Frequently Asked Questions
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MC5 Frequently Asked Questions
Troubleshooting Common Problems
Battery Questions and Answers
Care and Maintenence
|Q1 How do I reformat the MC5 memory?|
I. Standard MC5 Memory Configuration
The standard memory configuration for the MC5T, MC5H and MC5E3 is
1) Transfer any important data or program files in it to your PC.
II. Configuring an MC5 for different number of RAM drives in it
Please note the difference between RAM and ROM drives. The FORMAT
command does not work on ROM. ROM modules are usually preprogrammed
with application software and will retain the software even after
a total power loss. For example, if your unit came with the Surveyor's
Assistant application program, then the program files are stored in
the ROM drives D: and E:.
You may get this error if you have the A: drive formatted as FILES. With the A: drive formatted for 64K FILES, there is only 32 Kbyte of MEMORY for applications. Some programs (e.g. EDISK, TSTATION, MEMPROT) take up user MEMORY when run, leaving even less MEMORY for applications to run. The procedure below will reduce the file space to 32K, leaving 64K for the application.
To resize the A: file system to 32K do the following:
1) Enter B: to select the B drive.
The maximum amount of memory that MC-BASIC can utilize is 64 Kbytes. If you encounter the "insufficient memory" error while using MC-BASIC, it does not help to format additional RAM as MEMORY. However, you could try resetting the machine after exiting MC-BASIC. This may help reclaim some memory to provide sufficient memory when you run MC-BASIC again.
IV. Setting current Date and Time
After power loss, the date and time information will be gone from the data collector. If your application program does not provide functions to set the date and time, you can exit the program and perform this action in the operating system of the unit.
From the operating system, type in "Date" and press ENTER.
Enter the current date in the displayed format.
Press ENTER again when prompted to press any key.
Similarly, type in "Timee" and press ENTER.
Enter the current time in the displayed format.
Press ENTER again when prompted to press any key.
Hold down F3 and press ON to reset your MC5 data collector, or hold down ON and press F3 to reset your PC5 data collector..
|Q2 Can I run executable files in the MC Series?|
|Yes, a *.X is the MC Series executable file. Our Microsoft C software development package (SD-I-NC) has a utility that converts .EXE files to .X files, but this can only be used with Microsoft C and 8088 assembler programs.|
|Q3 I have a few questions about the MC5 memory system.|
Are the MC5 programs copied into RAM before they are run?
No, all programs are run directly out of RAM or EPROM. This is one major advantage of ROS (ROM-based Operating System) over DOS (Disk operating system).
Why do I keep getting "File Create Error" on the MC Series (with KERMIT, BASIC, etc.) ?
Check the current drive (or the drive you explicitly specify) to be sure it is a RAM module formatted for FILES. Check that there is space available on the drive for the file.
Can I add more memory to my MC5?
Standard MC5 comes with 384 KBye of memory. Normally, A: drive is formatted as 128 KBye MEMORY and B: and C: are joined together as a 256 KByte file system. To increase the file storage capacity, you can install additional RAM modules into the unit, provided its D and E ports are free. There is also an H port in the MC5. If you are using a program module such as MC-SS, MC-BASIC, MC-MBASE or MC-CALC, you may move it to the H port to make room for additional RAM modules.
Another way to add file storage space to the MC5 machine is to install a 1, 2, 4 or 8 Megabyte RAM Disk into it.
My program on the MC5 has exhausted the 256 Kbytes available on 2 joined standard EPROMS, how can I solve this problem?
You can break the program into two routines and place the second routine into the H module.
Is it possible to install a 512 Kbyte Flash memory on the MC5 sockets to use it to store application software?
Currently, there is no Flash Memory for standard MC5 machines. The MC5GT machines provide for programmable 512 Kbyte Flash Memory chips. You can use the MC5GT machine to program the 512 Kbyte Flash Memory chips installed in the unit.If you are interested, please contact CMT to purchase the MC5GT and obtain the program for preparing the image file to be "burned" into the MC5GT Flash Memory.
|Q4 Why can't I get anything to print?|
| If you have another computer, try the printer with that one first to be sure the printer is working. If you are getting garbage on the
printer, this almost always indicates mismatched protocol. Check the baud rate, parity, data bits, stop bits, and handshake for your
printer and make sure that the MC Series is similarly configured.
