TDT Tech Notes
Tech Note Legend
Tech Notes with a solution
Tech Notes with a workaround
Informational Tech Notes with no workaround
New and Notable Tech Notes
Repairing WS4 or WS8 Windows 10 Operating System
Product: WS4, WS8
Date Added: 2020-10-09
If Windows starts "Preparing Automatic Recovery" or enters the Aptio Setup Utility screen, try these steps to repair the Windows operating system.
Create a recovery USB drive
Insert a USB flash memory drive with 8+ GB capacity into a computer running Windows 10. It is preferably a USB3 drive, inserted into a USB3 port. Windows will say 16+ GB is required but 8+ GB is sufficient.
Click on the Windows start menu or the search box next to it. Type 'recovery', click on the search hit 'create a recovery drive'.
On 'create a recovery drive', check 'back up system files to the recovery drive', click on 'next'. On 'select the USB flash drive', make sure the correct USB drive is selected. Click on 'next', 'create' until a progress bar appears on 'creating the recovery drive'. Wait until 'the recovery drive is ready' then click on 'finish'.
Safely eject the recovery USB drive. One method is to click on the USB drive icon in the notifications area on the task bar to open a list of connected removable devices. Then click on the recovery USB drive.
Enter BIOS setup
Insert the recovery USB drive into the ws4/WS8 (powered off). Press the power button on the front panel to turn on the WS4/WS8. Press the Del key repeatedly until the computer enters Aptio Setup Utility.
Check boot drive
Press left / right to the 'boot' tab. Make sure the correct drive is 'boot option #1'. In most cases, it will be a Crucial SSD. Proceed to the next section if 'boot option #1' is correct.
If not, press down to 'boot option #1'. Press enter to bring up a list of drives. Press up / down to highlight the correct drive, then press enter to select it. Press right to the 'save & exit' tab. Press down to 'save changes and reset'. Remove the recovery USB drive from the computer. Press enter to restart the computer.
See if Windows now boots properly. If not, return to BIOS setup (recovery USB drive inserted into the WS4/WS8) and proceed to the next section.
Boot recovery USB drive
Press left / right to the 'save & exit' tab. If the recovery USB drive is listed under 'boot override', press down to highlight it and press enter.
If not listed as an override, press left to the 'boot' tab. Press down to 'boot option #1'. Press enter, highlight the recovery USB drive, press enter again to select it. Press right to the 'save & exit' tab. Press down to 'save changes and reset'. Press enter.
'Choose keyboard layout' is the first screen loaded by the recovery USB drive. Press enter ('US' layout should be selected by default). Using the arrow keys and the enter key, select 'troubleshoot', 'startup repair'. If startup repair is not successful, select 'advanced options', 'troubleshoot', then 'command prompt'.
This applies to WS4/WS8 with serial number 1xxx only. There should be 1 USB2 port on the front panel. If using WS4/WS8 with serial number 2xxx, see EFI repair step below.
On the prompt, type each statement below then press enter to execute one at a time.
bootrec /fixmbr bootrec /fixboot bootrec /scanos bootrec /rebuildbcd
If the above commands succeed, type exit on the prompt to return to the options menu. Select to 'turn off your PC'. Remove the recovery USB drive and turn on the WS4/WS8.
This applies to WS4/WS8 with serial number 2xxx only. There should be 2 USB3 ports on the front panel. If using WS4/WS8 with serial number 1xxx, see MBR repair step above.
On a different computer, open this article. Follow 'How to repair your EFI bootloader', 'Windows 10', 'If you do have the installation media'. At this point, you should be ready to start at step 6-i.
After step 6-i (
list disk to get the correct number for the Windows drive. The
Windows drive will be about 250 GB. Use the correct number for step 6-ii.
For step 7-i (
sel vol), the EFI partition will be FAT32 under the fs (filesystem) column, and may
indicate 'hidden' under the 'info' column.
For step 7-ii (
assign letter), N or V is commonly used. Can be anything that is not already in use.
Step 8-i (
cd) will fail if you selected the wrong disk and / or the volume.
After step 8-ii (
bootrec), if the command is successful, remember to skip over the section for
'if you do not have the installation media'. Continue at 'The next step is the same across all
systems: 1. Rebuild the BCD store'. Enter
exit on the command prompt after bcdboot is successful,
then select to 'turn off your PC'.
If step 8-ii (
bootrec) failed, e.g., 'access denied' error triggered, execute the following on the
command prompt one at a time. Remember to replace
x: format <drive letter>: /fs:fat32 press enter when prompted for volume label bcdboot c:\windows /s <drive letter>: /f UEFI
exit on the command prompt, then select to 'turn off your PC'. Remove the recovery USB drive
from the WS8. If you modified the 'boot option #1' BIOS setting previously in order to load the recovery
drive, you must now change it to boot the Windows drive.
Digital headstage channels are out of order
Product: ZD64, ZD96
Date Added: 2020-07-31
The pinout on the ZD64 and ZD96 headstages are not linear. See https://www.tdt.com/files/manuals/Sys3Manual/ZDDigital.pdf#page=7. Channels recorded with these headstages are not in the expected order.
Use a Mapper Gizmo to remap the channels coming from the PZ5 or PZA amplifier. The Mapper gizmo has a default map for the ZD64 and ZD96 headstage in the dropdown lists.
Help links don't work in Adobe Reader DC 2020
Product: Synapse, RPvdsEx
Date Added: 2020-02-19
When clicking on the help link in Synapse, or for an RPvdsEx component, the PDF manual opens but does not jump to the correct page. This is observed with Adobe Reader DC 2020 only.
Download the latest TDTToolBox.dll, copy it into C:\TDT\lib and C:\TDT\Synapse (if using Synapse), replacing the file that is there.
Upgrade to the latest version of Synapse.
Fiber Photometry Response Data Has Oscillation Artifact
Product: RZ5P, Synapse
Date Added: 2019-07-12
The issue typically is seen as a low-frequency oscillation in the demodulated data streams.
Find the minimum DC Offset, as recommended per the Fiber Photometry User Guide, then make sure to at least double that value. The distortion between the signals levels off at about twice the minimum DC Offset. If you have an LED driver that has low power mode, then we recommend using this setting.
TDT recommends using attenuating patch cords between the LEDs and the Doric Minicube (or light filters). This will allow the RZ5P DACs to be driven at a higher voltage range. This is also beneficial in general because the step resolution for LED driving current is much finer.
Note that if you were not seeing any oscillatory issues before, then there was not a problem in the data. In most cases, even if some distortion was present, the effect is at least an order of magnitude smaller than typical GCaMP activity so there would be no issue in analysis.
Recorded frames from USB Camera don't match number of timestamps in the block
Date Added: 2018-06-11
The number of frames in the avi video file is greater than the number of timestamps in the block of data.
The camera timer runs in software, specifically on the Cam1 tab that you see during a Synapse recording. This has two noticeable effect:
At the beginning of the recording, the frame timer doesn't start until the interface is created, which can happen after the hardware trigger initiates recording. You can give the interface more time to create before the recording begins by setting the Persistence Load Delay option longer in the Menu → Preferences → Advanced tab. You should see a shorter delay between when the recording starts and when the camera triggers begin.
At the end of the recording, the hardware stops receiving data, but the camera tab is still open for a short time and is still collecting frames, which creates extra frames at the end.
The frame timestamps that you have in your TDT recorded block will always match the frames recorded in the video, starting from the first frame and timestamp. If a frame was missed during the recording, there won't be a timestamp in the tank for it either. There may be some extra frames in the video but these will always occur at the end.
USB Camera only shows black frames or no frames
Date Added: 2018-05-10
Third party software can block certain applications from accessing the camera.
If using Kaspersky software, follow this webpage https://support.kaspersky.com/11157#block1. Go to the 'Application Management' settings page, then right click on Synapse.exe → Restrictions → Trusted to add it to the 'Trusted' group.
Spontaneous oscillations in ZD digital headstages
Product: ZD32, ZD64, ZD96, ZD128
Date Added: 2017-09-22
There is a known issue with the Intan RHD2132 and RHD2164 chips used in the ZD32 and ZD64 headstages. When attaching an array to the headstage, some channels will sometimes stop returning valid data and instead only return a ±100uV high frequency noise. The problem occurs on all headstages, but some exhibit the behavior more often than others. The two plots below are examples showing the plot decimated signal bandpass filtered at 300-5000Hz (pNe1), raw signal (Wav1), LFP (LFP1), and Power Spectrum of the data in this state.
This Intan chip issue is triggered by rapid changes in the impedance that the amplifier sees. Always power cycle the PZ5 after attaching the headstage to an array before starting your experiment.
PZn data is low pass filtered in Synapse
Date Added: 2017-06-12
If using a PZ2, PZ3, or PZ4, there is an erroneous 1kHz low pass filter applied to the signal.
Update to the latest version of Synapse from the downloads page.
IZ2 Critical Failure
Product: IZ2, IZ2H, LZ48
Date Added: 2016-12-05
We discovered a failure mode in the IZ2 electrical stimulator / LZ48 battery pack that can lead to improper device output. Although the failure occurrence is relatively rare, this failure mode can result in the unintended delivery of high current to the research subject and thereby potentially cause injury or death. As such, we are taking every step possible to address the issue and ensure the best possible safety for your research subjects.
We strongly recommend that you verify proper device operation prior to connecting any research subjects and initiating any stimulation protocols. If an LZ48 battery is fully discharged while still connected to the IZ2, under some operating conditions electrical components in the IZ2 stimulator can be damaged. After the failure of these electrical components, higher than intended stimulation current can be delivered to the research subject during subsequent device operation. In this condition, IZ2 devices must be returned to TDT for repair or replacement of the damaged components.
To minimize risk, never allow the LZ48 battery to fully discharge. When the battery charge indicator is getting low, stop the experiment, disconnect the subject, and recharge before further use.
Always verify proper operation of your device before connecting to a research subject. If you observe red LED status lights on your IZ2 during setup, do not connect a research subject or proceed with the experiment. Please see the IZ2 Operation Guide for additional details. If you encounter any problems or need help verifying proper device operation, please contact TDT Technical Support for assistance.
Contact TDT for a free LZ48PC protection cable. This new cable will monitor line voltages and protect the IZ2 from electrical component damage even if the battery is inadvertently allowed to fully discharge. The cable will replace the LZ48 to IZ2 cable that shipped with your device and can be easily installed in a matter of seconds.
Consider upgrading your current LZ48 battery to a newer LZ48M battery pack that includes several additional protections and safety features including medical grade isolation from mains power when charging.
Timing issues with media players
Product: RV2, OpenEx, Synapse
Date Added: 2016-08-22
Media players do not provide synchronized playback for viewing or scoring recorded data. Because media players use time rather than frame number, playback will inherently lag behind data playback and this lag becomes longer over time. This happens because the frames per second (FPS) value is always rounded to an integer while the TDT clock runs at 24414.0625 Hz. If you select an RZ sample rate of 30 Hz, the actual sample rate is the corresponding fixed or realizable sample rate. For example: A rate of 24414.0625 / 30fps = 813.8 samples per frame. This gets rounded to 814. When stimulation is triggered at 24414.0625 / 814 = 29.9927 fps, which is the real FPS that the RV2 is triggered at and the video is stored at. When viewing in a media player that thinks the video is recorded at exactly 30fps, the time difference after 1 minute is [(30 / 29.9927) * 60000 ms/min] - 60000 = 14.6 ms.
Use the Video Viewer in OpenScope for synchronized data scoring. For more information of this feature, OpenEx users see: OpenEx User Guide, p. 258 Synapse users see: OpenEx Supplement for Synapse, p.43
BioSigRZ calibration crashes
Version: < 5.7.1
Date Added: 2016-08-03
Earlier versions of the SGRZ_Cal_200K.rcx file, used for calibrations in BioSigRZ, would crash the calibration and the program.
Upgrade to the latest version of BioSigRZ.
OpenScope timeline locks-up when animating long recordings
Version: < 2.24
Date Added: 2016-08-13
When animating a recording with a duration of a day or more, the OpenScope timeline becomes bogged down with screen repaints, sometimes making the interface unusable.
