Let’s talk about air quality data! Join us for Open Call on this topic every Tuesday until Dec. 14. Click here for details!

Public Lab Wiki documentation

Spectral Workbench Help

This is a revision from December 20, 2012 16:54. View all revisions
2 | 29 | | #886

Quick Links


We are compiling a list of common questions at the Spectrometry FAQ wiki page. Lots of useful Q&A.

In general, if you have trouble, you can post questions to the spectrometry mailing list by signing up on this site, and subscribing to the "plots-spectrometry" list. Or sign up here:

Software troubleshooting

Common software issues are listed on the Spectral Workbench Usage page

The software at SpectralWorkbench.org is still under heavy development and will improve in coming weeks and months. We can definitely use help, even just in documenting problems, or suggesting new interfaces or solutions. You can post requests for help, suggestions, or report bugs on Github at:

File an issue »

Look over the issues listed, and see if your problem already exists, or is already answered.

Hardware troubleshooting

Some issues, especially at first, are due to hardware, whether because assembly instructions were unclear, or you missed a step, or something went wrong. Please add your own here if you don't see what you're looking for, and ask someone on the mailing list to help you answer it.

The blue LED in the Desktop kit is interfering with the image. What can I do?

Use a left over piece of the black paper to make a partition between the LED and the lens. Cut it to size and friction will keep it in place.

I can't turn the webcam lens, what gives?

Make sure you are grabbing the lens at the top. There is a serrated ring at the base of the camera, which looks like it might turn. It does not. That is not what you want. The lens itself is above that.


Offline (deprecated) software issues:

Linux app wont boot - this may be due to the absence of the GSVideo library. Copy the folder called "libraries" from your /spectral_workbench/ directory into your Processing "sketchbook". It should contain the GSVideo library and the ControlP5 library. Now restart Processing or reopen the app.

In your request, consider:

  • Did you launch the platform-specific version in the Mac OS X or Windows folders, or run it from within Processing (http://processing.org)?
    • If you're having trouble, please try the Processing version, as it generates more useful error output.
  • If you run it in Processing (processing.org) can you copy and paste the debug output from the Processing window and post/send it? That's much easier to diagnose.
  • Do you have a webcam and does it work normally in Photo Booth (mac), Cheese (linux), VLC (windows and linux) or whatever webcam app Windows has?
    • Did you close other webcam-using applications and free up your webcam before launching Spectral Workbench?

Windows Installation Instructions

These instructions assume that you will be installing Java, QuickTime and WinVDIG (see below) in the default locations. If you install them somewhere else, then be sure to change the file locations as required.

Install Apple QuickTime

  • Go to Apple's QuickTime page and follow the instructions from there.
  • You can use the default settings during installation.

Move QuickTime for Java

  • There should be a file called 'QTJava.zip' at C:\Program Files (x86)\QuickTime\QTSystem\
  • Copy the file to C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre6\lib\ext\
  • The file might already be there. If so, there's no need to copy it again.

Install WinVDIG

  • Download WinVDIG Version 1.01 (note that only version 1.01 works, not newer versions)
  • Save the file and run it. You can accept all the defaults during installation.
  • After it's installed and you click 'Finish', a window should open called 'QTCap' and it will show you a black box or your webcam stream, if it's plugged in.
  • If you don't see your webcame stream, then choose 'Monitor' from the menu, then 'Video Settings'.
  • Change the drop-down box to 'Source' and choose your webcam from the list.
  • On the right-hand side, change the dropdown box labelled 'Preview' from 'None' to 'Compressed'.
  • You should see your webcam feed displayed in the box.
  • Click 'OK'.
  • Close the QTCap window.

Run Spectral Workbench

  • Go to the folder in which you unzipped Spectral Workbench
  • From there, change to the folder called \spectrometry_kit\application.windows
  • Run spectrometry_kit.exe

You should see a grey screen and the QTCap window again

  • Click 'None' from the 'Compression Type' drop-down box.
  • Click 'OK'.
  • In a few seconds, spectral workbench should start analysing your webcam data.

The above instructions were transcribed from these instructions. You might find more information there if your installation still doesn't work!

Mac OS X

  • What version of Mac OS X are you using?
  • If you see a grey screen, does a your webcam light up for a moment? There is a bug where a popup window asks you to choose a camera, but it can't come to the front because the app is fullscreen. You might try apple-tab once you see the green light come on.