Difference between revisions of "Troubleshooting / Problem Solving"

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== Troubleshooting connectivity issues with Bluetooth ==
+
== Noisy EEG recording ==
  
=== Basic Information ===
+
When an EEG is started to be recorded using NIC software, the system needs a while to electrochemistry stabilize. After this time which normally takes less than a minute, if the EEG looks noisy, please read the following troubleshooting tricks and recommendations:
  
The Enobio/StarStim NECBOX connects to the computer using the windows bluetooth stack.
+
=== Some EEG channels are affected but not all of them ===
It is important to check if the computer has the Windows stack installed and working. This is not obvious when:
+
If not all the channels are at fault, unless you are using a DryTrode, add more gel and try to establish a good contact between the electrode and the scalp, removing some hair if you can. If this still does not work, try replacing the electrode/s.
 +
If the problem persists, please try to swap cables across two electrodes (one behaving well and one bad) to see if the faulty/noisy signal changes or remains at the same lead.
 +
 
 +
[[File:CMSDRL.jpg|250px|thumb|left|]]
 +
=== All the EEG channels are affected ===
 +
If all EEG channels are noisy, please make sure the DRL/CMS electrodes are correctly setup and connected. Here some recommendations:
 +
 
 +
First, clean up the mastoid area where you are going to attach the CMS/DRL electrodes. You can use a paper napkin with some water or alcohol. Removing the grease and drying the skin will help you to get a good signal. Place the StickTrode adhesive electrodes close to each other with the DRL on the bottom, as the figure shows. Ensure the two electrodes are not touching each other. The CMS electrode should be on top of the mastoid bone to avoid contamination from blood vessels (ECG like signals). For the reference electrodes, the Earclip electrode can also be used connecting CMS and DRL cables at both clips, adding some gel at the sensors and clipping it to the earlobe.
 +
 
 +
Additionally, ensure you have a reasonable battery charge (>20%).
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
If you have a NE testboard, you can check that the necbox is functioning properly by connecting it to the testboard and observing signal quality in all channels. If a channel is misbehaving, contact our Technical Support team (support@neuroelectrics.com).
 +
 
 +
 
 +
== Stimulation troubleshooting ==
 +
 
 +
Please find in this section some recommendations when stimulating with a Starstim device and some troubleshooting tricks.
 +
 
 +
=== NIC is reporting high values of impedance ===
 +
The Starstim is a stimulator device and, in order to deliver the programmed current, it calculates the impedance of each stimulation channel and they are displayed in NIC. The impedance bar appears below the icons of the stimulation channels and its color depends on the obtained value:
 +
 
 +
'''green''': [0 - 10] kOhm
 +
 
 +
'''orange''': [10 - 15] kOhm
 +
 
 +
'''red''': [10 - 15] kOhm
 +
 
 +
For safety reasons, if the impedance is too high, the stimulation session will self-abort. So, if our system have high impedances, we won’t be able to run the protocol.
 +
 
 +
We always recommend running the impedance check before launching a stimulation protocol. If the impedance is too high (red tab), it might be related to the setup, the cables or the device. Below are some setup suggestions to follow in case of high impedances:
 +
 
 +
- Check that the DRL/CMS electrodes are correctly placed.
 +
 
 +
- Move the hair to ensure the contact between the electrode and the scalp.
 +
 
 +
- Make sure the hair is clean and free of sprays, oils, cream and lotions. Shampoo your hair and rinse with clear water the evening before or the morning of the test. Avoid hair conditioner or oil.
 +
 
 +
- Add more gel/saline solution to the electrodes.
 +
 
 +
- Ensure that you have a reasonable battery charge (>20%).
  
The computer is a Toshiba Laptop (it might use the Toshiba Stack)
+
Note that impedance depends on skin type and can vary quite a bit across individuals.
The computer has Windows XP (The stack depends on the dongle used)
 
  
If the computer has integrated bluetooth hardware, the system shall be used with their integrated bluetooth. Do not use the provided dongle in a computer that has integrated bluetooth (such as a Mac).
+
Normally the measured impedances of the impedance check might be higher before stimulation, but when the experiment starts after some time they might fall down. This is normal because the stimulation can itself lower impedance.
  
