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What is the voltage on the legacy Photon serial port? Do I need to access the serial port for normal operation?

This question applies to the legacy Photon camera models. The Photon product line and its accessories have been discontinued. The information here is provided for historical reference.

The serial port is only required to operate the camera in a non-autonomous mode. The legacy Photon camera is capable of being controlled remotely through an asynchronous serial interface consisting of the signals named RX, TX, and GND using 3.3 volt signal levels.

Note: The camera is compatible with most all RS-232 drivers/receivers but does not implement signaling levels (voltages) compliant with the RS-232 industry standard. However, it has been found fully functional in almost all implementations to date. There is no need for a NULL modem or to change the polarity when connecting legacy Photon to a PC.

The legacy Photon camera can understand camera commands set by the Photon Graphical User Interface (GUI) over an RS-232 link. The GUI can be downloaded here. Note that the GUI is only compatible with legacy Photon cameras built in 2008 or later.

If you experience problems trying to communicate with a legacy Photon over a serial port, we recommend trying this sequence of steps:
  • Close the GUI if it is open.
  • Remove power from the camera.
  • Check all cable connections to ensure they are secure, including the RS-232 connection from the PC to the I/O module.
  • Turn on or reapply power to the camera.
  • Start (or restart) the Photon camera control GUI.
  • The GUI should open in a single window and function normally. If a ‘Select Communication Parameters’ window appears, it usually means there is a configuration error, such as no cable from the PC to the I/O module (or unplugged at one end), or the wrong serial (COM) port is selected. You can try another COM port from the drop-down list.
  • If the previous step does not work, and the PC has more than one serial port, try a different port. You will need to select the matching COM port from the drop-down list in the Select Communication Parameters window.

If the above steps do not produce a successful result, then try another PC before contacting our Client Services group for help. The most common diagnosis we have seen is an anomaly with the serial port of the PC being used.