Reference 600+ Potentiostat User`s Manual
Reference 600+
Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA
Operator’s Manual
Copyright  2015 Gamry Instruments, Inc.
Revision 6.02
December 1, 2015
988-00006
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If You Have Problems
Please visit our service and support page at www.gamry.com/service-support/. This page contains information
on installation, software updates, and training. It also contains links to the latest available documentation. If you
are unable to locate the information you need from our website, contact us via email using the link provided
on our website. Alternatively, you can contact us one of the following ways:
Internet
www.gamry.com/service-support/
Telephone
(215) 682-9330 9:00 AM–5:00 PM US Eastern Standard Time
(877) 367-4267 Toll Free US & Canada Only
Please have your instrument model and serial numbers available, as well as any applicable software and
firmware revisions.
If you have problems in installation or use of a system containing a Reference 600+, please try to call from a
telephone next to your computer, where you can type and read the screen while talking to us.
We will be happy to provide a reasonable level of free support for registered users of the Reference 600+
Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA. Reasonable support includes telephone assistance covering the normal
installation, use, and simple customization of a computerized system containing a Reference 600+ connected
to a Windows®-compatible computer.
A service contract that extends both the hardware warranty and software update period is available at an
additional charge. Software updates do not include software enhancements offered to our customers at
additional cost.
Enhancements to the Reference 600+ and Gamry’s standard applications software that require significant
engineering time on our part can be performed on a contract basis. Contact us with your requirements.
1
Limited Warranty
Gamry Instruments, Inc. warrants to the original user of this product that it shall be free of defects resulting from
faulty manufacture of the product or its components for a period of two years from the original shipment date
of your purchase.
Gamry Instruments, Inc. makes no warranties regarding either the satisfactory performance of the Reference
600+ Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA including the software provided with this product or the fitness of the
product for any particular purpose. The remedy for breach of this Limited Warranty shall be limited solely to
repair or replacement, as determined by Gamry Instruments, Inc., and shall not include other damages.
Gamry Instruments, Inc. reserves the right to make revisions to the system at any time without incurring any
obligation to install same on systems previously purchased. All system specifications are subject to change
without notice.
There are no warranties which extend beyond the description herein. This warranty is in lieu of, and
excludes any and all other warranties or representations, expressed, implied or statutory, including
merchantability and fitness, as well as any and all other obligations or liabilities of Gamry Instruments,
Inc., including but not limited to, special or consequential damages.
This Limited Warranty gives you specific legal rights and you may have others, which vary from state to state.
Some states do not allow for the exclusion of incidental or consequential damages.
No person, firm or corporation is authorized to assume for Gamry Instruments, Inc., any additional obligation
or liability not expressly provided herein except in writing duly executed by an officer of Gamry Instruments,
Inc.
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Disclaimers
Gamry Instruments, Inc. cannot guarantee that the Reference 600+ Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA will work
with all computer systems, operating systems, and third party software applications hardware/software.
The information in this manual has been carefully checked and is believed to be accurate as of the time of
printing. However, Gamry Instruments, Inc. assumes no responsibility for errors that might appear.
Copyrights
Reference 600+ Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA Operator’s Manual, copyright  2007–2015, Gamry
Instruments, Inc., all rights reserved.
Gamry Framework copyright  1989–2015, Gamry Instruments, Inc., all rights reserved.
Reference 600+, ECM8, Interface 1000, Gamry Framework, and Gamry are trademarks of Gamry
Instruments, Inc.
Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Teflon is a registered trademark of E.I. du Pont de
Nemours and Company. Vycor is a registered trademark of Corning Incorporated. Intel is a trademark of Intel
Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.
No part of this document may be copied or reproduced in any form without the prior written consent of
Gamry Instruments, Inc.
3
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Safety Considerations ................................................................................................... 3
Inspection ........................................................................................................................ 3
Product Safety .................................................................................................................. 3
AC Mains Connection to the Power Brick ......................................................................... 3
Grounding in the Reference 600+ ................................................................................... 4
Operation with Earth-Grounded Cells and Auxiliary Apparatus .......................................... 5
Temperature and Ventilation ............................................................................................ 5
Defects and Abnormal Stresses ......................................................................................... 6
Environmental Limits ........................................................................................................ 6
Cleaning........................................................................................................................... 6
Service ............................................................................................................................. 7
RF Warning ...................................................................................................................... 7
Electrical Transient Sensitivity ........................................................................................... 7
CE Compliance ................................................................................................................ 8
RoHS Compliance ............................................................................................................ 8
Chapter 2: Introduction ................................................................................................................. 9
About this Manual ............................................................................................................ 9
About the Reference 600+ .............................................................................................. 9
Notational Conventions .................................................................................................... 10
Chapter 3: Instrument Circuitry ..................................................................................................... 11
Reference 600+ Schematics and Block Diagrams ............................................................. 11
Chapter 4: Installation ................................................................................................................... 19
Initial Visual Inspection ..................................................................................................... 20
Physical Location .............................................................................................................. 20
Computer Requirements .................................................................................................. 20
Quick-start Guide for System Installation .......................................................................... 21
Software Installation ......................................................................................................... 21
Reboot your Computer after Software Installation ............................................................. 21
Power Cord and Power Connection.................................................................................. 22
Power-up Test .................................................................................................................. 23
USB Cables ...................................................................................................................... 23
Front Panel USB LED ........................................................................................................ 24
Cell Cable Installation ....................................................................................................... 24
Multiple Potentiostat Systems ........................................................................................... 24
First-time Device Installation in Windows®........................................................................ 25
Running the Framework ................................................................................................... 25
Framework Device Status Bar ........................................................................................... 25
Gamry Instrument Manager .............................................................................................. 26
Changing the Label ........................................................................................................... 27
Firmware Update ............................................................................................................. 29
Calibration ....................................................................................................................... 30
Separate Calibration for Each Type of Reference 600+ Cable .............................. 30
DC and AC Calibration ........................................................................................ 31
Low I Range DC Calibration ................................................................................ 32
Chapter 5: Cell Connections .......................................................................................................... 35
Normal Cell Connections.................................................................................................. 35
ZRA Mode Cell Connections ............................................................................................ 36
Membrane Cell Connections ............................................................................................ 37
Chapter 6: Panel Indicators and Connectors .................................................................................. 39
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Front Panel....................................................................................................................... 39
Cell Cable Connector .......................................................................................... 39
The Power LED ................................................................................................... 39
The USB LED ...................................................................................................... 40
Cell On LED ........................................................................................................ 41
Overload LED ..................................................................................................... 41
Rear Panel........................................................................................................................ 42
Power In Jack ...................................................................................................... 42
Power Switch ...................................................................................................... 42
Chassis Ground ................................................................................................... 43
USB Port ............................................................................................................. 43
Thermocouple Input............................................................................................ 44
Misc. I/O Connector ............................................................................................ 45
I Monitor BNC .................................................................................................... 45
E Monitor BNC.................................................................................................... 46
Ext. Sig. In BNC ................................................................................................... 47
Sig. Gen. Out BNC .............................................................................................. 47
Aux. In BNC ........................................................................................................ 48
Chapter 7: Stability in Potentiostat Mode ....................................................................................... 49
Capacitive Cells and Stability ............................................................................................ 49
Improving Potentiostat Stability ......................................................................................... 49
Chapter 8: Measurement of Small Signals ...................................................................................... 53
Overview ......................................................................................................................... 53
Measurement System Model and Physical Limitations ....................................................... 53
Johnson Noise in Zcell ......................................................................................... 54
Finite Input Capacitance ...................................................................................... 55
Leakage Currents and Input Impedance ............................................................... 55
Voltage Noise and DC Measurements .................................................................. 56
Shunt Resistance and Capacitance ....................................................................... 56
Hints for System and Cell Design ...................................................................................... 57
Faraday Shield..................................................................................................... 57
Avoid External Noise Sources .............................................................................. 57
Cell Cable Length and Construction ..................................................................... 58
Lead Placement................................................................................................... 58
Cell Construction................................................................................................. 58
Reference Electrode ............................................................................................ 58
Instrument Settings .............................................................................................. 59
EIS Speed ............................................................................................................ 59
Ancillary Apparatus ............................................................................................. 59
Floating Operation ........................................................................................................... 59
Appendix A: Reference 600+ Specifications .................................................................................. 61
Appendix B: Reference 600+ Cell Cable Connector ...................................................................... 67
Appendix C: Misc. I/O Connector .................................................................................................. 69
Appendix D: Auxiliary A/D Input Characteristics ............................................................................ 71
Aux A/D Specifications ..................................................................................................... 71
Function Call to Set the Aux A/D BNC Characteristics ....................................................... 71
Appendix E: CE Certificate............................................................................................................. 73
Declaration of Conformity ................................................................................................ 73
Certificate of Conformance ............................................................................................... 74
Comprehensive Index.................................................................................................................... 75
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Chapter 1: Safety Considerations
Your Reference 600+ Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA has been supplied in a safe condition. This chapter of
the Reference 600+ Operator’s Manual contains some information and warnings that you must follow to
ensure continued safe operation of the Reference 600+.
Inspection
When you receive your Reference 600+ Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA, inspect it for evidence of shipping
damage. If you find any damage, please notify Gamry Instruments Inc. and the shipping carrier
immediately. Save the shipping container for possible inspection by the carrier.
Warning: A Reference 600+ damaged in shipment can be a safety hazard. Do not
operate damaged apparatus until a qualified service technician has verified its safety. Tag a damaged
Reference 600+ to indicate that it could be a safety hazard.
Product Safety
The Reference 600+ has been designed, tested and certified to meet the requirements of EN 61010,
Safety requirements for electrical equipment for measurement, control, and laboratory use. As defined in
this standard, it is a Category II apparatus, with any “hazardous live voltages” protected by “reinforced
insulation”.
Most of the Reference 600+ circuitry operates at voltages low enough to be considered safe. The
Reference 600+ contains a limited amount of internal circuitry that is at “hazardous live” voltages as
defined in EN 61010 (the standard mentioned above). “Reinforced insulation” (again defined in EN 61010)
is used to reduce the risk of electrical shock due to this “hazardous live” voltage.
The majority of the Reference 600+’s circuitry does not contain voltages higher than 30 V DC. As a
generalization, input and output voltages in the Reference 600+ are limited to 24 V. This voltage level is
considered safe.
The “AC Adapter” supplied with the Reference 600+ is certified under EN 60950. The AC Adapter
converts the AC mains voltage to 24 V DC, which is used to power the Reference 600+.
Always use the AC adapter (power brick) supplied with your Reference 600+ to supply DC power to the
instrument.
Caution: Do not use a DC power source other than the AC adapter model provided
with your Reference 600+. Other replacements may void the performance and/or safety characteristics
of the Reference 600+.
AC Mains Connection to the Power Brick
The Reference 600+ does not connect directly to an AC Mains supply. Instead, the mains are connected
to desktop AC adapter (power brick), which outputs 24 V DC and in turn powers the Reference 600+.
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The Reference 600+’s AC Adapter is rated for operation from 100 to 240 V AC, 47 to 63
Hz. It should therefore be useful throughout the world.
The Reference 600+ is normally provided with an AC line cord suitable for your location. This AC line
cord connects the AC mains to the AC power adapter. If your Reference 600+ has been provided without
an AC line cord, or a cord that is not compatible with your local AC mains socket, obtain a line cord
certified for use in your country. Contact your local Gamry Representative or email to
[email protected] if you are uncertain what AC line cord to use.
Grounding in the Reference 600+
The circuitry and the metal case of the Reference 600+ are not connected to an earth ground. If they
were connected to earth ground, it would compromise the Reference 600+’s ability to make
measurements in electrochemical cells that contain earth grounded metal. A few examples of such cells
include autoclaves, metallographic stress apparatus, and detectors for capillary electrophoresis.
Most electrochemical cells are isolated from earth ground, so isolation of the Reference 600+ from earth is
not required. In these cases, connection of the Reference 600+ chassis to an earth ground may lower the
noise seen in an electrochemical test. A Chassis Ground binding post on the rear panel of the Reference
600+ makes for easy implementation of this connection. Simply run a wire from this binding post to a
suitable source of earth ground. A black 1.2-meter wire is provided with the Reference 600+ to ease this
connection.
Sources of earth ground include
• Most metal water pipes,
• The chassis of most electronic apparatus (which are generally earth-grounded), and
• The protective ground terminal of an AC mains power plug.
We recommend that you discuss grounding with an electrical or electronics professional prior to
making this earth-ground connection.
Note this connection of the Reference 600+ to an earth ground is not a “Protective Earth Ground” as
defined in EN 61010. The Reference 600+ is safe in the absence of this connection.
Warning: Do not connect the chassis ground binding post to any voltage other than
earth ground. An improper connection can create a safety hazard, which could result in personal injury
or death.
4
Operation with Earth-Grounded Cells and Auxiliary Apparatus
As described above, the Reference 600+ circuitry is isolated from earth ground, allowing it to make
measurements on cells that include an earth ground. This ground isolation is often called floating
operation. Cells with earth ground include many autoclaves, pipelines and storage tanks, and many fuel
cell systems.
Connection of the Reference 600+ to auxiliary apparatus will often earth-ground the Reference 600+
destroying its ability to float and make measurements on earth-grounded cells. Connection of the Monitor
BNCs to an oscilloscope is an example where the instrument is earthed.
The User I/O connector can be connected to earth-grounded apparatus without earth-grounding the
Reference 600+, if the cabling is done carefully. The metal shell on the Reference 600+ User I/O
Connector is connected to the instrument’s chassis which is a floating ground. In a system that needs
isolation from earth ground, the shield of your I/O cable must not connect the D-connector’s metal shell to
earth ground. Reference all user I/O signals to pin 6 of the D-connector, which is earth ground on the
Reference 600+.
Caution: Floating operation of the Reference 600+ can be compromised by improper
cables to your I/O Connector. We do not recommend use of standard 15-pin shielded cables with this
connector. Custom cables with the shield connected to pin 6 of the D-connector are preferred.
Warning: Do not connect the chassis ground binding post to any voltage other than
earth ground. An improper connection can create a safety hazard, which could result in personal injury
or death.
The Reference 600+ contains spark-gap surge suppressors that limit the voltage difference between the
Reference 600+’s chassis ground and earth ground to about 90 V. These surge suppressors are not part of
the safety mechanisms in the Reference 600+. Instead they are present to limit the possibility of improper
instrument operation or instrument damage caused by electrostatic discharge (static electricity) and other
surge events such as lightning.
Temperature and Ventilation
Your Reference 600+ Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA was designed for indoor use at ambient temperatures
between 0°C and 45°C.
The Reference 600+ uses forced air-cooling to keep its electronic components within their operating
temperature range. Air is drawn into the Reference 600+ chassis through slots located on the sides of the
chassis near the front panel. The air exits through the two fans at the rear of the unit.
5
Caution: Do not block the airflow into or out of the Reference 600+ chassis. While the
circuitry should suffer no damage caused by excessive heat, the Reference 600+ enclosure may
become uncomfortably hot to the touch if insufficient air flows through the chassis. Running the
Reference 600+ without adequate cooling could shorten the time to failure of some of the circuitry.
Be careful when operating the Reference 600+ in an enclosed space (such as an enclosed relay rack or
NEMA enclosure). The temperature within the enclosure must not exceed 45°C. You may need to provide
ventilation holes or even forced-air cooling for the enclosed space if excessive temperature rise occurs.
Defects and Abnormal Stresses
Treat your Reference 600+ as potentially hazardous if any of the following is true of the unit:
 It shows visible damage,
 It does not operate properly,
 It has been stored for a long period of time under unfavorable conditions,
 It has been dropped or subjected to severe transport stress,
 It has been subjected to environmental stress (corrosive atmosphere, fire, etc.).
Do not use your Reference 600+ or any other apparatus if you think it could be hazardous. Have it
checked by qualified service personnel.
Environmental Limits
There are environmental limit conditions on the storage, shipping and operation of this equipment. The
Reference 600+ has not been designed for outdoor use.
Storage
Shipping
Ambient Temperature
Relative Humidity
–40°C to 75°C
Maximum 90% non-condensing
Same as storage plus
Acceleration
Maximum 30 G
Ambient Temperature
Relative Humidity
0°C to 45°C
Maximum 90% non-condensing
Operation
Warning: The Reference 600+ is not designed for operation in conditions where
liquid water may enter the chassis, or water vapor may condense within the chassis. Operation of a
Reference 600+ that has water within the chassis can create a safety hazard, which could result in
personal injury or death.
Cleaning
Disconnect the Reference 600+ from all power sources prior to cleaning.
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Use a cloth lightly dampened with either clean water or water containing a mild detergent, to clean the
outside of the Reference 600+ enclosure. Alternatively, you may use isopropyl alcohol. Do not use a wet
rag or allow fluid to enter the Reference 600+ enclosure. Do not immerse the Reference 600+ in any type
of cleaning fluid (including water). Do not use any abrasive cleaners.
Service
Your Reference 600+ Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA has no user-serviceable parts inside. Refer all service to
a qualified service technician.
Warning: Never operate the Reference 600+ with any cover or panel on the
chassis open. Dangerous voltages may be present at several points within the Reference 600+ chassis,
including PC board traces. Always remove the power connection before opening the Reference 600+
case.
RF Warning
Your Reference 600+ Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA generates, uses, and can radiate radio-frequency
energy. The radiated levels are low enough that the Reference 600+ should not create an interference
problem in most industrial laboratory environments.
The Reference 600+ has been tested for both radiated and conducted RF interference and has been found
to be in compliance with FCC Part 18 and EN 61326:1998—Electrical equipment for measurement,
control, and laboratory use—EMC Requirements.
Electrical Transient Sensitivity
Your Reference 600+ Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA was designed to offer reasonable immunity from
electrical transients, including transients on the incoming AC mains supply and electrostatic discharge. It
has been tested for compliance with EN 61326:1998—Electrical equipment for measurement, control, and
laboratory use—EMC Requirements describing acceptable limits for electrical transient susceptibility in
laboratory test equipment. The Reference 600+ is not rated for continuous use when subject to ESD
events. It should suffer no permanent damage when subject to the standard ESD events defined in
EN61326, but may cease normal operation until it is powered down and restarted.
In severe cases, the Reference 600+ could malfunction as a result of electrical transients such as a static
discharge. If you are having problems in this regard, the following steps may help:
If the problem is static electricity (sparks are apparent when you touch the Reference 600+ or its cables):





