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Digitilt DataMate FAQ

Q: I use DMM to retrieve surveys from my DataMate. Should I be using DigiPro2?

A: Yes. We recommend that everyone migrate to DigiPro2. Here's why:

DigiPro and DMM were written in Microsoft VB6. Microsoft discontinued support for VB6 development tools some time ago, making bug fixes and further development nearly impossible. In addition, Microsoft warned that Windows 7 would not support for the VB6 runtime. In fact, they relented and included some VB6 runtime support in Win7, but it is certain that DigiPro and DMM will stop running in some future update of Windows.

For that reason, we developed DigiPro2 to replace both DMM and DigiPro. Development took over a year, but it is written in C# and is guaranteed to run on future updates of Windows. We encourage everyone to migrate to DigiPro2 sooner rather than later.

You can download a trial version of DigiPro2. It runs in advanced mode for 45 days, then it reverts to a basic version that has features similar to DMM and is free to use.

Question: I'm having communication problems. Can you help?

Answer: Please look at: DataMate Communications FAQ.

Question: While I was setting display contrast, I accidently shut off the DataMate. Unfortunately, the contrast was so low that all the characters disappeared. How can I reset the contrast?

Answer: Follow these steps to navigate to the Contrast menu.

  1. Switch power off and then on again.  (The hidden cursor is now on Read)
  2. Press the right-arrow key 3 times, then press Enter. (Cursor is now on Utilities)
  3. Press the right-arrow key 5 times, then press Enter. (Cursor is now on Contrast)
  4. Press down arrow until characters reappear.

Question: My Digitilt DataMate needs a new battery. What battery should I use?

Answer: DataMates manufactured before 2009 were supplied with a Sonnenschein A206-6.5S battery. DataMates manufactured from 2009 are supplied with a EnerSys NP7-6 battery.

We switched to the EnerSys NP7-6 battery because the A206-6.5S batteries are now difficult to obtain. They will become completely unavailable sometime in 2010.

If you must replace an older Sonnenschein battery, please ask us if we have any in stock. If we do not have any in stock, then we can supply the EnerSys NP7-6 battery. You will also need to buy a new battery bracket, since the EnerSys battery has a differerent size and shape. Note that the combined cost of the battery and the bracket is not much different from the cost of the Sonnenschein battery by itself.

Question: I've been told to reset the DataMate. How do I do that?

Answer: Normally, you don't have to do this. However, if a technician at Slope Indicator has recommended the reset, follow these instructions: Resetting the DataMate . Be sure to ground yourself and the DataMate to prevent damage from static discharges.

Question: My DataMate displays a message: "Firmware upgrade is recommended-Call Rep." What's wrong?

Short Answer: Nothing is wrong. You don't need to do anything.

If your DataMate has a firmware version dated 1997 or earlier, there is no firmware upgrade available. Simply ignore the message. To see the firmware version, switch on the DataMate. The second line displays the firmware version (a date).

If your DataMate has a firmware version dated 2005 or later, a firmware upgrade is available. Contact Slope Indicator about that.

Long Answer: The DataMate and the DMM software on the PC exchange "version codes" when they begin to communicate. If the codes do not match, either the DataMate or the PC will complain.

We made a new version of DMM software to support the newest version of the DataMate, so the DMM version code had to be changed. The new DMM software supports both the old DataMate (firmware version 1997 and earlier) and the new DataMate (firmware version 2005 and later).

When an older DataMate receives the new version code, it displays the "firmware upgrade" message. Usually the message disappears quickly, but if the DataMate is waiting for a response from the PC, then the message will be displayed long enough for you to read it. If you are looking at your PC, you won't see the message at all. Here are the conditions when you can see the message:

  • When you retrieve data from the DataMate, the message appears, but goes away quickly. Some people will never see this one.
  • When you send data to the DataMate, the message stays on the display, because the DataMate is waiting for a response from the PC.
  • When you delete data from the DataMate (using DMM), the message stays on the display, until it gets a response from the PC

Question: Can I retrieve readings from the DataMate as ASCII text rather than store the data in a database?

Answer: Yes. DMM for Windows lets you retrieve all the readings at once, and then and save them, one by one, as tab delimited files. This is quick and easy.

