Frequently Asked Questions
Software Questions & Answers
How can I add Grid Lines to a Report Graph?
  • Open the report for “Design”. This will show the report with a representative curve.
  • Place the “hand” cursor on the graph and double click.
  • Select “Insert” from the menu on the window with the caption that reads “Microsoft Graph – Graph in Report: …”
  • Click on “Insert” and select “Grid Lines”
  • Click on all four options (Major and Minor for both axes), then click OK.
  • Close the window and save the changes when asked.
How can I create and display a unique test report for a specific test method?
  • Determine if you want the new report to be in “portrait” format with up to eight results (select “Portrait Test Report” in the Database window reports tab) or up to 12 results (select “Landscape Test Report” in the Database window reports tab).
  • Type “CTRL C” followed by “CTRL V” to copy and paste the report as a new report name.
  • In the dialog box, if the specific template is, for example, 99, then type “Portrait Test Report #99” as the new report name.
  • Open the new report in “design view” and edit the report design to meet your requirements.
  • The next time that you choose Template 99 and select “Test Report” from the Test Report list, the system will open “Portrait Test Report #99” automatically.
I made some changes to a certain test template using the Template Manager, and now the template does not seem to work. What can I do?

Check the Control Segments using the Template Manager/Edit Template feature. If necessary, compare segment information with a working template, make changes, and try again. Next time, be sure to first make a copy of any template you wish to modify, then perform modification on the copy. That way, you will always have the original unmodified template to refer to.

I just received a version software upgrade, but I am concerned about preserving and accessing the historical data in my current database.
  • If you are currently using an earlier release of DATUM for Windows after version 2.4, it is easy to upgrade and have continued access to all of your old data by selecting “Data Import or Restore” from “Utilities” on the Main Menu.
  • If you are using version 2.0, do the following
  • Install the upgrade at a different location from your current version.
  • Copy all the files from the old application’s “Utsdata” folder to the “Utsdata” folder at the new install location.
  • Open the old application. From the Utilities Menu, create a template export diskette (“Copy empty template structure to A:”). Then go to the Template Manager and use the “Export” button to export each of your templates to the export diskette.
  • Open the new application and go to the Template Manager. If there are any templates with the same numbers as you used in your old application, you must first remove them using the “Delete” button. Then use the “Import” button to move all of your old templates from the diskette to the new version. After importing all of your current templates, click the “Exit” button and then quit the application.
  • Import the Specimen Master, Sample Info and Facility Tables from you old application into the current application. They will have a “1” appended to the name. Then create append queries to append the data from the imported tables into the tables of the same name in the current database. Before running the append queries, you should delete all records in the 3 tables in the current database. After the data have been appended, you may delete the imported tables.
  • If you are using a desktop “shortcut” to open the application and you have not already done so, change the “target” and “start-in” entries to reflect the new install location of the application. Once you are satisfied that the software is operating correctly in the new location and that you have access to all of the program features as well as your old data, you could delete the old version installation.
  • If you are currently using version 1.0 software (usually installed at “C:\Utstest” with data in “C:\Access\Main.Mdb” and “C:\TestData\1TPL\1.MDB thru 200TPL\200.MDB”, you can use the old application to print out template summaries and apply the template information to create new templates and edit them using the new template manager. Because the table structures were revised in version 2.0, data from version 1.0 will not be accessible with your new application without designing special Append and Update queries to import the data from the old Main.Mdb and individual numbered data bases 1.MDB through 200.MDB. Consult your MS Access Documentation on how to design the queries and macros necessary to import these data.
Since installing my DATUM application a few weeks ago, performance has degraded. It seems to take much longer to post test results and open reports than before. How can I improve performance?

Access databases need to be “compacted” periodically to preserve performance and reduce MDB file size. All of the databases within your DATUM system should be compacted periodically: DFW_APP.mdb, DFW_DATA.mdb, Hardware.mdb, SpecProj.mdb and DFW_BAK.mdb at the backup location. Compacting is performed by opening the database in “exclusive” mode and select <Tools><Database Utilities><Compact Database> from the database window. You will be asked for a name to compact into. Use the same name as the database you are compacting from.

