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Picolo Tetra: Real-time video capture board for standard cameras
Picolo Tetra: Real-time video capture board for standard cameras

Picolo Tetra is a new cost-effective PCI capture board dedicated to high-demanding multiple cameras video surveillance applications. Picolo Tetra has a superior ability to manage streaming and switching. Thanks to its four color video digitizers, Picolo Tetra acquires four real-time image sequences in parallel. With the three video expansion brackets, this Picolo also manages efficiently quick switching from up to sixteen cameras.
TTL I/O lines are provided for system integration. In addition, Picolo Tetra is compatible with the MIO module, enabling users to implement isolated inputs and outputs.

Picolo series general features

  • Four color-video digitizers for video streaming and camera switching
  • 240 fps
  • 64-bit, 66 MHz PCI bus
  • Expandable architecture:
    3 Video Expansion Brackets for up to 16 camera inputs  
    1 Video Expansion Bracket 12 for 16 camera inputs  
    1 Video Expansion Bracket for 4 buffered video outputs  
     MIO, I/O module compatible 
  • Software support:
    - DirectShow filters
    - MultiCam drivers

Streaming with Four Simultaneous Video Digitizers
Picolo Tetra is able to simultaneously digitize four video signals and to send the resulting digital data in real time into the PC memory through the PCI bus. The video streams issued from four cameras are displayed and/or recorded in parallel.

Quick Switching
Adding three Video Expansion Brackets, Picolo Tetra provides the four digitizers with sixteen inputs. This maximum configuration leads to a 16-camera system. The four digitizers of the Picolo Tetra board are switched between these inputs at a very high frame rate.

NTSC configuration 4 camera 8 camera 12 camera 16 camera
Fields / Frames per second (per camera) 60 / 30 8.6 / 6.7 6 / 4.6 4.6 / 3.5
Fields / Frames per second (all cameras) 240 / 120 69 / 54 72 / 55 74 / 56
PAL configuration 4 camera 8 camera 12 camera 16 camera
Fields / Frames per second (per camera) 50 / 25 7.1 / 5.6 5 / 3.8 3.8 / 2.9
Fields / Frames per second (all cameras) 200 / 100 57 / 45 60 / 46 61 / 47

64-bit, 66 MHz PCI Bus
The Picolo Tetra bus capability is 64 bits at 66 MHz making this capture board compatible with the most recent PC architectures. This wide PCI bus supports a peak data transfer rate of 528 Mbytes/s. Picolo Tetra is compatible with conventional PCI architecture, including 32 bits and 33 MHz. Signaling voltage compliance is 3.3 V and 5 V for maximum versatility.

Maximizing Performance
With a top performance 64-bit 66 MHz PCI bus, Picolo Tetra is able to simultaneously acquire full size video images in real time. System consideration may lead to functional trade-off. In order to reach the targeted performance, the user will consider downsizing images (SIF or CIF), operating in parallel of less than four digitizers or tailoring the bitmap image format. In particular, YCrCb 4:2:2 and RGB16 formats are highly recommended.

Picolo Tetra-RC provides a solution to customize all the 16 connections of the video inputs. The Picolo Tetra-RC performances are identical to Picolo Tetra. The suffix -RC stands for "Remote Connection". Picolo Tetra-RC features a blank bracket and allows the user to connect the 16 video inputs to a customer patchpanel.

On-board TTL I/O Lines
TTL I/O lines are provided for easing system integration. An internal 16-pin header connector provides 13 general purpose input / output TTL lines usable for triggering image capture and interfacing to alarm system. This connector is pin to pin compatible with the Picolo Pro 2 solution.

Video Image Formats
Picolo Tetra supports the acquisition of full resolution images or any smaller-size format, such as SIF. Acquisition of full frame (two fields) or single field images is selectable. Individual fields or frames as well as video sequences are captured directly to the PC memory. Picolo Tetra ensures an excellent fidelity of the grabbed bitmap in respect of the original video signal.

A hardware watchdog is available on Picolo Tetra. Its purpose is to monitor the software application and to restart the PC after an anomalous inactivity time-out. This ensures a reliable operation of unattended systems. This watchdog implementation is identical to the Picolo Pro 3 solution.

Expandable Architecture
Video Expansion Bracket as Input: Picolo Tetra is designed to receive up to three video input modules fitted each with four BNC connectors leading to a maximum configuration of sixteen connected cameras.
Video Expansion Bracket 12 as Input: As an alternative, Picolo Tetra can receive one Video Expansion Bracket 12. It offers twelve video inputs through one DB25 connector. The maximum configuration of sixteen connected cameras is achieved with one Video Expansion Bracket 12.
The spider cable is the recommended way to connect the 12 BNC video inputs to the DB25 connector. It is provided with each Video Expansion Bracket 12.
Video Expansion Bracket as Output: Four buffered video outputs are offered on an additional four-BNC module as an alternative to loop-through connecting the video sources.
These video signals represent the image applied to each internal video color digitizer.

MIO Compatible
Each MIO module adds four optically isolated inputs and four relay outputs. A maximum of twenty isolated inputs and twenty isolated outputs is achieved with five MIO modules. For more details about MIO, click here.

Picolo Tetra and the Video Extension Brackets are equipped with a dip-switch to conveniently enable the 75 ohms termination resistors from outside the PC.

 64 bits, 66 MHz, 3.3 V and 5 V compliant
 168 mm x 107 mm / 6.61 in x 4.21 in
Typical power consumption
 8 W (1,2 A @ 5 V, 120 mA @ + 12 V, 5 mA @ - 12 V)
 Certification FCC class B and CE





ImageOps, Division of Computer Modules, Inc.
11409 West Bernardo Court * San Diego, CA 92127 Phone: (858) 613-1818 * Fax: (858) 613-1815
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