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microEnable 5 marathon#

Basler's microEnable frame grabbers cover a broad range of use case scenarios. Supporting various camera interfaces, Basler's portfolio reaches from simple plug-and-play frame grabbers to programmable high-performance boards.

Each frame grabber is equipped with one FPGA (Field Programming Gate Array). By making maximum use of the parallelized data processing on FPGAs, our frame grabbers offer real time image processing, including real time triggering directly from the frame grabber.

In solutions using our frame grabbers, the main image processing takes place directly on the FPGA. Only the processing results are forwarded to the CPU, which leads to a tremendous reduction of the CPU load. If required, the actual images are transferred to the host computer via Direct Memory Access (DMA) without any CPU involvement.

Frame Grabber Portfolio

The Concept of Applets#

What makes our frame grabbers unique is the use of applets. An applet is an application that runs on the frame grabber's FPGA. We call these applications applets since they work like the apps for mobile devices.

An applet contains the FPGA firmware for image acquisition and image processing. We don't pack all image acquisition and processing functions available for a specific frame grabber model into one big applet. Instead, we tailor each applet for a specific camera interface, a specific topology (how many cameras, how many links per camera), and a specific field of application. This allows for a maximum use of FPGA resources. Anything not required for a specific use case isn't loaded onto the FPGA.

We provide a free set of applets for each frame grabber model. You can select the applet of your choice and load it onto the frame grabber FPGA. Each applet comes with a comprehensive applet documentation. Applet overviews listing the main features of the individual applets enable you to select the applet that fits your use case best.

You can parameterize each applet, either via GUI application microDisplay X, or via the provided Framegrabber API. A description of all parametrization options you find in the applet documentation.

In addition to the freely available applets out of the applet sets, you can use custom applets that contain complex and specific algorithms. These applets are developed either by Basler or by yourself. To program your own applets, you use the graphical development environment VisualApplets. As it is a graphical environment, you need no HDL knowledge to create your own, unique applets.

A Series and V Series#

Each microEnable frame grabber model is offered in two product variants:

  • A Series: Allow to run the freely available applets. A Series frame grabbers focus on real-time image acquisition, including image pre-processing and triggering.
  • V Series: Programmable frame grabbers. Allow to run custom specific applets developed by yourself using VisualApplets, or by Basler application engineers. While providing all functionality offered by A Series grabbers, V Series frame grabbers focus on the use of highly complex, individualized image processing solutions.

Designing Your Own Applets#

The design of all V-grabbers (i.e. marathon VCX-QP, marathon VCL, and marathon VCLx / marathon deepVCL) allows you to program you own individual image processing solutions (applets) using the graphical FPGA programming environment VisualApplets.

VisualApplets is an intuitive, graphical tool for programming FPGAs used in machine vision. You can develop applications handling very specific and highly complex image processing tasks in a time and cost effective manner. You are supported by features like visual debugging, analyzing options, and pixel-accurate simulation. An integrated SDK generator and the accompanying microDisplay X program make the implementation on your V-grabber easy.


Building applications with this development tool requires an according license, see section VisualApplets Licensing.

For information about how to install VisualApplets, refer to Installing VisualApplets.

For information about how to create your own applets with VisualApplets, refer to the VisualApplets User Documentation.

Supported Camera Interfaces#

The microEnable frame grabbers support the following camera standards:

  • CoaXPress
  • Camera Link


  • marathon ACX-SP: One-channel CoaXPress frame grabber, A Series
  • marathon ACX-DP: Two-channel CoaXPress frame grabber, A Series
  • marathon ACX-QP: Four-channel CoaXPress frame grabber, A Series
  • marathon VCX-QP: Four-channel CoaXPress frame grabber, V Series (programmable)
  • marathon ACL: Two-channel Camera Link frame grabber, A Series
  • marathon VCL: Two-channel Camera Link frame grabber, V Series (programmable)
  • marathon VCLx / marathon deepVCL: Two-channel Camera Link frame grabber, V Series (programmable, especially fit for complex image processing as well as deep learning applications based on CNN (Convolutional Neuronal Networks))

Release Notes and Troubleshooting#


Framegrabber SDK#

The Framegrabber SDK is a software suite with which you can operate your frame grabber. The Framegrabber SDK provides the following software components:


Framegrabber API#

Acquisition Applets#


For information about our graphical development environment, see the VisualApplets documentation.


Can't find your model here? To access the documentation of discontinued products, install the runtime software included with your frame grabber. This contains the relevant documentation.