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Steam Computometer Setup

The Steam Computomer Currently Supports Microsoft Windows 7, 8, 10 and 11

Step 1

Plug the USB flash drive that comes with the Steam Computometer into any USB port. You will hear the familiar USB connection tone and a file directory will open. Use the File Explorer to open if it doesn't automatically. 

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Step 3

Plug the included USB cable into the USB-C jack on the rear of the Computometer and connect to any available USB port on the PC. It doesn't need to be the same port used in Step 1.

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Step 2

Double click the Steam Computometer Setup program and follow the simple steps. Installation usually takes less than one minute. Remove the flash drive when done. 

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Step 4

Within a few seconds the Computometer needle will start moving and displaying network activity. Use the sensitivity knob to adjust as desired. 

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Enjoy your Computometer. Try opening a browser, visiting your favorite websites, watching streaming content (YouTube, Netflix or similar) or running a speed test ( or similar). 

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Steam Computometer connect to my PC?


       It connects via USB. Use the included USB cable. Connect the smaller USB-C end to the jack on the back for the Computometer and the larger end to a free USB port on the computer.


Do I have to use the included USB cable or will any work?


       We recommend using the included cable. This cable is tested and supports both data and power. Some inexpensive USB cables are power only. The Computomer requires a high quality data and power cable to work properly.


Do I have to use a specific USB port on my computer?


       Any port should work. The only exception might be a port labeled “power only”. You need to connect to a full USB port (power and data).


Do I have to use a USB 3.0 or higher port?


       No. The Computometer works with any version USB port.


Is it safe to move the Computometer around while it is operating?


       We recommend first disconnecting the Computometer or turning off the PC whenever doing major rearrangements of your desktop to reduce the chance of accident or cable entanglement. You can certainly carefully move the Computometer around somewhat on your desk while running.


Can I plug the Computometer into a different USB port?


       Yes. The software will automatically detect that the Computometer is now connected to a different USB port. It might take up to 15-20 seconds for the change to be detected. The Computometer will then resume working normally.


Is it safe to unplug the Computometer while the computer is running?


       Yes. Unplugging it while the computer is running won’t harm the Computomer or the computer.


Why does the gauge scale layout look the way it does?


       The scale is logarithmic, divided into 5 decades, 0-100K, 100K-1M, 1-10M, 10-100M and 100M-1G. K is kilo (1,000). M is mega (1,000,000) and G is giga (1,000,000,000). The units are bits per second. For example, 10M mean 10 megabits/sec. 1G mean 1 gigabit/sec. These are common industry terminology units used to describe network speeds.


       Each decade show 10 times the bit rate of the previous. This reflects the nature of computer networks for several technical reasons.  The log scale allow you to easily see the small loads as well as the big loads. Otherwise, the needle would be close to zero the vast majority of the time, only briefly spiking up. This would make the Steam Computometer very boring to watch and not practical for finding problems.


Will the gauge work with internet service faster than 1 gigabit/sec? What will the gauge display?

       The Steam Computometer will work just fine with speeds faster than 1 gigabit/sec. The indicator needle will automatically point to the 1G+ symbol on the very top end of the scale, showing very high speed above 1GB/s.


My home internet service supports a certain maximum speed (300 megabit/sec, for example). I rarely see the gauge displaying even close to this speed. Why is that?


       Networking performance depends on many factors. Networks are often shared by multiple computers, all competing for limited capacity. Service providers sometimes oversell the available capacity. Programs are often designed or “throttled” to not use the maximum capacity. There may also be configuration problems limiting the capacity. WiFi range limitations, signal obstacles (walls, furniture, etc.) and electrical interference can all limit performance. 


       The good news is you can use the Steam Computometer to do detective work to find choke points in your network. Try running speed tests at different times of day, different locations and with different programs running. You might find other things limiting the speed, such as the CPU is maxed out or you are out of RAM memory.


My computer is running and I don’t have a browser open, yet the gauge is showing lots of network traffic. Why is that?


The gauge measures the traffic of ALL programs running, including many you can’t necessarily see on the desktop. This can include program updates, services, file syncing, etc. 


The needle is sometimes very slow to move when I start viewing a movie or do something online. Why is that?


The sensitivity knob may be turned down, showing more of a slowly changing moving average over time. Try increasing the sensitivity. The needle should move around more responsively.   


What version of Microsoft Windows do you support?


       The setup software supports Microsoft Windows 7, 8, 10 and 11.


Do I need to run any special program to use the Steam Computometer?


       No. Just use all your existing software as normal. This includes browsers, video players, online games and any other programs that connect to the network.


Do I need to use a certain web browser?


       No. Just continue using your current favorite.


What does the Steam Computometer actually measure?


       The Computometer counts the total number of bits sent and received by all programs running on the computer every second.  The total is then scaled, averaged and used to drive the gauge motor electronics to smoothly and precisely move the gauge needle.


Do I need a newer/faster PC to run the Computometer?


       No. The Computometer works great on most any PC, even ones that are very old. This is by design. The software only samples the network data periodically as needed and then calculates the rest. The load on the PC is well below 1%, even on an old PC. You won’t easily be able to tell it's even running.


What does the sensitivity knob do?


The knob controls how much averaging is done of the sampled network loads. A low sensitivity setting averages the network load over time (upwards of 1 minute). This means the scale needle will move less and show more of an average. A high sensitivity setting reduces the averaging right down to none. This will cause the needle to move rapidly, displaying the load as it changes second to second. This can be difficult to watch at times as the needle moves all over the place.


The best setting is usually somewhere in between. Pick a sensitivity that suits your tastes that is responsive but not moving so fast you can't follow it.


Will the Computometer work on my company office PC?


       It should work fine, assuming it is running a supported version of Windows. Check with your company IT Administrator first though to make sure company policy allows you to connect your own computer accessories. Some companies restrict these type of devices or require prior approval. You may also need approval before installing the Computometer Setup software and may require Administrator privileges. Again, check first. Please contact us if your IT Administrator has any questions. 


Does the Computometer work with a Macintosh or Linux PC?


       We plan to add support for MacOS in the future, but have not set a date yet. The setup program will be slightly different than with Windows, but the Computometer will function exactly the same. Please let us know if you are interested in MacOS support.


       We can support Linux (including the Raspberry Pi) on a custom basis. Please contact us if you have special needs and we can discuss how we can help.


Does the Computometer work for PCs with wired Ethernet cables?


       Yes. The Computometer doesn’t care if you are using a wired or wireless (or both) connection. It also works with computers connected using mobile hotspots.


What happens when I turn off my PC?


       If the computer is shut down, but the USB ports still have power, the Steam Computometer will sense that the computer has stopped sending data and will zero the gauge needle. If the computer USB port power is off too, the Computometer will have no power and the needle will just stop.


Is there a power switch on the Computometer?


       No. The Computometer runs continuously. It is designed to run quietly using very little power.   


How much power does the Computometer draw? Should I leave it running all the time?


       The Steam Computer is carefully designed to draw less than 100ma (0.5 watt) of power. In comparison, most smart phones draw ten times or more power (1,000+ ma or 5+ watts) when connect to a computer to charge. It's fine to leave the Computometer running all the time your computer is running.


How do I care for my Steam Computometer?


       Clean occasionally with a feather duster or furniture cloth. Do not use water, solvents, polishes or cleaning products. Also avoid putting the Computometer in direct sunshine for extended times. This can slowly damage the case finish and woodwork, just like a piece of wood furniture. 


Can I use the Steam Computometer outside?


       No. The Computomer base is wood and the gauge contains electronics. Only use the Computomer indoors in a dry location. An office, home office, man cave, den or study is an ideal location.

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