Particle / Grain Counting and Sizing – Blob Analysis Applications

VisionGauge® OnLine Counting and Sizing (Blob Analysis) tools are able to automatically locate, count, and size grains, cells, or particles of any shape or size present on an image. You are also able to specify a region of interest so only a desired area on the image is considered. The image can be analyzed in various colour channels such as: Luminance, Hue, Saturation and the different Gamma colors. Selecting objects in the field of view using these channels greatly enhances your ability to produce extremely accurate results.

grain counting and sizing in VIsionGauge

Thresholds are used to better analyze the image. Different thresholds would be applied if the grains are dark on a light background, or red on a blue background, etc. VisionGauge® OnLine lets you customize these threshold values to assure the best results. You can also program a threshold to count objects that are close together so they are considered as one object or more.

You can also program the tool to filter out objects of certain sizes. Therefore, you can count/size only those objects that fit a certain size profile, eliminating spurious objects from your results.

All of VisionGauge® OnLine’s image processing and analysis tools are available to automatically “cleanup” the image before carrying out the particle counting or grain sizing operation. This can dramatically improve results in the cases where there is contamination, background noise, etc.

VisionGauge® OnLine’s Counting & Sizing Tool can perform various calculations and grain measurements including:

  • The total number of particles
  • The minimum particle area
  • The maximum particle area
  • The average particle area
  • The median particle area
  • The total particle area
  • and more…
VisionGauge OnLine blob analysis options

No matter the type of application dealing with counting and sizing particles, cells, grains, etc., VisionGauge® OnLine’s Counting & Sizing Tool is a powerful, versatile solution delivering accurate and reliable results.

VisionGauge® Machine Vision Systems for MEMS and Manufactured Electronics Verification Applications

After schematics have been set and printed circuit boards (PCBs) have been produced, comes the final part of electronic manufacturing: assembly. Our VisionGauge® OnLine machine vision systems can help you perform the electronic assembly verification or PCB assembly inspection of your product after it has been finished.

Electronic Assembly Verification

resistor placement inspection in VisionGauge machine vision systems

Whether you have used surface mount, though-hole (thru-hole) or other technology, our software will help you accurately inspect every part of your assembled electronic device.

Our visual inspection systems include the advanced VisionGauge® OnLine toolset. All of VisionGauge® OnLine’s image processing and analysis tools are thus available to automatically process the image before carrying out the assembly inspection.

There are numerous software tools employed by VisionGauge® OnLine to help facilitate your inspection, including:

SMT component verification in VisionGauge machine vision software

  • Optical Character Recognition & Verification (OCR / OCV) for serial numbers
  • Blob Analysis for solder height detection
  • Color Verification for devices and connections
  • Presence / Absence Detection of components
  • and many others…


With our visual inspection software you will be able to accurately check every soldered tip in high magnification and high accuracy in three dimensions. You can also utilize VisionGauge® OnLine’s OCR capabilities for serial number verification or model number recognition on your components. Or even use the color verification on ceramic resistors. There are countless possibilities for what you can accomplish with VisionGauge® OnLine.

Small Component Serial Number Verification

optical character recognition for electronic assembly verificationVisionGauge® OnLine Optical Character Recognition Systems (OCR Systems) are able to reliably, automatically locate and read serial numbers on chips, PCB boards, or any other device that your application requires. This automated process captures the data in fractions of second so products can be tracked as they flow through the manufacturing process – maintaining a high-quality inspection standard. It can also verify that the text matches the expected character string, export & exchange these results, produce reports, trigger signals, etc.

These OCR Systems include the advanced VisionGauge® OnLine toolset to facilitate applications, such as microchip inspection. All of VisionGauge® OnLine’s image processing and analysis tools are thus available to automatically “cleanup” the image before carrying out the character recognition operation. This can dramatically improve results in the cases where there is contamination, background noise, character spacing, contrast, etc.

OCR on electronics components in VisionGauge machine vision softwareWith the VisionGauge® OnLine toolset you are also able to specify a region of interest on the image so only the desired area of the device is scanned. Even if the characters are not standard you can build-up your own custom character libraries by presenting “model” characters to VisionGauge® OnLine’s OCR tool. Because of this, VisionGauge® OnLine is truly multi-lingual and can even be taught to recognize symbols. You can also adjust the threshold of recognition to the one that best fits your application.

Whether the devices are embedded on a board, or are still on a wafer, let VisionGauge® OnLine’s powerful Optical Character Recognition algorithm help you achieve maximum results with the highest accuracy.

All the data obtained from inspections can be exported, exchanged, or put into a report. Contact us with your application, and we can create a VisionGauge® OnLine custom visual inspection system to meet your requirements.

