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Getting Started

Nathan Whitmore

This page is a general checklist of things you should do to get OpenStim up and running.

1.Assemble the OpenStim hardware

2.Get the OpenStim software
If you're using Windows, you can use a precompiled binary from here. Otherwise, you'll need to download the spource code from the Subversion repository.(a system for automatically keeping track of changes to software). In most cases, you'll want to use the latest version of the software. To get it, you can use Subversion or download individual files from here

3.Get Processing and Arduino

OpenStim relies on two additional pieces of software:a runtime environment called Processing(get it here), as well as the Arduino programming software(availible here). You'll need to have both of these installed on your computer before you can use OpenStim

Note:If you are using the source code you will need to use processing version 1.5.x, NOT 2.x

4.Program the Arduino board

OpenStim requires specific firmware on the Arduino board in order to run. To download the firmware to the Arduino, you will need to:

1.Open OpenStim's “firmware.pde” file in Arduino
2.Connect the Arduino board to your computer using a USB cable
3.Select the port on which the Arduino is connected under Tools → Serial Port
4.Select the type of Arduino board you are using under Tools → Board(if you are unsure, this is usually printed on the Arduino PCB)
5.Click the upload button. The program should compile and upload after a few seconds.

5.Unplug the Arduino from your computer

6.Start the OpenStim software by opening it in Processing and clicking “run”. You should see an intro screen instructing you to plug in the OpenStim.

7.Connect the board. The program will now ask you to load an imprint file(a file which describes the stimulation parameters. Load basic.imp from the OpenStim directory.

8.OpenStim will now display the parameters of the imprint file. Press space to continue

9.Calibrate the OpenStim
Calibration is important for ensuring that the readings from the OpenStim's current sensor are accurate.
To start calibration, connect a multimeter or ammeter capable of measuring milliamps between the OpenStim's reference electrode and the electrode connected to channel 5, and click the “calibrate” button in the main window.

WARNING*:The OpenStim may deliver dangerous levels of current during calibration. Do not touch the OpenStim board or electrodes during calibration or diagnostics.

10.Run OpenStim diagnostics
OpenStim includes several diagnostic tests to ensure that the electrical components have been properly assembled and are functioning. To run diagnostics, leave the ammeter connected across the electrodes and click on the “diagnostics” button. The OpenStim will perform a series of tests for a few minutes.

What do I do if the diagnostics fail?

If the diagnostics generate an error message, do not connect the device to your body. There may be electrical errors causing it to operate in an unsafe manner.

If the short circuit test reports a short:

  • Make sure that the reference electrode and the electrode on channel 5 are not touching and are not connected through the ammeter.
  • Check the soldered connections(particularly on the AD5206 pins) for any bridged connections.
    If you get a “device cannot regulate current message”:
  • Make sure that the all the pins are connected correctly according to the schematic
    Ensure that there are no breaks in connection to the electrodes. A continuity tester can be used, or you can connect the reference channel and channel 5 directly to bypass the electrodes
    Try re-calibrating the OpenStim, as calibration errors can cause this message
    Make sure that nothing is short-circuiting the current sensing resistor
    If all else fails, try using a different Arduino board.

11.Try out your new OpenStim!
If the diagnostics have shown no error messages, you should be good to go!


Wiki: Hardware
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  • valarmorghulis

    hi, please can you explain the "reference electrode" and the "electrode on channel 5" in calibration step, i can't find them on diagram.
    another thing about electrodes, which of these electrodes is the anode and which the cathode?.thank you.