General Software Questions

1. HELP! I’m having trouble using my software. How do I get support?

Support for our software is included with the yearly maintenance contract. We can be reached via telephone (US 704-889-8080) or email (support@sapphirests.com).

2. How long is the software supported? Are there any costs associated with upgrades?

Our software is supported by the user purchasing/renewing the Photometric Maintenance Contract each year. We use a remote Internet access program for instant support of the system, and we run the system and perform training in this manner. Upgrades are considered part of the contract with no additional fee unless the customer has asked for something that we feel is extremely "custom," and then we must charge for the implementation. .

3. Has all the software been validated? Can a statement of validation be provided?

The system has checks and balances and procedures for calibration. There is not a "Photometric Certification" for software, however. Our laboratory has been Accredited to use our photometric system and its software under the ISO/IEC-17025 Guidelines so that is about as close to "validated" as we can expect.

4. Can NIST traceable calibration be accomplished?

We provide not only equipment, but also ISO/IEC-17025 Accredited calibrations and measurements.

5. Is a "Standard Development Software Kit" included? If so, what languages are supported?

There is no software development kit. We do not sell our source-code; we sell the software as a product. Our system is written in LabVIEW.

6. What operating systems are compatible with the goniometer?

Currently the goniometer only runs on Windows.

PhotoScale Software Questions

1. What do I do if a calibration fails?

Check the difference in values. If the difference is very big, it is most likely that something affected your measurements and caused the calibration to fail. Check calibration lamp, room lights were off, positions and system offsets. If everything is OK but still there is a big difference, it is possible the lamp needs to be recalibrated at STS with a new value. If the difference is small, it is possible to set the system with a new multiplier which will make the system "read" the correct value but it should be done by your system administrator.

2. Why is the system reading negative values?

The sensor offset value need to be re-stored. Check the Prompt for Sensor Offsets option on the front panel for a Function if run by itself or in the Sample if run as part of a Sample. but could be done manually using the System | Store Sensor Offsets menu items. Please note that there are two types of sensor offsets- Reflex and Non-Reflex.

3. Can I save reports as PDF files?

Yes, we configure the user station with a license for PDF995 which is similar to PDF creator. It will be listed as a printer which, when chosen to print to, will prompt for a file name and location. These files will have the pdf extension. When saved from within PhotoScale at the end of a test, these files will be located in the default results folder.

4. Why does the Goni have an offset while PhotoScale does not show it?

Positional offsets, either Aiming or Fixture, are stored into the Goni and affect the positions. It is possible that a test is run which applies an offset into the Goni and then PhotoScale is restarted or changed which might not report the fact that the system has an offset stored. Clear either stored offsets types using the Clear to 0 buttons in the aiming and fixture offsets section of PhotoScale panel. If running Samples, set the last Function’s Clear Aiming/Fixture offsets after execution option to be checked. This will remove any offsets after the Sample is finished before you run any other tests.

5. Why does a test prompt me to take sensor offsets even though that option is not selected?

PhotoScale has two types of sensor offsets- Reflex and Non-Reflex. When it starts, offset values are 0. Even if the option to prompt to take sensor offset is not selected, application will ask if either it is the first run and no offset was taken yet or the last Function was of a different type (Reflex or Non-Reflex) which requires a new sensor offset for the current test type.

6. Is LED testing different than testing non-LED lamps?

Yes, there are special requirements when testing LEDs, especially regarding stabilization and the ability to test Pass/Fail for both the stabilized and non-stabilized states. Please refer to the LED_Startup test point type and the LED_MULTIPLY special field entry.

7. Can I automatically save results to multiple locations?

Yes, on the SYSTEM SETUP | GENERAL tab, there is a list of Results Folders Paths. The first entry is usually the default location (...\STS PhotoScale\Results\). Click on the little folder icon in the next entry which is empty and navigate to any folder on that computer or anywhere on the network.

8. Can PhotoScale perform full-spectral measurements?

Yes, with the optional Spectro100 spectroradiometer. Full spectral curve, x-y chromaticity values and NVIS can be measured. Please refer to the Spectral test point type.

Goniophotometer Software Questions

1. What output formats are supported? How does it store data for future reference?

Supported output formats include:

  • CSV file (comma-separated) for import into a spreadsheet application

  • HTML file (can be viewed in an internet browser)

  • Beam distributions can be saved in industry-standard IES files

  • PDF file

  • Printing

The system stores the data as an individual file for each test run. It includes the original testing criteria (Test Function/Standard) so that there is a “snapshot” of what was meant to be tested. In our experience, a database storage facility for this type of data is extremely cumbersome, and the backups are very large and difficult to search for previous data.

2. Can calibration be completed when required? Can a report be generated showing calibration? Also, are there internal calibration checks in the software?

Yes to all of the above.

3. When a new fixture is programmed, how can this be validated?

Most people turn on the system, watch it move to the desired positions, then manually move to the same positions and confirm the results of the automated tests.

4. How much training is usually necessary to operate the unit?

Learning how to run a "test" takes less than 5 minutes. Learning how to "enter" and "modify" a "test" in the software (to someone who knows how to use goniometers) takes another 5 - 10 minutes. The system is extremely easy to use. Very minimal input is needed as long as test procedures have been created for that particular type of "fixture."

5. Can we do programming in house, or is it proprietary?

It is proprietary, but there is no need to program the software, just to create the test functions themselves.

6. In addition to the last question, can we program our own fixtures to the machine? Or change the specs as our customers change their own specs?

Yes, you can program your "fixtures" into the machine yourself. You can even have the file that relates to an individual fixture sent to you from others who own STS machines.

7. Software cannot move the system?

Check and release all physical Emergency switches on the goniometer. If pushed, they will disable motor/axis movements. On some systems, there is a small round black push button on controller box which needs to be pushed to release/reset the system after an Emergency switch is activated.

8. Are there any hidden capabilities in the software?

Most software capabilities are documented in the manual but there are some "tricks" or shortcuts which are not visible to the operator. Button and indicators sometimes have a right-click which lists additional actions. For example, right-click on Special field of a test point in the Function editor will allow you to open a special dedicated window and edit that field or right-click on selected Sample or Function will allow you to go to edit the Sample or Function without having to search for them in the Sample or Function editors.

VOA Software Questions

1. What output formats are supported?

Supported output formats include:

  • Industry-standard IES file

  • CSV (comma-separated) file for import into a spreadsheet application

  • PNG (portable network graphics) file for visualization in any picture viewer

  • PDF file

  • Printing

2. Can calibration be completed when required?

Calibration is performed by the system operator. The software guides them through the process using simple steps. The T-10 light meter included with the system needs to be sent back to Sapphire once per year for calibration in our lab to ensure the highest accuracy possible.

3. How much training is usually necessary to operate the unit?

Learning how to use the system, which includes vehicle and system alignment, system calibration and software operation takes about one to two days depending on the operator’s background. This training is generally provided at the same time as system installation.