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Replacing the microcontroller board on your instrument

OK, so you damaged the microcontroller board on your WheeStat, probably by trying to plug in the usb cable upside down or trying to use the wrong style of usb cable, or perhaps you were fooling around under the hood and fried the electronic some how. Anyway, the microcontroller is now toast and you need to replace it. I will, of course sell you a new board with the firmware flashed on, but I don't really want to. To keep from having to do this, I will charge you more for the board than I think it is worth. As an alternative, you can do this repair yourself and I will provide support to help you.

The part you need is called a Tiva C Launchpad development board. There are a few models to chose from and you want the one with the TM4C123GXL microcontroller. Mouser sells these for $12.99 USD. If the following link does not work, just go to Mouser.com and search for "Launchpad". Here is the link: http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Texas-Instruments/EK-TM4C123GXL/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMsy3IOzTJ6vG8nJgSnLh9vT.

To flash the firmware onto the microcontroller, you will need the program Energia, which you can download for free from www.energia.nu. Once you open the Energia program, you can use that to open the firmware file that is on the usb memory device that came with the potentiostat. On the usb memory will a folder called "MicrocontrollerSourceCode". Inside that folder will be a folder called "WheestatE_7c" which will have a file called "WheestatE_7c". Opening that file you should see ten tabs with code. If you do not see a bunch of tabs in the program, let me know. If you dont have the usb drive with the program, you can get it from our GitHub page (see our Hacking page).

In Energia, you will need to specify the kind of microcontroller board you have. You will need to go to the tools menu and select "board". I think you will get a message box at this point that will allow you to download a file that will allow you to work with the Launchpad Tiva C TM4C123 (80 MHz).

Once you have specified the version of the board, you need to specify the com port that your board is connected to. You do this through the tools menu by selecting "Serial Port".

After you have connected to the microcontroller, click on the upload button in the upper left corner of the Energia user interface to upload the firmware.


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August 2020:

  Work during summer 2020 focused on the WheeTrometer spectrometer and on the WheeStat potentiostat.

  The spectrometer is coming along.  We are currently working to improve the intensity resolution by adopting a high resolution analog to digital converter.

  Our work on the WheeStat is focused mostly on increasing the current output available.  In addition, we hope to increase the range of frequencies that can be obtained by adding a digital to analog converter.

August, 2017:

   Work during summer 2017 focused on two projects, the WheeStat potentiostat and the stopped flow spectrometry apparatus.

  •    Work on the WheeStat included changes to the user interface, firmware and hardware.  The newest version of the user interface, WheeStat6.0c, has a new zoom feature and a few bugs from the older interface have been fixed.  We believe the new hardware will be out by the end of 2017.  The new hardware will have an improved method for turning off applied voltatage between experiments.  This is a hardware fix that requires modification of the firmware as well.  We will offer an add-on for our earlier hardware versions that incorporates this feature.  Addditional changes include increased current ranges and the potential for significantly increased scan rates.

  • Work on the stopped flow spectrometry project focused on increasing the injection speed.  Our initial effort focused on developing a rack and pinnion drive for the syringes.  This improved injection speed relative to the lead screw drive but failed to meet target speeds due, we believe, to limited torque provided by the small NEMA 17 motors we chose.  Our next attempt employed larger NEMA 23 motors.  These have significantly higher torque.  Unfortunately, our flow cell was unable to contain the generated pressure and began leaking.  Current efforts are focused on developing a lab-built UV-vis cell that will hold higher pressures.


September, 2016:

  • Our work to automate solid phase synthesis of peptides / DNA, etc has progressed well, although the chemistry is more involved that I had origianally thought.  We have made our first attempt at synthesis of a cystiene modified tri-peptide

  • Our application for recognition by the IRS as tax exempt under 501(c)3 has been approved.

  • We have begun work on a low cost visible spectrometer that will use home built reflective optics.

  • We are working on developing a stopped flow kinetics instrument based on commercially avialable spectrometer.  Our current prototype is able to acquire spectra within 120 ms of mixing.  This dead time appears to be limited by the power of the motors we used.  We are investigating the use of larger motors and hope to get the dead time down to below 12 ms.






Presentation  in Atlanta, GA,  March 6-10, 2016

Our talk was well recieved at the Educational symposium at PittCon


4989 Tilley Creek Road

Cullowhee, NC 28723

Tel: 828-293-7781


Mail:  summers@wcu.edu


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Oct 23-27, SouthEast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Columbia SC

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