Frequently Asked Questions

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Support (18)

High density surface EMG as described in the recent publications on the Biosemi site is possible with the addition of the sEMG accessories. The original model of the high density sEMG probe was made for ActiveOne, so the connector differed. The current version separates the electrode grid from the preamp as in:

Less dense sEMG can be accomplished with an elastic fabric with electrode holders like the EEG cap stretched over a muscle.  This would need to be custom-made, but would not be expensive.

Fine wire EMG would require either spring contact adapters or safety socket leads with inline active headstage. If your fine wire electrodes will be stripped but unterminated, you need spring contacts, and if your electrodes terminate in safety sockets, you need inline adapters.

We expect the new reinforced ActiveTwo active electrodes to last 350-500 uses, based on our experience with the new product so far, and based on automated repeated-strain testing.

The way ActiveTwo electrode sets are built, they are not repairable by the end-user, but we can replace single electrodes for you. We can so this quickly (24 hours plus transit), efficiently, and at low cost (or free under warranty). Electrodes are warranted against material/manufacturing defects for one year, and we charge by the repair after that. We find that offering extended warranties motivates less careful handling, so we don’t offer extended warranties.

We do offer individual EXG pin-type electrodes that you can insert in the cap as substitutes for faulty ribbon cable leads. This would be a short term stop gap solution only. We strongly recommend having a backup set of electrodes on hand after a year or two so that if the first set needs repair, you can continue to run with the other set while the repair is undertaken. You would not need to buy the spare set right away — just budget to have it once the electrodes have had enough use that they may begin experiencing problems. 250-350 recordings is a good mark for when you should have a spare set of electrodes on hand.

You CAN install current versions of ActiView on Windows 10. But, before you do so, if the system was orignally delivered before January of 2017 you should update the firmware on the optical receiver / USB interface so that you do not have to go through the very long and arduous process of installing an unsigned driver on Windows 10.

You can update the firmware using any Windows 7 or 8 computer with the MSWinUSB2 driver installed, even if it is not the computer you have been using for ActiView. If you are just using a Windows 7 or 8 computer to update firmware on the optical receiver / USB interface, there is no need to install the LabVIEW Runtime Engine or ActiView on this computer. You WILL need the LabVIEW Runtime Engine and ActiView on the new Windows 10 computer, but you WILL NOT need to install a driver after the firmware update has been performed.

See the procedure outlined at biosemi.com/ faq/install_USB.htm for detailed instructions.  The section at the bottom marked IMPORTANT is the place to begin.

The positions in these caps come from the Oostenveld and Praamstra 5% system.  See http://robertoostenveld.nl/electrode/ for background and for links to electrode coordinates in a variety of formats. Depending on what software you are using for analysis, we might be able to provide another file format. The Biosemi channel assignments (relating electrode labels to electrode sites in the Oostenveld and Praamstra nomenclature) are below:

Chan1 A1 Fp1
Chan2 A2 AFp1
Chan3 A3 AF7
Chan4 A4 AF3
Chan5 A5 AFF5h
Chan6 A6 AFF1h
Chan7 A7 F9
Chan8 A8 F7
Chan9 A9 F5
Chan10 A10 F3
Chan11 A11 F1
Chan12 A12 FFT9h
Chan13 A13 FFT7h
Chan14 A14 FFC5h
Chan15 A15 FFC3h
Chan16 A16 FFC1h
Chan17 A17 FT9
Chan18 A18 FT7
Chan19 A19 FC5
Chan20 A20 FC3
Chan21 A21 FC1
Chan22 A22 FTT9h
Chan23 A23 FTT7h
Chan24 A24 FCC5h
Chan25 A25 FCC3h
Chan26 A26 FCC1h
Chan27 A27 T7
Chan28 A28 C5
Chan29 A29 C3
Chan30 A30 C1
Chan31 A31 TTP7h
Chan32 A32 CCP5h
Chan33 B1 CCP3h
Chan34 B2 CCP1h
Chan35 B3 TP9
Chan36 B4 TP7
Chan37 B5 CP5
Chan38 B6 CP3
Chan39 B7 CP1
Chan40 B8 CPz
Chan41 B9 TPP7h
Chan42 B10 CPP5h
Chan43 B11 CPP3h
Chan44 B12 CPP1h
Chan45 B13 P9
Chan46 B14 P7
Chan47 B15 P5
Chan48 B16 P3
Chan49 B17 P1
Chan50 B18 Pz
Chan51 B19 PPO9h
Chan52 B20 PPO5h
Chan53 B21 PPO1h
Chan54 B22 PO7
Chan55 B23 PO3
Chan56 B24 POz
Chan57 B25 PO9
Chan58 B26 POO9h
Chan59 B27 O1
Chan60 B28 POO1
Chan61 B29 I1
Chan62 B30 Ol1h
Chan63 B31 Oz
Chan64 B32 Iz
Chan65 C1 Fpz
Chan66 C2 Fp2
Chan67 C3 AFp2
Chan68 C4 AFz
Chan69 C5 AF4
Chan70 C6 AF8
Chan71 C7 AFF2h
Chan72 C8 AFF6h
Chan73 C9 Fz
Chan74 C10 F2
Chan75 C11 F4
Chan76 C12 F6
Chan77 C13 F8
Chan78 C14 F10
Chan79 C15 FFC2h
Chan80 C16 FFC4h
Chan81 C17 FFC6h
Chan82 C18 FFT8h
Chan83 C19 FFT10h
Chan84 C20 FCz
Chan85 C21 FC2
Chan86 C22 FC4
Chan87 C23 FC6
Chan88 C24 FT8
Chan89 C25 FT10
Chan90 C26 FCC2h
Chan91 C27 FCC4h
Chan92 C28 FCC6h
Chan93 C29 FTT8h
Chan94 C30 FTT10h
Chan95 C31 Cz
Chan96 C32 C2
Chan97 D1 C4
Chan98 D2 C6
Chan99 D3 T8
Chan100 D4 CCP2h
Chan101 D5 CCP4h
Chan102 D6 CCP6h
Chan103 D7 TPP8h
Chan104 D8 CP2
Chan105 D9 CP4
Chan106 D10 CP6
Chan107 D11 TP8
Chan108 D12 TP10
Chan109 D13 CPP2h
Chan110 D14 CPP4h
Chan111 D15 CPP6h
Chan112 D16 TPP8h
Chan113 D17 P2
Chan114 D18 P4
Chan115 D19 P6
Chan116 D20 P8
Chan117 D21 P10
Chan118 D22 PPO2h
Chan119 D23 PPO6h
Chan120 D24 PPO10h
Chan121 D25 PO4
Chan122 D26 PO8
Chan123 D27 PO10
Chan124 D28 POO2
Chan125 D29 O2
Chan126 D30 POO10h
Chan127 D31 Ol2h
Chan128 D32 I2

 

  1. In the ActiView software, select About ActiView > Load CFG.
  2. Navigate to the folder called Configuring and select the CFG that matches your head caps.  For example, if you have Biosemi standard 32 channel head-caps and want the 10-20 labels to be displayed, the file you want is “10-20system32+8.cfg”.
  3. Once this CFG is loaded, go back to the Monopolar display tab in ActiView, and check the Decimation Ratio. This indirectly controls the sampling rate, being a fraction by which the AD rate defined by the speedmode (AD rate on the AD box) is multiplied.  If you are operating in speedmode 4 (2048 Hz on the AD box), then a decimation ratio of 1/4 could be used to arrive at 512 Hz sampling rate to file, for example.
  4. After setting the Decimation Ratio, check the settings for the Filters and Reference on the left side of the Monopolar Display tab.  We recommend un-checking (turning off) both of the display filters and setting the Reference to None (Raw). This gives the operator the truest picture of the saved data as data are being recorded.
  5. Next, verify that any auxiliary sensors you will be using have been selected in the Auxiliary Sensors tab.  It is best to select (highlight) only the sensors you will be using (or the superset of sensors you may use) so that unused sensor channels are not added to your data file.
  6. Save a dummy data file in ActiView by selecting Start File, verifying that the right subset of EEG electrodes is selected (in the example case, A1-32), verifying that the EXG1-8 channels are being added if you want them, and selecting Add Displayed Sensors (the ones you selected before in the Auxiliary Sensors tab).
  7. When ActiView asks for a path / file name (it may produce an error message about the default path not existing — just click to close), navigate to the default folder for data to be saved in for this experiment (or if this CFG will serve several experiments, point to the parent folder that contains folders for various experiments) and enter a file name like this “CHANGE THIS FILE NAME AND PATH AS NEEDED”.
  8. Click Stop at the top left side of the ActiView screen to stop writing to the dummy data file.
  9. Navigate to About ActiView > Save CFG and save the CFG file to the folder where the ActiView software executable is located. If you name this CFG as DEFAULT.CFG, it will be used automatically when ActiView opens. If you will have various CFG files for various experiments, then you should save the new CFG with a name that relates to the associated experiment, and be sure to rename the existing DEFAULT.CFG to _DEFAULT.CFG. By doing this, ActiView will force the operator to select a CFG file each time the ActiView software is opened. One important note – if the operator does not close ActiView at the end of a recording, the CFG file will still be loaded, and the next operator may not notice. For this reason, operators should be vigilant about closing ActiView at the end of a recording, and if they enter the lab to find ActiView open, they should close it, then reopen it so that it will remind them to load the correct CFG for their study.
Categories: ActiveTwo EEG, Support

Since mid-2016, Biosemi has included a black USB virtual serial port trigger cable with each new ActiveTwo system.  The device is depicted below.