=== Some known problems and solutions: ===
+
In case you tried these recommendations and you couldn’t get lower impedances, please read the following section.
  
In '''Windows''', after a certain time, the device doesn't connect anymore : remove the bluetooth device from the BT device manager and remove the associated COM ports from the device manager.
+
=== The NE Testboard ===
Let NIC install them again.
+
A good tool for debugging is our testboard. This board connects to your necbox and allows to test different system functionalities as well as discard problem areas.
  
When connecting to a new device, some computers show a message "a Bluetooth device is trying to connect". The user should click on this message and validate the connection. This message might be hidden, so the user should check on the bluetooth icon from Windows.
+
A Neuroelectrics’ device connected to a testboard will respond as a system properly placed in a subject, with a very similar electrical environment, that is why we refer to it as an “artificial head”.
 +
This tool lets us know if the root cause of the high impedances issue is the device, the cables or the setup.
  
In '''Mac''' OS you may need to allow the system to run NIC. If needed (the system will ask you or tell you that app is not allowed), go to System Preferences as an administrator / Security & Privacy, and check the box Allowing apps downloaded from anywhere.
+
==== The testboard connected to a 8-channel Starstim ====
 +
[[File:Testboard connection.jpg|250px|thumb|left| Testboard connection to the device using flat cable]]
  
With some newer '''Mac laptops''', bluetooth connectivity is affected by Wifi (seem like Apple is now using a single antenna for both bluetooth and wifi), so Wifi must be turned off while you use NIC. You can still use regular ethernet via cable, however (you may need to get a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adaptor).  
+
Using the flat cable connection as the picture shows, the eight channels of the system plus the CMS and DRL are connected to the testboard. As a result, all the channels are connected to this “ideal head of a subject” and, using this setup, the protocol shouldn’t be aborted due to high impedances. If the protocol is aborted, we can assume this issue comes from the device itself. In this case, please [http://www.neuroelectrics.com/support contact us]. If the stimulation protocol can be run without problem, we know the issue doesn't come from the device and it may come from the cables or the setup.
  
With '''Maverick''' (the latest OS X release as of Nov 2013) and NIC v1.2.10 or before, you will need to disable the App Nap feature for NIC. In order to do this, open a Terminal and type
+
[[File:Testboard connection 2.jpg|250px|thumb|right| Testboard connection to the device using electrode cable]]
  
defaults write com.yourcompany.NIC  NSAppSleepDisabled -bool YES
 
  
Later versions of NIC will fix this transparently.
 
  
Another common problem in '''Mac''' is that sometimes the device is not recognized in NIC, but when you go to the Bluetooth configuration you can see that the device connects and disconnects continuously, or it appears under the name "WT12-A". If this happens, follow these steps:
 
  
1- Turn off Enobio/Starstim off
+
In order to test the electrode cables, please see the following picture. Using the electrode cable connection, the CMS, the DRL and two channels are connected to the testboard. In this case, the channels 1 and 4 would be tested. So, we would create a bipolar stimulation protocol with channels 1 and 4 and see if it is aborting due to high impedances. If not, we would go checking all the cables (two at a time) trying to find if there is any faulty cable that is producing high impedances. In case there is a channel that is always reporting high impedances, this means the electrode cable is faulty.
  
2- Close NIC
+
==== The testboard connected to a 20-channel or a 32-channel Starstim ====
 +
[[File:4head NE testboard.PNG|250px|thumb|left|Testboard connection to the device using flat cables]]
 +
[[File:Testboard Electrode Cables Connection.jpg|250px|thumb|right|Testboard connection to the device using electrode cables]]
  
3-Disable the Bluetooth
+
Unlike the 8-channel Starstim, the 20-channel and 32-channel Starstim has a specific slot for the CMS and DRL. For this reason, both channels are always connected to the clips of the testboard as the pictures shows. Despite this difference, the tests would be the same: connection with the flat cables to test the device (left) and connection with the electrode cables to the clips to test the electrode cables (right). For second test, remember to only enable in NIC those channels that would be connected to the testboard clips.
 +
  
