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GB-4000: Designed for Standalone Use

gb4000-top.jpgIt appears that many people buying a rife machine for the first time decide on a GB-4000, possibly because it was one of the first of the modern ones. Also, its comparatively large size and colorful design may make it seem appealing and easy to use. 

The manufacturer says the GB was designed to run standalone, without the assistance of external software (although it does come with rudimentary software, discussed below). This may be an issue for some people (it was for me), since it requires doing almost everything manually in the hardware during use, which can be a lot of button pushing. The manufacturer says most of his customers run standalone and don't want the complexity of software.

The unit produces both sine and square waves up to about 100 kHz and sine waves above that.

Hardware Issues

Even for those who don't mind running the GB standalone, it has some issues buyers should be aware of:

Physical

  • The unit itself especially when used with the SR-4 amplifier takes up a lot of space. Each is about 10 inches wide by 8 inches deep. Moreover, there are three power supplies two for the GB and one for the amp.

  • If you leave the GB on for an hour (formerly 15 minutes) without running it, a message appears, telling you to turn it off. Unfortunately, turning it off and on again resets it, deleting any information you entered. So if you were in the middle of a program or series of programs you had entered manually and paused the machine to do something for more than an hour, you couldn't continue (and couldn't tell where you had left off).

  • The GB has a serial port to connect to your PC, even though newer computers have switched to USB and no longer have a serial port (which is slower anyway). The manufacturer sells a serial-to-USB converter as a workaround. I tried one (not purchased from him), and it caused a communication problem with my PC, which required some work to fix. 

  • The GB and SR-4 have two small cooling fans each, which I found noisy on the older unit I had. The manufacturer says he's now installing quieter fans and will upgrade older models for a nominal fee.

Frequencies

  • You have to have to enter sweep, gate, duty cycle, and other parameters manually. The manufacturer has updated the machine's internal software (firmware) as of mid-2011 and says this permits saving some of these functions after entering them via the keypad. It also permits skipping a frequency or group and muting the beep the device produces when it changes frequencies or programs. (The manufacturer formerly installed a mute switch upon request.) The firmware on older models can be updated for a nominal fee.

  • Although you can set up a sequence of channels (programs), you can't set a channel sweep for all programs in the sequence. When the GB moves to the second program in the sequence, the channel sweep is canceled. (The firmware update may have corrected this or made a workaround possible.)

  • You can't run channels in audio mode (i.e., with no RF carrier frequency), presumably to avoid shock.

Output

  • According to the manufacturer's website, the GB is "The only Frequency Generator capable of outputting 8 Frequencies Simultaneously." However, it does this only up to 40,000 Hz. Above that, it runs only two simultaneously (plus the carrier).  Since the frequencies for many pathogens are in the megahertz range, eight simultaneous frequencies below 40 kHz may be of limited use.

  • Users may find the 10-watt output of the SR-4 less useful than they anticipate. First, it amplifies only the RF output of the GB. Second, resonance is the important factor, not power. If applied correctly, the right frequency, even at low power, will do the job.

  • Positive offset (keeping output voltage above zero reported to be preferable for rifing) is available but, unlike software-based machines, can't be selected on a case-by-case basis. It must be specified when ordering the machine (or can be retrofitted). The default is no positive offset.

  • One small advantage of the GB over, say, the F-SCAN is that it has sturdy cables. However, if you want to use the GB with adhesive electrodes instead of handgrips, you'll need adapters, because the leads that come with the GB have banana plugs and the electrodes have 2mm (pin-type) female connectors. (Adapters are available from Mouser: part #565-1432-0 for black and -2 for red. Additional 5-foot banana leads are also available: part #1440-60-0 for black and -2 for red. These can be handy if applying frequencies to the arms and feet simultaneously. Reusable adhesive electrodes are available from Theratek. The 2" round worked well (e.g., AXEL-62091). 

Software Issues

gb-4000-software.jpg (70577 bytes)The GB comes with rudimentary software. What you see in the screenshot is it just boxes to enter frequencies.

Here's what you can't do:

  • Enter text, such as notes or the name of the program being run.

  • Paste in, import, or manipulate lists of frequencies you have to enter one at a time in the boxes.

  • Rearrange frequencies in a program. It does have a cumbersome mechanism for reordering programs by clicking a button to move them up or down in the list.

  • Incorporate parameters such as sweep, gating, or duty cycle or specify a sequence of programs.

  • Run the unit from your PC. After setting up a program on your computer, you have to download it to the GB (which can take 5 minutes via the serial connection).

  • Have a program load and run automatically when the unit starts.

User-Guide Issues

Many of the machine's functions are not defined well enough for someone unfamiliar with them to understand when or why they would be used. For example, the definition of the Gate function on p. 5 says it "allows you to turn the gate feature on or off." Page 25 has a description of how to turn gating on or off and how to change it. The Frequency List has a vague paragraph on p. 9 about "What is gating or entrainment?" But none of these says anything about when or why one would use it. I had to look at the description in Nenah Sylver's book to find out and she quotes Jeff Garff, the manufacturer of the GB-4000. From his quote, apparently it's important and should be used often but a user wouldn't know this from the manual. She also says, "there is some debate about which rate is the most effective." It would be helpful to give users an idea.

I also think it would be good to include a discussion of the difference between gating, percent modulation, and pulse width and when/why a user would change each one. (The absence of this is not unique to the GB-4000's manual.)

Also, although the individual functions are defined, the manual has no description of a typical procedure to help users get started and show the various options at each stage.

I assume these omissions are to avoid problems with the government, but I think a user shelling out a couple of thousand dollars for one of these machines (plus an extra couple of hundred for the manuals and handgrips) has a right to expect better information on how to use it. I think it's possible to address these points without saying or implying that the device is used for medical purposes.