Loading...
 

1.9.5 Troubleshooting

The object of this page is to suggest how to proceed when something goes wrong. If you take these measures before posting a query on the reflector, you will greatly enhance your chances of getting good, solid, usable advice the first time around.

1. Get Current

Make sure you are running a recent version - no more than one or two behind. This is absolutely necessary because of the rapid evolution of the program, with typically 50 or so versions released each year. If you aren't running a recent version, update and see if the problem goes away - it could be something that was noticed and fixed while you were "away."

Every year or so, typically, Tom (N1MM) publishes a new "Full Install" version of the program, which contains all the files you will need to run the program. Subsequent updates contain only those files that have changed, so simply downloading and installing the most recent version won't probably be enough unless you have first downloaded and installed the Full Install on which it is based. You do not have to install every intermediate update; the updates are cumulative.

2. Try Simplifying Your Configuration

Problems with the program often arise as the result of changes inadvertently made to the overall configuration of the program or corruption of the database you were using the last time the program was open, so a first step is to eliminate those two possibilities.

First, rename your N1MM Logger.ini file so that the program will not recognize it - N1MM Logger.old is good. Try to restart the program. If it starts, though in very simplified form (one Entry window, etc.), then you know the problem was somewhere in your configuration, as stored in the .ini file. Then you can add back your personal configuration choices, one at a time. Start with radio control ports, then add PTT and CW options. Finally, set up your general options in the Configurer, and in the various specialized sub-menus that you use.

If the program still won't run, then leave the simplified configuration in place and try renaming your database. The program should then start up and create a new empty database (at least, with no QSOs in it.). If it doesn't start up then, you should probably consider yourself cursed, and take up a new hobby.

No, seriously, if the problem does seem to be in the database(s), you can try switching to another database, if you have one, or creating a new database (from the File menu), or perhaps creating a new database based on an existing N1MM Logger Classic (.mdb) database.

If it still won't start after all that, or if the function you're having trouble with still won't work, now and only now try a reinstallation. A corrupted installation is rarely to blame for the problems people have, but if there are missing program files, this may be necessary. Typically, this is caused by not installing the full installer before trying to install and run the latest update. Even if you think you've done this correctly, it may be worth the few minutes necessary to reinstall.

If you feel you need to reinstall, take an extra minute and uninstall your current version from the control panel. This is normally unnecessary, but recently there have been a case or two where the uninstallation was necessary to fix persistent problems that did not respond to any normal troubleshooting methods.

 Where is the program installed?

The program files are installed in the N1MM Logger+ program files folder, which by default is in C:\Program Files\N1MM Logger+ (32-bit Windows systems) or C:\Program Files(x86)\N1MM Logger+ (64-bit Windows). User files and files that the program may need to write to (such as N1MM Logger.ini) are stored in the N1MM Logger+ user files area, which is normally a folder within your My Documents file area (e.g. C:\Users\User\Documents\N1MM Logger+).

If you are making a first-time installation of the full installer, the installer will automatically choose these locations. Thereafter, the update installer should point to the same place. It is recommended that you accept the defaults. However, if you do not accept the default locations during the initial full install, you will want to make sure that the updates are being installed to the same locations as the full install. As you can imagine, putting the full install in one place and updates in another can cause all sorts of problems. It's worth a double-check.

3. Search the Manual - some tips

Now that the manual is on the website in wiki format here, we are working hard to keep it up to date and to fix things that may have gotten broken along the way. You can help by letting us know when you notice things that should be changed. Drop a note to n4zr@contesting.com or k8ut@arrl.net unless you think that the subject would benefit from others' input, in which case, by all means, use the reflector.

So, how best to use the manual for troubleshooting? We recommend using the search function on the web page. This is still evolving, but you'll find the latest information on using it in this section of the Website User Manual. These days, the Advanced Search (under "Website") is far better than the basic search.

Once you've opened a page, though, you may discover that the topic you want is nowhere to be seen. Don't despair, just hit Ctrl+F to open your browser's search routine, and enter your search phrase there. This is necessary because some of the pages in the manual are very long, and your search topic may not appear in the first screenful.

If the program is so badly broken that you can't do a Google search from there, just open the manual.

