FAQ - Software

At the very beginning of a sequence, before the measurement begins and while the cell is still off, the potentiostat will determine the OCP.  The sequence will begin and continue until it reaches a vs. OC setting.  At that point, the instrument will use the saved OCP value that was taken at the beginning of the sequence, not the OCP value that the system is at that point.  In order for the system to measure the OCP at that point in the sequence, you must insert a Measure Open Circuit step (in the Sequence Actions list) into the sequence.  The software will then turn off the cell and measure the OCP at that moment and then use that value in the next action that contains the vs. OC parameter.   The following is an example of a common battery testing experiment that uses the Measure Open Circuit action.

Princeton Applied Research
These options affect how PowerSuite controls the power-amplifier feedback bandwidth during an experiment.  Bandwidth is a measure of how quickly the control amplifier can "keep up" with a rapidly changing applied potential without degrading the signal.  In Maximize Speed mode, the potentiostat has a higher bandwidth than Maximize Stability mode.  This allows the potentiostat to be faster in applying a given potential, however it can cause oscillations with some cells.  Maximize Stability mode is less likely to cause oscillations so it is most often the preferred choice.  It is also the default setting (checkbox unmarked) for Override Auto E Feedback.

The Differential Feedback setting (PARSTAT® instruments only) sets the electrometer control circuitry to a true differential setting, where the potential is controlled between the Sense and Reference leads.  This setting is preferred when performing either: A) true four-terminal experiments (such as controlling the potential across an interface between two reference electrodes) or B) higher current experiments (> 100 mA).  For the latter, the differential feedback configuration eliminates the voltage (I x R) errors associated with the high currents (I) combining with the resistance (R) of the working electrode lead.

For the 263A and 283 systems, setting the E Feedback to Maximize Speed sets the system to differential mode as well, which is why the Maximize Speed setting is required for the 2A option (high currents) in 263A systems (a four-terminal cable, part number C0366, is available for the 263A that makes the sense connection available) for correct voltage measurement/control.  The 273A always uses differential feedback, but requires that an additional lead be used at the Sense connector of the electrometer (in place of the shorting plug) when measuring/controlling high currents.
There are a variety of filter settings available depending on the potentiostat that you are using.  Filters can help reduce the effects of high frequency noise in your system.  These filters are useful when making measurements at low current levels.  You can access these settings in the PowerSUITE software under the Expert Options tab in the Experiment Properties setup.  Check the Override Auto / Conditioning box and select a filter from the drop down menu.  The available filter settings can be found in the potentiostat user’s manual.
The 273/273A systems cannot be configured as an open circuit ZRA device.  To perform an equivalent experiment with the 273/273A systems, a zero volt (0V) potential must be applied (using the Potentiostatic technique in PowerCORR) between the materials of interest.  Thus, the special cable connections required for this technique are:
  • Working lead (green) is connected to one of the samples
  • Both the Counter (red) and the Reference (white) leads are connected to the other sample
  • Reference electrode is not connected
The 0V potential between the two samples results in short-circuit current flow, equivalent to an open-circuit ZRA measurement.  Unfortunately, the coupled potential cannot be measured in this configuration, as the reference lead is used to maintain the 0V difference.
To send us data records:
  1. Open PowerSUITE and go to Tools > Database Management.
  2. Set the Source Database to where your data records (individual experiments are stored).
  3. Select "Create New Database", create a name for the new database and place it in a folder where it can be easily located.
  4. Go to Destination Database and set it to the new database that was just created using the browse button.
  5. Select records from the Source database and select "Copy" to copy them from the Source to the Destination database.
  6. Once all the records are copied to the new database, the database can be attached to an email and sent.
An "I/O Cancelled" error results when the booting process of the potentiostat is interrupted.  The potentiostat must be fully booted before attempting to open, close or run an experiment.  You can tell the instrument has fully booted when you see the "Booting Pstat XX%" message on the Instrument Bar change to "Idle".  You can then proceed with any operations.  If you receive this error, you must turn the instrument off and back on to clear it and then allow the instrument to finish the booting process before proceeding.
The current threshold (IT) and the vertex potential (EV) combine to determine where the scan reverses in CP experiments.  If the current threshold checkbox is not marked, the scan automatically reverses at the vertex potential.  If the current threshold box is marked, the software looks for two conditions to be met before the scan will reverse.  One, has IT been met and two, has EV been reached.  If IT is met before EV has been reached, then the scan will reverse at EV.  If EV has been reached before IT is met, then the scan will continue until it reaches IT, at which point the scan will reverse.  The current threshold parameter is particularly important in scans where there are areas of equal current at different potentials.  This prevents early reversal of the scan in those situations.
For the current threshold parameter to function correctly, the current polarity convention should be set to define cathodic current as negative.  Go to Tools > Current Polarity Convention to change this setting.
You can easily copy files in PowerSUITE using the Database Management tool.  On the PowerSUITE toolbar choose tools, Database Management.  In the top left hand corner of the window choose the database containing the files you wish to work with, the source database.  In the top right corner of the window, choose the database you wish to copy the files to, the destination database.  You can also create a new destination database by choosing the Create New Database tab.  Under Record Selection, choose the PowerSUITE module containing the files to be moved or copied.  A list of the files available is shown.  You can search for specific files using either the name of the file or comments associated with the file.  Highlight the needed files and choose copy to destination. 
If you want to rerun an experiment quickly, but want to save the current data as well, perform the following the steps:
  • With the data record of interest open, select Experiment > Save As and save the data with the file name that you want for the re-analysis. When you enter a new name and select OK, that record becomes an active record and the other record is simply closed.
  • Delete all the points on the new record and rerun.  If you want to change the properties, after deleting all the data points, select Experiment > Properties and enter new values for the parameters that you wish to change, then rerun.
The "Save As" feature allows you to save the data under a different file name.  There is no "Save" option as the data is saved throughout the experiment (which is why the name is required to begin an experiment), as well as any post-run changes to the data.  After using the "Save As" feature, the new name becomes the active file, while the original data is closed.

