VCSBC nano Z Series Operating Manual

Hardware specifications of VCSBC nano Z Smart Cameras

Revision: 2.1.2
Date: 2023-09-07
Copyright: 1996-2023 Vision Components GmbH Ettlingen, Germany
Author: VC Support,
Foreword and Disclaimer

This documentation has been prepared with most possible care. However Vision Components GmbH does not take any liability for possible errors. In the interest of progress, Vision Components GmbH reserves the right to perform technical changes without further notice.

Please notify if you become aware of any errors in this manual or if a certain topic requires more detailed documentation.

This manual is intended for information of Vision Component’s customers only. Any publication of this document or parts thereof requires written permission by Vision Components GmbH.

Image symbols used in this document
Symbol Meaning
Note Sign The Light bulb highlights hints and ideas that may be helpful for a development.
Warning Sign This warning sign alerts of possible pitfalls to avoid. Please pay careful attention to sections marked with this sign.
Example Sign This is a sign for an example.


Linux, Debian, the Tux logo, Vivado, Xilinx and Zynq, ARM, Cortex, Windows XP, Total Commander, Tera Term, Motorola, HALCON, FreeRTOS, Vision Components are registered Trademarks. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

ESD sensitivity


Warning Sign The components are very sensitive to electrostatic discharge (ESD)! Please take all the precautions necessary to avoid ESD!


ESD Sign The electronic components and circuits are sensitive to ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD). When handling any circuit board assemblies, it is necessary that ESD safety precautions be observed.

ESD safe best practices include, but are not limited to:

This note is not an exhaustive information about the protection against electrostatic discharge (ESD).

Table of Contents

1   General Information

The VCSBC nano Z Series Smart Cameras have been designed for high resolution image processing with a very small form factor. They are the ideal compromise between high performance and low system costs, and thus especially suited for high volume OEM applications. This makes them viable to use a smart camera in even more products than before.

Based on a dual-core processor ARM® Cortex®-A9 with 866 MHz and an integrated FPGA the models of the new VC Z series offer solutions at extreme high-speed in real-time.

The operating system VC Linux provides for the ideal interaction of hard- and software.

All cameras are equipped with a battery backed real time clock and come with 12 programmable input/output signals, with trigger input and flash trigger output, as well as a Gigabit Ethernet interface. Different CMOS sensors (the image resolution can be changed to the ROI required) with global shutter are available.

Some VCSBC nano Z Smart Cameras are also available with remote head (nano Z RH Series).

The extremely low power consumption of only 2.4W makes this camera ideally suitable for use in mobile devices.