4. Looking for Help on the Reflector

OK, so you're really stuck. You have over 3,000 fellow users out there willing to help. You can make it more likely to pay off quickly if you follow this checklist for information you provide in your first message:

  • N1MM program version
  • Operating system
  • Relevant interfacing information
    • For radio control, whether USB or hardware serial port, and what radio
    • For CW problems, indicate whether you are using serial, parallel or other interface (Winkeyer, MicroHAM, etc.)
    • For voice message problems, what interface to the radio you're using
  • Symptoms
    • Include any error messages you received, and be sure to quote them in full
  • What you have already tried



5. Troubleshooting Advice and Procedures from the N1MM Dev Team

5.1. Installation Problems

5.1.1. Installation overview - Where are My Files?

The N1MM+ installation program creates the program’s files in two locations: one location for the Application files, the other location for the User files.
The default location for the Application files is C:\Program Files (x86)\N1MM Logger+ on 64 bit Windows and C:\Program Files\N1MM Logger+ on 32 bit Windows. This placement allows all logged-in users to access a common application folder. You could specify a different application files folder, but there is no need to do that; the program does not write to it at run time.
The User files are created the first time a Windows user runs N1MM+. The default location for the user files is C:\Users\<Windows user name>\Documents\N1MM Logger+. This placement allows each logged-in users to maintain their own program settings, and has been chosen so that low-level users can write to their files. You could choose a different folder, however you may need to start N1MM+ with >Run As Administrator. We strongly recommendation that you use the default user files location.

5.1.2. Installation failure

The N1MM+ Full Installer, Latest Update, and Uninstall programs write their progress and errors to a file named install.log in your Application files folder. If you had chosen the default application files location you will find the file as C:\Program Files (x86)\N1MM Logger+\install.log'. Consecutive installations will append their data to this file. Install.log is the main place to go to figure out what is going on when an installation fails.
There is also a chance that installation errors will be written to the Windows EventLog. Go to the Event Viewer (Start, Run, enter eventvwr.msc, Windows Logs, Application) to see if you find an error.
If nothing else helps, reach out to N1MMLoggerplus@yahoogroups.com (public list)

5.2. N1MM+ crashed. What now?

There are multiple places that will have more information about the error.

5.2.1. The N1MM+ Error Log File

The N1MM+ error log file is in your user directory (each windows user has his/her own). Default location is C:\Users\<Windows user name>\Documents\N1MM Logger+\LogError.txt. New errors are appended to an existing file, so the latest errors will be found at the end. (see screenshot below)

5.2.2. The Windows Event Log

If there is no N1MM+ log file or no entry, there is also a chance that the Windows EventLog has an entry. Go to the Event Viewer (Start, Run, enter eventvwr.msc, Windows Logs, Application) to see if you find an error.
Reading the latest error(s) may give an indication of what went wrong. (see screenshot)
Troubleshooting EventViewer

5.2.3. The N1MM Logger+ INI File and Configuration Errors

If the crash was caused by a recent configuration change, you may be able to recover by simply rolling back to a last known good N1MM Logger.INI file. N1MM+ makes a backup of its INI file once every day. Look for these INI backup files in the C:\Users\<Windows user name>\Documents\N1MM Logger+ directory. For example, if today is Friday, yesterday’s backup is called N1MM Logger.ini.Thursday.bak.
Troubleshooting INIfiles
Here is what you can try:
- Close N1MM+. INI files can only be copied without N1MM+ running
- Make a backup of the current N1MM Logger.INI file. Default location is C:\Users\<Windows user name>\Documents\N1MM Logger+\N1MM Logger.ini (i.e. make a copy and rename it to OriginalLoggerINI.ini).
- Then make a copy of a recent INI backup file (Monday.bak, Tuesday.bak, Wednesday.bak…) and rename it to N1MM Logger.ini. Re-start N1MM+ and see if that solves your problem. You may have to experiment with several INI backup to solve your problem.
If nothing else helps, reach out to N1MMLoggerplus@yahoogroups.com (public list)

5.3. Some specific exceptions

5.3.1. OutOfMemoryException

The computer ran out of memory. It is crucial to find out what process took all the memory. Use TaskManager to find out. If N1MM+ used up all the memory, please try to describe the steps and contact the development team.

