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Getting Started with NI-MAX and LabVIEW

KB Number: 10791
Last Revision Date: 5/11/2015


Technical Application Note (TAN2014015): Getting Started with NI-MAX and LabVIEW


Applicable Product(s)

  •   All FLIR machine vision cameras

 Application Note Description

This application note provides information on how to install, configure, and use FLIR machine vision cameras with NI-MAX and LabVIEW.

National Instruments’ Measurement and Automation explorer (NI-MAX) is a viewer that allows users to configure cameras and stream images. This 32-bit application is typically used to verify camera functionality.

National Instruments’ LabVIEW is a graphical programming language used for data acquisition and instrument control in various platforms including Windows and Linux. For more information about programming in LabVIEW, see Introduction to NI LabView.


This document provides examples using NI-MAX v5.6. For more information, visit the National Instruments website.


Preparing for Use

Before you use your camera, we recommend that you are aware of the following resources available from our Downloads page:

Getting Started Manual for the camera—provides information on installing components and software needed to run the camera.

Technical Reference for the camera—provides information on the camera’s specifications, features and operations, as well as imaging and acquisition controls.

Firmware updates—ensure you are using the most up-to-date firmware for the camera to take advantage of improvements and fixes.

Installation and Configuration

The steps for installing and setting up depend which interface your camera uses.

FireWire Cameras

GigE Vision Cameras

USB3 Vision Cameras

USB2 Cameras

1. Install NI-MAX and LabVIEW

1. Install NI-MAX and LabVIEW

1. Install NI-MAX and LabVIEW

1. Install NI-MAX and LabVIEW

2. Connect the Camera to the PC

2. Connect the Camera to the PC

2. Connect the Camera to the PC

2. Connect the Camera to the PC

3. Start NI-MAX and

Detect the Camera


3. Start NI-MAX and

Detect the Camera


3. Start NI-MAX and

Detect the Camera


3. Install FlyCapture2

4. Start NI-MAX and

Detect the Camera

4. Start Acquisition

4. Start Acquisition

4. Start Acquisition

5. Start Acquisition

The following sections provide more detail.


Step 1—Install NI-MAX and LabVIEW

NI-MAX is packaged in the installation of LabVIEW. It is available for download from the National Instruments website. Alternatively, standalone NI-MAX software can be purchased separately here.

Follow the installation instructions.

Step 2—Connect the Camera to the PC

Connect the camera to the PC. For information, see the camera’s Getting Started Manual.

Step 3—Install FlyCapture2 (USB2 cameras only)

For USB2 cameras, the Direct Show filter provided with the FlyCapture2 SDK is required.

To install the FlyCapture2 Direct Show filter:

  1.       Download the FlyCapture2 SDK from the downloads page.
  2.       Follow the installation instructions. Ensure the Direct Show filter is selected during installation.
  3.       Right click on the file below and run as administrator:
    C:\Program Files\Point Grey Research\FlyCapture2\src\DirectShowScriptFiles\DirectShowRegister.bat

Step 4—Start NI-MAX and Detect the Camera

To start NI-MAX:

  1.       Launch NI-MAX.

Start MenuAll ProgramsNational InstrumentsNI-MAX

    1.       Under NI-IMAQdx Devices, select the camera.


  1.       If your camera is using another manufacturer’s driver, the following message appears when you select the camera:

If so, right click the camera and select the driver prefixed by NI-IMAQdx.

Step 5—Start Acquisition

To start acquisition:

  •          Click the Grab button in NI-MAX.


For GigE Vision cameras, if you receive an error that the system did not receive a test packet from the camera you need to enable Firewall Traversal in NI-MAX.

  1.       Click View Options and select All Attributes.
  2.       Browse to Acquisition AttributesAdvanced Ethernet and ensure Firewall Traversal is enabled.

For USB3 Vision users, more information is available from Using USB3 Vision Cameras with National Instruments' Vision Acquisition Software.


Programming with LabVIEW

To program using LabVIEW, you can either use the built-in IMAQdx library or access the camera through the ActiveX interface.

To use ActiveX with LabVIEW users must install the Point Grey FlyCapture2 SDK available from the Downloads site. The installation process automatically registers Point Grey’s ActiveFlyCap_v100.dll via the regsvr32 command.

LabVIEW example source code is available from Knowledge Base Article 10714.


Troubleshooting Tips

The following suggestions may help you troubleshoot issues with your camera:

  1. Update the driver to the latest version.
  2. Update the firmware to the latest version.
  3. Update the software to the latest version.
  4. Perform a soft reboot and if still necessary a hard reboot of the PC.
  5. Disable then enable the driver.
  6. Power cycle the camera.
  7. Power the camera through GPIO, if wiring harness is available.
  8. Use a separate host controller instead of an integrated one, if available.
  9. Ensure the card is powered via the 4-pin hard drive connector, if applicable.
  10. Use a different cable or host controller or PC.

Update Camera Driver (FireWire and USB3 only)

If the camera driver is not installed properly, the camera does not appear in the NI-IMAQdx Devices list.

To update your driver:

  1.       Connect the camera to the PC.
  2.       Open Device Manager in Windows and locate the camera.
  3.       Right click on the camera and select Update Driver Software.
  4.       Click Browse my computer for driver software.
  5.       Click Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer
  6.       Click Have Disk…
  7.       Browse to the driver location and click Open:
  •          FireWire: C:\Program Files (x86)\National Instruments\NI-IMAQdx\Staging\NI-IMAQdx\niimaqdxk.inf
  •          USB3: C:\Program Files (x86)\National Instruments\NI-IMAQdx\Staging\NI USB3 Vision\niu3vk.inf

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