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Watchdog and Communication Troubleshooting for the OmniExcel and OmniFlex

Note 1:  Software version 3.4.2 only works with the new PC’s with the PCI Express Watchdog Cards. It will not work with the older PC’s with PCI Watchdog cards.
It is also true if an older version than 3.2.4 was loaded on a newer PC with a PCI Express Watchdog card, the new Watchdog card will not be installed properly and the software will definitely give Watchdog Detection errors.  

Note 2: If using a different computer to replace the current computer.
1. If the old computer had no issues outside of machine errors on startup, use it.
2. The software for this platform will only run on Windows XP 32 bit. Check which Watchdog card was in the original PC, there is different machine software for PCI vs. PCIe versions of the Watchdog, see “Note 1” above.
3.   Use section “III.  RS-485 Driver Install…” and section “II.  Watchdog connections...” to connect, install and verify the cards in the new PC, this must be done exactly as written to reduce further complications.

Note 3: These machine computers are very picky. If the communication cables are not 100% fully seated and off even a little on the Willies Serial communication card you can get communication issues, even with the cables connected to the correct ports. If you remove either the watchdog or willies PC cards there can be major issues, such as having to completely reinstall boards and drivers from scratch in order of section “III. RS-485 Driver Install…”.

I. Troubleshooting from Errors.
To troubleshoot, please follow these steps exactly:
1. Connect the original computer exactly as it was originally.  Make sure that every cable connection is 100% seated.  If the cable is already connected, then first completely remove these cables before reseating the connection.

2. Once back to the original state, power up the machine and continue troubleshooting using steps a. through d.
Errors are sometimes seen as another tab at the bottom of the screen.

a. The below message is normal after a power outage or a machine being down without properly being powered off.

Try: Restart the computer and it should start communicating without the error showing. If you restart and get this message again, try once more, this time shutting down the PC and then restarting the PC.

b. NOTE!!: DO NOT SKIP STEP a. !!! If a. was skipped and step a. would have resolved this issue, the situation has been made a lot harder to resolve by continuing. Steps c. forward require messing with cables and the internal cards of the computer which can cause more issues and is not suggested unless absolutely necessary. If at any point after this step you see the step a. error on a power up, unless on a restart after seeing it originally, act as if it is now working. See excerpt from the section “II. Watchdog connections...”
“Side Note: On the initial startup of a 'New OmniExcel/ OmniFlex PC' you will always get the message,  "Watchdog Hardware Failed Test".  “

c. If the machine is not communicating due to the Willies card serial cable connections, it will not show “watchdog” in the message for this error. If it is still showing a watchdog error after a. and b. proceed to step d.
99% of the time this can be resolved by reseating the two Serial connections on the Willies card.
Try: Completely power down the PC and machine. Completely remove them and reseat them in the same spot. Make sure that the screws on both sides of both cables are also seated and tight. Restart the computer. If you are back to step a., restart the computer as stated in step a. If you still don’t have communication after restarting, completely power down the PC and machine and try swapping the cables, repeating step c. with the cables swapped.
Note:  Swap the cables back to their original position if this doesn’t work in the end. I have had it start working at this point, which usually means that the reseat didn’t take the first time but did the second. Even if 100% certain of the cables, swap them anyway and attempt step c. again if it doesn’t work after reseating them. Believe me, it may seem redundant but it is effective in fixing the problem if its communication related.
d. If after two attempts or multiple reseats of the serial cables, you are still seeing these messages then more than likely the software drivers are corrupted.
Try: Follow section “III. RS-485 Driver Install…” and section “II. Watchdog connections...” to connect, install and verify the cards. Follow the steps exactly. This is the part that can be very picky. If the RS-485 Serial card and Driver are installed before the Watchdog and its driver, this situation can be caused. I have seen this when someone has tried to reseat the watchdog card, or if the watchdog card has come loose a little.
Note:  By not following these instructions and the order exactly it’s a practice in futility. Until done correctly, it will keep having the same results.

II. Watchdog connections and dip switch for the OmniExcel and OmniFlex
All new OmniExcel/ OmniFlex PC's come with the Watchdog Timer Dip Switch set at: 2,5, and 8 'ON' and 1,3,4,6, and 7 'OFF'. Also, J-1 from the PC harness is not connected to the J-1 Connector on the Watchdog Timer Board. A cable needs to be plugged into the external DB-25 Connector, marked Comm 7, this is the tell-tale sign of a new OmniExcel/ OmniFlex style PC.
If the DB-25 Connector, Comm 7, is not plugged into the external Watchdog connector then this is an older OmniExcel/ OmniFlex style PC. This PC should have the Watchdog Timer Dip Switches set at: 5 and 8 'ON',and 1,2,3,4,6, and 7 'OFF'. Also, there should be a connector plugged into the J-1 Terminal of the Watchdog Timer Board with the black cable toward the motherboard.
Keep this info handy as it may prove useful when swapping out PC's.
Side Note: On the initial startup of a 'New OmniExcel/ OmniFlex PC' you will always get the message,  "Watchdog Hardware Failed Test". Simply shut the control software and PC OFF and restart. When it comes up a second time the message should not come up unless the Watchdog Timer is not setup correctly.

