QX5 USB microscope

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The QX5 USB microscope is a computer-only microscope with magnification power of 10x, 60x and 200x. The QX5 is sold by Intel Play. Intel Play claims that the QX5 is not supported under GNU/Linux, but in fact the cpia2 kernel module supports it well.

The Cpia2 driver was recently ported to v4l2 and version 2.0 of the driver was released in September 2005; in February 2006 it was accepted into Andrew Morton's 2.6.16-rc4-mm2 experimental kernel branch; cf. submission patch. It will likely make it into the 2.6.16 kernel.

This driver comes with two small applications: mview, a modified version of gqcam to view the output, and qx5view, a viewer that also controls the lights on the qx5 microscope. MJPEG Tools MJPEG Tools can be used to record.

Until the driver reaches mainline, you will need to get the latest version of cpia2 and qx5view from the cpia2 CVS in order to use the QX5 with a 2.6.x Linux kernel.

To build and load cpia2, you only have to do

make install
modprobe cpia2

You will then be able to start qx5view which should detect your microscope.

Oops! qx5view doesn't compile since kernel 2.6.38 or so, but the QX5 does work as a capture device in vlc as /dev/video0. The lights can be controlled from the command line while vlc is running using:

lights off: $ v4l2-ctl --set-ctrl=lights=0

top light only $ v4l2-ctl --set-ctrl=lights=1

bottom light only $ v4l2-ctl --set-ctrl=lights=2

both lights $ v4l2-ctl --set-ctrl=lights=3

If you'd like a gui to control lights and other QX5 features try qv4l2 while vlc is running. v4l2-ctl and qv4l2 are parts of the v4l-utils package in Debian Wheezy. This all worked with kernel version 3.1.0-1-686-pae.

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