LabChart Lightning Support

Beginners Guide to using LabChart Lightning

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2: Getting Started

New Users

Here are some simple steps to get you started

Want a bit more detail? Check out our introductory webinar series.

Have you used LabChart before?

Here are some changes to expect before getting started with LabChart Lightning

Want a bit more detail? Check out our introductory webinar series.

LabChart Lightning Videos

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Download the latest release: Windows  Mac  Mac (Apple silicon)


LabChart Lightning 1.13.1

Signal Calculations

Renaming Signal Calculations

When creating custom calculations you can now specify default names for your output signals. This means that you don’t have to rename the signals every time you reuse the calculation. Having signal names that are consistent across recordings makes it easier and faster to analyse data.

Renaming Signal Calculations

For calculated signals, the default name appears as placeholder text in the signal settings.

Renaming Signals

Enhanced Calculation Descriptions

You can add descriptions to outputs in the calculation builder.

Enhanced Calculation Descriptions

Anyone using your calculation can see your description, even when saving or sharing the calculation.

Enhanced Calculation Descriptions Popover

Edit Signal Information in Channel Settings Popup

You can now edit signal information in the channel settings popup. You can edit the color and name of each signal contained in the channel, in one convenient place.

Channel Settings Popup

Renaming Signals to the Same Name

You can now rename a signal to the same name as another signal within a single recording, provided each signal is in a different subject. This makes Table View analysis more convenient as you can easily align data in columns for easy comparison.

Duplicate Signal Names

Exporting Regions Data to the HDF5 Format

You can now export all regions within a project to the HDF5 file format. You can open HDF5 files using a broad range of programs, including MatLab, R-Studio and Python.

For more details on the HDF5 file format, see the HDF Group Website. Exported HDF5 files are structured to best represent a project and its recordings.

The Export All Regions command can be found under the Export file menu.

Exporting to HDF5

Stimulator Sampling Controls

You can now edit your stimulator settings for your active protocols while sampling via the sampling control window.

This also comes with large buttons to increment and decrement your parameters by custom amounts while you are running your experiment.

Sampling control window

You can now resize the sampling control window to suit your experiment setup. You can also choose to hide either the annotation or stimulator controls depending on your requirements.

Sampling control window


  • DetectEDP has been added to the calculation library. You can use this in custom calculations to detect end-diastole from a blood pressure signal.
  • Warnings now display in sampling setting previews when sampling cannot start.
  • Adding an annotation to a calculated signal adds the annotation to all signals.
  • When searching for subjects, recordings containing multiple subjects are now included.
  • When you close views or resize your window while the Chart View is automatically scrolling, the Chart View continues to automatically scroll.

New Known Issues

  • Readouts and sampling control windows disappear when dragged to a second monitor on Mac.
  • If a recording has calculated signals but no recorded signals, editing the calculated signals or subject information can cause unexpected behaviour.

LabChart Lightning 1.12.1


Stimulator Toolbar

You can now use your Stimulator hardware with LabChart Lightning. This allows you to generate stimulus waveforms using the PowerLab analog outputs, Stimulus Isolators and even multiple Stimulus Isolators connected through C Series Front-End Interfaces.

LabChart Lightning lets you create multiple stimulus protocols for your project. You can easily define calibration phases separate from your experiment phases or even set up different stimulus configurations to stimulate together.

Click the Stimulator icon on the left toolbar to access the Stimulator view:

Stimulator Toolbar

In this View, you can:

  • Create new stimulus protocols from scratch or duplicate one to build on a configuration.
  • Preview your stimulus waveforms in the Protocols list and the Protocol Configuration panel.
  • Control how you want your stimulus to start.
  • Define which hardware outputs you want to generate your stimulus output from.
  • Define the shape of the stimulus waveform you want to output.
  • Control all enabled protocols together or independently of each other, depending on what you need.

Stimulator Protocols

Lightning Stimulator supports basic LabChart 8 waveform types such as:

  • Pulse,
  • Sinewave,
  • Triangle etc.

In Lightning Stimulator, we've also added new built-in support for typical pulse burst applications such as:

  • Height Delta,
  • Width Delta,
  • Frequency Delta, and
  • S1-S2 Delta.

Stimulator Protocols

Turning inputs on/off

You can now turn the recording inputs on/off individually in the signal settings dialog. The recorded signal settings can be accessed from either the Setup menu, or clicking the signal icon next to the devices popup.

Turn inputs on and off

Exporting selected data to the HDF5 format.

LabChart Lightning now allows you to export selected data to the HDF5 file format. HDF5 files can be opened using a broad range of programs, including MatLab, R-Studio and Python.

HDF5 is a file format that allows large amounts of data to be organized in a hierarchical manner, allowing for the creation of groups and datasets within a file. This structure enables the organization of data in a way that reflects a filesytem with groups and datasets being analagous to directories and files. See the HDF Group Website for more details.

To export to HDF5, select the data in the recording you would like to export, then bring up the exporting dialog by clicking on the export button in the selection panel or use the sequence File>Export>Export selection... from the menu bar. Make sure the HDF5 file format is used in the export selection dialog box (it is set as the default option). Once the save button has been pressed, a modal box will appear informing the user of the progress of the data exporting. 

