Parallel-PCI for CAMAC Control

23rd Wednesday, 2012  |  Engineering News, Life at LAVA  |  no comments

Computer Automated Measurement and Control (CAMAC) is a long-established standard for data acquisition hardware, often used in the nuclear and particle physics fields. The good news about CAMAC systems (when enclosed in a chassis, they are called CAMAC “crates”) is that they seemingly last forever. The bad news is that they are very expensive, often customized, hard to replace, and interfaced to increasingly obsolete computers.

CAMAC crate

CAMAC crate

In the case of the DSPT 6001 / 6002 CAMAC Controllers, interfacing used a controller that seated on the ISA bus slot of a PC. When upgrading the computer made it impossible to continue to use that controller because motherboards with ISA buses were getting hard to find, it became necessary to develop a substitute for the PC004 interface card used in that system. In response to this need Computer Methods developed its PP004 High Speed Interface Controller for the DSPT 6001/6002 CAMAC Controller (http://www.computer-methods.com/products/pp004.html).

PP004 controller interface

PP004 controller interface

This interface in turn needs to interface to a PC on a parallel port connection, specifically an EPP mode parallel port. It so happens that LAVA makes a range of such cards: our Parallel-PCI, Parallel-PCI/LP. Parallel-PCIe, and Parallel-PCIe/LP among them. CAMAC controller interface connected, CAMAC crate up and running, problem solved, money saved!