FAQs

Click on a topic below to view the related questions. You can also download a copy of our manuals as a reference. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Call us!

Software

What are the PC specifications for the software?

Download the VibrationVIEW PC Specifications document.

Download the ObserVIEW PC Specifications document.

Which Vibration Research hardware and software are compatible?

The user can run any of the three Vibration Research software applications (VibrationVIEW, ObserVIEW, and VR Mobile) on all VR hardware. Each software package offers a different set of capabilities when paired with the hardware.

What is VR Mobile?

VR Mobile is embedded software that runs on Vibration Research hardware. The user can connect to VR Mobile and interact with the software on a smartphone or tablet using a WiFi connection. Data acquisition can be set up, monitored, and modified in the field without a wired configuration, delivering flexibility and simplicity for field tests.

The collected data are stored on an integrated SD card. When the field test is completed, data can be transferred to a PC for analysis with the SD card or an Ethernet connection.

VibrationVIEW

Where can I find which packages and software version I have?

Select Help > About VibrationVIEW to view the version of your software and the installed packages. The version number is also printed on the VibrationVIEW CD label.

The packages for VibrationVIEW can be viewed on the control software page.

Can I purchase additional software modules after my initial system purchase?

Yes, you can contact a member of the Vibration Research sales team or your sales representative to enable additional software modules. Delivery is fast and easy. You will receive a link to download a key update file; simply install the key update file and the new software module will be enabled.

What is the latest version of VibrationVIEW?

  • View the latest updates for the 9500/10500 systems here
  • VibrationVIEW 2016.2 for the 8500 system
  • 3.1.7 for the 7500 system

If you purchased your vibration control system from Vibration Research in the last one (1) year or have a current Upgrades & Support Agreement, then you are entitled to free software updates. If your system is more than a year old, call Vibration Research at 616.669.3028 or email us.

What is Quick Test?

The Quick Test option serves as the default for Sine, Random, and Shock tests. It is a quick option for defining tests and requires the entry of just a few simple parameters. Selecting the Advanced button on the bottom left of the dialog box directs the user to VibrationVIEW’s standard multi-tab dialog box.

The Quick Test option can be removed as the default if it is not preferred. To set the Advanced test option as the default for sine, random, and shock, select Configuration > Parameters. On the left, point to Global Parameters and deselect “Define new tests as Quick Tests.” Click OK.

VibrationVIEW says my key has expired. What should I do?

If your control computer is connected to the internet:

  1. Select Help > Check for Key Update in the VibrationVIEW menu.
  2. Upgrade to the most current VibrationVIEW software version (click here).
  3. Verify that your controller invoice has been paid.
  4. Verify that your master controller is set to Channels 1 to 4 in Configuration > Hardware.
  5. If you are still experiencing issues, please contact Vibration Research at support@vibrationresearch.com or call 616.669.3028.

Windows Defender Firewall is Blocking VibrationVIEW. What should I do?

The user may encounter a situation where VibrationVIEW cannot communicate with the controller. The underlying reason may be hard to pinpoint: a new VibrationVIEW version may have been installed or Windows Updates may have introduced a change. Most often, however, the issue is due to the Windows Defender Firewall blocking VibrationVIEW, even if the Firewall is off.

Follow these steps to ensure VibrationVIEW is allowed through the Windows Defender Firewall.

  1. Navigate to the Windows Start button on the bottom left of your screen.
  2. In the Search Bar, type “Allow an app through Windows Firewall.”
  3. Select the Allow an app through Windows Firewall option.
  4. Select the Change Settings button.
  5. Make sure all the VibrationVIEW entries on the list are selected for Domain, Private, and Public networks.
  6. After selecting all the boxes, select OK.

How do I generate an automatic Random Import profile?

Select the Import tab on the Random Test Settings dialog box.

From there, you can automatically generate a spectrum profile from input data. The input can be a set of frequency/amplitude breakpoints or a time/acceleration history stored in a text file.

