Vista requires you to “elevate” if you do not have enough rights to install and run programs (meaning, you have a limited user account). In order to run and install programs in Vista, you MUST have administrator rights and have the appropriate rights in the UAC. (if you go to All Programs, Accessories, right click Command Prompt and click Run as administrator, it should work). Since creating another user account may create havoc for some users, I recommend you simply shut off the UAC (User Account Control) nagging pseudo protection that ships with Vista:
To disable UAC open the Control Panel/User Accounts then click Turn User Account Control on or off.
Probably the most common problem BioExporer users have is getting the DVD decoder to work correctly. This has typically involved trying the commercial products WinDVD8+ or PowerDVD8+, and then installing the other if the first did not work.
To address this, Larry at BioExplorer has advised that the freeware decoder DScaler is compatible, and we at PN have successfully installed the DScaler in our Vista machines and Mac’s running the Windows XP emulator Parallels 3.0. DScaler can be downloaded here..
If your current DVD decoders are working fine, then there is no reason to change. DScaler is now included on the PN CD/memory stick.
Having installed the new decoder, go to the ‘BioExplorer’ drop down menu, select ‘Preferences..’ and the ‘DVD Settings’ tab, then from the drop down lists of Video and Audio decoders, choose the ‘DScaler’ entries. Then go to the ‘Video’ tab and choose ‘Prefer VMR7’. Restart BioExplorer. See images below..
Note that your BioExplorer designs should be using the ‘DVD Player’ object and not the ‘WM DVD Player’ object. Also note that under Parallels emulation, the BioExplorer ‘DVD Player’ object reports ‘vmr off’, meaning that some capability, like resizing the screen under biofeedback control, is not available.
For Windows 64bit systems only, there are reports that this AMD64 DScaler driver works ok.
There are also reliable reports that K-lite Basic, another free decoder, also works well on XP and Vista, although this has not been verified.
Wireless dongle driver install failed?
Preferred method to install the wireless dongle driveris to allow Windows ‘New Hardware Found’ wizard to execute automaticallyto find the driver in Windows (on-line) central repository. If the computer is not on-line or there are problems, then run this auto-installing program. This single driver is used for all Windows platforrms and for both Pendant and Pocket products. The auto-install programshould run before the wireless dongle is plugged into a USB port for a first time. Both alternatives will take a few minutes to execute. When installing automatically, allow the wizard to execute twice.
If there has been an unsuccessful attempt to install the driver then…
First, inspect the Windows Control Panel function “Add/Remove Programs” (XP) or “Programs and Features” (Vista). Look for “Windows Driver Package – Pocket Neurobics”. If there are entries there, simply right click then select “uninstall”. Then re-attempt driver intallation.
Second, should there not be entries as above, then inspec the Windows Device Manager (accessible via the Windows Control Panel) and look for drivers which have a question mark or exclamation mark next to them, right click and uninstall. Remove and replace the dongle to have the wizard go thru the procedure again.
After successful installation, in the Windows Device Manager you will see “pocket neurobics wireless dongle” under USB Controllers and under Serial Ports. The serial port listing will also tell you the COM port that windows has assigned to the dongle and this is the sole piece of information you need to advise PC applciations such as the BioExplorer Device Manager. The COM port assigned may differ from one computer to the next. Done once there should be no further issues.
The wireless link requires installation of a special Windows driver. This is a one-time operation. Wireless Pendant & Pocket devices use a common ‘serial-USB-wireless’ dongle. The dongle behaves similarly to USB-serial adaptor cables: a Windows driver is installed and thereafter it appears to Windows applications as a conventional serial “COM” port.
If you have not installed the driver for the wireless dongle, then please refer to the User Manual (or download from the Manuals page).
“No Port” means that the Pocket or Pendant driver inside BioExplorer is pointing at the wrong COM port. Open BioEXplorer Device Manager (see the “BioEXplorer” drop down menu), click on the Pendant or Pocket driver then select “Properties”. Expand the COM port list and select the highest numbered COM port (eg “COM5”). This is probably the most recently installed COM port and is likely to be the COM port assigned to a recently installed wireless dongle. Click “OK” and with the Pendant or Pocket operating, BioExplorer should now report “connected”.
If not, this is not the correct COM port and you will need to discover which COM port has been assigned to the wireless dongle by Windows. To do this, press Windows “Start” logo and go to Windows Control Panel. Select “Device Manager” then expand “Ports”. There should be an entry for “wireless dongle” and a COM port assignment. In the BioEXplorer Properties box for the Pocket/Pendant driver, choose that COM port number. BioExplorer should now report “connected”.
If Windows Device Manager does not have an entry for “wireless dongle” then refer to the User Manual to install the driver.
When BioExplorer reports “Connecting..” and never “Connected” then the first thing to check is the green light on the wireless dongle. With the Pendant/Pocket switched off, the light should be off, then blink on every four seconds or so to indicate the wireless channel number that the dongle is tuned to (one blink for channel 1 etc).