You can also "print" to a terminal program. Any terminal program (such as 'hyperterm' in Win95/98) can recieve ASCII data from the DataMate. Set the serial parameters on your terminal program to the same baud rate, no parity, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit. On the DataMate, go to Datasets and choose Print. You will be prompted for a baud rate, and defaults to 9600. On the DataMate, select the dataset and press enter. The data will be output through the serial port in ASCII format.

Question: How do I "refresh" the dessiccant used in the DataMate?

Answer: We use a dessicant called Sorb-it. The instructions on the side of the packet tell you to bake the packet at 118 degrees C (245 degrees F) for 16 hours.

Question: The DataMate displayed a message: "Too many datasets" so I deleted some old datasets. Then, when I tried to add a new dataset, the DataMate displayed strange characters. Do I need to send the DataMate for repair?

Answer: The DataMate's memory has been corrupted and most data cannot be retrieved. There are three ways that this might have occurred.

1. If you tried to delete datasets in the datamate's memory, but accidently shut off the DataMate during the deletion process, memory will become corrupt. This is in the manual, but it is easy to forget.

2. There is a loose circuit board inside the DataMate. To check, you should open the DataMate to check that the circuit boards are firmly seated in their sockets. While you do that, you should disconnect the battery for a few minutes and then reconnect. This causes a full system reset. Be sure to ground yourself to prevent damage to the boards through static discharge.

3. One of the circuits in the DataMate has failed. After you perform the step above, switch on the DataMate. If the DataMate displays any system error, it must be returned for repair. If the DataMate does not display any errors, please try this: Use DMM to send datasets to the DataMate until the DataMate's memory is full. Then disconnect from the PC. Now try deleting some datasets (using the DataMate keys) and adding a new dataset (just press the keys - the probe is not necessary). If there is failure again, the DataMate must be returned. If there is no failure, the DataMate may be OK, but please retrieve data regularly, just to be save.

Question: I'm trying to add another installation, but I don't see the "Create New" prompt. What's wrong?

Answer: Do you already have 40 installations? That's the maximum number you can store in early DataMates. If you're in the field and need to do a survey of a new installation, you can use another installation as a temporary holder for your data - just edit its parameters as required. Later, when you return to the office, you can place the survey under a proper installation.

Question: My DataMate is giving strange readings. The humidity in the box was 90%. Could this be the problem?

Answer: Yes. Humidity greater than 60% can cause problems, particularly when the DataMate undergoes temperature changes, such as being taken from a warm office to cold outdoors or from hot outdoors to air-conditioned office. If possible, store the DataMate in a cool, dry place in winter and in a warm, dry place in summer. See the DataMate inspection and maintenance tech note.

Question: I'm having trouble with my inclinometer system. Can the readings that I have recorded help me diagnose the problem?

Answer: Yes, there are certain reading values that are good indicators of problems:

Reading of 12000 in either axis: This indicates a sensor problem.

Reading of ±6000 to 8000: This indicates a power line problem if it appears both axes. The problem is probably in the cable or a connector.

Reading of +730 or 740 (English) or +1280 or 1290 (Metric): This indicates an input line problem on DataMates with firmware version 1997 or earlier. This is the same reading that appears if no probe is connected. The problem is probably in the cable or a connector.

Reading of +1786 or 1787 (English) or +3125 or 3126 (Metric): This indicates an input line problem on DataMates with firmware 2005 or later. This is the same reading that appears if no probe is connected. The problem is probably in the cable or a connector.

Reading of 60 or some other low number: If you see a low number that stays constant in one axis, the problem is mostly likely in the probe. The accelerometer for that axis is not working and the op amp is trying to compensate, resulting in a constant value.

Question: I have an English-unit probe, but accidentally recorded readings with the DataMate set for metric (or vice versa). What should I do?

Answer: Use DMM for Windows to change the instrument constant for that survey. Follow this link to find the instructions in the DMM for Windows Q and A: Incorrect English/metric Settings.

Question: How did the wrong (English/metric) settings get into my data?

Answer: There are two ways this can happen. (1) You are accidentally telling the DataMate that you have a metric (or English) system, or (2) the installation information in the DataMate is incorrect.

Case 1: When you start a survey using the DataMate, you choose an installation and then you must step through the installation parameters by pressing the Enter key. If you press the down arrow by mistake, you'll change the value of that parameter. It seems logical that you could press the down arrow to scroll through the readings, but you can't. Always press the Enter key to step through the parameters.