5.3.2. SEHException right on launch

System.Runtime.InteropServices.SEHException (0x80004005): External component has thrown an exception. at System.Windows.Forms.UnsafeNativeMethods.CoCreateInstance(Guid& clsid, Object punkOuter, Int32 context, Guid& iid) at System.Windows.Forms.AxHost.CreateWithLicense(String license, Guid clsid)
We have some users that see this with Windows XP SP3 and/or Athlon processors. We have no solution and suggest a software and/or hardware upgrade.

5.4. Computer blue-screened. What next?

Mostly, these are caused by driver issues. These issues could well be triggered by N1MM+ as it communicates with lots of hardware via drivers.
- After the reboot, go to the Event Viewer (Start, Run, enter eventvwr.msc, Windows Logs, Application) to see if you find the error.
- If you found one or multiple (close together in time), inspect them.
- An OS crash also creates something called a crash dump. The physical location can be found in one of these events. Here is an example of an event that points to these files:
Files that help describe the problem:
C:\Windows\Minidump\Mini120214-03.dmp
C:\Users\Bill_Administrator\AppData\Local\Temp\WER-37159-0.sysdata.xml
C:\Users\Bill_Administrator\AppData\Local\Temp\WERF037.tmp.version.txt
- You can try to load the *dmp file with this tool: http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html
- If nothing else helps, reach out to N1MMLoggerplus@yahoogroups.com (public list)

5.5. The Dev Team asked you to enable application traces. How to do it?

Sometimes, tracing can help the team see what occurred on your computer at runtime. Information about performance and program logic will be captured in a file. If you want to turn this on, here are the steps:
- Run N1MM+, go to Tools/Program execution logging. Enable “Execution tracing”, “performance tracing”. If required, also enable “SQLite perf tracing” (makes the application slower!)
- Exit N1MM+
- Start N1MM+ again. Ok the dialog that warns you about tracing being on
- Reproduce the issue, note down exact times when things happen etc. Any information will help to reference the tracing information
- When the issue is reproduced, exit N1MM+
- Find the trace file. Default location is C:\Users\<Windows user name>\Documents\N1MM Logger+\Diagnostics\N1MMLogger.net.exe-XXXX.svclog where XXX is the build number of N1MM+
- Zip the file and send to development team

5.6. The Dev Team asked you to capture .NET network traces (to troubleshoot connectivity issues). How to do it?

- Exit N1MM+
- In the application files folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\N1MM Logger+ by default), make a backup of the original file called “N1MMLogger.net.exe.config”. Call it “N1MMLogger.net.exe.config.original”.
- Edit the file “N1MMLogger.net.exe.config” to turn on network tracing:
o There is a large xml comment (starts with <!- - and ends with - ->) that needs to be made active by removing line 36 and then line 6.
o On line 27, there is a path in initializeData=”…”. Please update the path to go to your user files folder + Diagnostics folder with file name “System.Net.Trace.log”
(example: C:\Users\<Windows user name>\Documents\N1MM Logger+\Diagnostics\System.Net.trace.log)
- Launch N1MM+
- Reproduce the issue or let it run for 5 mins
- Exit N1MM+
- Inspect the System.Net.trace.log file.
- Revert the change you made in step 2, bring back the file that you called *.original.
- Zip the System.Net.Trace.log file and send it to development team

5.7. Remote Desktop Connection - TeamViewer instructions

TeamViewer is a program that allows someone to remotely see and control your computer. Someone else can help sort out configuration issues or other problems with you watching. It is secured by means of ID and password and also by the fact that you will need to start the program before anyone can connect. The program is free.
1. Go to http://download.teamviewer.com/download/TeamViewerQS_en.exe and download the exe
2. You do not need to install anything, just run it.
3. Communicate your ID and password to single person you want to connect (no discussion lists please)


6. Asking for Help from the N1MM Team

OK, so you've asked for help on the reflector, and your problem persists. Chances are one of the development team has already contacted you and asked for more information. Here's what you can do to help him help you (I apologize in advance if this is elementary to many people - not everyone who uses N1MM Logger+ is a computer jock, or indeed other than an appliance user. That's OK, but you're our particular audience for this note, to help you do things to help us help you)

