Technical Issues - ActiveX Servers (MEASURE/Scantraq)

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During installation you may have wondered about spectrometer servers in the Select Components dialog. There are two types: DDE (16-bit, 32-bit Windows) and ActiveX EXE (32-bit, 32 and 64-bit Windows)). DDE is soley used to communicate with the legacy PerkinElmer Spectrum GX/2000 FTIR driver. The GX/2000 instrument is specified in the pull-down list in MEASURE.

ActiveX EXE servers are available for Ocean Optics, PE Spectrum One, PE Spectrum 100, PE Spectrum Frontier and StellarNet (contact FTG) spectrometers. These work in DESIGN as well as Excel.

Each server can be operated in standalone mode for testing and under the control of FilmStar MEASURE (or DESIGN with MEASURE USB license key) during actual use. Driver software supplied by the manufacturer (OOI OmniDriver, Spectrum, Spectrum 10) must also be installed on the computer! Spectrum Express users should upgrade to Spectrum 10.

Server Scan Parameters dialog

1. Test the ActiveX Server as a standalone program before using it with FilmStar! Be sure to close the manufacturer's software during your testing! Note whether the server's Scan Parameters (aka Method) references a setup file (e.g. .set). Some values in the dialog can be changed remotely via FilmStar BASIC.

In Transmittance, the Standard Value will generally be 1.0. A dispersive file, say the known reflectance of BK7, can be substituted. This file is in .csv format (R/T vs. nanometers). The format is the same as files saved in FilmStar DESIGN, MEASURE or Scantraq.

Specifying ActiveX Server in MEASURE/Scantraq

2. There is one Scan Parameters Device setting for all ActiveX servers.

Assigning MEASURE/Scantraq menu commands

3. Assign BASIC programs (macros) to program commands. The Sample Scan macro is assigned to the Scan button, while others are assigned to Setup menu commands. This is actually the same as assigning BASIC programs to macro keys, or even in running BASIC programs in the IDE. By assigning to menu commands, macro buttons are conserved for other purposes.

The Device Name and Type are utilized when saving spectra in .dx or .spc format. Leave blanks for commands which do not apply to your particular instrument.

MEASURE/Scantraq BASIC program assigned to Scan button

4. This shows the corresponding BASIC program for a Spectrum One sample scan. This and similar sample programs are included with FilmStar and Scantraq. Note that s1.Parameters includes the entries in the Spectrum One Scan Parameters dialog.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to test BASIC programs in the IDE
before assigning to macro keys or to menu commands!


If you get an Instrument Busy error, it is likely that InstCtrl.exe was not shut down. You can fix the problem by rebooting the computer. But before doing that, try removing it from the Processes List in Windows Task Manager. Hit <Alt-Ctrl-Del> to bring up the Task Manager and go to the Processes tab. Click Image Name to alphabetize and look for InstCtrl.exe. Select it and click the End Process button.

You may also need to close and reopen the FTG Server SpOne.exe. If you cannot close it, just delete it from the active processes as above.

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