As schools move to new technology platforms, many teachers have asked us for advice on how to make the most cost effective use of probeware with Chromebooks. Each school is a bit different, and this guide is intended to help teachers navigate some of the most common questions.
If you are starting from scratch, the answer is easy: Purchase Go Direct sensors; these will connect directly to Chromebooks by Bluetooth or USB.
If your school is like most, you probably already have at least some probeware. The equipment and how to update it fits into the categories listed here:
The biggest part of a school’s investment is usually in the sensors themselves. Good news: most sensors manufactured after the year 2002 are Chromebook-compatible.
|Connector type||Chromebook Compatible?||Notes|
|Yes||Go Direct sensors have both USB and Bluetooth built in|
|BTA sensors||Yes||The sensor needs to connect to the Chromebook though an interface (see below)|
|BTD sensors||Yes||Same as BTA, but has higher interface requirements|
|DIN sensors||No||Sorry, but even with an adapter, these older sensors can not work with Chromebooks.|
|Go! Sensors||Yes||Both Go Temp and Go! Motion have USB connectors and can connect directly to Chromebooks.|
For many years, an interface was typically the “big ticket” item when outfitting a science classroom. Most USB interfaces work with Chromebooks.
|Go!Link||Yes||This is the most cost-effective interface for connecting BTA sensors. Not compatible with microphones, photogates, and many physics sensors. See full list of compatible sensors at: What sensors are not compatible with Go!Link?|
|LabPro||No||Unfortunately, The LabPro cannot work with Chromebooks. LabPro does still work on Windows and Macintosh computers. For many schools, this is the only piece of hardware that needs to be replaced. The most popular option (especially in physics classrooms) is the LabQuest Mini.|
|Go Wireless Link||No||The Go Wireless Link is not compatible with Chromebooks. Unfortunately, the only “Go Wireless” products that work with Chromebooks are the Go Wireless Heart Rate and Go Wireless Exercise Heart Rate Monitors.|
|Original LabQuest||Yes||Many schools have breathed new life into their original LabQuests by using them as a USB interface with Chromebooks. If the battery is depleted, connect it to power and you are all set. You can also get a replacement battery as order code LQ-BAT, $19.|
|LabQuest Stream||Yes||LabQuest Stream lets you connect any BTA or BTD sensor via USB or Bluetooth.|
|LabQuest Mini||Yes||LabQuest Mini lets you connect any BTA or BTD sensor via USB.|
|LabQuest 2||Yes||This is the most versatile way to use any Vernier sensor. It connects by USB or WiFi and is the only interface that can broadcast data to multiple Chromebooks at the same time via Data Sharing. More info at: https://www.vernier.com/video/data-sharing-with-labquest-2-overview/|
|Others||We made several other interfaces over the years, including ULIs, Serial Boxes, MPLIs and more. Older interfaces that are not pictured here are not compatible with Chromebooks.|
Note: Some Chromebooks have USB C ports. All of the compatible USB devices listed above can be connected to USB C ports. We sell USB C cables separately. Details are at:
How do I use a computer or Chromebook with only USB-C ports with Vernier USB products?
A lot of people ask us if we have “Logger Pro for Chromebooks”. Since there is not a way to convert Mac or Windows software to Chrome, we spent the last few years building (and vastly improving) an all-new program: Graphical Analysis for Chrome. If you saw an early version of this, now is a good time to take a fresh look. We have made many improvements since the first release, and can now perform all of the activities from our core lab books on a Chromebook. Some of the more advanced / specialized features that teachers grew to love in Logger Pro are not yet possible in Chrome, but the list grows shorter with each new version. For more details about what you can’t do on a Chromebook (yet), see:
What are the tradeoffs between Graphical Analysis and Logger Pro?
Graphical Analysis for Chrome is a standalone Chrome app and is available for free in the Chrome web store at:
We updated our most popular lab books to include instructions that work with Graphical Analysis for Chrome software. Teachers do not need to re-write the labs for Chromebooks; we have already done that. In fact, if you purchased a copy of any lab book that includes “… with Vernier” in the title, you can get the updated version for free by logging into your Vernier web site account at:
We are here to help! We can help you find the best solution for your classroom and budget, including reviewing your school’s purchase records from 1997 to now and figure out how to ride the current wave of technology without spending a lot of money. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice.