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Frequently asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is Ascella Reference Design Kit?

The Ascella Cypress® CX3™ THine® ISP Reference Design Kit (Ascella RDK) is a joint reference design kit developed by Cypress® Semiconductors, THine® Electronics, Inc. and e-con Systems. This kit is developed to promote the Cypress® EZ-USB™ CX3™ USB Camera controller chip with THine® THP7312 for applications demanding high-resolution video and still imaging with the use of OmniVision® OV13850 CMOS sensor based 13MP Autofocus camera module. Customers can use this kit as it is or customize the same with the help of e-con Systems to meet their form-factor requirements or other requirements.

This Ascella RDK is a USB 3.0 UVC-compliant camera and does not require any drivers to be installed on the popular Operating Systems such Windows (7/8/8.1) and Linux. e-con Systems will later extend the support for Mac OS.

2. I already have Denebola CX3™ RDK. What is the difference between the Denebola CX3™ RDK and the Ascella ISP RDK?

The primary difference between the Denebola and Ascella is that the Ascella ISP RDK incorporates THP7312 Image Signal Processor (ISP) from THine® Electronics, Inc. which is optimized for use with the OmniVision OV13850 based Autofocus camera module. The Denebola RDK does not use any external ISP and uses OmniVision® OV5640 sensor based 5MP Autofocus camera module.

Parameter Denebola CX3™ RDK Ascella CX3™ ISP RDK

CMOS Sensor

OmniVision® OV5640 SoC CMOS Image Sensor (with builtin ISP)

OmniVision® OV13850 RAW (Bayer format) Image Sensor. This kit uses an external ISP THP7312 ISP from THine® Electronics, Inc.

ISP

Built-in ISP of OV5640 CMOS image sensor

THP7312 ISP from THine® Electronics, Inc.. External on-board ISP.

Camera resolution

5 Mega Pixels

13 Mega Pixels

Maximum Video Resolution
(MJPEG)

5MP streaming @ 15fps
1080p @ 30fps.

13MP @ 21fps
Ultra HD(3840x2160) @ 30fps and 1080p @ 60fps

Maximum Video Resolution
(Uncompressed YUV422)

5MP streaming @ 15fps
1080p @30fps.

13MP @ 10fps
1080p @ 60fps

Autofocus

Voice Coil Motor based. Single Trigger Autofocus

Voice Coil Motor based. Single Trigger and Continuous Autofocus

Interface

USB 3.0 and USB2.0. UVC compliant.

USB 3.0 and USB2.0. UVC compliant.

Schematics

Complete schematics available open for all.

Partial schematics only. For full schematics, customers can request from THine®  Electronics Inc. THine®  reserves the right to disclose the schematics.

Firmware and Settings

Complete firmware available in source code, except for OV5640 sensor settings library, which is available from e-con directly if the customer has NDA with OmniVision.

Partial firmware only. The ISP firmware, ISP register settings and CMOS sensor settings are not available in source code.

Support for other sensors

Customers can integrate any other sensor with Denebola and develop the firmware on their own.

Supporting new sensors has to be decided on case to case basis based on production volume. Interested customers can contact e-con at sales@e-consystems.com directly.

Development support

Full development support from e-con Systems. As the full design information is already available, customers can develop on their own.

Development and customization support is only through e-con Systems

3. I see that there is a 13MP camera module. Can I have the datasheet of that camera module?

Yes, please write to sales@e-consystems.com for the 13MP camera module datasheet, explaining about your project application and volume requirements.

4. Is this 13MP camera module continuous or single triggered autofocus?

This camera module has a voice coil motor (VCM) based focus mechanism. The ISP on Ascella RDK supports both single-trigger autofocus and continuous autofocus.

5. What lens is there on the 13MP camera module?

The lens used in this 13MP camera module is a multi-element plastic lens with IR cut-off filter. The EFL is 3.56mm and the F.No is 2.0.

6. What is the field of view I can get on the 13MP module?

75°

7. What is the focal length of the autofocus lens kit installed on Ascella?

3.85 mm

8. What is the smallest distance of capture with the 13MP module?

The smallest working distance (distance between the camera and the object) is 10cm.

9. For whom is this targeted?

This Ascella RDK is targeted for customers who want 13MP autofocus capability in their application but willing to adopt the RDK with very minimal changes. The RDK firmware has been enhanced with a wide range of features allowing customers to develop their products with only the subset of firmware features. Typical applications can be Document Readers, OCR applications, Video conferencing applications, Still image capture applications for photo booths etc.

10. If I want to build a 13MP USB 3.0 camera using your design would you support me to do that?

Yes, e-con can support building your 13MP USB 3.0 camera as per your requirements using the Ascella RDK as the base. This customization on the PCB (shape and form-factor), firmware and software is possible from e-con Systems.

e-con already has a 13MP camera board (See3CAM_CU130) for applications involving M12 interchangeable lens for the customers who do not want to use the autofocus module but facility to use fixed focus lenses as per their requirement.

11. Do I get the full firmware source code like I get for the CX3™ RDK?

Firmware source code is available for qualified customers only. Please contact sales@e-consystems.com.

12. Do I get the schematics of Ascella kit?

Schematics of OV13850 camera board, Base board and Debug board of Ascella - Cypress® CX3™ THine® ISP 13MP Autofocus Camera RDk is available at www.e-consystems.com/CX3-THine-ISP-13MP-RDK-Docs.asp#CX3-THine-ISP-SCH. The Schematics of Thine® ISP and LED board is available after NDA sign up with THine. Please find the link to the NDA sign up form http://www.thine.co.jp/en/rfs_13mp_camera. Release of the Schematics can be only done after approval of Thine.

