How to Set an APN on an X2 Data Logger

International cell accounts or situations where the user installs the SIM card themselves  will require a proper APN be set to establish cellular connectivity on an X2 or X2-CB data logger.

Tools Required

  1. PC with the iChart 6 software.
    1. Available for free Download here.
    2. Installation Information here.
      1. Note that iChart has a free 30-day trial with full functionality. Unless future systems will require APN modifications, registration is not necessary.
  2. X2/G2 Direct Connect USB PC Cable
    1. Typically ships in the logger’s maintenance kit, but also available for purchase.

Instructions

  1. Connect the iChart 6 PC to the internet.
  2. Plug in the X2 Direct Connect USB cable.
  3. Allow Windows to automatically download the driver. 
  4. Open Device Manager on the PC
    1. Windows 7
      1. Open the Start Menu and select ‘Computer’.
      2. Select ‘System Properties’ from the top menu bar.
      3. Select ‘Device Manager’ from the Control Panel Home menu.
    2. Windows 8
      1. On the desktop or start screen, right click the bottom left corner to open the Quick Access Menu
      2. Device Manager should be the 5th option down from the top of the list.
    3.  Windows 10
      1. Right Click on the Windows start symbol in the lower left corner.
      2. Device Manager should be the 5th option down from the top of the list.
  5. Expand the Ports (COM&LPT) Section
  6. To verify the COM port assigned to the X2 Direct Connect Cable, briefly disconnect it from the PC. Windows will detect the port change and the associated COM port will disappear.
  7. Reconnecting the USB cable will re-add the COM port to the list. In this example the X2 Direct Cable is COM14.
  8. Connect the 6-pin plug end of the USB Com cable to the bottom center port of the X2 or the SOLAR/COM port of an X2-CB.
  9. Launch iChart, selecting the ‘Open Without Project’ Option if prompted.
  10. In the top Menu bar, navigate to Advanced|X2|RTU
  11. Select the COM port associated with the direct-connect cable and verify the ‘Direct to PC’ connection option and Modbus Address 252 is selected. Click Connect.
  12. Click over to the Configuration tab and verify the Status fields are displayed correctly. Question marks indicate a connection issue.

    If Status Field is occupied by ?, click the refresh button or re-connect to the interface.

  13.  Turn on the RTU Power
    1. The RTU Power will automatically turn off every 10 minutes (8:10am, 8:20am etc). It may be necessary to toggle on power a second time during a session if this is exceeded.
  14.  Set the APN under the PDP Context heading.The cid field should be either a 1 or 3 depending on the model of the cell modem in the X2.
      1. 1 for CAT1 modems (most 3G/4G modems, AT&T and most international providers)
      2. 3 for CAT3 modems (most 4G Verizon accounts)
    1. The PDP Type will typically be set to:
      1. ‘IP’ for CAT1 modems
      2. ‘IPV4V6’ for CAT3 modems
      3. If a selected type is not working, try another option here as these may differ based on the service provider.
    2. The APN should be entered in quotes, even if selecting one of the pre-selected APNs from the drop-down list.
    3. Verify the following message is displayed after the configuration is set.
  15.  Verify that the cell modem is connecting successfully with the given APN by sending the AT#SGACT=1,1 command or the AT#SGACT=3,1 command (for CAT3).
    1. The leading value (x,1) will match the value used to set the APN in Step 14
    2. If successful an IP address should be listed after the #SGACT in the response field.

      Successful connection showing an acquired IP of 10.66.85.209

    3. If unsuccessful an ERROR message will display.
      1. Refresh the Signal Quality reading to verify if the connection issue is signal or APN related.
      2. Signal strengths of -60dB to -95dB are typically sufficient to establish a connection. Signal strengths less than -95dB will result in intermittent or lost connections.

        Failed Connection Showing Error message- Check Signal Quality

  16. Click back to the Connection tab and Disconnect from the X2 RTU Setup menu.
  17. Disconnect the COM cable from the X2  or X2-CB and re-connect the 12V power supply (SP6, buoy solar tower etc).
    1. Check the status of the X2 lights (land mount), X2-CB buzzer beep pattern (X2-CB) and/or refresh the project page to verify that the cell modem connects and the contact time updates.
      1. LED Indicator Patterns– 3 consecutive blue flashes every 5 seconds after initial connection; single blue flash every 5 seconds indicates WQData LIVE connection failure.
      2. Buzzer Pattern- 2 consecutive beeps  approximately 30 seconds to 2 minutes after power up indicates success. 3 consecutive beeps indicate failure connecting to WQData LIVE.

Further Troubleshooting

  • If a generic “ERROR” is being returned from cellular registration or other commands, more specific error messages can be enabled by sending the following:
    • AT+CMEE=2
      • This command is available from the drop down menu under the Direct Command heading
  • Once an APN is set, the settings can be verified using the following:
    • AT+CGDCONT?
      • This command is available from the drop down menu under the Direct Command heading