Try placing your Reference 600+ on a static-control work surface. Static-control work surfaces are
now generally available from computer-supply houses and electronics-tool suppliers. An antistatic
floor mat may also help, particularly if a carpet is involved in generating the static electricity.
Air ionizers or even simple air humidifiers can reduce the voltage available in static discharges.
If the problem is AC power-line transients (often from large electrical motors near the Reference
600+):
Try plugging your Reference 600+ into a different AC power branch circuit.
Plug your Reference into a power-line surge-suppressor. Inexpensive surge-suppressors are now
generally available because of their use with computer equipment.
Contact Gamry Instruments, Inc. if these measures do not solve the problem.
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CE Compliance
The European Community has instituted standards limiting radio frequency interference emitted by
electronic devices, setting limits for susceptibility of apparatus to RF energy and transient events, and
mandating safety requirements. Gamry Instruments, Inc. has designed and tested the Reference 600+ to
comply with these standards.
The relevant CE regulations include EN 61010 and EN 61326.
RoHS Compliance
The Reference 600+ has been built using lead-free components and lead-free solder. It is in compliance
with the European RoHS initiative.
8
Chapter 2: Introduction
About this Manual
This manual covers the installation, safety, and use of the Gamry Instruments Reference 600+
Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA.
This manual describes use of a Reference 600+ with Revision 7.0 (and later revisions) of the Gamry
Framework software. It is equally useful when setting up a newly-purchased potentiostat or modifying the
setup of an older potentiostat for use with new software.
Chapter 1 was an in-depth discussion of safety issues. This chapter describes this manual and gives a brief
overview of the Reference 600+ features. Chapter 3 is a description of the electronic circuitry in the
Reference 600+. Chapter 4 contains Reference 600+ installation instructions. Chapter 5 describes cell
cable-connections and Chapter 6 describes the Reference 600+’s front and rear panels. Chapter 7 covers
the difficult issues of potentiostat stability and approaches to prevent oscillation. Chapter 8 discusses the
realities of low-current, high-impedance measurements.
Dry technical material such as specifications and connector pin-outs is in the Appendices.
This manual does not discuss software installation or software operation in any detail.
Software support for the Reference 600+ is described in the Gamry Framework’s Help system.
All the Gamry Instruments’ applications running under the Gamry Framework control the Reference 600+
via a PSTAT object. See the Framework Help system for information concerning PSTAT objects and their
functions.
About the Reference 600+
The Reference 600+ Potentiostat is a research-grade electrochemical instrument packaged in a small,
easy-to-handle case. It offers measurement capabilities similar to instruments that are more than ten times
its size and weight and more than twice its price. The Reference 600+ can operate as a potentiostat, a
galvanostat, or a ZRA (zero-resistance ammeter).
Reference 600+ features include:




Eleven-decade current auto-ranging,
Electrical isolation from earth ground,
Current-interrupt iR compensation, and
Both analog and digital filtering.
A sine-wave generator on the Reference 600+ allows its use for impedance measurements at frequencies
up to 5 MHz. Data can be acquired at frequencies up to 300 000 points per second, allowing cyclic
voltammetry at scan rates of 1500 V/s with a resolution of 5 mV per point.
A unique DSP (Digital Signal Processing) data-acquisition mode allows the Reference 600+ to reject noise
from the instrument itself, from the electrochemical cell, and from the lab environment. In many cases
where other instruments require a cell in a Faraday shield to make quiet measurements, the Reference
600+ can be used with the cell exposed on a bench top.
The Reference 600+ offers an unprecedented combination of high speed, high sensitivity, and low noise.
At the time this is written, the Reference 600+ offers the widest EIS performance area (in a plot of
impedance versus frequency) of any Potentiostat. State-of-the-art analog components were used
throughout the design. In all design decisions, performance weighed more heavily than product cost.
The Reference 600+, like all Gamry potentiostats, requires a computer for its use. Unlike our older
potentiostats, the Reference 600+ connects to the computer through a USB connection. The USB
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connection has become truly universal, with USB ports found on all modern computers. Gamry’s software
currently supports up to 16 Reference 600+ Potentiostats connected to one computer.
The Reference 600+ is isolated from earth ground. It can therefore be used to make measurements on
cells that contain an earth-grounded metal. A few of the many examples of such systems are autoclaves,
large metal storage tanks, stress apparatus, and capillary electrophoresis detectors.
Notational Conventions
In order to make this manual more readable we have adopted some notational conventions. These are
used throughout this manual and all other Gamry Instruments manuals:



Numbered lists. A numbered list is reserved for step-by-step procedures, with the steps always
performed sequentially.
Bulleted list. The items in a bulleted list, such as this one, are grouped together because they
represent similar items. The order of items in the list is not critical.
File names and folders. Inside paragraphs, references to computer files and Windows ® folders are
capitalized and placed within quotes, for example: “C:\MYGAMRYDATA\CV.DTA” and
“GAMRY5.INI”.
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Chapter 3: Instrument Circuitry
Reference 600+ Schematics and Block Diagrams
If you are not familiar with electronic schematics or potentiostats, you probably want to skip this chapter.
This information is for expert use only and is not required for routine use of the Reference 600+.
The following figures are partly schematic diagrams and partly block diagrams. They are intended to show
the basic principles of the Reference 600+ without the confusion of the full circuitry details. The
complexity of the Reference 600+ can be quite daunting: the Reference 600+ circuit boards contain
more than 2500 components connected by almost 2000 circuit nets!
The schematic/block diagram figures show:






The potentiostat board in its potentiostatic control mode,
The control-board circuits for signal generation,
The control-board circuits for signal conditioning and A/D conversion,
The Auxiliary ADC channel-input switching,
The processors in the Reference 600+, and
DC-DC power conversion.
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Figure 3-1
Reference 600+ Potentiostat Board in Potentiostat Mode
Simplified Schematic/Block Diagram
12
Notes for Figure 3-1

Only Potentiostat Mode circuitry is shown in this figure. In this mode the voltage difference
between the Reference and Working Sense leads (called Esig) is feedback into the control
amplifier.
In Galvanostat Mode, the feedback is from Isig.
In ZRA mode, the feedback is from a differential amplifier measuring the difference between the
Counter Sense and Working Sense leads of the cell cable. The counter sense circuitry is not
shown. It is conceptually similar to the voltage-sensing circuit that generates Esig.

The Bias DAC and PFIR (Positive Feedback IR compensation) DAC are set using a computer bus
that is not shown.

Switches are either reed relays or MOS switches as appropriate. All switches are under computer
control (obviously, because the Reference 600+ does not have a knob-and-dial front panel).

All components shown as being variable (resistance Rm, capacitor IEStab and capacitor CASpeed)
are actually several fixed-value components switched into the circuit. They are not continuously
variable as implied in the figure.

The monitor BNC connectors for Isig and Esig are lightly filtered using an RLC circuit.

The programmable attenuator on Esig prior to the ADC channel scales Esig so that it is compatible
with the A/D channel’s 3 V input range. The 0.25 gain setting allows the Reference 600+ to
measure potential signals slightly in excess of 10 V (on a 12 V full-scale range). Isig is gained to be
3 V full-scale so it does not require a similar attenuation function.

All the resistors summing voltages into the Control Amplifier input do not have values shown; their
values depend on scaling factors too complex to discuss in this simplified diagram.

Calibration components are not shown.

Gamry’s software can disconnect the signal generator from the Potentiostat. Once disconnected it
can be used for other experimental control tasks.

Overload protection and overload detection are not shown. Good engineering practice demands
that any possible misconnection of the cell leads will not damage the instrument. This practice has
been followed in the Reference 600+ design.
13
Figure 3-2
Reference 600+ Signal Generation Circuitry
Notes on Figure 3-2:

All the resistors summing voltages into the Summing Amplifier input do not have values shown
because their values depend on scaling factors too complex for this simplified diagram.

The IR DAC has a 8 V full-scale range.

Calibration components are not shown.

The DDS can generate fixed-amplitude sine waves with frequencies between 5 MHz and 1 mHz.
In practice, Gamry’s EIS software uses the Scan DAC to generate sine signals if frequency is below
1 Hz.
The low-pass filter removes high-frequency distortion in the “raw” DDS output.
The attenuator scales the DDS. The maximum output signal is 4.096 V peak-to-peak and the
minimum is approximately 20 V peak-to-peak.

The BNC connector for Sig Gen out is lightly filtered using an RLC circuit.
14
Figure 3-3
One A/D Signal Chain in the Reference 600+
Notes for Figure 3-3:

This diagram shows one of three identical ADC channels. One channel is dedicated to
measurement of the potentiostat’s current signal, another is used to measure the voltage, and the
third is switched between a wide selection of possible signals.

All three A/D converters are triggered simultaneously to start a conversion. This trigger and the
pulse updating the Scan DAC voltage are under the control of a hardware state-machine. This
ensures that all waveform and data-acquisition timing is tightly controlled and reproducible pointto-point.
By default, the data acquisition is synchronized with the 300 kHz power-supply switching
frequency, to reduce noise from the power supply. Data-acquisition times that are a multiple of
3.333 s maintain this synchronization.

All analog signals that cross from the Potentiostat Board to the Control Board or vice versa are
received differentially as shown here.

The 5 Hz, 1 kHz, and 200 kHz filters are two-pole Butterworth filters. The 3 MHz RLC filter has an
arbitrarily selected transfer function.

All signal-channel components are selected for optimal DC accuracy, low noise, and high
bandwidth.
15
Figure 3-4
Aux Channel Input Switching
Notes for Figure 3-4:

Two ADC Channels are dedicated to the potentiostat’s voltage and current signals. This diagram
shows the signals that can be connected to the third channel.

The Aux ADC BNC input is a differential input. It is shipped configured for input impedance of
100 kΩ and unfiltered operation. Software switches allow it to be configured for high input
impedance and to allow input filtering.

The thermocouple input is a connection of a K-type thermocouple. The type of thermocouple is
shown next to the connector on the rear of the instrument. Note that this circuit must be
calibrated to obtain reasonable accuracy. A section of the Reference 600+ calibration procedure
allows users to calibrate this input.

