At the moment more than 150 uTracers have been reported working! In most cases the building of the hardware didn’t cause any serious problems. In contrast most issues appear to be related to the (installation of) the GUI. For most of these issues solutions or workarounds have been found. In this section I have listed the most common issues and or questions. Some of the issues and solutions listed here have been contributed by others for the simple fact that the problems did not occur on my test computers. Please contact me if you have any additional tips and or suggestions which might be useful for other users!

Frequently asked Questions:

I have a problem / question, where to turn to?

If you want to order a kit, have a technical problem or question of any sort, or want to send me a testimonial or photo’s of your uTracer, please mail me directly at Ronald@dos4ever.com. Please use the uTracer@dos4ever.com account only for questions concerning shipment and finances. Personally I never use the Google Group, I don’t particularly like forums of groups, sorry. The same applies to the Facebook Page that I primarily use for publishing short news items.



How about all these hard- and software versions?

The hardware versions:

uTracer 1 This version never made it further than some exploratory experiments.
The experiments are recorded in this Weblog (sections 1-7)
uTracer 2 This version was completed into a working prototype. It used the grid of the tube to switch the anode current on and off and it used a rather curious construction with capacitors to measure the currents. It didn’t perform the way I wanted and the project was abandoned.
The experiments are recorded in this Weblog (starting from section 8)
uTracer 3 The first commercial (300 V) version of the uTracer. The uTracer website is devoted to this version.
The experiments and development work leading to the uTracer 3 are recorded in this Weblog
The Graphical User Interface software controlling the uTracer 3 is GUI 3 (all subversions)
uTracer 3+ This version is almost identical to the uTracer 3 but has an extended high voltage range of 400 V. This version replaced the uTracer 3 in December 2014. A uTracer3 can easily be converted into a uTracer 3+. Instructions for this conversion can be found Here. There is a small conversion kit available with the necessary components.
The experiments and development work leading to the uTracer 3+ are recorded in this Weblog (sections 31 and 32)
The uTracer 3+ requires GUI version 3.11 or higher (see below)!
uTracer 4 The idea of this version was to use transformers to generate measurement voltages in excess of 1 kV. The whole idea turned out to be more complex than originally planned so the project was abandoned.
The experiments for the uTracer 4 are recorded in this Weblog.

The software versions:

Both the uTracer3 as well as the uTracer3+ use firmware version 26C. The C, by the way, is the stands for “code protected”, meaning that the firmware cannot be copied.

The first Graphical User Interface release was version 3.6. The GUI is regularly updated; bugs are removed and new features are added. From time to time therefore new versions are released (e.g. versions 3.7 , 3.8 , … ). New full versions are available in the form of a complete installation package, as well as in the form of an exe only file, because after the GUI has been installed once, it is not necessary to go through the complete installation procedure again. Full GUI versions can be downloaded from the Download Page. A new GUI version is always announced by an email to the entire mailing list.

Prior to a new full release, I publish test versions of the upcoming new release. These “beta” versions have an extra index digit. So versions 3.11.1, 3.11.2, 3.11.3 are (were) test/beta versions of the upcoming full release 3.11. Perhaps this is not so logical, but that’s the way it is. The test/beta versions can be downloaded here. These beta versions are always exe only downloads, so to run them you will need to have successfully installed a previous full release. A new beta version is usually not announced by an email, so check out the page regularly.



How many uTracers are there in operation?



I have problems installing the GUI.

Normally installing the GUI should be straightforward. Just unzip the download to a temporary directory. There are three files in the unzipped download: a CAB (cabinet) file, a LST listing file and a Setup application. The CAB file is just another zipped file which contains the GUI executable and some ActiveX components (.OCX files) the executable needs to run. Most important are the mscomm32.ocx and MSCOMCTL.OCX which deal with the serial communications. Normally double clicking the “SETUP” application should be sufficient to install the program and register the new components in the registry. I have used the standard Visual Basic “Package & Deployment Wizard” to create the installation package, and it should work fine. However, in practice sometimes some difficulties are experienced.