4-Open Finder, click Go (at the top of the screen), then click Go to Folder. Type or copy/paste /Library/Preferences and click Go. In the Preferences directory locate a file named com.apple.Bluetooth.plist and delete it.
+
===Measure the output current===
  
5-Click Go again (at the top of the screen), click Go to Folder again and this time type or copy/paste ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost and click Go. In the ByHost folder locate a file that begins with com.apple.Bluetooth and delete it. This file will begin with com.apple.Bluetooth and have some random capital letters and numbers at the end.
+
This test intends to measure the actual currents delivered during stimulation. To perform this test you will need the following:
  
6-Turn on Bluetooth
+
- Electrode cable
  
== EEG recording issues ==
+
- Testboard
[[File:CMSDRL.jpg|250px|thumb|left|]]
 
  
If you find noisy signals even after waiting for a few minutes for the electrochemistry to stabilize, check first the DRL/CMS electrode placement. If all electrode signals are noisy you may have a bad DRL/CMS setup.
+
- Multimeter
  
First, clean up the mastoid area where you are going to attach the CMS/DRL electrodes. You can use a paper napkin with some water or alcohol. Removing the grease and drying the skin will help you to get a good signal.
+
- Starstim (NECBox)
Place the StickTrode adhesive electrodes close to each other with the DRL on the bottom, as shown in the figure. Ensure that the two electrodes are not touching each other. The CMS electrode should be on top of the mastoid bone to avoid contamination from blood vessels (ECG like signals).
 
  
You should also ensure you have a reasonable battery charge (>20%).
+
- USB connector
  
If a single channel is at fault, add more gel  (unless you are using a DryTrode) and try to establish a good mechanical contact between the electrode and the scalp, removing some hair if you can. If this still does not work, try replacing the electrode using a new (or othewise well-behaved one).
+
[[File:pins.png |250px|thumb|right|Connection to NECBOX using clip connectors]]
  
If the problem persists, you may have cabling issue. Try to swap cables across two electrodes (one behaving well, the other bad) to see if the problem follows the cable or the electrode.
+
The idea is to measure the voltage level on certain resistors on the test board during the stimulation and to calculate the current being delivered.
  
If you have a NE Testboard, you can check that the NECBOX is functioning properly by connecting it to the testboard and observing signal quality in all electrodes. If a channel is misbehaving, contact our Technical Support (support@neuroelectrics.com).
+
1. Connect channels 1,6, CMS and DRL to the connector clips on the testboard as specified below:
  
== Stimulation issues ==
+
- Ch1 - P1
  
=== Problem: the impedance check returns high values of impedance ===
+
- Ch6 - P2
  
The impedance of the stimulation channels can be measured by NIC. This feature is available for StarStim devices but not for Enobio devices. The impedance bar appears below the icons of the stimulation channels and its color depends on the obtained value:
+
- CMS - P3
  
'''green:''' [0 - 10] kOhm
+
- DRL - P4
  
'''orange:''' [10 - 15] kOhm
+
Note: it is important to connect the electrodes in the correct order.
 +
[[File:multimeter.png |200px|thumb|right|Measure the voltage drop across a component]]
  
'''red:''' [10 - 15] kOhm
+
2. Connect the electrode lead cable to the NECBox. Note that the testboard is not the one that is directly connected.
  
We always recommend running the impedance check before launching a stimulation protocol. If the impedance is too high (red tab), it is probably related to the setup. Below are some suggestions to follow in case of high impedances:
+
3. Turn the device on and connect it to NIC.
  
- move the hair to ensure the contact between the electrode and the scalp
+
4. Create a new protocol with two stimulation electrodes and launch it. Note that the stimulation channels defined in the software have to match those connected to the testboard (in this case channel 1 and channel 6).
  
- make sure the hair is clean and free of sprays, oils, cream and lotions. Shampoo your hair and rinse with clear water the evening before or the morning of the test. Avoid hair conditioner or oil
+
5. Press the Play button and wait for the ramp-up to finish.
  
