Warning! Animals chew through cables. Make sure your cables are not within ‘eating distance’ of your test subjects!


Computer Questions
Freeze Monitor
General Questions on SDI Products
PAS-Home Cage and Open Field

Computer Questions

Q: Will SDI software run on different versions of Microsoft Windows?

A: Yes, it works with Microsoft Windows 7, Windows XP but we recommend upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 10.

Q: Does SDI supply computers for their systems?

A: Yes we do for those test systems which require computers. The computer is delivered with your system completely configured and tested with the product you ordered.

Q: I have a DOS system from SDI; can it be upgraded to Windows?

A: That depends on the system…and the age of the system:

SR-LAB system – you can upgrade to Windows
Gemini – you can upgrade to Windows for units with serial number GEM-233 or higher. It does require electronics replacement done at the SDI lab.
DOS Freeze monitors cannot be upgraded – sorry; they need to be replaced with the new Freeze Monitor.
Activity Systems – all can be upgraded.
Q: I have a PCI System from SDI; can it be converted to USB?

A: Yes; SDI can convert your current equipment to USB for a fee to accommodate a new computer that no longer has the PCI slots. Please email Sales@sandiegoinstruments.com

Q: Can I FTP data from my system to SDI for support assistance?

A: Yes we use Dropbox. Please send an e-mail to SDI at support@sandiegoinstruments.com and the information required to use our FTP site will be sent to you.

Freeze Monitor™

Q: My session set up is not showing the proper number of chambers. How can I correct this?

A: Go to the Freeze Monitor ‘ini’ file and change “numchambers =” to the correct number of chambers attached to your freeze monitor system.


Q: What does the Gemini mouse start box do?

A: The mouse start box makes your test more consistent because it reduces the size of the start chamber. This more readily orients the mouse toward the shock (dark) chamber, and reduces the time to shock (dark) chamber entry.

Q: Why am I not getting the shock to work on Gemini?

A: The selector switch on the front of the Gemini unit may not be set to ‘manual mode’.

General Questions on SDI Products

Q: Are there any SDI products that cannot be used ‘as is’ for both rats and mice?

A: Yes. Gemini and SR-LAB offer different components depending upon whether you are testing rats or mice. Grid floors and animal enclosures must be swapped to accommodate the animal type.

Q: What is the standard warranty on SDI systems?

A: The standard warranty is one year on most SDI system hardware from the time it is delivered to you. Please see our Warranty Policy.

Q: How do I check my shock levels?

A: Use the Shock Level Tester from SDI to check shock levels on the SR-LAB, Gemini and Freeze Monitor systems.

Q: Are SDI products CE certified?

A: Yes, please refer to our product data sheets for more information.

Q: Can I meet FDA 21 CFR Part 11 requirements with my SDI system?

A: Yes – the following SDI systems can be purchased with the FDA 21 CFR Part 11 compliance option: SR-LAB, Gemini, PAS software for Open Field and Home Cage, and SR-HLAB EMG.

PAS-Home Cage and Open Field

Q: I have installed the PAS software and I’m getting no communication.

A: Go to the Windows Device Manager Screen and check to see if the Acces I/O card is listed there. You should see one of these listed;

PCI Card: Acces-PCI-72, Acces-PCI-96, Acces-PCI-120

USB: Acces-USB-48, Acces-USB-96

If not, wiggle connectors or unplug/re-plug the cords and reboot or reinstall the Acces drivers.

Q: What is the maximum session time using PAS?

A: 7 days/24 hours per day

Q: What is the difference between PathView and PAS Reporter software?

A: Pathview is a separate application for inspecting the paths traced by subjects in PAS Activity data. It is intended for providing a basic visual review of the path data. It is expected that the actual analysis of path data will take place in a more sophisticated environment. The PAS Reporter is a separate module that will analyze data collected by the PAS software for distance, sped and resting time, zone entries and time in zone.

Q: What is the maximum number of enclosures for the Photobeam Activity System Home Cage?

A:32 if you only have Locomotor frames or 16 if you have Locomotor and Rearing Frames.

Q: I replaced my computer that was running the Microsoft Windows ® PAS software. After I re-installed PAS on my new computer, nothing worked. Why?

A: The PAS version must be correct for the version of the Windows Operating System. There is an upgraded charge if you need to replace with PAS764.exe. Contact sales@sandiegoinstruments.com to request a quotation.