The other two inputs to the Aux channel are reserved for use in future Gamry Instruments’
systems.
16
Figure 3-5
Microprocessors in the Reference 600+
Notes for Figure 3-5:

Note the lack of a ground connection between the USB bus and the Reference 600+ circuitry.

The EasyUSB firmware is loaded into EasyUSB RAM on power-up. The USB firmware can be
updated over the USB via Instrument Manager.

The Power PC firmware is also transferred from ROM into RAM on power-up. The Power PC
firmware also can be updated over the USB via a selection in the Reference 600+ section of the
Instrument Manager. Time-critical sections of the Power PC code are kept in the processor’s fastcache memory.

The term UART refers to a Universal Asynchronous Receiver Transmitter. It converts parallel data
to a self-clocking serial bit stream. The UARTs send data at 6 Mbits/s.

The Bus Transceiver isolates bus activity on the Controller and Potentiostat boards. Only reads and
writes to locations on these boards generate bus activity. This reduces noise pick-up.

Unlike previous Gamry Instruments’ Potentiostats, the Reference 600+ calibration data are stored
in the instrument, not in a data file. When a Reference 600+ is moved from one computer to
another, its calibration remains valid.
17
Figure 3-6
DC-DC Power Conversion
Notes for Figure 3-6:

Note the ground isolation between the input power and the Reference 600+ circuitry. The
Reference 600+ chassis is connected to the Floating Instrument Ground.
Transformers and digital isolators are the only components connected between the grounds.

The 300 kHz power-supply sync signal is derived from the same clock used to control dataacquisition. Data points taken at an integer-multiple of 3.333 S/point are synchronized with the
power supply, minimizing the effect of power-supply noise on the data.

Additional circuitry that is not shown protects the Reference 600+ against ESD (electrostatic
discharge) and electrical surges. Note that the Reference 600+ is also protected against damage if
an incorrect polarity power input is connected to the unit.

The incoming DC voltage must be between 22 and 26 V. With inputs below 22 V, the PWM
(Pulse Width Modulator) may be unable to regulate the supply. Above 26 V, the PWM may not
start up.
Caution: Do not use a DC power source other than the AC adapter model
provided with your Reference 600+. Other replacements may void the performance and/or
safety characteristics of the Reference 600+.
Power input voltages less than 20 V or greater than 32 V can damage the Reference 600+’s
power supply.
18
Chapter 4: Installation
This chapter of the Gamry Instruments Inc. Reference 600+ Operator’s Manual covers normal installation
of the Reference 600+. We assume the Reference 600+ is installed as part of a Gamry Framework-based
electrochemical measurement system containing a Microsoft Windows ®-compatible computer. These
instructions also assume use with Gamry’s Framework Software Revision 7.0 or higher.
Figure 4-1
Front View of a Reference 600+
19
Initial Visual Inspection
After you remove your Reference 600+ from its shipping carton, check it for any signs of shipping damage.
If any damage is noted, please notify Gamry Instruments, Inc. and the shipping carrier immediately. Save
the shipping container for possible inspection by the carrier.
Warning: The “reinforced insulation” that keeps he operator from accessing the
“hazardous live” voltages in the Reference 600+ can be rendered ineffective if the Reference 600+ is
damaged in shipment. Do not operate damaged apparatus until a qualified service technician has verified
its safety. Tag a damaged Reference 600+ to indicate that it could be a safety hazard.
If the Reference 600+ is taken from a cold location (for example outdoors in winter conditions) to a warm,
humid location, water vapor may condense on the cold surfaces inside the Reference 600+, possibly
creating a hazardous condition. The “reinforced insulation” that keeps the operator from accessing the
“hazardous live” voltages in the Reference 600+ can be rendered ineffective if the Reference 600+ has
condensed water inside its case. Before connecting power to a “cold” Reference 600+, allow at least one
hour for the Reference 600+ to warm at room temperature.
Physical Location
Normally, place your Reference 600+ on a flat workbench surface. Keep easy access to the rear of the
instrument because some cable connections are made from the rear. The Reference 600+ is generally
operated in an upright position (see Figure 4-1). Operation in other positions is possible as long as you
ensure that air movement through the chassis is not restricted.
Caution: Do not block the airflow into or out of the Reference 600+ chassis. While the
circuitry should suffer no damage due to excessive heat, the Reference 600+ enclosure may become
uncomfortably hot to the touch if no air flows through the chassis. Running the Reference 600+ without
adequate cooling could shorten the time to failure of some of the circuitry.
If you place your Reference 600+ within an enclosed space, make sure that the internal temperature
within that space does not exceed the 45°C ambient temperature limit of the Reference 600+. Be
particularly careful if a computer or other heat-dissipating equipment is mounted in the same enclosure as
the Reference 600+.
The Reference 600+ is not designed for outdoor use.
Computer Requirements
Before you connect a Reference 600+ to a computer you must make sure that your computer meets these
simple requirements.

A computer based on one of the x86 or x64 families ofIntel™ microprocessors, or a 100%-compatible
processor from another vendor,

Microsoft® Windows® 7, 8, or 8.1 is required. Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of these operating
systems are supported. See the Gamry website www.gamry.com if you have a newer edition of
Windows®.
20

A USB port that supports Full Speed (12 Mbits/second) or High Speed (480 Mbits/second) USB
transfers. It must be compatible with Revision 1.1 or Revision 2.0 of the USB specification.
Quick-start Guide for System Installation
Your shipment should have included a short document entitled Quick-start Installation Guide: USB
Potentiostat. It contains the latest instructions for installing Gamry hardware and software onto a computer
system. If this document is missing, the following information should be sufficient for you to install the
Gamry Framework Software and Gamry Potentiostat onto your computer.
Software Installation
The Reference 600+ is compatible with the Windows® Plug & Play configuration system. Like most Plug &
Play hardware, it is best if you install the software for the Reference 600+ before you install the
potentiostat hardware.
Gamry’s software can be installed from a physical medium such as a DVD or a pre-programmed software
flash drive, or it can installed via an Internet download. The most up-to-date download can be found on
www.gamry.com.
If you install from a physical medium, Gamry Software Setup program normally starts automatically when
you place the Gamry Instrument’s installation medium into your computer.
An Internet download of Gamry’s software downloads a self-extracting .EXE file. Running this file extracts
the software and begins the same installation process as you get with a physical medium.
If you have inserted the Gamry DVD or flash drive into your computer and the Gamry Setup program does
not start automatically:
1) Navigate to the root folder of the device containing the Gamry Software (DVD or Flash Drive) or
to a Windows® folder containing the Gamry Software.
2) Run the program called “AUTORUN.EXE” found in this folder.
If you do not know how to navigate to the Gamry Installation device, consult your local computer expert or
network administrator, or email [email protected]
“AUTORUN.EXE” runs a set-up program. In most cases, you can choose the default choices or the most
obvious choices on all screens shown during the set-up process.
Reboot your Computer after Software Installation
Reboot your computer when the Gamry Setup program is done. The Setup program normally offers you
the opportunity to do so. USB device drivers usually are loaded when Windows® boots up. Following
Setup, you may not be able to use your Reference 600+ until the drivers are loaded.
Device-driver installation may not occur until a while after the Windows® Desktop appears.
On a slow computer, or a busy computer with lots of active applications, the delay before driver
installation can be a minute or more.
21
Figure 4-2
Rear Panel of the Reference 600+
Power Cord and Power Connection
The Reference 600+ does not plug directly in the AC mains supply. Instead, the mains are connected to
an external power supply, which supplies a regulated 24 V DC output. This regulated DC is then
connected to the Power In jack on the rear of the Reference 600+.
22
The external power supply provided with the Reference 600+ is rated for operation from 100 to 240 V
AC, at frequencies from 47 to 63 Hz. It should therefore be useable worldwide.
The Reference 600+ external power supply is normally supplied with a line cord suitable for use in the
United States. In other countries, you may have to replace the line cord with one suitable for your type of
mains (electrical outlet). You must always use a line cord with a CEE 22 Standard V (IEC 320 C13) female
connector on the end of the cable leading to the unit. This is the same connector used on the US standard
line cord supplied with your Reference 600+. See Chapter 1 for specific safety information regarding
power-cord selection.
The DC output cord from the external power supply plugs into the Power In jack on the rear panel of the
Reference 600+ (see Figure 4-2).
Power-up Test
Before you make any other connections to your Reference 600+,
check that the Reference 600+ is at least nominally functional.
After connecting DC power to the Reference 600+, turn on the
Power switch on the rear panel of the Reference 600+ (see Figure
4-2).
Watch the Power LED on the front panel as the Reference 600+
powers up. This LED should go on for a second or so, flash three
times, then remain on.
The status of the other LED indicators is not important at this time.
Each flash of the Power LED upon startup corresponds to successful
conclusion of one portion of the power-up self-test.
Caution: If the Power LED goes
on, then turns off and stays off, the Reference
600+ is not working properly! Contact Gamry
Instruments or your local Gamry Instruments
representative as soon as possible if this power-up
test fails.
USB Cables
The Reference 600+ connects to the computer using a standard High Speed USB A/B cable. A suitable
cable was shipped with your Reference 3000. If this cable is lost, you can get a replacement at almost any
computer retailer. The replacement cable should be rated for USB 2.0 high-speed USB operation.
An A/B USB cable has different connectors on each end. The end with a wider, rectangular-shaped
connector plugs into a USB port on your computer (or a similar port on a USB hub). The end with a nearlysquare connector plugs into the USB port on the Reference 600+ (see Figure 4-2).
The USB connection can be “hot-plugged”. This means both the computer and the Reference 600+ can
be powered up before the USB cable is plugged in. Unlike many other instrument-to-system connections,
you need not power down the system before plugging in the USB.
23
You can also safely remove the USB cable without powering down the Reference 600+ and your
computer. Be aware however, that this may have undesirable consequences if the system is currently
taking data or performing an electrochemical experiment.
Front Panel USB LED
The front panel USB LED provides a simple test of two aspects of
normal Reference 600+ USB operation. It has three normal states:

Unlighted
The USB cable is disconnected or the USB
connection is disabled by the host computer,

Solid green
A valid cable connection has been made and
the Reference 600+ USB processor is receiving
power from the USB cable,

Flashing
yellow
Valid USB messages are being transferred
between the computer and the Reference
600+.
The flashing state only occurs when Gamry Instruments application
software is running.
Cell Cable Installation
The Cell Cable connector is a 25-pin female D-type connector on
the front of the Reference 600+.
All of Gamry’s standard cell cables have a 25-pin D-type connector
on one end and a number of leads terminated with banana plugs on the other. The D-type connector end
of the cable is connected to the Cell Cable connector on the front of the Reference 600+. Always use the
knurled screws on this cable to hold the cable in place.
A wide variety of cell cables are available for the Reference 600+. These include unshielded cables
designed for maximum AC performance, shielded cables in various lengths, and special cables for use in
EIS systems where very low impedances must be measured. The Reference 600+ can automatically detect
which Gamry Instruments cable is connected and the Gamry Framework software can then adjust the
system performance for the characteristics of that cable.
Multiple Potentiostat Systems
Gamry’s current Framework software (Revision 7.0) allows a computer to operate up to 16 Gamry
Instruments potentiostats simultaneously. The 16 potentiostats can include Reference-family and Interfacefamily devices with USB connections.
A system with multiple Reference 600+ potentiostats just needs them all plugged into the computer.
We do not recommend using bus-powered hubs to expand your USB network: an externally
powered USB hub is required. Suitable hubs are available at most computer retailers.
24
Contact our main office or your local Gamry Instruments representative if you need assistance configuring a
system containing Reference 600+ hardware.
First-time Device Installation in Windows®
These instructions presume you have already installed Gamry software Revision 7.0 or
higher.
Running the Framework
Regardless of your electrochemical application, Gamry recommends running the Gamry Framework after
you install new Framework software or add a potentiostat to your system. The Framework Instruments
Manager allows you to:



Rename potentiostats,
Calibrate potentiostats,
Manage potentiostat firmware.
Run the Gamry Framework by clicking on the icon it installed on the Windows ® desktop. You can connect
and power any Gamry potentiostats either before or after you start the Framework.
Framework Device Status Bar
By default, the Gamry Framework shows a Device Status Bar under its main menu (Figure 4-3). If you don’t
see the Device Status Bar when you run the Gamry Framework, it has been disabled in the Framework
Options menu.
Potentiostat Devices (instruments) that are connected to the computer appear on this bar. The round
indicator associated with each device shows its status:
Green
The device is available to run experiments
Yellow
The device is currently running an experiment
White
The device is connected to the system, but is not usable. This is generally the result of a
revision mismatch between the Framework software and the device’s firmware. You can use
the Framework Instrument Manager to fix the mismatch.
The screen-capture below shows a Framework screen with three USB instruments connected.
25
Figure 4-3
Framework with Three Potentiostats and One Running Test
The Interface 1000 (IFC 01004) in this system is shown with a green indicator because it is installed and
ready to run. The Reference 600+ labeled My Ref600 has a yellow indicator because it is recording the EIS
spectrum shown on the screen. The Reference 600+ labeled Jims Ref600 has a white indicator, showing it
is plugged in but cannot be used. This is an indication of a version mismatch between firmware and
instrument.
Gamry Instrument Manager
You can use Gamry’s Instrument Manager application to make changes to the configuration of your
Reference 600+ system. Find the application through the Options menu in the Gamry Framework.
Use the Instrument Manager to:




Rename potentiostats
Delete potentiostats that are not currently connected to the computer
Select the order in which potentiostats appear in menus
Update firmware within potentiostats
You run the Instrument Manger by selecting Options/Instrument Manager... on the Framework Menu.
Figure 4-4 shows the Instrument Manager dialog box for the three-potentiostat Framework session shown
in the previous section.
26
Figure 4-4
Instrument Manager Dialog Box
Each Gamry potentiostat in the system appears on a separate row. All Gamry Instruments potentiostats that
are known to the system are displayed in the Instrument Manger. Select an instrument by clicking
anywhere within that row for that instrument. Select an instrument that is connected, and idle will blink its
Power LED.
The buttons on the right side of the dialog box change depending on which instrument is selected. Some
buttons are inappropriate for some instruments.
The Status column tells you the whether each instrument is available and usable by the Framework.
Possible status conditions are:
Present
The instrument is connected, powered, and available for use.
Absent
The instrument was connected in the past but is currently not connected or not powered.
Instruments with this status can be deleted from the system
In Use
The instrument is currently running a Framework experiment.
Update
The instrument is connected and powered, but cannot be used to run experiments. Its
current firmware revision is not compatible with the current Framework revision. You can
update the instrument's firmware by selecting this instrument and selecting Firmware
Update.
You can delete an Absent instrument by clicking Delete when an instrument is selected. Deleting an
instrument simplifies the Instrument Manager dialog box. It has little effect otherwise; the deleted
instrument can be reconnected later.
When you set up an experiment, you must select the potentiostat used to run the test. The instruments
appear in the order shown in the Instrument Manager, with the device in the top row displayed first. The
Up and Down buttons allow you to move a device in the dialog box and change the order in which
devices are displayed.
Changing the Label
If you purchase additional Gamry application software, you can do so using the Framework Instrument
Manager. The dialog box also allows you to change the Label for your device:
27
1. In Framework, choose Options.
A drop-down menu appears.
2. Choose Instrument Manager….
The Instrument Manager window appears.
3. Click on the instrument whose label you wish to change, to highlight that instrument.
4. Choose Instrument.
A drop-down menu appears.
28
5. Choose Device Settings….
The Device Settings window appears.
6. In the Label field, change the existing label to that
desired.
7. Click the OK button.
Firmware Update
Your Reference 600+ was shipped with the latest version of all its firmware. From time to time, Gamry
makes changes to the instrument's firmware code, and a firmware update is required to make use of the
new or improved code.
There are two firmware images that can be updated in the field on your Reference 600+. The first is the
Instrument Firmware. This is the program that handles most of the functions of the Reference 600+. The
second is the Communications Firmware. This program handles the USB communications between your
Reference 600+ and the host computer
Appropriate update files (firmware images) can be obtained from the Gamry Instruments website at
www.gamry.com. Download the file containing the new image and save it onto your computer’s hard disk.
Alternatively, every Gamry Software disk (or Gamry Software Flash Drive) contains a firmware folder that
contains firmware files compatible with that CD’s Framework revision.
1. Start the Firmware Update process using the Framework Options>Instrument Manager... command.
29
2. Click on the instrument whose firmware you wish to update, to highlight that instrument.
3. Choose Instrument.
A drop-down menu appears.
4. Choose Update Firmware.
The Firmware Update window appears.
5. Click the Update button on the type
of firmware you wish to update.
You are then prompted for a file.
Navigate to the file’s location (on the
Gamry software disk or on your
computer’s hard drive) and then click the
Open button. The update procedure
begins. A status bar shows the progress of
the update. The USB indicator on the
Reference 600+ should also turn red
during the procedure. When the update
is successful, click the OK button, and
your Reference 600+ is ready for use.
Calibration
Calibrate each potentiostat installed in your system. A calibration utility is provided with the Gamry
Framework.
The calibration for the Reference 600+ has been divided into three sections: DC Calibration, AC
Calibration, and Low I DC Cal. Gain access to all three calibration procedures via the Utility selection on
the Framework’s Experiment drop-down menu.
Separate Calibration for Each Type of Reference 600+ Cable
The Reference 600+ recognizes the type of cable connected to its cell connector. It maintains a separate
AC calibration table for each type of cable. The Gamry Framework will not let you use AC calibration data
recorded using a 60 cm shielded cable for experiments run using a Twisted Pair cable optimized for lowimpedance EIS measurements.
30
DC and AC Calibration
These two procedures use an external resistive dummy cell.
Caution: The standard Reference 600+ calibration calls for an external resistive
dummy cell. Your Reference 600+ was shipped with a Universal Dummy Cell 4, which includes a 2 kΩ,
0.05% accurate resistor in the position marked “Calibration”. After calibration, please place this dummy
cell in a safe place where you can find it if your unit requires recalibration.
If you do need to recalibrate and you cannot find your Universal Dummy Cell 4, you can perform DC
Calibration using a different 2 kΩ resistor. Its power-rating is unimportant. Some performance checks in
the calibration process may fail if the resistors inaccuracy exceeds 0.2% (4 Ω).
We do not recommend AC Calibration with any resistor other than the one on the Universal Dummy Cell
4. The Universal Dummy Cell 4 was designed to separate the working electrode leads from the counter
and reference electrode leads. If you perform AC Calibration without adequate separation between these
leads, you will see a phase-shift in your high-frequency EIS data. 1.4 pF of stray capacitance across a 2000
Ω resistor causes a 1° phase-shift at 1 MHz.
Potentiostat calibration is only required infrequently. Recalibrate your Reference 600+ under the
following circumstances:

It is at least one year since your last calibration.

Your potentiostat has been serviced.

You notice breaks or discontinuities in the data curves recorded with your system.

The system is being run in an environment that is very different from the previous operating
environment. For example, if the Reference 600+ was calibrated at 15°C and you are now
operating it at 30°C, you should recalibrate.
31
Figure 4-4
UDC4 with Leads Attached for Calibration
Low I Range DC Calibration
The standard Reference 600+ calibration is performed with the cell leads connected to a 2 k resistor.
During the calibration procedure, DC current- range offsets are recorded with the cell switch turned off. A
DC current measurement is made on each of the eleven current ranges in the Reference 600+. The
measured current on each range is the sum of current contributions from:





The input current of the I/E Converter input amplifier,
The input current of the Working sense input amplifier,
The input current of the Reference input amplifier,
The input current of a Counter Sense input amplifier, and
Current leakage in the cell switch.
In most real-world experiments, the cell is turned on, and the I/E converter does not measure the last three
terms listed above. These currents still exist, but they are generally sourced by the low-impedance counter
electrode lead. During Low I DC Calibration, the first two terms are directly measured in order to improve
picoampere accuracy of the instrument.
The current contributions from each source on the above list are (at most) a few pA, so they are
insignificant on all but the most sensitive Reference 600+ current ranges: the 60 pA and 600 pA ranges.
This effect can cause differences of up to 8 pA between DC current measured with the cell turned off and
current measured with the cell turned on. In most cases the difference is smaller: one or two pA.
32
Only two Reference 600+ applications are sensitive enough that this current-measurement offset causes
problems:


Physical Electrochemistry (Cyclic Voltammetry for example) with small electrodes
EIS on high-impedance samples such as barrier coatings.
Incorrect DC-current readings in EIS can slow the experiment, because the automatic ranging algorithms in
the EIS300 software can make poor choices regarding ranges, given incorrect data. This can significantly
lengthen the time needed to measure an EIS spectrum.
Most corrosion experiments or macro-electrode measurements involve currents much too large to be
affected by this difference.
The Gamry Framework now includes a special “Low I DC Current” calibration procedure that corrects the
Reference 600+ offsets to minimize this problem. The procedure uses a script that:
1) Asks you to disconnect the reference, counter, and counter sense leads from the calibration cell,
2) Measures the I/E input and Working sense amplifier input currents on the 60 pA and 600 pA
ranges,
3) Replaces the 60 pA and 600 pA current range offsets measured in the full DC calibration with
these improved values.
The error sources listed above are both time- and temperature-dependent, so we recommend frequent
“Low I DC Calibration”—if you need accurate measurement of absolute currents at pA levels. The
procedure runs fairly quickly, so daily or weekly calibration ought not be too inconvenient.
The Low I DC Calibration is not a full calibration. You must run a full DC Calibration on
your Reference 600+ before you run the Low I DC calibration. Remember that the Reference 600+ must
have a full DC calibration on the same type of cable you use for the Low I DC Calibration.
33
34
Chapter 5: Cell Connections
Normal Cell Connections
Each Reference 600+ in your system was shipped with a standard, shielded cell cable (part number 98500071). It is a 60 cm complex cable with a 25-pin D-type connector on one end and four banana plugs
and two pin jacks on the other end.
In some cases, your system may also include a special-purpose cell cable. The special-purpose cell cable
includes documentation describing its use.
The 25-pin male end of the standard cell cable connects to the Reference 600+’s front panel Cell Cable
connector. Always screw the cell cable into place, because this cable can fall off the unit. Disconnection
can be disastrous if it occurs during an experiment.
The other end of the cell cable terminates in a number of banana plugs and two pin jacks. Each
termination comes with a removable alligator clip. Table 5-1 identifies each terminal of the cable.
Table 5-1
Cell Cable Terminations (Potentiostat and Galvanostat Modes)
Color
Type
Name
Normal Connection
Blue
Banana Plug
Working Sense
Connect to working electrode
Green
Banana Plug
Working Electrode
Connect to working electrode
White
Pin Jack
Reference
Connect to reference electrode
Red
Banana Plug
Counter Electrode
Connect to counter electrode
Orange
Banana Plug
Counter Sense
Used in ZRA mode; connect to counter electrode
Black
Pin Jack
Floating Ground
Leave open or connect to a Faraday shield
Connect both the blue and green cell leads to the working electrode. The working electrode is the
specimen being tested. The blue pin jack connection senses the voltage of the working electrode. The
green working electrode connection carries the cell current. The working electrode may be as much as 150
mV above the circuitry ground (floating ground).
Connect the white pin jack to the cell’s reference electrode, such as an SCE or Ag/AgCl reference
electrode. The measured cell potential is the potential difference between the blue and white cell
connectors.
Connect the red banana plug to the counter or auxiliary electrode. The counter electrode is usually a large
inert metal or graphite electrode. The counter electrode terminal is the output of the Reference 600+
potentiostat’s power amplifier.
The orange lead is only used in ZRA mode, where it senses the counter electrode potential (see following
section). Automatic switching to ZRA mode is possible if this lead is connected to the counter electrode. If
you are not using ZRA mode, this lead may be left open as long as you insure that it will not short against
any other electrode.
The black pin jack is connected on the Reference 600+ end to Floating Ground. This is the circuitry
ground for the analog circuits in the Reference 600+. In most cases, leave this terminal disconnected at
the cell end. When you do so, take care that its metal contact does not touch any of the other cell
connections.
35
If your cell is a typical glass laboratory cell, all of the electrodes are isolated from earth ground. In this case,
you may be able to reduce noise in your data by connecting the Reference 600+’s Floating Ground to an
earth ground.
Caution: If any electrode in your cell is at earth ground, never connect the
Reference 600+ chassis to earth ground. Autoclaves, stress apparatus, and field measurements may
involve earth-grounded electrodes. A binding post on the rear panel of the Reference 600+ is provided
for this purpose. A water pipe can be a suitable earth ground.
Warning: Make sure that your earth-ground connection is made to a legitimate
source of earth ground. Consult a qualified electrician if you are uncertain how to obtain an earth
ground. Connecting the Reference 600+ to an incorrect and unsafe voltage can create a safety hazard
(see Chapter 1 for details).
If you are measuring very small currents, you may find that a metal enclosure completely surrounding your
cell (a “Faraday shield”) significantly lowers measured current noise. You should normally connect this
Faraday shield to both earth ground and floating ground. The floating ground on the black cell lead is a
convenient source of ground.
If any electrode in your cell is connected to earth ground, only connect your Faraday shield to the black
cell lead (Floating Ground).
In either potentiostatic or galvanostatic mode, if you do not have a reference electrode in your cell, the
reference lead can be connected to the counter electrode for a two-electrode experiment. The potential
reading will be the difference between the counter electrode and the working electrode.
ZRA Mode Cell Connections
The Reference 600+ can function as a precision Zero Resistance Ammeter (ZRA). As a ZRA, it maintains
two metal samples at the same potential and measures the current flow between the samples. It can also
measure the potential of the samples versus a reference electrode. The cell cable connections for ZRA
mode are shown in Table 5-2. Note that the connections are very similar to those for the potentiostat and
galvanostat modes. A second working electrode is substituted for the counter electrode, and the Orange
Counter Sense lead must be connected.
36
Table 5-2
Cell Cable Connections for ZRA Mode
Color
Type
Name
Normal Connection
Blue
Banana Plug
Working Sense
Connect to metal sample #1
Green
Banana Plug
Working Electrode
Connect to metal sample #1
White
Pin Jack
Reference
Connect to a reference electrode
Red
Banana Plug
Counter Electrode
Connect to metal sample #2
Orange
Banana Plug
Counter Sense
Connect to metal sample #2
Black
Pin Jack
Floating Ground
Leave open or connect to a Faraday shield
The counter sense and the working sense lead are each connected to different metal samples. In ZRA
mode, the Reference 600+ is normally programmed to maintain zero volts between these leads. It
therefore maintains the two metal samples at the same voltage.
The white pin jack on the cell cable is normally connected to a reference electrode. The potential between
this lead and the working sense lead is reported as the cell potential.
In ZRA mode, if you do not have a reference electrode in your cell, we recommend that you connect the
white reference lead to the working electrode. In theory, the measured potential is exactly zero when this
is done. In practice, A/D noise and offset create a small potential signal with a value very close to zero.
Membrane Cell Connections
The Reference 600+ can be used with membrane cells. In this type of cell, a membrane separates two
electrolyte solutions. Two reference electrodes are used: one in each electrolyte. Each electrolyte also
contains a counter electrode. The Reference 600+ controls the potential across the membrane. Table 5-3
shows the cell connections used with a membrane type cell.
Table 5-3
Cell Cable Connections for a Membrane Cell
Color
Type
Name
Normal Connection
Blue
Banana Plug
Working Sense
Connect to reference electrode #1
Green
Banana Plug
Working Electrode
Connect to counter electrode #1
White
Pin Jack
Reference
Connect to reference electrode #2
Red
Banana Plug
Counter Electrode
Connect to counter electrode #2
Orange
Banana Plug
Counter Sense
Leave open (only needed in ZRA mode)
Black
Pin Jack
Floating Ground
Leave open or connect to a Faraday shield
Reference electrode #1 and counter electrode #1 must be on one side of the membrane,
and reference electrode #2 and counter electrode #2 must be on the other side.
37
38
Chapter 6: Panel Indicators and Connectors
Front Panel
The Reference 600+ front panel includes one
connector and four backlit LED indicators.
Cell Cable Connector
The Cell Cable is a 25-pin D-type connector that is
used to connect the Reference 600+ to an
electrochemical test cell. It is normally used with a
Gamry Instruments-supplied cell cable.
In addition to the pins used for cell connections, the
Reference 600+ Cell Connector also uses five pins
to read a cell cable ID. Gamry’s software
compensates for the cell-cable characteristics for
optimal system performance, especially in EIS
(Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy).
See Chapter 2 for more about cell connections.
There is a pin-out diagram of the cell-cable
connector in Appendix B.
The Power LED
The Power LED is on the lower left of the Reference
600+ front panel. It normally glows a steady blue,
after the Reference 600+ is turned on and has
passed some simple self-tests.
When the Reference 600+ is first turned on, the
Power LED glows steadily for a second or two,
blinks three times, and then enter its normal steady
blue output. Each blink in this sequence indicates
successful completion of a portion of the power-up
self-test routine.
A Reference 600’s Power LED blinks when that
instrument is selected in the Framework’s
Instrument Manager. This allows easy identification
of a specific instrument in a MultEchem system without looking at the instrument Serial Label on the
bottom of the instrument chassis.
When the Power LED is off, several possibilities exist:
 The rear panel power switch is off.
 There is no DC +24 V supply connected to the rear-panel Power In connector.
 The external DC power supply has no input power or is malfunctioning.
 One part of the Power PC’s power-up self-test has failed.
Caution: The Power LED is used to indicate power status, to indicate that power-up
tests have passed. Never rely on the Power LED as a true power status indicator. Always unplug the Power
In connection if you suspect your Reference 600+ is malfunctioning.
39
The USB LED
The USB LED is located just below the Power LED.
It is a tri-color LED, capable of glowing green,
orange, or red.
The USB LED is unlit when:





The Reference 600+ is not powered.
The Reference 600+ does not have a USB
cable plugged into the USB port on the rear
panel.
The computer end of the USB cable is not
plugged into a USB port on a computer or
hub.
The USB cable is not supplying USB power
to the Reference 600+.
The computer has disabled the USB port
going to the Reference 600+.
The USB LED glows a steady green if a valid USB
connection has been made and the Reference
600+’s communication processor is receiving power
along the USB cable.
The USB LED flashes orange whenever the
Reference 600+ is receiving or transmitting valid
USB messages to or from the host computer. It does
not flash if there is USB traffic addressed to other
devices on the USB bus, including messages aimed
at a different Reference 600+.
The USB LED indicates a solid red in one special
condition: when a firmware download is taking
place.
Caution: Interrupting a firmware update can cause a catastrophic failure of your
system. Do not turn off the Reference 600+, do not unplug the USB cable, and do not stop the
operation of the host computer when the USB LED is a continuous red color.
Do not interrupt a firmware update that is in progress. An incomplete update can render a Reference
600+ inoperable until it is returned to Gamry for reprogramming.
Should the firmware update be interrupted, contact Gamry before starting the return process.
40
Cell On LED
The Cell On LED glows yellow whenever the
Reference 600+ is actively applying voltage or
current to the electrochemical cell attached to the
Cell Cable. Avoid touching the cell cable leads
whenever the Cell On LED is lit, because the quality
of the data being collected in your experiment may
be compromised.
The Cell On LED does not indicate
a dangerous condition when it is lighted. The
voltages put out by Reference 600+ are generally
considered safe. Still, avoid touching the cell leads
when the cell is on.
If you need to make changes to your cell leads, you
normally do so between experiments, when the Cell
On LED is off and the potentiostat is inactive.
In a typical experimental sequence, the Cell On LED
is off between experiments and during any open
circuit potential measurements. It glows yellow
whenever the cell is polarized.
Overload LED
The Overload LED is normally unlit. When it glows
red, some circuit in the Reference 600+ has
exceeded its normal operating limit. Conditions that
generate Overloads include:

The absolute value of the differential
electrometer output voltage (the difference in
voltage between the Working and Reference
leads) exceeds 10 V. This condition is known as an E Overload.

The control amplifier has lost control of the cell. The absolute value of the cell current may be trying to
exceed 600 mA, or the absolute value of the counter electrode voltage may be trying to exceed
22 V. Either condition is called a Control Overload.

The absolute value of the cell current has exceeded full scale on the current range presently in use.
This condition is known as an I Overload.
Transient (temporary) overloads during an experiment in which the cell voltage or current is being stepped
or swept are often normal. In most cases, they do not indicate a system or instrument malfunction.
Consider the case of an infinitely fast voltage step into a perfect capacitor. In theory, charging the capacitor
requires an infinite current. The current spike seen at each step in a stepped voltage waveform can easily
illuminate the Overload LED. The current spike normally decays to near zero before the actual current and
voltage readings are taken.
Overload indications when the cell is being connected or disconnected are common and usually do not
indicate a problem. Overloads can also be seen when one of the cell leads is disconnected from the other
41
cell leads, even though the cell is off. Again, this does not indicate a problem.
A steadily glowing Overload LED during an experiment most likely indicates a problem is occurring.
Possible causes include:



One of the cell leads is disconnected (this is the most common cause),
A gas bubble in the cell is blocking one of the electrodes, or
The potentiostat could be oscillating (see the next chapter).
A glowing red Overload LED does not necessarily indicate a system malfunction. The
Overload LED can illuminate when one or more cell leads are disconnected, without indicating a
problem with the system. The Overload LED can often illuminate momentarily during a swept or
stepped experiment. The only Overload LED indication that definitely points towards a problem is a
continuously glowing Overload LED during an experiment.
Rear Panel
The rear panel contains one switch and a large
number of connectors.
Power In Jack
The Reference 600+ derives all its power from +24
V DC input through the Power In jack. The input
current is less than 3 A.
Always use the external power supply supplied with
your Reference 600+ to supply DC power to the
instrument. This supply is rated for operation from
100 to 240 V AC, at frequencies from 47 to 63 Hz.
It should therefore be useable worldwide. While a
Reference 600+ may work with other power
sources, we cannot guarantee it will work to its full
specifications.
If you have to use the Reference 600+ with a
different supply, make sure that the supply is
regulated, has an output between 22 and 26 V, and
supplies 3 A of load current.
Caution: Power input voltages
less than 20 V or greater than 32 V can damage the
Reference 600+’s power supply.
Power Switch
The Power switch is just below the Power In jack. It
switches the power from this jack to the input of the
42
Reference 600+’s DC-DC converter. All protection circuitry, including the in-rush current limiter, are
located after this switch.
Normally, the DC power is connected before the Power switch is turned ON. However, no damage occurs
if this switch is already in the ON position when the
Power In cable is connected, or the AC power input
is connected to the external power supply.
Chassis Ground
The rear panel Chassis Ground is intended for one
use only. When the Reference 600+ is used with
cells isolated from earth ground, connecting the
chassis ground to earth ground may lower the noise
measured in the system. Note that the chassis of the
Reference 600+ is connected to Floating Ground.
See Chapter 1 for safety information concerning this
connection.
Either a banana plug or the stripped end of a wire
can be connected to the Chassis Ground binding
post. The other end of the wire is then connected to
earth ground.
A black banana-plug to banana-plug lead has been
provided with your Reference 600+. You may find it
useful when making this earth ground connection.
USB Port
The USB port on the rear panel of the Reference
600+ is a Type B connector as defined in Revision
1.1 and 2.0 of the USB Specification. Use a
standard, shielded, Type A/B cable to connect this
port to a computer’s USB port or a USB hub
(preferably an externally powered hub). The two
ends of a Type A/B cable are different. The morerectangular end plugs into the computer and the
more-square end plugs into the Reference 600.
A suitable USB cable was included with your
Reference 600+ shipment. If this cable is lost, you
can replace it with a cable from your local computer
retailer.
The Reference 600+ is a High Speed USB 2.0 peripheral, able to transfer data at 480 Mbits/second. If it is
plugged into a computer port incapable of High Speed operation it will downgrade to USB 1.1 full-speed
operation (12 Mbits/second), causing slower data-transfer.
The Reference 600+ USB port is compatible with Revision 1.1 and 2.0 of the USB specification. It
supports the Windows® Plug-n-Play mechanism, including dynamic connect/reconnect.
The front panel USB LED should be green whenever a valid computer to Reference 600+ connection has
been made, and both the computer and Reference 600+ are fully powered.
43
Thermocouple Input
The Reference 600+ has a T/C Type K input jack for
a K-Type thermocouple. The ISO standard calls for
color-coded mini-thermocouple connections. Yellow
is the color assigned to K-Type thermocouples. The
mating connector on your thermocouple should
therefore be yellow.
Possible uses for temperature measurement in an
electrochemical test include:

Looking for a temperature rise at end-ofcharge on a battery.

Measuring ambient temperature prior to a
corrosion measurement in the field.

Measuring temperature in a cell before
making a CV measurement that will be used
to calculate reaction kinetics.
Gamry Instruments chose not to provide a
thermocouple with the Reference 600+. There is
simply too much variety in the mechanical design of
thermocouple probes. Commercial thermocouples
designed for measurement in air, on solid surfaces,
and in immersion service are available from a variety
of vendors. Make sure you get the proper type
thermocouple as shown on the rear of your
Reference 600+.
The Reference 600+ uses a temperature
measurement IC to convert the thermocouple
output to a useable voltage. It outputs a voltage that
is nominally 10 mV per degree Celsius. For the KType thermocouple, the Analog Device AD597AR is
rated for an accuracy of 4°C. The specified accuracy
is only achieved when the Reference 600+ is
calibrated. The scaling at the A/D converter is 3 V full-scale, or 300°C full-scale.
The Reference 600+ calibration application has an optional section for thermocouple calibration. An icewater bath and a beaker of boiling water provide convenient standards for a two-point calibration.
Caution: One side of the thermocouple is connected to the Reference 600+’s
Floating Ground. An improper connection to the thermocouple input can compromise the Reference
600+’s ability to float, and invalidate data collected on earth-grounded cells. A connection to a noninsulated thermocouple immersed in your electrochemical cell can also cause erroneous readings.
44
Misc. I/O Connector
The Misc. (Miscellaneous) I/O connector is a
multipurpose connector. It contains both digital and
analog signals used to connect external devices to
the Reference 600+.
All of its signals are isolated from both earth ground
and the Reference 600+’s Floating Ground. The
device connected to this connector establishes a
ground reference. This isolation allows the Misc. I/O
connector to be connected to earth-grounded
apparatus, without compromising the Reference
600+’s ground isolation.
A full description of this connector can be found in
Appendix C of this manual. This appendix includes
details such as connector pin-out, output and input
voltage levels, and full signal descriptions.
The following list is a short description of the signals
in the Misc. I/O Connector and their uses:






Sync Out and Sync In signal allow two or more
Reference 600+ potentiostats to use one dataacquisition clock.
Four digital outputs can be used to turn on
external devices under control of an Explain
experimental control script.
Some of Gamry applications assign three of the
digital outputs to control stirring, flow of deaeration gas, and formation of mercury drops on
a mercury-drop electrode.
Four digital inputs that can be read in an Explain
experimental control script.
A 12-bit D/A converter used to set “continuously variable” settings, such as electrode-rotation rate on a
rotating-disk electrode.
A 5 V isolated power supply that can provide up to 50 mA of current for external circuitry.
Caution: Floating operation of Reference 600+ can be compromised by improper
connections to the Misc. I/O Connector. We do not recommend use of standard 15-pin shielded cables
with this connector. Custom cables with the shield connected to pin 6 of the D-connector are preferred.
I Monitor BNC
The I Monitor BNC connector is the output of the Reference 600+’s current measurement circuit. With
the exception of the filtering described below, it is the raw signal. It is high bandwidth on the less-sensitive
45
current ranges. The effective bandwidth of the current signal falls as you reach the nA and pA current
ranges. IE Stability capacitors further slow the response.
The outer shell of this BNC connector is connected to the Reference 600+’s floating ground.
Caution: The shell of the I Monitor BNC is connected to the Reference 600+’s
Floating Ground. Connection of this BNC to a piece of earth-ground-referenced equipment can
compromise the Reference 600+’s ability to float, and invalidate data collected on earth-grounded
cells.
Scaling on this signal is 3 V for  the nominal full-scale current on the selected current range. Cathodic
currents cause a positive output voltage. If the software is auto-ranging the current-range selection, this
signal is discontinuous at each change of range.
The I Monitor BNC connector is lightly filtered
using an RLC circuit. It has a bandwidth of
approximately 3 MHz when connected to a highimpedance input. This bandwidth is further reduced
if a coaxial cable is connected to the BNC. Its
output impedance is approximately 200 Ω in
parallel with 220 pF.
E Monitor BNC
The E Monitor BNC connector is the output of the
Reference 600+’s differential electrometer circuit.
With the exception of the filtering described below,
it is a buffered representation of the voltage
difference between the white and blue cell cable
leads. It has very high bandwidth.
The outer shell of the BNC connector is connected
to the Reference 600+’s floating ground.
Caution: The shell of the E
Monitor BNC is connected to the Reference
600+’s Floating Ground. Connection of this BNC
to a piece of earth-ground-referenced equipment
can compromise the Reference 600+’s ability to
float, and invalidate data collected on earthgrounded cells.
The E Monitor BNC connector is lightly filtered
using an RLC circuit. It has a bandwidth of
approximately 3 MHz when connected to a highimpedance input. This bandwidth is further reduced
46
if a coaxial cable is connected to the BNC. Its output impedance is approximately 200 Ω in parallel with
220 pF.
Ext. Sig.In BNC
The Ext. Sig.In BNC connector allows you to add a voltage to the Reverence 600’s Signal Generator. This
signal is summed with the other signal-generator
sources, including the IR DAC, the Scan DAC, and
the DDS output.
The outer shell of the BNC is connected to the
Reference 600+’s floating ground.
Caution: The shell of the
Ext. Sig.In BNC is connected to the Reference
600+’s Floating Ground. Connection of this
BNC to a piece of earth-ground-referenced
equipment can compromise the Reference
600+’s ability to float, and invalidate data
collected on earth-grounded cells.
The signal generator output is usually directly
connected to the potentiostat’s input. When the
cell is turned on in potentiostat mode, the feedback
is such that a negative-signal generator output
creates a positive differential electrometer signal,
which corresponds to a negative working electrode
versus reference electrode voltage.
The polarity of the Ext. Sig.In signal is inverted at
the signal generator’s output. As described above, a
negative input signal on this BNC creates a positive
change in the working electrode versus reference
electrode voltage. The input impedance of this
signal is 3 kΩ in parallel with 15 pF.
Sig. Gen.Out BNC
The Sig. Gen.Out BNC connector allows you to
monitor the “signal generator” signal being sent
from the Reference 600+’s controller board to the potentiostat board. This signal has a high bandwidth.
The signal output range is –15 V to +15 V.
The outer shell of the BNC is connected to the Reference 600+’s floating ground.
47
Caution: The shell of the Sig. Gen.Out BNC is connected to the Reference 600+’s
Floating Ground. Connection of this BNC to a piece of earth-ground-referenced equipment can
compromise the Reference 600+’s ability to float, and invalidate data collected on earth-grounded
cells.
The Sig. Gen.Out BNC connector is lightly filtered using an RLC circuit. It has a bandwidth of
approximately 3 MHz when connected to a high-impedance input. This bandwidth is further reduced if a
coaxial cable is connected to the BNC. Its output impedance is approximately 200 Ω in parallel with 220
pF.
Aux. In BNC
The Aux. In BNC connector allows you to measure a
voltage from outside the Reference 600+ using the
Reference 600+’s internal A/D. The scaling is 3 V
input equals 30 000 A/D counts. This is a
resolution of 100 V per bit. Results are reported in
volts. The input is differential (see Appendix D).
The allowed input voltage range is –24 V to +24 V.
Caution: Voltages outside the
range ±24 V could damage the Reference 600+
circuitry.
Consult Appendix D for additional information
concerning this connector.
48
Chapter 7: Stability in Potentiostat Mode
Capacitive Cells and Stability
All potentiostats can become unstable when connected to capacitive cells. The capacitive cell adds phaseshift to the potentiostat’s feedback signal (which is already phase-shifted). The additional phase-shift can
convert the potentiostat’s power amplifier into a power oscillator.
To make matters worse, almost all electrochemical cells are capacitive because an electrical double-layer
forms next to a conductor immersed in a solution.
Potentiostat oscillation is an AC phenomenon. However, it can affect both AC and DC measurements.
Oscillation often causes excessive noise or sharp DC-shifts in the system’s graphical output. The Reference
600+ Potentiostat can be stable on less-sensitive current ranges and unstable on more-sensitive current
ranges. Whenever you see sharp breaks in the current recorded on the system, you should suspect
oscillation.
The Reference 600+ has been tested for stability with cell capacitors between 10 pF and 0.1 F. In all but
its fastest control-amplifier speed setting, it is stable on any capacitor in this range—as long as the
impedance in the reference-electrode lead does not exceed 20 kΩ. With reference-electrode impedances
greater than 20 kΩ the Reference 600+ may oscillate. The RC filter formed by the reference-electrode
impedance and the reference terminal’s input capacitance filters out the high-frequency feedback needed
for potentiostat stability.
Longer cell cables make the problem worse by increasing the reference terminal’s effective input
capacitance.
Even when the system is stable (not oscillating), it may exhibit ringing whenever there is a voltage step
applied to the cell. The Reference 600’s D/A converters routinely apply steps, even when making a
pseudo-linear ramp. While this ringing is not a problem with slow DC measurements, it can interfere with
faster measurements. The steps taken to eliminate potentiostat oscillation also help to minimize ringing.
Improving Potentiostat Stability
There are a number of things that you can do to improve an unstable or marginally-stable Reference 600+
potentiostat/cell system. This list is not in any particular order: any or all of these steps may help.

Slow down the potentiostat. The Reference 600+ has five control-amplifier speed settings, which can
be selected in software. Slower settings are generally more stable.

Increase the Reference 600’s I/E stability setting. The Reference 600+ includes three capacitors that
can be connected in parallel with its I/E converter resistors. These capacitors are connected to relays
that are controlled by software. Contact your local Gamry Instruments’ representative for more
information concerning changes in these settings.

Lower the reference-electrode impedance. Make sure that you don’t have a clogged reference
electrode junction. Avoid asbestos-fiber reference electrodes and double-junction electrodes. Avoid
small-diameter Luggin capillaries. If you do have a Luggin capillary, make sure that the capillary’s
contents are as conductive as possible.

Add a capacitively-coupled low-impedance reference element in parallel with your existing reference
electrode. The classic fast combination reference electrode is a platinum wire and a junction-isolated
SCE. See Figure 7-1. The capacitor ensures that DC potential comes from the SCE, and AC potential
from the platinum wire. The capacitor value is generally determined by trial and error.
49
Figure 7-1
Fast Combination Reference Electrode
White
Cell Lead
100 pF to 10 nF
SCE
Platinum
Electrolyte
50

Provide a high-frequency shunt around the cell. A small capacitor between the red and white
cell leads allows high-frequency feedback to bypass the cell. See Figure 7-2. The capacitor
value is generally determined by trial and error. One nF (1000 pF) is a good starting point.
In a sense, this is another form of an AC-coupled low-impedance reference electrode. The
counter electrode is the low-impedance electrode, eliminating the need for an additional
electrode in the solution.
Figure 7-2
High-Frequency Shunt
Red
100 pF to 10 nF
White
Reference
Green
Working
51
Counter

Add resistance to the counter electrode lead. See Figure 7-3. This change lowers the effective
bandwidth of the control amplifier. As a rule of thumb, select the resistor to give 1 V of drop
at the highest current expected in the test being run. For example, if you expect your highest
current to be around 1 mA, you can add a 1 kΩ resistor.
This resistor has no effect on the DC accuracy of the potentiostat. It can create problems in
high-speed experiments such as fast CV scans or EIS, which need high bandwidth.
Figure 7-3
Resistor Added for Stability
Red
Resistor
White
Reference
Green
Working
52
Counter
Chapter 8: Measurement of Small Signals
Overview
The Reference 600+ is a very sensitive scientific instrument. It can theoretically resolve current changes as
small as 1 femtoampere (1 x 10–15 A). To place this current in perspective, 1 fA represents the flow of about
6000 electrons per second!
The small currents measured by the Reference 600+ place demands on the instrument, the cell, the cables
and the experimenter. Many of the techniques used in higher current electrochemistry must be modified
when used to measure pA currents. In many cases, the basic physics of the measurement must be
considered.
This chapter discusses the limiting factors controlling low-current measurements. It includes hints on cell
and system design. The emphasis is on EIS (Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy), a highly demanding
application for the Reference 600+.
Measurement System Model and Physical Limitations
To get a feel for the physical limits implied by very sensitive current measurements, consider the equivalent
circuit shown in Figure 8-1. We are attempting to measure the cell impedance given by Zcell.
This model is valid for analysis purposes even though the real Reference 600+ circuit topology differs
significantly.
In Figure 8-1:
ES
Zcell
Icell
Rm
Rshunt
Cshunt
Cin
Rin
Iin
ideal signal source
unknown cell impedance
“real” cell current
current measurement circuit’s current-measurement resistance
unwanted resistance across the cell
unwanted capacitance across the cell
current-measurement circuit’s stray input capacitance
current-measurement circuit’s stray input resistance
measurement circuit’s input current
In the ideal current-measurement circuit, Rin is infinite while Cin and Iin are zero. All of the cell current, Icel,
flows through Rm.
With an ideal cell and voltage source, Rshunt is infinite and Cshunt is zero. All the current flowing into the
current measurement circuit is due to Zcell.
The voltage developed across Rm is measured by the meter as Vm. Given the idealities discussed above, use
Kirchoff’s and Ohm’s laws to calculate Zcell:
Zcell = ES × Rm / Vm
53
Figure 8-1
Equivalent Measurement Circuit
R shunt
C shunt
Icell
Rm
R in
C in
Unfortunately technology limits high-impedance measurements because:

Current measurement circuits always have non-zero input capacitance, i.e., Cin > 0.

Infinite Rin cannot be achieved with real circuits and materials.

Amplifiers used in the meter have input currents, i.e., Iin > 0.

The cell and the potentiostat create both a non-zero Cshunt and a finite Rshunt.
Additionally, basic physics limits high-impedance measurements via Johnson noise, which is the inherent
noise in a resistance.
Johnson Noise in Zcell
Johnson noise across a resistor represents a fundamental physical limitation. Resistors, regardless of
composition, demonstrate a minimum noise for both current and voltage, per the following equations:
E = (4kTR F)1/2
I = (4kT F / R)1/2
where:
k = Boltzman’s constant 1.38 × 10–23 J/K
T = temperature in K
F = noise bandwidth in Hz
R = resistance in Ω.
For purposes of approximation, the noise bandwidth, F, is equal to the measurement frequency. Assume a
1011 Ω resistor as Zcell. At 300 K and a measurement frequency of 1 Hz this gives a voltage noise of 41 V
rms. The peak-to-peak noise is about five times the rms noise. Under these conditions, you can make a
voltage measurement of 10 mV across Zcell with an error of about 0.4%. Fortunately, an AC
54
measurement can reduce the bandwidth by integrating the measured value at the expense of additional
measurement time. With a noise bandwidth of 1 mHz, the voltage noise falls to about 1.3 V rms.
Current noise on the same resistor under the same conditions is 0.41 fA. To place this number in
perspective, a 10 mV signal across this same resistor will generate a current of 100 fA, or again an error
of up to  0.4%. Reducing the bandwidth helps. At a noise bandwidth of 1 mHz, the current noise falls to
0.013 fA.
With Es at 10 mV, an EIS system that measures 10 11 Ω at 1 Hz is about 2½ decades away from the
Johnson-noise limits. At 10 Hz, the system is close enough to the Johnson-noise limits to make accurate
measurements impossible. Between these limits, readings get progressively less accurate as the frequency
increases.
In practice, EIS measurements usually cannot be made at high-enough frequencies that Johnson noise is
the dominant noise source. If Johnson noise is a problem, averaging reduces the noise bandwidth, thereby
reducing the noise at a cost of lengthening the experiment.
Finite Input Capacitance
Cin in Figure 8-1 represents unavoidable capacitances that always arise in real circuits. Cin shunts Rm,
draining off higher-frequency signals, limiting the bandwidth that can be achieved for a given value of Rm.
This calculation shows at which frequencies the effect becomes significant. The frequency-limit of a current
measurement (defined by the frequency where the phase error hits 45°) can be calculated from:
fRC = 1/(2f RmCin)
Decreasing Rm increases this frequency. However, large Rm values are desirable to minimize the effects of
voltage drift and voltage noise in the I/E converter’s amplifiers.
A reasonable value for Cin in a practical, computer-controllable, low-current measurement circuit is 20 pF.
For a 6 nA full-scale current range, a practical estimate for Rm is 107 Ω.
fRC = 1/6.28 (1 × 107)(2 × 10–12)  8000 Hz
In general, stay two decades below fRC to keep phase-shift below one degree. The uncorrected upper
frequency-limit on a 6 nA range is therefore around 80 Hz.
You can measure higher frequencies using the higher-current ranges (i.e., lower-impedance ranges) but this
reduces the total available signal below the resolution limits of the “voltmeter”. This exercise forms one
basis to the statement that high-frequency and high-impedance measurements are mutually exclusive.
You can use software correction of the measured response to improve the useable bandwidth, but not by
more than an order of magnitude in frequency.
Leakage Currents and Input Impedance
In Figure 8-1, both Rin and Iin affect the accuracy of current measurements. The magnitude error caused by
Rin is calculated via:
Error = 1 – Rin/(Rm+ Rin)
For an Rm of 107 Ω, an error < 1% demands that Rin must be greater than 109 Ω. PC-board leakage, relay
leakage, and measurement-device characteristics lower Rin below the desired value of infinity.
A similar problem is the finite input-leakage current Iin into the voltage-measuring circuit. It can be leakage
directly into the input of the voltage meter, or leakage from a voltage source (such as a power supply)
through an insulation resistance into the input. If an insulator connected to the input has a resistance of
1012 Ω between +15 V and the input, the leakage current is 15 pA. Fortunately, most sources of leakage
55
current are DC and can be tuned out in impedance measurements. As a general rule, the DC leakage
should not exceed the measured AC signal by more than a factor of 10.
The Reference 600+ uses an input amplifier with an input current of around 1 pA. Other circuit
components may also contribute leakage currents. You therefore cannot make absolute current
measurements of very low pA currents with the Reference 600+. In practice, the input current is
approximately constant, so current differences or AC current levels of less than one pA can often be
measured.
Voltage Noise and DC Measurements
Often the current signal measured by a potentiostat shows noise that is not the fault of the currentmeasurement circuits. This is especially true when you are making DC measurements. The cause of the
current noise is noise in the voltage applied to the cell.
Assume that you have a working electrode with a capacitance of 40 µF. This could be represented by a 1
cm2 polished bare metal immersed in an electrolyte solution. A rough estimate of the capacitance of the
electrical double-layer formed by a metal/electrolyte interface is 20 µF/cm2. The area is the microscopic
area of the surface, which is larger than the macroscopic geometric area, because even a polished surface
is rough. The impedance of this 40 F electrode, assuming ideal capacitive behavior, is given by:
Z = 1/j  C
At 60 Hz, the impedance magnitude is about 66 .
Apply an ideal DC potential across this ideal capacitor and you get no DC current.
Unfortunately, all potentiostats have noise in the applied voltage. This noise comes from the instrument
itself and from external sources. In many cases, the predominant noise frequency is the AC power-line
(mains) frequency.
Assume a realistic noise voltage, Vn, of 10 µV (this is lower than the noise-level of most commercial
potentiostats). Further, assume that this noise voltage is at the North American power-line (mains)
frequency of 60 Hz. The noise voltage creates a current across the cell capacitance:
I = Vn/Z  10 × 10–6/66  150 nA
This rather large noise current prevents accurate DC current measurement in the low nA or pA ranges.
In an EIS measurement, you apply an AC excitation voltage that is much bigger than the typical noise
voltage, so this is not a significant problem.
Shunt Resistance and Capacitance
Non-ideal shunt resistance and capacitance arise in both the cell and the potentiostat. Both can cause
significant measurement errors.
Parallel metal surfaces form a capacitor. The capacitance rises as the metal’s area increases and as the
separation distance between the metals decreases.
Wire and electrode placement have a large effect on shunt capacitance. If the clip leads connecting to the
working and reference electrodes are close together, they can form a significant shunt capacitor. Values of
1 to 10 pF are common. This shunt capacitance cannot be distinguished from “real” capacitance in the
56
cell. If you are measuring a paint film with a 100 pF capacitance, 5 pF of shunt capacitance is a very
significant error.
Shunt resistance in the cell arises because of imperfect insulators. No material is a perfect insulator (infinite
resistance). Even Teflon®, which is one of the best insulators known, has a bulk resistivity of about 10 12
Ω·m. Worse yet, surface contamination often lowers the effective resistivity of good insulators. Water films
can be a real problem, especially on glass.
Shunt capacitance and resistance also occur in the potentiostat itself. The Reference 600+ Potentiostat
mode specifications in Appendix A contain equivalent values for the potentiostat’s Rshunt and Cshunt. These
values can be measured by an impedance measurement with no cell.
In most cases, the cell’s shunt resistance and capacitance errors are larger than those from the potentiostat.
Hints for System and Cell Design
The following hints may prove helpful.
Faraday Shield
A Faraday shield surrounding your cell is mandatory for very low-level measurements. It reduces both
current noise picked up directly on the working electrode and voltage noise picked up by the reference
electrode.
A Faraday shield is a conductive enclosure that surrounds the cell. The shield can be constructed from
sheet metal, fine-mesh wire screen, or even conductive paint on plastic. It must be continuous and
completely surround the cell. Don’t forget the areas above and below the cell. All parts of the shield must
be electrically connected. You will need an opening in the shield large enough to allow a cell cable to
enter the shield.
The shield must be electrically connected to the Reference 600+’s floating-ground terminal.
An additional connection of both the shield and the Reference 600+ floating ground to an earth ground
may also prove helpful.
Only connect the Reference 600+ ground to earth ground if all conductive cell
components are well-isolated from earth ground. A glass cell is usually well isolated. An autoclave is
generally not well isolated.
Avoid External Noise Sources
Try to keep your system away from electrical noise sources. Some of the worst are:




Fluorescent lights
Motors
Radio transmitters
Computers and computer monitors
Try to avoid AC-powered or computerized apparatus within your Faraday shield.
57
Cell Cable Length and Construction
The Reference 600+ is shipped with a 60 cm shielded cell cable. We also offer extended length cables
and unshielded cables as options at extra cost.
Cell cables longer than 1 meter will result in degraded instrument performance. Increased noise and
decreased stability both can occur. However, with most cells, the instrument will work acceptably with an
extended cell cable, so our advice is to try it. As a rule, do not attempt to use current-interrupt IRcompensation with cell cables longer than 5 m.
We do not recommend that you use the Reference 600+ with any cables not supplied by Gamry
Instruments. The Reference 600+ cable is not a simple cable like a typical computer cable. The Reference
600+ cable includes a number of individually shielded wires contained within an overall shield. We pay
careful attention to issues such as shield isolation, isolation resistance, and capacitance.
If you do need a special cable, contact us with your requirements.
Lead Placement
Many experiments with the Reference 600+ involve cells with small capacitances, the value of which may
be important.
In these cases, the capacitance between the Reference 600+’s cell leads can result in an error. The
Reference 600+ alligator clips can have 10 pF or more of mutual capacitance if they are run alongside
each other.
If you wish to avoid excessive capacitance:

Place the leads as far apart as possible. Pay special attention to physical separation between
the working electrode/working sense leads and the counter/counter sense/reference electrode
leads.

Have the leads approach the cell from different directions.

Remove the alligator clips from the leads. In extreme cases you can replace the banana plugs
and pin jack with smaller connectors. If you do so, be careful not to compromise the isolation
between the center conductor and the shield.
The cell leads must not be moved during an experiment measuring small currents. Both microphonic and
triboelectric effects can create spurious results when the cell cables are moved.
Cell Construction
If you need to measure small currents or high impedances, make sure that your cell construction does not
limit your response.
A cell where the resistance between the electrodes is only 1010 Ω cannot be used to measure 1013 Ω
impedances. In general, glass and Teflon are the preferred construction materials for cells. Even glass may
be a problem when it is wet.
You also must consider Cshunt. Make the “inactive” portion of your electrodes as small as possible. Avoid
placing electrodes close together or parallel with each other if you are measuring high impedances.
Reference Electrode
Keep your reference electrode impedance as low as possible. High-impedance reference electrodes can
cause potentiostat instability and excessive pickup of voltage-noise.
58
Try to avoid:



Narrow-bore or Vycor®-tipped Luggin capillaries.
Poorly conductive solutions, especially in Luggin capillaries.
Asbestos-thread and double-junction reference electrodes.
Reference electrodes often develop high impedances as they are used. Anything that can clog the isolation
frit can raise the electrode impedance. Avoid using saturated KCl-based references in perchlorate-ion
solutions.
Instrument Settings
There are several things to remember in setting up a very sensitive experiment.

In EIS, use the largest practical excitation. Don’t use a 10 mV excitation on a coated specimen
that can handle 100 mV without damage.

Avoid potentials where large DC currents flow. You cannot measure 1 pA of AC current on
top of 1 mA of DC current.
EIS Speed
In EIS, do not expect the Reference 600+ to measure 1013 Ω impedances at 1 kHz. Many of the factors
listed above limit the performance.
As a rule of thumb, the product of impedance, Z, times frequency, f, should be less than 109 ·Hz for good
EIS measurements with a Reference 600+.
Z · f < 109 ·Hz
Ancillary Apparatus
Do not use the Reference 600+ with ancillary apparatus connected directly to any of the cell leads.
Ammeters and voltmeters, regardless of their specifications, almost always create problems when
connected to the Reference 600+ cell leads.
Floating Operation
The Reference 600+ is capable of operation with cells where one of the electrodes or a cell surface is at
earth ground. Examples of earth-grounded cells include: autoclaves, stress apparatus, pipelines, storage
tanks and battleships. The Reference 600+’s internal ground is allowed to float with respect to earth
ground when it works with these cells, hence the name “floating operation”.
Instrument performance can be substantially degraded when the Reference 600+ is operated in a floating
mode. The instrument specifications only apply on isolated cells with the Reference 600+ earth-ground
referenced (not floating).
Special precautions must be taken with the cell connections when the Reference 600+ must float. Make
sure that all the cell connections are isolated from earth ground. In this case, you must disconnect the
chassis-ground terminal of the Reference 600+ from earth ground.
Finally, ancillary apparatus connected to the Reference 600+ must be isolated. External voltmeters,
ammeters, FRAs, etc. must be isolated. This includes devices connected to the monitor connectors located
on the Reference 600+ rear panel.
59
60
Appendix A: Reference 600+ Specifications
All specifications are at an ambient temperature of 25°C, with the Reference 600+ powered using the
external power supply shipped with the unit, a standard shielded 60 cm cell cable, and the cell enclosed in
a Faraday shield. All specifications are after software calibration.
A numbered note qualifies many of the specifications. Many of these notes describe the method used to
measure a specification. The notes are found at the end of this appendix.
All specifications are subject to change without notice.
Control Amplifier
Compliance Voltage
Min
22
V
Note 1
Output Current
Min
600
mA
Note 2
Unity Gain Bandwidth
Typ
980, 260, 40, 4.0, 0.4
kHz
Notes 3, 4
Slew Rate
Typ
10, 4.5, 0.6, 0.06, 0.006
V/s
Notes 3, 4
Max Input Voltage
Min
9
V
Note 5
Input Current
Max
10
pA
Notes 5, 6
Input Resistance
Differential (between inputs)
Common Mode (input to ground)
Input Capacitance
Differential (between inputs)
Common Mode (input to ground)
Bandwidth (–3 dB)
Typ
TΩ
Note 7
pf
Note 7
MHz
Note 7
CMMR
DC to 100 kHz
100 kHz to 1 MHz
Min
Differential Electrometer
100
1
Typ
Min
0.2
12
15
Note 8
80
60
Voltage Measurement
A/D Full Scale Ranges
Typ
12.0, 3.0
V
Resolution
Typ
400, 100
V/bit
Zero Offset Error
Max
1
mV
Note 10
Gain Error
Max
0.2
%
Note 10
Offset Range
Typ
10
V
Post- Offset Gain
Typ
1×, 10×, 100×
61
Note 9
Reference 600+ Specifications
Current to Voltage Converter
Maximum Full Scale Range
600
mA
Note 11
Minimum Full Scale Range
pA
fA
mV at
full scale
V
full scale
pA
Note 11
% of
range
% of
reading
Note 13
% FS/°C
Note 14
MHz
Note 15
Voltage across Rm
Typ
60
600 (after ×100 gain)
120
Output Voltage (at BNC and ADC in)
Typ
3.0
Input Offset Current
Max
10
Range Zero Offset
Max
0.05
Gain Tolerance
600 mA to 6 nA ranges
600 pA range
60 pA
Zero drift
Max
Bandwidth
600 mA to 600 A ranges
60 A range
6 A range
Typ
Typ
0.2
0.75
1.5
0.03
Note 12
Note 13
Note 13
> 10
> 1.5
> 0.15
Current Measurement
Resolution
Typ
0.00333…
Offset Range
Typ
100
Post- Offset Gain
Typ
1×, 10×, 100×
Accuracy
Typ
Dominated by current-to-voltage error
(see above)
Applied Voltage Range
Min
11
V
Accuracy
DC zero offset
Gain
DC Bias
Max
Typ
1
0.2
8
mV
% setting
V
Scan DAC ranges
Typ
6.4, 1.6, 0.4
V
Drift
Max
< 20
V/°C
Note 17
Noise and Ripple
1 Hz to 1 kHz
1 Hz to 200 kHz
Typ
V rms
Note 18
% FS
/bit
% of
range
Potentiostatic Mode
Notes 5, 6
Note 16
10
20
62
Reference 600+ Specifications
Galvanostatic Mode
Maximum Full Scale Current
600
mA
Note 11
Minimum Full Scale Current
60
pA
Note 11
Accuracy
Dominated by current-to-voltage
converter accuracy shown above
3.0
V
Sig Gen Voltage for Full Scale Current
Auxiliary A/D Input (see Appendix D)
Range (differential)
Typ
3
V
Input voltage range
(either input)
Gain Error
Max
3.6
V
Max
0.2
%
Input Impedance
a) as shipped
b) re-jumpered for high-Z input
Typ
100
10
kΩ
GΩ
Note 19
Auxiliary D/A Output
Range
Typ
0 to 4.096
V
Resolution
Typ
1
mV
0 to 45
C
90 (non-condensing)
%
Storage and Shipping Temperature
–25 to 75
°C
Maximum Shipping acceleration
30
g
Environmental
Operating Temperature Range
Relative Humidity
Max
63
Reference 600+ Specifications
General
Power Input Voltage
Range 22 to 26
volts
Power
Max
W
50
1 nA
Leakage Current
(floating, earthed Working Electrode)
Dimensions
Note 20
Max
10 × 20 × 30
cm
Note 21
Weight
Max
2.5
kg
Note 21
Dimensions of External Power Adapter
Max
7.5 × 3.5 × 15
cm
Note 22
Weight of External Power Adapter
Max
400
g
Note 22
NOTES:
6. Measured in galvanostatic mode with a high-power 200 Ω load connected from counter electrode
lead to the working electrode lead. The compliance voltage is measured using an external voltmeter
across the 200 Ω load. Under these conditions, the output current is approximately 115 mA.
7. Measured with a precision 4-terminal 2 Ω load, in potentiostatic mode.
8. Unity-gain bandwidth and slew rate are correlated. Each has five settings, with the highest slew-rate
occurring at the highest bandwidth, down to the lowest slew-rate occurring at lowest bandwidth. Both
are measured with 20 kΩ between counter and reference, and 100 Ω between the reference and the
working and working sense leads.
9. Measured with an external function generator connected to the Ext. Sig.In BNC.
10. The Differential Electrometer Amplifiers are Analog Devices AD8065 op amps specially selected for
low Vos drift versus temperature. These amps have a dual-input stage, with a JFET input over most of
their input range and a bipolar transistor input at input voltages greater than +9.5 V. They are only a
high-impedance buffer from –12 V to +9.5 V, though they are a unity-gain buffer over their whole
input-voltage range.
11. The input current of the JFET inputs on the AD8065s is less than 6 pA. When the bipolar input is
operative, the input current can be in the µA range. The specified current is only applicable at voltages
of 2 V or less.
12. The differential impedance is measured between the Reference and Work Sense inputs. This is the
impedance you measure when you record the EIS spectrum of an infinite impedance cell.
There is also a common-mode resistance and capacitance associated with the differential electrometer
inputs. These values tell you how much the electrometer response is modified by a resistance in series
with the source.
13. The bandwidth is for a sine-wave source with a 50 Ω output impedance driving either input. The
bandwidth is well in excess of this specification, which is limited by the measurement equipment used
in testing the Reference 600+.
14. CMRR is common-mode rejection ratio. It specifies the ability of the differential electrometer to reject
signals connected to both inputs. The CMRR is measured driving both inputs with a sine-wave source
with a 50 Ω output impedance, and measuring the error as a function of frequency. Resistance in
either input will cause a loss of CMRR.
15. Voltage measurement is actually performed with a 3 V signal input to the ADC signal chain. A 4
attenuator divides down higher-voltage electrometer outputs so they fit into a 3 V input, thus making
a 12 V full-scale range.
64
Reference 600+ Specifications
16. The total error in a voltage measurement is:
Error = Zero Offset Error + Gain Error × Voltage
For a 1 V signal the error can be as high as 3 mV.
17. There are 11 hardware current ranges, separated in sensitivity by decades. The ranges are 60 pA, 600
pA, 6 nA, … 60 mA, 600 mA full-scale. The ×10 and ×100 gains add two virtual ranges of 6 pA and
600 fA full scale.
18. The voltage across the current measurement resistor, Rm, is as shown. Slightly higher voltages may be
seen at the working electrode terminal on the cell cable, because the cable has both resistive and
inductive impedance.
19. The total error in a current measurement is:
Error = Input Current Offset + Range Zero Offset × FS Current + Gain Tolerance × Measured Current
For small currents (pA) the first term is usually dominant.
For large currents (µA), the first term can usually be ignored.
The units for the error are ampères.
20. Drift can be approximated by simple drift in the Range Zero Error. In reality all three terms in the
equation above can have drift.
21. The current-to-voltage converter bandwidth is a function of the current range, the cell cable, and the
IEStability setting. The bandwidth can be very low on very sensitive ranges. Longer cell cables add
capacitance and slow the current measurement.
22. The total error in a voltage setting is:
Error = DC Zero Offset + Gain × Voltage Setting
For a 1 V signal the error can be as high as 3 mV.
23. This specification is guaranteed by design. It is not tested.
24. This specification is measured by applying zero voltage across a 1  resistor and measuring current
noise on the 600 µA scale. 1 µV of voltage noise creates a current of 1 µA. The filters in the ADC Chain
for the I Signal are used to limit the bandwidths as shown in the specification.
Signal averaging via Gamry’s DSP mode further reduces the measured noise.
25. See Appendix D.
26. Isolation quality has both DC factors and AC factors (predominately at the 300 kHz power-supply
frequency). Only the DC leakage current is shown here. Consult Gamry’s technical support for
additional information.
27. Excluding external power adapter and any cables supplied with unit.
28. Excluding removable line cord.
65
Reference 600+ Specifications
66
Appendix B: Reference 600+ Cell Cable Connector
Chapter 5 describes the connections between a cell cable and an electrochemical cell. This appendix
describes the other end of the cell cable.
Multiple pins assigned to the same signal are connected together on the Reference 600+’s Potentiostat
board. If you need to connect this signal outside the Reference 600+, you need a wire connected to any
one of the D-connector pins.
Table B-1
Cell Connector
Pin(s)
1
Signal Name
Working
Sense
2, 14
WS Shield
3, 4, 15, 17
Reference
Shield
Ground
5, 7, 10, 11,
18, 19, 22,
24
6
Counter
Sense
8
CBL_ID1
9
CBL_ID2
12, 25
Work
Shield
Working
Electrode
Reference
Electrode
13
16
20
CBL_ID0
21
CBL_ID3
23
Counter
Electrode
Use
Connected to the working electrode in most cases (see Chapter ). This lead
has a 261 Ω resistor in the cell end of the cable. Custom cell cables are likely
to require a similar resistor.
The shield for the working sense input. Driven to the same potential as Pin 1.
Left open at the cell end of the cell cable.
The shield for the reference electrode input. Driven to the same potential as
Pin 16. Left open at the cell end of the cell cable.
The potentiostat’s floating ground. Can be used to shield the cell if very low
currents need to be measured. Also used as a shield for the counter
electrode cable.
With a Reference 600+, used to sense the potential of the counter
electrode. Allows accurate ZRA mode even with significant cell current
through counter lead’s resistance.
One of four cable ID bits. Used to identify the type of cell cable attached to
the unit. Pull to a logic High through a resistor. Ground to set the bit low.
One of four cable ID bits. Used to identify the type of cell cable attached to
the unit. Pull to a logic High through a resistor. Ground to set the bit low.
The shield for the working electrode input. Connected to Floating Ground.
Left open at the cell end of the cell cable.
Connected to the working electrode. The cell current flows through this pin.
Connected to the reference electrode in most cases (see Chapter ). This lead
has a 261 Ω resistor in the cell end of the cable. Custom cell cables are likely
to require a similar resistor.
One of four cable ID bits. Used to identify the type of cell cable attached to
the unit. Pull to a logic High through a resistor. Ground to set the bit low.
One of four cable ID bits. Used to identify the type of cell cable attached to
the unit. Pull to a logic High through a resistor. Ground to set the bit low.
Connected to the cell’s counter electrode. The cell current flows through this
connection.
67
Reference 600+ Cell Cable Connector
Designing cell cabling for a 5 MHz potentiostat is not a trivial task. Gamry Instruments does
not recommend user-designed cables (except as a last resort). In many cases we can build a custom cable
to meet your specific needs. We’ll also be happy to discuss your cabling requirements and give you
assistance if you must you design and build your own cell cable.
68
Appendix C: Misc. I/O Connector
The Misc. I/O connector contains a number of signals used to connect the Reference 600+ to external
apparatus. It is the miniature 15-pin female D-shaped connector on the rear panel of the Reference 600+.
Be careful: the ground pins on this connector are isolated from both the Reference 600+ floating ground
and earth ground.
The metal shell of the D-connector is connected to the Reference 600’s Floating Ground. Improper Misc.
I/O connections can damage a Reference 600+ that is connected to a high-energy cell containing earthgrounded terminals.
The auxiliary analog output, derived from a D/A converter, is on this connector. The scaling is normally 1
mV per bit, for a 0to4.096 V full-scale range.
The pin-out of this connector is shown in Table C-1.
Table C-1
Misc. I/O Connector Pins
Pin
1
2
3
Name
Analog Output High
Analog Output Low
Sync In
4
Sync Out
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
No connection
Ground
Digital Out 0
Digital Out 1
Digital Out 2
Digital Out 3
Digital In 0
Digital In 1
Digital In 2
Digital In 3
+5 V
Use
The auxiliary output signal (DAC output).
The auxiliary output ground connection (ground)
Used in slave mode; starts data-acquisition
2.2 kΩ input impedance
A TTL pulse output before the start of a data point
330 Ω output impedance
Digital ground
A TTL-compatible digital output; 330 Ω output impedance
A TTL-compatible digital output; 330 Ω output impedance
A TTL-compatible digital output; 330 Ω output impedance
A TTL-compatible digital output; 330 Ω output impedance
A TTL-compatible digital input; 2.2 kΩ input impedance
A TTL-compatible digital input; 2.2 kΩ input impedance
A TTL-compatible digital input; 2.2 kΩ input impedance
A TTL-compatible digital input; 2.2 kΩ input impedance
Power: 50 mA maximum current
Caution: Floating operation of the Reference 600+ can be compromised by
connecting improper cables to the Misc. I/O Connector. We do not recommend use of standard 15pin shielded cables with this connector. Custom cables with the shield connected to pin 6 of the Dconnector are preferred.
69
Misc. I/O Connector
70
Appendix D:
Appendix D: Auxiliary A/D Input Characteristics
The controller board used in the Gamry Instruments Reference 600+ Potentiostat has software switches
that configure the input circuitry used for the Aux A/D function.
The CMOS switches are set using a function call in an Explain script. Once the CMOS switches are set,
they remain in the selected position until another script resets them. Note that the settings return to their
default values on reset or Power Up of the Reference 600+.
Aux A/D Specifications
3.276 V
100 kΩ(approx)
or
Low Impedance Selected
10 GΩ(typical)
High Impedance Selected
Input Bias Current
< 10 nA
High Impedance selected
Filter Cutoff
20 Hz  20%
With Low Bandwidth selected
Range
Input Impedance


Function Call to Set the Aux A/D BNC Characteristics
The CMOS switch is set using an Explain function call. The syntax of this call is:
Pstat.SetAuxBNCImpedance (Impedance)
The variable passed to the function is a Boolean (with a value of TRUE or FALSE).
The following definitions can be used to make a script that calls this function more readable.
#define SETAUXBNCSETTINGS_IMPEDANCE_HIGH TRUE
#define SETAUXBNCSETTINGS_IMPEDANCE_LOW FALSE
A TRUE in the Impedance variable opens the switches across J902 and J903, selecting high input
impedance. A FALSE selects 100 k input impedance.


71
Auxiliary A/D Input Characteristics
72
Appendix E: CE Certificate
Redefining Electrochemical Measurement
Declaration of Conformity
According to ISO/IEC Guide 22 and CEN/CENELEC EN 45014
Manufacturer's Name and Location:
This declaration is for the Gamry Instruments product models: Reference 600+
Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA.
The declaration is based upon compliance with the following directives:
EMC Directive 89/336/EEC as amended by 92/31/EEC and 93/68/EEC
Low Voltage Safety Directive 73/23/EEC as amended by 93/68/EEC
The declaration is based upon product compliance with the following standards as defined in report
number R0295-000 from Ergonomics, Inc. for safety analysis and report number RSI-2772L from
Radiation Sciences, Inc. for EMC test and analysis.
EMC Standards
EN 61000-4-2
EN 61326:2002-2
Title
EMC – Electrostatic discharge, Immunity
EMC – Radiated Emissions
Low Voltage Directive
Safety Standards
EN 61010-1:2001
EN 61010-2-081: 6/2003
Class/ Criteria
B
A
Title
Safety requirements for electrical equipment for measurement, control and laboratory
use, Part 1: General requirements.
Safety requirements for electrical equipment for measurement, control and laboratory
use, Part 2 Particular requirements for automatic and semiautomatic laboratory
equipment for analysis and other purposes
__
__
September 29, 2005_
Date
Signature
Dr. Gregory A. Martinchek, PhD
Title: President
Formal signed declaration is on file at Gamry, Inc.
73
Appendix E: CE Certificate
Certificate of Conformance
74
Comprehensive Index
Comprehensive Index
25 pin D ........................................................ 24
AC adapter ....................................................... 3
ADC channels ................................................ 15
air-cooling ........................................................ 5
ancillary apparatus.......................................... 59
Aux A/D ......................................................... 71
Aux. In BNC ................................................... 48
auxiliary electrode .......................................... 35
black banana .................................................. 35
blue cell lead .................................................. 35
calibration ...................................................... 30
capacitive cells ............................................... 49
Cell Cable connector ...................................... 24
CE Compliance ................................................ 8
cell cable ........................................................ 35
ZRA connections...................................... 36
Cell Cable connector ..................................... 39
Cell Cable connector ................................ 35, 67
cell construction materials .............................. 58
Cell On LED ................................................... 41
Chassis Ground............................................. 43
cleaning ........................................................... 7
computer ......................................................... 9
computer requirements .................................. 20
computers - noise ........................................... 57
contract engineering ......................................... 1
Control Overload ........................................... 41
conventions
notational ................................................ 10
counter electrode ........................................... 35
Counter Electrode .......................................... 67
Counter Sense ................................................ 67
DC voltage ..................................................... 18
DDS ............................................................... 14
Declaration of Conformity .............................. 73
Device Settings window.................................. 29
double insulation .............................................. 3
E Monitor BNC ............................................... 46
E Overload ..................................................... 41
earth ground ........................................ 4, 57, 59
EasyUSB ......................................................... 17
EIS speed ....................................................... 59
electrical noise ............................................... 57
electrical transients ........................................... 7
electrons per second ...................................... 53
enclosed space ................................................. 6
environmental limits ......................................... 6
environmental stress ......................................... 6
Ext. Sig. In BNC .............................................. 47
External Signal............................................... 47
fans ................................................................. 5
Faraday shield .......................................... 36, 57
filters .............................................................. 15
firmware download ........................................ 40
firmware update ............................................. 29
Firmware Update window .............................. 30
floating ground ............................................... 35
Floating Ground ............................................. 43
floating operation ........................................... 59
fluorescent lights............................................. 57
Gamry Framework ........................................... 9
green cell lead ................................................ 35
ground ........................................................... 67
Help system ..................................................... 9
high frequency shunt ...................................... 51
hints – cell design ........................................... 57
I Monitor BNC ............................................... 45
I Overload ...................................................... 41
I/O connector................................................. 45
input capacitance ........................................... 53
input current .................................................. 53
input impedance ............................................ 53
input leakage current ...................................... 55
inspection ........................................................ 3
installation...................................................... 19
Instrument Manager ....................................... 26
Instrument Manager window .......................... 28
Johnson noise ................................................. 54
Label - changing ............................................. 27
lead capacitance ............................................ 58
lead placement .............................................. 58
low I range dc calibration ............................... 32
Luggin capillaries ............................................ 59
Luggin capillary .............................................. 49
materials ........................................................ 58
measurement system model ........................... 53
membrane cell connections ............................ 37
Misc. I/O connector........................................ 45
Misc. I/O Connector ....................................... 69
miscellaneous I/O connector .......................... 69
motors ........................................................... 57
Multiple Potentiostat Systems ......................... 25
noise .............................................................. 56
operation ......................................................... 6
orange lead .................................................... 35
oscillation ....................................................... 49
Overload LED ................................................ 41
power brick ...................................................... 3
Power Connection ......................................... 22
Power Cord .................................................... 22
75
Power In jack ................................................. 42
Power LED ..................................................... 39
Power PC ....................................................... 17
Power PC firmware ........................................ 17
power-line transient ......................................... 7
Power switch .................................................. 23
Power switch .................................................. 42
power-up self-test ........................................... 23
radio frequency ................................................ 7
radio transmitters............................................ 57
red cell lead ................................................... 35
Reference 600 - about ...................................... 9
Reference 600 – manual overview .................... 9
reference electrode ........................................ 35
Reference Electrode ....................................... 67
reference electrode impedance ...................... 58
reference electrodes ....................................... 59
RFI ................................................................. 7
ringing ............................................................ 49
RoHS compliance ............................................. 8
safety ............................................................... 3
schematic ...................................................... 11
service.............................................................. 7
service contract ................................................ 1
Sig. Gen. Out BNC ........................................ 47
small signals.................................................... 53
software calibration ........................................ 61
specifications .................................................. 61
stability .......................................................... 49
state-machine ................................................. 15
static electricity................................................. 7
storage ............................................................. 6
support ............................................................ 1
telephone assistance ......................................... 1
temperature ..................................................... 5
thermocouple................................................. 44
Universal Dummy Cell ................................... 31
USB cable ...................................................... 23
USB firmware ................................................. 17
USB LED .................................................. 24, 40
USB port ........................................................ 43
Visual Inspection ............................................ 20
voltage noise .................................................. 56
Warranty .......................................................... 2
WE Shield ...................................................... 67
white cell lead ................................................ 35
working electrode .......................................... 35
Working Electrode .......................................... 67
Working Sense ............................................... 67
WS Shield ...................................................... 67
ZRA
cell connections ....................................... 36
76
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