1.1   Technical Specifications VCSBC nano Z

Technical Data
Component / Feature Specification
CMOS Sensor
VCSBC nano Z 0010:
1/4" e2v EV76C541, monochrome or color (Bayer filter) version
VCSBC nano Z 0011:
1/1.8" e2v EV76C560, monochrome or color (Bayer filter) version
VCSBC nano Z 0012:
1/2.5" On Semiconductor MT9P031, monochrome
VCSBC nano Z 0015:
1/1.8" e2v EV76C570, monochrome or color (Bayer filter) version
VCSBC nano Z 0252:
1/1.8" Sony IMX252, monochrome or color (Bayer filter) version
VCSBC nano Z 0273:
1/2.9" Sony IMX273, monochrome or color (Bayer filter) version
VCSBC nano Z 0392 (no RH-Version available):
1/2.3" Sony IMX392, monochrome or color (Bayer filter) version
Active pixels
VCSBC nano Z 0010:
736(H) x 480(V)
VCSBC nano Z 0011:
1280(H) x 1024(V)
VCSBC nano Z 0012:
2592(H) x 1944(V)
VCSBC nano Z 0015:
1600(H) x 1200(V)
VCSBC nano Z 0252:
2048(H) x 1536(V)
VCSBC nano Z 0273:
1440(H) x 1080(V)
VCSBC nano Z 0392:
1920(H) x 1200(V)
Pixel size
VCSBC nano Z 0010:
4.5(H) x 4.5(V) µm
VCSBC nano Z 0011:
5.3(H) x 5.3(V) µm
VCSBC nano Z 0012:
2.2(H) x 2.2(V) µm
VCSBC nano Z 0015:
4.5(H) x 4.5(V) µm
VCSBC nano Z 0252:
3.45(H) x 3.45(V) µm
VCSBC nano Z 0273:
3.45(H) x 3.45(V) µm
VCSBC nano Z 0392:
3.45(H) x 3.45(V) µm
Active sensor size
VCSBC nano Z 0010:
3.4(H) x 2.2(V) mm
VCSBC nano Z 0011:
6.8(H) x 5.5(V) mm
VCSBC nano Z 0012:
5.7(H) x 4.3(V) mm
VCSBC nano Z 0015:
7.2(H) x 5.4(V) mm
VCSBC nano Z 0252:
7.1(H) x 5.3(V) mm
VCSBC nano Z 0273:
5.0(H) x 3.7(V) mm
VCSBC nano Z 0392:
6.6(H) x 4.1(V) mm
High-speed shutter
VCSBC nano Z 0010, 0011, 0012, 0015:
15 µs
VCSBC nano Z 0252, 0273, 0392:
1 µs
Low-speed shutter
VCSBC nano Z 0010, 0011, 0012, 0015:
up to 1 sec. adjustable integration time
VCSBC nano Z 0252, 0273, 0392:
up to 2 sec. adjustable integration time
Integration Global shutter
Picture taking

program-controlled or external high speed trigger, jitterfree acquisition

VCSBC nano Z 0010:
full-frame 134 frames per second
VCSBC nano Z 0011:
full-frame 63 frames per second
VCSBC nano Z 0012:
full-frame 11 frames per second
VCSBC nano Z 0015:
full-frame 55 frames per second
VCSBC nano Z 0252:
full-frame 88 frames per second
VCSBC nano Z 0273:
full-frame 181 frames per second
VCSBC nano Z 0392:
full-frame 118 frames per second
A/D conversion 118.75 MHz ( VCSBC nano Z ) / 100 MHz ( VCSBC nano Z-RH ) / 10 bit, only the 8 most significant bits used for grey values
Input LUT yes
Image Display Via 1 Gbit Ethernet onto PC
Processor Dual-Core ARM® Cortex®-A9 with 866MHz and integrated FPGA
Flash EPROM 16 GB flash memory (nonvolatile) industrial eMMC, QSPI Flash
Process interface 12 programmable I/Os
Additional LVTTL IOs I2C Clock and Data signals (I2C also used internally for the Real Time Clock), trigger input (opto-decoupled), Flash output (open collector)
Ethernet interface 1 Gbit
Serial interface RS232
Storage Conditions Temperature: -20 to +60 deg C, Max. humidity: 90%, non condensing.
Operating Conditions Temperature: 0 to +50 deg C, Max. humidity: 80%, non condensing.
Power Supply 12-24V DC, max. 300 mA
Power Consumption Approx. 2.4W

The following diagram shows the maximum reachable (with the shortest shutter time) framerate according to the number of captured lines for the VCSBC nano Z 0010, the VCSBC nano Z 0011, the VCSBC nano Z 0015, the VCSBC nano Z 0252 and the VCSBC nano Z 0273:


Frames per second over number of lines

The following table gives some example values.