Upgrade to the latest version of OpenEx or Synapse.
Circuit fails when loaded using 64-bit Matlab
Date Added: 2016-08-02
Using 64-bit Matlab to load a circuit that uses the HP_LP_Filter macros or the PZ5_Control macro will fail. The 64-bit RPcoX control is unable to load any circuit that uses a ScriptTag component. The error message in 64-bit Matlab looks like this:
"Error using COM.RPco_x/LoadCOF Error: Object returned error code: 0x2686BFC0"
In v78 and above LoadCOF will fail with no error.
This failure occurs because these macros use a VBScript component that isn't 64-bit compatible.
The HP_LP_Filter can be replaced using cascading HP/LP Biquad filters in the circuit, which is functionally equivalent.
There is currently no workaround for the PZ5_Control macro. Contact TDT support for assistance.
Use 32-bit Matlab or replace the functionality of the ScriptTag component in your own custom code.
Microcode mismatch after upgrade
Product: RP2, RP2.1, RA16BA, RV8, RM1, RM2
Version: > v80
Date Added: 2016-08-02
After updating to v84 TDT drivers (or above) and updating the microcode on the devices in your system, zBUSmon will show a mismatch (red lettering) and indicate the version number is 80 for the following devices: RP2, RP2.1, RA16BA, RV8, RM1, and RM2.
The latest microcode version for these devices is v80. You can still use the "Update All Devices" command to update your system's microcode. The microcode installer can detect the device types and install the correct microcode according to the device type. In this case, you can safely use both microcode versions in your system as needed. You will see a microcode mismatch indicator (red lettering) for devices using v80, but you can disregard the warning indicator in this situation.
Upgrade to the latest version of TDT Drivers. The mismatch indicator no longer erroneously appears for these devices.
Windows 10 and Windows 8 issues
Product: TDT Drivers, PO5, PO5e, PO5c
Date Added: 2016-02-08
Windows 8 and above known issues:
Windows 10 has no option to delay or disable updates for non-enterprise users. Users running long/overnight experiments will have to disable the service to ensure recordings aren't interrupted. See Tech Note #0964.
The 'Fast Startup' function in Windows 8 and above causes problems with the PCI Interface on bootup. Disabling this setting resolves the bootup issue.
Data Saving and Cache errors can be caused by the Windows 8 and 10 Superfetch/Prefetch (a feature that caches data to improve the performance off some applications) and Indexing (used to speed-up searches) services are turned off.
OpenEx threshold settings lost on mode change
Product: OpenEx, SpikePac
Date Added: 2016-01-29
OpenEx/SpikePac threshold settings are lost when changing from preview to record mode.
Instead of going directly from Preview to Record, change from Preview to Standby to Record. This gives Controller enough time to register the mode change and save/load the settings properly. This should keep your SpikePac threshold/sorting settings intact.
Normalize speaker output, using an FIR filter in an RPvdsEx circuit created in Matlab
Product: RPvdsEx, SigCalRP
Date Added: 2014-12-16
This article explains how to use SigCalRP and Matlab to generate FIR coefficients, then use them in RPvdsEx to filter signals that will be played out to a speaker.
To generate your coefficients follow these three steps:
Use SigCalRP to measure the transfer function (TF) of the system.
Export calibration data in CSV format.
Use a Matlab script to convert the CSV file into a set of filter coefficients.
The FIR coefficients generated in this example, can be used to filter signals of varying frequency and constant amplitude so that the sound output in units of dB SPL from the speaker will be constant over all frequencies. These coefficients will be generated for a circuit running at a specific sampling frequency. To work properly, they must be used in a circuit running at the same sampling frequency.
Measuring the TF of the system
SigCalRP can be used to calculate the TF of a system for speaker calibration at sample rates up to 200 kHz. Before performing this operation, users should know the A/D and D/A conversion limitations of their specific hardware. For example, the RZ6 maximum sampling rate is 195312.50 for both signal production and acquisition. The figure below shows a typical setup using a single RZ6.