To input data from a file, perform the following procedure:

  1. Select the input method from the drop-down list.
  2. Select the input file button and choose a file. The software will scan the file, and the dialog box will update to reflect the contents of the file.
  3. Set the sampling rate, header lines, and column number for the acceleration data, and the acceleration units used in the file.
  4. Select the spectrum generation method. The import procedure will divide the file into 1,024 sample blocks, compute the spectrum for each block, and then combine the blocks according to the selected method. Average will average all the spectra using a uniform average. Peak hold will extract the peak values over all the blocks at each frequency.
  5. Select the Create Table button to process the file and create the frequency/amplitude breakpoint table from the input file.

ObserVIEW

Where can I find which features and version number I have?

Select File > Settings > License to view the version of your software and the activated features. The version number is also printed on the ObserVIEW CD label.

The licenses for ObserVIEW are Basic, Advanced, Modal, and STAG. A license key is optional. Contact Sales to enable additional features.

How many PCs can I activate with one ObserVIEW license key?

Per the EULA, the software may be installed on any number of PCs provided that it is used on one PC at a time. A reasonable number of PCs registered with the same key is allowed.

If the PC activation limit is exceeded, the license activation will fail. VR support must be contacted to resolve the activation issue. Additional activation may be granted provided that the user adheres to the license terms.

Is there a way to deactivate a license?

Contact VR support to deactivate a PC license.

Can ObserVIEW receive a license from my hardware box?

Yes, the user can activate ObserVIEW by connecting to a VR I/O unit licensed for use with ObserVIEW (ObserVR1000, VR9500, or VR10500).

Reports

How do I set up my profile to automatically generate a report when my test is complete?

To automatically generate a report in VibrationVIEW, follow these steps:

  1. Select Edit Test to access the test settings. Select the Schedule tab.
  2. Select Insert to add a row to the end of your test schedule.
  3. Navigate to the leftmost drop-down list in the new row and select Save Report.
  4. In the same row, select Browse to choose the report template.
  5. Select the Data tab to define where the report will be saved.
  6. Under “Save data to disk” select your choice(s) of three automatic report options.
  7. Under “Data storage directory” select Browse. The software will store the automatic report to the directory selected.

Note: Under “Graph annotation lines,” you can enter information such as test sample number, test technician, shaker serial number, etc. to be included in the report.

PDF Download

How do I make a custom report template?

To make a custom report template, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Report button to open the report template folder.
  2. Right-click on the template you would like to modify and select Open.
  3. A template in Rich Text Format will appear. Edit the parameters as you would like them to appear on your reports. For details on these parameters, please see the software manual or select View > Report Parameters. The parameters in the Help file can be copied and pasted into your template. You can also paste your company logo into this template.

Note: Separate templates are used for each testing mode.

PDF download

Hardware

Where can I register my hardware, and why should I do so?

You can register your VR hardware online (click here).

VR9500/VR10500
You will access a free, 1-year upgrades & support agreement by registering your VR9500/VR10500. Renewals are available on an annual basis, and continuous coverage with no lapses ensures a lifetime guarantee on your hardware.

ObserVR1000
You will activate the 1-year hardware warranty on the ObserVR1000 by registering your device.

How many channels do the Vibration Research systems support?

  • VR8500 supports up to 32 channels.
  • VR9500 supports up to 128 channels.
  • VR10500 supports up to 512 channels.
  • ObserVR1000 supports up to 128 channels.

What is your hardware warranty?

VR warrants its hardware to be free of defects in material and craftsmanship. The warranty covers hardware failure under normal conditions. It does not cover damage due to wear and tear, neglect, misuse, or failure to follow instructions relating to the hardware’s use. Please contact Vibration Research or your sales representative for more information about our warranty.

VR9500/VR10500
The VR9500 and VR10500 hardware include a three-year hardware warranty that can be extended to a lifetime warranty by continual renewal of an upgrades & support agreement with no lapse.

ObserVR1000
The ObserVR1000 hardware includes a one-year hardware warranty.

How can I get a demonstration of a Vibration Research hardware unit?

Call Vibration Research Corporation at (616) 669-3028, email us at vrsales@vibrationresearch.com, or talk to one of our representatives.

What is the difference between the VR8500 and the VR9500?