SD-MS-TCSUA

Inside the shell of the 37 pin connector is a microchip that appears to the stimulus computer as a virtual serial port but provides 8 bit parallel TTL output to the ActiveTwo trigger input port.  Because it appears as a virtual serial port on the stimulus computer, this cable is a relatively universal solution for triggering ActiveTwo from virtually any software on any platform.  There are a few simple parameters you need to know to send triggers via this device.  For details, see:

To use this trigger cable with MATLAB, Roee Gilron at UCSF (thanks, Roee!) provides a code sample at Github:

Categories: ActiveTwo EEG, Support

ActiveTwo is provided with drivers and host data acquisition software for Windows and Mac computers, and drivers also exist for Linux. Note that certain applications, such as event-related potentials, often require a separate computer to run experimental control / stimulus delivery software.

In brief, the computer requirements for the ActiView data acquisition software are:

  • Operating system: Windows 7, 8, or 10 or Mac OS X
  • RAM: 8 GB or more
  • Hard Drive: recommend 250 GB, but user should anticipate free space needed for data (file size in bytes is approximately = 3 X AD rate in Hz X number of channels X number of seconds recorded)
  • Display: 1440 X 900 or higher resolution display
  • One free USB port

Note: The ActiveTwo computer DOES NOT NEED A PARALLEL PORT.  A parallel port on the experimental control computer can be used to send stimuli to ActiveTwo.

In addition, the following are recommended for the ActiView computer:

  • Network interface and remote storage for data backups
  • Accessories such as KVMA switch box, extra monitor / keyboard / mouse, extension cables, etc to permit access to the EEG display from the separate room for the subject

Maybe.  There is no way the EEG system can harm the TMS system, but there are some TMS systems that are essentially useless with some EEG systems.  You need a a suitable combination of features in each to be successful at all in using TMS with EEG.

Desirable attributes:

  • Coils designed specifically for use with EEG will have a cable that exits the coil tangential to the head surface so that the coil does not pass close by EEG electrodes and cables.
  • A coil to be used with EEG should be passively cooled, since active cooling by means of a fan will induce electromagnetic interference in the EEG.
  • The TMS recharge mechanism should be designed to avoid inducing electromagnetic artifacts in the EEG.
  • The TMS system should be shielded so that no more than 3 milligauss of electromagnetic interference from the TMS system’s power supply reaches the electrodes and cables.
  • The TMS system should be able to produce a TMS pulse in response to an input trigger with a low and predictable latency.  Long, but especially unpredictable latency in responding to an input trigger will result in TMS artifacts that are difficult to impossible to remove from the EEG.

Aside from attributes of the TMS system, there are also important considerations regarding the EEG system in this relationship. See the other FAQ entry on that topic.

No.  There are a few special attributes that are required and others that are desirable.

Required attributes:

  • Inputs should be protected so that they are not damaged by the TMS pulse
  • Frequency response on all channels should be from DC on the low end, since AC coupled inputs will “ring” when presented with a large voltage transient like the TMS artifact

Desirable attributes:

  • Electrodes should have a low-profile so that the TMS coil can be placed as near the head as possible, maximizing penetration depth and current delivery
  • It is important for the EEG system to be able to trigger the TMS system at precisely the same phase with respect to the EEG samples each time a stimulus is delivered.  This will improve the performance of artifact removal algorithms

Aside from these attributes of the EEG system, there are also important considerations regarding the TMS system in this relationship. See the other FAQ entry on that topic.