Under Signal Setup in SigCalRP, enter the frequency step using the number of frequencies you wish to measure across the spectrum and the Nyquist frequency. For an RZ6 running at 200 KHz and a filter of 200 points, the Nyquist frequency is 97656.25 Hz and the frequency start and frequency step are determined by the relationship:
97656.25/200 = 488.28125 Hz
Run SigCalRP at 200 kHz to ensure that the Nyquist frequency of the device running the FIR (97656.25 Hz) is represented. Also, make sure that all test frequencies used are integer multiples of the Nyquist frequency of the device to avoid aliasing.
Set the horizontal green bar in the calibration plot to the dB level you want to achieve for all frequencies using the filter. The filter will attenuate frequencies above the green bar and amplify frequencies below it. Use care when amplifying the signal. Typically, only frequencies that will not be presented should be amplified.
To export the data as a *.csv file, select Export Calibration Data on the Calibrate menu.
Creating the filter coefficients
Next, download and extract the compressed (.zip) SigCalRP Example files from the TDT website at SigCalRPExamples.zip.
Use the provided Matlab script (RZ6SigCalFIR.m) to convert the CSV file into a set of FIR coefficients. Your output will be a .txt file that can be used with RPvdsEx.
Loading the filter coefficients
Add FIR and SourceFile components to the signal generation segment of your RPvdsEx circuit as shown below.
Update the SourceFile component to point to the .txt file generated by the Matlab script. Any signal that passes through that FIR component will be normalized.
A sample CSV file and several circuit files are included in the Example folder for demonstration purposes.
Using TDT Headstages with non-TDT Amplifiers
Product: Zif Headstages, Chronic Headstages, Acute Headstages
Date Added: 2014-12-16
TDT headstages are designed for use with TDT preamplifiers/digitizers. If you will be using a non-TDT amplifier, you will need to be familiar with your headstage specifications and ensure an appropriate power supply is provided to the headstage.
You can safely power TDT headstages using a voltage source of up to ±2.5V. The maximum range of the ZIF-Clip headstages is ~98% of the supply voltage. If you are using a headstage other than ZIF-Clip, see the section of the System 3 Manual for your headstage.
TDT headstages are typically available with two different styles of connectors: the DB26 for connecting to Z-series preamplifiers or the DB25 for connecting to the Medusa preamplifier. More information on these connectors is provided below.
DB25 headstage connectors:
The DB25 connector is primarily used to connect to TDT's Medusa preamplifiers. The information below includes the information you will need to connect to a non-TDT amplifier.
D-Sub Connector, 172-E M Series with Male Pins
25 pins in 2 rows
Manufacturer: Norcomp Inc
Part Description: CONN DB25 MALE SOLDER CUP NKL
Manufacturer p/n: 172-E25-103R001
D-Sub Connector with Female Sockets
25 sockets in 2 rows
Manufacturer: TE Connectivity
Part Description: CONN PLUG 26POS .050 IDC W/COV
Manufacturer p/n: 5747846-4
DB26 headstage connectors:
The DB26 connector is primarily used to connect to TDT's PZ amplifiers. The information below includes the information you will need to connect to a non-TDT amplifier.
IDC D-Sub Connector with Male Pins
26 pins in 2 rows
Manufacturer: TE Connectivity
Part Description: 26 50S CABLE PLUG CONN/COV KIT
Manufacturer p/n: 5749621-2
D-Sub Connector with Female Sockets
26 sockets in 2 rows
Manufacturer: TE Connectivity
Part Description: 26 50SR R/A RCPT ASSY,RDSN L/F
Manufacturer p/n: 5787082-2
Experiment interrupted by Windows Update on Windows 10 PC
Product: OpenEx, Synapse
Date Added: 2015-09-09
Long or overnight experiments might be interrupted by Windows Update on PCs running Windows 10.
In Windows 10, non-enterprise editions, Windows Update is set to automatic updates by default and the only way to inhibit updates is to disable the service.
If you use this workaround, you will need to return to the Services regularly and turn it on to update your copy of Windows. To be able to install the newest updates, you must install each available update in turn, from oldest to newest. When your computer has no more updates to install, remember to turn off the Windows Update service again.
We don't recommend disabling automatic Windows Update in Windows 10 unless you are making long/overnight recordings or are experiencing problems with automatic updates.
