Camera Link CablesCables

Camera Link | Current Solutions
Official Specification for Camera Link interface


A single Camera Link connection provides the following information on an MDR-26 pin connector:

Image data and timing 4 pairs
1 pair transmission clock
Serial communication 1 pair transmit
1 pair receive
Camera Control 4 signal pairs

This configuration will transfer up to 28 bits of image data, along with the serial communications and camera control signals.

Channel Link™

The heart of Camera Link is Channel Link™, a data transmission method by National Semiconductor. Channel Link is made up of a receiver chip and a transmitter chip. This chipset is used to transmit digital data. This technology offers many advantages to machine-vision applications over the previous method, namely, RS-644 (LVDS format of RS-422).

LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signaling) has become the most common means to transmit digital data in recent years. This method, however, has several major drawbacks. LVDS requires a pair of wires for transmission of each data bit, creating bulky cables prone to breakage if stressed. Also, the maximum data transmission rate of LVDS is 400 MB/s, fast enough for today’s applications, but limiting for tomorrow’s requirements. Channel Link takes LVDS to the next level.

Channel Link uses LVDS standards to transmit data. Far fewer wires, however, are needed to transmit the data. A Channel Link transmitter will convert 28 bits of data into a format that can be transmitted over 4 parallel lines. A transmit clock over a fifth line finishes the requirements for Channel Link transmission. The diagram below shows how just five pairs of wire are able to transmit data that would require 56 wires using standard LVDS methods.

Channel Link™ is a registered trademark of National Semiconductor, Inc.