Electrodes and head caps can have positions derived from systems based on the International 1020 System.  When the positions are based on 1020, the labels on the caps and electrodes can either be the actual 1020 position names (such as Fp1, Cz, etc) or they can be what is called ABC, which actually means A1, A2, …A32, B1, B2,…B32, etc  Another way to refer to the ABC labeling is arbitrary alphanumeric.  The 1020 system is not arbitrary because the names are based on anatomical landmarks and the odd=left and even=right numbering is predictable and interpretable.  When you have only one type of cap in your lab, it makes sense to use 1020 labels for caps with positions based on the 1020 system.  However, if you have 32 channel caps AND 64 channel caps, then you might find it useful to be able to use the A1-32 labels for the A cable and the B1-32 labels for the B cable and complementary A1-32 labels on the 32 channel caps and A1-B32 labels on the 64 channel caps.  This way, the A cable can be used for the whole head in 32 channel studies of for just the left side of the head in 64 channel studies.  This does provide a short term savings if you don’t want to have two A cables on-hand, but using 1020 labels on everything is more convenient and at the limit it will not cost any more (because cables that are used less frequently will last longer).

If you have more than one item to be repaired, we will normally issue a separate work order number for each item.  In that case, it is not necessary to ship the items to us separately.  They can be packed together, assuming you pack carefully and include the documentation we request when we send you the work order number:

  • Include the “work order number” on the package and on any documentation in the package.  If a repair is undertaken, the work order number will become the “invoice number” if the repair results in a bill for parts or services.
  • Write a note describing the problem you are having with the part and include it in the package with the part you are returning.  We need to be sure that we are focusing on the same problem that you have been experiencing to do the best job of reporting back to you on the status of the product.
  • Be sure that the note you include with the shipment references as many of the following as possible: the date of purchase, name of purchaser or customer account number.
  • Let us know the address to which repaired parts should be shipped (must be a physical address with a phone number and person’s name).
Categories: ActiveTwo EEG, Support
 The system does not use Lithium Ion batteries that are the focus of a lot of recent concern, but our shippers and airlines may ask questions about the battery.  ActiveTwo is safe to be put in checked luggage or carried on board aircraft.  It uses sealed, non-spillable lead-acid batteries that are safe to fly.  On the outside of any container in which you ship the batteries (may also be relevant for air travel) include the label “Nonspillable Battery”.
Categories: ActiveTwo EEG, Support

Warranty

Hardware

All of our hardware products are delivered with at least a one-year warranty.  This warranty covers materials and manufacturing defects.  If you find that a product is not functioning as it should, please contact us immediately.  We will work with the manufacturer to resolve the problem for you.

There are a few exceptions to the one-year warranty rule:

  • BioSemi ActiveTwo systems are provided with a three-year warranty on the AD box, optical receiver / USB interface, battery charger and AC adapter for the charger.  (Electrodes, head caps and batteries are warranted for one year.)
  • Passive electrodes are provided with a 90 day warranty on materials and workmanship.

Software

All software products are provided with one year of free technical support and upgrades.  Front line support is provided by Cortech Solutions, and our suppliers provide higher-level technical support for advanced features and applications. Future upgrades and ongoing support are managed under a support agreement or subscription renewal, depending on the product.

  • BESA: All bundles and modules are provided with free upgrades and support for a year.  Software upgrades after one year are priced at 20% of the current effective price of the license (depends on included modules and whether first, second or additional license).  You also have the option to purchase additional years of coverage with BESA:
    • 1 additional year (total 2 years) pre-purchased with software:  15%, purchased later: 20% of license price
    • 2 additional years (total 3 years) pre-purchased with software:  30%, purchased later:
      40% of license price
    • 3 additional years (total 4 years) pre-purchased with software:  45%, purchased later: 60% of license price
  • EMSE Suite: All bundles and modules are provided with free upgrades and support for a year.  Software upgrades after one year are priced at 20% of the current effective price of the license (depends on included modules and whether first, second or additional license).
  • Presentation: Since Presentation is licensed on a subscription basis, you have access to the latest software version and technical support for as long as you have a valid license.  Subscriptions are offered with code activations (a license that is tied to a specific computer but can be moved to another computer with some effort) or key activations (using a physical dongle or hardlock), and software upgrades are downloadable when logged into your account at the Neurobs.com website.

Consumable Supplies

Consumable supplies are warranted for 30 days.

Category: Support

We know that nothing makes a laboratory more productive than well-maintained equipment and a staff that is well-trained in its use.  Take advantage of our service options to safeguard the investment you have made in our products.

Support above-and-beyond warranty related issues is offered in the form of Service Level Agreements.  If there are no specific problems with the product, then the type of support you are looking for would be covered under a Service Level Agreement (SLA).

As implied by the name, differing “levels” of service are offered, and you can choose the level of support that best suits you.  SLAs offer technical support coverage over-and-above the basic product warranty, and they are priced accordingly.