Specifications

VR8500 VR9500
Hardware Warranty

No

Lifetime

Processor

RISC Processor

Dual High-Speed RISC Processor

Lines of resolution

13,000

26,000

Max control frequency for Sine

0.1 to 20,000Hz

0.1 to 50,000Hz

Max control frequency for Random

0.5 to 20,000Hz

0.5 to 50,000Hz

Sample frequency

Up to 52,000Hz

Up to 200,000Hz

Narrow spectral bands with Random-on-Random

Up to 12

Up to 32

True floating-point sine tones with Sine-on-Random

Up to 12

Up to 32

Sine includes COLA and notching

No

Yes

Random includes notching

No

Yes

Dynamic range

>120dB

>130dB

Light indicators on hardware show sensor connection

No

Yes

Self calibration

No

Yes

Ethernet connection speed

100Kps

1000 Kps (gigabit)

Noise floor

Not applicable

<70nV/vHz

Clock synchronization

No

Yes

Multi-axis testing ability

Yes
(Random, FDR, SRS)

Yes
(Random, FDR, SRS, and more)

I have a VR8500. Why should I upgrade my hardware?

Upgrade to the VR9500/VR10500
Discover the new and exciting features of our latest controllers and read more on why you should upgrade: Vibration Controller Systems.

How can I view a controller's dynamic range?

The importance of a vibration controller’s dynamic range is often misunderstood. A controller may specify the input or output dynamic range or the overall range.

Rather than referencing the specifications, you can run a test with the controller to view the total system dynamic range. To run the test, create a random profile with a section of the profile reduced to nothing. You can determine the random dynamic range by observing the actual level of the profile.

The Chinese government uses test specification JJG 529-88 to specify a system’s dynamic range. The engineer can run the test on a shaker system or on the controller “looped on itself.” The test has the following breakpoints:

20 Hz -40 dB
80 Hz 0 dB
300 Hz 0 dB
350 Hz -40 dB
350 Hz – 500 Hz no energy
500 Hz -40 dB
600 Hz -20 dB
650 Hz -20 dB
700 Hz 0 dB
750 Hz -20 dB
800 Hz -20 dB
1000 Hz 0 dB
1500 Hz 0 dB
2000 Hz -20 dB

The VR9500 demonstrated a dynamic range of 90+dB with JJG 529-88. Many controllers that claim 80dB of dynamic range show only 50dB or 60dB with these specifications. Lack of adequate dynamic range may cause system problems when controlling a fixture with a large resonance.

The figure below displays a more detailed explanation of the dynamic range.

For a more detailed explanation, please click here.

Is my controller working properly?

Lookback Diagnostics window with Drive Output selected

Sometimes a vibration testing system is generating errors or is not operating at all, but the cause isn’t clear. It could be a loose connection, frayed cables, issues with the amplifier, a malfunctioning shaker, or, in rare cases, a problem with the controller itself. Loopback Diagnostics is a straightforward way to determine if your controller is working properly.

Loopback Diagnostics is a VibrationVIEW tool that allows the user to verify the functionality of a VR9500/VR10500 controller. It internally connects the Drive or Cola to the input channels (usually during a System Check test), which eliminates the need for BNC cables or running a shaker.

CAUTION: The Drive and Cola outputs remain active in Loopback mode. By looping the Drive back to the control channels, you are running the controller open-loop (the control channel is disconnected from any accelerometer connected to the input channels). Make sure to disable your shaker or disconnect the drive cable to prevent shaker movement.

CAUTION: Channels connected in Loopback mode must be disconnected from any accelerometers or input sensors. Any channel limits defined in the System Check Test Profile will be enforced on the Loopback signal, not the actual input signal.

For detailed instructions on setting up and running Loopback Diagnostics, see the video below:

If the input channels are displaying accurate voltages, then the problem is in one of the other components and not the VR9500/VR10500.

Manuals

Where can I get an electronic copy of the manuals?

There are several manuals that coincide with our hardware and software:

    • VibrationVIEW operation manual
    • ObserVIEW operation manual
    • VibrationVIEW Quick Start Guide
    • ObserVR1000 Quick Start Guide
    • Hardware manuals (VR9500, VR10500, and ObserVR1000)

All manuals are located on the software CD in the Manuals directory in a Word (.doc) or PDF format. The Word version requires Microsoft Word or the MS Word Viewer. The PDF version requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The manuals relevant to VibrationVIEW/ObserVIEW can be accessed in the Help file of the software.

