Set the APN on a Cellular X2 Data Logger

Tools Required

  • 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.
  • X2/G2 Direct Connect USB PC Cable
    1. Typically ships in the logger’s maintenance kit, but also available for purchase.

Access the iChart APN Configuration Utility

  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.

Install device driver software.

 

  1. Open Device Manager on the PC
    1. Windows 7
      • Open the Start Menu and select ‘Computer’.
      • Select ‘System Properties’ from the top menu bar.
      • Select ‘Device Manager’ from the Control Panel Home menu.
    2. Windows 8
      • On the desktop or start screen, right click the bottom left corner to open the Quick Access Menu
      • Device Manager should be the 5th option down from the top of the list.
    3.  Windows 10
      • Right Click on the Windows start symbol in the lower left corner.
      • Device Manager should be the 5th option down from the top of the list.
  1. Expand the Ports (COM&LPT) Section

Device Manager interface.

 

  1. 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.

COM Port selection.

 

  1. Reconnecting the USB cable will re-add the COM port to the list. In this example the X2 Direct Cable is COM14.

COM Port selection. COM 14 is the correct port.

 

  1. 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.
  2. Launch iChart, selecting the ‘Open Without Project’ Option if prompted.

iChart project options.

 

  1. In the top Menu bar, navigate to Advanced|X2|RTU

Access the X2 RTU utility in iChart.

 

  1. 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.

X2 RTU connection.

 

  1. Click over to the Configuration tab and verify the Status fields are displayed correctly. Question marks indicate a connection issue.

X2 RTU Configuration interface.

 

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

 

Configure Modem APN Settings

  1.  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.

Successful RTU power indicator.

 

  1.  Set the APN under the PDP Context heading.
    1. The cid field should be either a 1 or 3 depending on the model of the cell modem in the X2.
      • 1 for CAT1 modems (4G AT&T modems and most international providers)
      • 3 for CAT3 modems (4G Verizon modems)
    1. The PDP Type will typically be set to:
      • ‘IP’ for CAT1 modems
      • ‘IPV4V6’ for CAT3 modems
          • If a selected type is not working, try the other option as these may differ based on the service provider.
    1. The APN should be entered in quotes. All of the pre-selected APNs from the drop-down list will already have these in place.

Input correct settings in the PDP Context.

 

  1. The following message is displayed after the configuration is set.

Successful PDP Context indicator.

 

  1. The AT+CGDCONT? command can be sent to confirm the APN configuration was applied successfully.
      1. Multiple APN profiles will be displayed- only the line corresponding with the cid number (1 for CAT1, 3 for CAT3) is applicable to the connection.

        APN profiles returned from the AT+CGDCONT? AT command listing the CID #, PDP Context, and APN, respectively.

     

  2. Verify that the cell modem is connecting successfully with the given APN by sending the AT#SGACT=1,1 command (for CAT1) or the AT#SGACT=3,1 command (for CAT3).
    1. The leading value (x,1) will match the cid number.
    2. If successful an IP address will be listed after the #SGACT in the response field.

Successful connection showing an acquired IP of 10.66.85.209

 

  1. If unsuccessful an ERROR message will display.
    1. Refresh the Signal Quality reading to verify if the connection issue is signal 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

 

  1. Click back to the Connection tab and Disconnect from the X2 RTU Setup menu.
  2. 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.
      • LED Indicator Patterns- 3 consecutive blue flashes every 5 seconds after initial connection; single blue flash every 5 seconds indicates WQData LIVE connection failure.
      • 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 Commands

  • If a generic “ERROR” is being returned from cellular registration or other commands, more specific error messages can be enabled by sending the AT+CMEE=2 command to enable extended error messages.

    Turn on extended error messages.

  • The cell modem IMEI number can be confirmed by manually sending the AT+CGSN command in the AT Command field.

    Confirm that the modem IMEI number matches the one activated by the cellular service provider.

     

  • The SIM card ID number can be confirmed by manually sending the AT#CCID command in the AT Command field.

    Confirm that the ID number of the SIM card installed inside the cell modem matches the number on record by the cell service provider.