  • Make sure that your computer operating system is showing you the complete filenames, including the extension. Windows defaults this off, for some reason. Turn it on, because you'll need it to find the files we're going to ask you for. In Windows 7, you can find Folder Options from the search box just above the Start button. In Windows XP, the same choices are found in the top frame of Windows Explorer
  • Find the N1MM Logger.ini file in your N1MM Logger+ user files directory
  • Then find the current database file in the databases sub-folder within the user files directory - the suffix will be .s3db, and it should be the one you were last using when your problem occurred. If you have just started, chances are it will be ham.s3db.
    • Note - in addition to the database file, N1MM also creates what are known as transaction files, which are saved in the TransactionFiles subfolder within the Databases folder. Don't send us this file - it is useless for trouble-shooting.
    • If you aren't sure, start N1MM Logger+ and look in the top bar of the Log window to find the database filename. If you can't start the program, right click on each of the .s3db files in turn, and check the "modified" date. The most recent one is ... no surprise here ... the one we want.
  • Send both of these files by direct e-mail to the team member offering help. You can't attach files to messages sent to the reflector. If you're initiating contact, you can send the e-mail to n4zr@contesting.com, and he will forward it as needed.

7. Trouble with RFI?

Many of the quirky problems people experience are due to RFI (RF interference) from their own transmitters. If the symptoms become less serious, or go away altogether when you turn down the power or change bands, or both, then you probably need to look at filtering common mode currents on some or all of the cables in your station setup.

7.1. Resources

Chuck Counselman, W1HIS, has published an excellent tutorial on common mode chokes for RFI control and even for reducing your local noise level, The article can be found here.

Jim Brown, K9YC, has also written an excellent tutorial, which can be found here.

With these two references in hand, you will be well prepared for trouble-shooting RFI when it occurs (not if).

An often overlooked problem is RFI affecting an electronic keyer. Chuck Counselman's article on this subject, reproduced below with his permission, also makes several excellent points about RFI suppression in general:

7.1.1. Electronic keyer RFI (from Chuck Counselman, W1HIS)

RFI trouble with USB-connected products such as computer keyboards is well known. Less well known is the extent of RFI trouble with rig-interface and CW-keyer products such as as microHAM's microKeyer, microKeyer II, etc. that utilize K1EL WinKeyer ICs. K1EL's own WKUSB product is also quite vulnerable to RFI.

In the case of a keyer, not only the USB interface but also the paddle interface is vulnerable to RFI.

Most hams, myself included, have underestimated these products' sensitivities to RFI. We have made the mistake of putting too little ferrite on the cables connected to these products, or failing to put ferrite on all the cables connected to them, and erroneously thinking we have eliminated our RFI problems just because we no longer experience RFI symptoms when we operate on our usual band(s). Then when a higher-frequency band is open, or when the beam is pointed at the shack, all h*ll breaks loose.

RFI trouble recurs also when we rearrange, add, or even disconnect a cable in our shacks. Every cable acts as an antenna and has discrete resonances. All the cables behind or under your operating desk are coupled to one another, and this coupling affects their resonant frequencies and modes. When I disconnected both ends of a telephone extension cable behind my desk, the K1EL WinKeyer IC in my microHAM microKeyer began misbehaving when I transmitted on the 17-m band.

From my own and others' mistakes I have learned to avoid recurring trouble by installing enough ferrite the first time. "Enough" means at least 1000 ohms of common-mode choking resistance on _every_ cable connected to a vulnerable device. Not only the USB cable, but also the cables for 12-VDC power, paddle, microphone, earphones, footswitch, audio to/from computer and radio, CW keying to the TX, "PTT" or T/R-switching to transceiver and to amp., data-comm. to/from transceiver — every one. You cannot anticipate which cable will be "hot" with RF when you transmit on a particular frequency. If you determine which cable is hot today, then a different cable will be hot tomorrow after you change something. You will change something.

