I never owned a cellphone or even booted a computer until I went to work in a composite panel manufacturing facility over twenty years ago, when I was enrolled in an “instrumentation course” to learn about things that I actually never knew existed.

But most kids today have been using a computer or playing games on a phone since they were two or three years old. Quite a change from even my generation.

Image by Brandon Cooper

Editor's Note: some of us “older folks” got started with personal computers and video games when the first generation of both were released in late 1970's – SMT.

One aspect of today’s automation and controls profession is being versatile and that includes being able to “troubleshoot” software issues.

How wonderful it would be to be able to do our jobs by simply learning a programming language or learning how to interact with a particular system of choice, but that simply isn’t reality.

I would venture to say in the system administration aspect of control systems, nearly half of the time is spent learning how to accomplish the next task or troubleshooting software errors.

How many times have you set out to install a software that should take ten minutes to do and three hours later, you finally get it installed after “googling” the installation error to find out how to work around or fix the error? That is the skillset I am talking about here.

How well we can search for answers is key to how efficient we can perform our jobs. The “kids” these days, I think have an advantage. My son is a perfect example of a “gamer”. He has been building gaming PC’s since his early teens and can search and correct errors with confidence. It is a great skillset to have entering the career of almost anything right now.

Once I was attempting to flash the firmware of a CompactLogix processor when I kept getting this error. “Failed to begin update to the target device. The target device is not in the proper mode to accept an update.”

What? I have the processor in program mode. What else can I do?

Well, fifteen minutes searching the internet, I was able to piece together some possibilities to check.

Image by: Brandon Cooper

Basically, here is what the work around was:

In RSLinx, if you browse down to the IP Address and then hit the + sign and browse down to the backplane and then the processor, you will get this error every time.

When you run the control flash session and browse through RSLinx, click on the IP Address and don’t drill down to the processor (Controller has EtherNet Module Integrated).

When I ran the control flash session stopping on the IP Address, it flashed the controller successfully without issue.

Editor's Note: You can find our popular article on this topic HERE.

Here is another one I encountered several years ago:

I once installed an older version of RSLogix 5000 on Windows 7,  and got this error “0xc015000f”. Same thing. Let the searching begin.

Image by: Brandon Cooper

Basically, the fix for this is to go to Start> All Programs > Rockwell Software > RSLogix 5000 Enterprise > and then “Right-Click” on RSLogix 5000 Enterprise” and “RUN as ADMINISTRATOR”.

The software will then open. After this is done one time, it will open without having to run as administrator.

Editor's Note: You can find our popular article on this issue HERE.

Conclusion

If you don’t have the drive to deal with “software annoyances” or errors, you will have a difficult time in the ever-evolving world of automation and controls. It is not something we necessarily want to deal with, but out of necessity, we have to be good at it.

I recommend to never let problems go without resolution. Don’t give up. Search the internet, call your vendor support, reach out to colleagues. Find resolution and last, but certainly not least, document everything. It won’t be the last time you will need it.

Written by Brandon Cooper
Senior Controls Engineer and Freelance Writer

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