# Customizing configuration and calibration files

The Open Colorimeter ships pre-programmed with the circuitpython firmware. This page describes how to modify the firmware default settings to customize your instrument. Customizing the Open Colorimeter can make it more convenient to use, reduce setup time, help prevent user errors and ensure consistent results.

You might want to consider customizing your device if either/both of these situations apply:

• You are routinely changing the Open Colorimeter default settings on start-up
• You want to customize the list of tests in the Menu such as adding your own custom calibrations or those of other community members

These customizations can be done by editing two files, configuration.json and calibration.json, which are located on the device. Both of these files use the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) file format which is a human-readable open standard for data interchange.

• configuration.json sets the device's default/startup configuration
• calibration.json contains the calibration data for measurements

To access the configuration.json and calibration.json files:

• Plug your Open Colorimeter into a PC using a USB cable (included with the instrument) and turn it on.
• The device should show up as a flash drive named CIRCUITPY on your computer. If you open this drive you should the two files, configuration.json and calibration.json

## The configuration.json file

This file sets the Open Colorimeter's default settings on startup.  An example of the contents of this file are shown below:

{
"gain" : "med",
"integration_time" : "500ms",
"startup" : "Absorbance"
} 

There are three options which can be set in this file.

• gain: the gain used by the light sensor. Allowed values: low, med, high, max
• integration_time: the integration time used by the light sensor. Allowed values: 100ms, 200ms, 300ms, 400ms, 500ms and 600ms.
• startup: the measurement displayed after device start up. Allowed values include Absorbance, Transmittance, Raw Sensor, or any test name in the calibrations file. For example, use "Ammonia API" if you want your device to always start-up in the Ammonia-API measurement mode

A more detailed description of the gain and integration_time settings can be found on the page linked below.

## The calibrations.json file

This file contains calibration data for measurements and the individual entries in this file become the tests which are displayed in the Open Colorimeter's menu. They are displayed after the default entries (Absorbance, Transmittance and Raw Sensor)  in the menu.  An example of the contents of this files is shown below.

{
"Ammonia API": {
"units": "ppm",
"led": "630",
"fit_type": "polynomial",
"fit_coef": [
1.0128521350438369,
1.890930808804952,
0.0
],
"range": {
"min": 0.0,
"max": 2.0
}
},
"FD&C Blue 1": {
"units": "mg/L",
"led": "630",
"fit_type": "polynomial",
"fit_coef": [
9.657673193787982,
0.0
],
"range": {
"min": 0.0,
"max": 0.81
}
},
"Nitrate API": {
"units": "ppm",
"led": "520",
"fit_type": "polynomial",
"fit_coef": [
0.32039213453320625,
34.032597696304,
0.0
],
"range": {
"min": 0.0,
"max": 1.47
}
},
"Nitrite API": {
"units": "ppm",
"led": "520",
"fit_type": "polynomial",
"fit_coef": [
0.13111937060865314,
1.2591439203550079,
0.0
],
"range": {
"min": 0.0,
"max": 1.4
}
}
}

The calibration file above contains four tests: Ammonia API, FD&C Blue 1,  Nitrate API, and Nitrite API.  At the top level the calibrations.json file consists of a JSON object where the keys are the names of the tests and the values associated with each are JSON objects containing  the calibration data for the test as shown below.

{
"Test1": { JSON object with Test1 calibration data },
"Test2": { JSON object with Test2 calibration data },
"Test3": { JSON object with Test2 calibration data }
}

The JSON object containing the calibration data for a test has five keys required keys:  units, led, fit_type, fit_coef and range.  An example is shown below.

{
"units": "ppm",
"led": "520",
"fit_type": "polynomial",
"fit_coef": [
0.13111937060865314,
1.2591439203550079,
0.0
],
"range": {
"min": 0.0,
"max": 1.4
}
}

### units:

A string specifying the units used for the measurement. This should be short, ideally 3-4 characters, and will be displayed on the Open Colorimeter's display after the measurement value when the test is running.

### led:

A string indicating the wavelength or otherwise describing the led used for the test, e.g., "520" or "white".  Again, this should be short as it will be diplayed after the test's name in the colorimeter's menu.

### fit_type:

A string specifying the type of fit used by the calibration. Currently this, can be either "linear" or "polynomial".

### fit_coef:

An array of floats specifying the fit coefficients. If the fit_type is "linear" then this array must have length=2. Whereas, if the the fit_type is "polynomial" the array length can be 2 or greater.   The length of the array determines the order of the polynomial fit.  If the length of the array is n+1 than the order of the polynomial is n. In the case that the array length is 2 the fit types "linear" and "polynomial" are equivalent and the order of the polynomial is 1.   In the array the values of the polynomial coefficients are specified from highest to lowest power.  As an example the array of fit coefficients for the polynomial

$$p(x) = c_n x^n + c_{n-1} x^{n-1} + \cdots + c_1 x + c_0$$

is given by

$$[c_n, c_{n-1}, \ldots, c_1, c_0 ]$$

The polynomial should specify a function which converts the absorbance values acquired by the colorimeter (the x's in the equation above) to the measurement quantity of interest, e.g,  concentration in ppm.  As a reference the polynomials used are here in the same format as that produced by the NumPy library's polyfit function or Matlab's polyfit function. In the CircuitPython firmware this array of coefficients is used by the numpy.ulab.polyval function to turn the absorbance value into the desired quantity.

### range:

A JSON object specifying the allowed range for the test. This object has two keys: "min" and "max". An example is shown below.

{
"min" : 0.0,
"max" : 1.0
}

The allowed range is given in terms of absorbance.  The minimum and maximum values in this object specify the absorbance for the minimum and maximum measurement quantities e.g. concentrations.

• min: the absorbance at the minimum of the measurement quantity range
• max: the absorbance at the maximum of the measurement quantity range

In a future post we describe several tools we have developed which help automate process of generating calibrations from sample data.

## Editing files with a plain text editor

As mentioned above, both files use the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) file format which is a human-readable open standard for data interchange. You don't really need to know much about JSON in order to edit the configuration and calibration files as they are very simple.

Both files can be edited with a plain text editor e.g. notepad, vscode, vim, emacs, etc.  Any plain text editor will work, but it should only be a plain text editor. A rich text editor or word processor will not work as it will not save the file in the correct format and may add additional information to the file.

You can edit directly on the device drive or make a copy to your computer and edit there. Simply replace the file on the device with the new edited version!

After editing any files always remember to properly dismount/eject the drive prior to removal using the "Safely Remove Hardware" feature on your PC. Otherwise you risk corrupting the flash drive. If this happens, recovery is pretty straight forward. We will cover this in a future posting.