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When using the real-time program, I get the message "Unable to establish Communications"

If you are trying to run the real-time dictionary building program or the real-time translation program and you are getting the message "Unable to Establish Communications", the following may help you to determine the problem.

If you have not used the real-time dictionary building program or the real-time translation program before, check the following:

  1. Make sure you have the correct real-time cable for your writer. Although most real-time cables look identical on the outside, inside the cable are nine wires that can be wired in many different configurations. Real-time cables cannot be purchased at a computer store. In most cases they can be purchased from Stenograph and AristoCAT has real-time cables for some of the older writers.
  2. In your information file, make sure that you have the correct writer type and COM port values. Go to the Tran Options tab to fill in these values. If you have more than one information file that you use for real-time, make sure you have the correct values in all of the information files.
  3. If you are not sure of your writer type, click in the Writer Type field in your information file, then press F1 to get the correct values.
  4. A COM port is where you plug one end of the real-time cable in the back of your computer (the other end of the real-time cable plugs into your writer.) If you are not sure of the correct COM port value, the following procedure will show you the valid COM ports on your computer:
    · Right click on the My Computer icon (on Windows XP, click the Start button, then right click My Computer).
    · Left click on the Properties menu item
    The next step depends on what version of the Windows Operating system you have:
    · If you have Windows 95, 98 or ME, click on the Device Manager Tab.
    · If you have Windows 2000 or XP (Home or Pro), click on the Hardware tab, then click the Device Manager button.
    Once you have the Device Manager on the screen, you will have a list of the devices on your computer, in alphabetical order.
    · Now click on the plus sign (+) to the left of Ports (COM and LPT). After clicking on the plus sign, it will change to a minus (-) sign and a list of all of your COM and printer ports (LPT) will display under Ports (COM and LPT).
    · Look for an item that has a port name followed by COM x in parenthesis (where x is a number). Example: Communications Port (COM1)
    In this example, the communication port is 1.
    If you have more than one COM port listed, then you will have to try each of the COM port values in your information file.
    If you are still not sure of the COM port value or still not able to establish communications after trying the following steps, then you should contact the manufacturer of your computer to make sure the serial port is working.
  5. Make sure your writer is ready to do real-time. Before starting the real-time program, turn on your writer and do the following:
    · SmartWriter/Stentura/Optimate/Legitimate - When the LCD screen says "Disk Ready", press any key on your writer. The writer type should be SW.
    · Baron TX - when the LCD screen says "Ready for CMD", press the Bolt button. The writer type should be TX.
    · Xscribe Writers - You should dump and clear out any notes stored in memory before using real-time. The writer type should be XS.
    · MeritWriter - No other preparation is required, other than turning your writer on. The writer type should be MW.
    · ProCAT Flash - The ProCAT Flash is capable of working like (emulating) the Baron TX. Make sure your writer type in the information file is set to either FL or TX, depending on how your writer is configured. No other preparation is required, other than turning your writer on.
  6. If you have a PDA, such as a Palm Pilot, disable the software PDA software on your computer. The PDA software is used to transfer information between the computer and PDA through the COM port, and this PDA software will not let the real-time software use the COM port. Contact the manufacturer of the PDA for instructions on disabling their software.
  7. If you are using an USB port or a PCMCIA card as your COM port, make sure you have properly installed the software which comes with the USB port or PCMCIA card, and make sure that the software is compatible with your operating systems. For example, the software that comes with an older Socket Serial I/O card that worked with Windows 95 or 98, might not work with Windows XP. Contact the manufacturer of the device to make sure their software is properly installed and works with your operating system.

If you have been doing real-time and now you can't establish communications check the following:

  1. Have you put on any new software that might interfere with the COM port such as PDA software (as described above.)
  2. Have you installed any new hardware that might interfere with the COM port, such as a USB port or PCMCIA card.
  3. Have you put on an update from AristoCAT? If so, check with AristoCAT to see if there are any issues with the updated real-time program.
  4. Sometimes a real-time cable or writer will develop a problem. The easiest way to check this is to find another reporter who is doing real-time and has the same type of writer as you, even if they are using a different CAT system. Now try your real-time cable and writer on their system or try their real-time cable and writer on your system. Doing this will help determine if the problem is with the real-time cable or writer.

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