- add more gel/saline solution to the electrodes
+
6. Turn the multimiter on and set it to the voltage measurement mode.
  
- check that the DRL/CMS electrodes are correctly placed
+
7. Measure the voltage drop across 4 components: RC1, RC2, RC9 and RC10. To do so, place the black lead of the multimeter on the outer terminal of the resistor and place the red lead on the terminal towards the center of the testboard, as shown in the picture below. Take a note of the voltage level displayed on the multimeter while paying attention to the sign.
  
- ensure that you have a reasonable battery charge (>20%)
+
8. Calculate the output current from the Ohm's Law (RC=4kOhm).
  
Note that impedance depends on skin type and can vary quite a bit across individuals.
+
== Troubleshooting Wi-Fi connectivity issues ==
  
Normally the measured impedances of the impedance check might be higher before stimulation, but when the experiment starts after some time they might fall down. This is normal (stimulation can itself lower impedance).
+
In this section you can find some basic recommendations and tricks that can help you when you are trying to connect your Enobio or Starstim to NIC using the Wi-Fi communication.
 +
[[File:NE-WiFi.png|150px|thumb|right|Connecting the NE-WiFi using the Wi-Fi Settings]]
  
For safety reasons, the impedance is measured by NIC while stimulation is ongoing. If the impedance is too high, the stimulation session will self-abort.
+
=== Basic information ===
  
== Using the NE Testboard ==
+
To establish the Wi-Fi communication, the Wi-Fi device needs to be on and ensure you have a reasonable battery charge (>20%). In addition, please make sure you are using the latest version of the [https://www.neuroelectrics.com/resources/software NIC software] to avoid any incompatibility.
  
A good tool for debugging is our testboard ([http://www.neuroelectrics.com/support contact us] if you want one). This board connects to your NECBOX and allows to test different system functionalities as well as discard problem areas.
+
=== Wi-Fi dongle ===
  
A NE device connected to a testboard will respond as a system properly placed in a subject, with a very similar electrical environment, that is why we refer to it as an “artificial head”.
+
The Wi-Fi communication between Neuroelectrics devices and a host computer that is running NIC is recommended to be established using the built-in Wi-Fi interface. The provided dongle is meant to be used when the computer/laptop hasn’t available a Wi-Fi interface.
  
 +
In case the Wi-Fi dongle is being used and the computer has a built-in Wi-Fi interface, it can lead to disconnections.
  
[[File:testboard.JPG |150px|thumb|left| Neuroelectrics testboard]]
+
=== Wi-Fi Settings ===
[[File:testboardmosaic.png |250px|thumb|left| Connection to NECBOX using flat cable (to test NECBOX)]]
 
  
 +
If you can’t establish the Wi-Fi connection using NIC software, close the NIC app and try to establish it manually in Wi-Fi settings on your computer (as the picture show). Once the Wi-Fi connection is done, open the NIC software and try to connect to it again.
  
=== Using the testboard for EEG testing ===
 
  
 +
For any further question, please contact [http://www.neuroelectrics.com/support Neuroelectrics Support team].
  
Suppose that you have a very noisy channel and you have already tried to replace the electrodes (electrodes can be damaged by dirt, light and contact with metals) obtaining the same result. Is the problem related to electrode’s contact, to the cables or to the device itself?
+
Follow the outline steps to optimize the WiFi stability. They are rethought for convenience depending on your particular setup. Contact customer support at support@neuroelectrics.com  in case you still have any further questions.
  
You can use the testboard to record EEG and test your NECBOX. Use the flat cable connector to connect your device to the testboard, you should see small EEG signals, with an amplitude around 10 µV. If you are able to see such signal, it means that your device is working properly. If you see larger signals, there might be an issue related to your device.
 
  
Once discarded a problem with the NECBOX, use the connectors on the testboard to assess the integrity of the cables. Connect two channels to the connectors of the testboard labeled as P1 and P2 and the CMS and DRL electroes to P3 and P4. This test will allow the user to assess the integrity of each channel.
 