Q: Can you explain how to set up test sessions?

A: First, construct your Trials using the commands from the software menu. Then, construct a Session Definition to control the Background level, the Recording granularity, the Inter-Trial Intervals and the number of repetitions. Next create your Session Database, insert the Trial names you want to run. From there you will open your Database, assign your animals to a chamber and run your test. For testing RATS we strongly recommend you refer to Geyer, M.A. and Swerdlow, N.R. Measurement of Startle Response, Prepulse Inhibition, and Habituation in Current Protocols in Neuroscience (1998) 8.7.1-8.7.15. For testing MICE refer to Geyer, M. A. and Stephanie C. Dulawa (2003) ‘Assessment of Murine Startle Reactivity, Prepulse Inhibition, and Habituation’, Current Protocols in Neuroscience, 8.17.1-8.17.15

Q: Why is an empty chamber in the SR-LAB giving us a reading?

A: Because, as with any system, there is small amount of electrical and mechanical noise in the system. Empty chamber values should be small (<10). This noise is accounted for in the system calibration so the net test results aren’t affected by the ambient noise in the chamber. Contact SDI if these values are large. ALSO SEE NEXT FAQ. Q: I calibrate my SR chambers but still get widely variable results, why? A: If the variability is among the chambers when you calibrate, make sure that your chambers are on a stable, flat surface - seismic isolation of chambers is important. If a rigid counter cannot be used, consider mounting chambers on concrete blocks. If the variability is low in calibration, but is seen in animal data, ask SDI for materials dealing with “Minimizing Variability in Startle Testing”. Q: Why am I not getting any shock with my SR-LAB? A: Check that the power supply is connected to the rear of the Control Box. Verify other connections. Check for a bad fuse by disconnecting the power supply, remove the top of the shocker unit. Check glass fuse - right rear on the shocker board. Replace with same rate fuse. EUROPE models require the door to be completely shut before a shock is generated. Q: Why am I not getting any readings from my SR-LAB? A: The Coaxial cables may be reversed at the IN/OUT connection. Change them on the control box. Verify that the units have power (check that light and fan goes on). Check all connections per the manual. Q: Why am I not getting a startle response from my mice? A: Your mouse may be of a strain that loses hearing as they age. Check to make sure they can hear. Many researchers find that mice show a better startle response to tactile rather than acoustic startle stimuli. Q: What is the max number of test stations that can be used with SR-LAB? A: Sixteen stations. Q: What kind of background and prepulse settings should I use with my SR-LAB? A: Request materials and scientific literature on the SR-LAB offered by SDI. Q: What is the difference between habituation, pre-pulse inhibition and potentiated startle testing. A: For Rat Testing Refer to Geyer, M.A. and Swerdlow, N. R Measurement of Startle Response, Prepulse Inhibition, and Habituation in Current Protocols in Neuroscience (1998) 8.7.1-8.7.15 . For Mice Testing Refer to Geyer, M.A. and Stephanie C. Dulawa (2003) 'Assessment of Murine Startle Reactivity, Prepulse Inhibition, and Habituation', Current Protocols in Neuroscience, 8.17.1-8.17.15 Q: Why do I need the Standardization Unit? A: The Standardization Unit provides a constant input to the SR-LAB software. This allows each chamber to be adjusted to remove any sensitivity variances. The Standardization unit establishes the reliability of the test stations (similar sensitivity among stations and over time), but reports relative values in millivolts. Q: Do I need an additional isolation cabinet around the SR-LAB chamber for sound attenuation? A: No, except in unusual circumstances. Q: Why doesn’t my trial work as expected? Why does a stimulus unit stay on after completion of a trial? A: Any commands that terminate after the "Record Window" are ignored. Extend the "Record Window" or move the "Record Window" in the Trial. Example Trial Definition (assume a 200msec recording window): DO NOT USE THIS TRIAL 0msec Background 0msec Wait 50 50msec Analog 600 50msec Record 50msec Wait 300 350msec Background end of Trial In the example provided above, the Analog signal will stay on because the Background command at 350msec won’t be processed due to the fact that the Record Window went from 50msec to 250msec. To correct this problem, in the Trial Definition, you would change the Wait 300 Command to Wait 200.