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PPMS Hacking

  1. Jun 3, 2009 #1
    I am sure a few people have a Quantum Design PPMS. Is anyone else here actively involved in building custom options, and writing custom software, or simply has a lot of experience with it. Quantum Design is (maybe naturally) cautious about giving out blueprints of the sample chamber and such.
    Did anyone produce a good blueprint of the sample chamber in some CAD format? Did someone make a list of undocumented GPIB commands? Does someone understand the temperature controller, how the options are registered in the Multiview Software... I have so many questions that are not really answered by the manual, and there are quite a few quirks of which I don't know if they are common. Is there a forum somewhere for this, a newsgroup, or a mailing list?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2009 #2
    Give Quantum Design a call. They have always been extremely helpful.

    Go to the March APS meeting They will have people there in the exhibition hall. Nice people.
  4. Jun 3, 2009 #3
    Sorry can't go to the APS meeting. The Quantum design people are helpful alright, but I would call "always extremely" an overstatement. If you have a name of a very skilled representative maybe you can private message that to me. I don't really blame them when they cannot help, especially since usually I have to deal with the European support that is not as close to the development team I think. Also there is a reason why many things are not documented: they want to protect the machine from the user.
    I used the word hacking for a reason, reverse engineering, and software modification is something companies don't support, as nice as quantum design might be. Also talking about shortcomings is not really something companies do for legal reasons.
  5. Jun 3, 2009 #4
    Oh, the people I've met are in California.
  6. Jun 3, 2009 #5
    I suppose this thread has just been killed, only solid state guys use the PPMS system. I doubt they read the lounge stuff. -- I don't.
  7. Jun 4, 2009 #6
    ehhh... I've found everything I've needed to know in the manual. The sample chamber isn't that complicated and the temperature stuff is talked about in the manual. The GPIB commands should be standard, but if you want to spy on them you can.
  8. Jun 4, 2009 #7
    The sample chamber might not be complicated, but a nice technical drawing would be good, if you want your insert to fit right away. I am not satisfied with using the PPMS as a black box. As much as people like that. How can GPIB commands be standard? For example: you can set the temperature by "TEMP <temperature> <rate>" as far as I remember from the manual, how would this make sense on a Keithley multimeter? I know that there are ways of spying on the GPIB commands with the driver or with a sniffer, but has anyone ever done it on a PPMS?
    There are probably hundreds of these things standing around in the world, there must be a number of people trying to get more out of them, just like me. Just no one here in this forum :( (grumble)
  9. Oct 20, 2010 #8
    I have been working with a PPMS for a couple of years now and think that it is a double edged sword. It is made to be easy to use but for the very specific purposes that they have designed it for. As physicists we always joke that the PPMS is made for chemists ;) If you are doing run of the mill resistivity, specific heat, VSM measurements, well within the parameters that QD says they can hit, you're fine. You run into problems if you try to push the temp/vacuum/noise limits of the system; also if something breaks b/c it is designed to be a black box. My experience w/ QD staff is that they will grudgingly help but usually mention that what they are about to tell you can be found in the manual(however obscure and buried it may be). They will talk to you like you are an idiot the whole time but if you are persistent enough they will usually help you fix the problem. RE: GPIB...there are ways to send commands to the PPMS in command mode and immediate to have it do what you want. I run two types of experiments in which I take data on an external computer using Labview. You can use the "Analog Output" in the "Instrument" drop down menu to send a voltage out that is linked to Temp/Field/... You can then write some low level labview program to read the voltage from the analog outputs. If you really dig in to the software manual for the PPMS there are a lot of interface options but I haven't need to/spent the time to figure it out. RE: Sample chamber: Again, I bugged them enough to send me a technical drawing, not CAD, of the chamber and a probe that had dimensions on it. You can also just take a pair of calipers to the chamber opening and measure it. Its very close to the ID of the chamber itself from what I remember. Good luck!!
  10. Oct 23, 2010 #9
    Thanks for the information. I hope that I can meet people who are expert in that PPMS. And probably I can gain more information to them. :D
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