GC-MSD Communications Error

Hi there, 

 

I've recently been having a problem with one of our GC-MSs losing connection at random. 

The error in the MassHunter logbook is "Communications Error: Download Command Timed Out (MSC:SENS?QUAD), and a cursory google hasn't brought anything up. From the look of the error, it could be something with the quad sensor?

 

The connection usually drops whilst the instrument is idle, anywhere from five minutes after a run, to around 14 hours at longest, but it has also dropped out a few times during runs, bringing sequences to a halt.

Unfortunately, the PC controllers are air-gapped and isolated, so screenshots will be problematic. 

 

Has anyone encountered this error before?

 

*cross-posted from Mass Spectrometry for visibility*

  • Hi icg-001,

    Have you checked the power saving options on the PC? If the PC or HDD is set to sleep, this can cause issues. The activity of data collection is not enough to keep a PC active if a power saving power plan is in place on the computer. There maybe other issues causing this communication drop, but its always good to verify that the PC is not the cause.

    Regards

    James

  • Hi James, 

     

    Aye, I checked out the PC. It has actually recently been changed (upgraded), but according to the analyst using it, the communication error occurred on both PCs. We have the power settings to keep everything "always on" - I double checked just to make sure some update or other hadn't affected these settings, but they appear to be fine. 

     

    Thanks and regards, 

    Ben

  • Hi Ben,

    Can you let me know some details on the software and operating systems you are using? Also is the PC on your domain as well as controlling the instrument/ Two lan cards?

    Regards

    James

  • Hi James, 

    The operating system is Windows 10, currently up to date updates-wise. The MassHunter Acquisition is B.07.06.2704. 

    I believe the PC is using two LAN cards, as they have access to a limited part of our network.

     

    We have a second, identical GC-MS and PC set up exactly the same way that hasn't had this issue.

     

    Thanks and regards, 

    Ben

  • Hi James, 

    That's definitely outside my remit, so I'll bring it up with our IT team, but according to the analyst this issue was present before the upgrade too, which was using a different PC controller. 

    Thanks and regards, 

    Ben

  • Hi Ben,

    I would check the firewalls on the Lan cards dedicated to the instruments and make sure they are turned off. Firewall for Domain would be by policy from your IT group and that shouldn't effect instrument communication anyway.

    Regards

    James

  • I repaired a 5977B last month with the exact same error. I first replaced the Smart (communications) card to avail. I then ohmed out the quad heater and sensor assembly, which was good. I then replaced the main board and that solved the issue. 

  • Hi James, 

    I've not managed to progress on this yet, sorry. 

  • Hi Breboyer, 

    Thanks for your info, I will check out these options and hope it isn't the last one

     

    Thanks and regards, 

    Ben

  • Hi all,

    This is a bit of misleading error. This command (MSC:SENS?QUAD) is used to check the quad temperature and is sent frequently between the PC/control software and the MS while the instrument is idle as well as when it is running. When the instrument is operating normally this command reads back the quad temperature-- If you lose communication between the MS and the PC for any reason it is likely that you will see this message as the first error simply because of how frequently this message is going back and forth between the PC and instrument. It does not mean that there is anything wrong with the heater/sensor, it just means that the software noticed it was no longer getting any responses back from the MS.

    If this is happening frequently check to make sure the PC is not set to go to sleep, and check to make sure the ethernet adapter is not set to go to sleep/conserve energy. These settings are configured by default on an Agilent bundled PC but could be reset by windows update, or not configured correctly if a non-Agilent windows image was used.

    If the error is very frequent I would consider checking a few other things that could interrupt the connection: are the ethernet cables old/damaged/dirty? They are cheap and easily replaced. Is the PC set to do virus checks or automated backups that occur around the same time as the problem? Is the PC experiencing any other problems that cause it to freeze or become unresponsive? The connection to the GCMS does not require a lot of bandwidth but any interruption will cause it to lose the connection.

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