Wagner User Manual

Wagner Algometer User Manual.
Peak mode information page 13.


The Wagner Algometer model FDIX, seen at right, comes with an RS232 interface so it can be connected to a computer.  We modified the software designed for our UNC electronic algometer ( Electronic Thimble Algometer) and Von Frey ( Electronic Ultra-Sensitive Mucosal Algometer) units so it can be used with the Wagner algometer.
Most of the information given for the other two algometers is valid for the Wagner algometer software, with the following exceptions:
  1. - The Wagner FDIX algometer is designed to be connected to an RS232 COM port and requires an adapter in order to be connected to a USB port (See "USB to RS232 Adapter" below).
  2. - The Wagner algometer calibration is performed off line using the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  3. - The User and Subject switches are connected to the computer through their own RS232 serial port using the same type interface unit used for the "RS232 Switch Logger" project. This unit (or switch box) can be attached to a computer USB in the same manner as the algometer (See "USB to RS232 Adapter" below).
  4. - The algorithm for the unit detection is totally different from the other algometers that are based on a USB DAQ unit (LabJack U3 or U12 depending on the model). We recommend to have both, the switch box and the FDIX connected to the computer and powered on before starting the software; this avoids receiving "Unit not found" messages as the software searches for them.
  5. - Much difficulty has been encountered communicating with the Wager FDIX. Initiating communication by sending the CB (Continuous Begin) command proved unsatisfactory: if the FDIX power had turned off and then back on, the command was lost and needed to be sent again.
    As of February 25, 2008, the software sends an "F" command as soon as data is received, or when no data has been received for more than a tenth of a second. The only problem so far encountered with this scheme is that sometimes, in some situation, the Wagner only responds with "?" interrogation marks. When this happens the user is asked to turn the Wagner power off and then back on which seems to reset it satisfactorily.
  6. - The "Force Monitor" feature requires that a LabJack U3 or U6 DAQ unit be connected to the computer (See Force Monitor)

Software Downloads:

Download Link.

USB to RS232Adapter:

USB to RS232 Adapters, also called Converters, can be purchased at any electronic/computer store. They come with an installation CD for their drivers. They are sometime called "USB to Serial Adapters" or "USB to DB9 Serial Adapters". They usually look like a 16" cable with a USB connector at one end and a 9 pin D shell (or DB9) connector at the other (standard RS232 connector).


The Calibration for the Wagner must be performed off line using the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Serial (RS232) Switch Setup:

Accessible through the main Wagner Algometer Window menu at: "View / Remote Switches Setup", this window permits checking the proper functionality of the serial switches and editing the magnitude displayed on the graph when they are depressed.
This software has an independent timer to specify the frequency at which the switches are sampled (every 50msec in the case shown at left). This frequency can be modified by editing the "Sampling Period" text box.

At every sampling time, the "Amplitude" is set to reflect which switches are depressed:

Left Switch Right Switch Amplitude

The values used to calculate the amplitude are those provided by the text boxes labeled: "Off", "Left On" and "Right On".
This software was designed to handle a dual switch box with the switches either used as two independent switches or used as identical switches where either switch gives the same amplitude.
The two rectangles at the top left turn green when the associated switch is depressed, permitting a fast check of the connection and port validity.
The switches can be either "Normally Closed" or "Normally Open" but the correct option must be selected. If both rectangles are colored green while no switch is depressed, chances are the option is set incorrectly (added in February 2008). The original Wagner system was delivered with normally closed points in order to be compatible with the Thimble Algometer switches.
If the switch box is connected to the computer but, for some reason, is not recognized, an attempt can be made to find it manually by scrolling through the computer serial ports. Clicking the up and down arrows will cause the software to test each port and display the results:
  1. - Invalid port.
  2. - Switch box NOT found. (the port is valid but whatever unit is attached to it did not respond as expected for it to be a compatible switch box.)
  3. - Switch box found.
The Auto Detect command button will cause the software to scan through ports 1 to 16 and stop when the switch box has been detected.

Automatic Detection:

Normally both units, the switch box and the algometer, will be detected automatically requiring no manual intervention; however, should manual intervention be required, a search for the units can be performed through the menu as shown below.
The "Remote Switches Setup" option displays the "Serial Switch Monitor" window shown above.
The "Wagner Algometer Search" option displays the "Wagner Algometer - COM ....." window below.  Clicking the "Search for Wagner Algometer" command button causes the software to scan COM port 1 to16 looking for the Wagner FDIX. Selecting any COM port, using the up and down arrows, causes the software to check whether the port is valid. If the port is valid and sending the "F" command causes the "Wagner Data In" label to display a number or "?", then chances are the Wagner algometer is connected to the selected port.


Checking the FDIX RS232 settings:

In case of difficulty finding the Wagner FDIX:
When connected to a USB port, unplugging and re-plugging it from the port usually helps so long as WINDOWS is given enough time (a few seconds) to re-enumerate the USB connections.
Whether connected to a USB port or not, turning the algometer power off and back on also helps by reseting the unit.
The RS232 port settings chosen for the UNC software are the same as the Wagner FDIX defaults in order to avoid any unnecessary complication, however the algometer RS232 option is turned off by default but must be turned on ("rS232" set to "rSon"). See section "B.4" of the Wagner FORCE ONE FDIX" operation manual.

To Enter the FDIX menu:
  1. - Turn FDIX power off
  2. - Press and hold  [ZERO] while turning power back on.
  3. - Release the power button then the [ZERO] button.
  4. - " AoFF "  should be displayed.
  5. - Press [SCROLL] 3 times to display " rS232 "
  6. - Press [SELECT] (same as [ZERO]) repeatedly and verify that the FDIX displays alternatively the left and right columns of the table below, except for the last row when " CO " is skipped.
    rS232 Activation
    Baud Rate
    Word Length
    Number of Stop Bits
    CO off
    Should a setting be set wrong, press on [SCROLL] until the right setting is displayed, then press [SELECT] and continue until the end when " donE " is displayed. Then, after a short delay "rS232 " is displayed.
  7. - Press [ESCAPE] to return to normal.
More about COM ports and USB.
If the software is still having problems finding the Wagner, you should find out which COM port numbers your computer assigns to your USB connections (Help finding COM port assignments and handling port numbers higher than 16).

Force Monitor Feature:

Alpha Test


The software was designed to output the force value to a LabJack U3 or U6 through the DAC0 or DAC1. The reason for this flexibility is to allow for the LabJack to be used by other projects (although not at the same time).

Enabling the Monitor Feature:

The "Force Monitor" must be turned on and the DAC to be used must be selected through the menu Tools. These settings are saved and restored for the next run.

Absence of Detection:

No automatic detection of the LabJack was implemented to avoid interference and using features of the DAQ that could be used by other projects. However the ID number of the unit is saved and used for the next run. This requires that the first time the monitor feature is used, all the LabJack U3's and U6's but the one used for the Wagner monitor be disconnected from the computer.


This feature was implemented at the suggestion of

Dr. Kevin Hellman
from the Pelvic Pain Research Laboratory at the NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Illinois.

Application with Force Monitor Download:



The Wagner FDIX algometer literature lists many commands available to the remote computer. We wrote a short simple Visual Basic program to test them out that can be downloaded from: Wagner FDIX_Algometer Test Program Information  8KB html This site also describes some problems encountered communicating with the unit.

2007 October 12
updated 2010 October 21