects and other bad effects.

One way to fix this would be to make the drivers asynchronous, meaning that device support will do the I/O in a separate thread, and the records will not block. This is how other slow drivers for the MCA records work, for example the Canberra AIM and the XIA DXP modules. However, this approach cannot be used with the SIS drivers because they must support the EPICS "scaler" record, and the scaler record does not work properly with asynchronous device suppport.

Instead, the drivers were rewritten so that the FIFO is read out into a driver buffer in a low-priority background thread. When the MCA records process they now just read the data from this driver buffer using a memcpy() call, which is very fast. Furthermore on the 3820 the driver now reads the FIFO using DMA over the VME bus. This yields a factor of 10 improvement in speed, over 40MB/s, compared to 4MB/s with program I/O.

The new drivers have excellent performance with very large arrays, and arrays with more than 10 million elements can now be used if the VME CPU has sufficient memory. For example, a test was done with the following configuration:

The theoretical time for this acquisition to complete is 10 seconds. The following is the output from the EPICS "camonitor" program on a Linux client looking at the Acquiring PV, and the first 2 channels of each waveform record:

    >camonitor -tc -#2 SIS:3820:mca1 SIS:3820:mca2 SIS:3820:Acquiring 
    SIS:3820:Acquiring             (2011-05-01 11:19:35.050808) Acquiring 
    SIS:3820:mca1                  (2011-05-01 11:19:46.017134) 2 50 50 
    SIS:3820:mca2                  (2011-05-01 11:19:46.017223) 2 0 0 
    SIS:3820:Acquiring             (2011-05-01 11:19:46.017264) Done 

So the time between when acquisition started and when the client received the data and the Acquiring=Done status was 10.97 seconds. There is thus less than 1 second of overhead in collecting 2 waveforms of 10,000,000 elements each, which is 80MB of data.

The following features have also been added to the drivers (thanks to Ulrik Pedersen from DLS for the initial implementation of several of these):

With the many improvements and new features in the drivers the amount of code has actually decreased in R7-0 compared to previous releases. The following table compares the size of the driver code and databases between R6-12-5 and R7-0.

Size of driver source code
R6-12-5 R7-0
File Lines File Lines
devStr7201.c 264 116
devScalerST7201.c 326 apsLib.h 58
drvMcaSIS3820Asyn.c 1689 drvSIS3801.cpp 731
drvMcaSIS3820Asyn.h 285 drvSIS3801.h 210
drvSTR7201.c 812 drvSIS3820.cpp 1017
drvSTR7201.h 38 drvSIS3820.h 225
mcaSIS3820Register.c 62 drvSIS38XX.cpp 542
mcaSSTR7201Register.c 49 drvSIS38XX.h 164
sis3820.h 240 sis3820.h 240
N.A. - vmeDMA.h 53
TOTAL 3765 TOTAL 3356
Size of databases
Struck32.db 623 SIS38XX.template 303
Struck8.db 215 SIS38XX_waveform.template 9
STR7201scaler.db 241 N.A. -
SIS3820.db 7 N.A. -
TOTAL 1086 TOTAL 311

The driver is thus 10% smaller than in the previous release. This is because in the previous release the SIS3801/STR7201 support had device-specific device support for the scaler and MCA records (which were not based on asyn), and the SIS3820 driver used basic asyn support, rather than asynPortDriver. The new drivers USE the standard asyn device support for the scaler record (from the std module), the mca record (from the mca module), and the waveform record (from the asyn module), and there is no custom device support. Moreover, there is a base class, drvSIS38XX.cpp, which is implements the functions common to both the SIS3801 and the SIS3820. SIS38XX is derived from asynPortDriver, which handles much of the standard asyn code, and SIS3801.cpp and SIS3820.cpp are derived from SIS38XX.cpp.

The SIS3801 and SIS3820 support in R7-0 is not backwards compatible with previous releases. IOC startup scripts must be changed, and the medm screens are different. However, the PVs that are used by most clients (such as the sscan record, SPEC and IDL), have not changed, so those clients should not need to be modified.

Canberra support

Added support for windows-x64 by including the 64-bit support files from WinPcap.

MCA record, MCA device support and MCA driver changes

Previously the MCA record sent the following messages (defined in mca.h) to device support:

Thus, it was sending a separate message for each type of channel advance and each type of acquisition mode. This was inconvenient for drivers and device support, and was not consistent with the way that other parameters were handled. This was thus changed to:

where the value passed to device support in the message now specifies what type of channel advance source or acquisition mode is being requested. Similarly the strings defined in drvMca.h that are used by device support and drivers to define the asyn drvInfo value have had the same changes. The driver now receives a single command to change the acquire mode for example, and the value passed on the aysnInt32 interface specifies which acquire mode is being requested. This makes the interface more extensible. All existing drivers in synApps have been modified to use the new interface.

Release 6-12-5 (21-Feb-2011)

Release 6-12-4 (6-Dec-2010)

Release 6-12-3 (03-Dec-2010)

Release 6-12-2 (7-Nov-2010)

Release 6-12-1 (12-May-2010)

Release 6-12 (10-May-2010)

Release 6-11 (2-Feb-2009)

Release 6-10 (December 21, 2007)

Release 6-9 (December 5, 2006)

Release 6-8 (Sept. 5, 2006)

Release 6-7 (July 10, 2006)

Release 6-6 (November 16, 2005)

Release 6-5 (March 29, 2005)

Release 6-4 (March 24, 2005)

Release 6-3 (May 12, 2004)

Release 6-2 (March 4, 2004)

Release 6-1 (November 5, 2003)

Release 5-5 (July 23, 2003)

Release 5-4 (May 26, 2003)

Release 5-3 (April 3, 2003)

Release 5-2 (July 29, 2002)

This new release has the following enhancements:

Release 5.02 (January 11, 2001)

This new release has the following enhancements:

ICB source code organization

The device support for the ICB modules is provided in four main files:

  1. This file provides support for the ao, mbbo, ai and mbbi records for all ICB modules. It knows nothing about any specific module, it simply passes messages to MPF with a parameter code and value.
  2. This is the MPF server software for the ADC, amplifier and HVPS.
  3. This is the MPF server software for the TCA.
  4. This is the MPF server software for the 9660 digital signal processor (DSP)

Each of the MPF servers can control any number of ICB modules of the specified type. Thus, a single icbServer can control any number of ADCs, amplifiers and HVPS units, a single icbTcaServer can control any number of TCA modules, etc. On the other hand it is also possible to use multiple MPF servers when talking to multiple ICB modules of the same family. The decision as to when to use more than one MPF servers is one of performance. This decision is made in the initialization commands in the vxWorks startup file. Each MPF server is synchronous, meaning that it must wait for a reply from the AIM before processing the next message. When using multiple AIMs, for example with a multi-element detector, it can make sense to use multiple MPF ICB servers so that some communication can be done in parallel. On the other hand, the ICB communications are typically low bandwidth and a single MPF server will often suffice.

vxWorks startup file

The following lines must be added to the vxWorks startup file. Note that the lines which create MPF servers are new to this release, and the lines which load the databases must be modified for this release.

# Initialize local MPF connection

# Create AIM MCA server, load MCA record
# AIMConfig(mpfServer, ethernet_address, port, maxChans,
#           maxSignals, maxSequences, ethernetDevice, queueSize)
AIMConfig("AIM1/1", 0x59e, 1, 2048, 1, 4, "dc0", 100)
dbLoadRecords("share/mcaApp/Db/mca.db", "P=13LAB:,M=aim_adc1,DTYPE=MPF MCA,INP=#C0 S0 @AIM1/1,NCHAN=2048")

# Create ICB server for ADC, amplifier and HVPS
# picbServer = icbConfig(icbServer, maxModules, icbAddress, queueSize)
# This creates the ICB server and allocates configures the first module, module 0.
# Additional modules are added to this server with icbAddModule().
picbServer = icbConfig("icb/1", 10, "NI59E:5", 100)

# In the dbLoadRecords commands CARD=(0,1) for (local/remote), SERVER=icbServer name from icbConfig, 
# ADDR=module number from icbConfig() or icbAddModule().
dbLoadRecords "share/mcaApp/Db/icb_adc.db", "P=13LAB:,ADC=adc1,CARD=0,SERVER=icb/1,ADDR=0"

#icbAddModule(picbServer, module, icbAddress)
icbAddModule(picbServer, 1, "NI59E:3")
dbLoadRecords "share/mcaApp/Db/icb_amp.db", "P=13LAB:,AMP=amp1,CARD=0,SERVER=icb/1,ADDR=1"

icbAddModule(picbServer, 2, "NI59E:2")
dbLoadRecords "share/mcaApp/Db/icb_hvps.db","P=13LAB:,HVPS=hvps1,CARD=0,SERVER=icb/1,ADDR=2, LIMIT=1000"

# This creates the TCA server and allocates configures the first module, module 0.
# Additional modules are added to this server with icbTcaAddModule().
# ptcaServer = tcaConfig(tcaServer, maxModules, icbAddress, queueSize)
icbTcaConfig("icbTca/1", 1, "NI59E:8", 100)
dbLoadRecords "share/mcaApp/Db/icb_tca.db", "P=13LAB:,TCA=tca1,MCA=aim_adc2,CARD=0,SERVER=icbTca/1,ADDR=0"
# Struck MCS as 32-channel multi-element detector
# STR7201Setup(maxCards, baseAddress, interruptVector, interruptLevel)
# The ch1RefEnable parameter to STR7201Config is new.  1=enable internal 25MHz clock on first input.
# STR7201Config(card, maxSignals, maxChans, ch1RefEnable)
STR7201Config(0, 32, 2048, 1)

# Generic CAMAC record

### Scalers: Joerger VSC8/16

### Scalers: Struck/SIS as simple scaler

Here is an example Struck32.template:

file share/mcaApp/Db/simple_mca.db
{P,           M,          DTYP,           INP, PREC, CHANS}
{13LAB:str:  mca1, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S0", 3,  2048}
{13LAB:str:  mca2, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S1", 3,  2048}
{13LAB:str:  mca3, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S2", 3,  2048}
{13LAB:str:  mca4, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S3", 3,  2048}
{13LAB:str:  mca5, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S4", 3,  2048}
{13LAB:str:  mca6, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S5", 3,  2048}
{13LAB:str:  mca7, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S6", 3,  2048}
{13LAB:str:  mca8, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S7", 3,  2048}
{13LAB:str:  mca9, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S8", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca10, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S9", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca11, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S10", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca12, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S11", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca13, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S12", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca14, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S13", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca15, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S14", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca16, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S15", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca17, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S16", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca18, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S17", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca19, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S18", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca20, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S19", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca21, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S20", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca22, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S21", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca23, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S22", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca24, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S23", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca25, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S24", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca26, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S25", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca27, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S26", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca28, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S27", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca29, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S28", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca30, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S29", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca31, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S30", 3,  2048}^M
{13LAB:str:  mca32, "Struck STR7201 MCS", "#C0 S31", 3,  2048}^M

Building software

The following lines should be added to Makefile.Vx in the application directory. This example contains the lines to build the latest versions of both mcaApp and ipApp.

include $(SHARE)/mcaApp/src/mcaLIBOBJS

include $(SHARE)/ipApp/src/ipLIBOBJS

include $(SHARE)/camacApp/src/camacLIBOBJS

include $(SHARE)/ipApp/src/ipMpfServerLIBOBJS
include $(SHARE)/mcaApp/src/mcaMpfServerLIBOBJS

PROD += mpfServLib

include $(TOP)/config/RULES.Vx

Release 5.01 - October 3, 2000

The Struck STR7201/SIS 380x device support for the scaler record is improved so that acquisition terminates within 0.01 seconds of the preset time. The device support for the MCA record and scaler record are now compatible, so that it is possible to have scaler and MCA records which communicate with the device loaded in the IOC simultaneously. The only restriction is that the only one record type or the other should be communicating with the hardware at any one time. The Struck8.db database was modified so that presets work correctly.

A serious bug was fixed in drvSTR7201.c. Previously it was possible for multiple vxWorks tasks, including the interrupt handler, to be talking to the hardware simultaneously. This could cause bus errors when reading the FIFO and other nasty problems. A semaphore was added and interrupts were disabled at appropriate times to prevent such conflicts.

Changed the task priority of the nmc_status_dispatch and nmc_inquiry tasks in nmc_comm_subs_1.c to 100 from 50, so that they would be lower priority than tnetTask.