  
In summary, a possible approach to troubleshooting bad EEG signals in a channel is:  
+
=== Preliminary Steps ===
 +
'''Update NIC2 to the last version''': Only by using the most recent version of NIC2, you can assure very stable connectivity by following the steps below. Significant improvements have been added since NIC2.1. It is available on our website at the following link: https://www.neuroelectrics.com/resources/software
  
1 - Improve the contact between the electrodes and the scalp and try to replace the electrodes
+
=== Connection Methods ===
  
If this does not solve the problem,
+
Your device can be connected with a '''Wired connection''' or with a '''Wireless connection''':
  
2 - Test the cables using the connectors on the testboard.  
+
==== A) Wired connection (USB connection): ====
 +
The connection via USB is always recommended for particular applications like EEG data streaming for BCI/HCI or tES-EEG closed-loop experiments using MatNIC Pro.
  
If the problem is not related to the cables,
 
  
3 - Test the NECBOX using the the testboard (connect it to the device using the flat cable)
+
==== B) Wireless connection (Wi-Fi): ====
 +
Depending on the experiment you may want to use the internet and/or LSL. Knowing this is important when choosing the setup:
  
If this fails, [http://www.neuroelectrics.com/support contact us].
+
== Troubleshooting Bluetooth connectivity issues ==
  
===Measure the output current===
+
=== Basic information ===
  
This test intends to measure the actual currents delivered during stimulation. To perform this test you will need the following:
+
The Enobio/StarStim NECBOX connects to the computer using the windows bluetooth stack.
 +
It is important to check if the computer has the Windows stack installed and working. This is not obvious when:
  
- Electrode cable
+
The computer is a Toshiba Laptop (it might use the Toshiba Stack)
 +
The computer has Windows XP (The stack depends on the dongle used)
  
- Testboard
+
If the computer has integrated bluetooth hardware, the system shall be used with their integrated bluetooth. Do not use the provided dongle in a computer that has integrated bluetooth (such as a Mac).
  
- Multimeter
+
=== Some known problems and solutions ===
  
- Starstim (NECBox)
+
In '''Windows''', after a certain time, the device doesn't connect anymore : remove the bluetooth device from the BT device manager and remove the associated COM ports from the device manager.
 +
Let NIC install them again.
  
- USB connector
+
When connecting to a new device, some computers show a message "a Bluetooth device is trying to connect". The user should click on this message and validate the connection. This message might be hidden, so the user should check on the bluetooth icon from Windows.
  
[[File:pins.png |250px|right|Connection to NECBOX using clip connectors]]
+
In '''Mac''' OS you may need to allow the system to run NIC. If needed (the system will ask you or tell you that app is not allowed), go to System Preferences as an administrator / Security & Privacy, and check the box Allowing apps downloaded from anywhere.
  
The idea is to measure the voltage level on certain resistors on the test board during the stimulation and to calculate the current being delivered.
+
With some newer '''Mac laptops''', bluetooth connectivity is affected by Wifi (seem like Apple is now using a single antenna for both bluetooth and wifi), so Wifi must be turned off while you use NIC. You can still use regular ethernet via cable, however (you may need to get a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adaptor).  
  
1. Connect channels 1,6, CMS and DRL to the connector clips on the testboard as specified below:
+
With '''Maverick''' (the latest OS X release as of Nov 2013) and NIC v1.2.10 or before, you will need to disable the App Nap feature for NIC. In order to do this, open a Terminal and type
  
- Ch1 -> P1
+
defaults write com.yourcompany.NIC  NSAppSleepDisabled -bool YES
  
- Ch6 -> P2
+
Later versions of NIC will fix this transparently.
  
- CMS -> P3
+
Another common problem in '''Mac''' is that sometimes the device is not recognized in NIC, but when you go to the Bluetooth configuration you can see that the device connects and disconnects continuously, or it appears under the name "WT12-A". If this happens, follow these steps:
  
- DRL -> P4
+
1- Turn off Enobio/Starstim off
  
Note: it is important to connect the electrodes in the correct order.
+
2- Close NIC
  
2. Connect the electrode lead cable to the NECBox. Note that the testboard is not the one that is directly connected.
+
3-Disable the Bluetooth
  
3. Turn the device on and connect it to NIC.
+
4-Open Finder, click Go (at the top of the screen), then click Go to Folder. Type or copy/paste /Library/Preferences and click Go. In the Preferences directory locate a file named com.apple.Bluetooth.plist and delete it.  
  
