Controller Network Communication Troubleshooting

PROBLEM


Controller is not communicating with PC. Operator may get messages when trying to open Station Manger that say can't boot the System Loader or can't find a suitable controller.   The lights on the controller’s processor may flicker while booting, and the controller’s IP address may even be pinged, but communication is never established.   

 

 

ANSWER


Most network communication problems can be resolved through following the list of troubleshooting steps below.  If the problem remains an MTS field service engineer (FSE) will likely be needed on site to diagnose further and fix the problem.  


General PC to Controller Communication Troubleshooting



First verify your controller is getting power when you boot it.  The controller’s processor module lights should come on and you should be able to hear the cooling fan inside. 

 

 

FIREWALL

 

This can happen if the controller was rebooting before turning off a firewall on the PC.   Turn off the controller and reboot it with the firewall off on the PC first.  If this does not correct the problem, then it is likely something in the FTP or network settings was not configured properly or got corrupted.  

 

 

Alert:   If you are running Windows 10 try this first:

 

1. In Windows 10 search bar, type DHCP to find the DHCP Server App then open it.  

 

2. In DHCP Server Window, Click Stop (Figure 1).

 

Figure 1 – DHCP Server Stop button

 

3.  Click Configure to open the DHCP Server Configuration window.   High-lite and check IP address info to ensure it is correct in the DHCP Server Configuration window.  Click OK (Figure 2).

 

Figure 2 -   DHCP Server Configuration Window

 

 

5. Click Continue after seeing the window below (Figure 3).

 

 

Figure 3 – Unhandled Exception warning window

 

 

You will see the following window appear (Figure 4).


Figure 4 – DHCP Server Window 

 

 

6. Close DHCP Server Window.

 

7. Restart PC (but do not restart the FlexTest controller).  Communication should be established if the problem was with the DHCP server.  If not you will need to continue troubleshootinig.  

 

Note:  If you get an error window when trying ot configure the DHCP please make sure you have full administrator rights on the computer (Figure 5):

 

Access to the path ‘C:\ProgramData\JPMikkers\DHCP

Server\Configuration xml’ is denied.

 

Figure 5 – Unhandled exception window warning

 

FTP AND NETWORK SETTINGS

 

 

These settings can get corrupted either inadvertently by users or when the PC is connected to a corporate network that pushes down Windows updates and go unnoticed until the controller is rebooted.  For this reason we recommend that you have a single dedicated network only between the PC and controller.  FTP and Network Setting misconfiguration are the most common cause for PC to Controller communication failures.

 

First use the Test PC Configuration Utility to try and reset the communication settings.

 

Start > All Programs > MTS 793 Software > Service Tools > Test PC Configuration > Manual Actions > Perform the (3) manual actions that you see (Figure 6).

 

  • Set FTP Settings
  • Create mts_rt User Account
  • Set Persistent Route

 

 

 

Figure 6 – Performing Manual Actions for Communication Settings

 

 

Note:  If your verison of 793 System software does not have the Service Tools folder you can search for the utility from the Windows search bar or using the Windows button on your keyboard and type in TestPC.exe then run it by clicking on the icon (Figure 7):

 

Figure 7 – TestPC.exe icon

 

Alternatively, you can run it directly from the directory path location:

 

C:\Program Files (x86)\MTS 793\ntbin\TestPC.exe

 

 

 

Reboot the controller and if communication is still now working go to:

 

Windows 7 > Start > All Programs > MTS 793 Software > Troubleshooting Network Problems

 

Windows 10 > Start > All Programs > MTS 793 Software > Service Tools > Troubleshooting Network Problems

 

Note:  If you don’t have it in your Start menu you can go directly to the directory:

 

Windows (C:) > Program Files (x86) > MTS 793 > Help > Troubleshooting Network Problems

 

 

 

This document contains initial setup instructions for the FTP and network card.  Go through the Network card settings portion of this document making sure they are correct. 

 

For the FTP settings, scroll down to the “Checking the FTP Settings in Windows 7” section below for screenshot instructions where to check these settings after they’ve already been configured.  