The manuals can also be manually downloaded here.

Emergency Stop Button

Why is the emergency stop button an important safety feature?

The emergency stop (e-stop) button provides further safety measures for lab personnel, testing equipment, and products under test. It gives lab personnel a quick option to stop a test without putting a transient shock into the test product.

How do I install an emergency stop button?

If you selected the optional e-stop button for your controller:

  1. Plug the Phoenix connector to the back of the I/O unit.
  2. In VibrationVIEW, select to Configuration > Remote Inputs.
  3. Point to the eighth drop-down box and select “Emergency Stop Button.” Select the OK button.

Calibration

How often should I calibrate my VR hardware?

We strongly recommend an annual calibration. The system arrives factory calibrated, so you do not need to calibrate it again until the due date on the calibration certificate.

What are my options for calibration?

There are three calibration options for the VR hardware:

  1. Send the hardware to Vibration Research for calibration.
  2. Calibrate the hardware yourself with VR Software.
  3. Perform the calibration yourself.

Please see our calibration page to read more about these options.

My accelerometers require a recalibration: what do you suggest?

VR’s accelerometer calibration performs automatic and accurate calibration and verification of IEPE accelerometers and charge-mode piezoelectric accelerometers/transducers in your lab.

Otherwise, we suggest that you send your accelerometers directly to the manufacturer for recalibration. If you purchased your accelerometer directly from VR and are not sure who the manufacturer is, contact us for more information.

I am experiencing trouble with calibration verification in my lab. What could be the issue?

Performing calibration verification in your lab can save time and money, but sometimes the process stops and it is not clear why.

Problems usually arise at one of two steps:

  1. If the Next > button is unavailable after selecting the device and configuration, then the analog connections (output to channel inputs) are not functioning and the verification process cannot move forward (see image below).

Screen with the Next box grayed out

Check the cables and the connectors, as some components may be worn or frayed and have stopped functioning.

  1. VibrationVIEW populates the Certificate Entry form with the appropriate data, including the type of digital multimeter (DMM). If the DMM is not connected properly, or if it is an unsupported DMM, then VibrationVIEW will not populate the form with the DMM information (see image below). The procedure may continue but will stop intermittently or fail because the appropriate connection between the DMM and the PC has not been established.

Form without DMM information filled in

The most common DMM connection problem is due to a USB to serial adapter that isn’t fast enough to keep up with VibrationVIEW transmission speeds. Vibration Research recommends a B+B Smartworx USB to serial adapter (part number: 232USB9M). If you have a PC with a serial port, you may connect to the DMM directly with a null-modem cable instead.

If you are still experiencing trouble with the calibration verification procedure, please contact us.

Shakers

What shakers can I control with my Vibration Research controller?

Vibration Research systems can control all electrodynamic and servo-hydraulic shakers.

How do I determine the correct shaker size?

The industry uses the equation Force = Mass x Acceleration as the basis for sizing shakers and determining if a shaker can perform a shock or vibration test. All shakers have a force rating that determines what combination of mass and acceleration the shaker can achieve.

To perform a quick F=MA calculation, visit our Calculations page.

What is total harmonic distortion?

Total harmonic distortion (THD) is the summation of the amplitudes of various harmonics when a pure sine tone is inputted into a system. THD not only measures the quality of a sine wave but can determine how well a system is replicating the signal from the controller. Small values indicate the system is performing as requested. In the physical test environment, a high value suggests a weakness or malfunction of the shaker system.

THD can be used to measure the accuracy of a vibration system and help to track system changes over time. You can buy harmonic distortion analyzers to perform the measurement for you or use equipment you already have in your laboratory: a vibration controller/analyzer.

How can I measure the THD of my shaker with my vibration controller?

You can measure THD by exciting your system with a sine wave, reading the g2/Hz displayed by the system, and noting the difference in dB between the fundamental frequency and higher-order harmonics. The harmonics occur at 2x, 3x, 4x, etc. of the fundamental frequency. As most controllers read directly in g2/Hz, a change in 10x g2/Hz is a 10dB change. For example, 0.1 g2/Hz to 0.01 g2/Hz represents a 10dB change.

