Has anybody ever connected a computer to a Thermo Scientific Genesys 10S Spectrophotometer without their (costly!) software? I'd like to pull absorbance data off of it to perform analyses. There are several ways I could think of to do this:

  • A USB flash drive could be plugged into the front of the instrument, but none of my drives are recognized by the spectrophotometer.
  • The PC could be connected as an external printer, but I haven't found a way to receive the data without ThermoFisher's software.
  • The PC could be connected as an external printer, but set the instrument to believe it is a PCL format printer. Could the data be intercepted and converted to a usable form?

I appreciate your input.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I recommend reading the manual. From the manual: " Only text (no graphics) can be output via the USB connection to a computer." The text is whatever is shown on the instrument panel. Not sure this includes the actual spectral data. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn
    Sep 14, 2020 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ Your first idea cannot work, unless you write a firmware addon for the instrument. A daunting task. ;-) $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Sep 14, 2020 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ I have no experience with Genesys 10S Spectrophotometer, but when it comes to transferring data with a specialized hardware on a lower level it often helps to use a USB 2.0 drive of < 4 Gb capacity formatted to FAT/FAT32. $\endgroup$
    – andselisk
    Sep 15, 2020 at 6:15
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    $\begingroup$ user andselisk brings up an interesting point. You could try calling Thermo Scientific and ask about a USB data stick for the spectrometer. They sell them for other spectrometers. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Sep 15, 2020 at 17:37
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    $\begingroup$ ThermoFisher were the first people I called. Their only suggestions were buying their software (~$625) or taking data on a flash drive. They suggested Sandisk drives, but I hadn't thought about reformatting the drive I already have. I'll try that... $\endgroup$
    – E. Hunter
    Sep 15, 2020 at 22:37

1 Answer 1


This is a long comment....

The webpage specification says that there are three USB connections.

  • USB Type A port for USB memory device (front panel)
  • USB Type B port for optional computer connectivity (rear panel)
  • USB Type A port for external printer (rear panel)

The printer uses the HP PCL 3.0 specification via a USB cable. You should be able to get the HP specification and emulate that to get the data. The spectrometer doesn't know what it is communicating with...

The type A port on the front is supposedly for a USB stick for data storage. I'd guess that the Thermo Scientific software formats the stick in some screwy manner. You'll need the Thermo Scientific specification to duplicate that. You might be able to get someone with the software to format some USB sticks for you. No idea what format the data format would be. I'd also guess that the Thermo Scientific software manual doesn't detail the format of USB data.

The USB Type B port on the back must have some bidirectional communication protocol. Unknown if Thermo Scientific would release details of the communications specification even if you bought the program. If you know someone that has such a computer instrument setup then you could install a sniffer in the USB communications line and figure it out. A lot of work.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I thought about emulating a printer today, but I don't know if it would send quantitative absorbance data. Do you have any tips for printer emulation? $\endgroup$
    – E. Hunter
    Sep 15, 2020 at 22:40
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    $\begingroup$ The HP specification would only enable the data transfer. I have no knowledge of what information would be printed. I'm sure that Thermo Scientific could tell you what is printed, probably even given you a few printouts from a demo. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Sep 16, 2020 at 8:12
  • $\begingroup$ I'll go to them and see what I can find, then. $\endgroup$
    – E. Hunter
    Sep 16, 2020 at 17:09

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