Technical Support

DataQuest Solutions are pleased to provide advice on:-
 
* Post-sale technical support *
* Warranty and Repairs*
 
Support is normally provided free of charge, however this is only available on the products we have sold.
For repairs within or outside of the warranty period, please see lower down this page.

Installation help - Spectrum Instrumentation cards

DataQuest Solutions have strived to supply systems that install without problem. However here is some general advice that may help should the procedure not go to plan. Remember that an unexpected results/signals, or indeed nothing at all, can be for a number of reasons not necessarily due to a fault.

  1. Ensure your hardware connections are all tight, both the cables and the cards themselves. in particular make sure the card is seated, they can be a tight fit, so look closely and ensure the edge connector is sitting well down and level in the slot. Do not bend or twist the card as this may cause damage.

    PLEASE REMEMBER TO ALWAYS TAKE ANTI-STATIC PRECAUTIONS WHEN HANDLING THE BOARD, BY ELECTRICALLY GROUNDING YOURSELF TO EARTH, OTHERWISE STATIC ELECTRICITY COULD DAMAGE COMPONENTS!

  2. Does the problem exist on all channels? Try swapping to another channel. On digitiser and waveform generator cards all channels have separate A/D converters and amplifiers. If only one is working but the others are fine, then it is highly likely there is component failure.

  3. If you have another signal connection cable give it a try. A simple fault like this can be overlooked.

  4. For Spectrum analogue signal capture (digitiser) hardware it is recommended that you install the SBench software that came with the hardware (on a CD or USB stick). The software can also be downloaded from the link in step 5 below. Run a test with this. This is a very useful cross check both for software and hardware problems. Use the SBench oscilloscope screen to observe a test signal. This signal is best verified by secondary bench equipment too, e.g. an oscilloscope. Ensure you set the digitiser's gain range to encompass the maximum voltage you are likely to see. A factor that can often cause strange results is an input signal with a floating ground. This can cause the voltage to drift beyond a digitiser card's amplifier range. For example it could also be that the ground of the power supply to your signal generating equipment is sitting at a very different voltage level to that of the acquisition hardware! Ensure your signal to the digitiser is not pulled low by the impedance of the card input, particularly if set to 50 ohms. Conversely the signal from the signal generator is not being pulled low by an external load, or short.

    Digital I/O hardware can also be tested with the SBench software. Use a signal appropriate to the card model, the M2i.70xx series are TTL (0 to 5 volt) only. The newer M4i.77xx and M2p.75xx series cards operate with lower voltage (LVTTL) logic, so please select the appropriate levels using the card datasheet as reference. Now click the loop arrow in the top left hand corner of the SBench screen to start the run, then toggle the test voltage and watch for level changes. If you are using an external sampling clock ensure the signal is of good quality with no unexpected transients. Long cabling is one possible reason for a degraded clock signal, so too an impedance mismatch between the signal source and the clock input of the card.

    For signal generator hardware of the M2i, M4i, M4x and GeneratorNETBOX series use SBench6 and select from the "Hardware" the pull-down menu "Easy Generator". This software generates a standard set of signals. Does your hardware produce the signal which is expected?

  5. Should the card be working but you are achieving unreliable results or error messages please install the latest drivers. These are freely available (with a history of any bug fixes) from the manufacturer's site at:

    www.spectrum-instrumentation.com/en/downloads/drivers

    The Spectrum Control Center

    This is installed automatically with the Spectrum card driver and started by clicking the Spectrum Cards icon in the MS Windows Control Panel. It also provides a technical support function, which can greatly help the support team in finding any problems you might encounter in the rare situations as described in (5) above. Click the support tab in the Control Center to open the window as shown below). Set the logging to "log all including library calls". This generates a ASCII text file to a chosen file path. With this it is possible to see what driver calls were made and in what order with a standard text editor.

    control_panel_log window (25K)

    Should you require further help in interpreting the results, please forward this file to: support@dqsolutions.co.uk

    Using Linux? You can also use the Spectrum Control Center! Linux users find the versions for the different StdC++ libraries on the installation CD or USB stick supplied with card at: /Install/linux/spcm_control_center/ as RPM packages. Also deb packages for Debian Ubuntu. The latest version of these for download is available on the manufacturers web site at here. Please see the Linux section in the Software Driver Installation chapter of your Spectrum card manual for more information.


