Chromeleon: unofficial tweak

Being offered to solve Chromeleon installation unofficially was a great opportunity to me. A hacker mind that is always hungry for challenge (in a good way of course!).

In our lab, we have eight Liquid Chromatography equipments: a pump, an auto-sampler, a thermostat, a UV detector, a photodiode array (PDA) detector, a fluorescence detector and a electrochemical detector, and a fraction collector. The problem was compatibility of those equipments to a particular version of Chromeleon (6.8SR9a).

Problems were developed when Chromeleon was upgraded to latest service pack; all equipments except the PDA went offline. But, the exact opposite situation was found with older Chromeleon. This had sparked unresolved drama between IT support and engineer from the company. One pointed out Chromeleon software bugs, while other blamed operating system incompatibility.

Well, then it came to my chance. I checked all connections using Linux. Yes, Linux! I found major connection uses telnet (port 23), or encapsulated text-based (telnet like) connection via USB driver. From this I concluded nothing wrong with the equipments.

Next test is driver installation. I tried four Chromeleon installations: 6.7 without service pack, 6.7SR10, 6.8 without service pack, and 6.8SR9a. All of them came with different USB-drivers and hardware identifiers. At least two files were different in every installation. Those are all pointing out USB-drivers and device identifiers. What I learned from this, drivers can detect equipments but communication through equipments were not smooth due to unmeet firmware version! Amazingly simple errors, if you upgrade the new Chromeleon software, firmwares should also be upgraded!

Stepwise upgrading can actually solve this problem, hence now I am using 6.7SR10 (on top of 6.7 installation). Interestingly, clean install from 6.7SR10 could not solve driver-firmware incompatibility.

Another thing related to UV and PDA detectors, both are identified with the same identity: UV. One cannot work in the presence of the other. This would also create confusion to users. It should be noted that PDA detector uses different identifier by default (in 6.7SR10, you need to change this and correspond the changes in control panel, manually!).

Fluorescent detector works with "non-standard" serial connector, referring to manual provided by the company. "Non-standard" solution is always discouraged in IT business.

Lastly, fraction collector has different default identifier in "Server Configuration" (perhaps miss-spelled "i" with "y") with Chromeleon default control panel, again, potentially causing user's confusion.

Anyhow, at least I self mastered LC installation and customization and won a box of Neapolitan ice cream for that :D


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