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Proceedings Paper

UCam: universal camera controller and data acquisition system
Author(s): S. A. McLay; N. N. Bezawada; D. C. Atkinson; D. J. Ives
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Paper Abstract

This paper describes the software architecture and design concepts used in the UKATC's generic camera control and data acquisition software system (UCam) which was originally developed for use with the ARC controller hardware. The ARC detector control electronics are developed by Astronomical Research Cameras (ARC), of San Diego, USA. UCam provides an alternative software solution programmed in C/C++ and python that runs on a real-time Linux operating system to achieve critical speed performance for high time resolution instrumentation. UCam is a server based application that can be accessed remotely and easily integrated as part of a larger instrument control system. It comes with a user friendly client application interface that has several features including a FITS header editor and support for interfacing with network devices. Support is also provided for writing automated scripts in python or as text files. UCam has an application centric design where custom applications for different types of detectors and read out modes can be developed, downloaded and executed on the ARC controller. The built-in de-multiplexer can be easily reconfigured to readout any number of channels for almost any type of detector. It also provides support for numerous sampling modes such as CDS, FOWLER, NDR and threshold limited NDR. UCam has been developed over several years for use on many instruments such as the Wide Field Infra Red Camera (WFCAM) at UKIRT in Hawaii, the mid-IR imager/spectrometer UIST and is also used on instruments at SUBARU, Gemini and Palomar.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 July 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7740, Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy, 77403L (19 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.858015
Show Author Affiliations
S. A. McLay, UK Astronomy Technology Ctr., Royal Observatory (United Kingdom)
N. N. Bezawada, UK Astronomy Technology Ctr., Royal Observatory (United Kingdom)
D. C. Atkinson, UK Astronomy Technology Ctr., Royal Observatory (United Kingdom)
D. J. Ives, European Southern Observatory (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7740:
Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy
Nicole M. Radziwill; Alan Bridger, Editor(s)

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