Avoiding the Obstacles of Tending an Aging Paperless Recorder

Written by: Dan Weise

It’s been about a decade since the Honeywell Trendview X-Series paperless recorders were first introduced. And as with any product, you can expect some routine maintenance and service requirements that come with age.

We’ve summarized the top four obstacles you may face when tending to your aging paperless recorder, and how you can overcome them to further maximize the lifespan and functionality of your device.

Before you start, make sure you have a printed record of your paperless recorder’s custom configurations in case you need to restore them to your unit.

1. Changing the Clock Battery

If your paperless recorder is getting old, the battery may be ready to be swapped out. Your recorder uses a standard CR2032 lithium battery that is both inexpensive and readily available at most drug stores.

Although this appears to be a simple solution,  I’ve noticed when I change out the battery, the system resets the clock to January 1, 2003.

If you haven’t enabled security, you can just login and change the time. But, this can pose a problem if your recorder uses the ESS extended security (usually a pharmaceutical requirement). When an ESS-enabled recorder resets back to Jan 1, 2003, no user, not even an administrator, can get access to the setup because the valid period for all passwords appears to have expired.

In order to avoid this problem, it is best to plan ahead before attempting to replace the clock battery.

Honeywell can generate a one-day-use access code for January 1, 2003, and another code for the actual date you plan on changing the battery. This will give you access to the passwords section, so an administrative user’s password can be reset, or an additional administrative user can be created.  (I prefer to create an additional administrative user.)

Once an administrator has access, the clock can be reset.   Of course, that locks out the newly created administrator, but the regular administrator should have access at that point.

(Read More: Changing the Clock Battery on a Honeywell Paperless Recorder)

2.  Replacing the Backlight on the LED Screen

Over time, the backlight bulb that illuminates the LED screen begins to fade from a bright white to a dull yellow. Since this change is gradual, it is hardly noticed unless your older recorder is installed near a newer device with a brighter bulb.

To maintain a well-lit display, remover your recorder from the panel, and replace the bulk.

Expect to allocate about 2-3 hours to replace the bulb and get the recorder back up and running. Good news here: The illustrated instructions that come with the replacement bulb are well written and explicit.

3.  Dealing with Power Supply Failures

I have heard about a handful of internal power supply failures due to accumulated run-time hours. When you are using a recorder for continuous 24/7 operation, run-time hours can add up over the years. While there is no need to change the power supply until it fails, I suggest getting a spare to keep on hand in the event of a power failure.

4. Eliminating Lockups and Cryptic Error Messages on Boot-up

If your recorder is prone to lock-ups, my first suggestion is to make sure it’s installed with a UPS battery back-up.  The UPS eliminates lockups caused by momentary brownouts that don’t trip a cold start power cycle and re-initialization.

If a recorder with a good amount of run time is on a UPS and still periodically locks up, the next approach is to replace the internal Compact Flash (CF) card that holds the operating system. It’s not a guarantee, but experience shows the likelihood is high that a replacement CF drive should fix the problem.

To buy a replacement internal flash drive you will need to provide the recorder’s model number (that has the memory size code) or memory size from the general status screen.

Replacing the internal flash card is about a 2-hour job and involves:

  • Saving the current setup
  • Saving the current layout
  • Making note of the credit and localization settings
  • Making note of the security/password usernames
  • Taking the recorder off-line (during which time it can not record data)
  • Marking, then removing the field connectors from the back panel
  • Removing the back panel
  • Replacing the CF card – very easy access
  • If you’ve gone this far, replace the $3 clock battery at the same time
  • Reassembling the hardware (back panel and connectors)
  • Powering up the recorder
  • Checking the credits and changing if necessary
  • Loading the setup
  • Loading the layout
  • Checking the clock and setting the time if necessary

If the recorder uses ESS security, take the steps to get the limited access codes (mentioned in obstacle #1), so you don’t get locked out and have the recorder out of service longer than expected.

Although replacement flash cards are universal and fit any Trendview X recorder, a used internal flash card has the ID (internal serial number) of a specific serial numbered recorder.  A used internal flash card should never be used in any recorder other than the one with its serial number: The software database will allocate imported data to the wrong device.   I suggest tossing a used internal CF card. It isn’t worth attempting re-use.

Hope this helps! If you’re still having difficultly tending to your aging recorder, feel free to give me a call at (800) 953-7626.

Learn more about Honeywell Paperless Recorders.


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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