Example Framerates
VCSBC nano Z 0010 VCSBC nano Z 0011 VCSBC nano Z 0015 VCSBC nano Z 0252 VCSBC nano Z 0273
Resolution Max. framerate (FPS) Resolution Max. framerate (FPS) Resolution Max. framerate (FPS) Resolution Max. framerate (FPS) Resolution Max. framerate (FPS)
            2048 x 1536 88    
        1600 x 1200 55        
                1440 x 1080 181
    1280 x 1024 63 1600 x 1024 63 2048 x 1024 134 1440 x 1024 191
    1280 x 768 83 1600 x 768 84 2048 x 768 177 1440 x 768 252
    1280 x 640 98 1600 x 640 101 2048 x 640 210 1440 x 640 300
736 x 480 134 1280 x 512 121 1600 x 512 125 2048 x 512 260 1440 x 512 370
736 x 384 167 1280 x 384 158 1600 x 384 164 2048 x 384 338 1440 x 384 483
736 x 256 246 1280 x 256 228 1600 x 256 240 2048 x 256 485 1440 x 256 695
736 x 192 323 1280 x 192 292 1600 x 192 312 2048 x 192 619 1440 x 192 890
736 x 128 470 1280 x 128 406 1600 x 128 447 2048 x 128 856 1440 x 128 1227
736 x 64 861 1280 x 64 669 1600 x 64 788 2048 x 64 1382 1440 x 64 1974
736 x 32 1473 1280 x 32 986 1600 x 32 1272 2048 x 32 1903 1440 x 32 2843
736 x 16 2288 1280 x 16 1295 1600 x 16 1836 2048 x 16 2340 1440 x 16 3112
736 x 8 3158 1280 x 8 1535 1600 x 8 2359 2048 x 8 2598 1440 x 8 3215
736 x 4 3901 1280 x 4 1691 1600 x 4 2765 2048 x 4 2797 1440 x 4 3267
736 x 2 4422 1280 x 2 1783 1600 x 2 3015 2048 x 2 N/A 1440 x 2 N/A
736 x 1 4925 1280 x 1 1832 1600 x 1 3238 2048 x 1 N/A 1440 x 1 N/A


Note Sign

  • The measurements were done without any other CPU load. Parallel image processing tasks may lead to a lower framerate.
  • These values are only reachable by limiting the maximum image acquisition size at capture initialisation, as explained on this page: Image Acquisition (scroll down to "Changing the Sensor ROI").
  • This table is only valid for the VCSBC nano Z camera. The VCSBC nano Z-RH camera has a lower A/D converter frequency and reaches lower framerates.

1.2   Cooling

Cooling using a heat spreader is required. Thermal conductive pads are available as acessoires.

2   Camera Interfaces

2.1   Interface Listings

The pin assignments, electrical specifications as well as available accessories are shown for each interface connector in the following sections.

2.1.1   VCSBC nano Z


VCSBC nano Z Interfaces

The VCSBC nano Z Series camera boards incorporate the following connector interfaces:

ST 1
Power, IO, Ethernet, trigger, serial interface connector
ST 3
Emulator Connector

2.1.2   VCSBC nano Z-RH


VCSBC nano Z-RH Interfaces

The VCSBC nano Z-RH Series camera boards incorporate the following connector interfaces:

ST 1
Power, IO, Ethernet, trigger, serial interface connector
ST 3
Emulator Connector
ST 4
Sensor head connector
ST 5
Sensor head connector

2.2   ST 1:  Power Supply,  IO Interface, Ethernet, trigger, serial interface

2.2.1   Pin Assignments ST 1 camera socket


ST 1 Socket Pin Assignments
Signal Pin Number Signal
Power (24V) 1 2 GND
3 4
Eth A+ 5 6 Eth B+
Eth A- 7 8 Eth B-
Eth C+ 9 10 Eth D+
Eth C- 11 12 Eth D-
13 14
5V out 15 16 GND
IO_8 17 18 IO_9
IO_10 19 20 IO_11
GND 21 22 GND
RS232_TX 23 24 RS232_RX
IO_0 25 26 IO_2
IO_1 27 28 IO_3
3.3V out 29 30 Trig_in +
IO_4 31 32 GND
I2C_clock 33 34 Trig_out
I2C_data 35 36 IO_5
IO_6 37 38 IO_7
GND 39 40 Trig_in -

2.2.2   Electrical specifications of the VCSBC nano Z Series Power Supply interface

Voltage/Current Overview
Nominal Voltage 12 – 24 V
Nominal Power Consumption [1] 2.4W
Minimum operational voltage (including ripple) 9V
Minimum nominal Operating voltage and corresponding current 12V, 184 mA [2] [3]
Maximum nominal Operating voltage and corresponding current 24V, 99 mA [2]
Maximum operational Voltage (including ripple) 30V
3.3V output maximum current 100 mA
5V output maximum current 100 mA

Power must be connected to pin 1&2 of the ST 1 connector.

