Lab Device Setup – ABAXIS – VetScan HM5

Lab Device Setup – ABAXIS – VetScan HM5

Estimated reading time: 7 min

This article outlines how to physically connect your device to the network, and establish communication to the RxWorks Lab Manager. Since many lab devices share common connection requirements, you may need to consult the supporting Lab Manager article in the Online Manual: “Setup Serial Lab Device-to-PC Connections”.

Special Connection Notes

The VetScan HM5 has two cable-type options for connection to a PC. The rear panel has provision for connection using either a serial cable or a USB Type A – B cable. The matching communication interface (USB or Serial) must be configured via the device settings.

When the supporting USB driver is installed, the device is shown as a COM port in the windows device manager. This means that the device is always treated as a serial connected device from this point forwards.

Requirements for Connection – Direct to Server

SERIAL

  • Server within 15 meters (cable length) of the lab device.
  • Server must have a spare serial port OR a USB to Serial (RS232) adapter.
  • Serial (RS232) cable with Male-Female ends.
  • USB

  • Server with 5 meters (max cable length) of the lab device.
  • Server must have a spare USB port.
  • USB Type A-B cable (usually supplied with the machine).
  • Requirements for Connection – Via Network PC

    SERIAL

  • PC connected to the RxWorks Network with remote access from the RxWorks Server.
  • PC within 15 meters (cable length) of the lab device.
  • PC must have a spare serial port OR a USB to Serial (RS232) adapter.
  • Serial (RS232) cable with Male-Female ends.
  • Network Serial Port Kit software.
  • USB

  • PC connected to the RxWorks Network with remote access from the RxWorks Server.
  • PC within 5 meters (max cable length) of the lab device.
  • PC must have a spare USB port.
  • USB Type A-B cable (usually supplied with the machine).
  • Network Serial Port Kit software.
  • 15 meters is the maximum recommended cable length for serial communications. However, it may be possible to extend this up to 50 meters if twisted pair Ethernet cable is used with appropriate Serial to Ethernet adapters.
    A USB to Serial (RS232) adapter can be used to add extra serial ports where there no available ports on the physical machine (drivers may be required – check OS compatibility).
    CAT5 Ethernet cable with Serial to Ethernet adapters on each end may be used instead of a direct Serial cable.

    Connecting The Lab Device – Serial

    Physical Connection

    1. Connect one end of the serial cable to the serial port on the rear panel of the HM5
    2. Connect the other end of the Serial Cable to the COM port on the server or host PC.
    3. Take note of the COM port number that you connected the serial cable to.
    • Usually COM1 or COM2 if the serial port is integrated into the computer.
    • Can be COM4 or higher if a USB to Serial adapter is used.

    Use the Windows Device Manager to verify the correct COM port number (you may need assistance from a technician to do this).

    Connecting The Lab Device – USB Cable

    The VetScan HM5 installs as a Virtual COM port on the PC it is connected to. Device driver software is required for the analyser to be recognised by a PC.

  • HM5 drivers may be installed before physically connecting the device.
  • Or

  • HM5 drivers can be installed as per the instructions in the HM5 user manual under the section “Connecting the HM5 to a Computer”.
  • Physical Connection

    1. Connect one end (Type B – Square shape) of the USB cable to the matching USB port on the rear panel of the VetScan HM5
    2. Connect the other end of USB (Type A – Rectangular Shape) cable to the server or host PC.
    3. Follow the driver installation instructions in the HM5 user manual. If you have already installed the drivers, skip to the next step.
    4. If the device was successfully installed, it will appear as a virtual COM port in the Windows Device Manager.

    Use the Windows Device Manager to verify the correct COM port number (you may need assistance from a technician to do this).

    If you are unable to install the device successfully, please contact the device supplier for assistance.

    Primary Device Communication Test

    Enable Device Communication

    The data communication features of the lab device must be enabled to allow test results to be transferred. Preferably this should be enabled by the device provider, but the general instructions are provided below for reference.

    Enable PC-Link
    1. Press the UTILITIESkey (hex nut icon).
    2. Select settings – Customise – General Settings.
    3. Use the navigation arrows to access the PC-Link Settings. Choose the correct connection type (USB or Serial) to enable. Refer to detailed instructions in the device user manual.
    4. Press the ACCEPt button to save the changes.
    5. Use the onscreen controls to return to the HOME/main menu.

    Test Transmission Using PuTTY/HyperTerminal (Physical Link).

    A serial port utility such as HyperTerminal or PuTTY is used to test the communication link between the lab device and the PC/Server it is physically connected to. Follow the steps below to test the data link:

    1. Open the serial port utility & select the correct COM Port to start monitoring.
    2. Press the DATABASekey on the HM5
    3. Select a stored result from the list.
    4. Press send Selected Records.

    Results should start to appear in the serial port utility window if the connection is working correctly.

