Dynamics cart systems: Vernier vs. Pasco?

  • #1
I'm new to this forum, so please forgive if this is posted in the wrong thread and redirect me.

I teach high school Physics and we just got a large unexpected grant which means I can finally buy a set of dynamics cart and track systems for my classroom.

I am trying to decide between buying the Vernier tech or the Pasco tech, and am looking for any advice that people might have from their experiences with either of these systems. My goal is to have a durable, reliable, flexible system for collecting data during experiments on kinematics, Newton's Laws of Motion, momentum, collisions, etc. and analyze the data on the computer.

I have a set of Vernier LabPros and for years have used their motion detectors and force probes with the clunky carts I posses. I am happy with the interface (LoggerPro), and happy with the quality of the Vernier company. My hesitation to go with Vernier is that I have a sense that Pasco is the standard for dynamics carts and tracks, and so I assume the quality and tech is more stable (they've had more time to iron out the kinks). For both systems I'm looking at the "smart" version, where the cart itself has detectors built in ("Smart Cart" for Pasco, and "Motion Encoder System" for Vernier).

I can compare the stated capabilities of the two systems online, but am particularly interested in any pertinent information that doesn't show up there that comes from peoples' experience with the systems, like, say...
  • the ergonomics (i.e. "I wanted to modify an experiment by running a string from the other end of the cart, but couldn't because the bracket at the end of the track blocked it")
  • durability
  • breadth of experiments that can be done
  • any annoyances with a system
  • any features of a system that you found you love (but the other system may not have)
  • ease of use of the detectors, communications, and software.
As usual, my decision has to come in a hurry, so if you have any advice I'd love to hear it as soon as possible!

Thanks much,
Greg Craven
Independence, OR
 
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I've had lots of experience with Vernier equipment, but not with the dynamics cart. It sounds like you already know, but they have great customer service. Every contact I've had with the company has been very positive.

Are you aware they have stopped producing the LabPro?
 
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robphy
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At the places I have taught, it's been PASCO for tracks and [classic non-smart] carts.
Recently, I've used PASCO's Super Fan Cart (ME-6977), which can activate the fan for a specific interval after short time delay.
[I use it to study a short interval of constant acceleration, after a short interval of constant velocity motion.]
I have no experience with the encoder carts.
https://www.vernier.com/til/1632/ describes how carts and tracks work between Vernier and PASCO.

However, for sensors, it's about 50-50... some places I've taught use Vernier and the others use PASCO.

At my current institution, we use Vernier sensors with PASCO carts and tracks.

In my past experience, I've been happy with both companies and their hardware and software products.

With Vernier, I can put a face to the company because Dave Vernier often attends the AAPT meetings.
Sometimes I get to chat with him in his demonstration area in the exhibit hall.

Another thing to note (in your case), the Vernier company is located in Beaverton OR,
about an hour away from Independence OR [according to Google Maps].
They occasionally run workshops there.
 
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I've had lots of experience with Vernier equipment, but not with the dynamics cart. It sounds like you already know, but they have great customer service. Every contact I've had with the company has been very positive.

Are you aware they have stopped producing the LabPro?
Yes, I know they've stopped producing LabPros, but I still have a class set. It looks like I'm going to get the Vernier Dynamics Cart and Track System with Go Direct Sensor cart. The cart has a motion encoder wheel (for measuring position and its derivatives) and force probe built into it, and it communicates directly to the computer by bluetooth (if you have a newer computer running Windows 10, which I don't). I spent 45 minutes on the phone with Vernier (great customer service!) confirming that I can kludge together a system whereby the sensor cart communicates wirelessly with a LabQuest 2 (which we have), which communicates via USB to the computer running Windows 7. This will work for my purposes until our computers are updated in a few years.

Thanks for the reply!
 

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