Exporting to HDF5


  • Performing a delta start action across all signals and then closing and reopening the project multiple times closes the project successfully.
  • Input options apply correctly for C Series Instrument & Front End Interfaces in regions that use commas for decimal separators.
  • Lightning will correctly load for users who have an apostrophe in their username.
  • Readouts of calculated signals loaded from .lclset files will display data without requiring a reload.
  • To support using the desired PowerLab Stimulator outputs when using multiple non-C Series PowerLabs or a mix of non-C Series PowerLabs and C Series PowerLabs, you can now change the Primary device (or devices if C Series) in the Recording Devices popup by clicking on the Primary/Secondary device icons.
  • C Series Instrument Interfaces no longer have a small DC offset up to 50uV on certain units.
  • Spikes at the beginning of blocks no longer occur with C Series Instrument Interfaces.
  • Improved power handling on PowerLab C ports.

New Known Issues

  • There is currently no undo/redo support for Stimulator changes.
  • Data recovery in the event of a crash will not recover Stimulator settings.
  • Stimulator user interface may not show device errors that occur while sampling.

LabChart Lightning 1.11.3


  • Improved load time of projects with many signal calculations.
  • Improved performance of creating recordings with many signal calculations.
  • Improved performance while selecting data over many signals.
  • LabChart Lightning will no longer update while a schedule is running.
  • Improved performance in the Table View when working with large amounts of data.
  • The Table View now displays a loading spinner while opening.

LabChart Lightning 1.11.4


  • Fixed ability to change input settings for CII PowerLabs.
  • Improved stability of project upgrades.
  • Prevent checking for new versions of LabChart Lightning while the application is busy.

LabChart Lightning 1.11.1

Time Readout

You can now view the time information for your recordings in a separate window. This can be accessed from either the View menu, or right-clicking in the Chart View x-axis.

Time Readout

While sampling and viewing incoming data, the time readout will display the current time. Otherwise, it will display the time at the cursor position. The time displayed is formatted using the project's time display mode (start of block or time of day).

Signal Information Panel

Detailed signal information can now be viewed using the Signal Information Panel. Simply alt-click (Windows), option-click (Mac),or right-click and select Show signal information... in a Chart View channel with one or more signals. A popover will appear allowing you to view information for all signals in the channel.

Signal Information Panel

The panel will initially show the block that was clicked over, but you can navigate through all of the blocks in the recording using the forward and back buttons.

Signal Information Panel

Device Plugin Development Support

  • Device plugins can now import built-in NodeJS modules e.g. http, os, path, etc.


  • Calculated signals can now be deleted from recordings by deleting the underlying calculation.

    Deleting Calculations

  • Improved the reliability of finding the NIBP Nano device.
  • Improved the NIBP workflow when HCU zeroing takes longer than expected.
  • Signal data draws more consistently when scrolling backwards or when blocks aren’t aligned.
  • Devices used by a recording no longer change unexpectedly when a PowerLabC is present.
  • Pods no longer zero unexpectedly.
  • You can now import .adidat files.
  • Improved stability of Lightning when using calculations on macOS with Apple silicon.
  • Occasional white screens on startup no longer occur.
  • Lightning will now more reliably open if internal files are missing or corrupt.

New Known Issues

  • There are no new known issues in this release.

LabChart Lightning 1.10.1

Schedule data recording

You can now set times to start and stop recording data, for as many days as you like. This is particularly useful for long-running experiments, such as telemetry, or want data at specific times during your experiment.

You are able to:

  • Schedule LabChart Lightning to start and stop recording data automatically, at any time of day.
  • Use a ‘Recurring’ schedule to record data at the same time every day, for as long as you like.
  • Specify your recording settings by choosing a ‘Source recording’.
  • Choose how to save your recorded data.
    • Record all data into one recording file.
    • Create a new recording file for every block of data.
    • Create a new recording file every 24 hours.

Schedule settings

  • See a preview of your data while you are waiting for recording to start. This lets you verify your signals and settings before recording begins.

Data preview

Device Plugin Development Support

  • Plugin writers can now use breakpoints within LabChart Lightning.


  • Signals with no data in their first block can now calibrate their units.
  • Filtering recordings by time now shows the correct recordings.
  • Projects are more likely to recover from multiple crashes in a row.
  • Custom calculations must now contain at least one connected output signal.
  • Custom calculations can't have two identical outputs.
  • Recordings can't have their creation undone while sampling.
  • The Chart View no longer fails to draw signals recorded in a previous session when scrolling back while sampling.

New Known Issues

  • Human NIBP devices are not fully supported when scheduling data recording. Using the two together will lead to unexpected behavior.

LabChart Lightning 1.9.2


  • Spirometers and other front-ends are now correctly detected when used plugged into a C Series Front End Interface on particular USB-C ports.

LabChart Lightning 1.9.1


  • The STH Pump Controller and NIBP Controller Instruments correctly power when plugged into a C Series Front End Interface.
  • Bridge Amp inputs are now detected if connected in parallel with the STH Pump Controller output when using a C Series Front End Interface.


LabChart Lightning 1.9

New Features


  •  Support for the latest PowerLab C series hardware.
  •  Improved workflows when changing PowerLab C series device configurations within a recording.

Known Issues

  • Stimulus Isolators connected through a PowerLab C Front End Interface will appear in the devices list. LabChart Lightning does not currently have support for stimulation so even though the device is shown in the devices list, it cannot be used.

Device Plugin Development Support


LabChart Lightning 1.8

New Features

  • You can now delete any selected sampled data in the Chart View.

  • Decimal places can be specified when defining unit conversions.


  • Times are now exported correctly when exporting table data.
  • The Chart View time axis is now timezone aware.
  • Improved performance when opening projects with many recordings.
  • You are warned when attempting to close LabChart Lightning during device scanning, as this can interfere with firmware upgrades for your connected devices.
  • Data is now recovered more reliably if LabChart Lightning crashes.

Known Issues

  • On macOS 12, third party bluetooth devices are unable to connect to LabChart Lightning.