The "Save As Template" feature saves the experimental parameters of the currently open data record to a setup template that can be called up to run additional experiments with these same parameters.
Unwanted templates can be removed by going to Tools > Database Management.  Within Database Management, find the Templates database in the Electrochemistry PowerSUITE folder and select that as the Source Database.  Once it is the source database, select the module in which the template is located, select that template and then select the Delete button to remove it.
The "Save As" feature allows you to save the data under a different file name.  There is no "Save" option as the data is saved throughout the experiment (which is why the name is required to begin an experiment), as well as any post-run changes to the data.  After using the "Save As" feature, the new name becomes the active file, while the original data is closed.

The "Save As Template" feature saves the experimental parameters of the currently open data record to a setup template that can be called up to run additional experiments with these same parameters.
The cell on/off at the end of the experiment is controlled in the Advanced/Expert options of the experimental setup.  You can set it such that the cell is on at the end of the experiment.  When the next experiment starts, the cell should not go off unless you have requested it to measure the open circuit potential.  If instructed to measure the open circuit potential, the cell must go off to make this measurement.  Otherwise, set the parameter in the Pre-scan options to "use previously measured oc". 
Yes, the software is doing exactly what it is supposed to do.......if "Measure Open Circuit Potential as Required" is checked in the Pre-Scan pages.  If that box is checked, the system shuts the cell off to measure the open circuit potential in case it is needed regardless of voltage settings of vs.OC or vs. ref and if you have the “Turn cell off when done” and “Reset Pstat before starting” unchecked.  To avoid having the cell shut off to measure the open circuit potential,  select "Use Previously Measured Open Circuit" instead, and the cell should stay on (provided the Expert Options are set correctly).  
Right-click on the graph and select Graph Properties.  Select the axis of interest and check the box that reads "Normalize with Area".  This will factor in the area listed in the cell definition in the Experiment Properties.  You will also need to change the label on the axis to units per cm2.
The coulombs will not display properly if there were any points rejected due to current overloads, which sometimes happens when auto-current ranging.  Go to Edit > Accept All Points to determine if any points were rejected due to overloads.  Go to the "Experiment Bar" and sort data according to I (current) to see if there are rejected points.  To correct this data, select the rejected points and go to Edit > Delete Points to delete them permanently.  For future experiments, select a set current range (Override Auto I Range in the Expert Options tab) and select an appropriate current range that will not overload.
Once you open imported data for the first time, a graph must be assigned to that data before it can be viewed.  Go to View > Add new graph and select from the default graphs available for that technique.  As always, you can modify a default graph and save it as a new graph template if desired.
Yes, you can control multiple potentiostats from one computer using PowerSUITE software.  Simply open another screen of PowerSUITE (by clicking on the PowerSUITE icon again) and select the correct instrument when going through the setup for each potentiostat.  There is an exception, however; multiple EIS systems that are GPIB controlled (for example, a 273A and a 5210) cannot be run from the same computer.
Please note that PowerSUITE is compatible with recent versions of Windows Operating Systems (XP, Vista, 7).  However, it is ONLY compatible with the 32-bit versions of these operating systems.  It is NOT compatible with any 64-bit version of Windows Operating Systems. 

