Archive for category Troubleshooting

Why does my Honeywell UDC controller flash UNPLUG at me?

Honeywell UDC Controller.jpg

Honeywell UDC UNPLUG Error Message

People will fire up a new UDC 1/4 DIN loop controller, like a UDC2500 or UDC3200, and discover that the lower display periodically flashes an error code: UNPLUG. But what does it mean? Is something wrong?

A search of the pdf version of the manual hints that the Modbus Ethernet communications is involved:

The Ethernet status screen shows the network status of the Ethernet Link. This may be accessed either via Ethernet or via Infrared Communications. For example, if the Ethernet cable is unplugged, then the instrument cannot send up the EUNPLGED diagnostic message via Ethernet.

But the word UNPLUG is nowhere else in the manual.

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Troubleshooting Siemens MultiRanger/HydroRanger mA Inputs

Written by: Dan Weise

Recently, I was helping a customer troubleshoot the analog input on his Siemens MultiRanger 200.

For common troubleshooting, using voltage values to confirm a zero, mid point and span is all that’s needed.  I find it easier to put a voltmeter across the analog input and read the voltage drop than to wire an amp meter into the circuit to read directly, but that assumes that the analog input’s resistor value is a known. For the most commonly used input resistance (250 ohms), the equivalent voltage drop is 1.0 to 5.0V.

Being the guy who actually reads the user manuals, I looked in the Siemens manual to find the input resistance, and it’s not there.

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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.

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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.

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Why Disable a Channel on a Honeywell Paperless Recorder?

Written by: Dan Weise

Over time, changes in your process needs occur, and a sensor you’ve connected to a Honeywell paperless recorder channel may be taken out of service. When this happens, I suggest that both the analog input and the pen be disabled. Here’s why:

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Changing the Clock Battery on a Honeywell Paperless Recorder

Written by: Dan Weise

The installed base of Honeywell Trendview X series paperless recorders is approaching an in-service period of a decade (introduced mid-2006). Given that kind of service time, you need to be aware of the issues involved in changing the clock battery.

The replaceable clock battery serves as a backup for the on board real-time clock chip as well as the internal battery-backed static RAM. If your paperless recorder is getting old, the battery may ready for a swap-out. If so, you may need a one-day-use access code that only Honeywell can provide, so plan ahead. You don’t want to get locked out of your recorder!

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The 15-30-15 Rule in Ultrasonic Level Measurements

Written by: Dan Weise

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a dozen times when talking with a Siemens support guy while evaluating a problematic ultrasonic level measurement application,
“What’s the echo confidence and strength?” “What’s the noise measurement?”

Those are numbers that quantify the echo quality: the floor values for echo confidence and strength and the ceiling value for the noise.   I’d look up the value and the guy on the phone would tell me whether the number was good, bad or so-so.  Finally, someone wrote down what those values should be, and they’re worth filing for future reference.

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