13. If I get partial schematics, the kit is useless to me since I wouldn't be able to design my own USB 3.0 camera board with the THine® ISP.

Please see response to question number 11. You would be getting the full schematics after NDA sign up with THine® Semiconductors. THine would provide the THP7312 ISP to customers as long as the firmware does not need re-developing. Also, the MOQ would be 1,500pcs.

14. I see that there are five PCBs. What is contained in each of the PCBs?

The Ascella RDK contains five PCBs. They are listed from the order of stacking.

1. Debug PCB – containing the USB2.0 connector for debugging the firmware (relating to CX3™ firmware only)

2. CX3™ PCB – contains the CX3™ and USB 3.0 interface to host PC. Contains the CX3™ chip and its associated circuitry.

3. ISP board – contains the THP7312 ISP and its associated circuitry.

4. Camera Module board – contains the 13MP autofocus camera module its associated circuitry.

5. LED board – contains the THine® LED driver and LEDs for illumination

All of the above PCBs are stacked together to form the Ascella kit.

15. Is there a picture that explains what is in it on each of these PCBs?

Yes, please refer the picture describing each of the PCBs.

Ascella CX3 ISP 13MP RDK Without Enclosure

16. Can I have a block diagram of the design like you provide for the CX3™ RDK?

Yes, we will provide detailed block diagram for the Debug board, CX3™ board and Camera module board. Please find the Ascella RDK block diagram. The block diagram of the ISP board and LED board is available under NDA from THine®.

17. Who is THine® Electronics, Inc.?

THine® Electronics, Inc. (http://www.thine.co.jp/en/) is a leading semiconductor company and their ISP chips are very powerful and highly sophisticated. e-con Systems is happy to be a partner of THine® since it helps e-con Systems in supporting e-con's customers worldwide. After supplying our CX3™ RDK, we had numerous customers asking us to interface RAW image sensors over USB 3.0 and were wondering whether ISP can be supported through CX3™. The CX3™ chip doesn't have the bandwidth to support the ISP capabilities and hence an external ISP is required before interfacing the sensor to CX3™. The Ascella kit a 13MP RAW image sensor with an external ISP form THine®. This kit will be a shot in the ARM for those customers who would require ISP access for their RAW sensors.

18. I have a 20MP sensor and I would like to use the CX3™ chip. Can I have access to the THine® ISP?

Max supported resolution is 16MP with the current ISP. If you have requirements above this, we can still address but needs quite a bit of development effort. Please contact sales@e-consystems.com for more information.

19. I want to use a different image sensor like OV8865. Can I use this kit to interface?

 Please contact sales@e-consystems.com for the list of sensors that can be supported by default with little firmware modification. However, if your required sensor is not there in the list, then the required volume of production for support would be 100,000 pieces (One hundred thousand).

20. At what volume, will I have access to the Thine® ISP schematics?

Schematics will be available qualified customers who have purchased the Ascella kit. Please note that you need to sign the online NDA with THine to receive the schematics of the Ascella kit. Please find the link to the NDA sign up form http://www.thine.co.jp/en/rfs_13mp_camera.

21. My volume is a few thousand pieces. But I would like to use the same camera module that is there in the design. Can I have access to THine® ISP?

Datasheet and schemtics of the THine ISP is subject to THine approval. Refer Question number 20 . . .

22. Can I get access to ISP registers?

Access to any ISP registers is subject to THine®'s nod. Currently, this is not available.

23. Can I get access to camera module registers?

No. The sensor registers are directly controlled by the ISP.

24. Is the ISP RDK refundable?

The ISP RDK is currently non-refundable

25. Can I get a free sample for testing?

Ascella samples are not available for free. You can purchase them from our online web store.

26. What sort of support does e-con Systems provides along with the kit?

e-con Systems shall provide the basic support on the evaluation for all the customers who have purchased the kit. e-con shall provide the hardware/software/firmware customization of the kit based on your requirements. e-con will also manufacture your custom cameras and supply you.

27. Is there any software available with the kit?

Yes, we provide the e-CAMView sample application demonstrating the capabilities of this Ascella kit.

28. Is Linux supported?

Yes.

29. What are the supported Operating Systems?

Windows (7/8/8.1) and Linux (with Ubuntu LTS) supported.

30. Is MAC supported?

Not right now. Mac OS support is under development with a dedicated Viewer application.

31. The camera is not suitable to my requirements. Can I return the kit?

The kit is non-returnable and non-refundable. However, the kit is under warranty and e-con will replace for any failed kit under warranty terms.

32. The kit is getting very hot. Is it suitable for usage?

Yes, but the camera module needs an external heat sink to dissipate the heat for prolonged usage.

33. I would like to use a different lens? What is the NRE charge?

Changing the lens will be very expensive and e-con does not recommend that. However, e-con has a 13MP camera module (See3CAM_CU130) that allows interchangeable lens. If your application requires fixed focus custom lens, then you can use that camera instead. Also customization for your requirement can be done for See3CAM_CU130. For more details contact sales@e-consystms.com

34. I am not able to take 13MP still images with the default e-CAMView application. What is the issue?

The firmware needs to be modified for taking 13MP Still image from a 720p or 1080p preview resolution. This will be fixed and new firmware will be released soon. However, with the 13MP Preview, you should be able to capture 13MP pictures.

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