Camera power is regulated, so only an unregulated power source of 12 V to 24V is required. The camera is, however, very sensitive to power supply interruption. Please make sure, that the voltage never exceeds the limits of < 9V, > 30V even for a short period of time. In case of trouble it is recommended to back up the power supply by a capacitor or a battery large enough to prevent power interruptions.

The camera may need more current for a short time at startup.

[1]Typical power consumption without using the onboard 3.3V supply.
[2](1, 2) Current drawn from the 3.3V on board signal needs to be added to these figures.
[3]Power consumption may change with processing load and FPGA revision.

2.2.3   Electrical specifications GPIOs and I2C interfaces


Note Sign GPIO signals are LVCMOS 3.3V.

IO_0 – IO_11 Digital LVCMOS (3.3V) programmable general purpose input / outputs
I2C_Clock and I2C_Data Open collector 3.3V I2C serial Bus Interface for additional peripherals
RS232_TX and RS232_RX Native RS232 serial interface

The following Signals have a 4k7 pull up resistor on board: - I2C_Clock - I2C_Data


Warning Sign The I/Os are very sensitive (also to ESD) and not galvanically separated. Opto-isolation of the driving circuit is therefore strongly recommended. It is also recommended to keep the cable as short as possible!

Please note that the I/Os are not protected against over current. The I/Os are neither protected against short circuit nor reverse voltage spikes from inductive loads.


Note Sign Use the VC nano Z Series or the VC pro Z Series cameras if you cannot provide a suitable I/O driving circuit. These cameras include the same hardware as the VCSBC nano Z Series Smart Cameras, but overcurrent protection of the inputs and outputs is already included.

2.2.4   Electrical specifications trigger input and output


Note Sign

Activation of trigger output is done by assigning the right GPIO via the command line tool named vcio, see GPIOs and Trigger Assignment for more information.   Trigger IO Specifications

The board features a dedicated fast trigger input (opto-isolated, for use as image capture trigger) and a fast trigger output (as strobe-light trigger). Since both signals are fast at a very low noise margin, it is recommended to keep the cable as short as possible. Use twisted pair or even coaxial cable for this purpose. The trigger input assures a constant image capture delay without jitter.   Circuit trigger input and output

Circuit at Trigger Inputs


Circuit at Trigger Outputs   Example of driving circuit for the trigger input and output

Connection of Trigger Inputs


Connection of Trigger Outputs

2.2.5   Realtime clock and backup battery

The board contains a realtime clock (RTC) with battery backup. The RTC is set during manufacturing to the current date and time. For backup a rechargeable lithium coin cell battery is used. This battery is charged to only about 10 percent of the nominal capacity on delivery and may be empty after a prolonged period of storage. We recommend charging the battery for at least 50 hours and setting the RTC (linux command: hwclock and date) when the board is first used (battery charges automatically when the system is powered on). The battery contains so little lithium, that it is not listed as a hazardous device for the environment and the flight export regulations. For details please refer to

Backup Battery Specifications
Battery Manufacturer Panasonic
Battery Type ML621
Nominal Voltage 3V
Nominal Capacity 5 mAh
Charging Time for 100% Capacity 100h
Charging Time for 80% Capacity 50h
Backup Retention Time for 100% Charged Battery 200 days


Note Sign

To check if the hardware clock is set appropriately, scan the output of the following linux shell command:

dmesg | grep rtc

One response line may contain the following message:

[ 0.322074] rtc-ds1374 0-0068: oscillator discontinuity flagged, time unreliable

This indicates low battery status or battery discontinuity.