MEMS – Microelectromechanical Systems Inspection and Measurements

Inspection and measurement of MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems)

Microelectromechanical devices are a basic part of today’s technology. Used in such common places as inkjet printers, cellular phones, and mechanical accelerometers for automobile airbags, it is important for MEMS manufacturers to meet high production standards. VisionGauge® Online Automated Optical Inspections Systems (AOI Systems) can help you reach these standards through fully automated inspection and high-accuracy MEMS measurement.

Our AOI systems are able to be configured with high magnification optics and can provide measurement accuracy inside the micron spectrum – perfect for MEMs inspection. Additionally, the system is fully capable of repeatable motion in three dimensions which allows you to carry out measurements of objects that extend outside of the camera’s Field-of-View.

Inspection and measurement of MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems)

These systems are fully programmable with the aid of our easy-to-use VisionGauge® Online machine vision software. There are numerous features in the software to facilitate your inspection, and with our custom inspection systems you can be sure our product will work for your applications.

With systems that can learn how to do the inspection for you, control input and output signals, and create customized reports, the VisionGauge® Online Automated Optical Inspections Systems (AOI Systems) are the perfect solution for Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) inspection and measurement applications.

VisionGauge® Machine Vision Systems for Automotive Component Verification Applications

The industry of automotive components manufacturing requires high precision component verification in order to meet strict quality standards. Our VisionGauge® machine vision software solutions can perform automotive component verification with our standard visual measurement toolset, but they also can utilize our advanced inspection techniques and technologies, including hardness testing and live image overlay comparison.

Hardness Testing

VisionGauge® automatically determines the hardness of materials by measuring characteristic dimensions on indentations made by standard hardness testing machines. VisionGauge® supports Brinell, Knoop, Rockwell, and Vickers tests. VisionGauge® carries out all hardness measurements in accordance with the latest revision of the relevant ASTM Standards. Find out more about our hardness testing tool.

hardness testing in VisionGauge machine vision software

Live Image Overlay Comparison

Our VisionGauge® Digital Optical Comparators systems let you display a CAD file on top of the actual video feed. The software will automatically size and compare the image with the overlay. Our digital optical comparators can be integrated into systems with a wide field of view, low distortion lens, computer controlled illumination and a high resolution digital camera; all this powered by our easy to use VisionGauge® Online software. View more information on our digital optical comparator systems.

CAD overlay comparison for difficult to inspect parts


Windshield Urethane Bead Measurement with Laser Triangulation Systems

The common way that windshields are bonded to a vehicle is through a urethane bead based adhesive. Given that there are many laws regarding the minimal holding strength the sealant must have, accurate measurement of the amount used is paramount. Our VisionGauge® OnLine software is capable of measuring the width & height of the sealant bead used in the automotive industry.

Measuring the width and height of a sealant bead used in the automotive industry

This is possible thanks to our Laser triangulation systems. These systems include a high-resolution camera as well as a LASER oriented at 45 degrees relative to the camera’s optical centerline. The LASER projects a very thin and straight line at the point of measurement. By measuring the LASER line’s offset across the camera’s field-of-view, the system can automatically measure, very accurately, the height of the sealant. These laser measurements are carried out when the sealant bead is still un-cured, and thus “gelatinous”.

Laser triangulation inspection methods for sealant bead height measurements

Above you can see a sample image of our Laser triangulation system working on a urethane bead. Our systems have proven accuracy when measuring urethane beads. Furthermore, the systems are fully customizable to better fit your application.


Some of VisionGauge® Online’s other tools for similar industry inspections include automated measurement, defect detection, presence / absence detection, color verification, 3D laser profiling, optical character recognition/verification and assembly verification. For information on our VisionGauge® specifications to help you achieve the best results on your automotive component verification, please contact us.

VisionGauge® Visual Inspection and Machine Vision Applications

Our VisionGauge® products have been used across countless industries to solve a wide range of visual inspection and machine vision applications and other tasks. Below you will find a sampling of how some of our VisionGauge® products are still being applied, as well as information about our custom machine vision systems and imaging application development. Additional information about  our current VisionGauge® Digital Optical Comparator applications can be found here.

Contact us with your application!






