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Laser Scanning - SICK LMS200 (E-collector Box) - 20

Description

Driver to decode laser data from up to four SICK LMS200 scanners, all connected to one E-collector box, which is manufactured by Terra Vermessung AG.


 

Instead of QINSy being interfaced to each scanner separately via serial COMports and cables, you only need one network interface connection to this E-collector box.

Other advantages of this box are that it:

  • converts the serial (RS422) data stream from up to four scanners to one UDP network stream
  • synchronizes the scanners, in order to prevent interference between the scanners
  • accurately timestamps the scanner data using a PPS pulse from an external GPS receiver

Notice that the driver has user-interface in order to control the laser unit system, which can be found in the Controller's Echosounder Settings dialog.

Notes

  • Driver can not be used to interface directly to an LMS200 scanner.
    You need to use a so-called E-collector box in between.
  • Driver does decode range/angle values, but no reflectivity (or intensity, or remission).

Driver Information

Driver SICK LMS200 (E-collector Box) (XML)  Interface Type Freebase/TCP/IP/UDP  Driver Class Type Freebase
UTC Driver (question) Yes Input / Output Input/Output  Executable DrvLaser.exe EBOX_LMS200 
Related Systems
Related Pages  



Decoding Notes

Data is always broadcast via UDP network. It is advisable to use a fast (at least 100Mb) network card, due to the enormous amount of data to be expected. Communication with the device is based on a full-duplex UDP connection.

The driver is configured as a Multibeam System and creates range/angle 'multibeam' observations.

('multibeam' versus 'laser scanning'-terminology: ping = scan (i.e. 360° around), footprint = pixel = pulse, swath = line)

The number of beams (pixels) depends on the on-line used settings, like (user-definable) range mask (see also Online Setup below). 

For each connected LMS200 scanner you may expect the following data statistics:

  • The maximum expected number of beams per scan is 181.
  • The maximum expected number of beams per second is 13500.
  • The number of scans per second (full head rotations) will be 75 Hz
  • The maximum field of view is 180°

QINSy will be updated with the decoded data after each full rotation of the laser head. 

Upon decoding, the measured range is calculated to a travel time, using the speed of light as a constant.

Database Setup

  1. Add a Multibeam Echosounder system to your template setup, and select driver "Laser Scanning - SICK LMS200 (E-collector Box) (XML)". 
    The Port number must be the same as the LAN port of the E-collector box, normally 25000. The driver will communicate (sending and receiving commands) via this configuration port of the scanner. 
    Important is to enter for the IP Address the address of the scanner, e.g. 192.168.0.200, but the exact value should be provided by the manufacturer of the box. 
    The maximum update rate can be used, but it is recommended to leave it at zero. In that way it is most likely that the scanner's update rate of 75 Hz will be achieved. 
    The setting Control system from QINSy must be enabled for the first defined laser scanning system. Do not enable this option for the others.
    This setting enabled will make sure that you can control the scanner(s) via the E-collector box using the Controller while online. See below under Online Setup for the details.
  2. On the next page, the Transducer Location, the Mounting Angles and the Slot Identifier are important:



    As a rule of thumb, when you mount the unit backwards on your vehicle with face down for scanning profiles, then you may leave all offsets (Roll/Pitch/Heading) zero in the template setup.
    A scanned profile as seen in a Raw Multibeam display should then be as in the real world. 
    Set the Max. beams per ping value to 181. The actual number of beams will be variable and depends for example on the used settings on-line and on the targets being scanned. 
    The Slot Identifier should be a number between 1 and 4, in the same order as connected on the E-Collector box
  3. Leave all other values on the next page(s) also at their defaults.

Online

When on-line, the laser unit can be controlled using the Controller: 

Select Echosounder Settings, click on the Laser System icon, and select the 'Control' tab page. 

Connected

In order to communicate with the scanner(s) via the E-collector box, you must make a network connection first.

  • No
    This means that there is no UDP network connection between the driver and the E-collector box.
  • Yes
    Select this every time you go online with the Controller, in order to communicate with the scanner(s) via the E-collector box. If no connection could be made, a notification message will be displayed in the Events list. Under normal circumstances a connection will be established within a second.
  • [ Set to Manual at startup ]
    Select this option (only one time, and hit the Apply button) if you want to disable the 'Auto Connect' option. This means that every time you go online with the Controller, you must make a connection yourself by selecting 'Yes' from this list.
  • [ Set to Auto Connect at startup ]
    Select this option (only one time, and hit the Apply button) and the next time that you go online with the Controller, the driver will try to connect to the E-collector box immediately.

Action

Selected action will be sent to the E-collector box, immediately after hitting the Apply or OK button. You must be connected first in order to select an action.

Notice that any selection will always revert back to [None], after each selected action.

It is recommended to wait a moment after each action, until the status in the Event list is updated with a message, because it takes some time for the unit to handle each command (action).

  • [None]
    This will be the selection after each action. Nothing will happen when you hit the Apply or OK button.
  • Start
    Select this action in order to start scanning (Actually, this command informs the E-collector box to start interrogating the connected scanner(s), because the scanners are always scanning when powered up). Scanning should be started immediately after hitting the Apply or OK button, and the updated laser data should be visible e.g. in a Raw Multibeam Display. If you notice that nothing happens, check the notification messages in the Events list in order to pinpoint the problem.
    After a cold start (switch off/on) of the E-collector box it may happen that status "Warten auf Startfreigabe vom PC (SetupLMS200)" will be returned. In that case you should select again action "Start".
  • Stop
    Select this action in order to stop scanning. Scanning will be stopped immediately, after hitting the Apply or OK button. The laser will also stop scanning automatically when going offline with the Controller. (I.e. the E-collector box will stop interrogating the connected scanner(s))
  • [ REQUEST STATUS ]
    Select this action in order to retrieve the internal status from the selected scanner.
    This may give you additional information in the Events list (bottom pane) in order to get things working. Notice that the language of the status information is German (Swiss). When it says "LMS200 ist aktiviert und sendet Messdaten" it means that the scanner and the E-collector box are ready and the driver should be able to receive the data.

Scan Mode

Select the required measurement method

Notice that changing the scan mode requires a cold start (switch off/on) of the E-collector box.
After a cold start it is advisable to disconnect and connect again prior to proceeding.

  • 32M
    Maximum scanning range will be 32 meter. The range resolution will be mm.
  • 80M
    Maximum scanning range will be 80 meter. The range resolution will be cm.

Minimum Range

Set the minimum required range in meters. Valid values: 0 to 80 meters.

Using this setting is recommended, but be careful: Blocked data due to this setting (i.e. all pixels less than this range) will not be recorded!

Maximum Range

Set the maximum allowed range in meters. Valid values: 0 to 80 meters.

Using this setting is recommended, but be careful: Blocked data due to this setting (i.e. all pixels more than this range) will not be recorded!

Store Laser Location

If enabled, an additional pixel with zero co-ordinates will be added to each line scan, in order to indicate the exact laser scanner location in the resulting point cloud. This extra pixel will always have beam number 1, and its intensity/quality value will be zero.

Use PPS

This setting is highly recommended, in order to use exact time stamping of the laser data.

When enabled, the E-collector box must receive a valid PPS pulse from an external GPS receiver.
There is a GPS RS232 female 9-pin connector on the box, the pulse signal should be interfaced to pin 7, and the ground to pin 5.

Notice that no time string message (e.g. NMEA GGA) is needed to be interfaced in order to use this accurate timestamping, however QINSy must be interfaced to a valid PPS system.

E-Box Setup

Use this setting to inform the driver which LMS200 laser scanners are connected to the E-collector box.

If only one scanner is connected, use the combination that contains the connected scanner port.
For example if you connected your LMS200 scanner to the third RS232 female 9-pin connector (probably labeled LMS3), then you should select here the option 'LMS 3 + 4'.

Capture Raw Data

Enable this option if you want to store the raw binary data stream coming straight from the unit to a log file on disk.
This may be useful for debugging purposes, or to load the data into other software.

This binary log file will be located in the current project's log-file folder and the naming convention will be <System Name> - DD-MM-YYYY - <Sequence>.bin. The sequence number is incremented after every Start/Stop scanning action.

Please note that the log file is of no use for QINSy, and it may affect the online performance because of the extra hard disk activity.

This option may not be available in your setup. In that case no raw data will be captured.

Generic Display

A generic display can be used to show the numerical values for the number of beams (pixels) being scanned per ping (line), the number of beams per second, the range values, etc. 



It is useful to check that the ping age value is a small value, it should be around zero, e.g. 0.03 or 0.02.
Also important, make sure that the Status Flag value is 2, meaning 'PPS OKAY', when the option 'Use PPS' is enabled.

You may use the attached example Generic Display Layout file as example: Copy this layout (Use 'Save Link As...') to your current Project's Settings\Display folder and open it using a new Generic Display. You only have to select the correct laser system as defined in your template setup.


Problems

If you experience problems using your laser scanner in combination with this driver, or if you need additional information or support, please attach the daily laser log-file when submitting your JIRA support ticket.


  • The most commonly reported problem is that network data is blocked by the Windows Firewall. When this happens you may see that data does come in using other utilities (like the IO Tester or the manufacturer's own software), but that the Qinsy driver does not accept any data.

    The following (Windows 7) steps may solve this:
  1. Go offline, open the Control Panel (Start menu, Settings, Control Panel)
  2. Select Windows Firewall (System and Security)
  3. Select Advanced Settings (Upper left corner)
  4. Select Inbound Rules, highlight all 'Driver for Laser Scanning' entries and delete them using the right mouse popup menu (or Del key)
  5. If you now go online, the Windows Security Alert message will pop up: It is important to check all three check boxes!
  • Another possible problem could be that your computer has more than one network cards installed (e.g. LAN and WIFI), but within the same sub-net mask range (255.255.255.0). It is recommended to make the first three digits unique for each network card IP address.
    You may check the daily laser log-file, it will show the IP addresses for all available network adapters and indicates which one the driver will use.

    Please check that the driver is using the correct one.

Daily Laser Log File

All user actions are logged in a daily laser log file. You will find this file in the current project's LogFiles folder.
The filename convention for this ASCII log-file is <System Name> DD-MM-YYYY.log.

Notice that all time stamps in this log file are by default in UTC.
An advanced user may change this to local time zone (LTZ) by changing the registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\QPS\QINSy\8.1\Drivers\DrvLaser\Settings\TimeLogFileUtc value from 1 to 0.