[ RadSafe ] Help with Canberra ICB NIM modules

Carl A. Willis willis.219 at osu.edu
Sat Jan 17 18:26:17 CST 2009


I'm looking for some help with using Canberra's ICB NIM modules for 
radiation spectroscopy, and maybe people here are familiar with the ICB 
system.  I was recently handed a NIM bin containing, among other things, the 
following two modules:

Canberra 9635 ADC
Canberra 556 AIM

My understanding is that these modules, linked together via their data and 
ICB ports on the back, effectively constitute a pulse-height analysis system 
that can be controlled via the front-panel Ethernet connection on the 556. 
What I am interested in figuring out with your help is the CHEAPEST route 
toward the goal of using these modules to acquire basic pulse height spectra 
(at its simplest, two arrays of data--channel number and counts).  I suspect 
Canberra would tell me that I need to purchase their Genie software, sacking 
my wallet for thousands of dollars to use two NIMs I got for free and 
forcing lots of bells and whistles (spectrum libraries, etc.) down my 
throat.  No offense to them, but that is just how business is done these 
days.  What I would love to hear is that some enterprising soul has written 
a freeware control program that handles whatever Ethernet protocol these 
things use and can tell the ADC to do things like "acquire" and "stop" and 
"send data to file named X."  Or maybe with a little literacy of the 
protocol, I can do this manually myself with HyperTerminal or LabView?

I'm also willing to pay a reasonable amount of money for non-freeware that 
does the above.  Reasonable means $100 or less (this is hobby activity).  To 
give an idea of my current MCA situation, I use a Tracor-Northern 1705 and 
RS-232 data output via LabView (and I'm still indebted to RADSAFEr Kendrick 
Chin for providing a manual and instructions on how to overclock the UART on 
that thing).  The ICB system would be a big step up for me.

Thoughts?  Comments?  I can be reached at willis.219 at osu.edu or 

-Carl Willis

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