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Installation and configuration of XIA MCA

Installation of XIA devices is common to 3 XIA MCA electronics:

  • Xmap
  • Mercury
  • FalconX

The devices are connected to a Windows (10 pro 64 bits) computer.

BLISS must be installed on that Windows PC to be able to run a BLISS RPC server.

Handel is the library used to deal with XIA devices and data. It comes with ProSpect, the Windows software provided by XIA for testing and calibrating XIA devices.

BLISS running on a linux station needs a BLISS rpc server named bliss-handel-server. It runs on a windows PC and uses the Handel library to access the XIA devices.

There are 2 versions of ProSpect:

  • ProSpect for Xmap and Mercury (merged with the deprecated xManager)
  • ProSpect for FalconX

Windows PC installation

Windows version must be 10 pro 64 bits

Windows 7 is now deprecated.

Installation of conda

  • Download a conda installer:
  • Miniconda Installer:
    • Next / I agree / tick All users / Next
    • “Destination Folder:” C:\ProgramData\Miniconda3 / Next
    • Advanced Options:
      • tick Register
      • untick Add miniconda3 to PATH
    • untick “Anaconda Individual Edition Tutorial” + “Getting Started with Anaconda” / Finish
  • Create a link from taskbar to anaconda powershell:
    • click on Windows Start Menu / type anaconda / Right click on Anaconda Powershell Prompt ( not Anaconda Prompt) / Pin to taskbar
  • Create the bliss conda environment with python 3.7 and git:
    • Start anaconda powershell
    • conda create -n bliss -y python=3.7 git pip gitpython
  • Activate bliss environment:
    • conda activate bliss
  • Configue channels:
conda config --env --add channels conda-forge
conda config --env --append channels esrf-bcu

Installation of BLISS

  • Clone and install BLISS
git clone bliss.git

cd bliss.git

git checkout 1.9.x

conda install -y --file requirements-win64.txt

pip install -e . --no-deps


As of March 22, 2022, Bliss 1.9.x branch points to commit #1391b98bf. Python version is 3.7.12. These are the versions used by ESRF detector pool’s computers.

  • test bliss installation:
C:\ python
>>> import bliss

Installation of XIA software

  • Copy into c:\blissadm\ files an directories found in:

March 2022 versions.

  • ProSpect for Falconx
    • version 1.1.62
  • ProSpect for Mercury and Xmap
    • version 1.1.66
  • Handel-all library for Mercury/Xmap devices
    • version 1.2.28 64 bits
  • Handel-sitoro library for Falconx
    • version 1.1.22 64 bits
  • Depending on the XIA device type, FalconX or Xmap/Mercury:
    • Install the corresponding ProSpect
    • Test connection to the device with ProSpect


Avoid to rename Prospect for Xmap/Mercury installation directory. There is a link to it hard coded in config files. An update of the name means an update of all config files.

  • If available, install configuration file(s) in: c:\blissadm\falconx\config\id00\ or in c:\blissadm\xmap\config\id00\

For FalconX

  • Connection to the falconX can be tested with a browser using address
  • Check firware version (nov. 2021: 21.2.0)

Server Startup script


Examples are given for FalconX. Xmap/Mercury behaviour is similar.


To ensure a peaceful coexistence between conda and powershell, the shortcut falconx/falconx-start IDXX should point to the startup script falconx/falconx-server_IDXX.ps1. They need to be customized.

  • Duplicate startup script (let it in falconx/ directory) and rename it:

    • falconx\falconx-server_IDXX.ps1 -> falconx\falconx-server_ID00.ps1
  • Customize it according to Beamline configuration (BEACON_HOST / Device Name):

    • right-clisk / edit
  • Copy and rename the shortcut falconx\falconx-start IDXX on the desktop:

    • drag’n drop with right mouse button OR ctrl-c ctrl-v
    • rename the desktop shortcut falconx-start ID00 (right click / rename)
  • Customize the desktop shortcut:

    • ‘right-click’ / ‘properties’ ; Change end of “Traget” line: IDXX -> ID00

Developer’s details

The bliss-handel-server start-up script is created at installation time using the entry_points definitions in of the BLISS repository.

      "console_scripts": [
      "bliss-handel-server = bliss.controllers.mca.handel.server:main",
      ] }
The wrapping of the Handel library is made with cffi. see: bliss/controllers/mca/handel/

BLISS Configuration in Beacon

Example for mercury:

- name: mercury
  module: mca
  plugin: bliss
  class: Mercury
  url: tcp://wfameid42xia:8000
  configuration_directory: C:\\blissadm\\mercury\\config\\BM16
  default_configuration: Vortex3_Mercury4ch_05us_Hg.ini

Example for FalconX:

- name: fxid42
  module: mca
  plugin: bliss
  class: FalconX
  url: tcp://wid421:8000
  configuration_directory: C:\\blissadm\\falconx\\config\\ID42
  default_configuration: falconxn.ini

Example for Xmap:

- name: fxid16
  module: mca
  plugin: bliss
  class: XMAP
  url: tcp://wid421:8000
  configuration_directory: C:\\blissadm\\xmap\\config\\ID42
  default_configuration: xmap.ini