Remember: dB=20 log (A/B). Thus, a 10% distortion (0.1 ratio) will appear as -20 dB.

-20dB = 20 log (0.1)

The following is an example of harmonic distortion from a sine wave generator. The generator was set to 100Hz. The third harmonic is the highest spike at 40dB (4 major divisions) down from the 100Hz fundamental. This test reports the third harmonic distortion at 1%, which matches the specification for this waveform generator. Also, 40dB correlates to 1% on the table.

Change in dB Change in % Change in dB Change in % Change in dB Change in %
10 31.6 30 3.16 50 .316
11 28.7 31 2.87 51 .287
12 25.1 32 2.51 52 .251
13 22.4 33 2.24 53 .224
14 20.0 34 2.00 54 .200
15 17.8 35 1.78 55 .178
16 15.9 36 1.59 56 .159
17 14.1 37 1.41 57 .141
18 12.6 38 1.26 58 .126
19 11.2 39 1.12 59 .112
20 10.0 40 1.00 60 .100
21 8.90 41 .890 61 .890
22 7.94 42 .794 62 .794
23 7.08 43 .708 63 .708
24 6.31 44 .631 64 .631
25 5.62 45 .562 65 .562
26 5.01 46 .501 66 .501
27 4.47 47 .447 67 .447
28 3.98 48 .398 68 .398
29 3.55 49 .355 69 .355

Power Outage

What happens if I lose power to my computer, controller, and shaker amplifier?

The more recent versions of VibrationVIEW store data in a Temp folder even if “Save data to disk” is not selected on the Data tab in the test settings. The auto-saved Temp file is saved at the time interval set on the Data tab, even if the checkbox is not selected.

To retrieve the saved data, navigate to the Temp directory and select the last saved data file, which is named with a time-stamp. The default is C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Temp (How to show hidden files, folders, and drives in Windows 10).

Refer to the time history or print a report to determine how long the test ran. This information will give you a starting point to continue with the test. You may have to reset your amplifier prior to restarting the test.

What happens if I lose power to my shaker and controller but have UPS backup on my PC?

After the test stop code message “Lost Contact with IO box s/n” appears, you can resume the test as long as power is restored to the amplifier and controller. Otherwise, the data can be manually saved by selecting the Save Data button.

You can also retrieve the data by navigating to the Temp directory and selecting the last saved data file, which is named with a time-stamp. The default is C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Temp (How to show hidden files, folders, and drives in Windows 10).

If you have data set to automatically save at the end of the test, then all information will be saved up to the time that a communication error occurs. You may have to reset your amplifier prior to restarting the test.

What happens if the accelerometer cable breaks while a test is running?

The controller will gently stop the test to prevent transients from passing through your shaker. A stop code with a message similar to “Max acceleration on Ch X” will appear.

Help & Support

How can I use Network Logging for technical support?

The Network Logging feature allows the Vibration Research technical support team to better diagnose communication issues you may have between your I/O unit and control PC.

To enable this feature (version 4.1.10 or later), select Configuration > Hardware. Select “Enable Network Logging (for technical support use).”

To send an information log to Vibration Research for assistance:

  1. Select Help > Help with current test.
  2. Fill in the questions and contact information.
  3. Select Request Help.

If you cannot connect the software to the I/O unit, navigate to the C:\VibrationVIEW directory and email the file named “socket.log. C:\Program Files\VibrationVIEW\socket.log.”

Training

Where do I register for user-training seminars?

See our User-Training Seminars page.

Our seminars are ideal for engineers, test technicians, application engineers, and others who seek to understand the basics of the Vibration Research software as well as the advanced applications and features. The presented topics cater to users of the VR8500, VR9500, and VR10500 vibration controllers and the ObserVR1000 dynamic signal analyzer.

Onsite training is also available. Call Vibration Research Corporation at 616.669.3028 or email vrsales@vibrationresearch.com for a quote.

When is the next free monthly webinar?

See our Free Monthly Webinars page.

Vibration Research is pleased to provide our customers with free webinars held each month. These courses are scheduled for 1 hour; all you need is a web connection and a phone.

You can also browse our Webinar archive.

What other resources are at my disposal?

VRU offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. Resources include:

How Can We Help You?

Contact Us