Backyard Brains Support
Backyard Brains Logo

Neuroscience for Everyone!

+1 (855) GET-SPIKES (855-438-7745)

items ()

Backyard Brains Support

So you bought a SpikerBox! Welcome to the NeuroRevolution! You were so thrilled to open your kit and get to discovering, but now...nothing works! What do you do?

Fear not! Backyard Brains provides support for our hardware and software! You can contact us in a number of ways.
Email us at! Please describe your product and your issue, attaching photos or recordings to help our Engineering department determine what's wrong.

Call us at +1 (855) GET-SPIKES! We answer the phone during normal business hours in Ann Arbor, MI (that's Eastern Time), but you can also leave a voicemail if we are closed or busy helping another customer.

In the meantime, check out some of these Commonly Asked Questions:

Q: Where do I put the battery?
A: On the SpikerBox, there are +/- terminals to fit the 9V battery. Match the terminals on the battery to the connectors on the SpikerBox, and press the battery in firmly so that there is good contact.

Q: How do I turn it on?
A: Make sure your battery is plugged in correctly and has enough power. Locate the on switch or volume dial at the front of the SpikerBox. With the dial, you will hear a click that means the SpikerBox is turned on, and any further turning raises the volume. Make sure the Power LED lights up! (Note, the Pro line has a battery indicator LED, and they will not work if the battery is too low.)

Q: What is the difference between a SpikerShield and a SpikerBox?
A: The basic difference between a SpikerBox and SpikerShield is the ability to interface with other systems. The SpikerBox is an analog bioamplifier device that can allow you to hear spikes or see them on a smartphone. The SpikerShield is a Digital/Analog bioamplifier device that does much the same thing as a SpikerBox, but it has the added versatility of being an Arduino-based system: the microcontroller allows you to be able to use a PC to read, hack and generally experiment.

Q: Can the Neuron SpikerBox be used as the Muscle SpikerBox as well?
A: The Neuron SpikerBox is strictly for invertebrate physiology, most often cockroaches. It is optimized for insect experiments with pin electrodes, and the electrodes are invasive. The Muscle SpikerBox uses skin electrodes for non-invasive measurement of neurons. The hardware and filters for each of the SpikerBoxes is specifically tuned to the types of signals and electrodes being used.

Q: What is the difference between the regular SpikerBox and SpikerBox Pros?
A: The SpikerBox Pros are the upgraded version of our old Two-Channel SpikerBoxes. The Pro line features a louder speaker and USB connection, and it is multi-channel to allow for a second recording channels to add comparison elements to your experiments. For example, with the Muscle SpikerBox Pro, compare multiple muscles firing at the same time. With the Neuron SpikerBox Pro, record the delay between spikes along the neural system of an Earthworm.

Q: How do I reload code or reprogram my Arduino?
A: Download the Arduino IDE at: Install and Open Arduino IDE Follow these steps to upload your sketch:

  1. Connect your Arduino using the USB cable. (The square end of the USB cable connects to your Arduino and the flat end connects to a USB port on your computer.)
  2. Upload code (copy and paste it to Arduino software.)

How to upload a code: Once you start Arduino software, delete the old code that is already there, and paste the new code you previously copied.
  1. Choose Tools > Board > Arduino Uno to find your board in the Arduino menu. (You can also find all boards through this menu, such as the Arduino MEGA 2560 and Arduino Leonardo.) Please select Arduino Uno
  2. Choose the correct serial port for your board. You find a list of all the available serial ports by choosing Tools > Port > ArduinoUno or comX or /dev/tty.usbmodemXXXXX. X marks sequentially or randomly assigned number. In Windows, if you have just connected your Arduino, the COM port will normally be the highest number, such as com 3 or com 15.
  3. Many devices can be listed on the COM port list, and if you plug in multiple Arduinos, each one will be assigned a new number. On Mac OS X, the /dev/tty.usbmodem number will be randomly assigned and can vary in length, such as /dev/tty.usbmodem1421 or /dev/tty.usbmodem262471. Unless you have another Arduino connected, it should be the only one visible.
  4. Click on the little "Upload" right arrow on the left side.

Q: How do I re-pair the SpikerShield to the Arduino?
A: If you had to take your SpikerShield apart for whatever reason and want to re-pair it with the Arduino, simply line up the SpikerShield's header pins with the connectors along the edges of the Arduino board and press them together. If you have done this and the board still is not working, there's a chance the header pins just aren't making good contact in the Arduino. One way to solve this is to put a very slight inwards angled bend into the pins of the SpikerShield. Lever the SpikerShield against a table to gently bend the pins inward, and then mate it with the Arduino (ensuring all pins are in!). Once it is pressed in, pull up just slightly on the SpikerShield so that there is nothing shorting on the bottom.

Q: How do I connect to SpikeRecorder?
A: When you plug your SpikerBox into your recording device (using a Laptop or USB cable) and turn it on, an icon should appear in the top row of SpikeRecorder with the USB glyph. Click on this glyph to connect. Alternatively, click the Settings gear glyph and find your SpikerBox in the dropdown menu. In the case of the Smartphone app, however, the SpikerBox connects immediately.

Q: I just re-opened SpikeRecorder. Where is the mV scale?
We removed mV scale from application since each model of computer or smartphone has different gain at audio input. Because of that if you record the same signal on a different device you will see different voltage levels on the screen. That was confusing for a lot of users, so we removed the scale.

Returns and Exchanges Policy:

If none of this helps, but you'd like to figure out a fix, contact our Support team using the options listed above. We can help you troubleshoot your product and discuss an exchange or return.

If you're not happy with your product, please email us! We will do all we can to help remedy the issue, but we do accept returns once they've been discussed with our Support team. You can return unopened products for up to 90 days for a full refund. If you did open it, and still want to return it, that is OK, as long as it is still in working order, but we do charge a 15% restocking fee. However, we cannot refund consumables, such as electrodes or gel, so this charge will be left out of the return.