To set the hardware clock it is necessary to set the software clock first:

date -s "2017-11-21 11:47:00"

Then the software clock time is transferred to the realtime clock by the following command:

hwclock -w

3   Software Interfaces

3.1   GPIOs

Connector Assignment of GPIOs
GPIO Nr. Pin Designator Usability Remark
0 IO 0 Input/Output
1 IO 1 Input/Output
2 IO 2 Input/Output
3 IO 3 Input/Output
4 IO 4 Input/Output
5 IO 5 Input/Output
6 IO 6 Input/Output
7 IO 7 Input/Output
8 IO 8 Input/Output
9 IO 9 Input/Output
10 IO 10 Input/Output
11 IO 11 Input/Output
31(Out) TrigOut Output
31(In ) TrigIn Input Optically isolated

They can be accessed over the linux standard way via /sys/class/gpio, see The GPIO numbers are relative to the start number of the gpiochip labelled with '/amba@0/axi-gpio0@41200000', here: /sys/class/gpio/gpiochip224.

You can also find information in our libvclinux documentation. This documentation can be found in the support area of our website:

3.2   Trigger Assignment

To choose the sensor input/output trigger signals, the corresponding GPIO Nr. must be determined and assigned by the supporting program named vcio. More information can be found at the help of the program, if you run it with no command line parameter, it will show how to do it. Sample usage instructions are provided here, but always refer to the instructions of your version:

VCIO v.1.2.3.- VCLinux Camera I/O Configuration and Connection Setup.

Usage: vcio [-s sen] [-i gpioNr] [-n] [-o gpioField] [-d gpioField] [-t time]

-s Sensor to be configured, default value: 0.
-i GPIO Nr. to be used as external sensor trigger input (TRGSRC_EXT)
-n Negates trigger input signal
-o Bitfield of GPIOs which are coupled with sensor trigger output signal. The bit of GPIO Nr. X is coupled, if Bit X is set to 1, for example, For coupling GPIO Nr. 0, 3 and 31 (TrigOut) provide the Bitfield as Decimal Value: 2^0+2^3+2^31=2147483657, as Hex Value: 0x80000009, or as Binary Value: 0b10000000000000000000000000001001.
-d The direction of the GPIOs as bitfield (see -o switch); If the GPIO Nr. X should be configured as output, set bit X to 1, and if it should be an input, set bit X to 0.
-t Time used to debounce all input sources, default value: 10000. Time Unit is in FPGA Cycles. The FPGA clock frequency can be acquired by reading out the value of capt->sen->d.fpgaClkHz, e.g. 153846161 Hz. The default debouncing time for that example is then given by 10000 cycles / 153846161 Hz = 0.000065 s = 65 us.

Settings done cannot be read out. Different camera models may have different vcio parameters.


Example Sign If an additional flash device is connected to Pin IO 1, the 'Connector Assignment of GPIOs' table shows the corresponding GPIO Nr.: 1. To link the gpio Nr. 1 to the sensor trigger signal, the 'vcio' program must make the gpio Nr. 1 an output gpio (-d) and couple it to the sensor trigger signal (-o), for example, the following call uses the TrigOut pin (gpio Nr. 31) and the IO 1 pin (gpio Nr. 1) for simultaneous flash output, the external input trigger is coming from gpio Nr. 10, which is, by table, the hardware pin of IO 10:

vcio -d 0b10000000000000000000000000000010 -o 0x80000002 -i 10

One can further switch flash outputs for each capture (see the libvclinux documentation: VCFlashSelector); therefore the corresponding gpios must be set as output (-d), but they should not be coupled with the trigger signal (-o), since this given value would be ORed with the flash selector settings, and the flash would always trigger.


Note Sign

To actually use the trigger input source (assigned by the vcio program) you have to select it at your source code in your image capture struct by setting the capture trigger input source to TRGSRC_EXT (instead of TRGSRC_IMM for immediate trigger); refer to the libvclinux image acquisition documentation! You may also invert the trigger signal first, see Output Trigger Signal Inversion

Default Trigger Assignment
GPIO Nr. Pin Designator Assignment
31(Out) TrigOut Trigger Output
31(In ) TrigIn Trigger Input

3.2.1   Output Trigger Signal Inversion

One can invert the value of the trigger output signal by writing a 1 onto the corresponding GPIO nr, for example via the program 'vcgpio'. To get usage instruction for the program vcgpio run it without any parameters. The figure shows how it is applied.


