Clearing a Q330’s Baler association

The Quanterra Q330 seismic data logger does not hold any internal recording medium aside from a small memory buffer. Instead of recording the data itself, it delegates this responsibility to a networked Data Processor (DP). This might be a general purpose computer running data logging software, or a specialized recording device. For stand-alone operation of a Q330, or for local ring-buffering of substantial amounts of data at a telemetered site, a minimal DP must be co-located with the Q330. For this purpose, Quanterra developed the “Data Baler”: a small box holding a low powered DOS based PC, which records any data received from an associated Q330 to its internal hard disk.

Balers, which have been pulled from the field, should always get “cleaned” before going back out. Proper “cleaning” does not only constitute erasure of any previously recorded data, but also clearing of the “Baler association”. Balers associate themselves to a specific Q330 when receiving their first chunk of data. Thereafter, they will only accept data from that particular Q330 until this association is cleared. Normally, clearing of the Baler association should be performed right after a data download has been successfully completed. That way, downloaded and cleaned Balers can be labeled as “clean” and kept ready to go back out to the field at any time. However, mistakes do happen, and occasionally a non-cleaned baler might show up as the only spare at a seismic station.

If a Q330 refuses to dump data to a freshly hooked up Baler, that Baler might be still associated to a different Q330. If this happens, and no other clean Baler can be found, the following procedure may be used to manually clear the Baler association and get the Q330 to record data to it:

  1. Push and hold the ATTN button for about 5 seconds, until the LED turns solid red. This does not seem to work, if the Baler is already running! Workaround: Shut down the Baler by pulling the plug to power it off; next press the button, and while keeping it pressed, plug the power back in.
  2. Release the ATTN button and wait for slow green blink (idle).
  3. Press ATTN again (this time only short) to initiate a Baler shutdown.
  4. Repeat the entire sequence of steps 1-3 one more time.
  5. Now boot up the Baler in regular mode (briefly push ATTN, or send Baler command).

The Q330 should now be dumping data to the Baler. (Confirm by watching the
packet buffer usage!) If things still do not work, the problem may be more fundamental than just a wrong Baler association. In that case, the only option might be to try another Baler.

Using a non-clean Baler in this way may create some serious data mess, since there
might be still leftover data from a different station on the Baler. Sorting this out after data download is not hard, but potentially time consuming. To warn whoever might be downloading the data months later, a big fat note about this incident should be placed in the station’s field notes.

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