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General FAQ

This page has answers to general frequently asked questions about our products

For a list of questions in other categories, return to the main FAQ Index page
If you still have questions after reading this page, Contact Us and we'll be glad to help

Q: How do I order ?

You can order by email or phone. See the How To Order page.

Q: How much does it cost ?

Current prices are listed on the Catalog & Prices page. Shipping, credit card processing fees, and other costs are as on the How To Order page.

"In the box" systems come with all the software, cables, and etc needed to work with your PC. First orders also come with a free "bonus starter kit". Customers ordering those systems generally do not need to order any additional items. They are ready to go.

Q: Can I purchase it on my credit card ?

We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover via PayPal.   PayPal credit card processing fees will apply.   See the How To Order page.

To avoid credit card processing fees we recommend payment by check or EFT.   NET 30 accounts with qualified customers are welcomed.

Q: What is your address, email, phone, etc ?

Contact information is listed on our Contact Us page.

Q: Do you sell to international customers ?

Yes, we have customers worldwide.

Prices on the Catalog & Prices page are in US dollars and are the same for all customers regardless of destination. Shipping charges are of course additional and depend on destination. FedEx is the preferred international carrier, with exact quotations provided on request. Duties and taxes are the responsiblity of the customer. We are unable to accurately estimate them. See the How To Order page for details.

Q: What Operating Systems do you support (Windows, Linux, etc) ?

Our standard x86 software distributions are compiled for Windows 7/8/10, 32 and 64 bit versions, and for Linux 32 and 64 bit versions. The software is built on top of low level drivers supplied by the operating systems. Distributions for Linux ARM based systems are also supplied for several products. See the Downloads page.

Q: Do you include source code with your software ?

User space source code and examples for custom programming is included.   SR drivers and GUI apps like DVM and Scope are proprietary. For review and updates, the latest version of the published software is always available for free from our Downloads page. We encourage prospective customers to review the posted software before purchase to see if it is suitable for their applications.

Q: Is the software complete ?

Yes. The software posted on the Downloads page is the complete distribution. It is the software delivered with the product.

Q: What compilers can I use with your software ?

Windows x86 distributions are compiled with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010.   Linux x86 distributions are compiled with standard GNU gcc.   Linux ARM distributions have been compiled with the gcc for the respective SBC platforms.

Q: What is a device driver ?

All hardware devices require low level device drivers. Operating systems like Windows and Linux protect system security by preventing users from directly accessesing the low level instructions required by hardware like disk drives. All access must go through "protected mode" device drivers.

Fortunately, these days both Windows and Linux provide standard low level device drivers for the USB and RS232 ports as part of the usual OS distributions. For most users, this avoids having to deal with the step of installing kernel mode drivers.   The higher level drivers for SR devices are built on top of these generic "protected mode" kernel drivers.   This results in software for products like the USBxCH and SERxCH which is easy to install and easy to port across OS distibutions.

Q: Do you supply any DLL libraries ?

No. SR products now send their data to output pipelines.   Users writing custom programs in various languages and downstream applications should open the output pipes from one of our acquisition programs, and then process the data as required. The beauty is no compiling of the core acquistion programs or "cross language" interfaces are required, and all processing can be performed in real time. The pipeline is the interface!

Opening an output pipe is similar to opening an input file. Once opened data is received in first in, first out, FIFO fashion.

Q: Can you send me complete specs ?

The most complete source of product information is our web site along with the PDF User Manuals. Both have detailed spec tables covering product performance. You can download the current PDF User manual and support software for any product from the Downloads page free of charge.

Customers are encouraged to carefully review all of these materials before buying.

Q: How do I get a copy of the circuit diagrams ?

The circuit diagrams required for interfacing to the boards are included with the PDF User Manual for each product.   This includes all connector pin outs and analog front end signal conditioning with op amps and passive elements.   Diagrams for the internal digital and power supply sections of the boards are not published. Copies of the PDF User Manuals can be downloaded for free from the Downloads page.

Q: Do you have any Application Notes ?

Most of our PDF User Manuals have an "Examples" chapter. This is one of the best places to find application specific notes for a particular product. The software distributions have a corresponding Examples directory often with additional applications.

Papers covering general topics less specific to particular products are also available. See our Papers & App Notes page.

Q: What about the difference between 220v and 110v power ?

Our standard wall transformer now has a "universal input", which can accept any power from 110vac to 220vac.   However, the plug is a US "two prong" plug.   International customers will need to find an "adapter" changing their local wall plug to the US two prong style. The adapter can be a simple wire connection between the two plug styles without causing trouble.

We have a limited supply of "linear" wall transformers available. These transfomers are 110vac or 220vac specific.  While supplies last, you may substitute a linear wall transformer at no additional cost.

You can also provide your own power supply if it meets the power requirements described in the SR product spec sheets. For many applications SR equipment may also be powered directly from batteries, avoiding the question of 110 versus 220 wall power entirely.

Q: Will a 12vdc wall transformer work with the VREF-399 ?

Yes if the wall transformer is unregulated and can supply the VREF-399 with 14.7v at 60ma.

For example, the 12vdc 500ma unregulated wall transformer shipped with the system usually provides 17 volts when loaded with the normal 60ma operating current drain of the VREF-399

If providing your own wall transformer, use only ones that are floating and NOT connected to ground via the third wall prong as this would compromise the floating nature of the VREF-399.

Q: What is your ROHS and WEEE status ?

We use lead based solder, and from that viewpoint are not compliant. However, we believe all SR products belong to ROHS category 9, and are "compliant by exemption". Given the typical length of service for SR products exceeds 10 years, we have chosen to avoid the lead free tin whiskers problem and stay with traditional 63/37 tin lead.

RoHS and WEEE are acronyms for environmental legislation enacted by the European Union. RoHS refers to the Reduction of certain Hazardous Substances directive and WEEE refers to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive. The RoHS directive attempts to limit the following six substances: lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), while the WEEE directive focuses on the disposition of discarded equipment.

For the purposes of these directives, products are divided up into 10 broad categories, with category 9 acknowledging the need to accomodate equipment with a long service life or in critical applications. Copyright © Symmetric Research