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DALSA pioneers new machine-vision connectivity interfaceDALSA Falcon HG series cameras

Pioneered and encouraged by DALSA: the HSLink interface

DALSA continues their pioneering endeavours by being instrumental in the development of HSLink, a new machine-vision connectivity interface.

Working together with the Camera Link2 subcommittee, the intention being to present reference designs and a more complete specification for industry's use as the next-generation machine-vision interface.

What is HSLink?
HSLink is designed specifically to meet the needs of all machine vision applications and therefore carries image data, configuration data and low-jitter, real-time triggering signals over a simple network topology-supporting cameras, intermediate devices and frame grabbers required by end customers

Why is HSLink an improvement on the previous standard??

The interface has taken the key strengths of Camera Link™ (an industry-specific connectivity solution), while using broadly-used, off-the-shelf components with development road maps for increased performance. This protocol will have a long service life and is designed to ensure longevity in the marketplace with an expected life cycle 10 - 20 years.

As well, new features and functions have been added to meet customers' present and future needs.

HSLink is designed from a system point of view, ensuring the ability to create low cost cameras and frame grabbers, while meeting the ease of use, flexibility and data reliability required by end customers.

In brief, what are the some of HSLink's features and benefits?

Globally available • Off-the-shelf components are used. No license or royalty fees. No chip-supply issues.
Scaleable bandwidth • Scaleable in 300MB/s steps from 300 to 6000 Mbytes/sec, 1x to 20x configurations, while maintaining a common, consistent control interface and ease of implementation.
Camera size Minimised
Triggering • Protocol handles real-time triggering. No need for a separate trigger cable.
• Real-time triggering - low jitter of 3.2ns makes HSLink viable for linescan applications
Data transmission • Reliably achieved through redundant trigger codes, hardware resend capabilty (this enables minimal buffer sizes and so no external memory is required), and proven technology.
Plug and Play • Cameras are GenICam™
Video efficiency • HSLink Protocol - exceeding 95% video efficiency.
Lower cabling costs • Having scaleable bandwidth capacity also lowers cabling costs and size as the cable can be selected according to the camera's bandwidth

How does HSLink work?

To gain a better understanding of HSLink, Figure 1 provides an overview of HSLink topology from a camera perspective, and Figure 2 provides an overview of HSLink from a framegrabber perspective. Note: the camera perspective and the framegrabber perspective are very similar and use the same technology, the framgrabber using it in reverse order.

The HSLink IP Core takes in Camera Link signals and priority manages trigger, GPIO image data and configuration data and sends this information to the PHY via GMII (Gigabit Media Independent Interface) and/or NBI (Nine Bit Interface). The HSLink IP core ensures guaranteed data delivery and simplifies design implementation in both framegrabbers and cameras.

Multi-vendor PHYs, that operate on NBI and GMII, are available that serialize and de-serialize the data transmitted over the cable medium. For low bandwidth applications (<300Mbytes/s), Infiniband (IBx1) or Coax cabling offers a low cost solution.

For applications up to 2100Mbytes/s, a single CX4 cable is used, which significantly reduces the size and number of cables required compared to today’s machine vision standards, and still delivers 15m transmission distances.
Figure 1: (above) Topology of HSLink from a Camera perspective

Figure 2: Topology of HSLink from a Framegrabber perspective



As seen in both diagrams, the HSLink IP Core takes in input signals that the machine vision industry understands from the CameraLink standard.

On the camera side, the HSLink IP Core takes these inputs and sends them via GMII (Gigabit Media Independent Interface) and/ or NBI (Nine Bit Interface), and ensures guaranteed data delivery.

The PHY (SERDES chip) takes the information it receives, serializes it, and transmits it to the framegrabber via cabling.

Depending upon the camera bandwidth the PHY sends the information in three potential formats named by the subcommittee as NBILink, GMIILink and MixedLink. Each format has its own associated cabling and protocol

Read about HSLink

Access the article to learn about:
• Cabling • Transmission distance • The chip
• 8b/10b encoding • Kcodes and Message Types • HSLink IP Core
• Priority Technology • Data and Trigger Reliability • CRC Calculation
• HSLink – Protocol • NBI (- Bit Interface) Protocol • GMII Protocol
• Packet design/functionality • Idle Set • System Configurations
• Data Forwarding • Intermediary Devices • HSLink comparison

Adept Electronic Solutions are "The Machine Vision and Imaging Specialists" and distributor of DALSA products in Australia and New Zealand. To find out more about any DALSA machine vision product please email us at: or call us at Perth (08) 92425411 / Sydney (02) 99792599 / Melbourne (03) 95555621 or use our online contact us page.



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