Remember that most printers need to be turned off after changing a switch for the change to be recognized. Also, COM1: and COM2: on the MC2, MC5N and MC5Q machines run at the same rate, so if your printer is connected to COM2:, and you change the setting for COM1:, then your printer may not work.
For MC5T and MC5H machines, COM1: and COM2: can be set to different communication parameters. Be sure that the com: port which is connected to your printer is the default COM: port. You can set the default COM: port using theSETPORT X command, where X is the COM: port number.
|Q5 I suspect the COM: ports are not working. How can I test them?|
Very few machines have had their COM ports give out, but it has happened.
The following procedure will test if COM1: and COM2: can read and write
data. If it passes, then the problem is with the hardware of the other
device, or with the port configuration. If the procedure below FAILS,
then the COM port is broken and it's time to call CMT for an RMA number to
send the unit in for service.
|Q6 How long will the batteries last?|
|Q7 How often should the system battery be recharged?|
|System batteries should be recharged when the power meter reads less than 25%. Recharging them when they are at a higher level shortens the overall life of the battery.|
|Q8 How long should the batteries be recharged?|
| If using
the ACC-RE3 or ACC-RE3B charger, charge the batteries when there is less
than 25% remaining power. Charge the 1400 mAH and 1600 mAH batteries continuously
for 16 hours (no more and no less); charge the 2100 mAH batteries for
If using ACC-SMC-G3-M, charge 10 hours or overnight.
Overcharging the batteries may result in damage to the batteries and the unit.
|Q9 What if the unit will be left on the shelf for a while?|
|Recharge the MC5 once a month, even if it has not been used.|
|Q10 What is a Smart Charger?|
|A Smart Charger (CMT part # ACC-SMC-G3-M) is a recharger that discharges the NiCad battery completely before recharging, thus extending battery life.|
|Q11 How much does a SmartCharger cost?|
| A Smart
Charger costs $150.00. However, some units will need to be sent to CMT
to be modified for use with a Smart Charger. A refitting package is available
for $265.00. This package includes the Smart Charger, new 2100 mAH batteries
plus other parts and labor.
(Order CMT part # ACC-SMC-G3-M PKG).
|Q12 What is the difference between 1600 mAH NiCad and 2100 mAH NiMH batteries?|
|In terms of power, 2100 mAH batteries will last longer than the 1600 mAH batteries. The 2100 mAH NiMH batteries are more environmentally friendly. Our current standard inventory is ACC-BATPAK-BK-2100 (2100 mAH NiMH batteries pre-installed in the backcase).|
|Q13 Can 2100 mAH batteries be used in a MC5 that originally came with 600 mAH batteries?|
|Yes! Order part number ACC-BATPAK-BK-2100. If you are using ACC-RE3 or ACC-RE3B to recharge the batteries when power is low, fully recharge the batteries for 20 hours.|
|Q14 What is the October Case?|
|The October Case (CMT part # ACC-BK-G2/BAT1 or BAT2) is a thicker backcase that can hold up to two field-replaceable, rechargeable 1400 mAH NiCad battery packs. This product is now obsolete.|
|Q15 What is an XBAT?|
|The XBAT (CMT part # MC5-XBAT-G2) is an external, field replaceable, rechargeable 1400 mAH NiCad battery that can be used to power the MC5. The XBAT attaches to the top of the MC5 with thumb screws. The XBAT cannot be used to power the heater. This product is now obsolete.|
|Q16 What is an Auxiliary Battery?|
Auxiliary Battery (CMT part # ACC-AUXBAT-G3) is a rechargeable
6V lead acid battery that can be used to power both the MC5 and the
The Auxiliary Battery attaches to the unit with long, flexible cables. This battery enables the MC5 to operate at temperatures of -20°C and above. It helps to use extra insulation for the MC5.
|Q17 What is a system backup battery?|
|A non-rechargeable lithium system backup battery (CMT part # MC5-BAT-LITH-TH). This battery allows the system to retain data when the NiCad system battery pack is disconnected or completely drained.|
|Q18 What type of battery do RAM modules use?|
| RAM plug-in modules use small ("watch-style" coin-cell), non-rechargeable,
lithium backup batteries (CMT part # ACC-PIM-BAT). These batteries
supply power to the modules and allow them to maintain data storage when
the NiCad system batteries are removed or fully drained.