  • Fish scale measurement



  • Distance learning & real-time image transmission


Electronics and microelectronics:



  • Fuel cell component measurement



  • Glass cross section inspection (Straiegram)




Industrial Gases:

  • Purity verification
  • Contamination detection
  • Particle detection


Medical Device:

  • Stent inspection
  • Drug coated stent inspection
  • Guide wire measurement
  • Medical device assembly verification
  • Optical Character Recognition and Verification for traceability
  • Catheter inspection
  • X-Ray detector inspection
  • Dental drill inspection and measurement
  • Verification of medical electronics


Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS):


Microscopy, Biology and Image Analysis:


Military and Defense:

  • Military electronics: MIL spec-compliant inspection
  • Hologram inspection
  • Projectile inspection and measurement
  • Measurement of X-Ray films

Motion Tracking / Video Capture and Motion Analysis:



  • Fracture detection and measurement in radioactive materials (inside a hot cell)


Optics and Optical Manufacturing:







  • Label verification


Precision Mechanical Components and Assemblies:

  • Assembly verification
  • Measurement of mechanical component


Printed circuit board:


Probe cards:






Sporting Goods:

  • Automated verification of baseball bat characteristics and dimensions






Wire & Cable:


Wire Bonding:

Custom Machine Vision Systems and Imaging Application Development

All of our standard vision systems can be configured with different optics and components to meet various requirements. However, sometimes more customization is required to achieve all of the goals of an inspection system: This type of customization is something we do especially well.

The process of developing custom machine vision systems designed to meet the requirements of a costumer’s application usually starts from a blank drawing board. Once the system goals have been identified, a group of our engineers will brainstorm ideas in order to find the most optimal solution to fulfill the customer’s needs. If system integration will be required, we may also need to understand the customer’s current processes to determine exactly how the system will fit. After a general idea of usage has been defined and some sketches are produced, the next step is to create a 3D physical model of the system for the customer’s approval.

custom machine vision system drawing sample

Once the 3D physical model is approved, our machinist uses CAD drawings to create the parts required for assembly in the desired materials. Meanwhile, we will continue to work on any custom enhancements to the software, if any are required. After all parts have been machined the system is assembled in-house and closely compared to the physical model to assure that the model and final product are identical.

custom machine vision system product sample

Finally, the system is thoroughly tested to ensure that it effectively solves the initial problem. To help our customers set-up a customized system in their facility and get them “up and running”, we typically create step-by-step instructions and sample programs using by our VisionGauge® Online software in conjunction with the system. Of course, technical support is always available for new systems should any questions arise.

cell counting custom application

If you have machine vision or imaging applications that you think might require some customizing, please contact us with the details of your project.

VisionGauge® Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Answers to many common questions about VisionGauge® can be found below. If your question cannot be found in the following list, please feel free to contact us. Please note that this list primarily addresses VisionGauge® issues, not VisionGauge® OnLine.

1) Compatibility issues:

VisionGauge® runs on IBM-PC compatible computers under Microsoft Windows® 2000, Windows® XP, Windows® Vista, Windows® 7, Windows® 8, Windows® 10, Windows® ME and Windows® XPE.

Note that in the case of the Windows™ Vista, Windows™ 7, Windows™ 8, Windows™ 10 operating systems, it is important to keep in mind that all device drivers used when running VisionGauge® or VisionGauge® OnLine (e.g. framegrabbers, expansion boards for encoders and illumination, etc.) will need to be updated with drivers intended for Windows™ 7/8/10 or Vista from the original manufacturer of the device. Certain framegrabbers and computer controlled illumination solutions will not work under more recent versions of Windows™, so please contact us for information about upgrading these devices before upgrading your operating system. Also, the drivers for the hardware security key will need to be updated to at least version 7.4 (available in the downloads section of our web site, by following this link).

Absolutely! VisionGauge® fully supports networks. VisionGauge® allows you to save all types of data – including images and video image sequences – across your network and retrieve all types of data from any network drive.

Furthermore, if you are running multiple copies of VisionGauge® in your facility and want to collect & share report data, measurements, statistics, counting & sizing results, part programs, etc, in a single common database across the network, you can do this very easily by simply configuring each VisionGauge® workstation to “point” by default to the same network drive.

VisionGauge® and VisionGauge® OnLine support many different video acquisition devices, including many USB and FireWire cameras. Some of the cameras are directly supported and can be found in our System Compatibility list.

VisionGauge® and VisionGauge® OnLine also support cameras and devices that are DirectX / DirectShow compliant, and many USB / FireWire cameras are DirectX / DirectShow compliant. To find out if your USB / FireWire camera is compatible with VisionGauge® and VisionGauge® OnLine, simply contact the manufacturer of the camera and ask if the camera has DirectX / DirectShow drivers.