    Next Steps – Important Notes

  • If the lab device is physically connected to the server, you can skip the next article section and go directly to Configure & Test RxWorks Lab Settings.
  • Take note of the COM Port number, as this is required to set up the device in RxWorks.
  • If the lab device is connected to a network PC or at another clinic location, read on through the next section, setup & Test Network Serial Port Kit.
  • For more information on how to use the serial port utilities see this related article in the Online Manual: “Setup Serial Lab Device-to-PC Connections”

    Setup & Test Network Serial Port Kit

    Install NSPK if Required

    If the lab device is not physically connected to the Server where RxWorks is hosted, you will need to create a virtual serial port link. The virtual serial port link is achieved by using software called ‘Network Serial Port Kit’ (NSPK). If NSPK is not required, skip to the next section of this article.

    Detailed setup information can be found in NSPK installation article here: “Setup Serial Lab Device-to-PC Connections”

    You will need the COM port number (Physical) from the previous testing stage to configure NSPK. Once NSPK is configured, test the new virtual COM port communications.

    Test Transmission Using PuTTY/HyperTerminal (Virtual Link)

    1. Check the NSPK link status indicators to verify that a successful link between the server and PC has been created.
    2. Take note of the new virtual COM port number on the Server (the port will be shown in Windows Device Manager).
    3. Open the serial port utility (on the server) & select the correct COM Port to start monitoring.
    4. Press the DATABASekey on the HM5
    5. Select a stored result from the list.
    6. Press Send Selected Records.

    Results should start to appear in the serial port utility window (on the server) if the connection is working correctly. Take note of the Virtual COM Port number, as this is required to set up the device in RxWorks.

    Configure RxWorks Lab Settings

    The final Lab Manager setup tasks can be completed once device communication is established.

    RxWorks Lab Device Settings

    Follow the steps below to configure the lab device in RxWorks.

    1. Go to: Lab Manager > Manage Devices & Reference Laboratories
    2. Click the Add button.
    3. Enter the device details into the fields as per the example shown below. Read on to see an explanation of each field.

  • NAME – identify the device with a name e.g. “VetScan HM5”. This will be displayed in the Lab Devices List.
  • Clinic –Select the location of the device from the drop-down list.
  • ATTACH TO –Select VISIt. This will attach the results to the visit record.
  • LAB COMPANY FOR ORDERS –Select VetScan HM5 If you do not wish to create Lab Order Task Lists in your Lab Workflow, leave this field blank.
  • NOTES –Add in details such as the machine Name & IP address of the PC the device is connected to, physical COM Port Number, Locationof the PC, and a description of Cable connectionsused.
  • LAB ORDER METHOD –Not Required.
  • LAB RESULT METHOD –VetScan HM5 Direct Connection
  • LAB RESULT FORMAT –VetScan HM5
  • Notes can be used to record information that can help identify how the device is connected to the network. This information is useful for trouble-shooting device connection issues.
    Serial Connection Settings
  • COM PORT – the COM Port number that you recorded earlier should be entered as per the example e.g. COM2 This should be the number you recorded at the end of the Primary Device Communication Test (physical connection to server) or after the setup of NSPK (Virtual COM port).
  • BAUD RATE –Enter 9600
  • CAS PORT –Leave this field blank (not required).
  • Test Device Connection to RxWorks

    This test is used to verify that the lab device can transmit data into the RxWorks Lab Manager. Follow the steps below to begin the test.

    1. Go to: LAB MANAGER > Device Monitor
    2. Select VetScan HM5 & Click CONNECT TO DEVICe. The device monitor window will open and establish a connection to the COM Port.
    3. Press the DATABASekey on the HM5
    4. Select a stored result from the list.
    5. Press send Selected Records.

    If the connection is working correctly, you should see the results appear in the Lab Device Monitor. The results will automatically be imported into RxWorks and be accessible via Lab Manager & the visit record.

    Setup the Scheduled Task on the Server

    RxWorks uses the Windows Task Scheduler to trigger the automatic import of lab test results from lab devices. Follow the steps below to configure the scheduled task for your lab device.

  • Windows Scheduled Tasks require user credentials to be able to execute automatically.
  • Ensure you have the Username and Password of a server account ready before you begin the task setup.
  • RxWorks servers use a special user account to run the scheduled task in the background. An RxWorks technician can assist with this.
  • If you are not sure which account to run the task as, consult with your hardware technician.
  • Before you proceed, close RxWorks and re-open using ‘Run as Administrator’. This allows RxWorks to use admin–level security to complete the scheduled task creation.
    1. Close the Device Monitor after testing communication. The scheduled task will not be able to connect to the COM port if it is in use by the Device Monitor.
    2. Go to LAB MANAGER > Manage Devices & Reference Laboratories & select your device from the list.
    3. Click CREATE SCHEDULED TASK from the device settings window.
    4. Enter a server account Username, and Password.
    5. Click the Arrow Icon to begin the automated task creation.
    6. The task will be created automatically and will be visible in the Windows Task Scheduler. If task creation fails, you may need to create the task manually – see this section of the Online Manual for more information: “Manual Scheduled Task Setup”

    7. Ensure that the Scheduled Task is set to ‘enabled’.
    8. Perform a final Test Result transmission from the lab device to verify that communication to RxWorks Lab Manager is successful.
    Your Lab setup is now complete! Results should automatically transmit at the completion of lab tests during normal day to day usage.
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