   PowerCV® PowerSTEP®  PowerPULSE®  PowerCORR®  PowerSINE®
2273 Yes Yes Yes  Yes  Yes
2263 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2253 Yes Yes Yes Yes No
273A Yes Yes Yes Yes     Yes(1)
263A Yes Yes Yes Yes     Yes(2)
283 Yes Yes Yes Yes     Yes(2)
VS II Yes Yes Yes Yes No
BES Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
6310A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
273 No No No Yes     Yes(3)
263 No No No No No
  • (1) - Requires 92 option board and external analyzer
  • (2) - Requires external analyzer
  • (3) - Requires 96 and 92 option boards, as well as external analyzer
Before purchasing or upgrading to new software, there are a few things you should consider:
  • Will the software support my older model system and ancillary equipment?  Check the brochure of the software for a list of instruments and equipment supported.
  • Does my system have the most recent firmware installed?  If you perform a Re-initialization on your system (either from the front panel or with Virtual Potentiostat) the version number will be listed.  Compare this with the ROM version table listed in the Hardware section of the FAQs page.
  • Will my GPIB card work in the Windows® 95/98/00/NT/XP environment?  We recommend the National Instruments GPIB-USB-HS or PCI-GPIB card that can be purchased directly from us, with additional information on the setup and configuration for optimum operation with Princeton Applied Research products.
Your Princeton Applied Research DOS-based software (M270, M398, M352, etc) will run in a Windows® 95/98/00/NT/XP operating system, it simply runs out of a DOS shell.  The only real issue is proper GPIB setup; making sure that you no longer have a GPIB.COM device driver in your CONFIG.SYS file if you're running the latest Windows® GPIB card and driver (see the other FAQs in the software section for GPIB setup and configuration).
It should, but there may be a problem in starting the program.  If so, then follow these steps:
  • Search the hard drive for the program egg_bus.exe; it should be in the C:\\Windows\System folder.
  • Create a shortcut for this program on your Windows desktop.
  • Execute this program before launching the 352 software.
Also, PowerCORR® is available for Windows® 2000 and XP.
You can export your data from one of the Princeton Applied Research DOS software packages (M270, M352, etc) in a few different ways.  First, you can save your data files in ASCII format (as opposed to binary format; this is changed in the Defaults > Files section) and use the cut/paste function in a text editor (Word, NotePad, etc) to paste the desired data into your spreadsheet (i.e. Excel).  You can also use the cut/paste feature in the Princeton Applied Research DOS software to save the X-Y data as a text file, then open it with a spreadsheet program.  When pasting text files into a program like Excel, you may have to use the "Text to Columns" feature in the Data menu to select the delimiter for your data set.
To export data from 352 SoftCorr to Excel, perform the following:
  • With the file (.dat extension) open, and Data Graph selected, choose Edit > Copy Data.  Copying data with the Data Table selected copies the raw data as collected from the system (remember, the 352 software reverses the polarity of the current before graphing it so that it will agree with the convention used by corrosion engineers/scientists).
  • Open up the Excel file, select columns for pasting and select Edit > Paste.
At this point the data is text and needs to be converted to two separate columns:
  • Select Data > Text to Columns..., and convert the data to two separate columns by choosing Delimited > Space > Finish.
Notice that the X values (current) are the actual exponent values for the current.  If this is not suitable, you can convert the graph style to E vs. I in 352 before copying data.  Choose View > Style > E vs. I to change this format.  After changing the format the current will be displayed in whole numbers.
The following procedure worked in getting the M270 (or 352 and 398) to print graphs and reports from Windows® NT to a network printer:
  • Start > Settings > Printers
  • Right-click on the Network Printer
  • Click on Properties
  • Click on the Ports tab
  • Browse down to the checked (active) network printer and write down the full name (//server/printer_sharename)">\\<server>\<printer_sharename>)
  • Go back to the Desktop
  • Go to Start > Programs > Command Prompt (MS-DOS prompt)
  • Execute the following command using all caps:  C:\>NET USE LPT1:\\<SERVER>\<PRINTER_SHARENAME>
  • If successful, you should type C:\>NET USE LPT1: again and see that the local name = LPT1 and remote name = //server/printer_sharename\\server\<printer_sharename>
Essentially, this redirects the LPT1 port to the network printer when in the DOS shell environment.