I thought that the level of RF in my shack was trivial because, if I transmitted full power on any band, the RF field-strength shown by my laboratory-grade meter increased by less than ten percent above its normal background level due to AM broadcast stations more than a mile away. Wrong! My microHAM microKeyer was insensitive to the AM broadcast signals, but it was disabled by the relatively weak signal from my 18-MHz transmitter.
-Chuck Counselman, W1HIS

8. Trouble with Keying Delays or Radio Timeouts

  • Verify that the transceiver timeout is set to 15 seconds or greater ( Bandmap Right-click Menu Options).
  • All recent vintage radio interfaces are tested at baud rates of 19200 and 38400. Do not assume that slower baud rates will produce better results. If your radio supports 9600 baud and lower data rates, use 9600 baud.
  • Verify that multi-user mode is not enabled for single computer configurations.
  • Close the Digital Interface when operating CW/SSB.
  • On multi-core computers, if WinKey is configured, do not use internally generated CW (COM or LPT CW). Use the WinKey to send CW. Multi-core computers that have WinKey configured will process spots while the CW is sending.
  • If you are using Telnet, try setting the spot timeout to a low value (10 minutes).
  • Compact the database (File > Copy and Compact Database). Then restart the program and open the compacted database. Computers with limited disk cache or slower hardware interfaces may be susceptible to fragmented databases. Compacting the database will unfragment the database.
  • Close all possible programs. Don't place them on the task bar.
  • Close all possible N1MM Logger+ windows. Don't place them on the task bar.
  • If using any high volume spot source (RBN, skimmer, combined spot sources, etc), delete all spots (right click in the Bandmap) to see if this has an impact.
  • Turn off anti-virus or computer security file scanning. Many users have found that the free Microsoft Security Essentials doesn't seem to use many resources and you can set the CPU limit in percentage for scanning activities.
  • Microsoft Recovery Console has caused sending delays with internally generated CW on single core 2.8 GHz CPU computers. Recovery Console usually displays text on the screen after the BIOS boot screen and before the Windows splash screen. Google for the steps to un-install Recover Console.


There haven't been any reports of issues with WinKey generated CW.

Intermittent delays may be caused by any of the following:

  • Automatic Windows updates. Change the Windows setting temporarily during contests so Windows doesn't check for updates, install them, or force a reboot.
  • Other program update checking, downloads, and installs - again, temporarily disable them during contests
  • Anti-virus or computer security file scanning.
  • Unreachable time server for Windows or separate time-setting programs. Solve the problem, or disable the time updates for contests.
  • Windows scanning/searching/connecting to wireless networks, printer, or other wireless devices that may be unreachable or disconnect/connect due to RF.
  • Transmitter RF causing wired and wireless networks to disconnect.
  • Some computers may be susceptible to sending delays if the amount of free RAM is not great enough for all active program temporary storage. Be aware that some computers use system RAM for video display and reduce the memory available for Windows by 256Meg. The impacts of disk paging is dependent on the amount of data and speed of all hardware interfaces involved. The hard disk activity LED may be a good indicator of how often and the duration of the disk activity. The Task Manager, Performance tab displays Available Free Memory.


When all of the above actions have failed to produce results:

  • Some users have found success by renaming the N1MM Logger.ini file. Starting the program will build a new file with defaults.
  • Others have had success with uninstalling and re-installing the software (Full Install, reboot, Latest Update). Do not use any files from the old user files area until you have completely verified that there was no change in the program delay.
  • Open Task Manager and look at the number of running processes after a fresh reboot, no programs started. WinXp processes greater than 40 or Win7 greater than 55 may be an indication that unexpected or unnecessary programs are running. There are many websites that provide instructions for eliminating unnecessary programs at program start.
  • For advanced computer users: Make a restore point and use HiJackThis to scan your computer to display every item that is loaded when the computer starts. Account for each item, Google unknown ID's to see if it's an unwelcome guest.
  • For advanced computer users: Measure your computer's DPC latency when N1MM Logger+ is running. It is well known that some drivers misbehave and add significant delays to the PC operation. The Flex folks have found that some motherboard designs are simply not acceptable for low latency tasks. The URL for a DPC latency measuring programs is here.

Last Modification: 15 March 2017 15:03:17 EDT by N1MM.