Recommended for Windows 7 OS.

Parameter Table Help


Supported Hardware

WINDOWS machines with Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 (free to download from Microsoft)

Software Downloads

See below.

Running for the first time.

Software Download

For LabJack U12 equiped units

  1. Go to the LabJack U12 page and select the "Software" tab as shown in this copy of the LabJack page as #1 circled in red.
  2. Download and install the "Windows U12 Installer" circled in red as #2.
  3. Click on "details" (#3) to show more of the page.
  4. Download and install the "64-bit U12 driver update" (#4) following the "unzip and copy to System32 folder" instructions on the page.
  5. Download the UNC zipped folder ( , unzip, and copy into the folder of your choice.
  6. ... you can either run the "setup.exe" application that will install the software in a folder called: "UNC-CNSD" or "UNC-CCCP.
  7. or run the program: "ThumbNail2012_U12.exe" directly.

For LabJack U3 equiped units

This is not yet an option: as of January 2015 we have no model of Thumb pressure device that is controlled by a LabJack U3 data aquisition unit (DAQ).

Both types

VB.NET software for the UNC-CNSD Thumb Nail Stimulator controller with LabJack U12 data acquisition and the newer version (to come soon) with the LabJack U3 data acquisition. Just downloading the executable file will not work unless you have previously installed a version of this software and all the needed files. VB.NET also requires "Framework3.5" to be installed.
Some problems were reported running this version under Windows XP. XP users who experience problems with this version should got back to the VB6 version downloadable from: The original "Thumb Nail Stimulator Software Help."

Files associated with the VB.NET Thumb Nail software:
  1. AxInterop.MCI.dll
  2. Interop.MCI.dll
  3. ljackuw.dll
  4. LJDotNet.dll
  5. ThumbNail2012_U12.exe - 11 September 2012
  6. TubeTest.exe
  7. NoSound.wav A silent wave file used to initialize the sound system to prevent a long delay the first time a sound file is used.
  8. ThumbNail_DFTs.ini
    And if you use this defaults file you may want to also have the specified parameter table:
  9. DeltaTest.dnc
  10. Extra sample tables: Test1.dnc and Test2.dnc

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 and the sound option 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) and an optional dual push button switch input unit to replace the Medoc TSA mouse like input box.

Parameter Table Description.

Definition of Parameters

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

File Format

The tables are saved in text files with the ".dnc" extension. Their format is as follows:
Line 1: number of columns
Each following line represents each column of the table. Each parameter separated by commas in the same order as in the table:
"Destination" (amplitude in PSI), "Delta" (PSI), "Rate" (PSI/sec.), "Duration" (sec.), "Jump to" (column number), "Repeat", Sound.
Example parameter text file:

Number of columns in the table.
Set pressure at 0 PSI and wait for Space Bar.
Go to 10 PSI, Sound the wave file defined by #1, Stay at 10 PSI for 3 seconds.
Go to 20 PSI, Sound the wave file defined by #2, Stay at 20 PSI for 3 seconds.
Go to 40 PSI, Sound the wave file defined by #3, Stay at 40 PSI for 3 seconds.
Go to 70 PSI, Sound the wave file defined by #4, Stay at 70 PSI for 3 seconds.
Go to 100 PSI, Sound the wave file defined by #5, Stay at 100 PSI for 3 seconds, then jump to column #2 two more times.
Go to 0 PSI, Sound the wave file defined by #6, End of program.

Followed by the "options" below. Sample parameter file (Text File)


NEW August 2010
Except for the "Pressure" options that remain the same for all the parameter tables, these options are saved along with the parameter table data and caution should be taken that they be set correctly whenever the tables are being saved to disk.

Trigger Source

1 - 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).
2 - Specifies the way to perform an "Emergency Jump" when the column number in the jump row is set to a negative number (See sample parameter table). The optional dual push button switch input unit should be used for this purpose rather than the keyboard spacebar.

