If I'm just aiming to capture and store (no analysis) via a PCIe-8242, is it possible to avoid buying the software package?
Alternatively is there a different approach for doing what I'm asking?
I noticed my camera company has an API that I might be able to use with LabWindows. Maybe I can get away with that.
Also is it possible to stream a live feed to LabWindows without NI Vision?
If you have NI Vision hardware (PCIe-8242), the Vision Acquisition Software license is included with the purchase. The Vision Acquisition Software API supports capture and store of images, and there are examples you can use as a starting point to do that with your camera. For analysis you'd need to make an additional purchase of the Vision Development Module license, but since you don't need that functionality, you should be fine with the included Vision Acquisition Software license.
See this page for more info: http://www.ni.com/product-documentation/53417/en/
So NI support told me that the 8242 doesn't qualify as a vision hardware product so I won't get the Vision Acquisition Software. Will update when they respond.
What's the purpose of these frame grabbers? If I don't get an API from NI to pull data, can I just plug direct to any USB3 port? My camera comes with it's own API. (ThorLabs)
As far as I know, the software is shipped with the device and is considered a part of the purchase. Perhaps that has changed in more recent years, so please keep us updated on the response.
The frame grabber isn't required to use USB3 Vision with IMAQdx -- it just is an option for people who potentially don't have USB3 ports on their PC, or perhaps the ones they have don't have a reliable chipset/driver, or maybe they want more ports than are available, etc. Since not all chipsets work equally well for the machine vision use-case and provide enough bandwidth for multiple ports to stream data, purchasing the 8242 helps people get started with a known good hardware setup so there are fewer things to worry about when getting a system up and running.
There is nothing different about plugging a device in through the 8242 vs. any other USB3 port on the system from an API perspective -- the 8242 advantage is really just the guarantee of enough power/bandwidth and quality hardware/driver stack to work with. Whether you're using the IMAQdx API or a camera vendor API to communicate with the camera, you should be able to do so from any USB3 port on a machine.
Yup I'll keep you updated. It looks likes I will get the IMAQdx drivers, but the wording is a little unclear if the NI Vision Acquisition Software comes with it. It looks like the IMAQdx is included with the NI Vision Acquisition Software, but it's not clear if that's part of the packaged contents.
"NI-IMAQdx 4.1 or later driver software, shipped with the device and included with
NI Vision Acquisition Software February 2013 or later."