Troubleshooting FTP failures on Honeywell paperless process recorders


One of the great things about Honeywell Trendview X-Series paperless recorders is that they communication via Ethernet. It’s great, because you can get data from your recorder anywhere on your plant network. But, since they’re network devices, you now have to understand how to troubleshoot network failures, and not just fix “regular” recorder issues.

Trendview recorders frequently connect to a local area network (LAN), so the recorded data can be easily transferred to the historian database portion of the recorder’s Trendserver Pro software (TSP).  TrendServer pro uses a standard Internet file transfer protocol (FTP) to grab data from the recorder. And in a lot of cases, a software scheduler is used to grab data on a periodic basis.

So, you’re cranking along, and the recorder’s talking perfectly to the server, and then one day you see one of the dreaded FTP failure messages.

 FTP failure errors between Honeywell Trendview X-Series paperless recorders and TrendServer Pro software

So now, what do you do to diagnose and solve the problem?

Start with the most basic steps:

  1. Is the recorder powered on?  A recorder that has no power will not respond.
  2. Cycle the power to the recorder. Power brown-outs can affect operations. Try a manual FTP operation after the power cycle.
  3. Is the recorder still connected to the network?
    Check to make sure the cable is connected to both the recorder AND the router/switch. (If you’re not sure, unplug it and push it back in till you hear it click.)
  4. Is the PC where Honeywell Trendview software is installed still connected to the network?  Is the Ethernet cable plugged in?  Repeat procedure from step #2 to be certain.
  5. Does the recorder think it still has a good network connection? Check the Diagnostic message log. On your recorder’s screen, click Messages > Messages > Diagnostics.
    Honeywell Trendview paperless recorder diagnostics screen
  6. Is FTP still enabled on the recorder? 
    On your recorder’s screen, follow the path here: Edit Setup > Comms > Comms Services > FTP. You’re looking for a green checkbox in Enabled.
    FTP Enabled setting for Honeywell X-series paperless recorder
  7. Can the recorder be browsed from Internet Explorer? 
    First, double-check that web browsing is enabled on your recorder:  Menu > Setup > Edit > Comms > Comms Services > Web
    Next, open your browser and type in the IP address of your recorder. You should see a screen like this:
    Viewing the Honeywell x-series paperless recorder on a standard web browser
    Successfully browsing the recorder proves that the hardware layer wiring is good from the PC to the recorder.  If the recorder cannot be browsed there are likely network issues.
  8. Can the recorder return a successful ping from the PC?
    On your PC’s Start menu, go to Run, type CMD, and hit [Enter].  Then, type the word ping and the IP address of your recorder.  If it works, you’ll see something like this. 
    Ping the paperless recorder's IP address from your PC's web browser.
    If it can’t connect, the four “Reply” lines will be replaced with “Request Timed Out”.
    Note: The network must allow the ICMP service that allows a ping to function.  Windows 2008 servers turn ICMP off by default. (You may need your IT team to verify.
  9. Is the recorder lost in the Bermuda Triangle of ghost DHCP IP addresses?
    If the recorder was configured to get its IP address from a DHCP server, what happened to the DHCP server?  Was it unplugged?  Did it give the recorder a different address than the TrendServer Pro is expecting?  My recommendation is to always put a recorder on a static IP address. 
  10. Is more than one TrendServer Pro package trying to talk to a recorder?  Only one TSP ‘package’ and its FTP client are allowed to talk to a Trendview recorder.  The recorder is not a PC and does not have the ‘power’ of a PC.  The recorder does not support FTP client requests from more than one Trendserver Pro application at a time.   All sorts of things get screwed up when two or more TSP FTP clients query a given recorder. 
  11. Are FTP ports 20 and 21 open on the network path between the Trendserver PC and the recorder?   IT people sometimes close down FTP ports on managed switches.  It has been a rule of thumb in network security to isolate the office side from the manufacturing side, but since the Stuxnet virus revealed the vulnerabilities of manufacturing devices to viruses a couple years ago, many IT departments have implemented much more restrictive network policies, which sometimes include turning off ports that a Trendview recorder uses.  The IT actions do not always get communicated to the people who are affected. Check it out.

Still no joy?

If all of these steps fail, you’ll probably want to call Honeywell for technical support.  See the side of your recorder for the Technical Assistance Center (TAC) phone number.  Have your recorder’s model and serial number ready (printed on a paper label inside the front door).

And if you want further resources, check out the Honeywell X-Series recorder user manual’s Communcations section.

Your turn:

What am I forgetting? Did I miss any steps? What else have you tried that fixed a network failure between your recorder and the network?

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