PASCO Capstone Software Introduction

Hi, my name is Andy Spoone. In this video we’re going to take a look at getting started with PASCO Capstone software. I’m also going to be using the 850 Universal Interface, connected to our PASPORT Motion Sensor. Hanging above is a spring with a mass that’s going to be oscillating. To confirm what I have connected here to my PASCO Capstone software, I’m going to begin by taking a look at my Tools palette and opening up the Hardware Setup. This is found down the left hand side of your screen at the top of the Tools. You’ll see that I have the 850 connected, showing all the ports available. You’ll see that port number four is connected to my Motion Sensor, which is confirmed by this green line connecting them. I can quickly dismiss the Hardware Setup just by clicking on it again. Now let’s start getting ready for data collection. I’m going to begin by selecting one of the QuickStart templates. I’m going to choose the Table & Graph template. And I’m going to go ahead and select my measurements for these columns. I’m going to put Position and Velocity in my table, and I’m going to select Position for my graph measurement. Now we can begin recording by selecting the Record button in the lower left hand corner. Let’s go ahead and oscillate our spring. You’ll see that we have live data collection going on in our table and our graph. We can further zoom in on our graph by selecting the Scale button in the toolbar. Notice that our graph also is scaling the time axis to make sure that all the data is visible. Let’s go ahead and stop recording. Now I’m going to make a full-page graph, which will allow me to add a couple plot areas, and also allow me to dismiss the table, which I’m not really using right now. Let’s insert a new page by clicking on the Add New Page button. Instead of choosing one of the templates for this one, I’m going to double-click the Graph button in my Displays palette. This creates a full-screen graph, where I can select my measurements. I’m going to begin with Position and add a couple other plot areas for Velocity and Acceleration. Once again, I can scale all those at the same time. Notice right now I have Run #1 showing. Let’s go ahead and see what happens whenever I start recording Run #2. You’ll see that the default behavior is to hide Run #1 and only show you one run at a time, which, in this case, is the most recent Run #2. Let’s stop recording and go back into our toolbar. You’ll see the Run Display Options button has a drop-down beside it. This shows me all the runs that are currently available. You’ll see Run #2 is checked, but I can quickly select Run #1 to take a look at it. Now let’s say we want to look at both of the runs at the same time. The Run Display button also is a toggle for that behavior. So now I can go through and select more than one run, so I see Run #1 and Run #2. Let’s go ahead and collect Run #3 to see what happens. Now you see both my two previously recorded runs and Run #3. Let’s go ahead and stop recording. Just to confirm that this graph is not just showing me my runs, I can also see that all my runs and measurements are available via my Data Summary, which is the next button found in my Tools palette. Here you’ll see that I have a Motion Sensor connected, which has Position, Velocity, and Acceleration data available. And I have three runs for each one of those. Now let’s pin that to our screen by clicking on the pin in the upper right hand corner of that box and delete the last run. Notice when we deleted that run, it removed it both from my graph and also from our Data Summary. You may have also noticed that we didn’t get a confirmation dialog asking us if we really were sure that we want to delete that run. That’s because Capstone has the ability to undo all actions, including the deletion of runs. Let’s go ahead and hit that Undo button, and now you’ll see you have Run #3 reappear in your graph and back inside of your Sensor Data Summary. I can dismiss the Data Summary just by selecting it again in the Tools palette. For this last step I want to go through and customize my graph so I can present it to my teacher. Let’s go ahead and uncheck Run #1 and Run #2 — just zoom in on Run #3. I’m also going to go ahead and turn off my title, which is shown by default here in the lower left hand corner. I can do that by selecting my graph display Properties. Notice this is also where you will have other, further control in your Graph Display Options, such as your Active Data Appearance, your Future Data Appearance, the Display Background options, the Display Appearance. Notice that my Show Title is currently checked. That’s the default behavior, so I’m going to go ahead and uncheck that and confirm that with the OK button. You’ll see that the graph title is no longer being shown. In my last step, I’m going to take a look at how to smooth out some of our data. Let’s take a further look at what I currently have. In my position plot area, I have my position data for Run #3. Velocity is the first derivative of that position data, and it looks fairly smooth. Acceleration is my second derivative of that data, and we’re starting to see that it doesn’t look very smooth at all. Capstone introduces the ability to quickly access the smoothing of that data. Just confirming that you have that plot area selected and that data selected, we can go up into the toolbar and slide it. You’ll see very quickly, with just a little bit of the movement of that slider, we’re able to [smooth] our data. This can be done individually for each one of my plot areas, so I can also do this for my velocity. That’s how we can finely customize our displays so we can present them later on. Thanks for joining us in this video. I hope you enjoyed it.

6 thoughts on “PASCO Capstone Software Introduction

  1. If you check the position vs time graph once it's rescaled at 1:27, you'll see that the initial position is actually 0.36m, the distance from the Motion Sensor to the bottom of the mass.

    However, if you do want to define the initial position as zero, be sure to update to the current version of PASCO Capstone, version 1.0.1, which adds the ability to set the initial reading to zero. You'll find this feature in the Properties of the Motion Sensor in the Data Summary panel.

  2. PASCO Capstone version 1.1.1 includes the ability to delete (or just exclude) data points. In a table or graph, highlight the points you'd like to delete and then either right-click on the highlight and choose delete or select the delete tool from the display's toolbar.

    Get the free update to PASCO Capstone 1.1.1 from the Downloads page of

  3. I bought some PASCO Experiment kits  and I will be using PASCO Capstone…what would be the best PC to run the program. Can any one inform me….

  4. I noticed that the equilibrium position for the spring is at 0.36 m. Is there any way to change that so the spring starts at the position 0?

  5. Is this the best sotware for high school students? Does any one have other suggestions? I heard about a software called CS. Has anyone heard about it?

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