Does DATUM for Windows work with Windows NT, XP and Windows 2000?

Yes. With installation of the LINX Port I/O Driver that is included with the DATUM installation CD, you may run DATUM under Windows NT (version 3.51 or later), Windows XP and Windows 2000.

In the DATUM test control window, after hitting "T" for test, the machine does not move although the monitor message says "Testing . . ."?

Check your working directory for the existence of the file LOADFRAM.EQP. This file is required to run United testing machines. It should be located in the DATUM install folder. Contact United if you cannot find the file.

What does the word DATUM stand for?

DATUM is short for Data Assisted Testing User Methods.

In DATUM, after preparing specimen and going to testing, I get a runtime error message.

Write down the exact message and contact United technical support for assistance.

My X-axis displays in % units. How can I change it to position units?

This can be done by selecting proper display units in the hardware setup section of the test program for the strain channel (usually Channel #4). You may also set your gage length to 100 so 1% will equal to 1 inch.

"No devices detected" error message upon Datum startup

Causes:

No communication between USB Controller and the PC.

Remedies:

• Restart USB Controller power.
• Connect USB cable between Controller and PC’s PCI or PCIe card.
• Install/Update DLP drivers, found at C:\CDM 2.08.24 WHQL Certified.
• Install/Update drivers if a PCI or PCIe card is used for Controller’s USB connection to PC.

Live readings become stationary upon gear change command.

Causes:

Power surge.

Remedies:

• See Snubber section.
• Reinstall/Replace PCI or PCIe card.
• Connect USB cable between Controller and PC’s PCI or PCIe card.
• Connect USB Controller power cable as in Retrofit Connections section.

Position readings don't change while jogging machine.

Causes:

• Broken/loose encoder belt, sprocket, or cable.
• Encoder cable connected in wrong location.
• Improperly configured POSITION Hardware Channel (problem only occurs on templates similarly configured).
• USB Controller has lost communication to PC.
• Encoder cable has loose wire(s).

Remedies:

• Replace/repair encoder belt, sprocket, or cable.
• Connect cable connector as in Retrofit Connection section.
• Open Datum’s Hardware Scales tab and reselect position asset serial number, then click Apply button. Open Switchboard’s Template Manager and reconfigure the Hardware Setup’s POSITION Channel.
• See “No Devices Detected” symptom. See Snubber section.
• Repair wiring.

Load (or strain) channel readings don't change.

Causes:

• No load cell (or extensometer) connected to Load (or Strain) channel at time of USB Controller startup.
• Load (or Strain) cable connected in wrong location.
• Improperly configured LOADCELL (or EXTENSOMETER) Hardware Channel (problem only occurs on templates similarly configured).
• USB Controller has lost communication to PC.
• Load (or Strain) cable has loose wire(s).

Remedies:

• Connect load cell (or strain device) cable to Load (or Strain) connector on machine. Restart USB Controller.
• Connect cable connector as in Retrofit Connection section.
• Open Datum’s Hardware Scales tab and reselect asset serial number, then click Apply button. Open Switchboard’s Template Manager and reconfigure the Hardware Setup’s LOADCELL (or EXTENSOMETER) Channel.
• See “No Devices Detected” symptom. See Snubber section.
• Repair wiring.

"No device" motor control LED won't turn green.

Causes:

Electrical issue.

Remedies:

Inspect/repair machine’s electrical system.

Universal Machine Questions & Answers
May I change the position of the Emergency Limit Stops?

No. The Limit Stops were factory-set to protect the machine and the operator. Changing their positions could cause severe damage to the machine and possible injury to the operator. Under NO circumstances should the Emergency Limit Stops be changed.

What do I do if the crosshead reaches the Emergency Limit Stops?
  • Follow the steps described below carefully to move the crosshead away from the Emergency Limit Stops:
  • Mark the current position of the Emergency Limit Stop with a pencil.
  • Loosen the stainless-steel socket cap screw.
  • Once loose, move the Emergency Limit Stop away from its position.
  • Re-start the load frame only by turning it OFF and ON.
  • Jog the crosshead down about 2 – 3 inches away from where it stopped.
  • Move the Emergency Limit Stop back to its marked position and tighten the screw.
What is the little knob next to the "Slow Jog" button?