Case 2: You should check that installation information in the DataMate is correct. Switch on the DataMate. Choose Read to display the Read menu. Then choose Installations. Scroll through the list of installations and choose the one that is causing problems. Then step through the installation parameters until you see Units. Set this to English or metric, depending on the type of probe that you have. Press Enter to see the next parameter, Ins Constant. Set this to 20000 for English probes or 25000 to metric probes. Also, check your DMM database to see that probe type and instrument constant are set properly for that installation.

Question: Most of my surveys are marked Full Set = T. But sometimes I see a survey that is marked "Full Set = F." What's this about?

Answer: The full set flag tells DigiPro how to process the data. A T value indicates a normal two-pass survey, in which each depth has a 0 reading and a 180 reading). The software then combines the two readings and divides by 2. An F value tells the software that there is only a 0 reading and therefore no combining or dividing takes place. If you end your normal two-pass survey by choosing "Done," the flag is set to T. However, if you end your survey by pressing Esc, the flag is set to False, even though all the data are present.

Question: Readings displayed by the DataMate used to stabilize quickly, but now it takes much longer. What's going on?

Answer: Moisture in the connectors is the most common cause. There are three connectors that could be affected: the connectors on the control cable and the connector on the probe. Use an ohmmeter set to the 2 Megaohm range to check.

Check cable connectors when the cable is not connected to the probe or the DataMate. Check the resistance from pin to pin and pin to connector body. In each case, the ohmmeter should read overrange (infinite resistance). If you see another reading, there is a problem. A reading cause by moisture usually drifts (does not remain steady). Continuity checks for the conductors should read about 1 ohm per 100 feet of cable.

Check the pin to probe body resistance (not pin to pin). The roll pins (pins that go through the body to hold the springs) make a good connection to the body. Again, the reading should be overrange.

If you find a problem in the cable connector that plugs into the DataMate, you may be able to disassemble and dry the connector by yourself. See this technote for directions.

However, if you find moisture in the cable connector that attaches to the probe or in the connector built into the probe itself, you must send them to the factory for servicing. Send both items. See instructions for returning equipment to Slope Indicator.

Question: Can I use the DataMate to record data from 4 passes through the casing? In Italy, we usually employ the B-axis casing grooves as well as the A-axis grooves. After recording data in A180 groove, can I select Continue one more time, to continue the survey in the B0 and B180 groove ?

Answer: the DataMate records both A and B axes with only two passes through the casing: the A0 and A180 pass. The B axis is less accurate because the wheels can move from side to side in the A grooves, and this affects the tilt of the sensor in the B axis. Slope Indicator's casing has very narrow grooves, so this is not usually a problem. However, if you are using casing that has wider grooves, the probe can wander in the B axis and give less accurate readings. In that case, the highest accuracy is obtained by orienting the probe so that the wheels travel in the B axis. (Thus you use the A-axis accelerometer to record B axis readings).

The DataMate offers a "Uniaxial" routine that lets you record one direction at a time: A0, A180, B0, and B180. When you step through the parameters of the borehole before recording a survey, change Type from Digitilt to "Spiral." This tells the DataMate to perform a uniaxial survey. Keep your instrument constant, depths, and intervals the same as usual. The DataMate will then prompt for the A0 pass, continue with the A180 pass, and continue with the B0 and B180 grooves.

When you retrieve the data with DMM, you have to make one change. In the dataset header of DOS DMM, change the value of "Spiral?" to N or False. In the Windows DMM, change the value of Probe Type from Spiral to Digitilt.

Question:  When I switch on the DataMate, it displays a message: "Key is down." After that, the DataMate does not operate. What's wrong?

Answer: There are two possibilities.

  1. There may be a partial vacuum in the box due to air shipment. The vacuum is sucking on the keypad and causes the "key down" error message. In this case, unscrew the two screws at the bottom of the box and wiggle the box a bit. This should allow air to flow into the box and release the keypad.
  2. The keypad may be too large for the panel. In 2004, we received a batch of keypads that were slightly too large. They fit the panel well enough during assembly, but later expanded. The result was this same "key down" error. In this case, please contact your distributor. He may be able to replace the keypad or will send the box to us for repair.
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