VisionGauge® and VisionGauge® OnLine are both capable of running on Windows™ 7/10, both 32-bit and 64-bit. There are a several of factors to consider when upgrading from Windows™ XP to Windows™ 7/10:

  • If you are upgrading just the operating system on your current PC to Window™ 7/10, you need to download the appropriate drivers for all hardware being used with the system. In some cases you may find that certain devices are not supported under Windows™ 7/10. Please contact our technical support with the details of what hardware you are using, and we will find an appropriate replacement to recommend.
  • If you are changing everything over to a new PC running Windows™ 7/10, not only do you need to make sure you have all the appropriate drivers for the hardware you are using, but you also need to ensure the new PC is physically capable of running the hardware from your current PC. This includes any expansion boards (e.g. framegrabber, decoder, computer controlled illumination, I/O, etc.) and the hardware security key (dongle). Older versions of the hardware security key are installed on the parallel port, and many newer computers may not even have a parallel port: In this case, we suggest contacting us about swapping out the parallel port dongle for a USB dongle. If you have uncommon expansion boards for modern computers (e.g. AGP or ISA) or if you need to try to find a PCIe version of a PCI board in your current system, we recommend getting in touch with our technical support with the details about the boards you need to replace.

It is encouraged to backup the VisionGauge® directory from the PC before performing the upgrade. You can restore this directory to the same location after everything has been reinstalled.

** Please note, If you have one of the Flashbus/FlashPoint framegrabbers, there are no drivers more recent than Windows™ XP. To upgrade to Windows™ 7/10, it is necessary to change framegrabbers. Please contact us with information about your current framegrabber, cables, and camera and we will recommend an updated solution.

** If you have a PCI-1720 computer controlled illumination board, it is not presently possible to use this board on a 64-bit operating system with VisionGauge®. It is possible to upgrade to Windows 7™ 32-bit, however. Alternatively, we have a replacement available for this device to allow you to upgrade to Windows™ 10 and/or 64-bit OS’s. Contact us for a quote.

** If you have an Aexeon framegrabber, please be advised that there is no DirectX/DirectShow driver for this device that support Windows™ 7/10 64-bit. It is possible to run the framegrabber on Windows™ 7 32-bit, however, or by using the TWAIN driver on Windows™ 7/10 64-bit in VisionGauge®. If you would like to upgrade to a framegrabber or other video acquisition device that is supported by VisionGauge® on Windows™ 7/10 64-bit, please contact us.

2) Common problems & their solutions:

To be able to run VisionGauge®, you must have installed the hardware security key (a so-called “dongle”) that came with VisionGauge®  on your computer. The parallel port hardware security key is a pass-through connector that you install on your computer’s parallel port. Like all hardware components, the hardware security key also requires some software drivers.

In the vast majority of cases, the Error calling function “RNBOsproInitialize” error message appears when the hardware security key’s drivers have either not been installed, or have not been installed properly.

Please try again and follow the the hardware security key’s installation procedure. This installation procedure came with the security key. If you have misplaced it & would like to download it from our web page, please press here.

Also, please note that the drivers for the the hardware security key came with the key itself. If you have misplaced the floppy disk with the drivers, you can get them from our “downloads” page.

In the vase majority of cases, this will fix the problem.

To be able to run VisionGauge®, you must install the hardware security key (a so-called “dongle”) on your computer’s parallel port. If the hardware security key is not connected to your computer’s parallel port, VisionGauge® displays the “Error! Dongle not found.” error message.

VisionGauge® may also display this error message if the drivers for the dongle are not current when using a version later than 8.00. Try installing the Sentinel Protection Installer and start VisionGauge® after restarting the computer to see if this resolves the problem. You can download the Sentinel Protection Installer by following this link.

VisionGauge® will also display this error message if the dongle is damaged. Dongles are damaged when they are subjected to unusual & excessive current (i.e. they are “fried”). This cannot happen by connecting the dongle to a computer’s parallel port. It can only happen by connecting the dongle to a connector other than a parallel port and on which excessive current is applied. All of this is described in detail in the hardware security key’s installation procedure that came with the security key. If you have misplaced this installation procedure & would like to download it from our web page, please press here.

Please note that VISIONx programs & tests each dongle individually before shipping it. Every dongle is known to be good when it ships.

If you have damaged your hardware security key, you can send it back to us and we will send you a new one promptly for a replacement charge. Please contact us to obtain a replacement.

If you are using a FlashPoint 3D™ video acquisition board:

This error message indicates that you have not properly loaded the software drivers for the board’s video acquisition hardware. Follow these simple steps to correct the situation:

Step 1: Exit VisionGauge®.

Step 2: Run the program called “Setup.exe” located in the root directory of the CD that contains the drivers for the FlashPoint 3D™ video acquisition board.

Step 3: Reboot the computer.

If you are NOT using a FlashPoint 3D™ video acquisition board:

This error message indicates that you have configured VisionGauge® to use a FlashPoint 3D™ video acquisition board when in reality you don’t have one installed. Follow these simple steps to correct the situation:

Step 1: Exit VisionGauge®.