4. Create a new protocol with two stimulation electrodes and launch it. Note that the stimulation channels defined in the software have to match those connected to the testboard (in this case channel 1 and channel 6).  
+
5-Click Go again (at the top of the screen), click Go to Folder again and this time type or copy/paste ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost and click Go. In the ByHost folder locate a file that begins with com.apple.Bluetooth and delete it. This file will begin with com.apple.Bluetooth and have some random capital letters and numbers at the end.
  
5. Press the Play button and wait for the ramp-up to finish.
+
6-Turn on Bluetooth
  
6. Turn the multimiter on and set it to the voltage measurement mode.
 
  
7. Measure the voltage drop across 4 components: RC1, RC2, RC9 and RC10. To do so, place the black lead of the multimeter on the outer terminal of the resistor and place the red lead on the terminal towards the center of the testboard, as shown in the picture below.
+
For any further question, please contact [http://www.neuroelectrics.com/support Neuroelectrics Support team].

Latest revision as of 13:52, 4 October 2022

Noisy EEG recording

When an EEG is started to be recorded using NIC software, the system needs a while to electrochemistry stabilize. After this time which normally takes less than a minute, if the EEG looks noisy, please read the following troubleshooting tricks and recommendations:

Some EEG channels are affected but not all of them

If not all the channels are at fault, unless you are using a DryTrode, add more gel and try to establish a good contact between the electrode and the scalp, removing some hair if you can. If this still does not work, try replacing the electrode/s. If the problem persists, please try to swap cables across two electrodes (one behaving well and one bad) to see if the faulty/noisy signal changes or remains at the same lead.

CMSDRL.jpg

All the EEG channels are affected

If all EEG channels are noisy, please make sure the DRL/CMS electrodes are correctly setup and connected. Here some recommendations:

First, clean up the mastoid area where you are going to attach the CMS/DRL electrodes. You can use a paper napkin with some water or alcohol. Removing the grease and drying the skin will help you to get a good signal. Place the StickTrode adhesive electrodes close to each other with the DRL on the bottom, as the figure shows. Ensure the two electrodes are not touching each other. The CMS electrode should be on top of the mastoid bone to avoid contamination from blood vessels (ECG like signals). For the reference electrodes, the Earclip electrode can also be used connecting CMS and DRL cables at both clips, adding some gel at the sensors and clipping it to the earlobe.

Additionally, ensure you have a reasonable battery charge (>20%).


If you have a NE testboard, you can check that the necbox is functioning properly by connecting it to the testboard and observing signal quality in all channels. If a channel is misbehaving, contact our Technical Support team (support@neuroelectrics.com).


Stimulation troubleshooting

Please find in this section some recommendations when stimulating with a Starstim device and some troubleshooting tricks.

NIC is reporting high values of impedance

The Starstim is a stimulator device and, in order to deliver the programmed current, it calculates the impedance of each stimulation channel and they are displayed in NIC. The impedance bar appears below the icons of the stimulation channels and its color depends on the obtained value:

green: [0 - 10] kOhm

orange: [10 - 15] kOhm

red: [10 - 15] kOhm

For safety reasons, if the impedance is too high, the stimulation session will self-abort. So, if our system have high impedances, we won’t be able to run the protocol.

We always recommend running the impedance check before launching a stimulation protocol. If the impedance is too high (red tab), it might be related to the setup, the cables or the device. Below are some setup suggestions to follow in case of high impedances:

- Check that the DRL/CMS electrodes are correctly placed.

- Move the hair to ensure the contact between the electrode and the scalp.

- Make sure the hair is clean and free of sprays, oils, cream and lotions. Shampoo your hair and rinse with clear water the evening before or the morning of the test. Avoid hair conditioner or oil.

- Add more gel/saline solution to the electrodes.

- Ensure that you have a reasonable battery charge (>20%).