If the unit has shut down due to low power, it should be plugged into a wall outlet using a ACC-RE3B before being turned on. If the unit is turned on while it is unplugged, the backup batteries will be drained and data loss will occur.
|Q19 What is the part number of the internal batteries in my CMT handheld computer.|
|CMT part# ACC-BATPAK-BK-2100. This is a new set of 2100 mAH batteries installed in a backcase, and includes the lithium backup battery. It comes with instructions on how to replace it yourself.|
|Q20 How do I transfer files from my MC5 to my PC?|
| You may transfer files from your MC5
to a desktop or notebook PC by using the Kermit file transfer protocol.
1. On your PC, run the Kermit program from DOS.
Enter: Set baud <baud rate to match that on the MC5>
Enter: kermit r
2. On the MC5, change to the drive containing your data (for example, B:).
Enter: mode com1:<baud rate to match that on the MC5>,n,8,1,x
The following steps are for transferring files from MC5 to PC via the HyperTerminal program.
1. On the PC:
In Windows, select: Start\Programs\Accessories\Communications\HyperTerminal
Set up the baud rate (to match that on the MC5), no parity, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit and XON/XOFF handshake.
Select "Receive File" and KERMIT mode.
Connect COM1 on PC to COM1 on MC5.
2. On the MC5:
Change to the RAM drive containing files you wish to transfer.
Enter "kermit s <filename>".
The file will be sent to the current subdirectory on your PC.
If you do not have KERMIT on your PC, you may get kermit.zip from our
|Q21 How do I KERMIT files to a remote PC with a modem?|
| With the modem connected to the default COM: port, type KERMIT C and press
[ENTER]. This will connect you to the modem. You can now enter AT commands
to the modem.
For example, to dial the modem type ATDTxxxxxxx[ENTER]. Where xxxxxxx is the telephone number.
The remote PC will need to set some modes on its modem so that it can be in host mode to accept your call. You can then follow your standard protocol to send and receive files. On the MC5, press F1-SYS to shell out to the ROS prompt. Now you can use KERMIT or XMODEM to transfer your files.
|Q22 Why can't I get anything to transfer from my PC to the MC Series?|
a checklist to go through to get them communicating:
Note: Any drivers which have been installed on your PC which affect the COM: ports (a mouse driver for example) may cause problems with communications.
II. USB-Serial Adapter
If your new PC does not provide a serial port, you will need a USB to Serial adapter to connect your MC5 data collector to your PC.
We find that the following USB 2.0 to Serial Adapter works well:
III. Windows 7 Users
Please download FileTransfer.zip from:
It contains FILEXFER.EXE for file transfer between PC and MC5.
|Q23 How do I take care of my MC5 battery?|
MC5 unit is powered by a Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) battery pack or a Nickel
Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery pack. This battery is located on the inside
of the backcase of your MC5 unit. To optimize your battery life, please
follow the guidelines below.
With normal use, your MC5 battery will last for up to two weeks before it needs to be recharged. You may check the power level of your battery by pressing [SH1], then [ENTER]. The System Status screen will be displayed. Press [F1] to view the current power level of the system battery and [F2] to view the current power level of the lithium backup battery.
Use CMT's ACC-RE3 (110V), ACC-RE3B (110V), ACC-RE4 (220V), ACC-RE5 (cigarette lighter adapter) charger or ACC-SMC-G3-M (for smart-chargeable MC5 units only) to recharge your battery. You should recharge the battery when the system battery power indicator shows that system power is below 25%.
The battery must be recharged to full capacity. If using ACC-RE3 recharger, charge the 1400 mAH or 1600 mAH batteries 16 hours and the 2100 mAH batteries 20 hours. If using ACC-SMC-G3-M, recharge the batteries 10 hours or overnight.
Maintaining Battery Health During Long-term Storage
Your MC5 battery can last for years if properly cared for. Long-term storage is one of the major causes of battery failure. If your MC5 unit will be unused for a long period of time, please follow these steps to ensure the health of your batteries:
Remember, for Optimum Battery Health:
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