Destination Delta

Specifies the way to increase and decrease the "Destination" value, when the parameter table "Delta" value is other than zero. The optional dual push button switch input unit can be used for this purpose as well as the keyboard "Page Up" and "Page Down" keys..

Program Settings

These option settings are saved along with the index of the selected column at the time the table is being saved to disk.
Program Starts at: Instead of always starting the experiment at column #1 of the parameter table, it is possible to have the experiment start at whatever column has been selected. This option however could present some problems with inexperienced users and, in some cases, should be avoided.
Table is disabled check box: To avoid accidently entering bad data into the parameter table it is possible to "disable" it through this option.


Hardware Factory Maximum -- The pressure regulators are 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 (PSI)” text box (shown on the left), 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 allowed (PSI)” text box.
-- The "Adaptation stimulus" should probably be called something like the "Idle Pressure". Instead of returning to a zero pressure it is recommended to keep a very low pressure to prevent any movement of the subject thumb in relation to the plunger.
-- The “PSI limiting jumper” electronically limits the maximum to approximately ½ the “Factory Maximum”. It is imperative that this check box agrees with the actual position of the hardware jumper on the circuit board. A calibration must also be performed whenever the jumper position is changed.

Ang Program Stimulus Table Generator. (Currently under development)

Translated to VB.NET from Dr. Rick H. Gracely's Tcl/Tk program.


This feature is accessible through the menu "Tools" item as seen at right. Tools menu


  1. Subject Code The "Subject Code" is used to create the table file name and must conform to Windows file naming conventions.
  2. Threshold The program may have filled out the threshold value; it can be edited if needed.
  3. Tolerance Same as the threshold, the tolerance may have been filled out; it can be edited if needed.
  4. Options Clicking this button will display the "Options" window below.
  5. Generate This button will generate the table parameter file using the "Subject Code" followed by the extension: ".dnc" for name. Should the file already exist, a sequence number will be added at the end of the "Subject Code".


Stimuli and their amplitudes.
  1. Number of Stimuli The range of stimuli delimited by the threshold and the tolerance values is divided by the "Number of Stimuli"; which, in the given example gives 6.6666... The resulting stimuli, rounded off to the next integer, will give: 17, 23, 30, 37, 43, and 50
  2. Repetitions These stimulus values are multiplied by the "Repetitions" value to make a "Block" of stimuli.
  3. Number of Blocks The block of stimuli is randomized and presented to the subject as many times as specified by the "Number of Blocks".
Stimulus durations and rates.
All the stimuli have this same duration and the same rate.
Stimulus Intervals
The pressure presented between stimuli is always the same. so is the duration of these pauses.
Saved Table Folder
The folder in which the tables will be saved can be specified here. If the folder is not specified the tables will be saved in the application folder. Folder browser window.


Force Display

The units of force to be displayed are selectable through the "menu/View/Units of Force" option.
The displayed force is derived from the pressure in PSI, the area of the piston applying the force, and the selected choice of unit of force. The piston area is set at the factory and is saved in the "Defaults" file named : "ThumbNail_DFTs.ini" and should only be changed if found to be erroneous. Sample "Defaults" file. Because the pressure is measured in PSI (pound per square Inch), the piston diameter is in inches (Sorry, it is Reagan's fault if the US is the only country in the world to have never adopted the metric system).

Tube color

The color of the empty portion of the tube, as well as the color of the liquid, can be changed by clicking on the portion to be changed. A standard color dialog opens in order to permit color selection.


Calibration panel.

In Case of Problems

The main window does not show on the monitor.

The window location specified in the defaults file may be off the current monitor. Press "F2" to restore the location to x=0 y=0.

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 information text box and selected column 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 aquamarine (as seen on this jpeg image).

Should the software experience difficulties finding the interface unit...
Several messages, including those mentioned at the top of this page, 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.

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).

General Malaise (Overflow or such).

Retarting the computer may help if Windows is due for updates.

  To: Thumb Nail Stimulator main page.

2006 October 23
Latest update 2015 August 13