Stackduino-G2 GUI application, functions and usage

The Parameters section lists all the options available in the original Stackduino system. The value can be set by clicking on the two little arrows that each parameter label has on the right or by pressing the up and down arrow keys of your keyboard when the mouse pointer is hovering the parameter label. The decreasing/increasing increment is multiplied by ten while the pressing the 'i' key for the 'Step distance' and 'Number of slices' parameters. The meaning of each parameter is given below.
Step distance
Is the default number of microns (or millimeters/centimeters, depends on the unit of measure setting) the carriage holding the camera/subject should make between pictures.
Number of steps
Total number of pictures to take in the whole sequence.
Return to start
Whether the carriage holding the camera/subject is returned to starting position at the end of stack.
Exposure time (*)
Time delay needed for camera to process focus and shutter signals (in milliseconds)
Exposure post delay (*)
Time delay to wait for camera to take picture, save in memory and eventually to wait for flash recharging (in milliseconds)
Motor post delay (*)
Time delay to allow vibrations from notor and stage movement to settle (in milliseconds)
Stacking speed (*)
Time delay between single motor steps, governing overall motor speed during stacking motions (in microseconds)
Manual speed
Time delay between single motor steps, governing motor speed in manual motions and 'returning to start' (in microseconds) This mode is not available during stacking sequence and it is activated using the two white arrows under 'Manual control' It is possible to use keyboards's Left/Right Arrows keys instead of these buttons. While the carriage is in manual motion you can press and hold 'f' key to move at 'Fast manual speed' (see parameter below) or 's' key to move at 'Stacking speed'
Fast Manual speed
Time delay between single motor steps, governing motor speed in fast manual motions (in microseconds)
Mirror lockup
Allow the DSLR mirror lockup with some Camera models
Set the number of images to bracket per focus slice (function available with some Camera models)
Unit of measure
Set the unit of measure only to use when making Sequence steps (microns, millimeters or centimeters)

(*) Refer to the image above at right for this parameter definition

Click on the brown button below the 'Comm. port' label. A menu should appear listing the available serial ports. If not, probably there isn't serial
ports available. Select the port where the Stackduino-G2 board is connected to. Now click on the green button
below the label 'Connection' to open the connection. A yellow message should appear and confirm the valid connection and communication with the board (image here at left).  When the connection is active all the command buttons will be activated and ready to use. At startup the program load the defaults values internally stored first and then try to load values stored in EEPROMStarting the application for the first time, as a consequence of the new installation of Stackduino-G2 firmware in your Arduino board, you will probably see a warning message like this:

This means that the EEPROM has not yet been written and is probably empty.
A different situation can arise if your Arduino board has already some data stored in EEPROM by previous installed firmware.
If the EEPROM is not yet been written by the Stackduino-G2 the application will read unusual results that will activate the following 'out of range' checking procedure's output. In both cases you are kindly suggested to make use of the 'Hardware parameters' window in order to set and 'Save in EEPROM' your specific 
hardware characteristics, togheter with all the others parameters.
The button 'Load defaults' will load the internally stored (Tcl app) defaults value as well as the 'Load from EEPROM' button will load the parameters values stored in EEPROM after the last 'Save in EEPROM' command. At any time you can check the actual parameters with their current values by clicking on the 'Show parameters' button. This will show in the message box a list of the current parameters values.

Right mouse button press will popup a little menu with some options related to the message box (image at left).

In the File menu you will find a list of commands and settings as shown below.
The hardware settings will open up a window, as we shall see. 'Save parameters in file' and 'Load parameters from file' are used to manage archive file in order to store specific configurations that can be reloade easily in further stacking sessions. The 'Microstepping pins status' command will print the information about current status of the Stepper driver's microstepping pins, to check the correct pins HIGH/LOW condition. Open the 'Hardware settings' window and select your Stepper driver's type (in the example below the A4988), then click on the 'Driver 
microstepping' value entry. A popup menu will appear with the available microstepping values for that specific driver (the DRV8825 has Full to 1/32 while the EasyDriver has Full to 1/8). The software will automatically set the related driver pins as HIGH or LOW, depending on the type of driver and microstepping selection, according to the following table.

The 'Stacking Step unit of measure' command allow you to set the unit of measure used during Stacking sequence and is related to the 'Step distance' parameter only. Same setting can be changed by clicking on the little blue label placed beside the corresponding parameter value.

'Reverse stacking direction' is used to reverse the translation direction of the rail's carriage. This means that the apparent front-to-back direction of motion will become back-to-front.

'Disable stepper driver' is set as 'on' by default and allow the stepper's driver to be disabled during non motions phases, in order to save energy and heat.

The Windows application is available at the bottom of this page.