Technical Support

DataQuest Solutions are pleased to provide advice on:-
 
* Choosing the best system *
* Providing installation advice *
* Post-sale technical support *
* Warranty and Repairs*

Support is normally provided free of charge. For special situations, for example on-site installation, a consultancy service is available and we are happy to discuss this with you. We will use our experience in the PC instrumentation field to make recommendations for the best combination of hardware and software. For repairs within or outside of the warranty period, please see lower down this page.

Installation help - Spectrum cards

DataQuest Solutions strive supply systems that install without problem. However here is some general advice that may help. 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.

    *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 A/D cards all channels have separate A/D converters and amplifiers. If only one is working but the others are fine, then its 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 hardware it is recommended that you install the SBench software that came on CD with the hardware - and 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 e.g. oscilloscope. Ensure you set the 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 an input voltage to drift beyond the boards 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! If you are using 50 ohm input impedance setting on the card, ensure your signal is not being pulled low by this load.

    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 series cards operate with lower voltage 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

    For signal generator hardware, the method of test depends on the card series. For instance for the Mi series cards can test their function using SPEasyGenerator, this provides a virtual control panel for all versions of the Mi 60 and 61xx range, and generates standard waveforms (sine, square etc.). If your card did not come with this software on the driver CD please contact us for a free copy. For the later M2i and M4i card series use SBench6 select from the "Hardware" pull-down menu "Easy Generator" Does your card produce that 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:-

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

    The Spectrum Control Center

    This is installed automatically with the Spectrum M2i, M3i and M4i driver and found most easily from the Spectrum Cards icon in the MS Windows Control Panel. It also provides a technical support function, which can greatly help our support team 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, please forward this file together with your:-

    • Board model number
    • Board serial number
    • M2i / M3i / M4i Driver version

    This information can be found under the Control Center "card" and "versions" tabs.
    Our support contact details are given at the bottom of this page.

    Using Linux? You can also use the Spectrum Control Center! Linux users find the versions for the different StdC libraries on the installation CD supplied with card at; /Install/linux/spcm_control_center/ as RPM packages. Alternatively, the latest version for download is available on the manufacturers web site 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

Only the 3 slot model (DOCK3PCI) is now available. This is the only model that has been tested with 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.

ExpressCard driver download link Click here for 1, 2 and 4 slot PCI-Docking Station drivers - all available PC interface types, Windows XP only.

If you are experiencing an Error Code 12 (unable to allocate resources) in MS Windows on attempting to operate the docking station please also follow the link above and download the XP driver

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. Use this newer interface slot in preference to PCMCIA (PCcard)

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 installed card. 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 contact DataQuest solutions for help, (see link at the bottom of this page).

Portable Solutions - Portable PC's, the ACME series.

Internally many of electronic items such as CPU's, drives etc share a commonality with standard PC's, however it is recommended that you contact DataQuest Solutions in the first relative to problems with hardware. With PC's it is frequently better and more economic to replace most items rather than repair. We would normally request the return of the portable PC for this. It is recommended that these units be returned to DataQuest Solutions for servicing, whether or not it is in within warranty. In the latter case a repair/parts estimate will be provided.

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 link at the bottom of this page, explaining the situation and we will do our best to help.


Warranty and Returns

The manufacturer 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. (dba Magma): 1 year.

As the hardware from these companies is manufactured outside the U.K. by ordering through DataQuest Solutions Ltd. you have the easier option of returning your purchase to our office for intial inspection and if possible repair. If we are unable to repair here, we will handle the return to the manufacturer for you. We can handle hardware returns inside or outside the warranty period.

Details of our returns procedures are given in the link below

Returns procedure and associated terms and conditions: pdf returns document linkReturns documentation.pdf


SUPPORT CONTACT DETAILS
Telephone: +44 (0)1526 557171
E-MAIL: (We aim to reply within 1 working day).