Note that impedance depends on skin type and can vary quite a bit across individuals.

Normally the measured impedances of the impedance check might be higher before stimulation, but when the experiment starts after some time they might fall down. This is normal because the stimulation can itself lower impedance.

In case you tried these recommendations and you couldn’t get lower impedances, please read the following section.

The NE Testboard

A good tool for debugging is our testboard. This board connects to your necbox and allows to test different system functionalities as well as discard problem areas.

A Neuroelectrics’ device connected to a testboard will respond as a system properly placed in a subject, with a very similar electrical environment, that is why we refer to it as an “artificial head”. This tool lets us know if the root cause of the high impedances issue is the device, the cables or the setup.

The testboard connected to a 8-channel Starstim

Testboard connection to the device using flat cable

Using the flat cable connection as the picture shows, the eight channels of the system plus the CMS and DRL are connected to the testboard. As a result, all the channels are connected to this “ideal head of a subject” and, using this setup, the protocol shouldn’t be aborted due to high impedances. If the protocol is aborted, we can assume this issue comes from the device itself. In this case, please contact us. If the stimulation protocol can be run without problem, we know the issue doesn't come from the device and it may come from the cables or the setup.

Testboard connection to the device using electrode cable



In order to test the electrode cables, please see the following picture. Using the electrode cable connection, the CMS, the DRL and two channels are connected to the testboard. In this case, the channels 1 and 4 would be tested. So, we would create a bipolar stimulation protocol with channels 1 and 4 and see if it is aborting due to high impedances. If not, we would go checking all the cables (two at a time) trying to find if there is any faulty cable that is producing high impedances. In case there is a channel that is always reporting high impedances, this means the electrode cable is faulty.

The testboard connected to a 20-channel or a 32-channel Starstim

Testboard connection to the device using flat cables
Testboard connection to the device using electrode cables

Unlike the 8-channel Starstim, the 20-channel and 32-channel Starstim has a specific slot for the CMS and DRL. For this reason, both channels are always connected to the clips of the testboard as the pictures shows. Despite this difference, the tests would be the same: connection with the flat cables to test the device (left) and connection with the electrode cables to the clips to test the electrode cables (right). For second test, remember to only enable in NIC those channels that would be connected to the testboard clips.


Measure the output current

This test intends to measure the actual currents delivered during stimulation. To perform this test you will need the following:

- Electrode cable

- Testboard

- Multimeter

- Starstim (NECBox)

- USB connector

Connection to NECBOX using clip connectors

The idea is to measure the voltage level on certain resistors on the test board during the stimulation and to calculate the current being delivered.

1. Connect channels 1,6, CMS and DRL to the connector clips on the testboard as specified below:

- Ch1 - P1

- Ch6 - P2

- CMS - P3

- DRL - P4

Note: it is important to connect the electrodes in the correct order.

Measure the voltage drop across a component

2. Connect the electrode lead cable to the NECBox. Note that the testboard is not the one that is directly connected.

3. Turn the device on and connect it to NIC.

4. Create a new protocol with two stimulation electrodes and launch it. Note that the stimulation channels defined in the software have to match those connected to the testboard (in this case channel 1 and channel 6).

5. Press the Play button and wait for the ramp-up to finish.

6. Turn the multimiter on and set it to the voltage measurement mode.

7. Measure the voltage drop across 4 components: RC1, RC2, RC9 and RC10. To do so, place the black lead of the multimeter on the outer terminal of the resistor and place the red lead on the terminal towards the center of the testboard, as shown in the picture below. Take a note of the voltage level displayed on the multimeter while paying attention to the sign.

8. Calculate the output current from the Ohm's Law (RC=4kOhm).

Troubleshooting Wi-Fi connectivity issues

In this section you can find some basic recommendations and tricks that can help you when you are trying to connect your Enobio or Starstim to NIC using the Wi-Fi communication.

Connecting the NE-WiFi using the Wi-Fi Settings

Basic information

To establish the Wi-Fi communication, the Wi-Fi device needs to be on and ensure you have a reasonable battery charge (>20%). In addition, please make sure you are using the latest version of the NIC software to avoid any incompatibility.