Worst case the “Setup.exe” installer supplied with the download doesn’t work at all. What you can do in that case is to create a directory “uTracer3px” in your “Programs Files” directory (for XP) in the root of your system by hand. For Windows 7 this directory should be located in the “Programs Files (x86)” folder. Simply unzip the CAB file into this directory. With a bit of luck the necessary OCX components have been already installed and registered in the past by some other program, and the GUI will run by simply double clicking the executable: uTracer3px.exe. Most of the time, however, one or two OCX components are missing and they will need to be installed by hand. In the next section you can read how this can be done. Manual installation of these missing files is also required when during the normal setup procedure the following message is displayed:





During installation I get the message “files are out of date” (see above)

Since this has never happened on one of my own systems, so I can only relate of the solutions others have found! The error message is probably related to a problem with your registry!

The first thing to do is to check if setup application has made a directory “uTracer3px” in your “Program File (x86)” directory. If not, you will have to create it yourself, and unzip the uTracer3px executable into it (see previous section).

Next the missing components need to be installed. Joe Neil has given me a description of how this can be done manually:

In order for this app to work, you need to "register" mscomm32.ocx with regsvr32.exe.
You should be able to do this with a command line but sometimes that doesn't work. Here's an alternate way:
For Win XP, regsvr32.exe should be in the \WINNT\system32 folder. mscomm32.ocx should be there as well, but you may need to download it.
I got it here http://www.nodevice.com/dll/MSCOMM32_OCX/item12152.html
To "register" mscomm32, put your cursor on the mscomm32 file, hold the left mouse button down, "drag" the file on top of the regsvr32 file, and release the button (drop).  You should get a window that mscomm32 has been successfully registered.


Chris Bartnick had the same problem and found a more thorough way to solve the problem.
He was so good to write an email with a step-by-step recipe, which is repeated below. Thanks!

I wanted to install the GUI on a dedicated desktop with a new Windows XP Home Edition with SP3 installed. The hard drive was formatted for a clean windows installation. Upon installing the GUI, I got the dreaded message "some system files are out of date on your system". I have service pack 3 installed. There are no newer registry files that I am aware than those in SP3. Then I tried to install it to a working laptop with Windows XP Proffessional SP3 with same result. I tried to do it manually as described by Joe Neil in FAQ. It was confusing because my XP installations had no \WINNT\System32 folder. That folder exist only if one migrated from Windows 2000 or NT. Anyway, after hours of research on the internet I got it installed and it is running fine on both computers. A step by step guide is below. I will post it also in the Google Support Group.

  1. Create a new folder "uTracer3px" in C:\Program Files\
  2. Download and unzip the uTracer GUI package to a temporary folder of your choice.
    You'll see the following sub-folders:
    /uTracer_v3pxxxx/uTracer_3pxxx/Package (xxx are the version numbers or whatever).
    Left-click on Package > left-click on .CAB file, > highlight all files and right-click them > Extract to directory C:\Program Files\uTracer3px. you just created.
    Change directory to C:\Program Files\uTracer3px.
    There will be several files, among them MSCOMM32.OCX and MSCOMCTL.OCX.
    Drag them into the C:\Windows\System32 folder.
    Close windows explorer.
  3. Those files need to be registered in the Registry with the following procedure:
    Click Start > Run: type "command" in the window, do not hit ENTER yet, push CTRL+Shift keys and now ENTER key, click YES
    in the black command window change directory: cd C:\Windows\System32, make sure C:\Windows\System32 is shown at the prompt.
    Type command: regsvr32 /u MSCOMM32.OCX (Note: there is a space after 32) and hit ENTER, this will unregister the file, click OK.
    Repeat this for the MSCOMCTL.OCX file,
    Type command: regsvr32 MSCOMM32.OCX this will register the file.
    Repeat this for MSCOMCTL.OCX file. Click OK.
    Type exit + Enter to exit the command window.
    All this is shown again here: http://scn.sap.com/people/firoz.ashraf2/blog/2014/10/02/how-to-registeractivate-activex-component-mscomm32ocx-on-windows-7
  4. Finally create a shortcut to uTracer program.
    In windows explorer go to C:\Program Files\uTracer3px and right-click on uTracer3px.exe > Send To > Desktop.
    Done.



