With a configuration script defined, it is time to connect the device and start the VMUSBReadout program. First let's connect the device. Though this seems like a task unworthy of mentioning, it has caused significant headache, so the reader would do well to make use of the following wisdom. First of all, the USB 2.0 protocol specifies that the maximum length of cable should be no longer than 5 meters. It has been observed that when using cables near this length, there is the possibility that data becomes corrupt somehow. For that reason, always use the shortest length of cable possible. Secondly, not all USB ports are created equal. Choose to use the ports on the back of your PC rather than the ports on the front.
Several command options control the way VMUSBReadout operates:
Specifies the serial number of the VMUSB the program will use. See
--enumerate below. If not provided, the first
VMUSB located will be used. If you only have one VMUSB connected
to your system, this is suitable.
Specifies the ring buffer in which event data will be put by the program. By default this is the same as the username you are logged in on.
Specifies the filename that contains the data acquisition configuration script. This defaults to ~/config/daqconfig.tcl
Specifies the filename that contains the slow controls configuration script. This defaults to ~/config/controlconfig.tcl. Note that this file is required even if it is just an empty file.
Specifies the port on which the slow controls server listens for connections. This defaults to 27000.
The value of the
--port options must either be an
integer port number or the special string
managed. If managed is used,
the program interacts with the NSCL port manager server to allocate
and advertise a port. The port is advertised under the name
connection specifies the connection to
the VM-USB. If the VM-USB is attached directly either the Serial
number string is used or, if the VM-USB serial number was not
selected at program startup, the string
FirstController is used.
Requests that the software list the serial numbers of the VMUSB
devices currently attached to the system and exit. Note that the
serial 'numbers' are actually strings of the form
VMnnnn where nnnn is
a number. One of these strings can be handed to the
--serialno to select the VMUSB to use.
--timestamplib option is present,
events will have a full body header and the integer
value of this switch determines the value of the source
The value of this option is a path to a shared object
library. If present, the library must have a C
compatible entry point named
If not supplied all events will have abbreviated body
headers and no timestamps will be present.
The library is dynamically loaded into the readout
getTimestamp is called
for each event.
receives a single null pointer parameter, which points
to the event and is supposed to return a
uint64_t value that is that event's
If the library has a further entry named
onBeginRun, taking no parametesr and
having no return value, this funtion is called when the run
For more information about how to generate this library, see Developing a Timestamp Extractor Library.
With the VM-USB connected, start the application at the command line. I will assume that you have properly defined your DAQBIN environment variable by sourcing the daqsetup.bash script provided in the NSCLDAQ installation directory.
Upon startup, the VMUSBReadout will proceed to initialize the modules registered to the slow-controls subsystem. This may take a few seconds but after it is done you should be prompted for input. The prompt is provided by a Tcl interpreter that has been extended to support run-control operations as well as the variables title and run. You can set the title and run like any other Tcl variable using the set command. Here is what that looks like when you set the title to the string "My title" and the run number to 4.
% set title "My title" % set run 4
There are four run-control commands:
Transitions the VM-USB from interactive mode to autonomous data taking mode. The devices registered to the command stacks are initialized and the stacks are built and loaded into the VM-USB. Also, this transition causes a data format item to be outputted followed immediately by a begin run data item containing information about the run. The begin transition is only allowed when in an inactive, unpaused state.
Transitions the VM-USB from autonomous data taking mode back to interactive mode and then works through the end of run procedures for each registered readout device. Once the last data is read from the VM-USB memory and all of these end run procedures are complete, an end run data item is emitted. Furthermore, the run variable is incremented. An end transition is disallowed only when the run is not paused or active.
This is almost identical to the end command except that no end of run data item is emitted. Also the run variable is not incremented. A pause data item is emitted. A pause transition is only allowed to occur when the run is active.
Similar to the begin command except that not data format item or begin run item is emitted. Instead, a resume data item is emitted. A resume transition is only allowed when a run is paused.
So to start data taking, you simply enter begin at the prompt. After a while, you can end the run by entering end.