Stim and RealTime PCs upgrade to Windows 10

Windows 7 support is ending and we must upgrade these machines. Our current plan is:

  1. Upgrade RealTimePC with a fresh install of Windows 10. This means the entire drive will be wiped. I’ve backed up protocols, and documents related to eye tracking and realtime feedback. I believe nobody is currently using that computer for anything essential. Let me know otherwise.
  2. Install all software and copy all protocols and settings from StimPC to the upgraded computer.
  3. Come up with a good name for this upgraded machine (suggestions welcome! - SuperStim?)
  4. Each user currently running a study will have a chance to test their tasks and get familiar with the new machine, while still being able to run on the current StimPC.
  5. Once all is good on “SuperStim” and everybody gives their approval, upgrade, replace or retire good old StimPC.

Note that while RealTimePC is also pretty old, it’s much more powerful than StimPC so it should be noticeably faster as well as up to date.

1 Like

This is moving forward. I’ve installed pretty much everything on the upgraded RealTimePC and we are ready for users to come over when there is free time to test their protocols on it. One thing I still need to test is head digitization.

To make it simpler to switch between StimPC and RealTimePC, I’ve changed some connections. All of the following now go through the black switch box on top of the ProPixx controller, which has labeled buttons for “Stim PC”, “RT PC” and Laptop (see pic below):

  1. Mouse and keyboard
  2. USB connections to ProPixx and ProPixx Controller
  3. Audio
  4. Second monitor (on the left - the one that is not mirrored to the projector)
  5. USB cable that goes in the shielded room

This means that for most studies, the only steps for switching between the two PCs are:

  1. Press the switch button for the desired PC.
  2. Connect one of the labeled DVI cables to the “black cube” DVI splitter labeled “To Projector”, next to the ProPixx Controller.

Let me know if there are any issues or when you’d like to test your protocols.

I received and installed a new USB to serial adapter cable and the Polhemus Fastrak digitizer now works on RealTimePC. In the picture, the gray DB9 cable comes from the Fastrak, it is plugged in the new black flat cable that goes to the RealTimePC, while the other disconnected black cable goes to StimPC. That’s what you may need to switch if you switch computers for digitizing.

Now that everything is installed, I encourage everybody to migrate their tasks to it so we can wave goodbye to good old StimPC and avoid switching back and forth. I’m happy to help test whatever you like.

1 Like

MEG parallel ports

As I mentioned in another post, the old StimPC is getting retired probably by the end of the week. One important detail that’s now different with the RealTimePC is that it is connected to the 2nd parallel port of the acquisition system. Therefore, all tasks that were setup on the old computer and that send triggers to the MEG through the parallel port should be verified in 2 ways:

  1. The LPT1 parallel port address should be changed to 2000 (in hexadecimal) in the tasks on RealTimePC.
  2. The “protocol” .rp configuration file in Acq on the acquisition computer will have to be changed so that digital triggers are defined on parallel port 2 instead of parallel port 1.

Note that I reassigned parallel port 1 on the acquisition system to the button pads. See this post for details.

If we already set up our stim in the RealTimePC, do we need to make sure that it works again? Or if it is already there, it should work out?

I don’t think you use parallel port triggers. But in theory if you did, best to double check recent recordings to be sure all the triggers are there.