FAQ -- Frequently Asked Questions
This page contains answers to common questions handled by our support staff, along with some tips and tricks that we have found useful and presented here as questions.

Note: In these answers we will follow a few shorthand conventions for describing user-interface procedures. Key combinations will be presented like this: Ctrl+Alt+Delete, which means that you should press and hold down the Control key, the Alt key, and the Delete key at the same time. Menu selections will be presented like this: File->Open, which means that you should open the File menu, and then make the Open selection.

  1. What happens if my PC program crashes while the antenna is moving?
  2. What if the antenna gears jam or the end of travel is reached?
  3. How can I install updated programs and firmware for the controller?


What happens if my PC program crashes while the antenna is moving?
The W2DRZ controller board's firmware has a built in communications loss timer. If it detects that no RS232 serial communication has been received from the PC for over 2 seconds, it will stop all antenna motion and go into a wait mode. When serial communication resumes the controller will accept new movement commands.


What if the antenna gears jam or the end of travel is reached?
If the antenna fails to move, it's position as reported by the encoders will stop changing. The controller will sense the lack of position change and do an emergency shutdown. There is a timer that determines how long the antenna must be stopped before the shutdown will happen. The timer is called the "Move Timeout" and it is set in the DrzTrack.exe program's Configuration window. The default value is 5 seconds but you can change it to any decimal value between 0 and 15 seconds.

There is also another setup value related to movement timing, it is called "Move Precision". This value specifies how much motion is considered to be real motion. If the antenna was to hit a tree branch, it might rock back and forth and the sensor readings could change enough to cause the movement detector to think the antenna was still in motion. By setting the appropriate value for Move Precision, this problem can be avoided. Move Precision is specified in tenths of a degree, and can have a maximum value of 100, or 10 degrees.
The default value is 20 (2 degrees).

If the antenna is out of calibration with the controller it is possible that the controller could command the mechanism to run against the end of travel. When this happens the loss of movement detector will also stop the motor within the time specified. But, for more safety, it is recommended that you install some electro-mechanical limit switches on your antenna mount to quickly turn off the movement motors if the limits are reached.

 

How can I install updated programs and firmware for the controller?
When we make improvements or apply fixes to the control program (DrzTrack) or to the firmware in the CT-2 controller, a new software install program is posted in the Download page.  By downloading this install program and running it, the new DrzTrack program will be installed on your computer and a link to it will be placed on your desktop.  The program is placed in a subdirectory of a 'W2DRZ' folder on your C drive. The folder is named with the version number of the new DrzTrack program.

In that folder there will also be hex files for the version of firmware that needs to be used with the new DrzTrack version.  Prior to DrzTrack version 5, it was necessary to either have a programming device and software so that you could install your own firmware, or else have it done for you by us.  That would be done by buying a new processor chip or by sending your processor or board back to us for reprogramming.

Starting with version 5, DrzTrack includes a boot loader.  By using the boot loader (built into the DrzTrack program) you can install new hex files yourself without a programming device.  See the Boot Loading page for details.

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