Step 2: Delete the file called “VisionGauge.cfg” located in the main VisionGauge® sub-directory (probably “c:\VisionGauge\”).

Step 3: Restart VisionGauge®. You will be prompted for a description of the video acquisition hardware that you wish to use. Enter the correct information.

This is due to one (or both) of the following reasons:

Reason #1: there is some kind of an “electrical” problem (i.e. the video signal is not reaching the framegrabber). Is the camera plugged-in & turned on? Is the cable going from the camera properly connected (and is it connected to the correct connectors)? Is the camera known-good?

Reason #2: Have you configured VisionGauge® to use the proper video signal format? If you’re unsure, follow these simple steps to start over & specify the correct video signal format (i.e. the one that your camera is putting out):

Step 1: Exit VisionGauge®.

Step 2: Delete the file called “VisionGauge.cfg” located in the main VisionGauge® sub-directory (probably “c:\VisionGauge\”).

Step 3: Restart VisionGauge®. Specify the same video acquisition hardware as previously, but take special care when specifying the video signal format.

Hint: If the cable that you’re plugging into the video acquisition board has a “BNC” connector on it, then you should specify a “Composite” signal format. If the cable that you’re plugging into the video acquisition board has a “4 pin mini-DIN” connector on it then you should specify a “Y/C” (or S-Video) signal format. Otherwise, you might have an RGB signal format. If you’re unsure, repeat the above procedure & try each one of the possible video signal formats in turn. This “trial & error” approach cannot do any harm & it will allow you to solve the problem.

This is due to a problem between the display drivers of the 3D™ board and some versions of Windows™ running on certain computers. You’ll have to reboot your computer to reset everything.

You can avoid this problem once and for all by changing a few display settings. If you have a “screen saver” turned on, you should turn it off (i.e. set your screen saver to “none”). You should also turn all “power saving” features off. Both of these things are done through the Windows™ “Display Properties” dialog box, which you can access via “My Computer | Control Panel | Display”.

We’ve seen this problem mostly under under Windows™ 98, but a few times under Windows™ 95 as well. You’ll have to start by rebooting your computer to get it to behave properly.

To be perfectly honest, we’re not entirely clear on the problem’s cause. However, it’s clearly due to a problem between the drivers of one (or more) of your system’s hardware components and Windows™ and we have always managed to get rid of the problem by carrying out the following steps:

Step 1:

Make sure that the file “cbw32.dll” is NOT present in the main VisionGauge® sub-directory (probably “c:\VisionGauge”) on your computer’s hard disk. If it present, you must delete it. Please note that you should only delete the copy of the file “cbw32.dll” located in the VisionGauge sub-directory (if the file is indeed present there)… NOT anywhere else on your computer’s hard disk.

Step 2:

Make sure that you have the “latest & greatest” drivers for the video acquisition board (i.e. framegrabber) that you are using. If your video acquisition board also acts as your computer’s video display board, make sure that these drivers are current as well. You can get the necessary driver information (as well as the latest drivers themselves) from the board manufacturer’s web page.

Step 3:

It’s also not a bad idea to update to the “latest & greatest” version of VisionGauge®. You can do this through our “downloads” page. This step is probably not required, but it’s very simple to carry out and it can’t hurt. Furthermore, it will provide you with all of the benefits of the latest features and newest enhancements.

Step 4:

Reboot your computer.

This should stop the problem from reoccurring.

This problem is related to conflicting software drivers for your system’s quadrature decoder board (i.e. the board used to read-in the stage encoder data to obtain the stage’s position). Specifically, the problem is due to the presence of 2 (or more) different versions of these drivers being present on your computer simultaneously.

This problem is easily solved and it is not present in versions 6.15 and more recent. Here’s how to get rid of this problem:

Step 1:

Erase the file “cbw32.dll” located in the main VisionGauge® sub-directory (probably “c:\VisionGauge”) on your computer’s hard disk. Please note that you should only delete the copy of the file “cbw32.dll” located in the VisionGauge sub-directory (if the file is indeed present there)… NOT anywhere else on your computer’s hard disk.

Step 2:

It’s never a bad idea to update to the “latest & greatest” version of VisionGage®. You can do this through our “downloads” page. You certainly don’t have to do this,  but it’s very simple to do and it can’t hurt. Furthermore, it will provide you with all of the benefits of the latest features and newest enhancements.

Step 3:

Reboot your computer.

This should stop the problem from reoccurring.

a) Shutdown VisionGauge.

b) Un-Check the “Enable Pointer Shadow” check box in the “Control Panel | Mouse | Pointers” window.

c) Restart VisionGauge.

