Replacing a microEnable III or microEnable IV with a microEnable 5 marathon frame grabber

  • Replacing an older microEnable III or microEnable IV with a microEnable 5 requires some attention. This thread lists the differences between the frame grabber generations to give you a guideline for the replacement.

    For discussion about porting VisualApplets implementation to the new generations please search or open a thread in forum VisualApplets Functionality and Documentation

    Choose a replacement frame grabber

    Depending on the interface I suggest the following replacement options

    Camera Link microEnable 5 marathon ACL
    GigE Vision no discontinuation notice, product is still available
    LVDS no replacement available

    Hardware Changes

    In the following I've listed the major changes in hardware

    • Cable: Camera Link SDR: The microEnable 5 ACL uses Camera Link SDR connectors instead of MDR. So you might need to replace a cable as well
    • Cable length: In general the microEnable 5 series allows longer cable lengths than the older frame grabber series. However, ensure that the new SDR cable can be run with the required pixel clock.
    • PCIe: The microEnable 5 uses PCIexpress x4 Gen 2. If you want to use the frame grabber in an x1 slot ensure that it can physically hold x4 cards. The frame grabber can be used in Gen 1 slots at slower speeds without any problems.
    • Power and Temperature: The microEnable 5 uses passive cooling. The typical power dissipation is 12W. The operating temperature has been increased to 50°C. With an air flow of 100 linear feet per minute you can even use 60°C. Compare the environment conditions with the board you are using. Check the hardware documentation for a detailed listing: LINK
    • PoCL: The microEnable 5 ACL supports Power over Camera Link (PoCL). You need to enable this feature in microDiagnostics if you want to use it. The frame grabber does not need an extra power connector. It will use the PCIe power for PoCL
    • CLIO: A replacement for CLIO is not available.
    • GPIOs: The marathon frame grabbers are extended by a front GPIO connector. So you can replace the additional GPIO card with the front GPIOs. However, you can still use all microEnable 4 GPIO cards (trigger boards) as well as the new Opto Trigger 5 with the extension port of the marathon frame grabbers.

    Check the hardware documentation for more information: LINK

    Runtime Software

    • Version: You need a Silicon Software runtime version 5. We currently recommend the latest release (Feb 2019: RT 5.6.1)
    • Operating System: The runtime is currently available for Windows 7 or higher and Linux. Check the supported operating systems in LINK
      Windows XP, Windows Vista and QNX are not supported anymore.
    • Applet load: On microEnable 5 you cannot use function Fg_Init or Fg_InitEx to load an applet to the frame grabber. Before using these functions you need to flash the required applets to the frame grabber using program microDiagnostics or from command line. New frame grabbers usually are not pre-flashed with the apples of a specific runtime.
    • microDisplay Features: The wizards "Lookup Table Parameters", "Shading Parameters" and "White Balancing" are disabled for microEnable 5.


    The available AcquisitionApplets cover most of the functions of the old microEnable III and microEnable IV applets. Features which are changed or discontinued are:

    • Shading Correction / Flat Field Correction is not available
    • The KneeLUT is replaced by full LUTs which allow higher precision but require a different configuration if you want to individually set the elements.
    • Spatial Correction is not available
    • The Bayer De-Mosaicing filters have been replaced by higher quality implementations.
    • The camera simulator now uses pixel per second instead of frame grabber internal taps per second for speed.
    • The ImageTag is not available. Overflows can be detected with the callback event system.

    To find the right replacement AcquisitionApplets check the documentation. For Camera Link use the microEnable 5 ACL documentation LINK

    Please contact the or for a direct contact.


    Johannes Trein
    Group Leader R&D
    frame grabber

    Basler AG

  • I would like to add a few comments to Johannes excellent post.

    1) For clients using mEIII or mEIV and CLIO (which is now discontinued) your processing needs are still being met. The mE5 marathon FPGA is faster and has more resources than the mEII/mEIV + CLIO combined!

    2) mE5 marathon under the latest Runtime is Windows 10 certified... so a validated path to upgrading not only your frame grabber hardware but also your Windows OS for your systems!