ScanMaster2 - board revision 2.0

System Features

  • 3-CPU system with a total processing power of approx. 200 MIPS.
  • Jumper free and fanless operation
  • single +5V power supply
  • clean and stabilized power supply for all analog circuits
  • choice of 4 data sources:
    • StageNet protocol over ethernet (TCP/IP)
    • ISP (ILDA Standard Projector)
    • DMX512 1
    • ROM storage 1
  • 16MByte, 32Bit SDRAM and 8MByte flash ROM system memory
  • high-speed parallel data link between processor subsystems
  • Fully implementd ISP input and output (through voltage level adaper board). The input can be used for easier migration of existing analog systems.
  • Advanced, redundant hardware-safety concept with interlock, shutter and blanking outputs monitored by a seperate watchdog circuit. Additionally, all safety relevant signals can be enabled by a single external signal, which is monitored by the CPU to notify the user of the occurence.
  • 100x160mm form factor, 4 layer, height: 4HP (~20mm)
  • builtin http server for easy configuration using web-browsers 1
  • colorspace converter accepts arbitrary colorspace coordinates and does on-the-fly conversion to the coordinatespace used by the underlying hardware.
  • Capable of managing multiple output windows with one pair of scanners. Each window can receive its own frame rate from the client.
  • Fully supports StageNet's multi-client concept. Multiple clients can connect to the unit and exchange data. ScanMaster2 synchronizes the output transparenty.
  • Realtime interpolation of curves and vectors with variable output timing. This includes color transformation, color morphing, geometry correction, and calculation for galvo scanner dynamics.

PowerPC/CPM Subsystem Features

  • 10/100MBit twisted pair ethernet with autonegotiation
  • DMX512 input and output
  • secondary DMX512 input and output dedicated for use with the ISP I/O feature
  • IC System expansion bus for communication inside the projector
  • RS232 monitor for basic setup through terminal software
  • aux RS232 port for communication with other external devices
  • 3 LEDs for simple diagnostics
  • 4 digital I/O's

DSP Subsystem Features

  • powerful 100MHz DSP with 128KByte of 0-wait high speed RAM
  • open source firmware (placed under LGPL)
  • 4x16Bit D/A (X,Y, 2 aux)
  • 4x12Bit A/D (X,Y Sense, 2 aux)
  • 8x8Bit D/A (Color, Brush, ...)
  • 8 digital outputs, 4 digital inputs
  • Fully implemented ISP (ILDA Standard Projector) input:
  • X, Y, R, G, B, Intensity, User1-4 (10x16Bit differential, 60kHz or 30kHz sampling frequency), Interlock, Shutter. DMX512 handled by the PowerPC subsystem.
  • The outputs can be set up for use as ISP output. An optional adapterboard is needed to provide voltage levels required by ILDA.
  • dynamically adjustable on-the-fly interpolation of 10,000 - 100,000 points per second.
1 Advanced feature will be available through software upgrade.


The ScanMaster2 laser projector control board is an easy-to-use embedded system which connects an entire laser projection system to client computer systems via standard ethernet using TCP/IP. The board itself can be mounted directly into the projector, be run in a standalone adapter box, or be used in recording and playback systems.

The board comes with a fully implemented ISP input, outputs and inputs for galvo positioning and monitoring, 8 color outputs, and several digital I/Os connected to a powerful 100MHz DSP with open source firmware. The user has the choice of one out of 4 data sources:

  • StageNet's SDCP/SMXP protocols via ethernet and TCP, UDP, IP. See for more information.
  • ISP (ILDA Standard Projector), an analog signal input specified by ILDA.
  • DMX512, where the projector can emulate Moving Lights, with scan frames replacing ordinary gobos.
  • A stand-alone 'ROM' mode where a series of user-supplied frames can be played back continuously from switch-on to switch-off.

Some of these data sources can be combined. The ISP input can also be used to sample a complete show. Using StageNet's stream, mode the data can be transmitted to the client and be recorded there. ScanMaster2 exposes all its interfaces through StageNet such that any client can open virtual sessions and exchange data within this context. For management functionality a reliable TCP stream is used, for the realtime data stream UDP (or slower TCP for sensitive apps) is used.

In standalone mode, the ScanMaster2 system can be controlled from a lightning desk by using the DMX512 I/O. Through configuration a personality can be assigned to make the projector behave like a TrackSpot, Goldenscan, etc. Stored patterns take the place of the gobos found in these scanning devices.

The system has enough power for doing realtime interpolation of vectors and curves, geometric and color space processing, galvo safety monitoring, and zone control.

The ease of use, the scalability through 10/100MBit ethernet, the versatile usage, its rich feature set, and its tiny size make this boad unique in the whole laser industry. The space needed for the controller board shrinks down to a minimum, less than the required space for the optics.


Unlike most other systems ScanMaster2 does point calulation in realtime, on the fly. Coming from the network, lines and curves contained in the frame are transformed according to the window settings and color space conversion is done. Now, interpolation runs over the vectors and calculates color morphing and line styles at the galvos maximum step increment. On the interpolated points, an optimizer cares for sharp edges and maximum velocity through variable timing calculation. Following this, for safety issues, power processing takes place. Then, after running through the geometry processor the points are output to the appropriate converter.

The main software consists of 2 logical code blocks. The operating system along with the protocol handlers located on the PowerPC and the ScanEngine code located on the DSP. Both are connected using a high speed 20MB/s parallel data link. A separate protocol isolates this communication from the protocol used on the network. While the OS block until further notice will remain proprietary, the ScanEngine code running on the DSP is placed under LGPL. Being open source has the advantage that anyone may extend, proof, fix (and pass it back) the ScanEngine or implement new features.


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