Portable Solutions - PCI-Express (TB3F, EB1 and EB7 series) Docking Stations

These models are essentially a transparent interface to the host system, the only drivers required are those for your PCI-Express card inserted into the enclosure. If you are having problems the first step is to try you card in a standard PC to test functionality. If the card works in the PC please contact DataQuest Solutions for help, (see link at the bottom of this page). It may be we need the docking station and card here at DataQuest solutions for further testing.

Driver installation NOT required for Vista, 7, 8, 10 and Mac OS X.


Portable Solutions - PCI Expansion Docking Stations

These expansion systems will go EOL 30/04/22. See the manufacturer's website at One Stop Systems for more information about the products. These were sold by DataQuest under model numbers DOCKxPCI. x representing the number of slots (1, 2, 3, 7 and 13). Only the 1, 2 and 3 slot models were sold by DataQuest with only the latter tested under MS Windows 8 and 10. However the advice below also applies to users of the older 1, 2 and 4 slot versions.

Driver installation NOT required for Vista, 7, 8, 10 and Mac OS X.

qmark (1K) Frequently asked questions and answers about PCI Docking Stations

Using the Expresscard Notebook PC host slot

Generally there should be no compatibility issues across the different computer models however do call should you have any problems. It is unlikely your docking station uses the PCMCIA slot, systems in recent years having been supplied with the newer ExpressCard interface, but just in case here follows more installation information.

Using the PCMCIA (a.k.a PCcard) PC host slot

Docking Station problems may relate to an unsuccessful install, manifesting itself as the inability of the computer system to see the card installed inside the enclosure. Check in the MS Windows Control Panel - Device Manager, see if your card is showing. If it is but it has an exclamation mark "!" showing adjacent to it, try installing a simple PCI card e.g. Ethernet card. Is the problem still there? If so it is a more a compatibility problem with the PCCard bus. Take a look at the PCMCIA adapters in the same window, is there a "!" next to this? This indicates an incomplete driver install or a incompatibility problem to your notebooks system. If a re-install fails to help, try another Notebook PC if available and compare.

If problems continue call or e-mail using the contact details at the bottom of this page.


Portable Solutions - Portable PC's

Internally many of electronic items such as CPU's, drives etc share a commonality with standard PC's and parts may be available locally. However it is recommended that you contact DataQuest Solutions in the first instance to discuss any repair. With PC's it is frequently better and more economic to replace components rather than try to repair. Where the repair requires specialist work we would normally advise the return of the portable PC to the manufacturer, ACME Portable GmbH whether or not it is in within warranty. In the latter case a repair / parts estimate will be provided upon request

For support on operating system related issues we would normally request you contact Microsoft support or for Linux search the numerous forums on-line, but we will help if we can; e.g. configuration of PC hardware with the operating system.

Call or e-mail using the contact details at the bottom of this page for more help.


Warranty and Returns

The manufacturer's hardware warranty periods are as follows:

Spectrum Instrumentation GmbH: 5 years. For hardware shipped from the manufacturer before 1st July 2017 it's 2 years.
ACME Portable Computer GmbH: 2 years.
Mission Technology Group, Inc. (Magma products), now acquired by One Stop Systems: 1 year.

The hardware from these companies is manufactured outside the U.K. For goods purchased from us, the procedure whether the goods are within or out of warranty is of type return to manufacturing base. Please contact us for the returns procedure.


SUPPORT CONTACT DETAILS
Telephone: +44 (0)1526 557171
support@dqsolutions.co.uk (we aim to reply within 1 working day)