The Blog of Justin Loutsch

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I'm Justin, and I live in Boston. I'm a huge geek into process automation and work reduction, and am also an editor at Eat Your Serial. Thanks for dropping by!

Here’s another informative post being added for posterity in the hopes it will help others. I was able to find precious little on the internet about setting up these devices.

My company has recently opened a new headquarters, complete with a lab of several different functions. My job as network administrator was to make sure the technology moved smoothly without incident from old location to new, and then once that was done to make sure the scientists were well supported with their scientific equipment.

Our new chemist facilitated the sale of his machines from his former company and brought them with him, but was not the one to set them up for functionality. I’ve never worked in lab setting and these machines were brand new to me. The machines themselves are somewhat old, and the software even older (our current copy being written in 1996 I believe). We could get a new and updated copy of the software, but it would easily cost $6000-$7000.

He suggested to me we would need older machines to run the software, but I was confident that compatibility mode would handle the software fine. What I didn’t count on was the machine have RS-232 serial cables. Turns out I was wrong on that count, and installing the software on Windows 8 prevented the system from booting properly, loading only a taskbar with an invisible clock and a lenovo button. Safe mode worked fine but even uninstalling the software didn’t fix this issue. I ended up using lenovo’s one click restore solution to reset the laptops to factory defaults.

Next up: VirtualBox with windows XP. Software installed successfully, and I’d received a few different USB to RS232 serial cable adapters but still it didn’t work. After taking a closer look at the back panels of these machines, I realized there are ethernet ports on the controllers which means they can be made available on the network. Called up the manufacturer and was connected with a technical support chemist who walked me through accessing the IP address settings. Turns out the easiest way to ensure the IP addresses are correct is to reset the device to defaults using the depressed black buttons on the back of both controllers (near the ethernet ports). The default IP addresses of the controllers are 192.168.200.98 and 192.168.200.99. This can be checked by cycling through the menus of the “func” button until the IP address appears.

Next up: plug the ethernet cables from both controllers into a network hub, and plug the laptop into the ethernet hub. If using Virtualbox, pass the ethernet port through to the Guest OS. You may need a second NIC or a wireless adapter to get internet access, but I don’t see any harm in plugging another cable into the hub and the wall to get a network connection that way.

My experience with the software will vary greatly from any other due to the age of the software but in the configuration menu you would then add in the IP addresses of both machines and run a short test to ensure that the machines can talk to one another.

I owe a huge debt of thanks to technical support chemist at Shimadzu for not only providing the solution to this setup, but also for being proactive and calling back several times to make sure he got a hold of me.

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