Wi-Fi dongle

The Wi-Fi communication between Neuroelectrics devices and a host computer that is running NIC is recommended to be established using the built-in Wi-Fi interface. The provided dongle is meant to be used when the computer/laptop hasn’t available a Wi-Fi interface.

In case the Wi-Fi dongle is being used and the computer has a built-in Wi-Fi interface, it can lead to disconnections.

Wi-Fi Settings

If you can’t establish the Wi-Fi connection using NIC software, close the NIC app and try to establish it manually in Wi-Fi settings on your computer (as the picture show). Once the Wi-Fi connection is done, open the NIC software and try to connect to it again.


For any further question, please contact Neuroelectrics Support team.

Follow the outline steps to optimize the WiFi stability. They are rethought for convenience depending on your particular setup. Contact customer support at support@neuroelectrics.com in case you still have any further questions.


Preliminary Steps

Update NIC2 to the last version: Only by using the most recent version of NIC2, you can assure very stable connectivity by following the steps below. Significant improvements have been added since NIC2.1. It is available on our website at the following link: https://www.neuroelectrics.com/resources/software

Connection Methods

Your device can be connected with a Wired connection or with a Wireless connection:

A) Wired connection (USB connection):

The connection via USB is always recommended for particular applications like EEG data streaming for BCI/HCI or tES-EEG closed-loop experiments using MatNIC Pro.


B) Wireless connection (Wi-Fi):

Depending on the experiment you may want to use the internet and/or LSL. Knowing this is important when choosing the setup:

Troubleshooting Bluetooth connectivity issues

Basic information

The Enobio/StarStim NECBOX connects to the computer using the windows bluetooth stack. It is important to check if the computer has the Windows stack installed and working. This is not obvious when:

The computer is a Toshiba Laptop (it might use the Toshiba Stack)
The computer has Windows XP (The stack depends on the dongle used)

If the computer has integrated bluetooth hardware, the system shall be used with their integrated bluetooth. Do not use the provided dongle in a computer that has integrated bluetooth (such as a Mac).

Some known problems and solutions

In Windows, after a certain time, the device doesn't connect anymore : remove the bluetooth device from the BT device manager and remove the associated COM ports from the device manager. Let NIC install them again.

When connecting to a new device, some computers show a message "a Bluetooth device is trying to connect". The user should click on this message and validate the connection. This message might be hidden, so the user should check on the bluetooth icon from Windows.

In Mac OS you may need to allow the system to run NIC. If needed (the system will ask you or tell you that app is not allowed), go to System Preferences as an administrator / Security & Privacy, and check the box Allowing apps downloaded from anywhere.

With some newer Mac laptops, bluetooth connectivity is affected by Wifi (seem like Apple is now using a single antenna for both bluetooth and wifi), so Wifi must be turned off while you use NIC. You can still use regular ethernet via cable, however (you may need to get a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adaptor).

With Maverick (the latest OS X release as of Nov 2013) and NIC v1.2.10 or before, you will need to disable the App Nap feature for NIC. In order to do this, open a Terminal and type

defaults write com.yourcompany.NIC  NSAppSleepDisabled -bool YES

Later versions of NIC will fix this transparently.

Another common problem in Mac is that sometimes the device is not recognized in NIC, but when you go to the Bluetooth configuration you can see that the device connects and disconnects continuously, or it appears under the name "WT12-A". If this happens, follow these steps:

1- Turn off Enobio/Starstim off

2- Close NIC

3-Disable the Bluetooth

4-Open Finder, click Go (at the top of the screen), then click Go to Folder. Type or copy/paste /Library/Preferences and click Go. In the Preferences directory locate a file named com.apple.Bluetooth.plist and delete it.

5-Click Go again (at the top of the screen), click Go to Folder again and this time type or copy/paste ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost and click Go. In the ByHost folder locate a file that begins with com.apple.Bluetooth and delete it. This file will begin with com.apple.Bluetooth and have some random capital letters and numbers at the end.

6-Turn on Bluetooth


For any further question, please contact Neuroelectrics Support team.