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Computer Cannot Communicate with iPack Troubleshooting

Do you have the appropriate cables and connectors?

You can order the NRG iPack Programming and Voice Call Kit [item 3368]. This kit contains the necessary cables and connectors necessary to communicate with the iPack.

If you are in a pinch, you can obtain an AT Modem cable from your local electronics store. [ATModem, DB9 (Female)-DB25 (Male)]

Note that you will also need the latest version of the NRG SDR software installed. This can be downloaded free of charge from the NRG website Tech Support area.


Has the computer ever been used to communicate successfully with an iPack before?

If the computer has never successfully configured an iPack, the issue could be related to the computer and / or cable configuration.

Case 1: No message in lower window bar of the SDR "Modify iPack Settings" window.

If you do not see a message in the lower window bar of the SDR "Modify iPack Settings" window, this means that a COM port has not been obtained for use by SDR. Go to Options>Comm Port and select an appropriate port.

If all the choices are grayed out, this means SDR could not find any available ports. Another program or device may be using the port, or the port may have been remapped to a COM port other than 1-4. You may need to investigate your hardware profile in the Windows Device Manager Control panel.

Control Panel For Windows 2000 (instructions are similar for Windows XP):

For windows 2000 / XP:

Go to Control Panel
Go to System
Go to Hardware
Click Device Manager
Expand the "Ports" section

If the port you are trying to use is on a COM port from 1 to 4, another program may already be using it. Close any programs that may use the port, such as Palm Pilot software.

If the port is assigned to a higher COM port, double click the port, go to "Port Settings," and click advanced. Change the "COM Port Number" to a port between 1 and 4 that is not already in use.

Case 2: "Communication Failed" message in lower window bar of the SDR "Modify iPack Settings" window.

If you are connecting to through the logger programming port, the iPack could be busy making a call. The suggestion is to wait a few minutes and try again.

The iPack utilizes a sense line on the COM port in order to initiate communications and expects standardized states for the COM port on and off conditions. On certain models of computer and operating system combinations, the COM port default off state does not return to the expected off state, and the iPack gets "hung" in a state where handshaking cannot take place.

To resolve this problem, make sure the iPack is disconnected from your computer. If Symphonie Data Retriever software is running, close it and re-open. When SDR is re-started, choose ‘Modify iPack Settings’, and wait until you receive a message at the bottom of the window that says “communication failed”. Once this message has been received, connect the iPack and choose “Modify iPack Settings” again. Communication will be established, and the message at the bottom of the window will indicate “iPack detected”.

If you are using a serial to USB converter to connect through the logger programming port, there could be a problem with the USB device configuration. Sometimes, shutting down the SDR "Modify iPack Settings" window is enough to restart the USB to Serial device. If the USB to Serial converter is brand new, it may require the installation of drivers in order to operate. Further, you may need to investigate your hardware profile in the Windows Device Manager control panel and make sure the device is properly activated and is mapped to a COM port 1-4.

Another cause for the "communication failed" message is a low or dead iPack battery. The iPack battery can drain if left connected to a logger without a PV panel or charger connected to the iPack PV inputs for a few weeks. Even a few days could weaken the battery to the point where it has a difficult time "catching up". For this reason, it is very important to charge the iPack battery prior to installation.

There are detailed instructions for checking an iPack battery here:

If the logger can still access the iPack utilities screen, there might be a problem with the serial cable. Try a direct computer to iPack connection with the AT Modem cable [Cable-ATModem, DB9(F)-DB25(M),6'Long]. This would help in the case where the serial cable [Serial Extension, DB9, FemaleTo Male, Molded] and / or interface card has a problem. This is very rare, but sometimes cables get swapped and the pinouts are different than expected.

If all else fails you can restart your computer.


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