To turn off Windows Updates:
Right-click the Windows Start icon on the desktop.
Click Control Panel.
Click Administrative Tools.
In the Services window, scroll down then right-click the Windows Update process and click Properties.
Next to Startup type, select Disabled.
If your Windows 10 computer uses a Group Policy, you can also change some settings using the Group Policy Editor. Run gpedit and navigate to the following policy setting:
Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Windows Components > Windows Update.
On the right side, double-click Configure Automatic Updates and change its setting to suit your requirements.
Tank cache errors and timing
Product: OpenEx, Synapse
Date Added: 2015-09-09
OpenEx or Synapse stops recording and displays a "Trouble saving data to Tank" or "Tank unable to cache events" error message.
Errors related to data storage and timing can occur when saving high rates of data, your PC's hard drive is busy or full, or communication between your PC and your TDT system fails. To narrow the possibilities, look at the timestamp comparison located at the end of the error line in the messages window.
A timestamp comparison of:
"-6.x vs 6" tells you that OpenWorkbench/Synapse can't store the data fast enough.
If you don't need access to the tank data right away, increase the Cache Delay to the maximum (30 seconds). In OpenWorkbench, this option is found in File → Preferences menu. In Synapse, this option is found in Menu → Preferences → Advanced.
Try increasing the Target Bus Loading setting to ~80%. This puts more resources towards storing the data and less on distributing it to applications that are viewing the data, like OpenController or the Synapse run-time interface. In OpenWorkbench, this setting is in the Setup → Polling and Performance menu. In Synapse, this setting is Menu → Preferences → Run-time Ops → Data Read Limit.
"-18.x vs 6" (or similar, where the first number is ~3x larger than the second number) tells you there is a problem saving data to disk. This may be because:
The hard drive is close to capacity or something else, like a virus scanner, is demanding heavy access.
Check your hard drive storage capacity. If that is not the problem, try turning off auto virus scans, update, or other auto-process including Superfetch (aka prefetch) and Indexing. See Tech Note #0237 for more information on optimizing to avoid errors.
The hard drive is failing.
Tool to test hard drive can be downloaded here:
Note the following 5 best Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) hard drive stats that indicate impending disk drive failure as reported by Backblaze:
SMART 5 - Reallocated_Sector_Count
SMART 187 - Reported_Uncorrectable_Errors SMART 188 - Command_Timeout
SMART 197 - Current_Pending_Sector_Count
SMART 198 - Offline_Uncorrectable
SMART is a monitoring system included in computer hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs) that detects and reports on indicators of drive reliability, with the intent of enabling the anticipation of predictable (40%) hardware failures.
Any other values are usually indicative of a communication failure.
Try reseating the fiber optic cables on both the RZ and PC sides. If errors continue to occur, contact Support.
TDevAccX loses connection with MATLAB 2015 and above
Date Added: 2016-01-29
When using MATLAB 2015 and above, TDevAccX loses connection to Workbench server sporadically.
Downgrade to 2014 or earlier version of Matlab.
Upgrade to the Synapse recording platform, which doesn't rely on ActiveX controls to dynamically interact with the hardware during a recording.
When the PO5e is installed in a Dell PC the computer fan gets noisy
Product: PO5e, PO5c
Date Added: 2015-09-04
Some Dell PCs increase the speed of the fan when a PCIe card, such as the PO5e PCI interface card, is installed. This behavior is a feature of the PC and is intended to ensure enough cooling reaches all cards in the PC.
Known Third Party Software Conflicts
Product: OpenEx, RPvdsEx, Synapse
Date Added: 2014-08-15
Some programs that make background memory calls on a PC create fatal errors and force TDT software, such as OpenEx or RPvdsEx, to shutdown.
Error Message: The TDT application may or may not give an error message, such as: The RPC server is unavailable.
Problem Behavior: Software crashes.
Known program conflicts:
HP Security Manager (Tech Note #0908)
CrashPlan Backup Software on Windows 7
Dell Data Protection
Remove or disable the software causing the conflict.
The Microsoft Process Explorer (found here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx) can be a useful tool for determining the source of the conflict.