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Almost Free FTP for InSight

If you are using the Cognex InSight Vision Systems and are looking to use the FTP functions of the InSight, you will need to have a FTP Server running on the PC you want to send the data to.  There are several great FTP server programs available, however if you are using a Microsoft Operating System, chance are you already have a perfectly good FTP server available to you for free.  Several Microsoft OS’s come with a package called IIS short for Internet Information Services.  Properly configured, this package seems to work very well with the InSight system.  However, between Microsoft’s poor documentation of this product and Cognex’s lack of direct support for IIS or any other FTP server it makes it rather difficult to set up.  This document is intended to help fill that void.

Before you begin you will need to check the windows firewall or whatever firewall is configured for communication from the InSight.  Either you can disable the firewall (Turn it off) or add an exception for the port being used by the camera.  For the standard windows firewall, open your control panel and select “Windows Firewall”.  Then click on the “Exceptions” Tab and you should see something like this:

Then just click on the “Add Port” button.  At this point you will want to enter the port that the InSight Camera is communicating on.  The Default value is 21.  If you are using a 3rd party firewall you will have to check with that software’s documentation to learn how to open up this port exception.

Next you will need an account on the PC for the FTP account to use.  You can use the main account as long as it has ftp privileges and a password.  If you are not using a Password to log in, you will have to create a separate user.  To create a new user open up your control panel  (Start>Control Panel) and then pick “User Accounts”.  Once you have the window open, just “Create a New Account” and fill in the information.  Typically you will want this account to be a “Computer Administrator”.  If you select another account type you will need to make sure that user level has FTP Privileges.

Next, you will need to have IIS installed on your PC.  To do this simply click on your start button then select your control panel and finally select Add/Remove Programs.  You will see a window that looks something like this:

Then click on the button on the left side of the window labeled “Add/Remove Windows Components.”   You may need your original Windows Operating System CD/DVD.  Simply select the IIS from the list.  You will need to drill down into the options for this package.  In particular you must select the “File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Service”.


Click “OK”, then Click “Next” and follow the instructions. 

Once IIS is installed on your PC, you can launch it from the Administrative Tools.  Again load up your “Control Panel” and select “Administrative Tools”. 

You should now see the Internet Information Services Shortcut.  Simply select it to begin the configuration.

In the IIS you will want to select the “Default FTP Site” and configure it. 

On the first tab, set it up as shown below.  Obviously the name can be whatever you like.  The IP Address should be the IP address on the Host PC that the data will be coming in to.  Alternatively you can leave it set for “All Unassigned”.  This works especially well if you have multiple cameras attached to multiple networks.  So for example if you have Camera 1 and Camera 2 attached to and Camera 3 and Camera 4 are attached to, just leave the IP Address set to “All Unassigned” and it will work for both networks.

The second Tab “Security Accounts”, you will need a user account name that has been set up on the PC that has ftp privileges.  The password will be whatever you have set up for this user.

For the FTP “Home Directory” Tab, you will select the location you want the data or images written too.  The Read and Log visits tabs are optional, but you must have the “Write” check box selected if you want the data to go from the InSight to the PC Properly.  Note if you turn on the “Read” functionality other PC’s on the network will be able to look at these folders if they have Admin Access or FTP Privileges on that PC.

Finally we are ready for the configuration on the InSight system.  Fortunately, with all the set up on the PC side, the configuration on the InSight side is relatively easy.  For example if we are writing images as shown below you set up the FTP function very similarly to if you were using the FTP function included with InSight Explorer.  The primary difference would instead of selecting the Host Name from the list you will enter the IP Address.  Second, your User Name and Password will be those of the User you have created on the Host and not the typical “Admin” used for InSight explorer.  Finally you will not need to include the Drive in the “File Name” field as this has already been designated in the IIS Configuration.

Note in the above example the File name includes the path information which it is getting from another Cell (C50).  Windows will not automatically create these file folders for you.  You will need to create the locations yourself before sending Data or images to them.

If you want to test the communications, set the image acquisition in cell A0 to Manual, place the system online and press the F5 Key to trigger the camera.  If you have the InSight and the PC configured correctly you should see either the data files or Images updating on the PC.

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