Tech Note 46 Detail

Undetected ScienceWorkshop 500 on DataStudio

Affected Products:

CI-6400 ScienceWorkshop 500 Interface

When I start DataStudio or ScienceWorkshop, it scans through the COM ports but can not find my ScienceWorkshop 500 interface.

PASCO Solution:


  1. Check that the green power of the ScienceWorkshop interface light is on.
    1. Turn on the power switch located on the back panel of the unit.
    2. Either install fresh batteries or connect an external power adapter.
  2. Install the latest version of DataStudio that is appropriate for you operating system.
  3. Open DataStudio, click the Setup button, select Choose Interface..., and choose ScienceWorkshop 500.
  4. If you have another interface or computer available, try swapping interfaces/computers to establish whether the problem lies with the interface or the computer. If the problem appears to reside in the interface, please contact Teacher Support to return the interface.

Direct Serial Connection

PC Users

  1. Check that you are securely connected to a (RS-232) serial port.
  2. Check that your COM port is enabled in the BIOS. (To enter the BIOS of your computer, reboot while pressing a vendor-specific keystroke to enter "setup". Some computers also require that you disable the internal infrared port to make the external serial port active.)
  3. Check for other software programs that may be reserving the COM (PC) / modem (Mac) port to which the ScienceWorkshop 500 interface is connected.( Offending applets will usually appear in the Tool Tray in the left of the Windows Task Bar. (A common culprit is the Palm Desktop software.)
  4. Set the COM port communication parameters:
    1. Right click on My Computer.
    2. Select Properties.
    3. Select the Hardware tab.
    4. Click the Device Manager button.
    5. Double-click on the logical COM port that is associated with the physical port to which the ScienceWorkshop 500 interface is connected.
    6. Select the logical COM port associated with your hardware.
    7. Set the parameters to
      1. Bits Per Second: 19200
      2. Data Bits: 8
      3. Parity: None
      4. Stop Bits: 1
      5. Flow Control: Hardware

MacOS 9.x

  1. Check that AppleTalk is either turned off or directed at the Ethernet.
  2. Remove any extensions of modem software or unused third-party USB-to-serial adapters that may attempt to use the modem port.

Using a CI-6759 USB-to-Serial Converter

  1. See Tech Note #335.

Using a Third-Party USB-to-Serial Converter

  1. Check with the manufacturer of the USB-to-serial converter for driver updates or compatibility requirements.
  2. If you are using a PC, you must configure the USB-to-serial converter to a COM value of 4 or lower.
    DataStudio will not search higher COM port values. You may assign the SW500 interface to a the same value as another device, if that device is not in use.


  1. To connect to the 500/750 interface directly through the serial cable, you will need version 1.7.2 of DataStudio or earlier.
  2. 3rd-party USB-to-serial adapters or direct serial connections will not work with DataStudio 1.8+, but will work with DataStudio 1.7.2 . If you want to use a newer version of DataStudio, then you must use the CI-6759 USB/Serial Converter.

Creation Date: 01/1/2000
Last Modified: 11/18/2014
Mod Summary: