XLS Stepper Upgrade


Typical desktop operation (video sample) XLS operation video

The XLS stepper was the last of the line of products from GCA and the technology was eventually purchased by Ultratech. The original operating software ran under SunOS 4.1.4 on a Sun SparcStation2 . The XLS stepper hardware contained it's own smart controllers (a VMEbus chassis built around the Motorola 68000 series microcomputer) and used the Sparcstation software as the user interface.

We have ported the SunOS software to a standard desktop PC (using either a Linux or a Windows host) and have temporarily set up a VNC connection to a Linux host machine. You can access it at the address trilicium.no-ip.org:4 using the password XlsStep2. Any VNC client will do - UltraVNC and TightVNC are typical of free VNC clients. If our emulation connection is down and you really want to try it out then you can contact us at the link below. Some sample screen captures from this emulation are shown below and a short video of the software operation is in the link above.

The networking for the XLS stepper is actually based on 10-Base-2 coaxial Ethernet, so in order to connect the controlling PC, the XLS electronics and a router together an adapter/converter is needed from suppliers such as these :

In the later XLS steppers, an AUI network connection may be used (instead of 10-base-2), in which case a similar adapter/converter such as this is required:

A typical networked configuration looks something like this :

XLS network setup

One of the obvious advantages to moving the software to a PC, besides the reliability improvements and the modern hardware, is that the stepper can be run from any device on the network with VNC capabilities e.g. workstations, laptops and hand-held devices (Apple iTouch/iPad etc.). The upgrade software also allows for separate console access to the XLS software, independent of the graphical user interface, through an SSH connection. XLS files (job files, configuration files etc.) can be shared with, and backed-up to, the network. The entire XLS system software can be backed-up by simply copying the contents of the installation directory to some other location.

The stepper can also be controlled or monitored remotely over the internet. In theory, with proper TCP/IP port redirection, it should be possible to house the actual stepper control machine at a remote location outside of the clean room and still operate the stepper.

If security is an issue then the networking can be restricted to just the controlling PC and the XLS interface electronics (Router1) with access to an additional corporate network on a separate network interface (Router2) at the user's discretion.

We can supply an already configured small desktop computer e.g. XS36V5, a configured router (Router1 in the figure above) and the network adapters mentioned above. If you would like further information or have any questions then please let us know.

Sample screen images

XLS Login XLS Main XLS Job creation



H&L Associates, 21 Parkmount Crescent, Ottawa, Ontario K2H 5T3, Canada
Tel: (613) 828-1462 Last updated : 2015-Nov-24