During installation on Windows 10 I get the message “run-time error 52”

A contribution by Yehuda

I wanted to install the GUI on a Dell laptop running 64-bit Windows 10. Upon installing the GUI, I got the message "Run-time error ‘52’". I tried to do it manually as described by Chris Bartnick in FAQ. But it didn’t work because when I registered the .OCX files I received the message:

In order to solve the problems I’ve done the following steps:

After unzipping the uTracer GUI package right-click on .CAB file and choose ‘properties’. If you see at the bottom of the ‘general’ tab the massage: “This file came from another computer and might be blocked to help protect this computer” you need to click the “unblock” button.

Next create a new folder "uTracer3px" and extract the files in the .CAB folder to the directory you just created.

If you are using 64 bit version of windows you need to copy the .DLL, .OCX and .TLB files to c:\Windows\SysWOW64 folder. Keep the newer files, if they are already installed in the SysWOW64 folder.

Next the .OCX files need to be registered in the Registry with the following procedure: Click Start and run "command prompt". In the command window change directory: cd C:\Windows\SysWOW64, make sure C:\Windows\SysWOW64 is shown at the prompt. Type command: regsvr32 MSCOMM32.OCX (Note: there is a space after 32) and hit ENTER, click OK. This will register the file.

If after entering the command you receive the following massage:

You need to open the “command prompt” in administrator mode. Right-click Command prompt and then click run as administrator.

In the command window change directory: cd C:\Windows\SysWOW64. Type command: regsvr32 MSCOMM32.OCX and hit ENTER, click OK.

Repeat this for the MSCOMCTL.OCX and ComDlg32.OCX files.

Type exit + Enter to exit the command window.

Finally create a shortcut to uTracer program. In windows explorer go to the uTracer3px folder and right-click on uTracer3px.exe > Send To > Desktop.
Done.


When I try to perform a new measurement or press “abort” the hardware “hangs.”

After a measurement the hardware discharges the high voltage reservoir capacitors and returns to a rest-state where there are no high voltages present in the circuit but where the heater is kept on. Pressing the abort button will also switch the heater off.

This also happened when you press the abort button during a measurement. The measurement is interrupted and the reservoir capacitors are discharged leaving the uTracer in a state where there are no high voltages present, but where the heater is kept on. Pressing the abort button a second time will also switch the heater off. Pressing the start measurement or abort button during the discharging of the reservoir capacitors will result in a hang of the software. The reason is that during this time the firmware in the uTracer is not listening to the serial input. This could have been done cleverer, and I immediately plea guilty!

The simple advice for the time being is:
Do not press the abort or start measurement button after a measurement before the High-Voltage LED is off!



What is the default location where the GUI stores the measurement and plots and the calibration file ?

Windows XP:
The location where the calibration file is stored, and the default location where plots and data files are stored is in the same folder where the executable is stored. If the normal installation procedure is followed this is:
"C:\Program Files\uTracer3px”

Windows 7 (adapted from Nick de Smith):
If Windows 7 has the User Account Control (UAC) feature enabled (the default) then any attempt by an application to write to system directories is secretly re-directed to a user-specific "virtual store" that is read/write for that user - this is done to prevent users from corrupting installed applications - the same thing has been done on UNIX for years...

The default location for your virtual store is:
"C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files" or "C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files (x86)"

...where <username> is your login username. The virtual store is designed to shadow the directory structure under "C:\Program Files" but is qualified by the login username... Note that if you are running 32-bit Windows 7 or have some 32-bit applications installed, you will see the "Program Files (x86)" directory - 64-bit Windows 7 uses the "Program Files" directory - for convenience, the rest of this document will refer to "Program Files" to mean whichever of the two possible directory trees uTracer was installed under.

Note that the "AppData" directory is, by default, hidden from view as its a system folder - you can make it visible in Explorer by navigating to "C:\Users\<username>" then from the "Organize" menu select "Folders and search options". From the dialogue box that then pops up, select the "View" tab. In the "Advanced setting" window under "Hidden files and folders", select the "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" radio button - then click "OK"....

Under the "Program files" directory above, you will see a further directory called "uTracer_v3px". The calibration file and plot/data files are stored in this folder.



The hardware shows sometimes very erratic behavior.

In a number of cases people have forgotten to place jumper J3 (It actually forgot it myself once). This leaves the reset pin of the PIC floating. As a result the PIC can reset just by pointing at the chip. Make sure J3 is always placed!



I do not like your GUI! Is there another option ?

Yes! Nick Barton has written an alternative GUI. He Christened it “uTgui.” uTgui is written in C++ using the QTclass libraries. It a user- extensible tube database of settings and pin outs, and plots can be saved in pdf format. Nick is building a SPICE library of models that includes every tube that he comes across. That library is included in the binaries download. Another significant point is that he communicated with Norman Koren and got his permission to use his models. Nick extended the pentode models to include better screen current simulation and added a super-sharp pentode knee version. You can read about the development on the Google uTracer Group. The code is also available on the website of his company Black Magic Amplifiers.



Does the uTracer GUI run under LINUX ?

No, not directly sorry. However, Nick Barton has ported his alternative “uTgui” to LINUX. Read more about if on his website.


Tuukka Kalliokoski, however, found a way to run the GUI under LINUX using WINE. Here is a description how he did it in his own words:

First, I must note that when I speak of Linux, I am referring to the Ubuntu distribution (which probably is the most common, but there are others.) All Linux commands shown here are in double quotes, but you type only what's between the quotes. This is how I did it:

WINE is included in default Ubuntu installation, but if it is missing, it is very easy to reinstall or update from the command line: "sudo apt-get install wine"

Or if you want the very latest (1.7) version, follow instructions in http://www.winehq.org/download/ubuntu (I use version 1.6.1 with Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS 64bit)

After installing, no special tricks are needed, except to configure serial port. If your computer has a standard RS232 port at COM1 it shows in Linux as /dev/ttyS0. If you have an USB/serial adapter it usually shows as /dev/ttyUSB0, but the name van vary. Look for anything named "ttyUSB..." in your /dev directory (by typing "ls /dev/tty*" in terminal). You should configure WINE to make that port available to Windows programs. Go to your WINE device directory and make a symbolic link "com1" of the port, with terminal commands: "cd ~.wine/dosdevices" (to change your directory to wine devices) "ln -s /dev/ttyS0 com1" or "ln -s /dev/ttyUSB0 com1" (to make com1 point to the rs232 port or usb adapter)

Now you can unzip the uTracer GUI package (which I assume you have downloaded to your home directory). Go to your home directory and unzip the file, it creates an installer and date files to subdirectory Package: "unzip uTracer_v3p10_23_10_2013.zip"

Then go to the subdirectory: "cd Package" and start the setup program with WINE: "wine setup"

To start uTracer go to your home directory ("cd") and enter command: "wine .wine/drive_c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/uTracer_3p10/uTracer_3p10.exe" (You can also navigate with your favourite file browser to the directory and just double-click the EXE file)

You can make a uTracer shortcut icon to your desktop. The icon properties should be: Name=uTracer Command=env WINEPREFIX="/home/user/.wine" wine C:\\Program\ Files\ \(x86\)\\uTracer_3p10\\uTracer_3p10.exe (replace "user" with your username) Comment=uTracer br>

Peter Gillespie has some tips you might find useful:

Using a USBtoRS232 adapter, I installed uTracer on my laptop in Ubuntu 10.04 (old but I like it) and everything worked fine.

When I installed it on 12.04 I got a 'port open' error. When I looked with my file browser at '.wine/dosdevices' the icon for the com1 link had a padlock and X on it - locked and broken. As a user I didn't have permission to use that device.

There was a solution on the internet but it had to be done every time you boot the computer and needed your password. I wanted something permanent.