VC nano Z I/O Circuit

4   OEM models with VC nano 3D Z FPGA

Some models are available with the VC nano 3D Z FPGA, for customers wanting to build a custom laser triangulation system using a VC camera and a separate laser.


Note Sign

In this case, the whole GPIO configuration corresponds to the VC nano 3D Z GPIO configuration, see chapter 3 of the VC nano 3D Z documentation:

A laser can then be connected to OUT3, which can be activated as an additional trigger output. The standard trigger output is limited to a duration of 100 µs, using the alternative trigger output OUT3 allows to overcome this limitation.

5   Accessories

5.1   Camera and Lens holder order numbers

VCSBC nano Z Cameras and Lens Holders
Order Number Product / Service description
VK002237 VCSBC nano Z 0010 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor
VK002857 VCSBC nano Z 0010 Smart Camera without lens holder, color sensor
VK002087 VCSBC nano Z 0011 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor
VK002131 VCSBC nano Z 0011 Smart Camera without lens holder, color sensor
VK002132 VCSBC nano Z 0015 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor
VK003115 VCSBC nano Z 0252 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor
VK003310 VCSBC nano Z 0273 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor
VK003150 VCSBC nano Z 0392 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor
VK002267 VCSBC nano Z-RH 0010 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor
VK002115 VCSBC nano Z-RH 0011 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor
VK002184 VCSBC nano Z-RH 0011 Smart Camera without lens holder, color sensor
VK002124 VCSBC nano Z-RH 0012 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor
VK002881 VCSBC nano Z-RH 0252 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor
VK003110 VCSBC nano Z-RH 0252 Smart Camera without lens holder, color sensor
VK003108 VCSBC nano Z-RH 0273 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor
VK003169 VCSBC nano Z-RH 0273 Smart Camera without lens holder, color sensor
VK002116 VCSBC nano Z-RH-2 0011 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor
VK002129 VCSBC nano Z-RH-2 0011 Smart Camera without lens holder, color sensor
VK002192 VCSBC nano Z-RH-2 0015 Smart Camera without lens holder, color sensor
VK003319 VCSBC nano Z 0252 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor, with VC nano 3D Z FPGA
VK000439 VCSBC nano Z-RH 0252 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor, with VC nano 3D Z FPGA
VK000442 VCSBC nano Z-RH 0273 Smart Camera without lens holder, b/w sensor, with VC nano 3D Z FPGA
VK002092 Lens holder C Mount
VK000091 Lens holder 12mm
EK001348 Thermal Pad 23mm x 23mm x 2mm, 5.5 W/(m * K)

Further models will be offered.

5.2   Further accessories available for VCSBC nano Z Smart Cameras

Further Accessories
Article Description Order Number
Power adapter for rail mounting, Input Voltage 100 – 240VAC 50/60 Hz Output Voltage DC 24V +/-5%, max. 300 mA (7.5 W) Equipped with connecting clamps for AC input and 24V output, CE cert. VK000036
Evaluation cable (for testing), 24-pin, with RJ45 connector (Ethernet), DB9 connector (RS232) and banana plugs for power supply VK002079
Thermal conductive pad 40x40x2mm EK001122

6   Appendix A: Block diagram VCSBC nano Z Series

The image is formed by a 1.3 megapixel CMOS sensor (VCSBC nano Z 0011). The image is then stored in the DDR3-SDRAM memory, which has been increased to 512 MB.

Block diagram |VCSBC_nano_Z| Series


7   Appendix B: Drawing Circuit Board VCSBC nano Z Series


The red dot image20 marks the Pin 1 position of each connector.

Tolerances: All circuit board dimensions: +/- 0.1mm

8   Appendix C: Drawing Circuit Board VCSBC nano Z-RH Series

Camera Board


Sensor Board (for RH camera models 0010, 0011, 0012)


The red dot image24 marks the Pin 1 position of each connector.