Software/MetaMorph Driver

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Overview

Zaber ASR and ASR-E motorized XY stages, connected with the X-MCB2 stepper motor controller, can be controlled with MetaMorph or MetaMorph NX using a custom driver provided by Zaber.

For information on setting up the stage and controller, please see the ASR Manual, ASR-E Manual and the X-MCB2 Manual. Please note that the stage must be configured to use the Zaber ASCII protocol.

Supported MetaMorph Software Versions

On Windows XP, 7, and 8 the Zaber driver works with MetaMorph 7.8. The driver also works with MetaMorph NX 2.0 on Windows 7 and 8. More details available on Molecular Devices Resource Center.

Installation

Download Links

Choose the link appropriate to your operating system to download the Zaber driver:

Windows XP Windows 7/8
32bit driver 32bit driver
64bit driver

You may also need to install the Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Redistributable package. Many systems will already have this installed, but if you get a "Failed to load DLL" error when following the instructions below, then you will need to install this. To get this package, follow this link, select Download and pick either the x86 or x64 version as appropriate for your system. After it downloads, install it and then restart the Metamorph driver setup procedure. (Note: Windows XP users may need the 2010 version instead, which is available here.)


MetaMorph

  1. Start the Meta Imaging Series Administrator.
  2. Click Configure Hardware.
  3. Click Install System Devices.
  4. Select the Custom Driver in the list of Available Hardware and then click Install>>. You may see a popup saying there are no components available; if so just click OK to close it.
  5. Select the Custom Driver in the list of Installed Devices and then click Settings.
  6. Type the path of the driver .dll into the DLL File Path field, or click the Browse for DLL File... button and select the file you downloaded. You may see a popup saying that the driver failed to connect to the Zaber stage. If so, click OK to close it; this error will be resolved by editing the driver configuration (see Configuration section below).
  7. Click Ok. At this point the driver configuration .ini file (see Configuration section below) will be created if it does not already exist.
  8. Click Ok on the Install System Devices, Configure Hardware and Meta Imaging Series Administrator windows to complete the setup process.

MetaMorph NX

  1. Start MetaMorph NX.
  2. Click Hardware Setup on the menu bar at the top of the window.
  3. Click Install Devices on the toolbar below the menu.
  4. Select the Custom Driver in the list of Available Hardware and then click Install>>. You may see a popup saying there are no components available; if so just click OK to close it.
  5. Select the Custom Driver in the list of Installed Devices and then click Configure>>.
  6. Type the path of the driver .dll into the DLL File Path field, or click the Browse for DLL File... button and select the file you downloaded. You may see a popup saying that the driver failed to connect to the Zaber stage. If so, click OK to close it; this error will be resolved by editing the driver configuration (see Configuration section below).
  7. Click Ok. At this point the driver configuration .ini file (see Configuration section below) will be created if it does not already exist.
  8. Click Ok on the Install System Devices window to complete the setup process.

Configuration

The Zaber driver is configured using a file called MetaMorph.ini, stored in C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application Data\Zaber Technologies (Windows XP) or C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Zaber Technologies (Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8).

MetaMorph.ini has the following format (shown with default values):

[port]
name=COM1
baudrate=115200

[device]
number=1
axisX=2
axisY=1

[MM]
home on startup=if necessary

The name property identifies the COM port on the computer that the A-MCB2 is connected to. This will likely need to be changed to match your connection. Contact us if you need assistance determining the correct COM port. An error message will be displayed during installation if it is not configured.

The baudrate property should match the communication speed of the A-MCB2. 115200 is the default, and shouldn't need to be changed.

The axisX and axisY properties match which axis of the A-MCB2 maps to X, and which maps to Y. If movement is inverted to what you expect when using the stage in MetaMorph, swap the values.

The home on startup property defines whether the stage homes when MetaMorph starts up. Possible values are always, if necessary, and never. In the default case, the stage will only home if it has no reference position established.