III. RS-485 Driver Installation 10-14-19.doc
A. Remove RS-485 Card, with two 9-pin Serial connectors on card.
B. Power on Machine.
C. Logon to XP as Administrator if not already logged in as Administrator.
D. Open Control Panel and Select System.
E. Select Hardware tab and click on Device Manager button.
F. See if Watchdog Timer is shown in List, usually at Bottom of List.
G. If Watchdog Timer is already in list, close all windows and shutdown XP and power off Computer and proceed to RS-485 Serial Driver Installation below.
H.  If Watchdog Timer is not in the Hardware list go to Watchdog driver installation.

Watchdog driver installation.
1. Close all open screens and Exit out of XP.
2. Unplug the computer.
3. Remove the watchdog card, set DIP switches 5 & 8 to 'ON', verify that all others are set to 'OFF'. Leave Card out of Computer.
4. Power on the Computer without the Serial RS 485 Card and without the Watchdog card.
5. Once the Computer has Fully started and Running XP, Exit Out of XP and Shutdown Computer.
6. Remove Power from Computer.
7. Attach Reset cable as before if it was attached to the Watchdog card and re-install the Watchdog Card in the Computer.
9. Turn on the computer and logon as the Administrator.
10.Select No, Not This Time if prompted to Can Windows Connect to Windows Update ...Select 'Next' at the 'Welcome to the Found New Hardware Wizard' screen.
11. Select 'Install From a List or Specific Location', then select 'Next'.
2. Select 'Search for Best driver in These Locations, and Click on Include this location in the File Search.
13. Click on the Browse Button and go to C:\Program Files\Speedline\Reflow\Watchdog Driver\Win2KXP folder
14. Select 'Next' to accept the found driver (w2kwdog.inf).
15. Select 'Finish'.
16. Restart Windows (Start->Shutdown, then select 'Restart' from the drop-down list.
17. Logon as 'Administrator'.
18. If the 'Welcome to the Found New Hardware Wizard' screen appears (Windows detected something called 'WinDriver Virtual device'), do the following to disable it:
- Click 'Next'.
- Ensure 'Search for a suitable driver...' is selected, then click 'Next'
- Uncheck all checkboxes, then click 'Next'
- Ensure 'Disable the device...' is selected, then click 'Finish'.
19. Shutdown Windows and unplug the computer.

Proceed to RS-485 Serial Driver Installation below:
RS-485 Serial Driver Installation
A. With Computer off and Power Removed, Install Serial Card and Plug in Serial Cables.
B. Power on Computer and Login to XP as Administrator.
C. Open Control Panel and Select System.
D. Select Hardware tab and click on Device Manager button.
E. Right Click Mouse Button on PCI Serial Port found under Other Devices and select Disable and Click Yes when prompted.
Note: If this is not selectable but Enable is selectable, then close all windows and proceed to Step 10 below.
F.  Proceed to Step 10 below.

1. Unplug the computer and install the RS-485 card into PCI slot 2.
2. On the RS-485 card (near serial ports), set dip switch #1 to on.
3. Verify all jumper settings (JP1 thru JP4) are across pins 1-2.
4. Turn on the computer and logon as the Administrator.
5. Select 'Next' at the 'Welcome to the Found New Hardware Wizard' screen.
6. Select 'Search for a suitable driver for my device (recommended)', then Select 'Next'.
7. Remove all check marks and select 'Next'.
8. Select 'Disable the Device', select 'Finish.
8. Insert the Reflow installation CD.
9. The auto-run feature will attempt to start the installation. When the 'Welcome' screen appears, click the 'Cancel' button, then click the 'Yes' button to cancel the installation at this time.
10. Open Windows Explorer (Start->Programs->Accessories->Windows Explorer').
11. Open the 'RS-485 Driver' folder on the CD.
12. Double Click 'cdrvn181c'.
13. Select 'Yes' to install 'COMM_DRV/NT'.
14. Enter 'fw0930' in the 'Installshield Self Extracting EXE' screen, Select 'OK'.
15. Select 'Next' at the Welcome Screen.
16. Enter 'fw0930' for the 'Serial:' on the user information screen, Select 'Next'.
17. Select 'Next' to accept the default program folder.
18. Select 'Next' two more times to start copying files.
19. Close the "Commdrv' window after all the Icons (6) are created.
20. Select 'Yes, I want to restart my computer now', then click'Finish'.


Michael is the author of this solution article.

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