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Tools & Technical Reference


Using RS232 Communication to Your Advantage

It is clear that the future will bring customer satisfaction to a new demanding level. Customers need service to become a seamless part of their organization. Since cooling systems and recirculating chillers inherently measure vital information about the entire system's status through their internal sensors and controls, they can be effectively used to communicate problems about the system via a RS232 interface. This wealth of information can help maintain and preserve your equipment.

In its simplest form, RS232 can be used to control basic chiller functions and check if the system has any failures. Most people simply use RS232 to turn the unit on and off, and to control basic functions such as the set-point. However, since nearly all functions of the chiller are available through the RS232 interface, its capabilities are far greater than that.

For example, Lytron's Kodiak chillers can monitor and communicate pressure changes. When a system is installed and operational, the existing pressure reading on the liquid side can be captured and used as a reference point to constantly monitor the pressure on the liquid side. If your equipment sees a sudden trend of increasing or decreasing pressure through any period of time or days, for example due to plumbing problems, corrosion or blocked filters, then you are alerted to any potential problem before it occurs.

Slow but steady changes in temperature are also indicators of problems to come. If a system is slowly losing its ability to maintain temperature during normal functioning, it could mean that the electronic components being cooled are overheating or not operating due to internal failures, or perhaps the chiller is losing performance. Kodiak chillers have the capability of measuring temperature changes as small as 1/100 of a degree and communicating them through the RS232 interface.

The development of start-up system tests, or tests that can be run periodically using the measurement and control features of the chiller, is an extremely effective way of identifying problems before they occur and cause downtime. Measuring temperature, pressure and other parameters using the chiller's integral sensors and the RS232 interface avoids the expense and complication of integrating additional temperature and pressure sensors, and the early diagnosis and repair of faults or system problems saves money and downtime.

To download the software, simply click on the icon KodiakPCHost.CAB and copy to your hard drive. Extract to a single folder (such as your desktop); do not extract the file. Because of firewalls, please rename the setup.exr to setup.exe. Run the setup.exe file. If pop up displays a message saying a file on your system is newer than what is being installed, choose to keep the newest file. After that, make sure your com 1 port is set to 9600 baud, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, no parity. Should be no software flow control as well. Please note, when extracting the zip file using WinZip, the version should be at least 9.0. The program is a simple interface to represent the Kodiak main screen and controls.