When the Pendant/Pocket is switched on, the green light on the wireless dongle should change to mostly on, and blink off every four seconds. Read more…
Occasional flashes of “Sync Error” in the BioExplorer status bar is normal, especially when there is movment in the vicinity of the Pendant or Pocket. However if sync errors persist then this is symptomatic of some issues with the wireless link between the Pendant/Pocket and the wireless dongle.
The wireless link works best if there is ‘line of sight’ between the dongle and the Pendant/Pocket. Check that this is so. If necessary, use a USB extender cable for the dongle.
If the problem persists then it may be due to wireless interference. Most common source of interference is from wireless LANs although if your system is on the default wireless Channel 1, then it is normally OK. If on Channel 1, try switching to Channel 3 or 4.
The problem might also arise from noise USB cables, so if the dongle is connected to a mini USB hub, try connecting the dongle directly to the PC USB port.
Next time a channel goes flat-line, try lifting feet off the ground. If the signal restores, then the problem is probably excessive 50/60Hz interference. This may originate in the computer or other electrical equipment, or come from the walls and the ceiling, particularly if in a concrete building. You may need to re-arrange furniture and electrical items. If the dongle is plugged into a mini USB hub, try connecting it directly to the computer USB port.
The other candidate here is the electrodes. We don’t believe that ‘prepping’ the skin is necessary, altho we do think it good practice to rub the scalp vigorously with a finger-tip of paste. Then use abundant paste on the electrode itself.
Also note that for one channel operation, always use eeg channel 1. Using channel 2 and not channel 1 will cause random flatlining.
There are a few things in the Wiz to enable you to check it’s health. Let’s discuss EEG first, with the discussion more generally applicable to EEG, ECG, EMG and SCP. We will discuss HEG later.
First item is the “Test Tone” Helper function. This is available in the Wiz window in BioExplorer under Helper functions: Test Tone, and in most BioEra designs there will be a button “Test”.
If EEG is active the Test Helper function injects a tone at the input of the Wiz. Thus the device is fully tested – in general, if the Test function is working then the Wiz is working and users need to check whether the electrodes themselves are behaving.
If the Test signal is fine, but the EEG is flat-lined, then the first thing to check is that “Freeze” is off. Freeze is switched on for working with SCP (& ERPs), Othmer low frequency protocols, and possibly ECG. Activating the Freeze function puts the Wiz into its DC-coupled mode. This means that the offset removal that is normally in place, acting to return the EEG signal to an average of 0uVolt is de-activated. If Freeze is switched-on whilst the EEG is out of range, not yet having fully restored itself to an average of 0uV, then it will stay out of range indefinitely. That is, the EEG will be flat-lined. For this reason the Freeze state is not remembered – each time the Wiz is started, it starts with Freeze off.
Also, if using one-channel EEG designs, you must use Channel 1 (aks 1+/1-, aka Left). If you use Channel 2 (or 3 or 4) without using Channel 1, then the feature of actively suppressing 50/60Hz interference is lost.
In relation to electrode performance there are several layers of defense.
First, the Red/Green information in the Statua Bar of BioExplorer, and also generally brough out to Lamps in BioEra designs, give “electrode off” indications. This will actually identify which electrode has fallen off using the following code
- steady red light – both electrodes are off (or that channel is not in use)
- flashing red light – one of the pair of electrodes is dislodged
Linking reference electrodes can then distinguish which of the pair of electrodes is dislodged
- if the flashing red light persists when electrodes are linked, then it is the active electrode that has dislodged
- if the flashing red light goes steady green, then it is the reference electrode that has dislodged.
Second, there are two Helper functions related to checking electrodes: in BioExplorer, “Impedance Check” and “Offset Check”. BioEra designs will generally have an electrode impedance check (“EIM” button) but may or may not have an offset check. Electrode impedance is a measure of the goodness of the contact of the electrode with the skin. Poor contact will result in a noisy EEG and quite possibly a large increase in 50/60Hz power line interference which too can lead to flat-lining. EIM is a measure of the impedance of the electrode pair, not a single electrode. So values under 20kOhm can be considered good and up to 50kOhm is quite serviceable. Offset Check is a measure of the voltage generated by the metal electrode together with an electrolyte (the paste) onto the skin. All metals will generate this voltage with Ag/AgCl electrodes having the lowest voltage. EEG systems are designed to tolerate this relatively large voltage, however gold-plated electrodes, when the gold plating wears or is otherwise compromised, exposing a different base metal, produces a particularly severe offset voltage that can cause the EEG to intermittently flat-line. Gold electrodes are not recommended. The Wiz can tolerate offset voltages +-250mV and so should not be an issue if gold electrodes are not used.
Finally, Wiz units have multiple processors which exchange messages. It is possible that from time to time these messages get corrupted and the Wiz enters a wrong state. Pressing the Wiz on/off button in the design will reset the device and correct any problem. If it occurs at all it should be rare, and repeated occurrences would indicate a problem with the device.
In relation to HEG, the Helper Test Tone function puts out a test tone of approximately 99.5 and 100.5, alternating every second. This is not as complete a test as the Helper Test for EEG, but does check most of the HEG circuitry to send data to the computer.
In relation nIR HEG, the Helper Test also tests the signal sent to the nIR headband. In normal use, the Red and Infrared lights on the headband are switched rapidly making it impossible to see whether the infrared light (being largely outside the visible spectrum, and so very dim) is lighting or not. With the Test Helper, the signals sent to the headband are a slow flash of the Red and Infrared light so that it becomes possible to perceive that the infrared light is illuminating. If either light is not working, then a return-to-factory repair is required.
Further possible failure modes include:
(i) USB enumeration (Q-wiz only):
for the Q-wiz, the decision to transmit over USB or wirelessly is made shortly after power is applied to the unit (ie shortly after it is plugged into a USB port). If in this period of a couple of seconds it is not “enumerated” by the USB protocol it assumes that the power is coming from a “portable USB power” source (ie a battery) and therefore starts to transmit wirelessly. If the computer is older and perhaps abused in the number of USB devices attached (Windows can choose to assign this a low priority when it has other things to do) then it may be that enumeration is slow and the Q-wiz starts to transmit wirelessly even though it is connected to a real USB port.
The solution is
- un-plug the Wiz and re-plug, with enumeration likely to be faster on the second attempt
- if the problem is chronic, then the Wiz cab be started in Safe Mode (by powering it with the Mode button depressed) which gives extra time for enumeration. Note that some functions may be lost in Safe mode.
One can tell when the Wiz is transmitting wirelessly by the “Transmit” light – if transmitting wirelessly the Transmit light will blink, if not transmitting wirelessly it will be steady. The number of blinks indicate the wireless channel number. [But remember that most Wiz devices can transmit over USB & wireless concurrently, in which case the Transmit light blinks whilst communicating over USB.]
Wiz devices other than the Q-wiz can switch between wireless & USB at any time, so a late enumeration is not a problem.
(ii) Failure to recognise a HEG headband (Q-wiz, H-wiz & X-wiz):
When a nIR/pIR/oximeter is plugged into the Wiz, the “HEG” light should come on (and blink as it seeks out a value of 100). If the HEG light does not illuminate then the HEG function of the Wiz is unlikely to work correctly. One can try plugging in the headband whilst the Wiz is in Safe Mode, since more generous criteria are used, particularly if it comes in and out of HEG mode. In general though, if the HEG light is not illuminating then a factory repair will be required.
(iii) Corruption of firmware (all Wiz models):
If the Wiz unit is not working or behaves erratically when started normally, but works fine when started in Safe Mode (see above) then this would strongly indicate that the firmware of the Wiz has been corrupted. This (rare event) may occur from a failed firmware update, or it may occur should there be a power surge or lightning strike whilst the Wiz is saving parameters. Recovery is by using Safe Mode to place the Wiz in Program Mode, then to upload the firmware file from the “Update” tab on the website.
Note that some functions may not be available in Safe Mode, depending on the Wiz model, however Program Mode will always be accessible. For the U-wiz and the X-wiz, which are nominally “button-less”, a paper-clip is used to press the mode button accessible on the side of the unit.
To know that a firmware upgrade was successful, or to simply check the version of your current firmware,
- put the Q-wiz in Program Mode (click the Mode button near the USB cable until the lights go out) then
- in BioExplorer Device Manager, click the Wiz Properties then the Wiz tab and you will see a button “About”
- Click “About” a few times and you should see the Q-wiz reporting its status
- updated versions should read “Qwz04x”
Separate from Electrode Impedance Measurement (EIM) & Offset Measurement, there is a more gross test of whether an electrode is in contact with the skin. This is a go/no-go result which appears in the Application status bar as “Ch1” green for good and red for bad.
Note that EIM & Offset are “circuit” measures – measuring the combined impedance/offset of the active and reference electrodes, whereas this measure is for individual electrodes. Here is how it works…
– If one of the pair of electrodes is adjudged to have fallen off then the status bar “Ch1” rapid flashes red/green
– If both electrodes are adjudged to be off, then status bar is a steady fail (red) – the channel may not be being used
– If a channel is rapid flashing and you then link the references, then
- If the flashes stops and the channel is now good, then the respective reference electrode is off
- If the flashing continues then it is the active electrode that has fallen off.
– If all channels are flashing then it is the ground electrode that has fallen off.
This applies to 1,2,3 & 4 channel training.
We have compiled a “best efforts” list of tablet compatibility here. Support for third party devices on the USB port is rarely specified by the manufacturer, so one must physically test it. So only some have been tested to date and we would appreciate feedback confirming or repudiating the list.