If you open a terminal and run 'sudo gedit /etc/rc.local' and add the line 'chmod 777 /dev/ttyUSB0' at the bottom just above the line that says 'exit 0' and then save it everything works. It only has to be done once.

This kind of thing tends to make Linux seem hard to use but it's actually the opposite. Ubuntu is extremely user friendly and has high quality software to do almost everything you want. I've never had to install a driver! You can take the hard drive from one computer and put it on a different machine and everything works.



Does the GUI run under Oracle’s Virstualbox (under LINUX) ?

Marcello Borini tested the GUI in Oracle’s Virtualbox on a PC running openSUSE Linux 13.2-64. He found it worked fine, and wrote a nice document on the details of installation of the serial port (click here)



Where can I find information on the communication protocol ?

The communication protocol is described in the original weblog. I have published the blocks of VB code that takes care of the communication with the uTracer.



How are magic eyes (tuning indicators) tested, and what is continuous mode ?

The uTracer is actually very suitable for “testing,” a better word is “viewing,” magic eyes. To do that the uTracer is used in continuous mode. This has caused some confusion amongst users who were looking for a “continuous mode” button on the GUI. I will try to explain what is meant with it.

Normal pulsed operation of the uTracer

The figure above shows the normal “pulsed” operating principle of the uTracer. Two low power boost converters charge two 100 uF reservoir capacitors to the desired anode and screen voltages. During the actual measurement the reservoir capacitors are connected to the anode and the screen by closing high voltages switches during one millisecond. During this millisecond the currents are measured, while the anode and screen currents are supplied by the reservoir capacitors.

Continuous mode operation of the uTracer

In continuous mode operation (shown above) the high voltage switches are not used, but instead the anode and the screen are directly connected to the boost converters. Since the boost converters can only supply approximately 3 mA, this mode can only be used for low current tubes. There are no terminals on the PCB which connect directly to the boost converters. If you want to use the device in continuous mode, the best point “to tap” the boost converters is on the anodes of the 100 uF reservoir capacitors (see also the construction manual under “Wiring the uTracer”). To use the uTracer in continuous mode you do not have to push a button, set a tick box or anything. The GUI does not know the difference between pulsed and continuous mode. Note that if your tube draws too much current, the boost converter(s) will not be able to reach the set point value resulting in a “time-out” error.

Testing Magic Eyes in continuous mode

Most magic eye tubes only draw a milliamp of anode current or even less, so they can be tested (and viewed) in continuous mode. The schematic drawing above gives a suggestion how a magic eye can be connected to the uTracer. In this case the triode and CRT sections are driven independently. The only thing that needs to be added is a resistor to set the gain of the triode section. You will find the proper value for the resistor in the datasheet of the tube.



Can I test tubes with positive grid voltages ?

No and Yes!

The grid bias circuit of the uTracer is only designed for negative grid voltages. For positive grid voltages the grid will need supply a grid current. The uTracer is not capable of doing so. That is also the reason why you cannot fool the uTracer by placing a floating power supply in series with the grid terminal.

But, James Hill had the brilliant idea to use the screen bias output to bias the grid! Most people wanting to test tubes with positive grid biases are only interested in triodes, so the screen voltage output was not used anyway. This has the additional advantage that, since the screen output is pulsed, the grid is not continuously loaded! Obviously the screen current now represents the grid current. To facilitate the measurement of a set of curves, two measurement types have been added in version 3p8 to enable Ia(Vg) and Ia(Va) measurements for positive grid biases using the screen supply as grid bias. Read more about this interesting feature here. I noticed that some web browsers have difficulty in finding the correct entry point in long pages, so you may have to scroll down manually to section 25!



For low voltage / high current heaters the heater voltage seems to be too low

That is very well possible! The uTracer was designed for more or less “standard” 6.3 – 12 V small signal tubes. For lower voltages in combination with high currents, the PWM signal which is generated by the heater supply has a problem with inductances in the circuit. Fortunately in most cases a simple external power supply can be used to power the heater. An extensive report on the issue can be found in the Weblog. I noticed that some web browsers have difficulty in finding the correct entry point in long pages, so you may have to scroll down manually to section 23!