Windows XP’s SP2 update disallows “active content” from being viewed across a network. If you are running VisionGauge® over a network instead of on your local computer, you will need to either access the help file from the computer on which VisionGauge® is installed, or copy the help file to your local computer to run it. The help file, VisionGaugeHelp.chm, is located in the main VisionGauge® directory (usually C:/Visiongauge) in the Help folder.

In the vast majority of cases when the stage and / or column is moving on its own, it’s because the external joystick is not properly calibrated. The “un-calibrated” joystick is sending “move” commands to the stage and / or column. To rectify the situation, we suggest that you carry out the following steps:

a) shutdown VisionGauge®

b) erase the file called “” located in the main VisionGauge® sub-directory (probably “c:\VisionGauge”) on your computer’s hard disk.

c) startup VisionGauge®. VisionGauge® will walk you through the different steps required to calibrate the joystick.

This should solve the problem.

Please note that you can use password protection (described in chapter entitled “High-Precision Measurements” of the User’s Guide) to stop operators from un-calibrating the joystick.

The dongle is another hardware device on your computer and these problems are most likely due to either a hardware conflict or a device driver conflict. These problems are rare, but we have seen them a few times in the past…

If the driver on our website’s Downloads section is not working, you should probably download the latest drivers for the dongle from – Select ‘Sentinal SuperPro’:

At this same location, it is also possible to download the “Sentinel Medic”. This is a diagnostic program that can help you resolve any conflicts with the hardware security key.

In the few instances that we have seen these problems, they were caused by incorrect parallel port settings in the BIOS (for example: the parallel port – to which the dongle is connected – was disabled). In all cases, the following suggestion from the above “troubleshooting” document solved the problem:

“If you are using a parallel port key, make sure your BIOS or MCOS settings for the parallel port are set to ECP, Bi-Directional, Normal, or PS/2, and if you have an option to set them to AUTO, ENABLE or DISABLE, set the settings to ENABLE. If you have a Dell Computer brands Dimension 8100 or Optiplex, you might need to set the settings to either PS/2 or IBM AT. Once the changes have been made, make sure you reinstall the Sentinel System Drivers.”

As a last resort, it is possible to swap out a parallel port dongle for a USB dongle. Please contact us for more information.

We have heard about a few such “catastrophic” problems when using VisionGauge® with the PixeLINK PL-A642 FireWire(tm) digital camera. In all cases, these problems were due to the fact that multiple – and incompatible – copies of the “MFC42.dll” library file were present on the computer. To solve this problem, follow these steps:

a) Search your computer’s hard disk for the file “mfc42.dll”. Multiple copies of any dll file on a computer are always a problem. This is especially true if different versions of the same file are present.

b) You should find one copy of the “mfc42.dll” file in the VisionGauge® sub-directory. If you also find one in the Windows “System32” directory, then we suggest that you rename the one in your VisionGauge® sub-directory to “mfc42.dll.sav” or any other different name (renaming is probably preferable to deleting, simply because it’s easier to reverse). You might also want to reboot your computer (this is probably not required, but it’s certainly good practice.) Then re-start VisionGauge® and everything should work properly.

a) Shutdown VisionGauge®.

b) Go the “Display Properties” | Settings | Advanced | Troubleshooting window and turn the hardware acceleration down. One “notch” below “Full” generally works best.

c) Startup VisionGauge(r) and try to turn live video On and then Off.

d) If the error persists, shutdown VisionGauge(r) and try to lower the hardware acceleration further.

e) If this still does not allow you to resolve the problem, then shutdown VisionGauge(r), leave the hardware acceleration one “notch” below “Full” and reduce the display resolution (through the “Display Properties” | Settings” window).

The freezing is caused by multiple display adapters being loaded on boot-up. In most cases when using a FlashPoint™ framegrabber, you will need to disable or remove additional video adapters, including any built-in display adapters and remote desktop sharing (e.g. Microsoft SMS). You can remove the board to start Windows or enter Windows in Safe Mode. Then disable the display adapters from the Device Manager – make sure you leave the S3 Savage adapter enabled (this is the FlashPoint board’s display adapter). Afterwards, shut down the computer and reinsert the framegrabber, if you removed the board. Next you will need to load the drivers for the framegrabber and run the FlashPoint setup software – see the framegrabber’s installation manual for instructions on how to do this.

This problem occurs when the the installer for the hardware security key drivers is unable to properly install this file on the Sony Smart Camera.

To correct the problem, simply download this “SNTNLUSB.ZIP” file, extract the “SNTNLUSP.SYS” file from it, and copy it to the camera’s “C:\WINDOWS\System32\drivers” sub-directory.