Added support for the Canberra 9660 DSP module. This module uses the devIcbMpf device support (same as the AIM MCA device support) and an MPF server, The device support uses standard EPICS records (ao, mbbo, ai, mbbi).

Release 5.0 - September 9, 2000

This release of mcaApp is intended primarily to improve performance with the Canberra AIM MCA hardware. The main enhancements are:

  1. To make the low-level AIM support routines able to send commands to multiple AIMs in parallel, i.e. without waiting for the response from one AIM before sending a command to another. This is necessary to improve the performance of systems with multiple AIMs being used for multi-element detectors.

  2. To make the device support for the AIM be "asynchronous". In previous versions the AIM device support was "synchronous", meaning that the MCA record waited for a response from the AIM before returning. Since the AIM can take 50-100 msec to respond to some commands, this was poor EPICS programming practice. It would cause the EPICS scan tasks to wait for extended periods of time, particularly if many MCA records were being used.

  3. To improve the performance of the AIM device support when used with multiplexors, i.e. multiple MCA records per AIM ADC port.

  4. To modify the multi-element detector databases to process MCA records in parallel, taking advantage of changes 1) and 2) above.

One result of these changes is that the overhead with multielement detector systems will be reduced proportionally by the number of AIMs in the system, e.g. a system with 4 AIMs should have 4 times less overhead than in previous versions. The overhead time to collect 13 spectra of 2048 channels from a detector with 4 AIMs should now be about 0.25 seconds.

Low level AIM support changes

In the previous versions of the low-level AIM routines (nmc_comm_subs_1.c, nmc_comm_subs_2.c) there was a single system-wide interlock and message response queue for AIM communication. Once a message was sent to any AIM no further messages could be sent to any AIM until the response from the first AIM was received. This was a serious performance limitation when communicating with multiple AIMs. It is much more efficient to have separate interlocks and message response queues for each AIM, rather than a single one per IOC. The low-level AIM routines were re-written to implement this more efficient model which permits simultaneous communication with multiple AIM modules.

MCA record device support changes for the AIM

Previous versions the AIM device support was "synchronous", meaning that the MCA record waited for a response from the AIM before returning. Since the AIM can take 50-100 msec to respond to some commands, this was poor EPICS programming practice. It would cause the EPICS scan tasks to wait for extended periods of time, particularly if many MCA records were being used. However, the low-level AIM routines are necessarily synchronous since multiple transactions with the AIM can be required to implement a single high-level function (e.g. "erase").

What is needed, therefore, is a separate vxWorks task for each AIM or AIM port. The record should call the AIM device support, which in turn sends a message to the appropriate task and then returns immediately. The task communicates synchronously with the AIM, and then issues a callback to record support when the AIM communication is complete.

The solution to this problem turned out to be quite simple, since this is exactly what the Message Passing Facility, MPF is intended to do. In fact there was already MPF device support for the MCA record for the Acromag IP330 ADC when used as a waveform digitizer. All that needed to be done was to take this device support ( and convert it to a general MCA device support interface. This layer does not need to know anything about the particular MCA device, its role is simply to pass messages from the MCA record to an MPF server. The new file implements this device-independent layer. All of the device dependent code is now in the specific MPF server.

For the Acromag IP330 ADC the existing was rewritten slightly to handle the more general messages from was rewritten slightly to handle live-time as well as real-time messages. This new version of ip330App must be used when upgrading to this release of mcaApp.

A new MPF server, was written to communicate with AIM modules. There is one such server per AIM ADC port, e.g. up to two servers per AIM. This server is basically just a rewrite of the code which was previously in devMCA_AIM.c. The flow of control for communication with the AIM is now:

This scheme properly implements asynchronous record processing, so that AIM communication no longer causes the EPICS scan tasks to wait. implements several optimizations to improve performance when used with multiplexors, typically used with multielement detectors. When a multiplexor is used there are multiple "signals" on a single AIM ADC port or mcaAIMServer. The following optimizations are now implemented:

Struck/SIS Driver Changes

There was a problem in previous versions of drvSTR7201.c for the prescale feature of the SIS 380x. The internal prescale counter was not correctly reset when the prescale value was changed. This could be a serious problem when changing from a large prescale value to a small prescale value, since the first dwell period after the change could require many more channel advance pulses (internal or external) than it should. SIS has provided additional information on how to properly program the prescaler, and the problem is now fixed.

