Suggested Software Installation Procedure

  1. Install the Thumb Nail (VB6) Software from the CD, or this downloadable zip folder.
  2. Replace the "ThumbNail-xx-xx.exe" file with this newer version.

Software Help

General Info.

The software layout is based on a software package originally developed for the Medoc TSA II thermode controller. The parameter table, the magnitude estimation device, the graph,  the sounds and the TTL options are practically identical in both packages; anybody familiar with one should have no problem mastering the other.
The basic system consists of a Thumb Nail Stimulator pressure controller (Visual Interface front panel). A graph display option (Graph Sample)  and  an "Magnitude Estimation" device option for subject input (Subject input display). See below for more on both options.

Parameter Table Description.

Parameter Table Help in HTML form (With "Sounds", Magnitude Estimation device "Messages" and TTL input Options).
Sample Defaults File (Text File)


Trigger Source

Specifies the way to skip to the next parameter table column during an experiment, when the "Duration" is set to a negative value (other than a time in seconds).

Destination Delta

Specifies the way to increase and decrease the "Destination" value, when the parameter table "Delta" value is other than zero.

Graph Data Sampling

Lets the user set the recording frequency when recording the data during an experiment.

Magnitude Estimation Device Type

The two types of "Magnitude Estimation" devices suported are self detectable and do not need to be selected. These buttons will automatically be set when a device is detected.  The Magnitude Estimation device can be used to abort a test if the check box labeled: "Stop Test when above 99%" is checked.

Thumb Pressure

Prior to Jan. 2009. The "Stimulus accuracy" was added to the options during design and we know no reason for it to be changed.
The parameter table "Destination" is limited to the value entered in the "Maximum stimulus (PSI)" text box.
The "PSI limiting jumper installed" checkbox should be checked if the hardware jumper is installed . It limits the pressure command amplifier gain to 1, thus limiting the pressure command to 30 PSI. so long as the electronic pressure regulator is compatible with the one used in the original system that had a range of 60 PSI at a 10 vdc command. Unfortunately, the following link to "Proportion-Air" information is no longer valid: Proportion-Air #BB2MFEE060 / PSR-2.
Starting Jan. 2009. The pressure regulators will be ordered to meet the user specifications. Because the pressure command to the regulator has a range of 0 to 10vdc corresponding to 0 PSI to the factory maximum, this maximum will have to be entered into the new software options “Factory Maximum” text box (shown at right), for the software to correctly adjust the command amplitude.
The software can still be limited to a lower maximum by entering its value into the “Maximum stimulus (0 to XX)” text box.
The “PSI limiting jumper” is still implemented and still limits the maximum to approximately ½ the “Factory Maximum”.
Hardware Factory Maximum


(Click here for instructions on how to enter the calibration procedure).

Reset to Theoretical Values

The pressure regulator receives a command from 0 to 10 volt and sends a feed back voltage from 0 to 10 volt where, in both cases, zero volt represent zero PSI and 10 volt represents the maximum PSI for the given regulator. Unless your system has a non standard regulator, the maximum pressure should be 105 PSI.
Thus the pressure read(in PSI): = 10.5 x voltage from the regulator.
The pressure command, however, is sent through a digital to analog converter(DtoA) with a maximum output of 5 volt. This output is amplified by 2 before it is sent to the regulator as a command.
Thus the pressure command out(in PSI): = 21 x voltage from the DtoA.
If the values displayed greatly differ from these, it is recommended to revert to theoretical values before performing a calibration.

Target Values Points #1 & #2

Values too close to the limits should not be used for calibration; we recommend 10 PSI and 80 or any value close to whatever you expect to use as a maximum, but keeping it below 10 PSI less than the maximum attainable (95 PSI for a 105 PSI maximum).

Performing the calibration

Follow the instructions that are displayed when clicking the menu Help item. (Link to newer software instructions).

Finishing the calibration

Click on "Calculate Calibration" and make sure the values are not too far from the ones shown at left. If satisfied then click "Apply Calibration" and then "OK" to exit the calibration procedure.

Checking out the calibration

This procedure can be used to check the general comportment of the system at different pressures. Just enter the desired target pressure in one of the pink target text boxes and click its associated "Test#" button.
This procedure can also be used as a manual way to send stimuli without making use of the parameter table.

Magnitude Estimation Device (only on units prior to Jan.2009).

Subject's interface Display (JPG file)
Generic Information about the UNC Magnitude Estimation Device.

Graph Option.

The graphing module is shared with other software packages some information is available at: Graph Options

In Case of Problems

Thumb Nail not found - or - In Edit Mode?

The intent of the edit mode is to design and test parameter tables without the pressure controller being attached to the computer interface unit.
When in "Edit Mode", the pressure gage and information text background colors become beige (See a jpeg image of the front panel in edit mode).
To revert to "Normal Mode" go to the menu "Tools" then "Thumbnail Pressure" and click on "On".
The front panel gage and information text background colors should turn blue (as seen on this jpeg image).

Should the software experience difficulties finding the interface unit...
Prior to 2010 an error message appears (as seen on this image).
Starting with the 2010 version, several messages may appear depending on the circumstances:
If the Thumb Nail Stimulator is not connected to the computer: No LabJack found
If several LabJack DAQ units are connected to the computer: Several LabJacks found
If the Thumb Nail Stimulator is the only LabJack connected to the computer, but is a different unit from the last time the software was used:
If the Thumb Nail Stimulator is the only LabJack connected to the computer, but this is the first time it is used:
One LabJack found
If the Thumb Nail Stimulator is connected to the computer, but its power is off: Thumb Nail Power is Off

Testing the Computer Interface Unit.

Prior to Jan. 2009.

Should the system behave totally erratically, we recommend unplugging the electronic pressure regulator from the back of the computer interface unit and install a test jumper from pin 1 to pin 2 of the jack. Great care must be taken not to jumper the wrong pins: shorting ground or the 15 vdc supply to any other pin could cause serious damage. The jack on the interface box is a 5 pin DIN connector identical to the old IBM keyboard connector, and because the original DIN connectors only had 3 pins, the 5 pin ones have what may seem to be a strange pin lay out. It goes 1 4 2 5 3 (pins 4 & 5 were added later between the other pins).  With this jumper replacing the regulator, the software and interface box can be tested without the fear of damage to the regulator. Future units will be equipped with a wrap test switch to make testing more convenient.
Starting Jan. 2009.
A jumper was added to the circuit board as an option to wrap the "command out" around to the "pressure feed back" / "Monitor" that normally comes from the pressure regulator (See schematics and jumper J7 location a 50KB GIF file).

  To: Thumb Nail Stimulator main page.

2006 October 23
Latest update 2014 June 03