If everything was working correctly before the update to VisionGauge® and you have EPIX’s XCAP version 2.2 installed, you will need to download the XCLIBWNT.DLL file that works with XCAP version 2.2 and overwrite the existing version found in your VisionGauge® directory (typically, C:/Visiongauge/) or VisionGauge® OnLine directory (typically, C:/VgOnLine/).

3) Basic questions about VisionGauge®:

The different Editions of VisionGauge ®:

There are presently 6 different Editions of VisionGauge®, each intended for a different class of applications. The different Editions of VisionGauge® have different features and functionalities. For example, the most basic Edition of VisionGauge® is the “Light” Edition and the most complex Edition is the “Motorized-Stage Configuration” which can control multi-axis motion systems with great accuracy. Some Editions of VisionGauge® are for very specialized applications, such as VisionGauge® HT which includes special tools specifically designed for measuring very accurately the micro-hardness of materials.

If you contact us to obtain technical support, we will need to know which Edition of VisionGauge® you are using.

The different Versions of VisionGauge®:

We are continuously working to improve & enhance VisionGauge®. Incremental updates, containing new features & enhancements as well as any bug fixes that may be required, are produced regularly (typically: approximately once or twice a month) and posted on our web page (see our downloads page). These incremental updates constitute the different Versions of VisionGauge®. A Version is thus either older or newer than another Version. A bug that is present in an older Version has probably been fixed in a more recent Version. Newer Versions are also more feature-rich than older Versions.

If you contact us to obtain technical support, it will probably be very difficult for us to help you without knowing which Version of VisionGauge® you are using.

How to determine which Edition and which Version of VisionGauge® you are running:

To obtain both the Edition & Version information of your license of VisionGauge®, simply run VisionGauge® and then go in the “Help” menu and then give the “About” command. Both the Edition & Version information will be displayed.

If – for some reason – you are unable to run VisionGauge®, then you can find the Edition written on the hardware security key that came with the software, and the Version number is written on the VisionGauge® CD.

VISIONx is continuously working to improve and enhance VisionGauge®. Incremental updates are produced on a regular basis and are posted on our web page. These updates contain new features and enhancements, as well as any bug fixes required.

Through this approach of continuous development, VisionGauge® has been enhanced tremendously over the years. Many innovative tools have been developed and added, allowing VisionGauge® users to perform functions and solve applications that could not be solved previously. Over time, certain tools and operations within VisionGauge® have evolved to become more powerful and easy to use!

All of these improvements may never have materialized had it not been for feedback from members of the VisionGauge® Annual Support and Update Program. Many of VisionGauge’s® most popular features began as suggestions made by members. We certainly listen very attentively to all suggestions for improvements from members of this Program!

What is Included With Each New License of VisionGauge®:

Every new license of VisionGauge® includes a one-year membership to the VisionGauge® Annual Support and Update Program. Members of this program can take advantage of any of the following benefits:

  • Download and install all VisionGauge® updates that are released during your membership period
  • Subscribe to the VisionGauge® User’s Newsletter to be automatically notified when VisionGauge® updates are released and to receive other useful information
  • Receive technical support by email, telephone, and fax

These are just a few of the benefits of the VisionGauge® Annual Support and Update Program. Users of VisionGauge® are encouraged to keep their membership to the Program current in order to continue to take advantage of the Program’s benefits.

What is Included With Each VisionGauge® Annual Support and Update Program Subscription Renewal:

If you are renewing your membership to the VisionGauge® Annual Support and Update Program, the cost is 15% of the then-current list price of the licensed VisionGauge® product. With this renewal, you will receive:

  • A hard-copy or download of the latest version of the licensed VisionGauge® product
  • Access to VisionGauge® training resources and technical support for the software
  • A copy User’s Guide

You can renew your membership to the VisionGauge® Annual Support and Update Program either by contacting your VisionGauge® reseller or by contacting us directly.

If you’re a member of the VisionGauge® Annual Maintenance Program, you can can download, install & use any and all VisionGauge® updates produced at any time during your 1-year membership period. Simply go to our downloads page & follow the simple instructions that are there. If your membership to the VisionGauge® Annual Maintenance Program is no longer current and you would like to renew it, please contact us.

Members of the VisionGauge® Annual Support and Update Program can subscribe – at no charge – to the VisionGauge® Users Newsletter.

By subscribing to the VisionGauge® Users Newsletter, you will be notified when new updates of VisionGauge® become available (typically once or twice a month).  The VisionGauge® Users Newsletter also contains a description of the new features and enhancements in each new VisionGauge® update, as well as any instructions and other useful information that will allow you to get the maximum benefit from these enhancements.

Through the VisionGauge® Users Newsletter, you will also be notified of certain special events, for example when new training material becomes available, etc…

To subscribe to the VisionGauge® Users Newsletter, simply send an email to and indicate “Subscribe to the VisionGauge(r) Users Newsletter” in the main body of the email. You will automatically subscribed to our user list.