MCA record changes

A new field, .ERST (ERase/STart) was added to the mcaRecord. Writing a 1 to this field causes the record to execute an Erase and a Start in a single operation, rather than the two operations required if the .ERAS and .STRT fields are written to separately. Adding this field has two beneficial effects:

The init_record routine was changed to set flags which cause all of fields of interest to device support (.PRTM, .PLTM, .NUSE, etc.) to be sent to device support the first time the record processes. In principle all databases which create MCA records should now set PINI="YES" so that the MCA record processes once at iocInit and all of these values are sent to device support at that time. However this does not work for MPF devices yet (AIM, IP330) because at record initialization the MPF server has typically not yet connected and it gets the message passing out of sync if PINI is YES. For now we do not set PINI=YES in the MCA databases. The MPF device support synchronizes the device with the record when the MPF server connects. Furthermore the record will synchronize again the first time the record processes.

A logic bug was fixed which caused the record to misbehave if the .READ field was set while a Read callback was pending.

Database Changes

mca.db was simplified with the removal of a fanout and swait record because EraseStart now uses the .ERST field in the MCA record. The current version is mca_5.3.db.

16element.db was modified as follows:

A new database, simple_mca.db was created. It replaces simple_mca_aim.db and simple_mca_struck.db. Template files which call simple_mca.db must now pass DTYP, INP, and PREC.

Building applications

Because the AIM device support now requires MPF there are some changes required in building applications which use the AIM. When building an application directory <myApp>/src in the past it was only necessary to include in Makefile.Vx the lines:

include $(SHARE)/mcaApp/src/mcaLIBOBJS

and in <APP>Include.dbd the line

include "mcaShare.dbd"

Because MPF can pass messages across the network, including across the backplane to an auxilliary CPU, the user has choices as to where to actually run the mcaAIMServer MPF server. I recommend running it locally on the same CPU which is running the EPICS MCA record, since this will minimize the MPF communications overhead. In this case it is necessary to load the basic MPF server code and the mcaAimServer code onto this CPU. This may not be currently happening if the IOC is set up to run the MPF server code only on an auxilliary CPU. The solution I recommend is to build a separate MPF server library in <myApp>/src by adding the following lines to Makefile.Vx

include $(SHARE)/ipApp/src/mpfServerLIBOBJS
include $(SHARE)/mcaApp/src/mpfServerLIBOBJS


This works by looking at the files ipApp/mpfServerLIBOBJS and mcaApp/mpfServerLIBOBJS to make a list of all the object files required to build mpfServerLib. Users may need to get the latest version of ipApp from Tim Mooney in order to get mpfServerLIBOBJS. If mpfServerLib is built this way and is loaded on a CPU which does not have IP slots (e.g. MV167 or PPC) then there is some unused code, but the memory cost is not large.

There is a problem with the current version of in the MPF distribution. DevMpf prevents a record from sending multiple messages to device support during one record processing. This problem will be fixed in the next release of MPF. Meanwhile in order for the MCA record to work with MPF the following lines must be deleted from DevMpf::read_write in

if(pcommon->pact==TRUE && pdevMpf->replyMessage==0) {
  if(DevMpfDebug) epicsPrintf("%s PACT true and no reply message\n");

vxWorks Startup File

The vxWorks startup file must be changed to use the new AIM device support code.

The following lines should be added near the beginning, after loading iocCore and all of your other support libraries:

# Initialize local MPF connection
ld < mpfServLib

Note that some or all of these lines may already exist in your startup file, depending upon whether you are currently running MPF at all, and/or are running a local MPF server.

The following lines show the global variables to turn on debugging at various levels. aimDebug turns on debugging for the low level AIM routines, etc. Setting these flags to higher numbers (1-10) turns on increasingly more verbose debugging messages.

mcaRecordDebug = 0
devMcaMpfDebug = 0
mcaAIMServerDebug = 0
aimDebug = 0

The AIMSetup() command which was previously used to indicate the maximum number of AIMs in a system is no longer used. Allocation of structures for each AIM now happens in AIMConfig when the mcaAIMServer object is created.