 

While checking the network card settings, when you get to the portion on setting the Duplex and Link Speed and are unsure you can use the tables below to identify which to use (Tables 1-3).  You can identify your processor model by looking at the thumb tabs on the back of the module (Figure 8).

 

cid:image002.jpg@01D1841A.64AA8D10

Figure 8 – Location of Processor Model Number

 

 

 

 

Model Number

Duplex

Speed (Mbps)

498.93-1

Half

10

Table 1 – Very Old Processors

 


 

 

 

Model Number

Duplex

Speed (Mbps)

498.94-1

Half

100

498.96-1

Half

100

498.96-2

Half

100

498.96-3

Half

100

498.96-4

Half

100

Table 2 – Old Processors


 

 

Model Number

Duplex

Speed (Mbps)

494.96-1A

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-1B

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-1C

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-2A

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-2B

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-2C

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-3A

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-4A

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

498.96-5

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

498.96-5B

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

498.96-7

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-5B

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

498.96-5D

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-5E

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-5F

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-7

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-7B

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-7C

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-7D

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-8A

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

494.96-9A

Auto Negotiate

Auto Negotiate

Table 3 – Newer Processors

 

 

Note: If you are using a switch set the Link Speed and Duplex to Auto Negotiate.

cid:image003.jpg@01D1841A.64AA8D10

Figure 5 - Example of a Network switch

 

Tip:  If you need to see an example of how to change the duplex and link speed you can go to link below.

 

https://www.linksys.com/us/support-article?articleNum=132174

 

 

 

For Windows 7 or 10 users you can use the FTP setup portion below to verify the settings have not changed If you have not yet configured the FTP settings.  If this is the first time configuring the FTP or you are still using Windows XP then you will need to refer to the Troubleshooting Network Problems document for both the FTP and network card settings.  MTS no longer uses Windows XP operating systems so I’m not able to provide screenshots of the ftp settings.  The Troubleshooting Network Problems document will tell you what they are but you’ll need to have familiarity with Windows XP to locate them. 

 

 

Checking the FTP Settings in Windows 7 & 10 

 

Note: Apart from minor differences in the operating system and views, the FTP settings in Windows 10 should be the same and these instructions can be used for those with a working knowledge of Windows 10.  

 

Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager > Expand the computer Node on the Left Side > Expands Sites > Right-Click Default Website > Manager FTP Site > Advanced Settings (Figure 9).

 

Figure 9 – FTP Site Advanced Settings

 

  

Verify if your Physical Path is:

 

 C:\Program Files (x86)\MTS 793\ntbin  or C:\Program Files\MTS 793\ntbin.   

 

64-bit operating systems will use C:\Program Files (x86)\MTS 793\ntbin as the default directory.

32-bit operating systems will use C:\Program Files\MTS 793\ntbin as the default directory.

 

Caution: Although most Windows 7 operating systems will be 64-bit and use the default directory C:\Program Files (x86)\MTS 793\ntbin, check both directories for the location of the ntbin file to verify the correct physical path to use.   A user may have changed the directory when installing the software or you may have the 32-bit version of the operating system.  

 

Start automatically should be “TRUE” (Figure 10).

 

Figure 10 – Advanced Settings Window (Windows 7)

 

Click on FTP SSL Settings > Check “Allow SSL Connections” (Figure 11).

 

Note: There is a problem in Windows 10 that requires No SSL to be chosen only during the initial FTP setup to Allow SSL.  Once FTP is setup it should read Allow SSL connections.

 

 

Figure 11 – FTP SSL Settings

 

Click on FTP Authentication and verify both “Anonymous Authentication” and “Basic Authentication” are enabled (Figure 12).


Figure 12 – FTP Authentication

 

 

 

Click on FTP Authorization and verify “Allow”, “All Users” and “Read, Write” are selected (Figure 13).

 

 

Figure 13 – FTP Authorization Rules

 

 

For 793 Version 5.8 or newer software continue with checking the binding section:

 

Start > Control  Panel > Administrative Tools > Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager > Expand the computer Node on the Left Side > Expands Sites > Right-Click Default Website > Edit Bindings > ftp > Edit (Figure 14)

 

Select IP Address 148.150.203.190 from the drop-down list.  If it is not present, click on any IP address (Figure 15).   Change it to 148.150.203.190 and the port to 21 (Figure 16).   