VisionGauge® supports both parallel-port and USB-port hardware security keys. By default, VisionGauge® now ships with a USB hardware security key. Note that you can get the drivers for both types of keys from our downloads page.

4) Basic questions about using VisionGauge®:

All of the different settings & parameters in VisionGauge® can be saved in a setup file. The “File | Setup | Save As” menu command lets you save VisionGauge®’s current configuration to a setup file on disk and the “File | Setup | Open” command lets you read a setup file from disk. So, for example, different users can each save their own settings & preferences to disk, each in their own setup file.

If you want to have your preferences automatically loaded into VisionGauge® when it starts up, simply create a file called “startup.set” – containing your settings & preferences – in VisionGauge®’s “Setups” directory. “Startup.set” is a reserved name and when VisionGauge® starts up, it looks to see if this file exists. If it does, then it loads it into memory. If on the other hand it does not, then all of VisionGauge®’s state variables are simply set to their default values when you start up VisionGauge®.

Also, in the later versions of VisionGauge®, the “General Preferences” has an option to restore the last settings that were used when VisionGauge® was shutdown. This setting restores the open windows to their last positions and retain your settings without using the “startup.set” file.

Follow this sequence to ensure that you properly calibrate VisionGauge® and save your calibration into the Calibration Toolbox:

  • To calibrate VisionGauge®, select the “Calibrate” option in the “Command” menu. VisionGauge® will ask you to measure an object of known length (people typically use a traceable calibration standard to do this). Once you’ve done this, VisionGauge® will ask you to specify the object’s length.
  • Once you’ve calibrated VisionGauge®, you might want to carry out a quick measurement and verify that the measured value is indeed accurate. This will allow you to confirm that VisionGauge® is indeed properly calibrated.
  • In the “Tools” menu, open the “Calibration Toolbox”. At this point, it’s VERY IMPORTANT that you DO NOT CLICK ON ANY OF THE CALIBRATION TOOLBOX’S BUTTONS. If you were to click on one of the Calibration Toolbox’s buttons, the calibration data contained in the button would overwrite VisionGauge’s® current calibration and you would have to start over.
  • To save VisionGauge’s® current calibration into one of the Calibration Toolbox’s buttons, go to the Calibration Toolbox’s “Set” menu and choose the appropriate button (for example, if you want to save the current calibration to button number five, choose “Set | Button #5”).
  • VisionGauge® will ask you to supply a label for this button. We suggest that you choose one that is evocative such as “50X objective” or “Max. Zoom In”.
  • To ensure that everything works properly, you can press on the button in which you have just saved the calibration and then carry out a measurement. Please note that when you press the button, the message “New calibration:” followed by the button’s label will be displayed in VisionGauge’s® status box at the bottom of the viewing area. For example, if you have given the button the label “50X” then when you press on the button, the following message will be displayed in the status box: New calibration: “50X”. Furthermore, when you carry out the measurement, the measured value will also be displayed in VisionGauge’s® status box. An accurate measurement will confirm that VisionGauge® was properly calibrated and that the calibration is correctly saved in the Calibration Toolbox.

Yes! You can use any number of “remote desktop” applications to accomplish this, including Windows Remote Desktop. This would allow a user on a remote PC to “see” and even control everything on your computer’s display, including VisionGauge® image capture operations. Of course, please be advised that it is common for some processes such as image capture to display some ‘lag’ while remotely viewing a live image.

VisionGauge® Machine Vision Software

VISIONx, Inc. manufactures and supports two different VisionGauge® visual inspection / machine vision software products:


VisionGauge® OnLine:

Powerful machine vision software for automated inspection, verification, and data collection featuring state-of-the-art vision tools for defect detection, pattern matching, automated measurement, optical character recognition, blob analysis, and much more. The VisionGauge® OnLine software features exclusive tools for use with our VisionGauge® Digital Optical Comparators and comes installed with each of these systems. Our patented CAD  Auto-Align™ and CAD Auto-Pass/Fail™ tools and the patent-pending Tooth Checker™ tool are included in VisionGauge® OnLine.

For more information about VisionGauge® OnLine, click here, and a new tab will open with the legacy section of our website.



Visual measurement and image analysis software with integrated reporting allowing you to capture, manipulate, analyze, store and output images and data. VisionGauge software includes easy-to-use tools for microscopy, metrology, and many other types of optical inspection.

For more information about VisionGauge®, click here, and a new tab will open with the legacy section of our website.


VisionGauge® machine vision software products are capable of integrating into entire vision systems.

Information is also available about visual inspection and machine vision applications we have already solved across a wide variety of industries.