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Why doesn't Quantity[] and related functions work for me?

Posted 6 years ago
14 Replies
2 Total Likes

I'm a new user of MMA ver. 10.3.0 Home Edition. I'm trying to learn how to use Units, but it's not working. For example

In[47]:= UnitConvert[Quantity[12, "Meters"/"Seconds"], "Miles"/"Hours"]

Out[47]= UnitConvert[
  QuantityUnits`Private`UnknownQuantity[12, ("Meters")/(
   "Seconds")]], ("Miles")/("Hours")]

If I load the Units` package I get the answer I seek:

In[48]:= << Units`

Convert[12  Meter/Second, Mile/Hour]

Out[49]= (37500 Mile)/(1397 Hour)

But starting with ver 9 I shouldn't have had to do that. Any ideas about what's going on?

14 Replies

I don't know the reason why it does not work by default. The code you posted works fine for my Mathematica. However if you'd like to work it around, editing the init.m file in C:\ProgramData\Mathematica\Kernel should do the trick. Simply add


at the end of the file.

That seems to have done the trick. Thanks.

It is not clear why you are trying to use things in the


context like


That is certainly not the correct way to proceed--almost always avoid using undocumented functions and always avoid using anything in a Private context. For your particular example the correct syntax is

UnitConvert[Quantity[12, ("Meters")/("Seconds")], ("Miles")/("Hours")]

And I would suggest removing Needs["Units`"] from the initi.m file as it will load a legacy pacage that was superceeded by internal Mathematica functionality as of version 9. See

Actually I see now that you were getting as a result the Private context expression -- my mistake. ;-)

My comment about not using the Needs["Units`"] package still holds, but there is something wrong with your setup which a bona fide Wolfram employee may comment on. One thing to try is to execute


as well as restart Mathematica.

Sorry for the confusion!

I'm glad you noticed that it wasn't my doing.

I did try adding Needs["Units"] to the startup file, and what happened when I restarted MMA is that a fair bit of code was imported from the Wolfram site. Now everything seems to work properly. It seems that the initial setup was missing a component (perhaps the Units package itself), and that was detected and remedied automatically, without the intervention of a Wolfram employee. when I added Needs["Units`"].

But note that, as I mention above, the Needs["Units`"] causes an outdated component to be used instead of the new updated and expanded version for interpreting units that is now contained within Mathematica's default codebase. So as I mentioned above, you should remove that from the init.m file. If then, upon restarting Mathematica, you still have the same problem, I would suggest that you contact Wolfram support for advice on resolving this issue.

For some reason, the old behavior of the Units package no longer persists after I did what I described. Convert[ ] no longer is recognized as a function, but UnitConvert[ ] now is. So I think that the automatic(?) upload from the Wolfram site, triggered by the restart after addition to the init.m file, updated the program properly.

In fact, I just checked by trying to load Units, and got a "Cannot open "Units`" $Failed result. So whatever I did earlier seems to have provoked a proper upgrade of the installation.

"Any port in a storm." I'm glad it's working now!

Posted 6 years ago

Just a comment. It's a know issue with Mac Computers since about 10.2 Wolfram told me they are aware of the issue. On a Mac, commands that access "Entity" values from the web also do not work. (Especially accessing Geo' Function. The solution was to reset the Paclet data a few times, and reboot the computer before it would work. It took a while to get it reset on the Mac so it would access the web data correctly.

Just some additional versions...

UnitConvert[Quantity[12, "Meters/Second"], "Miles/Hour"]
Quantity[37500/1397, Miles/Hours]

UnitConvert[Quantity[12, "Meters/Second"], "mph"]
Quantity[37500/1397, Miles/Hours]

It is probably worth clarifying that this is presumably a sporadic issue--I have never encountered it (Mac installation) and the various folks that I work with who are using a similar installation have not encountered it. As in all cases where something is not working that clearly should work, it's best to contact Wolfram technical support to get the inside track as Dana DeLouis did.

Thanks, that's helpful. I've got the Units stuff working OK now, but I was playing around with sounds (Play, EmitSound, etc.) and had to quit and restart MMA before it would actually make noise. At one point in the process, just as with Units, it appeared that something was being loaded from the Wolfram site. On the other hand, the few Entity things that I've tried from the Help examples (e.g., Entity["Mythology"]["Properties"]) have worked OK.

How do you reset Paclet data? Via PacletUpdate, or ...?

Posted 6 years ago

Hi. It sounds like your version is working. What I had to do for the Mac, and it appears to work, was the following...


However, entering that command now doesn't seem to do anything for me at the moment. Perhaps it is because it's working. Perhaps when it was broken/missing, it triggered a refresh. I don't know.

Then, when I entered the following, it rebuilt the data interface.


Support told me they are aware of the issue, at least for the Mac. I'm not sure of Windows versions.

I often see this problem where units stop working but I have not been able to produce a sequence of commands to reproduce it. However, I have found this commands fixes the issue:


This does not prevent the issue from hapening again in the future but at least fixes it when it happens.

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