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The UCLA miniscope is an open source alternative to the Inscopix system for calcium imaging in freely behaving animals. One of the benefits of their system that they tout is the ability to have a commutator on the data cable. A commutator allows for a cable to rotate without twisting, a major problem when trying to record from freely moving animals. Other methods that I have heard of to allow rotation include a MMCX connector on the cable.

I haven't seen any specific recipes for solving this problem; the miniscope website has no instructions on including a commutator in the cable, only vague references to the possiblity.

Any solutions out there?

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  • $\begingroup$ daniel aharoni from the miniscope dev team suggests #FL-2-C from dragonfly: dragonflyinc.com/commutators.htm. email jamesgroer <jamesgroer at mindspring dot com>. i don't know about this myself. $\endgroup$ – honi Aug 25 '16 at 19:51
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I'm one of the developers of the Miniscope. We have been very happy with #FL-2-C from dragonfly. This commutator is very low torque and we have never had an issue with sending power or data through it. The key is to minimize the length of non-coax cabling coming out of the top and bottom of the commutator. We trim the lead wires short and solder coax connectors to both ends of the commutator.

For a slightly cheaper option you can check out the commutators sold by MOOG. I should mention that we haven't tested these with the Miniscope system yet.

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We have found CRJ-05 to work fine for rats. It requires a bit of starting torque (~0.4N*cm), so may not work for mice. It is designed for high frequency coax communication though. The quote we received was ~$250. http://www.barlintimes.com/product/coax-rotary-joint/high-frequency-rotary-joint.html

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NeuroTek Inc (neurotek.ca) specializes in motorized commutators and is in the process of building a commutator to handle digital and analog. Specifically it is being built for mini microscopes and electrophys. Contact neurotek@gmx.com for more information.

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I haven't seen any either. But what I do know is that there is a wireless version coming out. It Might make sense to wait for one since commutators tend to be expensive.

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