New Customers
About FTA

New Instrument Startup


  • Prepare a suitable place to receive the instrument.

  • Unpack the instrument and check for loose parts and damage.

  • Save packaging material until the instrument is performing satisfactorily.

  • Read the introductory material to gain some understanding of what you are doing.

AC Mains Supply

  • The line cord connector on the instrument is the IEC universal type. Make sure the line cord supplied with the instrument is correct for your locale.

  • Check the instrument for any voltage markings which are not compatible with your locale supply voltage.

  • The electronics power supplies in the instrument will run on 115/230VAC, 50/60Hz. These are rated at a few hundred watts or less. They may or may not function on 100VAC.

  • Large heaters such as environmental chambers and enclosure heaters may require specific jumpers inside to match 115 or 230VAC.


If you are supplying your own computer, it is recommended that it not be more than a year old else the operating system requirements (Windows' need for memory, disk space, and CPU speed) may not be met.

Things You Will Have To Do

  • Unless FTA supplied the computer, you will have to load software.

  • Unless FTA supplied the computer, you will have to verify that the camera driver is installed and working correctly, by using the camera or frame grabber's demo program, before you attempt to start the FTA software.

  • You will have to remove any lens cap from the lens or microscope and you will have to check focus; in general, you will have to visually check that you have a good image. These should be done before your ever start the FTA software. They are done using the camera's demo program.

  • Unless FTA supplied the computer, you will have to copy the configuration and license files to the FTA directory. These are typically on a separate CDROM from the main program software. They are specific to your machine.

  • You will have to check the appropriate Enable boxes on the LogOn screen to start the video driver and any communication between the computer and the instrument chassis. You must also check the Video box on the Video form to start Live video.

Getting Assistance

  • It is better to call the FTA sales office, or your local distributor, if you are unsure of anything. This is better than damaging something or becoming frustrated.

  • The answers to likely questions are also found on the FTA website in the FAQ section and in the "Introduction to the FTA...." papers.

  • Complex systems such as the FTA2000 and FTA4000 have specific startup checklists included with the hard copy documentation.

  • See the following list of electronic communications methods which are useful when getting started.

Electronic Communication

  • Email. Effective across time zones. Address to sales@firsttenangstroms.com. It is good to include example Movies if you have gotten far enough to capture images.

  • Net Meeting. This Windows program comes with the operating system and provides a selection of media to be used in real time. Depending on what facilities are available, these include text, voice, white board free-hand drawing, video images and file transfer. A Net Meeting session can be arranged by appointment at a convenient time to the customer, irrespective of the time at FTA. See Live Support Over The Internet.

  • Yahoo Instant Messenger. This is a "poor man's" Net Meeting. It is easy to setup. An IM session can be arranged by appointment at a convenient time to the customer, irrespective of the time at FTA. The IM address is firsttenangstroms@yahoo.com.


The best way to learn how to operate the instrument is by studying examples of previous work. This type of instrument is unique in that the images carry all of the data, so you can learn about its operation by studying previous images, that is pictures, the best way of communicating with humans.

The software installation includes demo Movies of basic measurements. These demos will be installed in the application directory.

The FAQ's and Papers on the FTA website, www.firsttenangstroms.com, include literally hundreds of example images.

If your images do not look like the examples in some significant way, send them to FTA for comment and analysis. There is no charge for this. A picture is worth a thousand words. A picture is certainly worth more than a comment (lament) like "my data seems noisy." Don't tell us your problem, show it to us. We will both be happier if you follow this course.