Q: What is the difference between the StarCom and StarLab PC applications?
A: StarCom is our legacy PC application which connects via RS232 (not USB), for old Ophir instruments having RS232 interface capability (Vega, Nova II, LaserStar and Nova). It performs all basic functions such as real-time data logging, saving data in PC file, off-line data viewing, printing, etc. For a relatively new computer, you'd have to check that it has a serial port to which to connect the meter. The last release of StarCom was in 2008, with all that this implies. StarCom should nevertheless be able to work on a Win7 32 bit PC.
StarLab is our full-featured PC application that connects via USB to all Ophir USB-speaking instruments (Centauri, StarBright, StarLite, Vega and Nova II meters, as well as Juno, Juno+, EA-1, Pulsar and the Bluetooth-enabled Quasar PC interfaces). In addition to all basic measurement and data logging functions, it also offers a wide range of special functions (including user-defined mathematical functions), multi-channel operation, COM Object for integration with external systems, etc.
Q: How can I communicate with an Ophir instrument using a Linux machine?
A: All Ophir RS232-speaking instruments can communicate with a Linux machine. There is no dependence on which operating system is being used on the other side – it’s a simple command and response protocol.
Programmers wanting to use commands via RS232 to control and collect data from an Ophir instrument need to refer to Appendix A in the StarCom User Manual - ‘Guide to Programmers’ section.
We have recently developed a package that enables USB communication with our meters from a Linux machine. It is now in beta-testing and has been released to several selected users. If you'd like to get this package, please contact us.