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ShowPlay Reference Manual, Chapter 1 (Introduction): Settings

Hardware and software settings - Configuration set-up

CIGAL supports a variety of differenet peripheral hardware devices and software configuration options. Each time CIGAL is started it checks several different startup files to initialize devices and set software parameters. That process is described in Startup.

To simplify the configuration process, the standard user interface includes the Settings pull-down menu, which provides several interactive dialogs to set and save customized hardware and software configuration preferences. The “Configuration settings” dialog helps you create a file called “userconfig.imp”. The “Hardware settings” and “Scanner settings” dialogs help you create a file called “cigalsettings.imp”. Both of these files are created in your current working directory. Once they exist, CIGAL's startup procedure will automatically use those files each time the program is restarted in that directory. Start-up IMP files created in one directory can be copied to another folder to use the same configuration settings when running there.

Configuration Settings

This dialog contains a table of supported harware devices. The values in the table are preloaded automatically by reading the current settings of a “userconfig.imp” file in the current directory, or if that is not found then by reading a “sysconfig.imp” file in the CIGAL system directory. Table parameters for inactive devices are preloaded from a file named “default_devparams.imp” in the CIGAL system directory if that file exists, or set to -1 if the default file does not exist. Only parameters for activated devices are actually displayed in the dialog table.

The left-most column of the table indicates which devices are to be activated during program initialization, and in which order they should be initialized. Rows with a 0 in the Order box will not be initialized. Rows with non-zero values will be initialized in order based on the Order value (these should be sequential with no gaps or repeat order numbers). The order of initialization is important if you are initializing multiple devices of similar type. For example, analog or digital input devices are assigned data channel numbers based on the order in which those devices are initialized.

The second column in the dialog table shows the name of the hardware device. Clicking on the name should display a help message describing that device.

The remaining columns in the table are used to specify device-dependent parameter settings. For the meaning of those parameters refer to the device help message. If a device was inactive (Order=0), then activating the device by setting Order non-zero should automatically populate the device parameter list with reasonable default settings (if a “default_devparams.imp” file was found – see above).

Once you have selected the configuration table settings you want, you should save those settings by clicking the “Save” button. That will create a new “userconfig.imp” file in your current working directory. If the current directory happens to be the CIGAL system directory (SYSDIR), and you have permission to write in that directory, then the saved configuration file will be named “sysconfig.imp”.

Changes in these hardware configuration will not take effect until the next time you start CIGAL, so you should probably quit and restart after changing and saving this table.

Hardware Settings

In addition to specifying which devices to initialize, you will probably also need to specify how you want the software to use those devices. This is especially important for peripheral devices that can have multiple different channels for input or output with site-specific cable connections.

The “Hardware Settings” dialog table lets you configure a variety of software parameters that can be used to describe which device channels provide different types of information, and to control when and how that information should be read. This table is organized by type of information (e.g. joystick, analog physiology signals, etc), rather than by the specific hardwar interface device (controlled by the “Configuration settings” dialog above). Check boxes on the left side of the table allow you to specify what type of information you want ShowPlay to record during a behavioral paradigm. The Channel column is used (where appropriate) to specify which specific analog or digital channels are used to carry that information. That channel information is site-specific and is dependent on which hardware devices were initialized, in what order they were initialized, and how the external cables carrying that information happen to be plugged in your computer (see below). The other fields in the dialog allow you to specify how fast data should be sampled and other options. The “Config Description” field allows you to specify a short text string description of your configuration, which will be stored in your paradigm output file for your future reference.

On the right side of the dialog table there are some Analog sampling options that may be a bit confusing. Depending on your analog input device, analog values might be read either by sampling the device explicitly at regular intervals (the “Analog Sample Rate”), or by having the device itself automatically read values at a fixed rate (“Analog scan freq”) and then transfer blocks of many values to the computer at a slower rate (“Alog Scan Xfer Rate”). This latter option, referred to as analog scanning, may not be available on all analog devices, but it is much more efficient when it is available. To enable analog scanning you should select the “Analog Scan Sampling” option. Do not select this option if your hardware does not support this capability. Currently, this option is available for CIGAL's recommended USB analog input device from Measurement Computing (MeasComp Device).

Clicking the “Save” option will save all your current settings in a file named “cigalsettings.imp” in your current directory.

Scanner Settings

Clicking the “Save” option will save all your current settings in a file named “cigalsettings.imp” in your current directory.

jvs/cigal/showplay/manual/chapter1/settings.txt · Last modified: 2023/02/23 18:43 (external edit)