Category Archives: Uncategorized

Windows Update 1809 and VPN

So after a few months of suffering, I’ve rolled back update 1809 and my Aventail VPN is working again. The annoying thing was the connection would open for about 30 seconds and then Windows would go into a hard crash and do auto reboot. After a few Google searches I finally found this: 

and the VPN is a specific split tunnel configuration. I have another client using SonicWALL which was unaffected.

I guess I am only doing Hotfixes until the next major Win 10 update comes out. Hopefuly, they fix this. I sent them at least 10 crash dumps. I did revert to my older Win 7 laptop for a while until I gave up and uninstalled update 1809.

Time Series Database

Data has been collected since the 80’s typically in a desktop database or relational database like Oracle. This data has found newer data formats for storage to accommodate the Cloud and Big Data. Specialty software tools are emerging for IIoT and Industrie 4.0.

Click here to see article on Times Series Database

Win 7 disk recovery – Bootrec

I just spent two days on a laptop hard drive recovery. I woke up and powered on my computer and it would not boot. The drive was also listed as uninitialized by the BIOS.

I feared the worst but put the SATA drive into a USB adapter and ran EaseUS partition manager. It was able to recover the three disk partitions and I immediately copied any recent files to a backup drive. All my files seemed there and undamaged. An HDScan said there were no bad blocks.

I put the drive back in the laptop and found I didn’t have a Win 7 DVD handy to run the Recovery program. Luckily Win 7 ISO is readily available in the Internet. Once I downloaded it, ran the recovery option (below the new Win 7 install button). It booted the computer twice but then finally said it could not detect any errors.

Using the option to get a command prompt, I learned all possible options for using diskpart. Then tried bcdboot and bcdedit.

The final answer was “bootrec.exe /FixMbr” and magically the laptop was back to normal. Really? What was the MS Win 7 recovery program really doing besides hard drive error scans? Shouldn’t the final step of the recovery done this?

Anyway glad to have my laptop back to working order.


Modbus Resource Sheet

Modbus Comms Information

Proface Modbus Explained Serial vs. TCP

Articles on Modbus

RS485/Modbus Wiring

Honeywell  Standard wire terminals:  A 485+, B 485-, Ground, Shield

Modbus on XNX transmitter pg 185-189

Scott Meridian Gas Detector – includes 4-20 mA and Modbus RTU



SCADA Demo with Modbus TCP and RTU over TCP

Wireless Modbus  US$121.75 $400

Modbus TCP versus Modbus RTU over TCP

Modbus servers

Looking for Projects in Ottawa

Due to changes in personal circumstance I am actively looking for projects in Ottawa.  Past projects I have executed in Ottawa are e-beam evaporators for NRC and environment test chamber for rats with Health Canada research.

My business is manufacturing automation. I execute many one-time projects for the various clients. Most clients return to have further work done.

Reasons why they contract me:

Relieve workload on existing personnel

Fill the gap between engineering and IT. Real-time data collection of production or process information into a database like Oracle is a lot different from business applications.

Provide Engineering mentoring for younger employees

Workstation re-fits. Existing controls or display screens are obsolete and need replacement but PLC control needs to be reverse engineered and re-programmed for the new system.

Control system issues that cannot be resolved. I have experience in electrical, electronic and control systems.  This lets me find problems and solutions that may not be apparent to individual specialists.

I provide outstanding service at a fair price.

I execute projects within client timeline requirements.

Typical Project: (Many others shown here)

Please contact me if you or anyone you know have requirements like these.

Outlook Express Inbox Problems

I’ve had a problem with Outlook Express for 2 days.  I couldn’t get any new mail to appear.  It would get the message count from the server and then error out.  I looked on the Bell site for potential solutions, server alerts or config. changes.  I guess I spent a lot of time so a tech chat session popped up.  I said OK and the tech played around and re-checked everything I did.  In fact by the time he left, I had another error popping up on all my old messages.  He said he didn’t know and to clear out my inbox.  Well I tried clearing it but I noticed some messages wouldn’t move but ended up duplicating.  So I ran the folder compacting utility and that fixed it.

Fieldbus Obsolete

I have 5 laptops for a reason.  They are loaded with old software for client projects.  An example is a client had a Omron analog input module go bad on them (no power lights).  It was a remote DeviceNet module I had installed for them in 1999.  Replacement part was 4-6 week delivery.  We decided to replace them with Advantech ADAM Ethernet I/O.  Not really a plug-in replacement but a newer design.  All DeviceNet I/O I could find seemed obsolete, limited or no stock and relatively expensive.

In order to do that, I needed to re-program the Omron DeviceNet master and remove 4 of the 9 nodes that were defined.  Easily said but the programming card I have is a ISA card.  I kept a Compaq laptop with a docking station with a ISA slot for this purpose.  I’ve used it a few times over the last few years.  This time the computer would not boot.  Just a flashing orange light.  No BIOS page.  Reseated the memory SIMMS but I think it’s really dead, as I should have at least a memory test fault.

So I look for an old desktop that had a ISA slot.  First one I booted had Windows 95.  That seemed too scary to proceed.  The second one had Windows 98.  I loaded the software.  No card detected.  I had to pullout the old manual. Luckily I wrote inside IO addr 280, memory D000.  Oh so ancient.  But the software came up.  I read out the old config and went to load the modified config.  Error “Module in an invalid state”.  Then I remembered I need to put the PLC in the program state.  No keyswitch so I need the software.  It is only loaded on my very first laptop I owned, Hitachi with Windows 95.  Yeah still boots.  Went in the software changed to program mode and finally downloaded the new module config.  I really feel I’m teettering on the brink of obsolence.

DeviceNet really lost out in the Fieldbus wars.  Not many left.  The trouble is most manufacturing equipment runs until it really wears out.  That can easily be in excess of 15 years.

Updating I/O technology I feel is going to Ethernet.  Ethernet/IP and Modbus-TCP are the ones I deal with the most.  I’ll need to evolve client’s systems as I can.

Dry Storage of Nuclear Waste

Two stage drying control removed water without freezing then pulls the dry storage container to full vacuum, ready for next operation of Helium fill and leak checking.


Single cycle control runs roughing, drying and final vacuum.  Various critical alarms are annunciated including end of cycle.


Live Trending allows for unattended operation.

Vacuum setpoints and timer settings on screen allow for process refinement.

Settings are password protected.

Technical Details

Allen Bradley MicroLogix 1100 processor with serial port and Ethernet.

Visual Basic 6 application.  Touchscreen built into panel.

Trend data stored in MS Access as well as live trends using Gigasoft charts.