The format of the AIMConfig() command has changed. The syntax is now:

### AIMConfig(serverName, ethernetAddress, port, maxChans, maxSignals,
### maxSequences, ethernetDevice, queueSize)
AIMConfig("AIM1/1", 0x6E6, 1, 2048, 1, 1, "ei0", 100)
AIMConfig("AIM1/2", 0x6E6, 2, 2048, 4, 1, "ei0", 100)

serverName, the MPF server name, is arbitrary, it just must be the same in the AIMConfig and dbLoadRecords commands. The name of the vxWorks task will be the name of the MPF server with the letter "t" in front of it, e.g. tAIM1/1 in this case.

ethernetAddress is the low order 16 bits of the AIM Ethernet address, which is printed on the front of the AIM.

port is the AIM ADC port for this server, 1 or 2.

maxChans, maxSignals and maxSequences are the maximum number of channels, signals (used for multiplexors and Canberra MCS units) and sequences (used for time-resolved spectroscopy). The amount of memory required in the AIM is maxChans*maxSignals*maxSequences*4 bytes.

ethernetDevice is the name of the vxWorks Ethernet device for the network with this AIM. This is typically "ei0" for the Motorola 68K CPUs and "dc0" for the Motorola PowerPC CPUs.

queueSize is the size of the MPF message queue for this server. 100 should be plenty.

The format of the dbLoadRecords command has also changed:

dbLoadRecords("share/mcaApp/Db/mca.db", "P=13IDC:,M=aim_adc1,DTYPE=MPF MCA,INP=#C0 S0 @AIM1/1,NCHAN=2048")
dbLoadRecords("share/mcaApp/Db/mca.db", "P=13IDC:,M=aim_mcs1,DTYPE=MPF MCA,INP=#C0 S0 @AIM1/2,NCHAN=2048")

The DTYPE field is now "MPF MCA" rather than "Canberra AIM MCA". The "card" (#Cn) is now the identification number of the MPF server (e.g. 0=local MPF server, 1=remote MPF server) rather than a number specific to each AIM. The parm field is now @serverName to specify the MPF server for this AIM.

Example multielement template file and command file.

The following is an example of a vxWorks command file script to load everything for the GSECARS 16 element detector which uses 2 AIMs with multiplexors. This file is invoked with "<16element.cmd".

# AIMConfig(mpfServer, ethernet_address, port, maxChans,
# maxSignals, maxSequences, ethernetDevice, queueSize)
AIMConfig("AIM1/1", 0x8d7, 1, 4096, 4, 1, "ei0", 100)
AIMConfig("AIM1/2", 0x8d7, 2, 4096, 4, 1, "ei0", 100)
AIMConfig("AIM2/1", 0x3ec, 1, 4096, 4, 1, "ei0", 100)
AIMConfig("AIM2/2", 0x3ec, 2, 4096, 4, 1, "ei0", 100)

### Struck/SIS as simple scaler for ICR
STR7201Config(0, 16, 100)
dbLoadRecords("share/mcaApp/Db/STR7201scaler.db","P=13GE1:med:, S=scaler1, C=0")

The following is the 16element.template file which the above file loads:

file share/mcaApp/Db/simple_mca.db
{    P,      M,     DTYP,        INP       PREC, CHANS}
{13GE1:med: mca1 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S0 @AIM1/1", 3, 2048}
{13GE1:med: mca2 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S1 @AIM1/1", 3, 2048}
{13GE1:med: mca3 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S2 @AIM1/1", 3, 2048}
{13GE1:med: mca4 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S3 @AIM1/1", 3, 2048}
{13GE1:med: mca5 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S0 @AIM1/2", 3, 2048}
{13GE1:med: mca6 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S1 @AIM1/2", 3, 2048}
{13GE1:med: mca7 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S2 @AIM1/2", 3, 2048}
{13GE1:med: mca8 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S3 @AIM1/2", 3, 2048}
{13GE1:med: mca9 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S0 @AIM2/1", 3, 2048}
{13GE1:med: mca10 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S1 @AIM2/1", 3, 2048}
{13GE1:med: mca11 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S2 @AIM2/1", 3, 2048}
{13GE1:med: mca12 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S3 @AIM2/1", 3, 2048}
{13GE1:med: mca13 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S0 @AIM2/2", 3, 2048}
{13GE1:med: mca14 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S1 @AIM2/2", 3, 2048}
{13GE1:med: mca15 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S2 @AIM2/2", 3, 2048}
{13GE1:med: mca16 "MPF MCA", "#C0 S3 @AIM2/2", 3, 2048}
file share/mcaApp/Db/icb_amp.db
{P,         AMP,   ICB}
{13GE1:med: amp1 NI8D7:1}
{13GE1:med: amp2 NI8D7:2}
{13GE1:med: amp3 NI8D7:3}
{13GE1:med: amp4 NI8D7:4}
{13GE1:med: amp5 NI8D7:5}
{13GE1:med: amp6 NI8D7:6}
{13GE1:med: amp7 NI8D7:8}
{13GE1:med: amp8 NI8D7:9}
{13GE1:med: amp9 NI3EC:1}
{13GE1:med: amp10 NI3EC:2}
{13GE1:med: amp11 NI3EC:3}
{13GE1:med: amp12 NI3EC:4}
{13GE1:med: amp13 NI3EC:5}
{13GE1:med: amp14 NI3EC:6}
{13GE1:med: amp15 NI3EC:8}
{13GE1:med: amp16 NI3EC:9}
file share/mcaApp/Db/icb_adc.db
{P,         ADC,   ICB}
{13GE1:med: adc1 NI8D7:B}
{13GE1:med: adc2 NI8D7:0}
{13GE1:med: adc3 NI3EC:B}
{13GE1:med: adc4 NI3EC:7}

file share/mcaApp/Db/icb_hvps.db
{P,         HVPS,   ICB}
{13GE1:med: hvps1 NI3EC:A}

August 22, 2000

drvSTR7201.c for the Struck 7201 and SIS 380x had some serious problems:

Tim Mooney found and fixed a problem in the ICB routines which was causing crashes if an unknown ICB module, such as the TCA or DSP was present.

Made changes to the AIM software to allow it to run on the PowerPC.

Improved performance of the erase command in mcaRecord.c by not sending a read_data request to device support after an erase, just clear the array in the record and post a monitor on the VAL field.

Previously the nmc_acqu_setelapsed command (in nmc_user_subs_2.c) always did the following:

nmc_acqu_setelapsed cannot set the elapsed times if the AIM is acquiring. However, this method has a lot of extra overhead if the AIM is not acquiring.

Moved the logic into device support. Only turn off acquisition if it is determined to be on by the ACQG field in the record. This improves performance. It also improves accuracy if the AIM is acquiring, because the erase and setelapsed will now both be done with acquisition off.

December 6, 1999

This documents the changes made to mcaApp since synApps_R3.13.1.1. The changes have been substantial, and users must make a number of simultaneous changes in order to use the new release:

The changes to mcaApp are described below in roughly decreasing order of significance.

Changes to databases

The databases mca.db, 3element.db and 13element.db have been changed significantly. A new database, Struck8.db has been added to support 8 channel data acquisition using the Struck ST7201 or SIS 380x multichannel scaler.

Changes to MEDM .adl files

New device support - Ip330Sweep

New device support has been added for the Acromag IP-330 ADC acting as a waveform recorder/transient digitizer, i.e. the MCA spectrum contains voltage as a function of time. This device support allows one to capture up to 32 waveforms nearly simultaneously. Times per point as short as 100 microseconds are possible with up to 6 waveforms. The device support and documentation is not in mcaApp, but rather in mpf/ip330App. This device support requires MPF. It can run either on a single CPU (e.g. MVME162 running both EPICS and MPF) or on a multiple CPU system (e.g. MVME167 running EPICS and MVME162 running MPF).

Changes to mcaRecord.c and mcaRecord.dbd

Changes to devMCA_AIM.c

Changes to Makefile.Host

Changes to Makefile.Vx and mcaLIBOBJS

Changes to devSTR7201.c and drvSTR7201.c

Changes to icb_control_subs.c, icb_control_subs2.c, icb_handler_subs.c, icb_read_regs.c, icb_show_modules.c, nmc_comm_subs_2.c, nmc_test.c, icb_sys_defs.h