Paul Newman from New Zealand built for his uTracer a standalone auxiliary heater supply. He made a description of it that you can download here.



Where can I buy good tube sockets ?

Since I had no idea (I always use sockets from my own stock) I asked the people on my uTracer mailing list. The result can be found on my Tube-Tester Links page. Very worthwhile a visit, also for other stuff!



I get an time-out error, or the curves the uTracer measures look weird!

When, one way or the other, one of the high voltages switches of the uTracer is damaged, the uTracer can produce a time-out error “Error, uTracer failed to echo character in reasonable time,” or it can produce some weird looking curves. I did a small write-up on the uTracer weblog to explain the phenomena, and to give some guidelines to do some simple diagnosing. I noticed that some web browsers have difficulty in finding the correct entry point in long pages, so you may have to scroll down manually to section 26!



Can I run the GUI on my Mac ? (Part I)

I am not at all the expert in this, but Martin Manning has figured out a way to run the GUI successfully on his Mac. He was kind enough to share his experiences with us!:

I have the uTracer GUI running in a Windows 8 environment which has been installed on a partitioned section of the MacBook’s hard drive. The partition was created with the help of Apple’s Boot Camp software, which is available at no cost from Apple. A copy of the Windows OS is also required, and this can be purchased from any number of sources for about $100 US. In this scheme, switching from OSX to Windows requires a shutdown and restart. There are other ways to do this (Parallels, e.g.) where both OSX and Windows can run simultaneously, but that convenience comes at the cost of sharing processor and memory resources between the two OS.

Apple’s instructions for installing Windows using Boot Camp are quite extensive (see http://www.apple.com/support/bootcamp/), but there were a few things that weren’t immediately obvious to me. Boot Camp Assistant, which is found in the Launch Pad area under “other,” walks you through the process, traps errors, and provides links for downloading the support software and instructions. A printed copy of the instructions is recommended since the on-line instructions won’t be accessible during the installation.

The following are some additional tips I can offer based on my experience:

  1. The first step is downloading the current version of the Boot Camp support software from Apple, which contains the drivers for Apple peripherals. I recommend copying this download onto a flash drive for ready access when the Windows OS is initially installed and running. Files can be shared across the partition, but placing them on a flash drive is simpler because you will know exactly where to look for it.
  2. An MS-DOS (FAT) formatted 8 GB flash drive must be inserted before the installation is started. FAT is the standard format for such devices, so no action is required other than inserting the drive into an available USB slot. The Boot Camp support software can be loaded onto this same flash drive ahead of time as described above.
  3. The Boot Camp Assistant instructions talk about creating a flash drive with a Windows ISO image. The Windows OS copy I bought, however, came on a DVD. Near the beginning of the Assistant process a window with three media options appears, with all three of them checked by default. For my case, I had to un-check the first two, leaving only the third, which is installing Windows from a disk.
  4. A “Custom” Windows installation must be performed. The Boot Camp volume must be selected and then formatted in NTFS before proceeding, and this step is well documanted in the instructions.
  5. After the installation finished, I had to open the Boot Camp folder on the flash drive and run setup.exe, which got me a to a fully-functional system. There are numerous options for setting personal preferences (screen brightness, trackpad settings, etc.), as well as the default OS for start-up, which are detailed in the Boot Camp instructions.

At this point I downloaded the uTracer v. 3.8 GUI and installed and ran it with no issues, and similarly for the v. 3.10 executable.




Can I run the GUI on my Mac ? (Part II)

The question how to run the uTracer GUI on a Mac system seems to continue puzzling people! Mike Foo found a way to use the uTracer GUI on a Mac system, without resorting to booting into Windows via bootcamp. Here is his account of the procedure.

I managed to get uTracer ver 3.10 working in Mac OS. I can stick to Mac OSX and yet run uTracer. I use WINE.

  1. Download and install Wineskin Winery. Download one of its engines and one of its wrappers also. ( http://wineskin.urgesoftware.com/tiki-index.php?page=Downloads).
  2. Run the Wineskin Winery application and select "Create New Blank Wrapper" to create an empty wrapper. Give the wrapper a name when prompted (Eg. uTracerGUI.app). The wrapper wraps around the windows application with a pseudo Windows environment.
  3. Once the blank wrapper has been created, execute the wrapper.
  4. Since it is still an blank wrapper, install the uTracer software using the "Install Software" option. Select "Setup.exe" from the uTracer installation files.
  5. Once the uTracer software has been installed, the next step is to setup the communications interfaces for the uTracer hardware. The uTracer software will have to use COM ports to communicate to the uTracer hardware thru the Mac's recognised communication devices.
  6. In my setup, I'm using the FTDI USB to Serial cable to interface with the uTracer. I need to find out what this device is listed as in my Mac. To check, I open "Terminal" and type in "ls -l /dev/". This will list all the available devices in my Mac.
  7. Fortunately, I see only two devices related to USB Serial, namely "cu.usbserial-FTTE9TWP" and "tty.usbserial-FTTE9TWP" appearing in the list. I do not know which one represents my USB Serial cable, so I proceeded with the next few steps by trial and error.
  8. Now the WINE wrapper creates a Windows environment for the uTracer GUI. The devices that has been defined for the Windows environment is shown in /Applications/uTracerGUI.app/Contents/Resources/dosdevices. In "Terminal", change to the "dosdevices" directory. There shouldn't be any COM port defined yet.
  9. I wish to use COM3 port to communicate to the uTracer software. So I define a COM3 device as a symbolic link in the "dosdevices" directory to the USB Serial device listed in my Mac's /dev/ directory.
  10. So while I'm in the "dosdevices" directory, I type "ln -s /dev/cu.usbserial-FTTE9TWP com3". I would need Root privilege on my Mac to do this.
  11. After this when I list "dosdevices" directory, I should see "com3" and it is a symbolic link to /dev/cu.usbserial-FTTE9TWP on my Mac.
  12. Now when I run the uTracerGUI.app, I select COM3 port to communicate with the uTracer hardware. So whenever data is routed to COM3, it is actually routing to the USB serial. If this doesn't work, I will try linking COM3 to "tty.usbserial-FTTE9TWP" instead.

Mano found that some additional changes were needed to make it work with the FDTI USB <-> Serial converter chips Click Here.

Can I run the GUI on my Mac ? (Part III)

Another set of instructions that explains more graphically how to run the uTracer GUI on Mac OS using WINE was provided by Clemens Mug. Click here to download the pdf file.

How to migrate the GUI from version 3p10 (or 3p9, 3p8) to 3p11 ?

If you have already installed version 3p10 (or an older version), and have it up and running, you do not have to go through the whole installation procedure again because all the necessary (OCX) components have been installed already. Simply create a directory, preferably in the “Program Files” (Windows XP) or “Program Files (x86)” (Windows 7) directory, with a suitable name (e.g. uTracer_3p11), and unzip the “v3p11-executable-only-zip-file” (available on the download page) directly in that folder. Double click the executable and it should work.

To transport the calibration values from an older GUI version, simply copy the old calibration file into the newly created folder and run the GUI 3p11. The GUI will detect the calibration file and translate it into a new calibration file for the version 3p11.



I do not like the RS232 interface; is there an alternative?

FDTI produces a very attractive TTL to USB cable. With some small modifications it is possible to modify the uTracer PCB for it, have a look here. Some people have experimented with a Bluetooth interface, have a look here



Will there ever be a uTracer4 ?

Good question! I don’t know. For a time I have worked on a completely new concept which was designed for much higher voltages, up to 1.5 kV! At a certain point I decided to stop that project since the whole plan became way to complex. You can find a weblog about that particular project here. So, has all work on a next uTracer now completely stopped? Of course not, there are always new ideas to be tested and I will report on them when they have somewhat more materialized.



previous page back to first page