On new machines, the little black knob next to the “Slow Jog” button is the speed control for the Slow Jog function. Turning the knob will allow the crosshead to move faster or slower while the Slow Jog button is being pressed.

Where on the testing machine do I plug in a biaxial extensometer?

Extra data-handling hardware is needed for the testing machines to recognize the biaxial extensometer. Contact the nearest United sales representative for more information and pricing.

Can I use the crosshead position to measure Modulus of Elasticity?

This method is not recommended. Using the crosshead position to estimate extension will not give you an accurate measure of Modulus of Elasticity.

How often should load cells and extensometers be calibrated?

United recommends that load cells and extensometers be calibrated at least once a year.

When running a test, after some time has elapsed, the computer stops collecting data. What causes this problem?

This problem occurs when the data collection rate is set too high. Try reducing sample rate. In older programs, this step may require software modifications. However, in newer programs, sample rate can be reduced using hot keys. See manual for details.

When I started the test program, I got a red screen with a message that the "load cell is over-ranged", but there is no load on the cell. What do I do?

Check the cable that goes from the load cell to the load frame. It should be firmly connected at both ends. Also make sure that you enter the right load cell capacity in the computer.

My load cell reads smaller (or larger) numbers than the actual load?

Check to make sure you entered the correct load cell capacity in the test setup.

Hardness Tester Questions & Answers
Why are my hardness values LOWER than expected?
  • A dirty, rusty or oily anvil. Clean with steel wool and cleaning agent that won’t leave a residue.
  • An anvil with a hardness indentation in the middle of the test surface. Have the test surface reground or replace the anvil.
  • Dirty, rusty or oily test block. Clean with a cleaning agent that won’t leave a residue.  Test indents are on the opposite side of the blocks testing surface.
  • Using a Spot anvil (.25 inch) to support a test block. Always use a 1.5 or 2.5 inch flat anvil for verifying tester’s calibration using test blocks.
  • Using a load dwell time that doesn’t match the dwell time used to certify the test block. United test blocks are certified using the NIST recommended dwell time.
  • Indenter clamp is not tight enough. Tighten indenter clamp using a 7/64 hex wrench or driver.
  • Elevating screw (unit) cover is supporting the bottom of the anvil. Anvil must rest on top of screw.

ScrewCoverCorrectIndenter clamp is damaged and needs to be replaced (see illustration below).
Replacement part number for the clamp is UHTP-250-IRC .  Replacement screw is a 6-32 x ½ socket head.ClampFAQ

  • Diamond indenter reads too low. Request a high reading indenter from your supplier.
Why are my hardness values HIGHER than expected?
  • The “Cylindrical” correction may be turned on. If the display shows “CYL” on the upper right side, press the MENU, CONV and then CYL until “off” is displayed. See illustration.TB-II Screen Mock
  • The force dwell time is too short for testing soft material (copper, aluminum or brass). Choose a
    longer force dwell time test like NIST or MAXIMUM. See page 4 to change.
  • Indentations made too close to adjacent indentations. To ensure accurate hardness values,
    each indentation should have a minimum spacing of three diameters from center to center.
    See illustration below.

Indents

  • The test specimen is too thin for the selected hardness scale. A dot or discoloration showing on
    the back side of an indent indicates the indenter contacted the surface of the anvil. This usually results in an erroneously elevated hardness value. This elevated hardness value is attributed to the “anvil effect” because the tester is measuring the hardness of the anvil and not the specimen. To reduce the chance of anvil effect, select a hardness scale that has a lower total force than the scale
    being used. Example if you are testing using the “C” scale, try using the “A” scale. If you need a
    “C” hardness value, then setup the conversion option to display an approximate “C” scale hardness
    value. See Page 5 for instructions on how to convert to another hardness scale.
  • Indenter reads high. Replace a diamond indenter with a lower reading indenter or replace the ball in
    the ball indenter holder.