AT Editor and AT Server

FAQ, Hints, and Tips

AT Editor

This is a subtle issue that is basically a legacy hangover from DOS / WINDOWS 95 days.

HISTORY
At the time of At Editor launch in 1997, PC file names could only be of the format “8.3”
i.e. and 8-character name, and 3-character file type
For example 
TESTPROG.ATP
Or
DOCUMENT.DOC
etc
Long file names “my test program.ATP” and “my word document.DOC” were not allowed.
To overcome this limitation of Windows at the time, and to allow our customers to use their own company part numbers, we implemented the following;
Voltech ATP program files had a windows file name that still met “8.3”, but when the AT editor saved a program it ALSO stored the long-desired program name WITHIN the file. 
The Open and Save dialogs on the At Editor showed the “internal” name, not the windows file name.

NOTEPAD
This is best and most easily understood by editing any ATP file using NOTEPAD
Here you can see that the FILE NAME is “TEST.ATP”, but stored inside the file is the PART NAME “NAME IN FILE”

OLD EDITOR
The older version of the EDITOR (V3.30 and before) displays the part name as if it were the file name
Most users would not have realised that this was happening.
Below is the FILE OPEN dialog showing that this is the case, and shows “NAME IN FILE”


NEW EDITOR

The newer AT EDITOR versions (V3.40 and above) always display the WINDOWS FILE NAME, using the standard WINDOWS OPEN dialog box.
See below

 
AT5600 / AT3600 / Ati Display
The AT3600, ATi and AT5600, when used via the AT SERVER to browse programs ALWAYS display the “internal” part name, not the windows file name.



UPDATING and HINTS
This probably won’t be an issue for most users, as they will have created test programs since the introduction of windows 98, and both INTERNAL NAME and FILE NAME will match.
Programs can be updated on any ATP file, that you suspect have a mismatch, by either

A checking the internal name, using notepad as above, in the file and renaming the windows file name to match.
Or 
B, opening the program in the latest editor and SAVE AS the new file name – this will save as a new file name AND update the internal name to match.

Even if you have not experienced this issue and are using latest editor, you should never rename or make a copy of a test program using the normal WINDOWS “file rename“ feature – this will rename the file but not update the INTERNAL name.
To achieve this, use the SAVE AS feature in the AT EDITOR
This will save the file as a new file name AND update the internal name to match at the same time.

Many modern Windows PCs allow the use of extended displays, allowing a second monitor to show the AT Editor on a larger display monitor.

We have found that in certain cases this can cause the Editor to freeze, and then requiring a Task Manager “kill” of the application.
This can be easily prevented by simply running the Editor on the second display, but not at full screen.

Please see attached screen shots.
The Editor was obviously written long before the concept of extended displays became commonplace, so we apologise for any users experiencing this issue
This has been noted and addressed on the new DotNET AT Editor for future releases.

01 DEC 2021 - This is resolved on the new dotNET AT Editor

TR TEST and % Limits > 1000
There is a slight bug in the At Editor for the TR test
It will allow you to enter % limits >1000, but on attempting to re-open a saved program, the Editor reports “Errors were found in the following section of the program”

A) To rescue a corrupted program saved with >1000 on TR %
1) Open the. atp file, using a text editor such as note as Notepad.
2) On the TR Test, delete the "K" on the specified turns ratio for the primary and the secondary and SAVE the file.
3) Double click on the program (. atp) to open, you will now be able to open the program again


B) Work around - Using the % Ratio Limits
1) Select the Turns Ratio Test.
2) divide the turns ratio by 1000 so that both numbers are below 1000, but the numerical ratio is the same
eg instead of entering
1550 : 1240
enter
1.550 : 1.240
3) Repeat on any remaining TR tests in the program.
4) Click SAVE to save the changes and close Editor. The program can now be re-opened as normal


C) Work around - Using the # Ratio Limits
1) Double click on the program (. atp) to open, and select the Turns Ratio Test.
2) Set the required number of turns on the primary and the secondary by clicking on the "#" symbol.
The "#" limits DO ALLOW YOU to use >1000 without problems.
3) Do the same thing on any remaining TR tests in the program.
4) Click SAVE to save the changes and close Editor. The program can now be re-opened as normal

01 DEC 2021 - This is resolved on the new dotNET AT Editor

AT Server

QUESTION

Can I use the AT SERVER to write directly to a cloud hosted AZURE database?

ANSWER

Yes, this can easily be done.

The only issue to be aware of is that Azure requires “Clustered Indexes” to work which don’t automatically set when you import a MDB database into AZURE.

The attached will walk you through the setup and import of a traditional ACCESS MDB database into AZURE and explains how to convert the indexes.

Obviously your specific Azure setup my require additional security provided by your IT department.

General

We have found that USB-RS232 adaptors are not all created equal !

Some clearly work better than others, some are bullet proof, and some prove problematic at the best of times. Here are some recommendations of units we know to work , and some warnings about units we know to be less successful.
It is generally better to have a 2 port adaptor device, (or bigger) , so that both AT Server and AT Editor can be connected over RS232 at the same time Using a single port adaptor means having to swap cables every time you swap application, although recently PCs have more USB ports and also multi-port USB hubs are cheap and easy to add.

There are occasional issues where, the particular version of Windows (WIN7 especially), and chip-set of the Adaptor can play a part in stability of communication

We have found that the "Prolific" chip sets are the root cause of many problems with USB-RS232 converters in use with AT systems. This does not mean that they are bad for all applications, just that we have observed issues with the AT hardware and these chipsets.

As the AT3600 / AT5600 generates high voltages, and is commonly used in environments where high voltage and EMC noise is present, we recommend using an optically ISOLATED USB-RS232 converter.

Specific Model advice
Known Good adaptors

Voltech recommends the STAR TECH converter, which is more expensive, but offers better performance in noisy EMC environments. This is 1 Port Industrial USB to RS232 Serial Adapter with 5KV Isolation and 15 KV ESD Protection
Model # ICUSB232IS
See www.startech.com

Also...
Trip-Lite Keyspan model USA-19HS
FTDI CHIPI-X10 - FARNELL # 2352019
Roline USB2-Rs232 12.02.1048
RedCOM USB-8COM (1 USB-8 RS232 - great for multiple AT's on one server)
BrainBox US-279 (1 USB-8 RS232 - great for multiple AT's on one server)


Known Bad Adaptors


Anything with a Prolific chip-set. This includes...
Trip-Lite U209-000-R
and
Trendnet TU-S9.

Note: Win7 is known to be significantly less reliable with USB adaptors than WIn10 / Win 8
If you do find you have problems with another specific model, or great success with another specific model, please do let us know, and we'll add it to this list.

The recommended unit is the HP HBSW8300 Smart Wand . Although old, It is still available in some places

A number of other units are known to work Including
Zebex Z-3080
and
Birch CD109E

The Zebex unit has been superseded, but i believe the later Z3220 should also work, and has an RS232 option, but this has not been tested by Voltech

Whichever Barcode reader unit is used must support the 19200 Baud rate used by the AT3600
Note that the ATi uses a slower 9600 Baud rate , so readers are not necessarily directly transferable unless they can have the Baud rate reset by user , usually by reading a special bar code in their specific Barcode user manual

The Barcode settings for the HP device are published in the ATi user manual .. section 8.3.1 page 8-25/ 8-26

Essentially, the bar code reader does the conversion from graphic code to ascii , and then gives the AT3600 the result. There's useful resource on the subject on a number of web pages.