Fadal RS232 Troubleshooting
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  1. #1
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    Default Fadal RS232 Troubleshooting

    I appreciate any insight I can get on a problem I'm having with my Fadal. Thank you in advance.

    1. Replaced memory backup battery (on my 1400-4 board) because the memory was corrupted after the machine being off for about a month.
    2. After replacing the battery, the previously working RS-232 connection to upload programs stopped working. I use FadalNC. For a long time with FadalNC, the auto baudrate detection hasn't worked. Now, the upload doesn't work at all.
    3. I did the loopback test with my loopback connector and by shorting pins 2 and 3. (See video here: Fadal failing RS232 Loopback test? - YouTube) My interpretation of the loopback test is that it has failed. Maybe I'm not doing it correctly. Another possibility is that I did the test correctly but I'm interpreting it wrong and the real problem lies between the machine and FadalNC.
    4. I sent my 1030-1b board to a ITS-CNC. They said they tested it and did not find a problem. They recommended checking the power supplies +12V, 5V, and -12V rails. I did and they were within a few percent of nominal. They recommended I send my 1400-4 and 1040-2A boards in so that they could test all three together. I sent those in, along with the cable that goes from the 1030-1B to the side of the control box (RS-485? connector is included in that cable).
    5. They tested the boards and said that they didn't work at first, but after cleaning some contacts, they worked just fine. They recommended cleaning contacts and trying again. I cleaned the contacts of the boards and the slots on the Fadal with contact cleaner to no avail. Nothing has changed with the loopback test and I still can't upload a program.
    6. Pleading for guidance on PM.


    I'm not sure what to try next, but here are the things I'm considering:
    • Bust out my USB logic analyzer and see if I can see the signals coming from the laptop and look at the loop back signal.
    • Possibly replace the transceiver chip with a socket and a new transceiver chip.


    What am I missing here? I appreciate any help I can get.

    Thanks,
    Matt

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    I think I have made a mistake interpreting the RS-232 test. According to Page 477 of the Fadal Maintenance Manual (Section 14: General Information):

    Quote Originally Posted by Fadal Maintenance Manual P. 477
    • Numbers next to the word TESTING should be changing constantly. If this occurs, the 1030 board has passed the test.
    • The numbers at the end of the other sentences should all be zero. If any numbers appear at the end of these sentences it is an indication that the 1030 board is faulty (assuming the cable was checked in step (2) above). Note: The 1030 is rarely faulty.
    • If the diagnostics test passes, then it is safe to conclude that the VMC is not at fault for a communication problem.

    The loopback test behaves like that even at the end of the cable between the computer and the machine, so the problem must lie somewhere between my USB to RS232 adapter, the laptop, or my setup on the laptop (or ground). More investigating to do I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dksoba View Post
    I think I have made a mistake interpreting the RS-232 test. According to Page 477 of the Fadal Maintenance Manual (Section 14: General Information):



    The loopback test behaves like that even at the end of the cable between the computer and the machine, so the problem must lie somewhere between my USB to RS232 adapter, the laptop, or my setup on the laptop (or ground). More investigating to do I guess.
    That USB to rs232 thing is a bitch.. Can you get your hands on an older computer that actually has an RS232
    and see if that works.. I played with that a few years ago and said screw it.

    I know the USB to RS232 thing has come up here before.. Maybe try a search or start another thread
    that will grab peoples attention that don't have Fadals... Get some more eyeballs on the problem.

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    Maybe a stupid question but did any parameters get reset when the battery died?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobw View Post
    That USB to rs232 thing is a bitch.. Can you get your hands on an older computer that actually has an RS232
    and see if that works.. I played with that a few years ago and said screw it.

    I know the USB to RS232 thing has come up here before.. Maybe try a search or start another thread
    that will grab peoples attention that don't have Fadals... Get some more eyeballs on the problem.
    Yes, alternative RS232 sources would have helped a lot, but last night I was running a long running job in another machine and it was just short enough that finding another RS232 source would have left the machine sitting around not earning it's keep, so I continued with what I could do.

    Here is what I did:
    • Did a loop back test with my USB->RS232 adapter (http://www.usconverters.com/usb-serial-adapter-xs880). I couldn't get it to work through NCFadal.
    • Tried using a terminal application to do the loopback test. Basically you open up the terminal (I used Putty), set your serial parameters, and open the connection. Once the connection is open, anything you type is echo'd back. I guess if the loopback wasn't working, you wouldn't be able to see what you type. This did not work.
    • Tried unplugging the adapter and replugging back in, still didn't work.
    • I took my USB->RS232 adapter to another computer, installed drivers, and tried the loopback test there. IT WORKED FINE THERE!
    • Went back to the laptop next to my Fadal and tried to do the loopback test again, and low and behold, it worked! I didn't intentionally change anything.
    • Tried sending a program to the Fadal, and NOW the program sends just like it used to.


    I'm totally confused about why it wasn't working before. Obviously, the first big breakthrough was properly interpreting the results of Fadal RS232 diagnostic (loopback) test. The way it shows in my video is exactly how it should be.

    The second breakthrough was seeing some evidence that my USB->RS232 converter works properly. I'm not sure what the problem is, but I have another USB-RS232 connector on the way and I'm exploring other communication options (Maybe Calmotion?).


    Quote Originally Posted by BugRobotics View Post
    Maybe a stupid question but did any parameters get reset when the battery died?
    This isn't a stupid question. The answer: Yes, all (I think) my parameters reset when the battery died. It wasn't a big deal setting back to their default. The answers are in the inside of the back cover of the pendant.


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