Fadal Bootup Error - Number Out of Range
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  1. #1
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    Default Fadal Bootup Error - Number Out of Range

    The machine is a 1995 Fadal VMC15. Booted it up after a winter's nap only to find this on the screen:

    20200216_174412_film1.jpg

    Some quick googling showed some threads that mention a battery backup that may have gone dead causing this issues. However, it seems these others encountered the error after starting up the machine. In my case, this happens when I press to the start button and I can't get any further than this prompt (None of the keys do anything).

    I will start with the battery replacement, but curious if anyone else has a suggestion of other potential causes/solutions.

    Thanks.

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    Mine did this after a 2 year nap. My first attempts to clear the memory didnt work. I think the trick was to power the machine off for a minute or so after clearing it.

    Replace the battery and look up the instructions. Compumachine was where I found it. If the parameters are on a sheet in the control pendant you probably won't need to copy all of it before wiping it.

    BTW, zero offsets for the axis' are stored on the amp cards, at least on my AC drive machine. So they shouldn't need to be reset from the parameters list. Check, of course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wesg View Post
    Mine did this after a 2 year nap. My first attempts to clear the memory didnt work. I think the trick was to power the machine off for a minute or so after clearing it.

    Replace the battery and look up the instructions. Compumachine was where I found it. If the parameters are on a sheet in the control pendant you probably won't need to copy all of it before wiping it.

    BTW, zero offsets for the axis' are stored on the amp cards, at least on my AC drive machine. So they shouldn't need to be reset from the parameters list. Check, of course.
    Thanks for the tip! Sounds like I am on the right track. Let me ask you this: It seems all the instructions for clearing the memory are by entering a command, however, I can't get past this screen to enter any commands: space bar, enter, I think I tried them all, none of them do anything on the screen. Do I simply need to replace the battery first, then boot and try to clear the memory?

    I took pictures of all the machine setting screens years ago when I first got it up and running. I am hoping these will suffice to restore the memory?

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    Not sure, but I'd do the battery first. I think i got mine charged up a bit after connecting power to it, and was able to get it 'running'. But it was dead after sitting a week and I had to start over.

    'Running' ... it would work but I had an error like yours on boot up, and the issue was with the b axis, even though it was configured for only 4. And all the work offsets, and/or maybe the tool offsets were full of gibberish.

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    UPDATE 2-24-20 - PROBLEM FIXED

    So my problem was seemingly cause by the same issues as many others, but the rest of the fix was not particularly typical.

    First, the cause of the problem was the CMOS battery was dead (who would have guessed after 25 years). I replaced with a Tadiron (my original was a Tadiron) PN TL-5104/P. They offer a number of batteries in the correct AA size and voltage, but this one has the correct axial leads so I simply clipped the old battery, desoldered the old leads, solder sucked the through holes, zip tied in the new battery, and soldered the new leads in the factory holes.

    However, as I feared, when I went to boot the machine, I got the same message I posted in the first post, and again, none of the buttons would make the control respond. Some internet searching hinted that in these conditions, you can jumper the J2 pins of the 1400-4 board to force it into debug mode. I did this, and viola, I was able to do a zero memory. I zeroed the memory, shut down the machine, removed the J2 jumper, then rebooted the machine. After entering the 3 pages of machine info, I put in the ballscrew backlash settings.

    All seemed fine after this.

    My guess, is that when the CMOS battery died, it randomized at least one memory location that the control did not know how to handle. May guess this is simply luck of the draw when your battery dies, but if this happens, the control can't even boot far enough to let you use the "zero memory" function. Hence, making me jumper the control board to force me into diagnostic mode and properly zero all the memory.

    Don't let your machines sit too long...

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    Great news.

    I nearly start shaking and sweating when I think of the Okuma lathe that's been sitting in the warehouse the last 3 years. I did replace the CMOS battery in it shortly before it got unplugged, but ...

    Oh well, how much can it cost to get a factory tech in to sort it out?

    😭

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    Can one be proactive about replacing these batteries or do they just get replaced as needed?

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    Really appreciate you following up this thread with the solution! I'm sure someone will find it useful in the future!

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    Quote Originally Posted by wesg View Post
    Great news.

    I nearly start shaking and sweating when I think of the Okuma lathe that's been sitting in the warehouse the last 3 years. I did replace the CMOS battery in it shortly before it got unplugged, but ...

    Oh well, how much can it cost to get a factory tech in to sort it out?

    😭
    As inconvenient as this was, it is amazing how long these batteries lasted. Again, mine had had a manufacture date, on the battery, of 1995. PC CMOS batteries routinely last 10+ years (you know the little CR2032 button cell batteries on the motherboard?), so hopefully yours is fine (whatever battery something like that takes).

    Quote Originally Posted by Cole2534 View Post
    Can one be proactive about replacing these batteries or do they just get replaced as needed?
    Possibly. First, the best line of defense would be backup your settings NOW. FYI, when I first got the machine, I did the serial port backup of the settings only to find it just backed up the first CNC program (still not sure why it didn't work). So instead, I took a quick picture of each screen and have them in safe keeping along with my library of GCode. (this includes the SETP parameters as well as the backlash settings).

    If you read the last paragraphs of this message I discuss the capacitor that I believe is another backup for the memory. Part of me wonders if a guy had an old battery that had not yet failed, if he could boot the machine (to charge the capacitor), power down, and (quickly?) do the battery replacement, if the memory would remain unchanged. Just not sure how "super" that cap really is.

    Before getting too worried, realize that knowing what I know now, I could have gotten the machine right back up and running in under 30 minutes (including soldering/desoldering the battery) if I had the new battery in hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by aarongough View Post
    Really appreciate you following up this thread with the solution! I'm sure someone will find it useful in the future!
    You bet. I hope it helps somebody. I find these forums very helpful as these machines get up there in years.



    Side note: Whenever you operate on your CNC electronics, USE AN ESD WRISTBAND. They literally cost under $1 on ebay right now, and the Fadal has a ton of very convenient earth grounds to hook to (I always use the one on the door by the fans). Secondly, soldering the new battery should be done on an ESD mat. The point is, these boards have some very delicate electronics and this time of year (winter = cold and dry) is the easiest time to zap your parts with static.

    In case you weren't tired of reading: I am not quite sure how this whole battery backup operation works. For instance, I have seen it mentioned that these batteries are rechargeable and charge up every time you start the machine. However, the datasheet for them is clear that these are non-rechargable, so I am not convinced this is the case. Secondly, I noticed there is a large capacitor (supercap?), located near the battery, that I have reason to believe is a "short term" battery backup. How short term? Not sure: hour, day, week, month? For all I know, My battery has been cooked for a while, and have historically been powering the machine on regularly enough that the supercap suffices.


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