Author Topic: Sensor data from an Adinstruments Powerlab /410 channel recorder without driver?  (Read 485 times)

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Offline Peter Gamma

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I have a Adinstruments Powerlab /410 channel recorder with a scsi interface and a rs232 data bus to connect to other Adinstrument devices. Newer Adinstruments devices have an usb interface which connect to Adinstruments Labchart software.

I don t have the Adinstruments Labchart software, and the goal is to connect the  Adinstruments Powerlab /410 channel recorder to Matlab. These older Adinstruments Powerlab /410 channel recorders connected as far as i know to Apple PCs via the SCSI interface, but I don t have an Apple PC with   SCSI interface either.

I  m using the Adinstruments Powerlab /410 channel recorder only for a respiration sensor. I hope  the  rs232 data bus of my device transmits all the data I m looking for, and I assume it's easier to get data out of a rs323 port than of a SCSI port without driver.

So I bought a rs232 to usb adapter to connect the  Powerlab /410 to my PC. The device manager of my PC shows next to the usb connection to the  Powerlab /410 also a virtual  rs232 port which hopefully transmits all the data I m looking for.

How can I get my respiration data out of the  virtual  rs232 port of my PC?
 
« Last Edit: June 24, 2019, 06:08:33 pm by Peter Gamma »
 

Offline Peter Gamma

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Is someone experienced with one of these serial port sniffing solutions?

https://www.virtual-serial-port.org/articles/best-serial-port-sniffer-solutions/



 

Offline thm_w

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The sniffer won't help unless you have access to the vendor software to communicate with the device.

When you use a serial port monitoring program (putty, brays terminal, etc.) and connect the 410 recorder to your PC, select the appropriate COM port, does any data show up on the screen?
Try all common baud rates, and reset the instrument to see if it sends something out at boot.

Manual doesn't specify how it works: http://m-cdn.adinstruments.com/owners-guides/PowerLab%20SP%20Series%20OG.pdf

Worst case, it has undocumented commands you need to send to it to request data. You will have to contact the vendor, find their software, or find someone else that has figured out the command set.
 

Offline Peter Gamma

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The newer channel recorders from Adinstruments have an usb interface and connect to their Labchart software.

The Adinstruments Powerlab /410 which I have is an older model with SCSI Interface and RS323 Interface. The Powerlab connected via SCSI Interface to an Apple PC with Adinstruments Labchart software.

The RS232 interface is a data bus to connect multiple Adinstruments devices to each other. I suppose this rs232 data bus contains all the data of my respiration sensor. A respiration sensor does not deliver a huge amount of data. And the signal might be detected with the right software.

Thank you for your information to use a serial port monitoring program. I could find brays terminal. The next step is to try which data is shown on the screen with this software.
 

Offline Peter Gamma

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I tried to get a signal from the RS232 with brays terminal,  and I tried all common baud rates, but I did not get a signal for the Powerlab.

The Adinstruments Powerlab /410 can be bought on ebay quite cheap, but I has only a SCSI interface and a RS232 interface. I did not find any software working for it. The Adinstruments recorders with usb costs much more.

Did some get to work an  Adinstruments Powerlab /410?

 

Offline Kean

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While I couldn't find any manuals, this photo seems to show two connectors on the back of the Powerlab/410
https://www.imagine41.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/ADInstruments-Powerlab-410-006.jpg

(photo from https://www.imagine41.com/product/adinstruments-powerlab-410-dual-channel-human-psychology-teaching-system-with-owners-guide/)

One connector is old-school DB-25F SCSI, and the other is DE-9F - commonly used for RS232, but clearly marked as I2C.  I2C is very different from RS232!

Have you taken a look inside?  A photo of the PCB near the connectors may confirm the interface by the circuitry used.

Interesting to see these were/are designed/made here in Sydney.  The ADInstruments head office is just down the road from the EEVblog lab.
 

Offline Kean

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Just noticed the manual linked above by thm_w for more recent but similar PowerLab models.  It has a little info on the I2C connector, including a pin-out - but it will be a proprietary interface for adding additional sensor "front-ends".  It won't replace/duplicate the function of the SCSI bus.
 

Offline Peter Gamma

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Good to know about the RS232 and I2C stuff. So standard RS232 tools won t work for it. Still the signal must be transmitted throught this interface to other Adinstruments devices. Iv read that these channel recorders where used with Apple Macintosh computers connected over SCSI to the Adinstruments Labchart software.

The interesting thing about these recorders is that they can connect to my respiration sensors which I have from Adinstruments, and I do not have any hardware or software yet to use them :(. As far as I know, they also have 16 bit A/D converters integrated, which makes them interesting.

I thought about buying a SCSI card for my PC. Is someone experienced in reading out SCSI signals?
 

Offline Peter Gamma

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 Adinstruments is difficult to get information from. You can "request a price" or "book a demo" for most devices. For a price request you have to fill in a form. I asked to send me a price list, which they did not send to me. The only option I had was to give them my phone number, and they would call me back.

A little research on ebay left me without currage to do this. The newer amplifier I saw where in the range 1000 dollars and above. And the Labchart software I saw only once during a whole year on ebay for about 350 dollars :palm:.
 

Offline Peter Gamma

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How can I read out sensor data from a SCSI port?
 

Offline Kean

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How can I read out sensor data from a SCSI port?

Very likely proprietary.  I doubt anyone here would know.
 

Offline Peter Gamma

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What about reading out sensor data from a I²C port? Is I²C data transmission also proprietary?
 

Offline Kean

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Well neither SCSI or I2C low level protocols are proprietary, but the commands/registers implemented for a device like this are likely to be custom/non-standard.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCSI_command
https://www.i2c-bus.org/

Based on the description in the manual I'd guess that the PowerLab unit is an I2C master, not a slave.  In other words it would look for and read data from other devices, and not accept read requests itself.

And in the case of I2C, it would be pretty easy to reverse engineer by tapping into the communications between the PowerLab and an ADInstruments front-end (assuming you have one of those as well) with a logic analyser.  This would be much harder with SCSI due to the number of connections and bus speed - plus again you'd need a working system to sniff.
 


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