 

 

 

Figure 14 – Editing the ftp Settings

 

Figure 15 – Selecting an IP Address for Port 21

 

Figure 16 – Changing the IP Address and Port Settings

 

 

Note:  If you do not see Internet Information Services Manager (IIS Manager) or have the ability to Add or Remove FTP Publishing during the FTP setup, FTP Service may not be enabled.  This typically is not the case if the PC was supplied by MTS or if FTP service had been working unless the operating system was reinstalled and FTP service was not enabled afterward.

 

Enabling FTP Service

 

You can follow these steps to enable FTP Service on Windows 7:

 

 

1.  Click “Start”.

 

2. Type “Programs and Features” in Search Box and press Enter.

 

3. Click “Turn Windows features on or off” on left pane.

 

4. In Windows Features, choose “Internet Information Services” > “FTP Server” > Put a check mark in “FTP Service” (Figure 17).

 

5. Click “OK”.

 

Figure 17 – Enabling FTP Service in Windows 7

 

 

Note:   In some cases you may need to start FTP service and it may be grayed out under the IIS Manager.   For Windows 7, instead go to:

 

Start menu > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Double-click Services > Right-click Microsoft FTP Service > Select Start from the menu.

 

 

HARDWARE

 

(1) The least likely is bad hardware.  If the Ethernet cable that connects the controller to the PC connects through a hub remove the hub and connect a cable straight to the controller.  If the communication problem is resolved this way then the hub needs to be replaced.  If the problem persists then swap the Ethernet cable with a known working one. 

 

 

Note: The Ethernet cable must be a cross over cable for a direct connection to the controller or when using with a hub that does not automatically cross over the cable.   The exception is the TestStar IIS controller which has a built in cross over so does not need a crossover cable.

 

(2) Check that the controller ground cable is secured to the grounding lug on the back of the controller and to test frames ground.  On rare occasion grounding issues have allowed enough noise to interfere with the controller communication network. 

 

(3) Make sure the Ethernet cable is connected to the correct port on the processor.

 

If your processor has more than one Ethernet port, use LAN 1 or   ENET 1 not LAN 2, ENET 2, or DEBUG:   

 

If your processor has LAN 0 and LAN 1 choose LAN 0 not LAN 1 or DEBUG.

 

 

(4) Reseat the processor board and secure it with the lock down screws on both sides.  Clean the contacts with contact cleaner first if available.  

 

(5) Reseat the PCI slot installed network adapter in the PC.   Clean the contacts with contact cleaner first if available.  

 

Caution:  When adding, removing, or reseating hardware the power must be off on the controller or you could damage electronic parts.

 

 

SOFTWARE

 

In some rare instances the file Controller.793settings file located at:   Start > C: > MTS 793 > Controllers > MTS FlexTest may be damaged, misconfigured, or missing.

 

Although not the only reason, this will result in an error message while booting the controller that says, can't boot the system loader.   Can't find a suitable controller.
 

 Check that t is there.   It could be present but damaged.  In that case you can try reinstalling the 793 software.  

 

Note:  It is important to choose the correct controller name when prompted during installation so the right controller processor IP address is written to the Controller.793settings file during the installation.

 

If using a FTSE controller:

 

If the RTC battery was getting low you may have seen a warning on the controller’s display screen (Figure 18) or seen a message in the message log in Station Manager saying something like:

 

Error Message in Station Manager, “Warning[Stmgr] RTC battery low. Chassis number =0. Process number = 0.”

 

Figure 18 – RTC battery low warning

 

If the battery went dead you’d lose the boot memory and the controller would not be able to establish communciation with the PC.  This often goes unoticed when the controller has not been used for a long time so no message log warnings are ever recorded.   

 

If that ist he case, the processor with battery would need to be shipped back to MTS for replacement.  It can’t be done by the user since the boot memory chip needs to be reprogrammed here at MTS.  

 

Warning: Never remove the RTC battery from the controller’s processor or you will lose the boot memory.  If you do that it will need to be sent back to MTS to be reprogrammed.   

 

K
Keary is the author of this solution article.

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