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.

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 "VisionGauge.joy" 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':

https://sentinelcustomer.gemalto.com/sentineldownloads/

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 support@visionxinc.com 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.





Please wait until you receive confirmation after clicking Submit.



Publications

    Machine Vision Products Application Bulletins: