Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Top 5 Questions

Q: I get an error page that says "Secure Connection Failed" when I try to make a reservation. What should I do?
A: This means your browser is having problems validating the CTE security certificate. You can remedy the problem by either downloading the UW certificate here or by manually accepting the certificate. To do so, click on the link that says "Or you can add an exception..." on the error page, then "Add an exception".

Q: I have a problem with my equipment, what should I do?
A: If the loaned equipment is not working, please call (206) 685-6090 or email us at stfequip@u.washington.edu, or come in to our office ASAP and we will be able to switch it out for a functioning piece of equipment. If it has broken while in your custody, please let us know Immediately and we will help fix it. DO NOT FIX IT YOURSELF. Much of the equipment is under warranty or we can repair it at a discounted rate (you will be responsible for any costs incurred).

Q: I need equipment today. What do I do?
A: We have emergency reservations only at our Health Sciences branch. Please be aware we have a limited amount of same-day equipment and will be given out on a first-come-first-served basis, so we cannot guarantee that you will receive equipment. You must visit the Health Sciences office since we cannot make you a reservation over the phone or by email. Please see our policies page for more information about same-day reservations.

If we do not have the equipment you need, check with your department to see if they have equipment available. If you are part of a Registered Student Organization, contact the Resource Center for Student Organizations at source@u.washington.edu for more information on their equipment.

Q: I have equipment checked out from Health Sciences. May I return it at the Kane Hall Branch?
A: No. All equipment checked out from Health Sciences must be returned to the Health Sciences office. All equipment from Kane Hall must be returned to Kane Hall.

Q: Does it matter if I return my equipment late?
A: Yes! Most of the equipment is scheduled to go out directly after the previous reservation, so another student will not be able to use the equipment as requested. Also, if the equipment is not returned within five business days we have to assume it has been misappropriated and we will contact the UW Police Department to ensure its return. This is a serious offense, as it is considered a felony under the Revised Code of Washington 9A.56.096.
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Program Questions and Requirements

Q: How much does it cost for me to check out equipment?
A: We do not charge students to check out equipment from either of our offices. Our program is funded by your Student Technology Fees as well as the Services and Activities Fees. If you are a currently registered student paying these fees, you have access to the equipment for free. The only fees you may incur are in purchasing a tape to use with our mini-DV camcorders. Though you can buy them elsewhere, we sell 63-minute tapes at our Kane Hall office for $8 each. If there is damage to borrowed equipment, or it is lost or stolen from a student, there will be replacement or repair charges.

Q: I am taking extension classes. Can I get equipment?
A: Extension students must provide proof of enrollment for the current quarter in order to check out equipment. This can be done by emailing our office at stfequip@uw.edu.

Q: I am enrolled at UW Tacoma/UW Bothell. May I check out equipment?
A: Since UW Tacoma and UW Bothell students are enrolled on different campuses, they may not check out UW Seattle STF Equipment. However, there are equipment checkout programs at the different campuses.
-Link to UW Tacoma Media Equipment Checkout
-Link to UW Bothell Campus Media Center

Q: How do you know that I am registered this quarter?
A: Our system informs us that you are registered for the current quarter.

Q: I am in need of a piece of equipment that you do not have. How do you choose your equipment?
A: We choose new equipment based on how much our current equipment is used, and from student input. If you would like to see a new type of equipment, or more of a certain piece of equipment, please let us know when you check your equipment in, or email us at stfequip@u.washington.edu.

Q: Can I pay the STF/SAF fee without taking classes?
A: The STF Committee has the policy that a student must pay the STF/SAF fee as part of their tution. There is currently no way to separately pay the STF/SAF fee.
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Reservation Process

Q: What is a "Blackout period" and can I check out equipment during one?
A: A "Blackout period" is a time at which all equipment must be returned to our office. These occur between quarters when UW classes are not in session, such as winter break, spring break, and the entire month in between Summer and Autumn Quarters. Check out during the time in between Summer and Autumn Quarters is restricted to graduate and professional students or students currently enrolled in classes (e.g. in Early Fall Start). However, if you wish to borrow equipment for an extenuating circumstance or are traveling abroad, working on a research or academic project we may be able to give you an exception pending the availability of our equipment and the circumstance. Requests for exceptions can be forwarded to stfequip@u.washington.edu. If you attempt to reserve an item and the booking coincides with a blackout period, the booking will be shortened to have the return date on the last day of the quarter.

Q: Can I get an extension on my booking?
A: Normally we do not allow extensions on bookings. If you have an extreme case you can email us at stfequip@uw.edu and we can evaluate the circumstances, but you must email us before you make the booking or before the equipment is due back. During summer our equipment is more available and we are able to give longer bookings for things such as study abroad trips, research or academic projects. Simply email us and we can evaluate the circumstance based the availability of equipment and the need for the extension (ie. study abroad, research or academic project). We need verification that you are registered in the program or project before a waiver is granted.

Q: Can I renew my booking?
A: We do not allow renewals on equipment at this time. If you would like to check out again as soon as possible, then you must return your item before noon on the due back date. After this you may create another booking for the following day.

Q: I logged on to my reservations page to try and cancel my reservation for today, but it won't let me! What do I do?
A: Since it is the day of your reservation, we have already assigned a piece of equipment to you. To cancel the reservation, please email us at stfequip@u.washington.edu for both Kane Hall and the Health Sciences Branches.

Q: I need both a projector and a laptop at the same time. Can I do that?
A: Students may check out multiple pieces of equipment each check-out, but no more than one piece from each category. In other words, a student may have a projector, laptop, digital camera and tablet, but may not have two laptops at once. To reserve more than one item at a time, just select the items on the same request page. Caution: When you reserve two items together with different check out lengths, they will both be booked for the shorter reservation length.

Q: I left the power supply for the laptop at home. Will the equipment be late?
A: Yes. Equipment and all associated parts and accessories must be returned before 4 pm on the due date. If the power cable is not turned in on time, we cannot check the equipment out to another student.

Q: I have my own bag I would prefer to carry the equipment in. May I use it to carry the equipment?
A: No. In order to keep our equipment safe, we require that students take the case that comes with the equipment as well as all additional parts.
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Equipment Operation

Q: I have my own equipment but need cables. Can I get them from your office?
A: Yes. We have a limited number of Macbook and HP chargers, along with hdmi, vga, and thunderbolt adapters. These are available for 24 hour checkout, and we require a valid identification card as collateral during the checkout period.

Q: I own a Mac laptop and am borrowing a projector from your office. How can I connect the two?
A: Mac laptops require specific adapters in order to connect to a projector. If you are only borrowing a projector from us, we provide VGA adapters good for ibooks, 2008 Macbooks (white/black), 2009 Macbooks (silver), and Macbook Pros to connect your laptop to the VGA cable. If you are borrowing a Mac laptop from us, we provide the adapter automatically.

Q: Can I connect to the internet with the laptops?
A: Our laptops are equipped with wireless internet capabilities as well as wired connectivity. They also come with an Ethernet cable.

Q: May I install programs on the laptop?
A: Yes. Laptops are re-imaged upon return, which means that all additional programs, documents, and personal files will be erased. If you are checking out a Macbook and it prompts you to enter a password, type in "password" and it should allow the installation.
Please do not edit the hard drive partitions

Q: What software do the laptops come with?
A: The PC laptops come with
*Windows 7 (E6400 and HP)
* Microsoft Office
* MS Remote Desktop Connection
* MS Internet Explorer
* SSH Secure File Transfer Client
* Adobe Acrobat Reader
* Windows Media Player
* Quicktime
* iTunes
The Macbook laptops also come with Microsoft Office for the Mac Operating System.

Q: Do you support ExamSoft for law students?
A: No, we only loan you the computer. ExamSoft is not pre-installed, so you will have to check with the Law School Academic Services (206-543-0453) if you have any questions. If you need help installing ExamSoft or have hardware/software malfunctions, please contact the Law School Computer Services (206-616-4357). Please note ExamSoft is not compatible with Macs, so you will need to borrow one of our Dell or H/P laptops.

Q: Where can I purchase tapes for your min-iDV cameras?
A: Only the Kane Hall office sells Panasonic mini-DV tapes for use in our cameras. They are 63 minutes long, and cost $8. We accept cash, checks, or credit cards (Visa or Mastercard only).

Q: My personal computer isn't working. Will you try to fix it for me?
A: Unfortunately we cannot fix any equipment that does not belong to the program. If you need help with personal computing problems, please visit refer to UW's Computer Vet services.
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Projector Troubleshooting

Q: The start-up message prompts me to reset filter timer or replace filter:
A: Notify an STF employee when you return the projector, but don't attempt to reset the timer or clean the filter yourself. The filter will be cleaned and reset by someone in our office once you return it.

Q: The projected image is backwards or upside-down:
A: Users sometimes change these options so they can place the projector behind a transparent screen and watch from the other side. (If you are the one of the people who does this, please remember to change it back before returning the projector!) To change these options, press the right arrow of the MENU button. Use the up/down arrows to select PICTURE and press right again. Use the updown arrows to select MIRROR and press the right arrow. Then use the up/down arrows to select NORMAL.

Q: I have a laptop connected but the projector isn't detecting any input from it:
A: There are several reasons that this might be happening. First, make sure the VGA cable is firmly connected to the laptop and the projector. Next, press the INPUT button on the projector, cycling through the various inputs until you get to VGA/RGB. If it says "no input detected" even if you have the correct input selected, you must change the display setting on the laptop. Also be sure to connect and turn on the projector before you turn on the laptop,

Q: For PC Laptops:
A: When you first turn on the laptop, it is not set to send signal through the VGA cable. The keystroke "Fn-F8" (Fn is usually 3 keys left of the spacebar, F8 is in the top row of keys) changes the display setting to the next of three different configurations. The default setting is laptop screen only, the next is laptop screen and VGA output; then VGA output only, after which it goes back to laptop screen only. The keystroke may be different for other brands of laptops. It will be "Fn" and one of the "F#" keys on the top row of the keyboard. The correct "F" key is designated by the letters "CRT/LCD" or a symbol of two rectangles in blue. If you use this keystroke to ensure that the laptop is sending a signal, make sure the cable is firmly connected and choose the correct input on the projector, the setup will work properly.

Q: For Mac laptops:
A: Go to "System Preferences", then go to "Displays", and click the "Arrangement" tab. Check the box on the bottom left hand corner of the screen that says "Mirror Displays". The projector must be connected to the laptop and turned on in order to mirror the displays. On newer Macs, once in the "Displays" option, click on "Detect Displays" and the image should be projected.
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Video Camera Troubleshooting

Q: I can't get video from the mini DV tape onto a computer:
A: The equipment and software needed to do this can be found at OdegaardUndergraduate Library. The STF employees do not have the expertise necessary to assist students with this process; however, the tech employees at Odegaard are able to help.
Odegaard Computing Commons


Q: I can't get the tape out of the camcorder:
A: In order to get the tape out of the camcorder, you must have a battery attached to the back of the camera. If the battery is dead, it will not work. Once there is a power source attached to the camera, just push the sliding button on the bottom of the camera over and a mechanism inside the camera will automatically push the tape up. If you are still struggling with retrieving the tape, please bring the camera into our office to prevent damage to the camera.

Q: How do I transfer my video/photos from an Everio to my computer?:
A: Please note: we suggest you save an extra copy of the raw files before editing them or changing the file extension. Also, you should NOT have to purchase any software etc to download your files.
  • For a PC:
    Connect the Everio to your computer using the USB cable, then select “Connect to Device” on the camera. The files should pop up automatically, but if not you can access them through My Computer>Everio_HDD. The video files will be located in SD_Video>PRG###, or pictures will be located in DCIM. If you can’t open the videos, manually change the .MOD file extension to .MPEG by right-clicking on the file then selecting “Rename”. Mpeg files should be compatible with Windows Media Player.

    **Note: usually file extensions are automatically hidden when using Vista. To "turn on" file extensions: while inside explorer window, click on "organize" select "folder and search options." A "folder options" window will open, click on the "view" tab, 10 items down there is an option "hide extensions for known file types" make sure box is unchecked return to where .mod files are, select type, press F2 and change .mod to .mpg.
  • For a Mac:
    • Option 1: Connect the Everio to your Mac using the firewire cables (the port is on the dock). Press “Play/Rec” on the camera to reach the Playback screen, which shows all of the videos you’ve taken. (Be sure you’re looking at the videos and not images; if you’re looking at pictures, change the mode using the On/Off wheel.) Highlight the video you wish to upload to your computer (note: if you highlight the first video, all videos will be uploaded automatically.) On your computer open iMovie, which should say “Camera connected”, and click on “Import”. The clips will play as they’re imported, then you can edit them as desired. To save your movie/videos, click on File>Export (File>Share on some Macs) and choose the location/format you desire. The video should appear as a Quicktime file.
    • Option 2: Follow the directions for a PC. The only difference is the disk drive should appear on the desktop, rather than in My Computer. To open the files you’ll have to download a free program, such as VLC or DivX.
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Laptop Troubleshooting

Q: My wireless on my PC isn't working:
A: Check the side of the laptop to see that the wireless is switched on. On the right side of the ear phones jack, there is a small knob that shifts side to side. Slide it to the right. If this doesn't fix the problem, click on the Windows button then "Network" (located above "Control Panel"). From there, click on "Network and Sharing Center" then "Manage network connections". Right click on the Wireless icon and select "Repair". The computer should automatically connect to a network if there's one in range. If the repair fails, bring your computer back to our office and we'll replace it

Q: I'm using a Macbook and need a password:
A: If you are using a Macbook and asked to provide a password, try entering "password".

Q: I'm using a PC and it states that the password is expired and wants me provide the old one as well as create a new one:
A: In this case, the old password is actually blank so do not type anything into the boxes provided for the old password. If you do not want to create a new password just press enter to skip through this process, otherwise type your desired password into the new password box.
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Audio System Troubleshooting

Q: How do I hook up a Fender PA system with a wireless mic?
A: First make sure there are two 9-volt batteries (Azden) or 4 AA batteries (Sony) in the receiver and transmitter of the wireless mic, then plug in power cable into the speaker. Next plug the microphone into the transmitter and take the stereo cable from the PA system. Plug the large end (1/4 inch) into the "Line in" port on the speaker, and plug the small end (1/8th inch) into the "Ear" port on the receiver. Make sure the mic is on and the transmitter and receiver are on the same channel.
If your problem has not been addressed, please consult the user manuals on our equipment descriptions page, or our policies page and then email us at stfequip@u.washington.edu for Kane Hall and for Health Sciences.