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FAQ's

Warning! Animals chew through cables. Make sure your cables are not within 'eating distance' of your test subjects!

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Computer Questions

Q: Will SDI software run on different versions of Microsoft Windows?

A: Yes, it works with Microsoft Windows XP, Windows 7/32 bit and Windows 7/64bit.

Q: Does SDI supply computers for their systems?

A: Yes we do for those test systems which require computers. The computer is delivered with your system completely configured and tested with the product you ordered.

Q: I have a DOS system from SDI; can it be upgraded to Windows?

A: That depends on the system…and the age of the system:

  • SR-LAB system – you can upgrade to Windows however; really old units may require a gender changer to connect the interface cable to the PC.
  • Gemini – you can upgrade to Windows for units with serial number GEM-233 or higher.  It does require electronics replacement done at the SDI lab.
  • DOS Freeze monitors cannot be upgraded – sorry; they need to be replaced with the new Freeze Monitor.
  • Activity Systems – all can be upgraded.

Q: Can I FTP data from my system to SDI for support assistance?

A: Yes you can. Please send an e-mail to SDI at support@sandiegoinstruments.com and the information required to use our FTP site will be sent to you.

Freeze Monitor™

Q: My session set up is not showing the proper number of chambers. How can I correct this?

A: Go to the Freeze Monitor ‘ini’ file and change “numchambers =” to the correct number of chambers attached to your freeze monitor system.

Gemini™

Q: What does the Gemini mouse start box do?

A: The mouse start box makes your test more consistent because it reduces the size of the start chamber. This more readily orients the mouse toward the shock (dark) chamber, and reduces the time to shock (dark) chamber entry.

Q: Why am I not getting the shock to work on Gemini?

A: The selector switch on the front of the Gemini unit may not be set to ‘manual mode’.

General Questions on SDI Products

Q: Are there any SDI products that cannot be used ‘as is’ for both rats and mice?

A: Yes. Gemini and SR-LAB offer different components depending upon whether you are testing rats or mice. Grid floors and animal enclosures must be swapped to accommodate the animal type.

Q: What is the standard warranty on SDI systems?

A: The standard warranty is one year on most SDI system hardware from the time it is delivered to you. Please see our Warranty Policy.

Q: How do I check my shock levels?

A: Use the Shocker Validation Unit from SDI to check shock levels on the SR-LAB, Gemini and Freeze Monitor systems.

Q: Are SDI products CE certified?

A: Yes, please refer to our product data sheets for more information.

Q: Can I meet FDA 21 CFR Part 11 requirements with my SDI system?

A: Yes – the following SDI systems can be purchased with the FDA 21 CFR Part 11 compliance option: SR-LAB, Gemini, PAS software for Flex-Field and Cage Rack, and EMG-SR.

PAS-Home Cage and Open Field

Q: I have installed the PAS software and I’m getting no communication.

A: Go to the Windows Device Manager Screen and check to see if the Acces I/O card is listed there. If not, reboot or reinstall the Acces drivers.

Q: What is the maximum session time using PAS?

A: 7 days/24 hours per day

Q: What is the difference between Cage Rack Photobeam and Cage Rack Flex-Field software?

A: Cage Rack Photobeam is a general activity system that measures activity on only one axis. The Cage Rack Flex-Field is for more detailed activity testing. The system measures activity in two axes and provides data that can be used to create a track of the activity and provide time and distance data. Zone maps can be applied to the data for varying analysis.

Q: Does SDI’s Flex-Field system cover the Open Field paradigm?

A: Yes, with additional capabilities to support other types of experimental paradigms.

Q: What is the maximum number of enclosures for the Cage Rack Photobeam System?

A: It depends on the frame type used but at least 32. Please refer to product data sheets for specific details.

Q: I replaced my computer that was running the Microsoft Windows ® PAS software. After I re-installed PAS on my new computer, nothing worked. Why?

A:  The PAS version must be correct for the version of the Windows Operating System.  There is an upgraded charge if you need to replace PAS.exe with PAS764.exe.  Contact sales@sandiegoinstruments.com to request a quotation.

PAS.exe will work up through Windows XP.
PAS2011.exe will work on Windows XP and Windows 7/32 bit(this was an interim release and it has been replaced by PAS764.exe)
PAS764.exe will work on Windows XP, Windows 7/32 bit or Windows 7/64 bit.
Windows NT and 2000 are no longer supported.

SR-LAB™

Q: Why is an empty chamber in the SR-LAB giving us a reading?

A: Because, as with any system, there is small amount of electrical and mechanical noise in the system. Empty chamber values should be small (<10). This noise is accounted for in the system calibration so the net test results aren’t affected by the ambient noise in the chamber. Contact SDI if these values are large. ALSO SEE NEXT FAQ.

Q: I calibrate my SR chambers but still get widely variable results, why?

A: If the variability is among the chambers when you calibrate, make sure that your chambers are on a stable, flat surface - seismic isolation of chambers is important. If a rigid counter cannot be used, consider mounting chambers on concrete blocks. If the variability is low in calibration, but is seen in animal data, ask SDI for materials dealing with “Minimizing Variability in Startle Testing”.

Q: Why am I not getting any shock with my SR-LAB?

A: The ‘device number’ may not be set properly in the “Configuration” menu. It should be set to “2” in the Windows-based system. Check that the power supply is connected to the rear of the Control Box. Verify other connections. Check for a bad fuse. Disconnect the power supply, remove the top of the shocker unit. Check glass fuse - right rear on the shocker board. Replace with same rate fuse.

Q: Why am I not getting any readings from my SR-LAB?

A: The BNC cables may be reversed at the IN/OUT connection. Change them on the control box. Verify that the units have power (check that light and fan goes on). Check all connections per the manual.

Q: Why am I not getting a startle response from my mice?

A: Your mouse may be of a strain that loses hearing as they age. Check to make sure they can hear. Many researchers find that mice show a better startle response to tactile rather than acoustic startle stimuli.

Q: What is the max number of test stations that can be used with SR-LAB?

A: Sixteen stations.

Q: What kind of background and prepulse settings should I use with my SR-LAB?

A: Request materials and scientific literature on the SR-LAB offered by SDI.

Q: What is the difference between habituation, pre-pulse inhibition and potentiated startle testing.

A: Refer to Geyer, M.A. and Swerdlow, N. R Measurement of Startle Response, Prepulse Inhibition, and Habituation in Current Protocols in Neuroscience (1998) 8.7.1-8.7.15 .

Q: What is the difference between the Standardization Unit and the Absolute Value Calibrator?

A: The Standardization Unit provides a constant input to the SR-LAB software. This allows each chamber to be adjusted to remove any sensitivity variances. The Standardization unit establishes the reliability of the test stations (similar sensitivity among stations and over time), but reports relative values in millivolts.

The Absolute Value Calibrator provides a known force in Newtons to the animal enclosure sensor. “Newton” is a standard unit of force in the “International System of Units”. The SR-LAB Absolute Value Calibration (AVC) software reads the standardized force produced by the AV calibrator and builds a small file recording an adjustment factor for each test chamber in a “Calibration Log” file. The Log file provides a historical record of system stability and verifies that calibrations are performed. The adjustment factor is then applied to the animal test results, automatically adjusting for any variances in the test chambers. While recalibration with the AV calibrator could be done every so often, adjustments for variations in sensitivity are automatic. When using the SR-LAB AVC software, all results are reported in absolute Newton units rather than millivolts.

Q: Do I need both the Absolute Value Calibrator and the Standardization Unit?

A: No. They are two different methods of calibrating the SR-LAB system.

Q: Can you explain how to set up test sessions?

A: First, construct your Trials using the commands from the software menu. Then, construct a Session Definition to control the Background level, the Recording granularity, the Inter-Trial Intervals and the number of repetitions. Within the Session Definition, insert the Trial names you want to run. We strongly recommend you refer to Geyer, M.A. and Swerdlow, N. R Measurement of Startle Response, Prepulse Inhibition, and Habituation in Current Protocols in Neuroscience (1998) 8.7.1-8.7.15.

Q: Do I need an additional isolation cabinet around the SR-LAB chamber for sound attenuation?

A: No, except in unusual circumstances.

Q: Why doesn’t my trial work as expected? Why does a stimulus unit stay on after completion of a trial?

A: Any commands that terminate after the "Record Window" are ignored. Extend the "Record Window" or move the "Record Window" in the Trial.

Example Trial Definition (assume a 200msec recording window):
DO NOT USE THIS TRIAL
0msec Background
0msec Wait 50
50msec Analog 600
50msec Record
50msec Wait 300
350msec Background
end of Trial

In the example provided above, the Analog signal will stay on because the Background command at 350msec won’t be processed due to the fact that the Record Window went from 50msec to 250msec. To correct this problem, in the Trial Definition, you would change the Wait 300 Command to Wait 200.


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