The Zaber Console is an application that lets you send commands to your Zaber devices, adjust their settings, and create simple scripts of commands. If you want to write your own applications on the Microsoft.NET platform, Zaber Console includes a class library that you can use to talk to Zaber devices. It's all available with the source code. Zaber also publishes some plug ins that add new tabs to the Zaber Console.
Installing the application
The latest stable version is available from the ClickOnce install page. The ClickOnce install only seems to work if you're running Internet Explorer or you're running Firefox with Microsoft.NET Framework 3.5 SP1 or higher installed. If clicking on the ClickOnce install link doesn't successfully install and run the application, you can either open this page in Internet Explorer or download the ClickOnce setup program instead. Download and run it to install the Microsoft.NET Framework and the Zaber Console application. The Zaber Console only runs on Microsoft Windows.
After installation, the Zaber Console application will check for updates automatically each time it is started as long as you have a connection to the internet. The application will work fine without an internet connection, it just won't get updates. If you want to see what's in an update before you install it, see the release notes.
If you prefer, you can download our Windows installer package. This is a standard installer that does not check for updates. It's also useful if you want to install the program on a computer that has no Internet connection. This installer also includes the ScriptRunner program.
Troubles with installation
If the installation fails, try it again. Some customers have had it work on the third try. The Microsoft.NET framework is a large download, so it sometimes fails.
If our installation packages can't get the Microsoft.NET framework downloaded and installed, you can download Microsoft.NET framework 3.5 SP1 directly from the Microsoft web site. Once that's installed, try installing Zaber Console again.
To determine which versions of the .NET Framework are installed and whether service packs have been applied, read this article from the Microsoft Knowledge Base.
Installing on GNU/Linux
- Make sure that the Mono runtime is installed. For example:
sudo apt-get install mono-complete
- Download the test version of the Zaber Console source code and unzip it.
- Copy the scripts into the bin folder.
cp -R ../src/ZaberConsole/ZaberConsole/Scripts/* .
- Get ScriptRunner to list all serial ports. If you're using a USB-to-serial adapter, it should look something like
mono ScriptRunner.exe /showports
- Get ScriptRunner to list all its options by running
mono ScriptRunner.exe /help, or read ScriptRunner's documentation. Here's a simple example that runs one of the sample scripts.
mono ScriptRunner.exe /port /dev/ttyUSB0 /device 1 "Current device - move forward 10000.cs"
You can also use the Zaber library in your own projects written with MonoDevelop. See our source code page for more details.
Installing on Mac
Using the Zaber Console
Open the port
To use the console, the first thing to do is to connect your Zaber devices to the serial port. Then start the Zaber Console application, select a serial port, and click the Open button. At that point, you should see a list of your connected devices. If some are missing, you may need to send a renumber command (see below).
- The top left contains the serial port connection and a list of connected devices.
- The top right contains the log. Every message to and from the devices shows up here, along with some other messages.
- The bottom half of the screen has a series of tabs:
- The commands tab lists all the available commands along with the details of how to use them. To execute a command, select the device in the list above, type a data value next to the command, and hit enter. Some commands don't require a data value.
- The device settings tab lists all the available settings along with the details of how to use them. To see the current settings, select a device in the list above, and click the Refresh Settings button. To change a setting, select the device in the list above, type a new value next to the setting, and hit enter.
- The scripts tab contains a list of scripts that you can run against the current device. You can create your own scripts by clicking on the Script Editor button. It will ask you to create a folder for your scripts, "My Documents\Zaber Scripts" is a good choice. Later sections describe how to write scripts.
- The advanced tab lets you send any command you like to any device number. It also lets you adjust some options.
- The help tab contains a description of the Zaber Console.
Sending a renumber command
All devices default to device number 1. If you are connecting more than one device, you will have to assign them new numbers with the renumber command. The simplest way is to select device number 0 and send the renumber command with data value 0.
Scripts can be used to send sequences of instructions to Zaber devices in order to automate a positioning application. You can also perform conditional actions and repeat the same actions multiple times using loop structures. Even if you're not a programmer, you can use scripts that someone else has already written.