How to Avoid Honeywell Process Instrument Explorer (PIE) Software Communication Errors

Honeywell’s Process Instrument Explorer (PIE) configuration software used for configuring UDC controllers and the UDA analytical controller communicates with the instruments via RS-485, Ethernet, or Infrared (IR).

Since most newer PCs don’t ship with built-in serial ports to connect an IR adapter, you can use a USB-to-RS-232 converter, and then connect using the Actisys serial-to-infrared adapter (ACT-IR220L+). The USB converter will plug directly into your PC’s USB port, but install on a virtual COM port.

Here’s where it gets tricky: That COM port has to match the COM port used in PIE, and PIE doesn’t support ports above COM8.

Windows remembers every device that has ever plugged into USB, so if you use a lot of converters (like I do), the list of used COM ports is long. And, if a device is plugged into a different USB port than where it was previously, it’ll install again on another virtual COM port.

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Customers often call us because PIE will list COM ports up to 16 (as shown below), but will report a communications error for ports 9-16.

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If you’ve experienced this problem where your USB converter or adapter installs on a COM port above 8, you’re in luck; because the assigned COM port can be changed.

Here’s how:

First, open the Windows’ Device Manager. (Start>Control Panel>Device Manager) This will show you which virtual COM port the USB device is using:

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Double click on the device. The properties dialog box should appear.

Open the Port Settings tab and click on the Advanced..button:

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On the advanced settings for COM dialog box, click on the COM Port Number drop down list and select an open COM port, or one that is not being used with another device.

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Here I changed the COM port from COM 11 to COM 8.

When using PIE, put in the matching COM port number:

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If the USB device driver installed properly, you should get a successful communications data transfer:

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Hope this helps! If you’re still having difficultly getting your controller to communicate with PIE, feel free to give me a call at (800) 953-7626.

Need an IR adapter? Here’s the one I use:  Actisys ACT-IR220L+ Serial (RS-232) IR adapter

Substitutes may work, but I have never tested them, so I can’t confirm.

Learn more about Honeywell Process Instrument Explorer (PIE) Configuration Software.


Lesman Instrument Company is the authorized Honeywell stocking distributor in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Paducah KY, Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. If you are located outside that area, you can find your local sales office or get technical assistance by visiting Honeywell’s contact page.


Dan Weise, Lesman Product SpecialistDan Weise, Lesman product specialist, is an instructor for training classes on process instrumentation hardware, software, and technology.

Dan has been involved in all facets of data acquisition and process instrumentation since 1978, from sales and commissioning to service and support. He’s a long-time member of ISA, and has been with Lesman since 1988.

In his words, Dan’s the guy “who reads all the manuals nobody else reads”. In Lesman customers’ words, he’s the trainer to call if you want to “cut to the SO WHAT of instrumentation”, so it’s easy to understand.

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