SLAs are offered on most products, so this is an important option to consider at the point of purchase.  Although it is usually better to purchase the SLA up-front, if you realize after you have received a product that you will need a higher level of support, it is possible to purchase an SLA after-the-fact.

Two SLA options are available:

  • Level 1 / Distance Support – This SLA offers support for up to 10 incidents with a specific product by telephone, fax or e-mail.  An incident is classified as a question concerning a specific function of a given product.  We expect most of these incidents to be of the “how do I use this product to achieve the following” ilk.  A Level 1 SLA also includes parts, labor and one-way shipping for repairs on covered products.
  • Level 2 / On-Site Support – This SLA offers unlimited distance support incidents plus on-site support for up to 2 incidents.  A Level 2 SLA also includes parts, labor and one-way shipping for repairs on covered products.  As a further safeguard, a Level 2 SLA also includes an annual on-site preventative maintenance visit.
Please contact us if you would like to purchase an SLA.

Before you send anything to us for repair, please contact us so we can assess the situation and be sure that is the best course of action.   Once you have exhausted all available options, we may authorize you to return an item for repair.  At that point, see the steps below under “How to arrange for a repair”.

Many potential questions and problems are covered under the manufacturers’ warranties for the products we sell.  As a general rule, if the item you are trying to use is not broken, then support for that item would either be provided as a part of the original purchase agreement or under an extended service level agreement. See the Service Level Agreements page and the Warranties page for details.

If you feel that you need additional training in the use of the equipment or software that you purchased from us. Please review the upcoming training opportunities under Workshops/Seminars on our Events page and let us know if you do not see a workshop or seminar that covers the topic in which you are interested.

How to arrange for a repair:

  1. Review the User / Operator Manual and/or context-sensitive help provided with the product to determine as best you can whether a repair is needed.
  2. See the on-line FAQ documents.
  3. Contact us to receive additional assistance in identifying possible solutions that may not necessitate the return of the product.
  4. Please provide us with the serial number and the model number of the item you request assistance with as well as the data of purchase and the name of the purchaser or your customer account number.
  5. Ask us for an “issue number” and refer to that issue number when corresponding with us about this problem.  The issue number will become the “work order number” if a repair is undertaken and the “invoice number” if the repair results in a bill for parts or services.
  6. Write a note describing the problem you are having with the part and include it in the package with the part you are returning.  We need to be sure that we are focusing on the same problem that you have been experiencing to do the best job of reporting back to you on the status of the product.
  7. Be sure the note you include with the shipment references the date of purchase, name of purchaser or customer account number, the address to which repaired parts should be shipped (must be a physical address with a phone number and person’s name for FedEx to accept it).
  8. Wrap any electrode contacts in a paper towel to be sure that they stay dry and to insulate them from metal parts on the connector.
  9. Package the product carefully in the original packaging or a comparable container.  Use plenty of packing material (preferably bubble wrap or packing peanuts) to cushion the goods and ensure they do not move around inside the box while it is in transit.  For help on how to package your goods, see the document “How to Pack” at FedEx.com.
  10. Ship the goods via traceable courier service to our address and notify us that the package is en route.
  11. When contacting us to check on the status of your repair, refer to the issue/work order number.
Category: Support

When you purchase a new laboratory instrument, you want to get started using it and producing results as quickly as possible, and nothing helps you accomplish this goal faster than having a trained technician visit your lab to install the system and configure it optimally for your purposes. From our perspective, you will have the best possible experience with our products when the equipment is setup and configured properly and you are properly trained from the beginning. Installation visits are not included in the pricing on our standard price list, but we do generally include an optional installation fee on quotations. We find that customers who receive assistance from the beginning have fewer questions later and have more success using the equipment. We encourage you to invest in this valuable service.  If you would like to arrange an installation and training visit, please contact us!

We will always do our best to respond quickly when you need something urgently.  It helps us immensely if you plan ahead and give us a little advance warning if you foresee a deadline approaching by which you need parts, supplies or repairs to be complete.

For new purchases, we can often pre-order goods for established customers, even before the official institutional PO has been received.  Give us a heads-up as soon as you know that you intend to order items we have quoted you, and if you expect to have the official PO within 30 days, and you agree to let us know if anything changes, we will pre-order the goods for you based on your word.

For repairs, we know how vital our equipment is to your work, so we always do our best to respond quickly to urgent repair requests.  One important point — the earlier we know the date by which a repaired item must be received back, the sooner we can let you know whether we will or will not be able to meet that deadline.  Ultimately, the most valuable thing you can do to ensure we meet your deadlines is to notify us of those deadlines as early as possible!

See our contact details page.