It can be very frustrating when Experimentor and your hardware are not communicating, so hopefully this little troubleshooting guide will help.

1. Arduino codes uploaded correctly

First, we need to ensure that the Experimentor Arduino C/C++ code has been loaded into the Arduino.  To do this you need to use the Arduino IDE, copy the codes from here into the IDE, and press Ctrl-U to compile and upload the codes into the Arduino.  If everything works the little LED on the Ardunio beside pin 13 should begin to flash about once a second (roughly).

If the on-board pin 13 LED is not flashing then the Arduino C/C++ codes were not uploaded correctly into the Arduino.  There should be a message in the Arduino IDE that you can use to identify – or at least Google –  the project.  Of course, feel free to reach out to us for help as well.

While you’re in the ID note which COM port the Arduino is connected to.

Determine-the-COM-port

2.  Make sure Experimentor is up to date

Experimentor and the Arduino C/C++ code must work together to communicate, so it is important that you have the latest version of both the Arduino code and Experimentor.  As of version 2013.6.23.115 the communications protocol between the two was improved, so if you have the latest version of the Arduino code, but not of Experimentor then things will not work very well, and you’ll get all sorts of re-send requests showing up inside Experimentor when you try and use Experimentor.

3. Experimentor to Arduino communication

Next we’ll want to ensure that the Arduino is receiving commands from Experimentor.  In Experimentor use this example code, and hook up LEDs to digital pin #6 and analog pin #3 (including a 600 ohm resistor in series with each LED).  Run a “Quick-test” inside Experimentor, and the two LEDs should begin to flash.

If the LEDs do not flash, there are a few possibilities.

  • Ensure the Arduino is still connected via a USB cable to the computer
  • Ensure that the on-board pin 13 LED is still flashing
  • Ensure that the COM port is specified correctly in the Experimentor codes
  • Try reversing the LEDs in the circuits – sometimes they can be tricky to install correct, but current will only flow through them in one direction.  Usually the longer lead of the LED should be closer to the digital/analog pin (rather than closer to the ground).

If these things all seem correct and the LEDs are not flashing, hopefully Experimentor is providing some kind of error message, which you can send to us for additional help.

If the LEDs are indeed flashing, then Experimentor is communicating with and controlling the Arduino, and we can move on to #3.

4. Arduino to your equipment communication

The Arduino uses only 5V, so if you equipment is expecting more than that you’ll need to use a little bit of circuitry to convert the 5V into whatever your equipment needs.  You can find some starter circuit diagrams here.  You can contact us for additional help with your particular setup.

I hope that helps!  If it doesn’t please contact us and we’ll try and help you (and update this page).